In a testy Democratic debate that pitted Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren against more moderate 2020 candidates, Sanders was widely seen as having had one of the best lines. "I do know, I wrote the damn bill," he snapped when Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan interrupted him to accuse him of not knowing whether his "Medicare for All" bill would offer workers a better deal than what they already have. The Guardian reports that the Sanders campaign is already beginning to fundraise off the line, with donors being offered "I wrote the damn bill" stickers. Other standout lines:
- Marianne Williamson: The self-help author got one of the biggest rounds of applause of the night when she slammed President Trump's "dark psychic force," the Hill reports. "If you think any of this wonkiness is going to deal with this dark psychic force of the collectivized hatred that this president is bringing up in this country, then I’m afraid that the Democrats are going to see some very dark days," she said while discussing the Flint water crisis.
- John Hickenlooper: "The Green New Deal, making sure every American is guaranteed a government job if they want—that is a disaster at the ballot box, you might as well FedEx the election to Donald Trump," said the former Colorado governor, who was among the candidates pushing back against what they called the "extreme" proposals of Sanders and Warren.
- Beto O'Rourke: The Texan was largely "lost in the banter" between frontrunners Sanders and Warren and lesser-known candidates, but he did speak forcefully on racial tensions and his plans for a new Voting Rights Act, reports the Dallas Morning News. "The wealth we have built, the way we became the greatest country, was literally on the backs of those who were kidnapped and brought here by force," O'Rourke said. "The legacy of slavery is alive and well in our country today."
- Elizabeth Warren: The Massachusetts senator did her best to slap down moderate rivals who accused her and Sanders of offering "wish-list economics," the AP reports. "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," Warren said.
- Pete Buttigieg: The mayor of South Bend, Indiana, delivered what Ezra Klein at Vox calls the "single most important answer of the night" when he talked about bringing in structural reforms including doing away with the electoral college and making DC a state. "This is a country that once changed its Constitution so you couldn’t drink and changed it back because we changed our minds and you’re telling me we can’t reform our democracy in our time," he said. "We have to or we will be having the same argument 20 years from now."
- Steve Bullock: The Montana governor, who didn't appear in the last round of debates, staked out a moderate position and also attacked Trump over his tweets. "Every time Trump tweets we lose hundreds of thousands of dollars," he said. "If Montana had to eat all the wheat we produce, they'd have to eat 40 loaves of bread a day."
- Tim Ryan: Ryan was among the candidates arguing against eliminating a statute that makes it a crime to cross into the United States without permission. "If you want to come into the country, you should at least ring the doorbell," he said.
- Amy Klobuchar: The senator addressed Trump's attacks on Rep. Ilhan Omar, a fellow Minnesotan, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports. "We come from a country of shared dreams," she said. "And I have had it with the racist attacks."
- John Delaney: The former House lawmaker from Maryland was another who targeted Sanders and Warren. "We have a choice: We can go down the road that Sen. Sanders and Sen. Warren want to take us, which is with bad policies like Medicare for All, free everything, and impossible promises," he said. "It will turn off independent voters and get Trump reelected."
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