Inside Sources: Democratic presidential debates in Detroit: Night II, Round II

Aug 1, 2019, 4:55 PM | Updated: Apr 13, 2020, 2:30 pm
Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., gestures to former Vice President Joe Biden on Wednesday during the second of two Democratic presidential primary debates in Detroit. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
(AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

In Part II, Boyd Matheson, host of “Inside Sources,” breaks down the Democratic presidential debates from Detroit. Read Matheson’s take on Night One here.

The second night of the second round featured less substance and more fighting coming from unusual places, according to Matheson.

Matheson says the social media-buzz moment from the first debate in Miami came from Sen. Kamala Harris of California when she took on former Vice President Joe Biden. But she didn’t seem to be prepared for the same Wednesday night when she came across as flatfooted during an attack from, of all places, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii.

“Senator Harris says she’s proud of her record as a prosecutor,” said Gabbard. “But I’m deeply concerned about this record. There are too many examples to cite but she put over 1,500 people in jail for marijuana violations and then laughed about it when she was asked if she ever smoked marijuana.”

Gabbard accused Harris of blocking evidence that would have freed an innocent man from death row and kept prisoners beyond their sentences to use as cheap labor in California.

The look on Harris’ face, Matheson observed, was very similar to the look Biden wore in the first debate when he looked around and said, “You’re questioning me?”

Harris’ staff should have known, Matheson said, that as a top-tier candidate one of her rivals was going to go after her record.

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York has been trying to get traction and her campaign has been one of the early disappointments, said Matheson, so it’s not surprising she took a swing at Biden.

“Mr. Vice President…what did you mean when you said when a woman works outside the home it’s resulting in, quote, ‘the deterioration of family?'”

Biden was ready for it and, in Matheson’s view, delivered.

“I wrote the Violence against Women Act. Lilly Ledbetter. I was deeply involved in making sure the equal pay amendments. You came to Syracuse University with me and said it was wonderful.  I don’t know what’s happened except that you’re now running for president,” Biden responded to long applause.

Booker shines, Harris darkens

The big winner of the night’s debate, Matheson said, was Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey. He struggled and seemed overprepared and over-scripted in the first debate.

But Wednesday night, “It was the Cory Booker I saw in the halls of Congress,” said Matheson.

“I have a frustration that sometimes people are saying the only thing they want is to beat Donald Trump. Well, that is the floor and not the ceiling,” he said in closing. “He wants to take all the oxygen out of the room. It’s when we start focusing on each other and understanding that our common bonds and our common purpose to address our common pain is what has saved us before. It’s what’s going to save us now.”

Contrast his closing statement with that of Harris.

“We have a predator living in the White House,” she began. “Donald Trump has predatory nature and predatory instincts. And the thing about predators is this. By their very nature, they prey on people they perceive to be weak. They prey on people they perceive to be vulnerable. They prey on people who are in need of help, often desperate for help. And predators are cowards.”

Harris chose to go dark, Matheson said.

“It was very clear that this was a target against President Trump,” he said, “[but] doing it in your closing argument at a debate is not a great place to do that.”

“I think that was a huge mistake for the Harris campaign to go that dark,” Matheson said.

“The American people are not a grievance society,” he pointed out. “We get mad, we get plenty mad — that is very American, for sure, but we don’t stay there. In America, there’s not time to wallow in it.”

Former Sen. Rick Santorum

Matheson asked former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania and ex-presidential candidate in 2012 about his takeaways from the stage as a commentator for CNN during the debates in Detroit.

“How much the Democratic Party has moved to the left,” Santorum said. “To see folks who are as liberal and…progressive as you would have ever seen in Democratic politics complaining and attacking the Sanders-Warren wing of the party as just being out of touch with reality is just a remarkable thing to see.

“These people are really extreme,” he added “and yet they are becoming the center of the Democratic Party.”

Matheson asked Santorum: “What’s the one thing in this country that we should all be talking about, but we’re not?”

“The breakdown of the family. And our birthrate is almost Western European. Obviously, popular culture in undermining traditional families, news media is undermining traditional families.  We need to understand as conservatives that you can’t have limited government if you don’t have strong families,” said Santorum.


Today’s Top Stories


Former astronaut and Utah Sen. Jake Garn will be honored Saturday with an art installation tribute ...
Mark Jones

Former Utah Sen. Jake Garn to be honored with art tribute on Saturday

Former Utah Sen. Jake Garn will be honored with an art installation tribute Saturday at the Salt Lake City International Airport.
2 days ago
President John F. Kennedy signs the Mental Retardation Facilities and Community Mental Health Cente...
Curt Gresseth

Is forcing the homeless into treatment the answer?

NYC Mayor Eric Adams has announced a program that involuntarily treats homeless people in "psychiatric crisis." A BYU psychologist weighs the New York approach against the ethics of patient autonomy.
2 days ago
File photo: Soldiers from the Utah National Guard prepare to depart Roland R. Wright Air National G...
Amie Schaeffer

Utah Air National Guard Airman dies during routine deployment

An airman from the Utah National Guard passed away from undisclosed medical issues while deployed in Guam on Nov. 29.
3 days ago
Former Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson wants his old job back. ...
Mark Jones

Rocky Anderson announces bid to run for SLC mayor in 2023

Former Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson announced Wednesday that he is seeking reelection to get his old job back.
4 days ago
Former Vice President Mike Pence is seen here with audience members after appearing at at CNN town ...
Veronica Stracqualursi, CNN

Pence says Trump was ‘wrong’ for dinner with Holocaust denier

Former Vice President Mike Pence says former President Donald Trump was wrong for having dinner with a Holocaust denier and should apologize for it.
5 days ago
FILE - A Montana man was sentenced to three years in prison for his role in the Capitol riot. (AP P...
The Associated Press

Montana man gets 3 years in prison for role in Capitol riot

A Montana man will spend three years in federal prison for his role in the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the U.S Capitol.
9 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Spicy Homemade Loaded Taters Tots...

5 game day snacks for the whole family (with recipes!)

Try these game day snacks to make watching football at home with your family feel like a special occasion. 
Happy joyful smiling casual satisfied woman learning and communicates in sign language online using...

The best tools for Deaf and hard-of-hearing workplace success

Here are some of the best resources to make your workplace work better for Deaf and hard-of-hearing employees.
Team supporters celebrating at a tailgate party...

8 Delicious Tailgate Foods That Require Zero Prep Work

In a hurry? These 8 tailgate foods take zero prep work, so you can fuel up and get back to what matters most: getting hyped for your favorite
christmas decorations candles in glass jars with fir on a old wooden table...
Western Nut Company

12 Mason Jar Gift Ideas for the 12 Days of Christmas [with recipes!]

There are so many clever mason jar gift ideas to give something thoughtful to your neighbors or friends. Read our 12 ideas to make your own!
wide shot of Bear Lake with a person on a stand up paddle board...

Pack your bags! Extended stays at Bear Lake await you

Work from here! Read our tips to prepare for your extended stay, whether at Bear Lake or somewhere else nearby.
young boy with hearing aid...

Accommodations for students who are deaf and hard of hearing

These different types of accommodations for students who are deaf and hard of hearing can help them succeed in school.
Inside Sources: Democratic presidential debates in Detroit: Night II, Round II