And another 10 contenders for the Democratic party’s presidential nomination faced off at Miami’s Adrienne Arsht Center for Performing Arts on Thursday night.
For two hours, the candidates — Michael Bennet, Joe Biden, Pete Buttigieg, Kirsten Gillibrand, Kamala Harris, John Hickenlooper, Bernie Sanders, Eric Swalwell, Marianne Williamson and Andrew Yang — fielded questions from NBC’s Savannah Guthrie, Lester Holt and Chuck Todd, MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow and Telemundo’s José Diaz-Balart. (From the Night 1 crop, Elizabeth Warren, Julian Castro and Cory Booker emerged as the “winners“, per a TVLine poll.)
Before you head to our “voting booth,” a few memorable moments from Night 2:
* Signaling that Trump would be discussed and without any mincing of words, Sanders roared (as he pretty much did everything). “Trump is a phony, he is a pathological liar, he is a racist, and he lied to the American people during his campaign…. That’s how we beat Trump — expose him for the fraud he is.”
* When asked how Democrats pitching big plans would pay for them, Harris marveled, “Where was that question when the Republicans and Donald Trump passed a tax bill that benefits the top 1%.. .and contributed at least $1 trillion to the debt of America?”
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* After Swalwell shaded Biden by citing his decades-old call to “pass the torch” to a new generation, the moment segued into a full-stage squabble. Harris shut the murmuring down by saying, ”America does not want to witness a food fight, they want to know how we’ll put food on their table.”
* In perhaps the most resonant “show of hands” display across the two-night debate series, all 10 candidates signaled that they would provide healthcare coverage for undocumented immigrants (triggering Trump’s first debate tweet of the night).
* Yang showed up sans necktie!
* Buttigieg on how Republicans far more than Democrats like to (think they) bring religion into things: “We should call out hypocrisy when we see it. God wouldn’t condone putting children in cages” and anyone who supports that practice “has lost all claim to ever use religious language again.”
* “As the only black person on the stage, I would like to speak on the subject of race,” Harris said, claiming her time and launching into the night’s most charged moment. Her comments eventually targeted Biden, to whom she said, “I do not believe you are a racist,” and yet he opposed busing when she was age 9. Following Biden’s middling response, she declared, “On this subject [of race] it cannot be an intellectual debate among Democrats. We have to take it seriously, and we have to act swiftly.
* With her closing statement, author Williamson warned that she is going to beat Donald Trump with “love.”
Now we want to know what you think. Choose the Night 2 candidates that impressed you the most — followed by the best challengers to Trump — and then hit the comments to discuss your choices!