Monday night was CNN’s gooey town hall with Senator and presidential candidate Kamala Harris (D-CA) moderated by Jake Tapper. And as my NewsBusters colleague, Curtis Houck noted on Twitter, “Parkland Town Hall Jake is here tonight to moderate this #HarrisTownHall.” In all, there were 16 questions posed to Harris from the audience and all but two of them came from purely leftist positions. The remaining two came from a neutral position with none from the right.
From the beginning, Tapper made it seem as though the Iowa town hall (which was held at Drake University) was going to address the prescreened questions and concerns from many different positions, but that turned out not to be the case. The questions themselves ranged from asking Harris to reaffirm her commitment to liberal positions to some really radical “eat the rich” kind of stuff.
The first question came from Drake University graduate student Lindsey Hornbaker and it came in hot from the left:
Senator Harris, racism has always been a problem in the United States. And the current administration relies heavily on fear-based tactics to justify racist policies that are further segregating us as a nation. We're creating an environment where people feel emboldened to say and do harmful things to people of color, to immigrants, and to the LGBTQ community. As the president of a new administration, what would you plan to do to make America safer for these people?
Riley Fink, a senior at Drake University, had the second question and the first far-left one. Fink grilled the far-left liberal Senator for her supposed contradictory stance on criminal justice reform and accused her of “embracing” the “tough on crime mentality.”
Several minutes later, Tapper all but proved the town hall was geared solely towards Democrats when he hyped the latest CNN/Des Moines Register Iowa poll. “[M]ost Democrats in this state say it's more important to them that the winner of the Iowa caucuses be a candidate who can beat President Trump, than it is that the individual be somebody who shares all of their positions,” he reported to the thunderous applause of the “rowdy crowd.”
“If you would have to debate the current President, how does that conversation go without becoming reactive? How do you stay on your message and not get caught up in his crazy,” the next questioner asked.
Throughout the town hall, Harris received softball questions on everything from climate change to gun control to health care. One woman even thanked her for smearing Justice Brett Kavanaugh. But the most far-left question came from Drake University law student Joshua Hughes. “My question for you tonight is simple,” he proclaimed. “In a society where nearly one in five children live in poverty, is the existence of multi-billionaires morally defensible?”
The two neutral questions came back to back in the final moments of the town hall. First came Eliza Dy-Boarman, a pharmacy professor at Drake, who wanted to know how Harris’s heritage as a daughter of immigrants shaped her character and her perspective. Finally, fitness instructor Donna Bura simply wanted to know: “What is the very first thing you would do as president of the United States?”
To his credit, the four questions Tapper posed to Harris were more evenly spread out: one from the left, two neutrals, and one from the right. But, the liberal media routinely decried President Trump for supposedly only catering to his base. The Harris town hall was just more of that but from the left.
The transcript is below, click "expand" to read:
CNN Town Hall: Kamala Harris
January 28, 2019
10:02:14 p.m. Eastern
LINDSEY HORNBAKER: Senator Harris, racism has always been a problem in the United States. And the current administration relies heavily on fear-based tactics to justify racist policies that are further segregating us as a nation. We're creating an environment where people feel emboldened to say and do harmful things to people of color, to immigrants, and to the LGBTQ community. As the president of a new administration, what would you plan to do to make America safer for these people?
10:05:34 p.m. Eastern
RILEY FINK: Good evening, Senator. Thank you for being here. You positioned yourself as in line with the progressive movement to make criminal justice less punitive and racist. Yet your record as a prosecutor shows that you embrace the tough on crime mentality. You've defended California's death penalty and as the attorney general, your office opposed the release of non-violent prisoners and violated the constitutional rights of various drug defendants. How do you reconcile your contradictory past with what you claim to support today?
10:11:54 p.m. Eastern
RENEE WELK: Thank you so much. What is your solution to ensure that people have access to quality health care at an affordable price, and does that solution involve cutting insurance companies as we know them out of the equation?
10:14:39 p.m. Eastern
JAKE TAPPER: So according to the latest -- this is really interesting. According to the latest CNN/Des Moines Register Iowa poll, most Democrats in this state say it's more important to them that the winner of the Iowa caucuses be a candidate who can beat President Trump, than it is that the individual be somebody who shares all of their positions. Beating Trump is more important than -- [ applause ] -- To Iowa Democrats. To Iowa Democrats.
10:15:18 p.m. Eastern
DEB HANSEN: If you would have to debate the current president, how does that conversation go without becoming reactive? How do you stay on your message and not get caught up in his crazy?
10:33:27 p.m. Eastern
CAMERON VAN KOOTEN LAUGHEAD: Senator Harris, since Democrats have regained the majority in the U.S. House of Representatives, we've been hearing more about a green new deal to fight climate change. You have yet to fully endorse or reject it. Will you fully endorse the green new deal tonight?
10:35:38 p.m. Eastern
ROBERT JOHN FORD: Senator, many Democrats that I've spoken with agree that the primary objective for 2020 is to nominate the candidate that has the best shot of defeating Donald Trump. Some have also said that given what occurred in 2016 and the current political climate, that a male nominee will have a better chance this time around than a female nominee. Would you please respond to this so that this man has a response ready the next time a man tries to man-splain why a man would make a better nominee. [Applause]
10:41:49 p.m. Eastern
WALLACE BUBAR: As a pastor, I have observed and witnessed firsthand the devastating effects of gun violence on families and communities. Several years ago, I did a funeral for a young man in Philadelphia who was shot and killed. We had here in Des Moines, just three years ago, a teenager who had been part of our church's tutoring program who was shot and killed. As you know, the rates of gun violence in America are astronomically higher than in other western democracies. What do you think can be done, and what would you be prepared to do to address the problem of gun violence?
10:48:55 p.m. Eastern
JOSHUA HUGHES: Thank you, Senator Harris. My question for you tonight is simple. In a society where nearly one in five children live in poverty, is the existence of multi-billionaires morally defensible?
11:03:31 p.m. Eastern
ELIZA DY-BOARMAN: Hi, Senator Harris. I'm the proud daughter of a Filipino immigrant and I know you also share immigrant roots. How did the aspect of this upbringing shape your character and how might this perspective be useful to you as you peruse for the United States presidency?
11:06:01 p.m. Eastern
DONNA BURA: Senator Harris, what is the very first thing you would do as president of the United States?