CNN: 'Sharp' Kamala 'Commanded the Stage' in Her 'Masterful Performance'

Following Wednesday’s portion of the first 2020 Democratic debate, CNN’s exclusively liberal panel decided that Senator Elizabeth Warren (MA) was the winner, while some thought it belonged to former HUD Secretary Julian Castro. But after the second half of the debate on Thursday, the CNN panel gushed and uniformly agreed that California Senator Kamala Harris won the day.

I think Kamala Harris owned the night. It was a masterful performance from her, unexpected in many ways,” praised senior political reporter Nia-Malika Henderson in reference to Harris’s fight with former Vice President Joe Biden. “[I]t was unexpected to have her go for this topic around race and around busing and use her personal story to really prosecute the case against his position on busing.”

AC360 host Anderson Cooper agreed, noting that Harris “also used her opportunities very well.”

CNN chief political analyst Gloria Borger thought Harris’s past career as a prosecutor worked to her advantage and made Biden look “fuzzy” and with no strategy (Click “expand”):

BORGER: She did. I think it helps to be a really good prosecutor in this circumstance, and she knows how to get to the point. And she did. I do think it was risky with Joe Biden, but for the life of me I can't figure out what Joe Biden's strategy was during this debate. Shouldn't he have been prepared?

HENDERSON: Right.

BORGER: That someone was going to talk about his praise for Senator Eastland and segregationists that he worked with in the Senate? Instead, he came out and said, that's not what I said. That's not what I said. It was the same old, same old. So I think that he was kind of fuzzy, and she was sharp. She knew exactly where she wanted to go. She knew how to do it and when, you know, to your point, when to come in. And I think that he was sort of put off by it in a way. He was sort of shaking his head and saying, you know, no.

 

 

There was even more hype from CNN political director David Chalian, who declared that it was “crystal clear that Kamala Harris just completely commanded that stage.

This was her debate,” he continued. “This was Kamala Harris' moment… This was it, and it was huge because it's before the biggest audience thus far that any of them have been before. And she just moved herself, I think, tonight in a very important way.

Then came the analysis we’ve all been waiting for: Van Jones, known for his energetic takes. “Kamala Harris had a moment that was two hours long,” the liberal commentator proclaimed with glee.

According to him, “a star was born tonight” from that “masterful performance” on the debate stage. And he seemed ready to jump straight to the general election with Harris at the top of the ticket, suggesting she was ready to beat President Trump:

She completely dominated the stage, and most importantly, she would kick Donald Trump's butt, and she proved it tonight. That was -- If you had any doubt that you could nominate a woman that would take Donald Trump to the woodshed, she just took it away from you.

All told, it appears CNN had found their second-night winner.

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

CNN’s DNC Debate Post Analysis
June 27, 2019
10:58:58 p.m. Eastern

NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON: I think Kamala Harris owned the night. It was a masterful performance from her, unexpected in many ways. I think a lot of us went into this debate thinking it would be a brawl between Sanders and Biden, and it was unexpected to have her go for this topic around race and around busing and use her personal story to really prosecute the case against his position on busing.

ANDERSON COOPER: She also used her opportunities very well.

(…)

COOPER: At times just cut through the clutter and that irritating moment, you know, it's always irritating when everybody speaks over each other, and that there was a lot of that especially early on. And Kamala Harris sort of took that moment and made it work for her.

GLORIA BORGER: She did. I think it helps to be a really good prosecutor in this circumstance, and she knows how to get to the point. And she did. I do think it was risky with Joe Biden, but for the life of me I can't figure out what Joe Biden's strategy was during this debate. Shouldn't he have been prepared?

HENDERSON: Right.

BORGER: That someone was going to talk about his praise for Senator Eastland and segregationists that he worked with in the Senate? Instead, he came out and said, that's not what I said. That's not what I said. It was the same old, same old.

So I think that he was kind of fuzzy, and she was sharp. She knew exactly where she wanted to go. She knew how to do it and when, you know, to your point, when to come in. And I think that he was sort of put off by it in a way. He was sort of shaking his head and saying, you know, no.

(…)

DAVID CHALIAN: Anderson, I think, you know, sometimes we all sit and watch these debates and sometimes it's very difficult to determine who won a debate or not. And sometimes it's not at all.

[Laughter]

CHALIAN: It was so crystal clear that Kamala Harris just completely commanded that stage. This was her debate. This was Kamala Harris' moment. You know, she shot out of the gate at the beginning with a very impressive launch, and she had a very good fund-raising number in that first quarter. And since then, people have been looking for the next Kamala Harris moment.

COOPER: Yeah.

CHALIAN: This was it, and it was huge because it's before the biggest audience thus far that any of them have been before. And she just moved herself, I think, tonight in a very important way.

(…)

VAN JONES: Kamala Harris had a moment that was two hours long.

CHALIAN: Right.

JONES: I mean a star was born tonight.

COOPER: You said earlier tonight at 8 o’clock that you were waiting for Kamala Harris to have her moment.

JONES: Listen, a star was born tonight. This is a masterful performance. She completely dominated the stage, and most importantly, she would kick Donald Trump's butt, and she proved it tonight. That was -- If you had any doubt that you could nominate a woman that would take Donald Trump to the woodshed, she just took it away from you.

(…)

NB Daily Campaigns & Elections 2020 Presidential Debates Political Groups Liberals & Democrats Cable Television CNN Other CNN Video David Chalian Nia-Malika Henderson Gloria Borger Van Jones Kamala Harris

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