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Sixth Democratic Debate Recap | NPR Politics



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TIM ALBERTA: Senator Warren, you would be the oldest president

ever inaugurated. I'd like you to weigh in as well.

ELIZABETH WARREN: Uh, I'd also be the youngest woman ever inaugurated.

[crowd cheers]

ASMA KHALID: Hey, we're here at NPR's headquarters.

I'm Asma Khalid. I'm covering the 2020 campaign.

DANIELLE KURTZLEBEN: And I'm Danielle Kurtzleben,

I'm also covering the 2020 campaign.

And we are here to give you a few takeaways from the

latest Democratic primary debate, held at Loyola Marymount

University in Los Angeles tonight.

KHALID: That's right. And I think to me, one of the most fascinating

things to have seen was the degree to which Pete Buttigieg,

the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, actually did come under direct

fire from a number of candidates on a whole bunch of issues.

You know, the first topic I want to hit on was experience.

AMY KLOBUCHAR: I think this experience works. And I have not denigrated

your experience as a local official. I have been one.

PETE BUTTIGIEG: You know...

KLOBUCHAR: I just think you should respect our experience

when you look at how you evaluate someone who can get things done.

KHALID: And this is something that, you know, some of

the candidates are really eager to hit him on, in part because

he's been rising in a number of the early state polls, notably

Iowa and New Hampshire.

KURTZLEBEN: Right. He also got hit on his fundraising. A few photos went

around this week of a high-dollar fundraiser he had, I believe, in

California that took place in a wine cave. So if you hear wine

cave being thrown around on social media this next week with

regards to politics, you'll know why.

WARREN: The mayor just recently had a fundraiser that was held in a

wine cave full of crystals and served $900-a-bottle wine.

Billionaires in wine caves should not pick the next

president of the United States.

ALBERTA: Mr. Mayor, your response?

KURTZLEBEN: And then, of course, that was an attack by Elizabeth Warren

in particular. And he very much hit back, accusing her of also taking

money from larger donors back in her last Senate campaign and then

funneling that money into her presidential campaign.

KHALID: And his point was that, you know, we really can't be running

these purity tests unless we can hold all of ourselves up to that

high standard. He made the point she has a larger net worth

than him. He, of course, is also significantly younger than her.

But I think the whole bigger, broader philosophical issue here

was the degree to which some of candidates see

Pete Buttigieg as a direct threat, and the degree to which they're also

willing to engage with him, as opposed to one of the other

leading candidates, former Vice President Joe Biden.

KURTZLEBEN: Right. We saw a really — kind of shouting match between former

Vice President Biden and Vermont Bernie Sanders tonight

over "Medicare for All."

JOE BIDEN: Put your hand down for a second, Bernie, OK?

[crowd reacts]

BERNIE SANDERS: Just waving to you, Joe.

BIDEN: I know, I know. I know.

KURTZLEBEN: Joe Biden really swung hard against Sanders on the cost of

Medicare for All. How much it might cost to have the government

give insurance to everybody, free of premiums and co-pays.

KHALID: Last thing to me that was interesting from tonight was the

degree to which gender dynamics were on stage at many moments.

I mean, I want to highlight the point at the end of this entire

debate. The candidates were asked this question about, you know,

would they gift another candidate something in particular

or would they ask candidate about forgiveness?

To me, what was noticeable — I mean, A, none of these candidates

actually answer question correctly, but, B —

there was a moment where the two women running for office, both

Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar as well as Massachusetts Senator

Elizabeth Warren, made the point of acknowledging that they wanted

to seek forgiveness.

WARREN: I know that sometimes, um, I get really worked up.

And sometimes I get a little hot.

KLOBUCHAR: I can be blunt, but I am doing this because

I think it is so important to pick the right candidate here.

KURTZLEBEN: Meanwhile the men said they wanted, were out there

plugging their books.

KHALID: Exactly.

KURTZLEBEN: Such a great counterpoint.

KHALID: But Danielle to me, what was interesting is that, you know, we

heard so much in 2016 about gender because Hillary Clinton

was the Democratic nominee. And this time around, because we had

a number of women running on the Democratic side, I would say we

just haven't heard as much or as frequently about gender.

KURTZLEBEN: Right. And gender came up in big ways tonight as well.

For example, there was something that President Obama's — former

President Obama — said recently that got a lot of press, which

was that women make better leaders, so the moderators

asked the candidates about this.

And what was fascinating was that you had male candidates

being asked about their gender, which is not a thing we've seen

much happened before. It's fascinating. And you saw a heck

of a line from Andrew Yang.

ANDREW YANG: Our country is deeply misogynist,

and most all of us know that.

KURTZLEBEN: That is a big statement.

To me, it was it was actually stunning.

And I think, you know, some of this is by virtue of having more

than one woman on stage. Slowly, we are showing that women are not

flukes, that women are becoming parts of these presidential discussions.

KHALID: All right. Well, that's a wrap for tonight. I'm sure we'll be

back again pretty soon whenever there is the next debate.

But for now, make sure to tune into the latest episode of the

NPR Politics Podcast. You can find that, of course,

where ever you find any of your podcasts.

And we'll be there to wrap up all of the latest debate coverage.