tv CNN Tonight With Don Lemon CNN September 12, 2019 7:00pm-8:00pm PDT
cnn.com/impact. okay? thank you for being part of this solution. all right. let's turn now to breaking debate news. the top ten 2020 democrats have been mixing it up in texas. and this has been an interesting night. joe biden had to come to play. did he come as jolting joe or sleepy joe? what about elizabeth warren? she's been on the rise. did she raise her game? let's face it. a lot of candidates on that stage are fighting to survive. they say lelectability is key. what does that mean tonight? anyone proving they have what it takes to take on this president toe to toe? let's bring in our primetime primary team to assess what's going on so far. the one and only david gregory. we got sabrina sadiki and alaina plot. everybody's been watching except when you're sitting here, it's
still ongoing. big takeaway, dave? >> joe biden showed up tonight. he showed that he's steadier. had fight in him. had bernie sanders on his right. elizabeth warren on his left. though they're both on his left. he was able to give it and take it a little bit. they spent the first 40 minutes -- >> did you call her sanders on purpose? >> i'm sorry, elizabeth warren. >> was it a mistake? it was pretty clever. >> no. the point is, he went after them both on how you're going to pay for it, on where he differs, on defending what he did in the obama administration. so he had some of that fight. he looked steadier. i think democrats wanted to see that if he had that kind of viability. that was a big takeaway from me. >> i agree with him, what i was watching before i did my show. disagreement? anybody think biden didn't raise the game? >> i think joe biden certainly showed a lot more fire. he was less on the defensive than he has been in some of the previous debate nights. it was the first time he shared the stage with senator elizabeth warren who comes off as a much more effective manager for the
progressive wing of the democratic party that bernie sanders -- >> why, why is she better? >> she delivers it with a great deal of clarity. she had a strong line, she said, i never met any american who likes their health insurance companies. that's something that will stick with people in terms of why she's offering big, bold proposals. that's still the debate that played out, whether or not they want to lead a grassroots progressive movement or whether democratic voters are more driven by that incremental change, that steady hand that joe biden and some of the more moderate candidates are advocating. >> all right, so play to that, but almost anybody speak it up tonight? >> i would actually push back then against that a bit -- >> the warren part or the biden? >> the warren part. what shows when she goes up against joe biden is her consistent unwillingness to admit that her plan, her medicare for all plan, which is actually bernie sanders' plan, would raise taxes on the middle class and she cannot say that outright. it's the reason that this debate has dominated the beginning of every single democratic debate
we've had thus far. her answer is that, yes, it will raise taxes on the middle class but the net effect of you paying less for your health care means this won't be as problematic as it might seem. she has to trust americans to digest that on their own but she won't say it. >> i actually agree with both of you. first of all, i think elizabeth warren is a really good debater. i think she's poised. i think she's strong. i think she both has, she can take the fight but also, as you said, an excellent sympathizer of the progressive youth -- >> a lot smoother. >> by the way, she's a lot smoother than joe biden in these settings. i mean, kamala harris is very good, too. i thought elizabeth warren was very good. there's no question that where reality meets these plans is a big chasm right now. and the truth is, to spend 40 minutes on -- on, you know, in the weeds policy about health care, something we're not going to remember in the morning. >> a little bit of it is that's the responsibility of the journalists, right? and they got a great panel up there asking questions.
but it does make me wonder if these people see the forest for the trees. you know, they're, like, talking about, i can keep this one, you're going to lose that one, this one is incremental, might be mine is buying, in yours they have to opt in. the other guy, holding an ax, you're a socialist bum, mine will be better. >> kamala harris, she hadn't brought up donald trump in that respect, up until that point it was as though every democrat on that stage was running against each other an there was no general election on the horizon at all. i think senator harris deserves some credit for being the first one to say hi, remember, donald trump, he exists and he wants to gut all of this. >> some of the biggest applause lines were when some of the candidates said, look, when we're spending all this time attacking one another, the person who has the most to gain is president donald trump. >> from the part i saw, tell me if there was something that bested this later in the debate, but when julian castro took what -- i'm sorry, it is a cheep
shot at joe biden. i've been on stages like that. it is not easy to hear you, let alone somebody who's down there. and he made an obvious reference to his age. >> did you forget what you said just two minutes ago that you're contradicting yourself -- >> it's got to be an age crack. >> also that biden has been misremembering, forgetting details. >> i don't think he actually did there. >> i don't know -- >> julian castro, not only was it a horrible cheap shot -- >> biden was drawing a distinction about cancer patients, whether they get in automatically or not based on need. what does that do for castro? he came off small in that. >> i think castro and some of these others who are on the wings have to find a way to break through. kamala harris found a way in that first debate then it did, she did drop back after that. you know, i think castro has been a more durable and interesting candidate than people would have thought in the beginning. i don't think this was a good night for him. look, president trump is a political good political analyst and said this evening because
only he would do this just like hold forth with reporters and say, yeah, i think it's probably going to be the three by the end, you know, it's going to be elizabeth warren, eve elizabeth warren and joe biden. that attention between older establishment white politician and newer -- and the newer -- >> who isn't a -- >> bernie sanders doesn't qualify for that, except being so progressive and warren. that's going to be the fundamental tension. i still think, despite the flashpoint, how you're going to pay for this kind of health care, i didn't think we saw the elizabeth warren/joe biden matchup that people were expecting. >> you know what i think part of that is a function of, i want your take on this, sabrina, it's easy to say they're going to go at it. when you are standing next to somebody, it is different than talking about them. looking them in the face and saying all the things that you said about me is not as easy. no matter how hungry you are.
it's always a little more muted. they said john yang was going to do something tonight that nobody's ever done before andrew yang. what was that? >> the candidates, time and again, it's best not to tell them your attack before the debate. looking at people like julian castro, some of the other candidates who have been lagging in the polls, they really have few opportunities to make an impact. now, that may have not been the most effective way to do so. even amy klobuchar who's minnesota nice came out swinging tonight. the qualifications for the debates, frethresholds becoming more and more difficult, this may be the last time some have the opportunity to face the american people on the debate stage. everyone's looking for that momol moment -- >> there's practicality in place. >> also how it's set up. i do think the moderators wanted them to go after each other. >> right. >> they hung back a little bit. also the moderators here have not been trying to pit them against each other as much as you might expect. >> right. look, it's a competition.
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all right. we're back with our "a" team. we have alaina plott, sabine ya sadiki, david gregory. you know, the best conversations are always in the commercial. not tonight. you were saying before we came on air that there's a measure for joe biden you believe he needs to reach. what is it? >> i think he's spending so much of his time on the defensive. i don't think he has his progressive voice yet other than saying don't forget i stood by barack obama for eight years. he's say, i can beat trump, i can work with republicans and i'm not as bad as the progressives say. i'm actually more progressive than you think. i don't think he's found his groove. i was thinking about what has tonight and this debate been about? a lot of it is about progressive passion on the issue of guns and immigration. and countering trump on trade,
on health care. that's important at this stage of the game because one more progressive voters who are going to be out there are starting to pay attention, but so are less passional voters who are just trying to take everybody's measure. i'm just not sure he's found his voice. i think he found some fight tonight. he steadied himself. i still think he's got a ways to go as a front-runner to really find that voice that captures all sides of this. >> finesse point on david, sabrina, does he need to find a progressive voice or is a proxy for that in terms of a distinguishing character doesn't need to be something personal because isn't this going to be an identities politic election where you're going to have to prove that you're a positive opposite to donald trump, who he is as a person wiis going to ha to be every bit as important as your plan for health care? >> that's been at the core of biden's argument thus far on the campaign trail, we can debate the high-minded policy issues but there are a lot of americans who think the world is on fire and want to see change in the white house. there's an urgency of this moment when it comes to the
character of the president in office right now and where we should be as a country. but to david's point, you saw biden do this a little bit tonight where he tried to play up the obama record, heard him say about senator warren, she's for bernie, i'm for barack, when the topic turned to education, he pointed out daca, the program for dreamers, hadn't been done in this country before but he would probably benefit for running for aggressively on the obama record and pointing out when they're talking about health care how for the first time in this country's history under the obama administration you did have a government-run health care plan. w when the topic turns to tough on crime bill, he would point out the first major criminal justice reform in recent years happened under the obama administration's watch. they did make a big push after sandy hook for gun control. they didn't get there. that's where he hasn't really gone. he spent a lot more time trying to hit back at his opponents and on the defensive. >> progressives want more. >> they're like, yeah, you said a lot of things but didn't -- our politics are so small right now. one of the things -- i think warren is doing this well. you got to speak to people's
pain. those people in the key states who might have been obama voters who came for trump who want to have their pain addressed in some fashion, biden's got that capacity. >> so, alaina, we had the wizard of oz gave me this great number out of the polls. democrats who say my main concern is beating trump, biden is very high. my suggestion is he has to prove he's the fighter who can win. this is going to be a very basic fight for the soul of america election. i really believe that. i don't think it's going to be won on policy other than the policy of who we are and what we're about. >> right. that's why i think biden being on the defensive is such a crucial metric for understanding where he is coming up short. biden hasn't, if you think about it, articulated yet why he is running for president. i think any speech you listen to of his, any time he gives a speech on the debate stage, it is never quite clear to voters, i think, why he thinks the time is right for him to run for
president. you have somebody likeing about he wants to start. you can be like amy klobuchar, say a lot of the bold messaging, whatever, but the thing is biden, it's like he's getting up there as though he was preordained to run for president and just trying to deflect as many attacks as he can rather than articulate the positive message of why 2020 is the time for him to be in the white house. >> is that a change for him, first he has to winnow the field and attacks, as it gets smaller, here's what i'm going to do next? >> i think we're in a time and certainly a democratic race where there's such a focus on policy. we see it in our media. a lot of the depth around policy positions. people want specific answers. really what he wants to say, i want to get back to our regularly scheduled ram in america. one of the things obama benefited from when he was running, embodied change in a
lot of ways, first african-american president but also represented change in how america would face the rest of the world. how much tumult there was, how america was projected around the globe. the world is tired, americans are tired, a lot of them, about how this is all playing. he's also got to tap into that. i think he's done some of that by saying, look, it's a fight for the soul of who we are and getting back to that basic identity. i think on the debate samtage, least, he's getting caught up where he has to defend record -- >> here's the thing, i can't feel it any more strongly than i do. i've been around it too long, seen too much of it and known trump too well. he has to know that he has not grown the tent. he has to. i don't care what he says about his internal polling. if it's so strong, he should show it to us. that will never happen. that proves his point. has to be a war of attrition. a war of attrition is fought one way in politics, which is you stink, that is the only way it goes. you're going to be on an identity basis. who's better, me or you, as
people, as what we project, to this country. that means that joe biden or elizabeth warren or whomever they come up with has to find a way to call out who i am and get tough without coming off as more of the same. that is a tough trick against somebody who will not play clean from the minute the gun goes off. >> and think about it from just this week, you had polling here at cnn show that 60% of americans do not think that donald trump deserves a second term. >> still got to beat him. >> what that reinforced, to your point, is that donald trump has a base. he doesn't have a coalition. >> that's right. >> you need to put together a coalition in order to win a presidential election. in 2016, he was able to cobble together enough independents who swung toward republicans and keep suburban women who held their nose and said, we'll see if the presidency changes him. the 2018 midterms you saw that pendulum swing back toward democrats with suburban women, with independents, so whoever it is, whether it's joe biden, whether it's elizabeth warren,
whether it's bernie sanders or any of the other candidates on the margins, those are the people that they need to target, the people they need to reach. clearly they're within grasp. of the democratic party. that's what we saw in 2018, which was a referendum on the president. >> if that's the proposition, this president is unfit, you're not what we want as a president, you have to make that case in a very specific way. it's not that you have better ideas for policy. >> you know what's interesting, i covered so many trump rallies at this point this year, i never hear voters tell me they're afraid of joe biden. they never say the word, afraid, of course. i hear elizabeth warren's name over and over as somebody to your point has a coalition. i remember having one voter tell me in manchester, new hampshire, a few weeks ago, elizabeth warren is a talker like donald trump is. i said, what do you mean by that? she said, i think she could get on the debate stage and blow it right back at him. that's the sort of thing that, you know, the esoteric nature of policy debates dissolves in that
moment. if you have somebody like elizabeth warren who is a talker in this voter's words, and can distill, succinctly for the american people, why he has uprooted the norms and standards of this country and what she will do to bring them back, but more importantly, why he speaks, as you said, what he's higoing be saying to her. >> i absolutely agree. what you're saying, chris, is right. the misconception is somehow you can give it as good as he gives it and that's going to help. i mean, hillary clinton won those debates. >> right. >> she lost the election. that doesn't matter. i mean, she did. does anybody think she didn't win those debates? so the idea that you're going to win on points in a debate, look, elizabeth warren has one advantage, she sounds like donald trump. she did tonight on the issue of trade. she went after multi -- you know, corporations who are happy to send jobs overseas. she sounded like trump. she has the benefit of being able to mirror some of that but say i can actually get something done. >> and you know she is disgusted by him. i think that's important for
people in the democratic party. >> the visceral sort of -- >> i hear it all the time. >> seeping out of her. >> the criticism i get from that party on a regular basis is why do you even have them on? you know, why did you even say that this was good what he did? he is a disgusting person. you hear it all the time. steve cohen the other night, the congressman from tennessee, are you going to work with him? you can't work with this man, he's the worst human -- there are a lot of them that feel that way. you must harness that if you're going to be that person, no? >> i think there's the question of temperament and you also saw beto o'rourke, for example, tonight point to the el paso shooting. of course, that's his hometown and talk about this moment in terms of race relations, in terms of immigration. to david's point, there's also the question of how do you reach some of the independent-minded voters, voted for trump on an economic message? the key to that is pointing out his policies aren't benefiting the people who voted for him. you -- >> you -- >> you saw him go there on
trade. that's where they should hit hard on the issues of tariffs, that the economy which had been doing well is facing potentially another downturn in part because of this escalating trade war. >> if they can harness the emotion as well. what the president did brilli t brilliantly, okay, sorry, he did, he had people he had no natural connection to. he represents what they see as threatening. he checks every box of an elitist. but he sold them on the proposition, i feel how you feel. i'm angry at the same things you're angry at. >> you see farmers right now in report after report tell journalists even though these tariffs are quite objectively hurting them, they still don't want to vote for the guy. >> right. >> they say, you know, maybe a little short-term hurt is good for long-term gain. what does that mean economically? i think it's kind of nonsense. but it does get into what you're saying. there is a visceral attachment there that economic realities aren't going to dispel. >> there's also -- a lot of the trump haters, liberals, who are giving you that feedback think
because they believe that he's such a horrible human being that no one would sacrifice their principles and actually vote for him again. and this is where they don't remember that people compartmentalize about politicians all the time. if they think he has other redeeming qualities. the most effective part of what donald trump does as a leader is play the outsider. et even as president of the united states, it's remarkable. he campaigns against the rest of the government. he can't keep anybody in a job and yet somehow he's still fighting as the outsider. but let's remember, he got voters that barack obama got. and elizabeth warren can get those. biden has a chance to get them, too. bernie sanders, too. this is where i think it's going to be narrow. we know it's going to be narrow. we got a base here, got a base here, independent voters. you have movable voters who are think are paying attention to where are they feeling pain, where are they thinking that institutions, companies, or the government, is not getting it done for them? >> we also know that there's a fundamental disconnect between
people's appetite for policies that are about government largesse even if they would benefit them. by that i mean, you know, the working man or woman may be benefited from a single-payer plan. but they feel like it's too expensive. even though they would be the beneficiary of the plan. and that's something to remember in terms of the visceral versus the intellectual. is that you're better off with this in politics than this. serve d seven days out of seven. i still think the problem with the granular stuff, i know in the primary you have that kind of stuff and move toward the center and the general, this is a different world that we're living in right now and i think every day that's spent by democrats not showing that they get how people feel about this president, about this country, but that they have great ideas, is that they waste it. >> i think it depends. i think that's absolutely true. donald trump has tapped into people's racial anxieties, economic anxieties but he did try to repeat that messaging around immigration, the scare tactics and fear mongering in 2018 to very little success.
democrats succeeded by not playing his game. >> true. >> by not taking the bait and staying focused on pre-existing conditions. and health care. which reinforces that for a lot of voters going to the polls, top issues are very much still jobs and the economy and health care. >> understood. all right. elaina, sabrina, david, thank you very much. we're going to do a quick break and we'll get back to our debate coverage. stay with cnn. uh... the mobile app makes it easy to manage your policy, even way out here. your marshmallow's... get digital id cards, emergency roadside service, even file a... whoa. whoa. whoa. whoa. whoa. whoa! oops, that cheeky little thing got away from me. my bad. geico. it's easy to manage your policy whenever, wherever. can i trouble you for another marshmallow?
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all right. more of our continuing coverage on the debate. how about this? how big a night is this? you know, i'm anti-hype, but this was supposed to be whether or not biden could take on warren. he was spending a lot of his night doing this. a little bit for you and a little bit for you. it was one-on-two a lot of the night. >> we're in a moment of our coverage, i'm taking in 2020 coverage thinking about 2016 how early on the republican side things settled in for trump and didn't really change and wondering if that's going to happen here. is it really as dynamic as we
think it might be? i think these early impressions really do matter. i think a lot of voters especially now after the summer, h maybe it's not just the activists watching the first couple of debates. now it's people with more general interesting saying, okay, let's see what's what here, who's who. i think it is a big night. i think it's a smaller field. it's not two nights. i think that matters. i think this field can't narrow soon enough. it needs to narrow further for the good of the party. so i think it is a big night in taking the general measure. and an important night for biden. i'm not sure how large it looms, yes. i think we in the media are going to define that over the next couple days for people, honestly. >> the debate is obviously coming to an end. let's do this. let's take a quick break then we'll see how it all panned out and give you the best analysis we can. stay with cnn. ♪ ♪ this simple banana peel represents a bold idea:
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and sabrina. the idea of it's got to be one or two things. either you want somebody who can go toe to toe with donald trump, whatever that means, or you want to return to normal. or do you think it's those two interests? you know, twitter ain't the democratic party. these far-left voices that are amplified, 80%-plus identifies themselves as center left. >> i think the party recognizes this is is not about going big in the sense of the whole map. it's about where could you win that clinton couldn't? that is a part of the fight about who can take it to trump. that's true. but there's too much activism on the left to say it can't just be about trump. we have to tfigure out who we are. that's the shot to the future. that's what barry goldwater talked about in 1964. he knew he didn't have a shot to win but he's like, conservatives, grow up, we got to get our act together. it took until 1980 before it happened. i think progressives are making the argument that that's how we
actually change things is find our voice. there's a lot of agreement on that stage tonight. a lot of that agreement is about cementing what that progressive path is. >> i do love that goldwater analogy that he lost in '64 and took until reagan for his ideology to be embodied within the oval office. i think there are large portion of americans right now who are so exhausted by this presidency that they don't want to wait, you know, 10, 15 years, however long it is, for the platonic ideal of progressivism to materialize and take the oval office. you know, it's why i do think that senator michael bennet, he didn't make the stage tonight but did have a message, like, a month ago and said, i kind of want to make america boring again, i promise if you elect me, you will not hear about me for two weeks at a time, what i'm doing, what i'm tweeting, who i'm talking to. i do think there are people that he can resonate with in this country. that's what i think joe biden succeeds in communicating. that he might help make america boring again. >> what's the difference between
goldwater and reagan, to your point, and thank you for setting the table with that, reagan did, to use your word, to use your idea, embody it, made you feel it. my father, wherever he is right now, he's hating that i'm talking about reagan that way because he didn't like the policies. he thought it was a tale of two cities that he was portraying. rich versus poor. but he made people feel that he believed in the country and he connected with their needs and wants. that's the democratic task as well. >> there's been a lot of focus tonight on the top three. joe biden, elizabeth warren, and bernie sanders. which reinforces that perhaps this debate didn't do a lot to change the status quo but those three also really embody both the ideological divide within the party as well as the conflict between whether or not you want to start a movement, whether or not this is a -- >> could push through in the next five, six months? >> there are a lot of peoples you've seen kamala harris -- >> you think she's going to come
back? >> i think it's possible. so early. so much time until voters go to the polls. beto o'rourke had a strong night. you think about it, for a lot of the candidates it's about making the next die baebate stage. >> you have a few hundred days before voting. sabrina, you're exactly right. what happens? who wins iowa, let's say it's now biden. let's say it's a whole new narrative. let's be honest about ourselves. what we want is new narratives. iowa happens, you're going to have a new story. then quhoyou're going to go to next state, next state. you pull off a win, you're second or third, kamala harris is second or third in one of the first couple races, here she comes. you're right, this matters but doesn't matter as much as that will. >> well, that's right. we also are going to start dissecting voting groups and who's showing up to such a degree and the candidates are going to start doing that as well, going to start tailoring their message to appeal to those particular groups. but, you know, in the end, there's a lot of fear here. you know, trump got into power based on fear. he didn't have big, bold, ideas,
it was american carnage, and here, there's fear of trump and there's also, you know, make no mistake, where there was such agreement tonight was that government can and must alter the playing field for americans, can change behavior. can change the course of people's lives. there's not really a conservative in the race because donald trump is not that. so, you know, what conservatives are fighting about is conserving a different role for government, which is what reagan embodied was that idea of the conservation of first principles. that's not really -- that's not what's being debated here but where there was consensus tonight is how much government can and should do. and there's the fight. there's biden saying, whoa, you know, i mean, i align myself with a progressive in barack obama, now we want to go so much farther than that in the democratic party. they're going to spend a lot of time fighting about that and to your point, trump's just going to be waiting and saying, great, you're all socialists as far as i'm concerned. you fight it out and whoever
wins is going to be bloodied by that and here i come. >> also you know what's important to know, we're going to have to start doing more reporting on, is who is tooling up for what races? for all we know, yang is putting his money behind having an amazing infrastructure in new hampshire. let's say he pops the numbers there and winds up pulling off a fourth. all of a sudden, he's in the top four until the next primary, maybe even after that. that's why the state means so much in terms of organizing -- >> are you still convinced that that's even true, though, after 2016? i mean, take rubio. his infrastructure in nevada, for instance, was phenomenal. i mean, i remember being on the ground there and just, in the early days when everyone thought trump was a joke, there was no question that rubio was winning that state. he came in third to trump and cruz. the whole joke about trump was that he had no infrastructure. that this was so haphazard. >> you're 100% right. i'm make bing the case -- they have to pull a rabbit out of the
hat because they have to make you care. the people writing about you, we were talking earlier about why klobuchar hasn't gotten more run, we haven't given her the run. i've had her on the show numerous times. we've done town halls with her. she hasn't done enough to get the people to start pushing the cause. how do people find out who beto o'rourke is? democrats threw a ton of money at him in infrastructure, they wanted him to beat cruz. he became a golden boy. he got put on the cover of "vanity fair." he's a golden boy again. everybody talks him up. he raises money. he falls down. the media leaves him alone. that's where he stays. ckamala harris, same thing. buttigieg, same thing. if the media, you're resonating, getting the headlines from being in the debate, you start to make your own luck. >> to your point, by the time we got to nevada in 2016, mb arco rubio's ground game was almost irrelevant because he was already losing. ted cruz through his infrastructure in iowa, that's where he finished first to the surprise of many and that really changed the narrative around the race.
i think had it not been for donald trump, ted cruz very likely would have been the republican nominee. that's where the ground game very much still does matter. elizabeth warren actually had a very formidable ground game in the early states. that's why the trump campaign is internally somewhat concerned about her prospects and just to the point you made about the rust belt and this tension in the democratic party, donald trump won those states by maybe 20,000 to 22,000 votes. the margins are really, really tight. the question for democrats is are they going to make a really big play for those independent-minded voters through this approach of incrementalism or try and put together that obama coalition of voters and really double down on the base it sh. >> that's what they need. >> which is people of color, young voters and women. >> they don't have to be mutually exclusive, either. >> i mean, remember, cruz who had, you know, by all accounts a brilliant team of strategists based their voter models off a 6 million people turnout in texas. how many turned out? 8 million. that's why beto o'rourke actually came as close as he did.
to beating ted cruz. if that kind of model is replicated in 2020, that sort of focus on young people, on minority voters, that's where that matters. >> you know, something that we kicked around, i think, a few times is sitting with me now which is, you know, a lot of this debate was about winning the progressive primary. winning the big progressive idea. that's really where the fight is. biden, who catapulted his campaign with the idea that it was a rejection of dronald trum, the fight for the soul of america, he's not spending a lot of his time talking about that. that's right. he's on the defensive. he's trying to sound hip and with it. he can take on his opponents, can remember facts. trying much too hard in my judgment because he can't command all these facts and sounds like he's stumbling over words. >> the night before -- >> right. he's trying to remember facts that his advisers prepped with him. only kamala harris tonight at the point that i saw for the first hour and a half was really saying, bringing it back to who
are we up against? you know, barack obama was really -- this was -- his candidacy was a really about iraq and it was about rejecting iraq. this is only going to be about rejecting trump. but right now, they're fighting two things at once. the progressive ideas and the future and taking on trump. >> and think about it, kamala harris spent the first two debates really going after joe biden so it's been quite a striking turnaround to see her sort of congratulating her opponents and, you know, really giving them their credit. >> i think she's looking for a way in here. the inner circle. >> back to trump, because i think that increasingly the field is realizing that democratic voters are much more concerned with how you're going to take on donald trump. and joe biden, you know, the polls only tell you so much but he still has such a commanding lead. his campaign has been singularly focused. >> because on electability, the polling in terms of the primary focus of the democratic electorate being about electability, that polling has been there from the get-go.
it's interesting to me that somebody like kamala harris, for instance, is only just now kind of trying to bring it back. that was a stunning moment vis-a-vis health care when she said remember who we're up against, you know, donald trump, we will, you know, campaign against obamacare with no replacement in mind. let's talk about for a moment. the fact that she's doing that just now, i mean, i have to wonder if it's too late. >> what -- let's figure out who's telling them what because we've all seen the same numbers. every time you ask the democrats, they have an existential -- >> exactly. >> -- fear about this president. even if it's not fear, it's outrage. you know, that they want him out. and they say, i hear it on my radio show, i have this sirius radio show, two hours every day, everybody who doesn't want trump says they'll vote for anybody else. it's only once you get into the democratic parties and you start -- you start messing with them about it, now they start talking about the gradation. so who's telling them what that they're not focusing on what we all see as -- >> you know, the two conversations about -- that as
much as democrats want the election to just be a ref rerenm on him, it's going to be a choice between two people and have to defend policies not just against trump, naysayers and -- that's what elizabeth warren and they're all trying to do especially the progressives saying these are big ideas that are actually going to move people in a way donald trump has not been able to help them and will go beyond where barack obama has been. but that -- the fundamental bet is still that there are enough voters who are open because they're tired of the trump show. they're really, they're turned off or they think he hasn't delivered and i think that's still a primary message that they're getting, that they're campaigning on, but they've got to be about something more. look, you have aoc in congress. i mean, she is full of big, bold, progressive ideas. and she's taking on trump. and i think this is where the candidates are trying to mirror some of that progressive -- >> here's the thing, though,
everything's case by case. she won against a no-show -- >> i get it. >> she got the attention now of the -- >> he did a lot of good things according to his party, but he was a no-show there. i don't know how much traction she's getting there. the media loves her. okay? she's got a nickname. we call her by three initials. now she's got the whole group with her that they call the squad. that's about us. i don't know how it resonates to the american people let alone on the next level. so this debate tonight was supposed to be a big showdown debate. didn't really happen. although, it does seem that we've had the best biden to date. the question is, is the best biden good enough at this point? >> well, i think -- why i love coming on your show, chris, we talk about the element so much. you can talk a big game against an opponent. you get on the stage and they're right there, it's harder.
same thing about talking about trump. >> you're right. you're all right. that's why i love having you. thank you so much. this is so much fun. i'll be back at midnight, but right now, post-debate coverage begins with anderson cooper. anderson? >> chris, thanks very much. good evening, everybody. moments ago the third presidential debate wrapped up. a number of standout moments and performances, many of them involving joe biden who gave about good as he got on the stage and got from quite a few of the candidates tonight. overall a heated night with all the candidates sparring over a number of the big issues. the big issue, who is best suited, of course, to take on president trump. going right now to the folks roo educa right here with me for some reaction. david chalian, let's start with you. >> i think joe biden had the best debate performance of the cycle so far for him tonight. >> is it because he was more focused or -- >> yeah, he was just sharper and he seemed as you said in your intro, he seemed to be able to do the give and take with a lot more ease than he did in the first couple debates.
he just seemed more confident up there, more on his game. so i think he had a pretty strong night which means the debate probably didn't change much in the race. i think there wasn't a lot of new policy ground broken in the debate tonight. i don't know that this is going to dramatically change the race. the other thing i would note, overall, anderson, it was sort of, i thought, specialespeciall health care conversation in the beginning sort of the center strikes back with biden and klobuchar and buttigieg sort of taking on sanders and warren with not going to the whole medicare for all kit and kabood kaboodle. their argument wasn't getting as much play in the previous debates. the left was driving that debate and caused a lot of concern in more moderate democratic circles. and tonight, i thought you saw some of those more centrist candidates really push through a bit more than we had seen previously. >> yeah, i think that's right, and in some ways, i think bernie was bernie times 100 tonight.
very yelly. angry. there was this moment the camera captured him sort of just yelling at biden around health care and biden just kind of standing there smiling at him which i thought was a good moment for biden. i agree with david, biden i think had his best of the cycle. his best debate. he was energetic. he was quick on his feet. warren i thought kind of faded down the stretch which in some ways was okay because bernie was sort of taking all the heat and making the case for progressive which i think was a bad contrast. biden i thought was kind of calm and cool and collected. and made a pretty strong case for the moderates. warren didn't quite answer the question, right, about how she would actually pay for this. would it be a middle class tax cut? she didn't quite answer that. she essentially said overall costs would be lower. at some point i think biden said there will be a deductible but it will be from your paycheck. he also i think at some point called bernie a socialist which was also a moment. also i think beto had a fantastic night. if there's sort of an overall winner, i think it would be him. i've been critical of beto in
the past. i think he's really found his footing. he's fantastic on the gun debate, obviously a huge tragedy happened in his backyard as well as immigration. there was a humanity there to him and a passion. he spoke with real hurt and was really compelling. it will be interesting to see what this means for him going forward. >> first of all, these were the ten top candidates and it was a more coherent debate it seemed to me than the ones we've seen before. i agree with what's been said. i don't think much as changed, particularly at the top, joe biden had his best performance. so much of it is whether he's the guy who can beat trump and everybody is watching to see if he can stand up to these kinds of pressures and he did. i think elizabeth warren had a better night, perhaps, than you did. i think she's very consistent. that's been the hallmark of her entire campaign. she is unflappable. she is consistent.
i think she was -- here i thought she navigated the health care question pretty well. it's interesting to me, everybody attacks bernie, you know, inferentially attacking warren. then she kind of navigates around it and lets bernie, you know, do the interesting stuff to me was below the leaders. i think beto had an outstanding night. passionate, commanding in way he hasn't been before. he figured oit why he's in the race. >> he said if you have an ak 47, ar 15, we'll take it away. which is the nightmare of everybody who owns one. >> no doubt. he was for reparations. there's a controversial position. i'm not suggesting what happened in tonight means he will be president of the united states. he didn't look like he belonged on that stage ntd last debates. tonight he knew dwr he was there and performed well. booker was good again tonight.
klobuchar there was her best debate and confronted sandersers and warren on the healthcare issue. which is something she was reluctant to do. the only person i had thought had a disappointing night was castro. he overreached in a way -- >> he went for biden suggesting. >> you forgot what you said two minutes ago? it was an overt kind of shot. ageist sort of shot. at biden. remember, these are well liked people. joe biden is a well liked person in the democratic party. >> you can argue, if castro will be saying that thst no telling what trump would say. if he's on the stage with joe biden. he has to be ready for. >> for sure. >> democratic voters have many more options. he blows himself up by attacking somebody that all the voters watching have good feelings about the guy. and -- >> it was a risk.
he's at 1% trying it stay in the race. it was a calculated risk. he lost on that. >> i think pretty much i feel like everybody had their moment. almost everybody at some point sort of popped and did a good job on something. i think warren did a great job. she came in with high expectations sp met them. she didn't get as many questions. she wasn't in the mix as much. but i felt like she delivered on every question she got and was able to parlay the sort of attacks coming from the moderates. and i think cory had a great night. it didn't translate in the poll. i don't know if that would translate. beto same thing. he's becoming a bet of a niche candidate. it's around gun safety. he's getting attention for that. the question is can he build that into something bigger. klobuchar this was her best performance.
no question. and i thought kamala was a little unsteady compared to how she's been in the past. i didn't feel like she really did anything to change the trajectory of where he is now. and i think biden i disagree on. i think he looked unsteady at many points. he had good moments and other points he looked unsteady and deer in the headlights. and he gave some answers like afghanistan. that sound like he was talking about his iraq plan. things when you have the fact checkers come back, i didn't feel like he was that strong and he's still running on the fact he's he was obama's vice president. and people feel like he can win. and feel have affection for him. i didn't think it was as strong as other people.
>> mitch, you have been on the debate stage. >> i have been. very hard. sometimes we get lost in the weeds. the mission is to beat donald trump and restore american values. it's clear to most people in the country who are exhausted by president trump. he is misused the power of the presidency. and abused it to hurt people and divide us. and isolate us as a nation. i think people in america have this intuitive sense we're heading in the right direction. my sense was it was a great debate. almost everybody that was there. and you can see almost every one of the people would be a better president for american values than president trump. i think rit large it was a good night. it was a good debate. the questions were good. the answers were good. they talked about healthcare, immigration, foreign policy. they got into the weeds on segregation and reparations. and talked about tax policy. actually i thought everybody performed well. p the big debate tonight for me
was between vice president biden and elizabeth warren. on the issue of going deep, or stay steady. are we trying to hit a single or over the fence? biden answered that well by saying you can believe in big things you have to have the realistic plan to get there. the engage want of that debate started and that's going to continue. >> we haven't heard that debate on stage. >> you haven't saw that teased out. they haven't stood on the stage together before. warren had a good night. she's smart. she has plans but can she beat trump. she articulates bernie's position better than he does. the best guess is she'll out pace him. the under card was really good. booker did a spectacular job. beto. and secretary castro had weak moments. and klobuchar looked good. she dint gate lot of air time.
tonight -- >> personal. >> senator booker did an excellent job of trying to bring back what his vision is for america to how he grew up and govern ds. i thought they all did well. i was proud. >> you were involved in prep for vice president biden in the debate. >> yes. i'm really happy. i thought he we anticipated a lot. of what was discussed tonight and he felt comfortable going in and being able to rely on his experience. also in the past he's been uncomfortable in talking about his personal like the losses of his kids. which is he doesn't want to make it look like he's using them. for some other reason. his closing was just really who he is. >> beautiful. >> obviously i'm bias.
in this assessment. >> was it were others tougher against him? >> castro. i thought that was a really bad move of him. even the audience booed when he said don't you remember what you said two minutes ago? that was really a low blow. and i don't think it will help him. i do think, it makes me proud to be a democrat. they it just made me feel good. the whole evening. even though there was per cussiveness. it wasn't person. there were arguments about policy back and forth. i felt bad for bernie. he looked like he was getting over a cold and i think his he looked a little red and i felt bad for him. i wanted him to get a drink of water or cough drop. >> healthcare. >> seemed like vice president biden had cough drops. >> the whole campaign getting
over a cold. biden was chewing cough drops and i was hoping thanksgiviey w share. >> the women would have shared. >> the socialists would have as well. >> they would have shared a cough drop. >> tonight everybody embraced obama. right? nobody -- >> great night. >> obama had a perfect night. >> the big winner of the debate tonight was barack obama. and everybody had to give him credit and i was proud to be a democrat tonight. on this tough discussion on guns. criminal justice. and war. those are the issues that people have tried to dance around and get away with in our party for too long. just honest. it was beautiful. also, first hour, biden ate his wheatties. and he was good. i'm on the left in the party.
biden that first hour, you can say that guy could deal with donald trump. he was good. it's just as you get with the night he makes mistakes and if you are are a moderate looking for a reason to support. you saw it in the first hour. booker and beto are growing. they're growing and they're finding the gear. finding themselves. beautiful. tonight i thought pete shrank a bit. he shrank a bit. he wasn't the pete -- at the end. >> the close was -- >> fantastic. you expect that from him every time. more singles fewer home rups from pete. >> this maybe the last for some of them. >> they're all in the next debate. >> when does the dnc start to toughen the rules? >> after that. november. >> one last thing about booker.
he's -- >> why do you laugh? >> take me to church. >> talking about healthcare. and fighting each other. he came in as healing presence in the healthcare debate. he is trying to to do something that i think a lot of people want to see democrats do. dwoent have to tear each other down build up a vision for a better country. cory booker who looked like yesterday's man in first debate. he's growing. beto had a great night. i'm proud to see a straight white guy take on the issues of racial justice with a passion. it's good to see. i don't think he'll make the president of the united states. he found his gear. >>. >> going off the pobooker momen. second tier candidates look for moments in a debate and know the top tier will snipe at each other and they want to step in like the adult in the room and saw the