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Democratic Presidential Debate Round 2, Night 2: Protestors, Jabs at Joe Biden, and Other Big Moments

The second round of the Democratic debates has mercifully concluded.  Night two on July 31 featured the remaining 10 candidates in the insanely crowded field of 2020 hopefuls, including enemy of fun/former Vice President Joe Biden. Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA), who sparred with the former veep over his cooperation with segregationists the last time they shared a debate stage, also showed up for a rematch.

The other contenders included former Obama HUD secretary Julián Castro, Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), Sen. Kirstin Gillibrand (D-NY), Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI), Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO), tech bro/universal basic income advocate Andrew Yang, and noted ska lover/New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio.

As The New York Times pointed out, this may be the last time Gillibrand, Gabbard, Bennet (who?), Inslee, and de Blasio get to grace the debate stage, as their polling and donor numbers are in danger of not meeting the threshold to qualify for the Democratic presidential debate in September. Needless to say, the bottom five contenders are probably hoping their performances tonight result in the bump in the polls and donor cash they need to stay in the race.

Check out our recap of the event and make sure to vote in our poll for tonight’s winner.

10:47 p.m. ET: Why did Biden not seem to know his own website? 30330??? What????

10:37 p.m. ET: Regarding Gillibrand’s closing statement, nothing undermines confidence in a candidate’s ability to beat Donald Trump than when they explicitly say some version of “I can beat Donald Trump.”

10:34 p.m. ET: This snoozefest could have used 100 percent more Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.

10:29 p.m. ET: Castro is the only candidate making salient points in favor of opening an impeachment inquiry. The Trump impression was pretty good too. The key is to exercise restraint.

10:24 p.m. ET: Harris mentions that people have gone to prison for far less than the obstruction of justice outlined in the Mueller report. She fails to mention she probably sent those people to prison when she was a prosecutor.

10:20 p.m. ET: “Shock and awe.” There’s a deep cut we haven’t heard since Paris Hilton was a thing.

10:18 p.m. ET: Booker runs out the clock on a foreign policy question a bit by taking an easy shot at Trump: “I will not do foreign policy by tweet.”

10:09 p.m. ET: Inslee turned in a decent audition to be EPA chief tonight.

9:54 p.m. ET: Kirsten Gillibrand says that the first thing she’ll do as president is “Clorox the Oval Office.”

9:45 p.m. ET: Inslee is the only person on stage treating climate change with the urgency it requires. “Our house is on fire. We’ve got to stop using coal within 10 years.”

9:40 p.m. ET: They’re finally discussing climate crisis beyond just a mention in the opening remarks, thank god. Also, this seems reasonable:

9:21 p.m. ET: Asking de Blasio why the police officer involved in Eric Garner’s death is still on the force is the first good question from Tapper during this whole debate. That includes both nights.

9:18 p.m. ET: Booker gets his turn to sink easy layups on Biden:

9:09 p.m. ET: Things are looking bad for Biden when even de Blasio is scoring easy applause breaks off him.

9:02 p.m. ET: Candidates are earning easy applause breaks by dunking on Biden. Case in point:


8:56 p.m. ET: Here are some key moments from Biden and Harris’s exchange on healthcare:

8:46 p.m. ET: It would be easier to take Bennet more seriously if he didn’t sound like Jeremy, The Simpsons’ squeaky-voiced teen.

8:38 p.m. ET: Few things underscore the glaring absence of Sanders and Warren’s clear-eyed progressivism like listening to Biden extol the virtues of private health insurance.

8:32 p.m. ET: Few things more painful than watching Biden pause for an applause break that never comes.

8:26 p.m. ET: Some context on the protests that have interrupted Booker’s opening statement:

8:18 pm ET: Bennet’s opening statement played at 33 rpm when it should have been 45.

8:13 p.m. ET: Total Silicon Valley move for Yang to show up to a presidential debate sans tie.

8:05 p.m. ET: Hot mic picks up a “go easy on me, kid” from Biden to Harris.


8:04 p.m. ET: Kamala Harris greeted with significantly louder applause than Biden.