Warren slams Delaney, lays off Sanders in Dem debate

dueling dems

Candidates spar over healthcare and the economy in first of two-night CNN matchup

(AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

From left, Marianne Williamson, Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Ohio, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., former Texas Rep. Beto O'Rourke, former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, former Maryland Rep. John Delaney and Montana Gov. Steve Bullock take the stage for the first of two Democratic presidential primary debates hosted by CNN Tuesday, July 30, 2019, in the Fox Theatre in Detroit.

DETROIT — Former Maryland Rep. John Delaney threw a lot of punches on stage at the Democratic presidential primary debate on Tuesday night, but the most memorable blow of the evening may have been the one he took squarely on the chin from Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA).

Much of the anticipation ahead of Tuesday’s CNN debate at the Fox Theatre in Detroit, Michigan, was focused on progressive stalwarts Warren and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT). But the first night of the two-night matchup was also seen as the last chance for flailing moderates like former Maryland Congressman John Delaney and former Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper to rescue their campaigns with viral moments. Egged on by the moderators, there were fights on issues like health care and the economy on Tuesday, but Warren and Sanders came through mostly unscathed.

Delaney spoke out against some proposals by Warren and Sanders, saying they were “impossible promises” and “fairy tale economics.” Warren quickly countered with easily the most memorable line of the night. 

“You know, I don’t understand why anybody goes to all the trouble of running for president of the United States just to talk about what we really can’t do and shouldn’t fight for,” she said to cheers from the audience. “I don’t get it.” 

The Sanders team said it saw the night as a win for the senator. 

“There were a number of candidates who went into that debate wanting to fight with Bernie Sanders,” Jeff Weaver, a longtime Sanders aide, told Jewish Insider in the spin room. “So they stepped up, they wanted to fight. He said ‘bring it on’ — and I think he dispatched them quite handily.”

While Delaney may have taken a beating on stage, the former Maryland congressman still scored a win Tuesday night by capturing the national attention he has been trying to gain since announcing his candidacy in 2017.

Author Marianne Williamson also had a strong showing with her impassioned answer on race relations in the United States, and a memorable turn of phrase where she referenced “the dark psychic force of the collectivized hatred that this president is bringing up in this country.”

Montana Governor Steve Bullock had a promising debate debut, although he stumbled at the very end of the night over the concept of nuclear proliferation. It remains to be seen if Bullock, who did not qualify for the first debate, will be able to stay on stage in the fall. 

The governor emphasized his pitch as a candidate who could win a general election, telling Jewish Insider after the debate: “I didn’t just win a Trump state, I won a Romney state and a McCain state.”

Tuesday’s debate was the first night of two back-to-back Democratic primary debates. Wednesday night’s debate will feature former Vice President Joe Biden and Senators Cory Booker and Kamala Harris.

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