Not 'Bold' Enough: CNN Pans Kamala Harris for Not Matching Bernie on Terrorist Voting!

In the "who had the craziest left-wing proposal" sweepstakes, Bernie Sanders certainly emerged as the winner from CNN's marathon back-to-back town halls last night, featuring five of the Dem presidential candidates. His notion that not merely former felons but ones currently incarcerated — including the Boston Marathon bomber — should be allowed to vote definitely sounds like a winner. 

As to who was the biggest loser, this morning's New Day panel pointed to Kamala Harris. The California senator was singled out for failing to take definitive positions on a number of issues, resorting too often to the "let's have a conversation about that" cop-out....even on the terrorist voting. Democrat voters want "something bold," not "incrementalist answers." 

 

 

CNN reporter MJ Lee led off the critique. While careful to point out that it was early in the process and that candidates have the right not to stake out hard positions, she said that whereas Sanders and Buttigieg [who declared his opposition to Sanders' proposal] had taken clear positions, "the person that ended up standing out in a different way was Kamala Harris. When she was asked that question, she actually said, that is a conversation to be had." Lee said it was an acceptable answer to not take a stand, but others might, well, pounce:

"I think the number of times that Kamala Harris answered a question with some variation of, this is a conversation I want to have, or this is something I am thinking about, you string those together, and you can see how critics might say that Kamala Harris had an evening where, for a lot of questions or a number of questions at least, she actually didn't know exactly where she stood."

CNN's Abby Phillip offered a stronger take:

"I think Kamala Harris's approach is a risky one. It is a good one to avoid getting into trouble right now in this phase of the campaign, but this Democratic primary audience seems to be really interested in their candidates giving them something bold and not giving them sort of incrementalist answers."

CNN co-host Alisyn Camerota concluded the conversation with a real zinger aimed Harris' way, borrowing from Twitter:

"When Senator Harris said, I think that that's a conversation we should be having, you would point out, like say, at a town hall? Would now be a good time to have that [conversation]?"

Ouch!

Here's the transcript. Click "expand" to read more: 

CNN
New Day
4/23/19
6:24 am EDT

BERNIE SANDERS [at townhall]: If somebody commits a serious crime: sexual assault, murder, they're going to be punished. They may be in jail for ten years, 20 years, 50 years, their whole lives. That's what happens when you commit a serious crime. But I think the right to vote is inherent to our democracy. Yes, even for terrible people. 

... 

MJ LEE: After that moment, we, of course, had Pete Buttigieg, who was in the last hour of the five-hour marathon, asked about that question, as well. And he came out and said, no, he does not believe that people in that position should be able to vote. And I think we saw in those back-to-back answers, Bernie Sanders obviously taking a clear position. Pete Buttigieg taking a position on that, as well. 

So, the person that actually ended up standing out in a different way was Kamala Harris. Because when she was asked that question, she actually said, that is a conversation to be had. And that is not by any means a bad answer to give when you don't have a yes or no answer to something. Of course, you're allowed to say and you are welcome to say, this is a discussion I want to have. I think this is a complicated discussion and a complicated topic. 

However, I think the thing about the point that we are in, the primary right now, it is very early. The field is gigantic. When you're taking the national stage like this, I think you either want to have a moment, and I'm talking about a good moment, or you want to avoid a moment. And I'm talking about a negative moment. And I think the number of times that Kamala Harris answered a question with some variation of, this is a conversation I want to have, or this is something I am thinking about, you string those together, and you can see how critics might say that Kamala Harris had an evening where, for a lot of questions or a number of questions at least, she actually didn't know exactly where she stood. And again, I want to emphasize, it is very early. It is okay, and certainly we expect candidates to not have answers to everything, but I do think that was an element of her performance that did stand out. 

. . .

ABBY PHILLIP: I think that Kamala Harris' approach is a risky one. It is a good one to avoid getting into trouble right now in this phase of the campaign, but this Democratic primary audience seems to be really interested in their candidates giving them something bold and not giving them sort of incrementalist answers. The primary voters, I should say. I mean, I think that's really important. That's why it is risky for Kamala Harris. But for Harris and for Klobuchar, it could be a great general election strategy, to leave your options open until you're further down into the race. 

ALISYN CAMEROTA: And as was pointed out on Twitter, when Senator Harris said, I think that that's a conversation we should be having, you would point out, like say, at a town hall? Would now be a good time to have that [conversation]?

 

Campaigns & Elections 2020 Presidential Debates Crime Events Boston Marathon Bombing Political Groups Liberals & Democrats CNN New Day Abby Phillip Alisyn Camerota Bernie Sanders Pete Buttigieg Kamala Harris

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