The second Democratic debate in Detroit on Wednesday like the first one the previous day saw aspirants for the party nomination for the race to challenge President Donald Trump in the 2020 elections duke it out even as the incumbent trashed the exercise, claiming people are "desperate" for him. As Barack Obama's adviser, David Axelrod, put it, "This may be the best he could do".
"The cost of doing nothing is far too expensive", she said, adding: "Your plan does not cover everyone in America". "Over 80 months of that was due to President Barack Obama. Thank you very much".
Among them, former vice-president Joe Biden, who is a clear front-runner, managed to salvage his lead position despite attacks from all sides, in particular from New Jersey Senator Cory Booker who is in the middle of the pack.
The alleged remark, which Trump was never confirmed to have made, received a widespread backlash, particularly from Democratic lawmakers.
I could go on: the enthusiasm for impeachment (which ordinary voters including me have doubts about on the merits as well as the politics), Warren's desire to break up Amazon (does she really think voters would prefer to go back to buying goods at higher prices?), Sanders on giving the Boston bomber the vote, Yang's obsession with robots, Inslee's hysteria about climate change (we have to do things, but the planet is not going to end after 12 years). "It's a civil action", Castro said. He took a hit in the polls after that display.
The crowded field of about two dozen Democrats running for the nomination to challenge Mr Trump are struggling to determine how far left their party should move, a debate that has largely centered around the future of the USA healthcare system.
The former vice president said no. "The way to build this and get to it immediately is to build on Obamacare". Nevertheless, Gabbard raised some important issues regarding Harris that should be considered as she remains a top-tier candidate in this primary despite taking those shots last night.
Biden charged that Ms Harris's health care plan would cost taxpayers $3 trillion even after two terms in office and would force middle-class taxes to go up, not down.
"Well, first of all, I'm grateful that he endorsed my presidency already", cracked Booker in the moment.
Mr Biden emphasised his work as vice president to help the auto industry and the city fix its bankrupt finances.
US Senator Cory Booker criticised Mr Biden for his sponsorship of the 1994 crime Bill, which has been blamed for leading to mass incarceration of black people.
After healthcare, the debate moderators moved on to immigration, asking Julian Castro, Obama's former housing department head, why he broke with the administration's former immigration chief to call for decriminalizing illegal border crossings.
After a fiery exchange over race in the first debate, when Harris questioned Biden's opposition to using mandatory busing to integrate schools in the 1970s, Biden's campaign has said the two shared essentially the same stance on the issue. But unlike in the first debate, the former vice president was ready on most topics - sometimes delivering counter-punches in addition to defending his record.
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