Live November 1 at 7:30 ET: Watch the Candidates at the Iowa Democrats’ Liberty & Justice Dinner

November 1, 2019

Beto O’Rourke Ended His Campaign Hours Before He Was to Speak There

As the 13 Remaining Qualified Candidates Make Their Pitch We’ll Analyze & Comment

By Al Giordano

The event begins at 7:30 ET (6:30 Iowa Time), will be broadcast on C-Span and online. We’ll share a link as soon as it’s up and running.

Logged in subscribers can comment backstage as the candidates each put on a show and appeal to thousands of Iowa Democrats gathered tonight.

This page will update regularly throughout the night. Click refresh to follow the analysis!

6:16 p.m. CT: Here is the schedule of speakers tonight…

  • Presentation of Colors
  • National Anthem
  • Invocation
  • IDP Chair Troy Price remarks
  • Parade of Iowa Candidates
  • DNC Chair Tom Perez remarks
  • Mayor Pete Buttigieg
  • Vice President Joe Biden
  • Mr. Andrew Yang
  • Senator Elizabeth Warren
  • Senator Kamala Harris
  • Mr. Tom Steyer
  • Senator Bernie Sanders
  • Pass the Hat
  • Special Presentation
  • Senator Michael Bennet
  • Representative Beto O’Rourke
  • Secretary Julián Castro
  • Senator Amy Klobuchar
  • Senator Cory Booker
  • Representative John Delaney
  • Governor Steve Bullock
  • Chairman Price closes the event

6:21 p.m. CT: Here’s the Iowa Democrats’ livestream on Facebook.

6:35 p.m. CT: And here is the C-Span Live Stream (which will go to the event once the speeches start).

6:42 p.m. CT: And the live stream has begun. First thing I see is one of our subscriber/correspondents, Nick from Iowa, taking a selfie with Amy Klobuchar in front of the stage! Go Nick!

6:44 p.m. CT: I should note that it is the C-Span link that has gone live, not yet the Facebook one.

7:25 p.m. CT: I always enjoy Tom Perez’s speeches at these things!

7:43 p.m. CT: Of interest: One candidate that did not qualify for this event is Tulsi Gabbard, who did not meet the requirement of having at least ten campaign offices in Iowa. Iowans take showing up seriously.

7:44 p.m. CT: And here comes Mayor Pete Buttigieg, first at bat!

7:47 p.m. CT: Buttigieg goes right into an electability argument.

7:53 p.m. CT: I thought Mayor Pete was doing fantastically when he was being aspirational and stressing electable in the first part of his talk. But the elbow jab at supporters of Medicare for All, along with his mischaracterization of what it is, came off, at least to me, as petty and too infighty, and I don’t think caucus voters want that.

7:58 p.m. CT: All in all a good intro to Pete Buttigieg for any who hadn’t seen him speak before. Now comes Joe Biden next.

8:10 p.m. CT: I think Biden is accomplishing some basic things here, mainly that he is coherent and energetic. Compared to his debate performances so far tonight’s Biden looks more like a candidate who could win the general election, which is of course the main argument he makes for his nomination. He’s hitting the standard lunch bucket Democratic economic bullet points. It will be an interesting contrast when Andrew Yang follows him.

8:14 p.m. CT: I may have spoken too soon there. I doubt “beat him like a drum” was penned into his speech for repetition a second time.

8:15 p.m. CT: Fog machines! Really, Andy?

8:19 p.m. CT: I don’t claim to know if what Yang says about closed manufacturer towns swinging from Democrat to Republican (frankly I’m skeptical of it) but it is an effective pitch if he can get people to believe it. It’s the like the traveling salesman who claims to have secret knowledge and if we’d only buy his product we’d all feel better again.

8:30 p.m. CT: Warren followed by Harris should be a great one-two punch!

8:33 p.m. CT: If I were writing speeches for Warren I wouldn’t have her telling folks about the olden days when toasters could burn one’s house down. Leave that kind of talk to Biden and Sanders, please!

8:36 p.m. CT: This part is much better. The lady is bringing receipts, telling of what she’s done already. That is what people want to know. Can you get it done?! Wave those receipts, Senator!

8:38 p.m. CT: I haven’t heard this “they’re already in a fight” part of the speech. It’s good!

8:43 p.m. CT: Great show by Warren. Pitch perfect electability argument that the way to win is to fight and fight smart. It’s clear why she got into the top tier and stayed there.

8:47 p.m. CT: The intensity of supporters of Kamala Harris and Elizabeth Warren tonight burns far more brightly than those of Pete Buttigieg, Joe Biden or Andrew Yang earlier tonight.

8:53 p.m. CT: This is Kamala at her best. Passionate and inspiring. If she doesn’t get an Iowa bump out of this I don’t know what could do it.

8:56 p.m. CT: Super smart of Harris to give a shout out to Beto O’Rourke at the moment when his supporters are now looking elsewhere. And a missed opportunity by the four candidates that preceded her tonight.

8:57 p.m. CT: “Please join me and caucus with me in Kamala’s corner.” Good closing line, very specific, and asks for their votes, Tip O’Neill style.

8:58 p.m. CT: So far Warren and Harris have had the best night. Let’s see what comes next. Oh no, it’s Tom Steyer. From the stellar to the cellar!

9:18 p.m. CT: I’ll get the money out of politics and by the way here is a $20,000 check for your organization. Huh?

9:23 p.m. CT: Bernie also gives a holler to Beto. I have a feeling we’ll see more of that tonight.

9:24 p.m. CT: I don’t blame him for being tired and looking tired. He did have a heart attack. It’s like Sanders is going through the motions but his metaphorical heart really isn’t in it like before.

9:27 p.m. CT: One of our subscribers making comments backstage here, Lorie, wrote his about Sanders’ speech: “Podium for him, as well. He did not want to walk around; needed a stabilizer. I work with seniors in various stages of challenges.” I got that same sense. Using the podium more like a walker. I felt sorry for him.

9:57 p.m. CT: Halftime is over. Michael Bennett is up now. Does anybody else think, if we close our eyes, he sounds a lot like David Axelrod?

10:10 p.m. CT: I know Michael Bennet is not on the road to victory but I do find him endearing. I liked his “they were ‘founders’ too” matrix for looking at American history. He seems like he’d actually be an interesting person to have a nuanced conversation with.

10:24 p.m. CT: That could have been a reentry moment for Castro on the heels of his fellow Texan O’Rourke getting out. But I have to say I was underwhelmed by what seemed more like a laundry list reading of issue positions along with some family stories.

10:26 p.m. CT: Amy Klobuchar: “We are going to build a blue wall and make Donald Trump pay for it.”

1o:30 p.m. CT: “And when they tell me a woman can’t beat Donald Trump I say, ‘Nancy Pelosi beats him every day.'” Oh, snap!

10:50 p.m. CT: Cory Booker’s open was as good as it gets. “I see you, I love you,” the saying rooted in an organizing story about the death of his mentor. But he gets so worked up that his voice gets raspy and I wish he could just hold back and pace himself a bit.

10:53 p.m. CT: Can’t argue with the choice of Bill Withers’ Lovely Day as score. Cory wins best theme song of the night.

10:56 p.m. CT: John Delaney continues to be an ancillary piece of information I don’t really need. Sorry, dude. Exit door is over there.

10:58 p.m. CT: Here is my main takeaway from the evening. Warren, Harris and Klobuchar had the best night. But if it means a spike in polls, even a slight one, for Harris and/or Klobuchar some of that is going to come out of Warren’s support. And in Iowa the top four are bunched up so much that it could push her from first place to fourth. Again, only if that happens. That wouldn’t be the worst place for her to keep building from. She would stop being the target of others’ supporters and most likely Klobuchar and Harris have a tough slog to get to the 15% threshold at precinct caucuses. And wherever they don’t reach that those supporters will mostly go to the woman that does, which could still be Warren. And then she’s a comeback kid, not a frontrunner expected to win. But I could be wrong. This might change nothing. But if Harris rises in Iowa – and she vacated her New Hampshire offices today to send that staff to Iowa – it definitely comes out of Warren’s hide and Klobuchar would likely take both from Warren and Biden. All of it temporarily inflating Sanders, but also expectations for him. And then the fall for him would come harder. See how this works?

11:10 p.m. CT: I’ll say this for Delaney. He cleared the 16,000 seat hall. Look at it now!

11:26 p.m. CT: Steve Bullock was actually pretty good tonight. He made an electability argument but in a fun and entertaining way. He is the most Bill Clintonesque candidate in this field. Problem for him is it’s not the 1990s anymore. But it it were, he’d be a contender!

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