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By Al Giordano
And here we go…
There it is, the NBC livestream: You can watch here while reading my running commentary and commenting yourselves (if you’re a logged-in subscriber.)
Stay tuned for more…
9:08 p.m. ET: Bernie wags his finger (somebody is going to bring out some scissors), Joe falls back on script, and Kamala masters policy. Hmmmmmm.
9:13 p.m. ET: Buttigieg starts out with a Spanish-language response. And then talks issues. Crowd likes him.
9:15 p.m. ET: Gillibrand has now come in hot, twice. TV is already hot. One needs to play it cool there, as Harris and Buttigieg have done already. She and others who are already so eager to speak they are not showing patience may regret it if they keep it up.
9:20 p.m. ET: Ooh, Kamala! Just finished her first fight! The food fight. And she shut everybody else up as they were interrupting. That’s leadership. Right there the meter is moving for her. You go, Senator!
9:22 p.m. ET: Biden is like the Invisible Man so far, but he knows the moderators will soon bring it back to him. Smart. He didn’t join the food fight. But nor did he seize upon it like Kamala did.
9:25 p.m. ET: Good moment for Uncle Joe. “I’m against any Democrat who opposes Obamacare and any Republican who wants to take down Obamacare.”
9:28 p.m. ET: So far nobody but Kamala has shown strategy. Bernie’s railing on health care, compare it with Elizabeth’s last night. That’s what progressive voters are doing and he is losing to Warren on this stage even though she is not there tonight.
9:31 p.m. ET: Kamala for the win again. Now twice. So far she is the *only* winner on this stage. Joe seems to have gotten Thanos snapped!
9:34 p.m. ET: Joe not understanding the question seemed very “senior moment.” We like him but he is sowing doubts to some and confirming those of others. As of the first commercial break Bernie has been 2016 style noise, Kirsten has blown every chance she has had (even when she has grabbed them by force and volume), Andrew Yang seems boring which is the one thing he cannot afford to be, Marianne Williamson has already shown she doesn’t belong there and is not ready for prime time, and the bookend dudes are dial tones. Mayor Pete has held his own and is still in this. But this is Kamala’s stage and Kamala’s night so far. Not even close for anybody else.
9:41 p.m. ET: So basically this is just like last night: The Alpha Woman on stage interviewing vice presidential applicants! Joe is, like, “Hey, I have experience at that job!” He’s being a very good VP right now!
9:44 p.m. ET: Mayor Pete making a great case for being President Harris’ VP nominee. He’s the anti-Pence!
9:46 p.m. ET: Marianne Williamson thinks every question is directed at her. A bit young to be having senior moments but it happens.
9:47 p.m. ET: Bernie: “I agree with everything Kamala has said.” Translation: “Pick me as your VP, please!”
9:49 p.m. ET: Kamala: “On this issue I respectfully disagreed with my president.” And the moderators are afraid to shut her up. This is a dominating performance. I’m so impressed. We might be headed to a two woman Super Bowl in this thing the way it is going. Harris and Warren have been the most presidential. Period.
9:54 p.m. ET: Mayor Pete is erasing his missteps and having a stellar night. Not like Kamala is but in many ways he has more at stake because if he doesn’t do this he’s gone. But he is ah ah ah ah Stayin’ Alive! But Caveat Emptor: when criminal justice issues come up, where he is vulnerable, Pete will have to get through that tunnel where he is most vulnerable. But so far I’m more impressed by him than I expected to be, especially because he is showing such composure under the duress of the past week.
9:58 p.m. ET: Joe and Bernie seem to be living in a Where’s Waldo puzzle. Like, not even the NBC moderators seem that interested in them. It sucks growing old!
10:00 p.m. ET: Maddow vs. Buttigieg. Here we go…
10:02 p.m. ET: Kamala takes back the microphone now a third time. Oh god, she is going to make Joe cry!
10:06 p.m. ET: Not sure this defense is going to be helpful to Joe. But the attack was very helpful to Kamala. Joe is arguing for state’s rights on busing today? He’s going to get fried over that. AA women are about to assemble. Joe is arguing for State’s Rights? C’mon, man. Oh god. All kneel to President Kamala Harris!
10:08 p.m. ET: If the NBC teleprompter staffer is reading this live blog, here is the next question for Chuck Todd: “So, Senator Harris, who do you like for your vice president?”
10:13 p.m. ET: People keep talking as if Game of Thrones wasn’t already settled here. BOW TO YOUR QUEEN. She and Elizabeth are going to the Super Bowl. They say “do not take a swing at the king if he survives you’re done.” Well, our beloved Uncle Joe is not going to survive that moment. Even John Lewis is going to hear that “states rights” thing and say, hey, wait. It will take the white press corps maybe months to figure that out but it happened tonight, just like Obama did in the summer of 2007 debate. Now she’s just cleaning up and nobody dares challenge her. Kamala v Elizabeth will be a really healthy thing because they are both superheroes.
10:20 p.m. ET: Also, the pure guts of even going after Joe showed us who she is. And she did it respectfully. Really skillful and diplomatic way to win a war before it starts.
10:32 p.m. ET: It is worth pointing out that earlier this year our subscribers, in our straw poll, voted overwhelmingly for Kamala Harris and later in the season voted that way for Elizabeth Warren. (Which also showed me the commitment by the base to having a woman nominee will bring the primaries toward the one who people think has the best shot.) Our subscribers – who are more representative of the real grassroots movers and shakers – the organizers, small donors and political opinion leaders – who always determine Democratic presidential nominations picked out the clear winners of the two debates. All my respects to all of you. You have educated me throughout this process and last night and tonight we see you were right.
10:36 p.m. ET: Bernie unwilling to say he evolved on guns. WTF? Is that so hard? He did! The Vermont press is right. I know that story. And Maddow just gut-punched him and he complicated things for himself. And there’s Kamala getting the biggest applause again. Hoo boy.
10:40 p.m. ET: Biden saying “I’m the only guy who got assault weapons banned. Banned!” John Kerry and Bill Clinton and Janet Reno among other 1994 leaders might beg to disagree. Another senior moment.
10:41 p.m. ET: Michael Bennett doesn’t seem like a bad guy and I have empathy with his recovery from cancer and treatment but as one who has been there and has been stepping back from public glare while I heal, amigo, it takes time. I’m feeling like this is very soon to jump into the Thunderdome again, and I say that with empathy.
10:44 p.m. ET: OMG Rachel is not playing.
10:48 p.m. ET: When we come back from the break it will be time for closing statements. This rice is cooked. I think it will be very clear in the spin room who won, who lost and who survived. But let’s see!
10:53 p.m. ET: After Kirsten’s closing statement I’ll just say I had higher expectations for her. She, alas, didn’t study the Castro tape from last night and her advisors should be charged with malpractice.
10:55 p.m. ET: After Kamala’s closing statement, this ex-smoker really wants a cigarette! And the first to mention her website address in two nights!!!!!! Kamala knows elections.
10:57 p.m. ET: Now let’s see what the two falling “frontrunners” have to say.
11:00 p.m. ET: It’s a wrap! Bow to your tonight queen and to your last night queen! And Jose Diaz-Balart thanking the Florida Democratic Party at the very end was precious given that his family rose to power as Cuban-American Republicans! But here we are. THANK YOU TO ALL OUR COMMENTERS for more than 250 comments so far backstage. You’re the best!
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