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Once more onto the breach, dear friends.

Ten minutes to go.
The candidates enter:

Biden, Harris, Booker, Yang, Castro, Gabbard, Gillibrand, Inslee, Bennet, and de Blasio.

3x Grammy-winning jazz singer Dee Dee Bridgewater's on the anthem.
Biden appeared to be mouthing the anthem right along with her.
Yang, after delivering his $1,000/month universal basic income pitch:

“The opposite of Donald Trump is an Asian man who likes math.”

First laugh line of the night.
(Prior tweet edited to correct a typo.)
Protesters disrupted Cory Booker's remarks about Trump insulting Baltimore.

Anyone heard what they were chanting?
Harris caps off her opening pitch with remarks about her bid to "successfully prosecute the case of four more years of Donald Trump, and against him."

That's the quote.
Defending private insurance, Biden offers his first Obama reference of the night: "Obamacare is working."
Harris sees Biden's Obama and raises him an Obama's ACA architect Kathleen Sebelius, who Kamala says supports her plan.
Booker tells the moderators that the person enjoying this debate the most is Donald Trump, who's attacking the Affordable Care Act.
Gabbard uses Harris's talking point against her, noting that Sebelius now works for Medicare Advantage.

Harris says that Sebelius endorsed her plan; she didn't write it.
Borrowing a line from Warren and Sanders, Harris calls Bennet's attack on single-payer a "Republican talking point."

(Sanders disputes that her plan can be called Medicare for All.)

The line stung: Bennet denies it's a Republican talking point in a testy exchange w/ De Blasio.
Warren and Sanders might not be on the debate stage tonight, but the themes of yesterday's debate have spilled over into tonight's.
Don Lemon presses Julián Castro on the idea that he catapulted into the national conversation: decriminalizing border crossings.

He responds that the only way to guarantee family separations stop is by repealing section 1325.

Castro calls for a 21st century Marshall Plan.
Harris passionately defends border-crossing decriminalizing, describing a visit to a camp in homestead Florida.

"The policies of this administration have been facilitated by laws on the books" that treat border crossing like crimes.

Gillibrand also supports decriminalization.
Anyone hear what the protesters disrupting Biden are saying?

That's at least the second protest of the night so far.
Biden rejects decriminalizing border crossing.

Castro pounces that "one of us has learned the lessons of the past and one of us hasn't."

He emphasizes civil enforcement would still apply and the border would still be monitored.
INBOX: Bernie declined to attack Warren last night.

He showed no such reticence about Harris and Biden.
Here’s the body of the press blast.
Observation: Castro's focus on border-crossing decriminalization has become the metric and dividing-line of the Democratic primary on immigration.

That moment when Castro challenging Beto from the first round of debates has colored every one that followed it.
Booker just let "shithole countries" fly before the censors could get to it.
I wonder if that hastened the cut to commercials. #Kidding #NotKidding
Biden pressed on Booker calling his criminal justice reform plan "inadequate."

Booker quotes Biden as saying "every major crime bill" has had his footprint on it. Biden replies that those bills were passed "overwhelmingly" at the time.

Booker stares at Biden during his speech.
Closing the loop on the protests earlier, some reports have it that the chants hit Biden on Obama deportation record.
Booker to Biden: "You're dipping into the Kool Aid, and you don't ever know the flavor."
Castro hits de Blasio on the NYPD officer who put Eric Garner in a banned, fatal chokehold still being on the force.

De Blasio promises unspecified within the next 30 days in New York.

Protesters chanted the cop's name, Pantaleo, in the first debate protest earlier.
Gillibrand on Pantaleo: "He should be fired. He should be fired, now."

"If I was the mayor, I'd fire him," she says, looking directly at de Blasio.
Tapper revisits the big Harris-Biden confrontation from last debate: Is Biden right that they have the same position on federally mandated busing.

Harris calls it "false," slamming Biden for "working with segregationists to oppose busing."
Bennet talks about de facto segregation in the U.S. education system today.

"Equal is not equal," he says.
CNN asks same question as last night: Why are you the best candidate to heal the racial divide?

Yang talks about his experience as an entrepreneur, and, quite on brand, cites Martin Luther King's support for universal basic income.
Castro: "First of all, the President is a racist."

He emphasizes investing in education and job trading. Citing his HUD experience, he calls for an desegregation initiative in the United States.
Bash turns to the climate crisis, directing the question to Inslee about why it's his top priority.

"Climate change is not a singular issue. It is all the issues that we as Democrats care about."

Background: One of his first speeches on this. courthousenews.com/climate-candid…
I don't understand how Andrew Yang turned universal basic income into a climate crisis proposal, but he appears to have done just that.
The man has remarkable message discipline.
Booker: "Nobody should get applause for rejoining the Paris climate accords. That is kindergarten."

Like Inslee, Booker agrees that the climate crisis should be the prism through which other issues are viewed.
Dana Bash pivots to the Flint water crisis, turning to de Blasio for a mayoral view.

De Blasio likens it to an anti-lead poisoning initiative, which he said reduced rates by 90 percent.

(Note: Some have questioned those stats, particularly in NYCHA housing.)
Jake Tapper just asked Andrew Yang an electability question.

A far more interesting question for Andrew Yang, when U.S. press freedom rankings keep dropping, local newsrooms have been decimated, and the president regards journalists as the "enemy of the people," would be this little-discussed proposal.
Endangered U.S. industries often make the national conversation during political debates, but journalists rarely ever treat the decimation of our own industry as a topic worthy of national discussion.

Now, a commercial break.
Bash asks Gabbard about her opposition to the TPP.

Adopting a nationalist messaging more typical of the right, Gabbard said the trade deal threatened "American sovereignty," but she opposes Trump's tariffs on China.
Biden said that he "would not rejoin the TPP as it was initially put forward," distancing himself from Obama's signature trade deal. He said he'd have environmental groups and labor at the table this time.
Biden to de Blasio, out of context: "I love your affection for me."
(Context: De Blasio's goaded Biden all night, and the vice president's taken it in stride.)
Andrew Yang was asked about the gender pay gap.

Three guesses as to his solution.


Asked about whether he'd bring troops home from Afghanistan on his first year, Booker initially ducks the question then answers.

"I don't do foreign policy by tweet," he says, contrasting with Trump.

Then, Booker says he won't commit to artificial deadline.
Tapper asks Yang if the U.S. should respond to Iran for "breaching" the nuclear agreement from which the Trump administration withdrew.

Yang said he would deescalate with Iran.
Don Lemon turns to Mueller's congressional testimony, dinging Harris on her saying she'd prosecute Trump:

"Why is okay for you to advocate for the Justice Dept to prosecute somebody but President Trump, not him?"
Harris replies that Mueller's report shows Trump's conduct met the three elements of obstruction of justice in multiple instances.
Castro invokes #MoscowMitch, the official cocktail of tonight's debate watch drinking games.
(Deleted a tweet that credited the wrong candidate with citing the "Moscow Mitch" jibe.)

Back to commercials.
Closing statements:

De Blasio: "This has to be a party that stand for something. This needs to be the party of labor unions. This has to be the party of universal health care."

Bennet: Trump doesn't believe in rule of law and the independence of the judiciary.
Speaking of the judiciary:

Two nights of debates, zero questions about the Supreme Court.
Inslee circles back to making the climate crisis the top priority: "It's time to stand up on our legs and confront the fossil fuel special interests."

Gillibrand: "Donald Trump has really torn apart the moral fabric of this country."
Gabbard: "Donald Trump and the warmongering politicians of Washington have failed."

Castro: "Donald Trump has not been bashful in his cruelty, and I will not be bashful in my common sense and compassion."
Castro ends with a question of saying "Adiós" to Trump.

Sidenote: That's the extent of español for this round of debates. It's a shame that bilingual outreach has been disincentivized by the time-crunch format and media mockery.
Harris: "We have a predator living in the White House."

"The thing about predators is this: They prey on people who they perceive to be weak," she says, adding that "predators are cowards."

Sticking to prosecutor messaging, she talks about Trump's "rap sheet."
Biden: "We choose science over fiction. We choose hope over fear."
That's it.

What questions did not come up during two nights of debates that you would have liked to have been asked?
The debates appeared to operate upon the tacit assumption, against the evidence of all warnings from the intelligence community, that the upcoming elections will be a fair contest.
Unless I’m forgetting some other moment, Sanders came closest to broaching this subject last in calling Trump a homophobe.

Nothing on attacks on trans rights.
A lot of responses noting a dearth of questions on abortion and reproductive justice.
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