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.
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?
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.
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.