Presidential debate

Steve Scully, an update

Featured image Yesterday, in discussing the three moderators selected for the presidential debates, I described Steve Scully as probably “down the middle” and probably a “straight shooter,” as opposed to being pro-Democrat. That’s my impression of his work. However, this biography notes that “while attending college, [Scully] served as an intern in the office of Delaware Sen. Joseph R. Biden, and later a staff assistant in Sen. Edward M. Kennedy’s communication office.” »

Debate moderators selected; it could be worse

Featured image We now know who will moderate the three scheduled presidential debates. Chris Wallace of Fox News will moderate the first one, on September 29. Steve Scully of C-SPAN will moderate the second, on October 15. Kristen Welker of NBC News will moderate the third, on October 22. There will be one vice presidential debate. It will take place on October 7, with Susan Page of USA Today as the moderator. »

To debate or not to debate

Featured image For many decades, there has been broad bipartisan support for the notion that the presidential nominees of the two major parties should debate each other. Privately, some may have questioned whether such debates should occur, but publicly, support for presidential debates has been nearly unanimous. Suddenly, though, pro-Biden voices are urging that there be no presidential debates this year. Elizabeth Drew, whose work I haven’t seen in at least a »

Old timers struggle to keep epidemics straight

Featured image Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders debated tonight on CNN. The opening topic was, of course, the Wuhan coronavirus. Biden began by presenting a list of ideas for dealing with the pandemic. Sanders agreed with Biden’s ideas, but insisted that we need to address underlying problems in our health care system and economy that contribute to our vulnerability. In other words, though Sanders didn’t utter them, we need socialism. Biden countered »

Dem field attacks Sanders. . .for a little while

Featured image “FORA,” the Forum on Ruining America, held another session tonight. Present were Tom Steyer, Amy Klobuchar, Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Pete Buttigieg, and Michael Bloomberg. The Democratic contenders finally realized that they need to aim their fire at Bernie Sanders, rather than on their fellow trailers. Even Buttigieg and Kloubuchar were able to resist skewering each other. Only Elizabeth Warren seems not to have received the memo. She »

Debate tidbits

Featured image Last night’s Democratic debate brought to mind a dysfunctional family into whose midst a stranger barges, claiming to be a relative. The family unites and pummels the stranger. But soon the kids (here, Buttigieg and Klobuchar) are quarreling more vociferously than ever. Here are some additional observations about last night’s session. PARENT ABUSE: Candidates’ kids sometimes play a role in debates, but not in this cycle. Most of the field »

Bloomberg may benefit from lowered expectations

Featured image I don’t know what to expect of Michael Bloomberg tonight. The conventional wisdom — that his angry, jealous opponents will carve him up — is plausible. But so is the view that he’s smarter and more skillful than they are. The conventional wisdom might play into Bloomberg’s hands. His rivals want to portray him as an empty suit who has bought his way into the mix. But Bloomberg was a »

What should we expect from Bloomberg tonight?

Featured image Michael Bloomberg will participate in his first Democratic presidential debate tonight. The conventional wisdom holds that he’s in for a tough night — a comeuppance, his detractors would say. That’s certainly the Washington Post’s take in this article by Michael Scherer. He writes, seemingly with glee: Wednesday night, Bloomberg will be forced to leave his comfort zone and test his chops as a charismatic politician. When he steps onto the »

The Dem debate’s biggest loser — CNN

Featured image Matt Taibbi, writing from the left for Rolling Stone, calls CNN’s debate performance on Tuesday “villainous and shameful.” Taibbi is referring to CNN’s handling of the “he said, she said” dispute between Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. And he is absolutely right to characterize CNN’s performance as he does. First, CNN’s Abby Phillip assumed the truth of Warren’s claim that Sanders said a woman couldn’t defeat President Trump. Despite Sanders’s »

Warren doesn’t shake Sanders’s hand

Featured image I watched most of tonight’s Democratic debate. It was a pretty dull affair. To the extent there were fireworks, they occurred after the debate, albeit in the form of something that didn’t happen — a non-handshake. During the debate, as expected, there was an exchange between Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren about the latter’s allegation that the former told her a woman couldn’t defeat President Trump. The exchange was civil »

Biden and Yang display ignorance about immigration

Featured image Immigration was always going to be a topic of discussion during Thursday’s Democratic debate. Thus, the candidates should have been prepared to speak about immigration, if not intelligently than at least without getting basic facts wrong. As Mark Krikorian documents, Joe Biden and Andrew Yang were unable to pass this modest test. Biden claimed that during the Obama administration, “we didn’t lock people up in cages; we didn’t separate families.” »

Joe Biden, record players, and racism

Featured image Towards the end of the second hour of last night’s Democratic debate, Joe Biden delivered a rambling and mostly incoherent answer to a question about the Iraq war that hadn’t been asked. I wondered whether Biden was losing command, but I didn’t stick around for the third hour to find out. Now, I gather that Biden was, indeed, losing command. A rambling answer to a question in the third hour »

After tonight, a two-horse race?

Featured image John captured in six pithy observations about tonight’s Democratic debate what it probably would have taken me 600 words to express. So I’ll try to find 600 different words. Like John, I didn’t make it to the end. I had to stop after two hours. I’ve got the thing on tape, so if I read about any significant occurrences in the final hour, I’ll check them out. I turned on »

Dems will hold just one debate next month

Featured image Ten Democrats have qualified for the next Democratic presidential debate to be held in mid-September. The ten are: Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, Kamala Harris, Pete Buttigieg, Cory Booker, Beto O’Rourke, Andrew Yang, Julian Castro, and Amy Klobuchar. Because no more than ten candidates qualified, there will be just one debate. This means that, for the first time, Joe Biden and Elizabeth Warren, the two candidates most likely to »

One Democratic debate or two?

Featured image The next round of debating among Democratic presidential candidates is set for the second week of September. It’s not clear, though, how many debates there will be. The number depends on how many candidates qualify. As of last night (Monday), ten had done so. If that remains the number through Wednesday, there will be only one debate. But, as I understand things, if just one more candidate qualifies, the group »

After the debates, Democratic race not shaken, but slightly stirred

Featured image After last week’s Democratic debates, I predicted that the face-offs wouldn’t alter the race much, but that Elizabeth Warren might get a bounce and Kamala Harris would take a slight hit. I also said that Marianne Williamson’s position would not improve significantly, notwithstanding all of the Google searches that her new age preaching generated. Now we have a survey taken during the days following the debate. The poll, by Quinnipiac, »

A question CNN didn’t ask Elizabeth Warren

Featured image CNN conducted the latest round of Democratic presidential debates. Dana Bash, Jake Tapper, and Don Lemon did the questioning. One type of question was off the table — the show of hands (as in “raise your hand if you favor free college education for illegal immigrants”). Democratic cheerleaders like E.J. Dionne had objected to this sort of inquiry — employed during the Republican debates in 2015-16 — which forces candidates »