CNN Grills Candidates On Why They Targeted Sen. Warren During Debate

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As part of the post-debate routine, Democratic presidential candidates make the rounds with their friends in the liberal media (especially the host network) and take part in softball interviews. But there was a common theme throughout the questions CNN lobbed at their guests Tuesday night: Why were you targeting Senator Elizabeth Warren (MA) so aggressively?

The first candidate to make their way over to CNN’s panel of liberals was Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar. One of the first questions co-host Jake Tapper pressed the Senator on addressed her aggressiveness on stage and if it could hurt a future candidate (click “expand”):

Well, you were more aggressive this evening. Right? I mean, you can acknowledge you were a little bit more aggressive in terms of challenging some of the other candidates on stage.

(…)

So, Senator Cory Booker seemed upset, distressed that there were disagreements going on on stage. And that people were saying things that could be used against the eventual nominee. How much did that thought come across your head?

Liberal political commentator Van Jones cut right to the chase and asked Klobuchar about why she was opposed to Warren’s ideas. “Is there something that you're aware of now, you’re seeing the ascendance of Elizabeth Warren, and some of these other ideas that have you afraid,” he wondered.

The next candidate was South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg. Co-host Chris Cuomo was very direct and stern with his interrogation-like approach to asking Buttigieg about why he went after Warren. “Warren was a target for you and others. Why,” he pointedly asked.

That was followed up by chief political correspondent Dana Bash asking Buttigieg:

Why -- I have a question specifically on Senator Warren's answer to you on Medicare for all and how she'll pay for it. But just broadly. Why did you think it was so important to go after Senator Warren tonight in a way that you haven't before?

 

 

Almost immediately after a commercial break, Tapper’s very first question to New Jersey Senator Cory Booker was about what he thought of the other candidates criticizing Warren the way that they did:

It did seem like there was a lot of criticism of Elizabeth Warren. Especially coming from candidates that might be vying for the more of the moderation – more of the moderate lane kind of. Buttigieg, Klobuchar. I'm not asking you to be a pundit here, but were you surprised at how much incoming there was at her? Especially because you were criticizing people for doing it.

Tapper offered a similar question to Senator Kamala Harris (CA): “Did the dynamics on the stage feel different? It felt like a lot more people were going directly at Senator Warren as opposed to Vice President Biden, including you.

Cuomo would go on to battle businessman Andrew Yang using Warren’s positions (click “expand”):

ANDREW YANG: I just want to give full credit to the CNN moderators for talking about the seriousness of the fourth industrial revolution in automation. We're here in Ohio, and Ohio has lost over 300,000 manufacturing jobs and went eight points to Donald Trump in the last election.

CUOMO: But that's a good story, but it's not the reality. That's what Senator Elizabeth Warren said. Innovation, you know, sounds good, makes a great story. Not why we're losing jobs.

Keeping on topic, when they finally got to interview Warren herself, the first thing Tapper wanted to know was how it felt to have the rest of the field challenging her:

And Senator, this was the first debate where you were really a co-front-runner with Vice President Biden, and I have to say based on the amount of incoming going your way, it seems like whatever the Democratic voters think, your colleagues think that you're the frontrunner. Do you think any of the attacks that you faced tonight were out of bounds?

Interestingly, most of the over 18-minute-long interview with Warren involved grilling her and trying to get her to admit she would raise taxes on the middle-class to pay for her Medicare for all plan.

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

CNN Debate Post Analysis
October 15, 2019
11:16:07 p.m. Eastern

[Questions to Senator Amy Klobuchar]

(…)

JAKE TAPPER: Well, you were more aggressive this evening. Right? I mean, you can acknowledge you were a little bit more aggressive in terms of challenging some of the other candidates on stage.

(…)

TAPPER: So, Senator Cory Booker seemed upset, distressed that there were disagreements going on on stage. And that people were saying things that could be used against the eventual nominee. How much did that thought come across your head?

(…)

VAN JONES: Your passion was at a different gear. You may not have known it, but it was obvious, man. And I wonder are you afraid that the party is going in a direction that will just get us killed here in the middle of the country? Is there something that you're aware of now, you’re seeing the ascendance of Elizabeth Warren, and some of these other ideas that have you afraid?

(…)

[Questions to Mayor Pete Buttigieg]

CHRIS CUOMO: So, a little bit more of a pivot of, “we have to beat somebody in the form of this president. Here's why I think the timing is now. Here are the choices.” Warren was a target for you and others. Why?

(…)

DANA BASH: Why -- I have a question specifically on Senator Warren's answer to you on Medicare for all and how she'll pay for it. But just broadly. Why did you think it was so important to go after Senator Warren tonight in a way that you haven't before?

(…)

[Questions to Senator Cory Booker]

TAPPER: Welcome back with me as you can see is New Jersey Senator Cory Booker. Senator, thanks so much for joining us.

SEN. CORY BOOKER: I’m grateful, man.

TAPPER: It did seem like there was a lot of criticism of Elizabeth Warren. Especially coming from candidates that might be vying for the more of the moderation – more of the moderate lane kind of. Buttigieg, Klobuchar. I'm not asking you to be a pundit here, but were you surprised at how much incoming there was at her? Especially because you were criticizing people for doing it.

(…)

[Questions to Senator Kamala Harris]

SEN. KAMALA HARRIS: Good to be with you.

TAPPER: Did the dynamics on the stage feel different? It felt like a lot more people were going directly at Senator Warren as opposed to Vice President Biden, including you.

(…)

[Questions to businessman Andrew Yang]

ANDREW YANG: I just want to give full credit to the CNN moderators for talking about the seriousness of the fourth industrial revolution in automation. We're here in Ohio, and Ohio has lost over 300,000 manufacturing jobs and went eight points to Donald Trump in the last election.

CUOMO: But that's a good story, but it's not the reality. That's what Senator Elizabeth Warren said. Innovation, you know, sounds good, makes a great story. Not why we're losing jobs.

(…)

[Questions to Senator Elizabeth Warren]

TAPPER: Welcome back. We have with us Massachusetts Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren. And Senator, this was the first debate where you were really a co-front-runner with Vice President Biden, and I have to say based on the amount of incoming going your way, it seems like whatever the Democratic voters think, your colleagues think that you're the frontrunner. Do you think any of the attacks that you faced tonight were out of bounds?

(…)

TAPPER: There did seem to be -- first of all, Beto O’Rourke suggested that you want to punish billionaires. And there also seemed to be this theme that you're not being straight with the American people because you're not saying, “middle-class voters, yes, your taxes will go up, but your overall costs will go down. So overall you're going to end up paying less.” The way I just said it.

(…)

NB Daily Campaigns & Elections 2020 Presidential Debates Political Groups Liberals & Democrats Cable Television CNN Other CNN Video Jake Tapper Chris Cuomo Elizabeth Warren

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