CNN Panel: 'Professor' Warren Lorded Over 'Grad Students,' the 'Pacesetter'

And the winner of the first half of the first Democratic Party primary debates was...According to most of CNN’s post-debate analysts and commentators, Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren.

Shortly after sharing a highlight reel from the NBC News debate, the CNN analysts began to coalesce around Warren’s performance.

“I was super proud to be a Democrat,” proclaimed liberal commentator and weekend host Van Jones. He thought all the candidates were better than Trump but thought “Elizabeth Warren looked like a college professor with a bunch of graduate students around her half the time. She is able to go back and forth between policy and the human thing better than anybody.

Former Clinton official and fellow liberal commentator Jess McIntosh declared the Senator to be “obviously the front-runner” and that she “felt bad that she had to go with this group because I wanted to see her next to Bernie and Biden and Kamala and the other people who get mentioned in the top tier. But she dominated this debate, especially the first half.”

CNN political director David Chalian argued that Warren was the “pacesetter” because many of the questions dealt with her policies (click “expand”):

I think that is pretty important. Also, Anderson, Elizabeth Warren, I agree, especially in the first half of the debate, but what is also so interesting to me and I think really important going forward, it wasn't just her performance that was dominating that first half of the debate. It was the fact that she was the frame for every question.

Whether she was being asked the question or not, it was her policy ideas of free college that was being asked about to other candidates. It was her economic vision that launched the debate. So, she was sort of the pacesetter for the entire field tonight. At least for the first quarter of the debate, first half of the debate.

 

 

A few minutes later, former Obama advisor David Axelrod shared how impressed he was with how Warren left the debate “unscathed” and marveled at her stage position.

“The first question she got allowed her to lay out her economic premise. You know, she's been the most consistent candidate in this campaign in terms of her message, in terms of her policy, she got to share some of those,” he touted. “And I think she was pretty well satisfied to let everybody scrap with each other.”

But not all of them were so impressed with Warren. While senior political reporter Nia-Malika Henderson agreed Warren was the “pacesetter,” she was concerned that the Senator “faded down the stretch.”

Henderson also pointed out the following: “It was like, is Warren still on the stage? He talks about fighting a lot. Right? I mean, she uses the word fight, that she has the courage to go after Donald Trump, to go after big businesses, to go after pharmaceutical companies, but in this debate, she didn't fight much to get a word in edgewise.”

The transcript is below, click "expand" to read:

CNN’s DNC Debate Post Analysis
June 26, 2019
11:10:10 p.m. Eastern

ANDERSON COOPER: Van Jones, didn't anybody who wasn’t really well known on that stage break out in any way?

VAN JONES: I thought totally differently. First of all.

[LAUGHTER]

COOPER: Good.

JONES: I was super proud to be a Democrat. Listen take any one of those people, shake them in a basket, take any two out, run them against Donald Trump, I'm for them. I thought they did better than Trump and super well. But, listen, Elizabeth Warren looked like a college professor with a bunch of graduate students around her half the time. She is able to go back and forth between policy and the human thing better than anybody.

(…)

11:11:24 p.m. Eastern

JESS MCINTOSH: I think Elizabeth Warren was obviously the front-runner. I felt bad that she had to go with this group because I wanted to see her next to Bernie and Biden and Kamala and the other people who get mentioned in the top tier. But she dominated this debate, especially the first half.

(…)

11:12:16 p.m. Eastern

DAVID CHALIAN: I think that is pretty important. Also, Anderson, Elizabeth Warren, I agree, especially in the first half of the debate, but what is also so interesting to me and I think really important going forward, it wasn't just her performance that was dominating that first half of the debate. It was the fact that she was the frame for every question.

Whether she was being asked the question or not, it was her policy ideas of free college that was being asked about to other candidates. It was her economic vision that launched the debate. So, she was sort of the pacesetter for the entire field tonight. At least for the first quarter of the debate, first half of the debate.

(…)

11:14:22 p.m. Eastern

NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON: Yeah, and I mean, part of that was they were -- they seemed to be reluctant to go after Warren, right? Because she's the pacesetter. And you did see in I think different settings somebody like Klobuchar or other people go after Warren, but that didn't happen tonight. What I did think was odd about Warren's performance was she faded down the stretch.

GLORIA BORGER: Totally.

HENDERSON: It was like, is Warren still on the stage? He talks about fighting a lot. Right? I mean, she uses the word fight, that she has the courage to go after Donald Trump, to go after big businesses, to go after pharmaceutical companies, but in this debate, she didn't fight much to get a word in edgewise. Bill de Blasio was interrupting all the time. I think Warren, in the next debate, she's got to try to interrupt.

(…)

11:15:09 p.m. Eastern

DAVID AXELROD: I think she was well satisfied to let everybody else scrap with each other, she was at the center of the stage. The first question she got allowed her to lay out her economic premise. You know, she's been the most consistent candidate in this campaign in terms of her message, in terms of her policy, she got to share some of those. And I think she was pretty well satisfied to let everybody scrap with each other. She was unscathed in this.

NB Daily Campaigns & Elections 2020 Presidential Debates Political Groups Liberals & Democrats Cable Television CNN Other CNN Video David Chalian Nia-Malika Henderson David Axelrod Elizabeth Warren Van Jones

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