Julián Castro roamed the Spin Room after Thursday night’s debate like Banquo’s ghost.
The former presidential candidate, who has quickly morphed into an enthusiastic pitchman for Elizabeth Warren, should have been a walking reminder of what happens to candidates who go for the jugular in debates.Read More
In the predawn darkness after a presidential debate, the glib certainties of the previous night become tangled with the wisps of forgotten dreams. This sleep-aided loss of clarity serves as a reminder that almost no one’s vote is determined by a single debate—and that Democrats will get many more chances to weigh the candidates during the six weeks until the Iowa caucuses.
The first mention of health care came about two hours into Thursday night’s Democratic primary debate, the last such encounter until 2020. This was a departure from previous debates, in which questions about Medicare for All and competing plans from the candidates have come early in the proceedings, and in many ways, it was a welcome one. Several critical topics typically ignored or saved for the end of the night were given pride of place by PBS, including climate change.
“I do think that the debate rules have been deeply destructive to the field and to my campaign. It has made it hard to raise money because people view the debates as sort of a proxy for success.”
The speaker was Colorado Senator Michael Bennet, during an interview with me in Washington last week.
When Hurricane Sandy slammed into New York City in 2012, water poured into Bellevue Hospital’s basement, where the fuel pumps were stored. The elevators stopped working. At a time when its services were sorely needed, the oldest hospital in the United States was forced to close its doors, unequipped for storms of the climate change era.
The 1936 election was a stunning victory for the Democrats. President Franklin D. Roosevelt routed Republican Alf Landon, winning the popular vote by 24 points and all but two states in the Electoral College, while the party added to their existing supermajorities in Congress. The unassailable clarity of the result vindicated Roosevelt’s audacious first term, in which he made unprecedented claims to executive authority and pushed the controversial domestic policies of the New Deal.
One of the hardest things for a presidential candidate is to put on a smiling public face for the TV cameras after spending three hours on a debate stage inwardly seething over missed opportunities and mangled lines. It is one reason why many candidates never appear in the Spin Room after a debate and why others march through the entire ordeal with the grim determination of someone who needs dental surgery.
Before Pete Buttigieg was born in 1982, the now-shuttered brokerage house, E.F. Hutton, began running a famous series of TV commercials touting their ability to predict the fluctuations in the stock market. In one emblematic spot, the mere mention of the firm’s name in a posh restaurant prompts everyone, including the waiters, to eavesdrop for investment tips.