Here Are The Biggest Takeaways From The Second Night Of Democratic Debate

Drew Angerer/Getty Images North America

On the second night of the second night of the first democratic presidential debate, the crop of 10 candidates came out swinging — both at President Trump and each other.

Here are the key moments:

Tonight, Trump was present

In stark opposition to the first night, the candidates dropped President Donald Trump’s name early and often in their answers. They seemed more eager to juxtapose the President as the omnipresent boogeyman than to go after each other.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) called Trump a “racist” and “pathological liar.”

Former Vice President Joe Biden mentioned Trump several times in his first answer of the night.

Trump bristled at the absence of his name during the first night of the proceedings, bellowing “Boring!” via tweet.

A big swing at Biden

Rep. Eric Swalwall (D-CA) took a big swing at Biden early on, accusing him of failing to step aside for younger politicians.

“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. 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 said.

“He’s still right today,” Swalwell added. “If we’re going to solve the issue of automation, pass the torch. If we’re going to solve the issues of climate chaos, pass the torch. 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.”

Asked to respond, Biden said he was indeed “still holding on to that torch” before launching into a pitch on his education plan.

Harris walked a tricky tightrope

Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) carefully disagreed with Obama’s position on deportations, adding that she had a “great relationship” with and “a great deal of respect” for the Obama administration. Her nimble answer highlights the difficulty candidates may have distancing themselves from Biden, an opponent, while showing unwavering support for the extremely popular former President.

An emotional clash between Harris and Biden

Harris was the first candidate to hold Biden’s feet to the fire on his “civility” comments about segregationists. In a tense and emotional moment, she described her own experience with bussing to school as a young girl and called his comments “hurtful.” He fired back angrily, saying that she was “misrepresenting” his record and comments, proceeding to tick off his history on civil rights.

Buttigieg accepts responsibility for racial tension at home

Inevitably faced with questions about the recent fatal police shooting of a black man in South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg admitted on stage that he accepts responsibility for a lack of accountability in his police force. And when asked why he has not improved the ratio of black officers to black community members as mayor, he acknowledged, “I couldn’t get it done.”

Williamson stole the show

The debate Thursday night would not have been the same without the eccentric Marianne Williamson chiming in with bizarre pivots and segues. She managed to mention the moon landing during a debate on climate change and New Zealand while answering a question on her number one priority.

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