The First Democratic Presidential Primary Debate: A Closer Look



-10 — count 'em —
10 Democratic candidates squared off tonight
in the first debate of the presidential campaign. For more on this,
it's time for "A Closer Look. ♪♪
[ Cheers and applause ] Donald Trump is
constitutionally incapable of sharing the spotlight
with anyone, and so as 10 Democrats
prepared to take the stage for their first
primary debate tonight, he went to something called
the Faith and Freedom Conference to gurgle up a bunch of
old-man nonsense. -We're saying
"merry Christmas" again. Did you notice? Remember? [ Cheers and applause ]
Remember? I usually save that for
November, December, but I was just thinking… They were all taking it down off
the department stores, everything. You'd see a big red —
They'd say, "Happy holidays," no "merry Christmas." They're saying
"merry Christmas" again. It's very interesting. "Our president may not be
the best at the Bible. He may not have read it
2,000 times. But he's the best for us." My wife watched.
I said, "You have to see this. It's great invention
It's called TiVo," okay? I don't want to be advertising,
but, you know, it's, like,
better than television, 'cause television, you
never see it. With TiVo, you play it back.
I played it back. -Oh, my God!
Get me off this cruise ship! Is this a presidential speech
or bingo night? This guy shouldn't be standing
behind a presidential seal. He should be wandering down
the hallway of a group home with a nurse chasing
after him, screaming, "Donald, your gown is
on backwards." I'm sorry.
[ Cheers and applause ] You've just heard about TiVo? Trump's brain is so
permanently stuck in 1999. "Have you heard this new food
they just came out with? It's called Go-Gurt. It's a game changer." Trump was probably more off
kilter than usual today with the Democratic
debate looming and the news that
Robert Mueller's agreed to testify in public before
Congress next month, and it clearly… [ Cheers and applause ] …clearly got in Trump's head,
because he called up Fox Business News to
and ramble about Mueller and accuse him of
a totally made-up crime. Trump was referring to unearthed
text messages between two FBI agents
who were having an affair, or at least I think that's what
he was referring to. -Robert Mueller —
they worked for him, and the two lovers were together and they had
texts back and forth. -Well, how come
we haven't seen it all? -You know why? Because Mueller
terminated them illegally. He terminated the e-mails. He terminated all of the stuff
between Strzok and Page. You know, they —
You've never — Robert Mueller terminated
their text messages together. He would — He terminated them.
They're gone. And that's illegal. -Deleted! The word you're looking for
is "deleted." My God, man,
go back to watching TiVo. And now you're accusing
Robert Mueller of a crime? Look at this guy. I doubt he's ever jaywalked
in his life. Robert Mueller gives
speeding tickets by chasing after cars on foot. And no matter what you think of
the Democrats, this is why it was refreshing to
see sane human beings speaking in coherent sentences
about actual policies on national television
for a change. Now, this was just
the first of two debates, with 10 more candidates
scheduled to debate on Thursday. In fact, there are now
a total of 24 Democrats
running for president. Look at how many people
are on that screen. There are so many people,
you didn't even notice that one of them is Guy Fieri. And…
[ Cheers and applause ] And he's definitely more
qualified than Donald Trump, because, need I remind you,
he's the mayor of Flavortown. Great bowling alleys,
terrible schools. Of course…
[ Laughter ] We'll just —
We'll cut out that. Cut out the Flavortown joke
I fought for all day. Live?! Of course, with 10 people
on the stage, the candidates knew it
would be tough to stand out, which is why they were all
preparing in different ways to make their case as concise
and effective as possible. -Senator Elizabeth Warren
and her 2020 Democratic rivals are very busy right now,
because they're prepping for the first pair of
Democratic debates. Warren has focussed on boiling
down her positions, her policy positions, to try to
fit the time constraints. Senator Amy Klobuchar has spent
time watching the 2016 debates to see how President Trump
and his GOP rivals stood out in that crowded field. -Wait. You're studying Trump's
debate performances to see how he stood out? Which ones did you watch? Did you study the tape of that
time Trump and Ben Carson missed their cues
and got stuck in the hallway leading to the debate stage? 'Cause that is a case
where he stood out literally. And it really is amazing that
out of everyone on the stage, the two guys who ended up
in the federal government are the ones who turned
a presidential debate into an escape room. "Help us, clue master.
We need a hint." Seriously, what lessons
can you learn from Trump's
debate performances? "Okay, just remember,
yell as loud as you can, limit your vocabulary
to four words, and, if you get lost,
just remember to act natural and stare directly into
the camera. like you're having
your portrait drawn." [ Cheers and applause ] Now, before the debate,
the candidates also showed up to check out the debate stage,
like Ohio Congressman Tim Ryan, who got caught sporting
a very casual look. -2020 contender Tim Ryan is on
the debate stage right now, doing his walk-through. That's going to be happening
through the course of the day. We do have a presidential
candidate right with us. There's Tim Ryan
wearing his cap backward. -"Uh… Hey, guys, there aren't cameras
here now, right?" Did you get confused and think this was your
office softball game? You don't look like a candidate. You look like you should be
pounding some Sam Adams tall-boys
at a Red Sox game. Now, say what you will
about the Democrats. Most of them seemed to enjoy
talking about policies, and the campaign so far has been
incredibly substantive. Senator Kamala Harris has a plan for cash payments to
middle-class household. Senator Bernie Sanders
rolled out a plan to cancel all student debt. And Senator Elizabeth Warren
was so excited to discuss her plans to tax
the wealthy at a town hall that she could
hardly contain herself. -Thank you, Senator Warren,
for being here. How the do you plan to make sure the extremely rich pay
their fair taxes? -Whoa! -Whoa! Taxes! That question was
Elizabeth Warren's Mardi Gras. Asking Warren that question
is like walking up to Chris Cuomo
at a party and going, "Hey, you know anything
about CrossFit?" And that excitement
for talking about policy seems to have caught on, because
while the polls have stayed mostly flat so far,
Warren's stock has been rising, and that's caught
the attention of both the Democratic front-runner,
Joe Biden, and President Trump. -New polling shows Warren's
economic message is resonating with voters. In the latest NBC News/"Wall
Street Journal" poll, 26% of Democratic primary voters
say they're enthusiastic about her candidacy. That's a 6-point bump
from last month. It might explain why Biden's
team is also reportedly getting a little worried
about her rise. And President Trump's campaign
is zeroing in on the threat that she could pose. -Oh, come on.
Donald Trump doesn't zero in. If anything, he zeros out. And I especially can't imagine
him zeroing in on Elizabeth Warren. For one thing, Warren literally
did an interview where she was running to catch
a train at Penn Station. Can you imagine if Trump was
late for a train? Forget answering questions. Mike Pence would have to carry
him on his back like a tired 4-year-old. So, with Warren
the obvious standout coming into this debate,
the other candidates were looking for ways to shine, and former Texas Congressman
Beto O'Rourke settled on a strategy of going
bilingual right out of the gate. -This economy
has got to work for everyone, and, right now,
we know that it isn't. And it's going to take
all of us coming together to make sure that it does. [ Speaking Spanish ] -I mean, I knew he was going to
bust out his Spanish. I just didn't know
it would be that quickly. Remember, Beto, you only
have one bullet, so don't fire until you see the
whites of their — Bang! Also, check out
Cory Booker's face when it cuts to him during
Beto's answer. -[ Speaking Spanish ] -Now, you might think that's
a face of a guy thinking, "I can't believe you're
pandering by speaking Spanish," but it's actually the face of
a guy thinking, "Oh, man! I was gonna do that." -[ Speaking Spanish ] -Not only do I applaud them
speaking Spanish, you just know everyone in
tomorrow's debate who doesn't speak Spanish is going to spend
the whole day cramming. "I think all Americans
want answered — the question they
want answered is, '¿Donde esta mi gato?'" [ Cheers and applause ] Now, Beto has been
struggling in the polls, despite the national fame
he gained from his Senate campaign
against Ted Cruz, but he was still head
and shoulder above some rivals in name and face recognition,
like, um…this guy. -Congressman Delaney,
do you agree? -I think we need do real things
to help American workers and the American people. -Okay, quick question —
who are you? You look like you were
supposed to be in a lawn-care commercial
during the break, but they just accidentally
let you stay. And then there was Tim Ryan,
the Ohio congressman, who seemed maybe
slightly surprised that he got a question. -Congressman Ryan,
President Trump — and you just referred to him —
promised that manufacturing jobs
were all coming back to places like your home state of Ohio. Can you make that same promise? -Yes, I believe you can. -Tim Ryan always looks like
his dog just talked. "Rusty, did you just say,
'Good morning'?" Then the debate moderators
gave the candidates a chance to
differentiate themselves with a key policy question — who would abolish
private health insurance? And only a few
raised their hands. -Who here would abolish their
private health insurance in favor of
a government-run plan? Just a show of hands
to start off with. -Not only did Warren
raise her hand, but check out New York City
mayor Bill de Blasio. He's got to be so happy
he raised his hand when Warren did. It's like when
you're taking the SATs and you peek at
the valedictorian's test and make sure she had
the same answer. And de Blasio clearly said
it's an opportunity to make a name for himself
on the healthcare issue, because after Beto
answered the question, de Blasio jumped in
and went after him. -Would you replace
private insurance? -No. I think the choice is
fundamental to — -Wait, wait. Congressman O'Rourke,
private insurance is not working for ten of
millions of Americans. When you talk about the co-pays,
the deductibles, the premiums,
the out-of-pocket expenses, it's not working. -That's right, so for those for
whom it is not working, they can choose Medicare. -Congressman, you've got to
start by acknowledging the system is
not working for people. -Look at those two. They look like stockbrokers who
got too drunk at happy hour. It's so weird to watch
two guys get into it who are both polling
in single digits. It's like watching the
New York Jets play guys who got cut from
the New York Jets. De Blasio was so eager to get
a word in that, at one point, as they were cutting to
commercial, he started yelling over
the moderators. -Put the American people first.
-Hey, but wait a minute. -All right, we are out of time. We're up against a hard break — -Neither Democrats, nor
Republicans have been serious — -Mayor de Blasio,
we'll have more. The commercial is coming. -Oh, man, that's so New York. It's like when you're trying
to talk to someone as the subway doors are closing. "Hey, what did you call me?!
What did you say, pal?!" Of course,
I'm referring to a time when the subway doors
in this city closed. So, it was a very substantive
issue-oriented debate. And after about an hour full of
complex policy questions about everything
from immigration to gun control to healthcare,
the president decided to weigh in with his own
contribution to the debate, tweeting, "Boring." Oh, I'm sorry. Are you not entertained,
Caligula? I'd say we should send you out
there to spice things up, but you'd probably just get
stuck in the hallway. "This escape room is boring." Also, don't you realize that
most Americans are dying for things
to be boring for a while? I fantasize about the day
I turn on CNN and there's a banner that says,
"No breaking news." Things were also a little weird
when the debate switched over to the second hour for moderators Rachel Maddow
and Chuck Todd, who decided to start out with
some friendly banter. -Now, the candidates will have
60 seconds to answer, 30 seconds for a follow-up,
if necessary. And we will be ruthless,
if necessary. -Yeah, we can do that.
-Mm-hmm. -By the way, hi, Rachel.
-Hi, Chuck. -How you doing?
-Good. -Hey, guys,
we don't need the hellos. We know you know each other. The candidates each get like
9 seconds to speak, and you're chatting it up
like old college friends who ran into each other
at Fuddruckers. It's like they
were waiting for somebody to come by and take their order. But then once they got
the hellos out of the way, they were ready to go
with a smooth transition in the next portion
of the debate. -Many people are calling for
a restoration of an assault-weapons ban,
but even if implemented, there will still be
hundreds of millions of guns in this country. Should there be a role for the
federal government — -I think the other mics are on.
-Oh, everybody's mics are on. I think we have a —
I heard that, too. That's okay. I think we had a little
mic issue in the back. -Control room, we've got — -I think we heard — Yeah,
we have the audience audio. -What's happening? -We are hearing
our colleagues's audio. If the control room
can turn off the mics. -There's voices behind us. -Yeah, if the control room
can turn off the mics of our previous
moderators, we will — -I think it's the
prior moderators. -You know,
we've prepared for everything. We did not prepare for this. -We are going to take
a quick break. We're gonna get
this technical situation fixed. We will be right back. -Maybe you guys should have
spent more time checking the audio and less time
saying hello to each other. I'm surprised Warren
didn't bust out a tool kit. "I can fix it." And, of course, our
TV-game-show-host president, who has nothing to say about
policy, had plenty to say about the technical glitch,
tweeting, "NBC News and MSNBC should be ashamed of themselves
for having such a horrible
technical breakdown in the middle of the debate. Truly unprofessional
and only worthy of a fake-news organization
which they are." Boring! Hey, man, I wouldn't be tweeting
about technical glitches. You think TiVo is
new technology. "NBC needs better
audio equipment. They should have used a Zune." Although, you know
he was TiVo'ing that moment multiple times. "Melania, get in here and watch sleepy Chuck Todd
get interrupted." Bloop-bloop. But a big question underlying
all these policy debates is this — how will you get
your agenda passed if there's a
Republican Congress? The moderators asked Warren
if she had any ideas for dealing with that,
and her answer was unequivocal. -Do you have a plan to deal with
with Mitch McConnell? -I do.
[ Cheers and applause ] -Damn! If Mitch McConnell were capable
of feeling human emotion, he'd be terrified right now. That's the moment everyone
else wondered, "Maybe I should just go." That was like when the matriarch
of a Southern dynasty stands up at
the dinner table and says, "I've made a decision." When Warren said that,
Booker's face got permanently stuck like that, and Tim Ryan's hat
got flew back onto his head. Everyone was eager to
get a word in, like Washington governor
Jay Inslee, who's running a campaign focused
primarily on climate change. He tried to get some attention
from the moderators and then made it kind of weird. -Thank you, Senator Booker.
Rachel's got the next question. -We are going to make —
We are going — Hold on. Governor, you're gonna be happy
with where we go. Governor Inslee,
this next question is to you. You got me?
-Rachel — -You got me? -Oh, my God.
What does that mean? "I'm keeping an eye on her"? He's like the corny dad
at the party who wants to make sure
everyone's had enough to drink. "Chad, I'm onto you, buddy. When that marg's empty,
I'm getting you a refill, Chad." Ultimately, tonight's debate
showed us that a substantive campaign focused
on issues people care about, rather than incoherent rambling
about Christmas or terminating e-mails
is possible, but it also proved once again that there's
a reason "Jeopardy!" has three contestants
and not 10. "Alex, Alex, call on me! I have a Final Jeopardy!
answer." And if you missed
tonight's debate, don't worry — the president has
a high-tech solution for how you can watch it. -"It's great invention
It's called TiVo." -This has been "A Closer Look." [ Cheers and applause ]
♪♪

36 Replies to “The First Democratic Presidential Primary Debate: A Closer Look

  1. Stick to jokes Seth. Give up political opinions. Hate trump all you want but he literally steamrolled 1the other Republicans in the debate department. You want to learn how to emerge from a crowded field? Study Trump's 2015 and 2016 debate tactics. Such as https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2rU4W3yfd58 look at 8 minutes into that video where Donald Trump takes over the limelight in the first 60 seconds before anyone else has a chance to say even one word. There are hundreds of other examples. SO yes, the dems on stage should study his debate tactics.

  2. Didn't notice Guy Fieri?! No one in the world looks like Guy Fieri! Don't get me wrong I love this joke and it gets a chuckle out of me every time but come one you need to try harder

  3. I'm still very pissed at beto o'rourke and Corey Booker for running. They need to be preparing to take their seat in Senate.

  4. Why in the hell are debates on a major networks, public broadcasting should cover all debates and we should not commercialize the primary process.

  5. I noticed several times they showed the democratic nominees they excluded Bernie Sanders…. Your bias is showing.

  6. Is this person rambling about the same Robert Mueller that lied USA into the Iraq war? You ppl have collective dementia, not just Trump

  7. You sure mocked Pence for his Spanish when he talked about Venezuela, but he was miles ahead of these clowns and yet you praise him #hypocrite

  8. You’re in Luck Seth, you’ll get 4 more years to tell jokes after Trump wins re-election. Are you thankful that he keeps you employed??
    HAHAHAHAHA!!!!

  9. I am pretty sure trump was actually in North Korea during the democratic farce at the USA, you know making history and every thing ya salty prick

  10. What about fixing a system?
    How about learning to resolve problems?
    A combination of public health care and health insurance is not a new concept.
    Is America able to look around the world and learn?

  11. It would be funny except for all the people being murdered, raped, maimed, kidnapped, robbed, butchered and humor has no place anymore.

  12. I didn't know TiVo. What's the big deal? I'm sure Seth and many others don't know quite a few things that are popular out there.

  13. Title says dem debates, half of the time it is about Trump. This guy Seth has Trump syndrome disease.

  14. Title- “The First Democratic Presidential Debate”. First thing Seth says and shows. President Trump. As if there isn’t enough to joke about in the democratic candidates. Seth Ass Myers for ya.

  15. Bring in the clowns…They're already here: KamalObama, Grandpa Sanders, Biden a real hands-on guy, Pocahontas, and Be'to hom'bre.
    Look for Obama to enter the race as a Dark Horse Candidate in early 2020. THAT'S why he needs to be put in Guantanamo before 2020. Let him run from there.

  16. this episode was so funny and a change for the better , well done seth !

    he does so much better when he is talking about politicians casually and without political agenda , while he usually has very stale shows when he is focusing on trump , which he has a political bias about !

  17. Holy crap, not even in a show about the Dem debate you can't stop opening with Trump and making it about Trump. It's a good thing for the lifepspam of this show that you'll have Trump until 2024 or else I have no idea what would your fanboys tune in for!

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