In night two of the Democratic debate, candidates bore down into issues, and each other. Kamala Harris went after Joe Biden for his past on busing. USA TODAY
Things got loud and feisty real quick during the second night of the Democratic debate that featured 10 of the 24 presidential candidates eyeing the White House in 2020.
Those on stage on Thursday included several popular candidates, including former Vice President Joe Biden.
Here are some of the top moments from the debate:
1. Kamala Harris breaks up candidates fighting
Sen. Kamala Harris broke up bickering between fellow 2020 candidates on stage, leading to her first standout moment of the night.
In several instances in the first few minutes of the debate, the candidates shouted over each other. That was the case after Rep. Eric Swalwell of California lodged an attack on Biden, using the former vice president’s past remarks that it was time to “pass the torch.”
Candidates started talking over one another and, after she was called upon by the moderators, Harris jumped in.
“Hey guys, you know what, America does not want to witness a food fight,” the California senator said. “They want to know how we’re going to put food on their table.”
‘Food fight’: Harris breaks up fighting during Democratic debate
The remarks were followed by loud applause, including from a few of the candidates on stage.
2. Eric Swalwell to Joe Biden: ‘Pass the torch’
Swalwell had a simple message for Biden: It’s time to pass the torch.
Swalwell, 38, targeted Biden, 76, reminding him of a moment from nearly three decades ago when he called for a new generation to lead the nation.
“I was 6 years old when a presidential candidate came to the California Democratic Convention and said it’s time to pass the torch to a new generation of Americans,” Swalwell said. “That candidate was then-Sen. Joe Biden.”
“Joe Biden was right when he said it was time to pass the torch to a new generation of Americans 32 years ago,” he continued. “He’s still right today.”
Biden, who has run for president two other times, came into the debate as the frontrunner in polling. Swalwell challenged Biden, saying that if new solutions are going to be made in the country, then it’s time for younger lawmakers to make that change.
“If we’re going to solve the issues of automation, pass the torch. If we’re going to solve the issues of climate chaos, pass the torch,” he continued. “If we’re going to solve the issue of student loan debt, pass the torch. If we’re going to end gun violence for families who are fearful of sending their kids to school, pass the torch.”
3. Harris attacks Biden in powerful story on race
Harris challenged Biden over his remarks last week about working with segregationist senators James Eastland and Herman Talmadge.
Biden, appearing at a fundraiser, was discussing the need for civility in Congress, and he mentioned the two Southerners as examples as senators he has worked with in the past.
“We got things done,” he said.
The remarks touched off a furor in some circles.
Turning to Biden on Thursday, Harris said she doesn’t think he’s racist, but she said it’s “hurtful” to hear him talk about finding common ground with two senators who built their reputations and careers on segregation.
Harris cited Biden’s fight against school busing and told the story of a young California girl who was part of the second class to integrate her school.
“That little girl is me,” she said.
A stonefaced Biden watched as Harris attacked him. When he got his chance to speak, he fired back, calling her criticism a “mischaracterization.”
Biden also appeared to criticize Harris for being a prosecutor.
“I was a public defender,” Biden told Harris. “I didn’t become a prosecutor.”
Biden argued he didn’t oppose busing but rather opposed federal implementation of that policy.
“I did not oppose busing in America,” Biden said. “I opposed busing by the Department of Education.”
Biden then said his time was up.
4. Pete Buttigieg owns up to racial tensions in his police force
Coming off a tough week of dealing with the shooting of a black man by a white police officer in his community, Pete Buttigieg was asked why his police force has become less diverse under his watch.
“Because I couldn’t get it done,” Buttigieg said. “My community is in anguish right now.”
His response to the shooting has been faulted by both African Americans in South Bend, Indiana, as well as the police department.
And David Axelrod, who served as President Barack Obama’s chief strategist, said the cerebral candidate missed a chance to emotionally connect with the community.
“It’s a mess and we’re hurting,” Buttigieg said, noting he could go through all the things his city and the department have done to prevent such shootings but, he said, “It didn’t save the life of Eric Logan.”
He continued: “And when I look into his mother’s eyes, I have to face the fact that nothing I say will bring him back.”
Both Swalwell and former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper jumped in to criticize his leadership, with Swalwell telling Buttigieg that he should fire the police chief.
5. Marianne Williamson: ‘Love will win’ over Trump
Marianne Williamson may have been the least known of all candidates on the Democratic debate stage in Miami.
It took about 27 minutes before she even got a word in on Thursday but she managed to find a few ways to stand out from the crowd.
She called out the other candidates for being too wonky – and viewers’ general curiosity about her had the author and motivational speaker trending on Twitter and other social media platforms. When she got a chance to speak, she bluntly assailed her rivals.
Last but (maybe) not least:Marianne Williamson scolds rivals on debate stage
“I’ll tell you one thing: it’s really nice that we’ve got all these plans, but if you think we’re gonna beat Donald Trump by just having all these plans, you’ve got another thing coming,” she said. “Because he didn’t win by having a plan, he won by simply saying, ‘Make America Great Again.'”
Later, Williamson used a rare moment to speak to blast Trump for his policy of separating children from their parents when migrant families cross into the U.S from Mexico.
“What Donald Trump has done to these children … is kidnapping, and it is important for us to realize that,” she said. “This is state-sponsored crime.”
In her closing remarks, Williamson said Trump has gotten into the American psyche by harnessing fear and declared that she would win by using love.
“Mr. President, if you’re listening, I want you to hear me, please. You have harnessed fear for political purposes and only love can cast that out,” she said. “I’m going to harness love for political purposes. I will meet you on that field and, sir, love will win.”
Ten Democratic presidential candidates tussled in the opening debate of the 2020 campaign at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts in Miami. (June 27) AP, AP
Contributing: Rebecca Morin, John Fritze, Ledyard King and Maureen Groppe, USA TODAY
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