October 15 Debate Watch Party with Live Analysis & Commentary

October 15, 2019

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The Debate, Live from Ohio, Goes from 8 to 11 p.m. ET on CNN & Online & Has 12 Candidates on Stage

By Al Giordano

Once we get the live stream we’ll embed it here. Once the debate begins remember to refresh the page to read the latest observations and comments!

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7:38 p.m. ET: Twenty minutes to curtain and DNC Chair Tom Perez is at the mic. His pep rally speeches – now a tradition as warm-up to these debates – are quite well done…

7:55 p.m. ET: Anderson Cooper is introducing the candidates as they come out on stage.

8 p.m. ET: And they’re off! Welcome everyone to our debate watch party.

8:01 p.m. ET: Alas, CNN hasn’t made available to our knowledge an embedded video option to put here. But go to CNN.com or NYTimes.com to watch it online if you don’t have it on TV.

8:04 p.m. ET: Warren: “When the Mueller report came out, I read it! All 442 pages.” I believe her!

8:05 p.m. ET: Sanders’ waving finger seemed to have survived the cardiac attack.

8:07 p.m. ET: Both Sanders and Biden have used the C-word – “corrupt” – to describe Trump, and in doing so have waded straight into Warren’s theme and message of anti-corruption. If the primary is determined on voters’ perceptions of which candidate can best fight corruption, Warren and Harris are the big winners there, not Biden or Sanders.

8:08 p.m. ET: Kamala Harris says “corrupt.” DRINK!

8:09 p.m. ET: Cory Booker is the first candidate to draw it out onto his turf, which is as philosopher king. And he’s really good at it.

8:11 p.m. ET: Klobuchar is also smart about dragging it back onto the terrain of her issues, in this case foreign policy. One has to wonder why Biden and Sanders didn’t understand that’s how debates work in the 21st Century. Hmmm.

8:13 p.m. ET: Pete Buttigieg is very good here, Reaganesque! Imagine that it’s morning in America!

8:15 p.m. ET: Tulsi Gabbard lecturing Democrats that “Trump did win the election.” Oh yeah. Won’t see her again after tonight.

8:16 p.m. ET: Andrew Yang. I, Robot.

8:17 p.m. ET: Beto O’Rourke ads a nice patriotic flourish but it’s just more of the same that hasn’t worked for him so far as a presidential candidate. It was awesome to see him do it as a Senate candidate, but this is really his first national rodeo.

8:19 p.m. ET: Biden: “My son made a judgement… I’m proud of my son….” Good, but then he says “corruption!” Warren should get $100 every time someone uses the word.

8:21 p.m. ET: Warren gets the Medicare for All question, as expected. “Costs will go up for the wealthy and for big corporations, and for working and middle class families costs will go down.” She tells stories about meeting people on the campaign selfie line and their health care problems and costs. “It is about what kinds of costs middle class families will face… I will not sign a bill into law that does not lower costs for middle class families.”

8:24 p.m. ET: Buttigieg now going after Warren. Hoo boy. Get the stretcher ready.

8:26 p.m. ET: Buttigieg accuses Warren of “kicking 150 million families off their insurance.”

8:27 p.m. ET: Sanders compares Medicare for All to the Canadian system. “Taxes will go up for the wealthy. For virtually everybody the taxes will be less than what they pay for premiums.”

8:28 p.m. ET: Klobuchar: “At least Bernie’s being honest, sorry Elizabeth.” At some point Warren needs to hit back.

8:29 p.m. ET: Warren: “I didn’t spend most of my time in Washington. I spent most of my time studying what makes people go broke…. I’ve spent my entire life on how America’s middle class is being bled and how we can fight back.”

8:30 p.m. ET: Klobuchar changes the theme to other aspects of health care.

8:32 p.m. ET: Sanders says, “I’m starting to get a little bit tired.” Probably not the best choice of words.

8:33 p.m. ET: Kamala Harris changes theme to women’s reproductive health care. Brilliant! “Let’s talk about that!”

8:36 p.m. ET: Oh god. Maybe there is something useful about Yang after all. Addressing Sanders on “the fourth Industrial Revolution” and other 21st Century themes and Sanders hasn’t a clue of what he is hearing.

8:40 p.m. ET: Warren: “I have a plan to fix that and it is called accountable capitalism.” Advocates for workplace democracy.

8:42 p.m. ET: Warren: “It also has a provision” (turns toward Yang) “for your wife.”

8:45 p.m. ET: We’re now one quarter of the way through a three hour debate and maybe half of it has been Warren parrying either moderator or rival attempts to knock her down. I think it’s a good rehearsal for what it will be like to debate Trump and in that sense has so far served her narrative more than anyone else’s (although Harris’ reproductive health moment was perhaps the strongest soundbite so far). But in the end Biden and Sanders are like the incredible shrinking men on this stage.


8:51 p.m. ET: Biden is right in his critique of the debate questions. A pretty likeable “Joe moment.”

8:52 p.m. ET: Does everybody see what Warren is doing here? She is pulling another swath of voters away from Sanders tonight.

8:55 p.m. ET: Klobuchar going schoolyard on Warren only makes her come off as high school herself. I saw that movie in the high school cafeteria. Please. I did think Warren’s Bernie-crushing gambit splattered the rest of the field with too big a brush. But she wasn’t saying “my ideas are the only ideas.” Klobuchar is shadow boxing a ghost on this one.

8:58 p.m. ET: Harris is at her best with that cockeyed optimist swagger she just showed. “When I get elected president,” and she says it like she believes it. That’s the candidate that can sneak up on the Biden lane. Not these two midwesterners trying to invoke home field advantage.

9 p.m. ET: Shorter O’Rourke: WARREN IS TOO PUNITIVE ON A MACRO SCALE SO LET ME TRY TO PUNISH HER ON A MICRO SCALE. Beto’s out of his pay grade on this one.

9:03 p.m. ET: YOU GO CORY!!!!!! He’s Stephen Strange! “We’ve got one shot. One.”

9:08 p.m. ET: So Cory Booker is kind of the chaperone here, eh? We need one of those in a Democratic primary.

9:11 p.m. ET: Here’s the story of the first hour, courtesy of 538. Sanders didn’t use to take such a back seat…

9:14 p.m. ET: Gabbard’s turn to try and trap Warren. Warren pivots to Trump.


9:18 p.m. ET: Even Bernie understands not to indulge Tulsi’s nonsense and instead pivot to Trump.

9:21 p.m. ET: Kamala Harris. US President. She/Her.

9:25 p.m. ET: Foreign policy should be Joe Biden’s strong card, and he finally speaks on it and he emanates that he knows his stuff, but now he’s getting all shouty. It’s not a good sound. Old man yells at clouds.

9:27 p.m. ET: Beto with the “además” (Spanish for also or what’s more).

9:29 p.m. ET: You just know that in future cycles there will be something known as “The Steyer Rule” to prevent rich guys from buying their way onto the debate stage by spending $30 million to raise $1 million. He’s really an ancillary piece of information we don’t need here.

9:31 p.m. ET: Klobuchar calls for backup paper ballots, stopping social media companies from not revealing who pays for ads. Good stuff. Cory restored order to the school cafeteria. Yay!

9:35 p.m. ET: Mayor Pete to Beto: “People are dying in the streets, we can’t wait.” Careful Petey. I know the comeback line to that and it involves your South Bend police department.

9:38 p.m. ET: Anderson Cooper should just say, “boys, boys, I’m giving the mic to Senator Booker to discipline you both!” Oh. Wait. He does it!!!!! Yes!

9:39 p.m. ET: Cory Booker would be the first beloved referee in the history of the National Football League. They should have him moderate all debates going forward.

9:42 p.m. ET: Warren: Let me filibuster this debate to tell y’all why we should repeal the filibuster.

9:44 p.m. ET: Biden’s “I’m the only one that did it” is also very yell-at-clouds. I think in some ways Joe is having the worst debate tonight in terms of what it could do to his numbers. Not because his words are bad but his tone is over the top.

9:53 p.m. ET: We’re heading toward the final hour here and the second hour has been, as I see it, a hodgepodge of largely unmemorable moments. The press story coming out of the debate seems to still be the first hour, something like, “Warren parries attacks from multiple rivals, nobody drew blood.” Harris’ reproductive health moment and some Booker “why can’t we all get along” moments get the silver and the bronze. And the really important subtext is that nobody will be talking about Biden or Sanders because they did not have any breakout moments. They’re Old Hollywood. Bang the gong. But maybe the third hour will amend this narrative?

9:56 p.m. ET: Bernie Sanders hawks his Queens rally next week and that “we will have a special guest.” Because of the geography that guest kind of has to be Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez or anyone else will be a let down to his base. They did meet recently in Vermont, so there’s that. The implication is that it is her. If it’s not, it will just be another letdown.

10:02 p.m. ET: Before the break Gabbard spent two minutes listing her resume as a soldier then tried to squeeze in a sniper shot at Warren. Moderator went to a break. Don’t tell us you’re a soldier. Show us. She talked too much about herself and lost her shot at Warren!

10:04 p.m. ET: That special guest in Queens had better not be Bill de Blasio, ha ha.

10:07 p.m. ET: Courtesy of 538, stage time after two hours:

10:10 p.m. ET: Cory Booker gets a girlfriend, brings her to the studio audience, and emerges as America’s boyfriend on the same night! He really has been the best of them all tonight. I don’t know if it gets him votes for president. But everybody loves him. Give him the keynote speech!

10:14 p.m. ET: Oh that Kamala side eye for Mark Zuckerberg. Priceless.

10:15 p.m. ET: Kamala just won president of Twitter but I don’t think the 82 percent of voters without Twitter accounts give a flying eff about anything Twitter. Sorry to be the buzzkill on this!

10:25 p.m. ET: Excuse the brief intermission. I went over to Twitter to see if it had indeed elected Harris its president. But perhaps not surprisingly Democrats Twitter prefers to drag its friends most of all.

10:29 p.m. ET: More data stuff from the NY Times via the 538 team…

10:35 p.m. ET: Oh god. Joe Biden gets shouty at Warren, takes credit for passing her bill, and she parlays it into thanking Barack Obama for his help. Oh, snap!

10:37 p.m. ET: Buttigieg talking fast just to get his word count up?

10:38 p.m. ET: Klobuchar making a hell of an Electoral College case for VP.

10:45 p.m. ET: Do we get closing statements now? I can’t wait for the “Bernie didn’t fall asleep, so presidential!” spin!

10:48 p.m. ET: Oh god, Julian Castro talking about Ellen Degeneres dancing with George Bush? That’s how he’s going to use his final moment on the national debate stage? Huh?

10:52 p.m. ET: Tom Steyer wants us to know he has a black friend? Jeez.

10:53 p.m. ET: Beto talking about his friendship with Will Hurd makes him the first one to take the question seriously enough to answer it. It’s a great story, too.

10:54 p.m. ET: The rest of you kids, please nobody out your friendship with me. That won’t help you!

10:55 p.m. ET: Cory Booker hearts Ted Cruz. Take that, Beto!

10:56 p.m. ET: Cory is so good.

10:58 p.m. ET: Andrew Yang: Friends? I don’t have any friends yet. So I’ll talk about something else.

10:59 p.m. ET: Kamala hearts Rand Paul. They treat their glaucoma together, perchance?

11 p.m. ET: Pete Buttigieg made friends with Captain Steve Rogers in the military. In 1942!

11:01 p.m. ET: Bernie Sanders cites John McCain and Mike Lee. Good on him for actually answering the question.

11:03 p.m. ET: Elizabeth Warren dredges up Charles Fried. And she loves her brothers, even the Republicans. Fried is no Corn Pop, but he’ll do!

11:04 p.m. ET: Psssst. Joe. DON’T SAY BARACK OBAMA.

11:06 p.m. ET: Joe: John McCain two-timed Bernie Sanders to be with me!

11:07 p.m. ET: Thanks for joining us tonight, everyone. 149 comments and all of them worthy! In the morning we’ll put up the post-debate straw poll but feel free to use the comments section backstage and let us know your prediction over which candidates are moving up or down after tonight. Keep in mind that within a week we’ll have real data to show who did so try to be accurate.

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