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Politics Winners and losers from the South Carolina Democratic debate

06:10  26 february  2020
06:10  26 february  2020 Source:   washingtonpost.com

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Seven Democratic presidential candidates took the stage in Charleston, South Carolina on Tuesday night for the tenth debate of the 2020 Democratic primary — and the final debate before Super Tuesday. Here are the winners and losers . Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

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The Democratic presidential contenders debated Tuesday in South Carolina in the final faceoff before both that state’s primary Saturday and Super Tuesday in one week, as Bernie Sanders emerges as the clear front-runner at this early stage in the 2020 nominating contest.

Below, some winners and losers.

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Winners . Elizabeth Warren, the front-runner: For the first time in one of these debates , Warren found herself Millennials: There was a point in the middle of the debate when South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Losers . Biden: Not only does he seem to no longer be the candidate his opponents fear most

Winners

Elizabeth Warren: When it comes to debate performances spanning the last two weeks, Warren’s have been the strongest. She built a case for being a general-election candidate against Trump last week by taking the bark off Mike Bloomberg. And she followed it up with a studied and detailed performance on Tuesday. She picked up where she left off on Bloomberg by pointing to his past support for Republicans including South Carolina Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R) and also for the senator she beat in 2012, former senator Scott Brown (R-Mass.). She also again argued that Bloomberg hadn’t sufficiently addressed treatment of women at his company and went after him for doing business in China.

She was perhaps less forceful with Sanders, instead saying she would be a better president and going after his staff. “I dug in. I did the work. And then Bernie’s team trashed me for it,” she said. “We need a president who is going to dig in, do the hard work, and actually get it done.” You wonder if she really did much to help herself — especially given last week’s debate didn’t seem to do much for her — but she will at least remain on voters’ radars after the last couple weeks.

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Winners . Elizabeth Warren, the front-runner: For the first time in one of these debates , Warren found herself Millennials: There was a point in the middle of the debate when South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Losers . Biden: Not only does he seem to no longer be the candidate his opponents fear most

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Joe Biden: He has regularly been a loser on this list, and he was again somewhat uneven on Tuesday night. But he’s the leading candidate in South Carolina and is a player on Super Tuesday, and he seemed likely to continue to be after the debate. He also had some good moments, including in his appeals to black voters, which will be key on Saturday and Super Tuesday. He noted his work to secure funding for Charleston’s port, and he talked about gentrification in a way we haven’t heard much in this nominating contest thus far. Biden detracted from his performance somewhat by — again — repeatedly complaining about not getting enough time and blaming his Catholic upbringing for his obedience to rules about the length of answers. One thing to keep an eye on, though: When asked whether he’ll press on if he doesn’t win South Carolina, he said he’d win. He had better, at this point.

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The first debate of the 2020 Democratic nomination fight is in the books!

The Democratic presidential candidates momentarily sidelined the impeachment inquiry on Wednesday night, when they met in Atlanta for the November MSNBC-Washington Post debate . Below are some winners and losers .

Slideshow by photo services

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Bloomberg’s transparency about his money: There is kind of an unspoken bargain at play with Mike Bloomberg. It goes something like this: I may have only become a Democrat in 2018, and I may not be your ideal, but I can win — and oh, by the way, I have hundreds of millions of dollars from my own pockets to spend. Well, on Tuesday, that bargain came closer to being spoken. Early on, Bloomberg pitched himself by saying, “I have the experience, I have the resources, and I have the record.” Later, he noted that he spent $100 million trying to elect House Democrats in 2018, but he momentarily seemed to almost say he “bought” something with that money. And in between, his ads appeared during the commercial breaks.

Losers

Bernie Sanders: After the candidates spent much of last week’s debate focused on Bloomberg even though Sanders is threatening to take over the race, Tuesday night represented a course-correction. Elizabeth Warren attacked Sanders for being ineffective. Pete Buttigieg said Russia is helping Sanders, according to U.S. intelligence, because he serves its purposes. “Russia wants chaos, and chaos is what’s coming our way,” he said. “Imagine spending the better part of 2020 with Bernie Sanders against Donald Trump.” Tom Steyer warned about having the government “take over the private sector.” Biden mentioned the mass shooting in a black Charleston church in 2015 and noted that Sanders voted against the Brady gun control bill five times, which prompted Sanders to acknowledge it was a mistake. Biden and Buttigieg later on ganged up on Sanders for over the decades praising good things that authoritarian socialist regimes had done. It all prompted Sanders to say early on, “I’m hearing my name mentioned a little bit; I wonder why.” Indeed. The question is whether it’s too little, too late by his opponents.

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Mike Bloomberg: It just wasn’t much better than last week, which was not good. Bloomberg did little to make an affirmative case for himself, even on the electability front. And he offered mealy-mouthed rebuttals to some of the attacks on him, including by again downplaying women who complained about their treatment at his companies. Bloomberg said he was “probably wrong to make the jokes” but added “I don’t remember what they were.” He called it a “comment or two.” And when Warren pressed him, he said, “The trouble is with the senator, enough is never enough … “We did what she asked and, thank you, we’ve probably made the world better because of it.” Bloomberg has released three women from nondisclosure agreements and said his company wouldn’t use them going forward, but as Warren noted, he hasn’t released all of them.

The moderators: There were two big problems here. One was that this was a complete free-for-all for much of the debate, with candidates talking over one another and no one enforcing the rules. Playing loose can work when it means the candidates actually debate, but many times Tuesday night, they were just allowed to talk past the moderators and game the system. The Post’s Josh Dawsey said it well:

And second — and speaking of gaming the system — was that the booing and cheering were out of control. There is a reason many debates prohibit outward shows of support or dissent: Because it encourages people to stock the room and play to the cameras. We don’t yet know if that’s what happened Tuesday, but Bloomberg’s supporters were especially vocal, and Sanders found himself booed a surprising amount, given he’s competing for a South Carolina win.

Trump Says Bloomberg Had 'Bad Political Instinct,' 'Surrounded by Losers' .
"He's surrounded by people that I know, in some cases I know pretty well," Trump told Fox News host Sean Hannity. "They're losers. He's really surrounded by losers."Trump also blamed Bloomberg's debate performances, saying Bloomberg got "beat up very badly" by Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren.

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