This is the last podcast for the pre ABC News 2020 Democratic debate.  The debate will air for three hours this Thursday and we at The World As I Like It To Be podcast will be watching from 8 to 11pm est. 

Expect to find the post debate podcast over the weekend (tbd).

In today’s extra long, jam packed episode we focus on the top issues each candidate is running on and if it is a winning or losing position.

With me is Denise from California.

The top three are the final three in our podcast review.  They are Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr.

Take a listen:

Biden down

In the news, Biden’s polling numbers have slipped five points.  According to Politico a new CNN poll shows Warren ascendant and the two creeping up on the former vice president.

The CNN poll shows a drop of 5 percentage points in support for Biden in the last three weeks, to 24 percent from 29 percent. The national survey of Democratic primary voters also saw Warren jump Sanders for second place, though the two are still within the margin of sampling error at 18 percent and 17 percent, respectively.

The latest numbers come a little over 24 hours before the top three contenders appear on the same debate stage for the first time in the primary contest. Thursday’s debate in Houston will, more specifically, feature Biden and Warren together for the first time, a dynamic that comes with more scrutiny as Warren continues her steady climb in the polls.

Mr. Tough Guy

As the nation readies itself for the next debate, the president spent Wednesday remember 911 and attacking John Bolton. In the Oval Office he said:

John is somebody that I actually get along with very well. He made some very big mistakes,” Trump said, repeatedly referencing Bolton’s invocation of a “Libya model” for North Korean denuclearization in April 2018.

“It set us back, and frankly, he wanted to do things not necessarily tougher than me,” Trump said. “You know, John’s known as a tough guy. He’s so tough, he got us into Iraq. That’s tough.”

“You know, John wasn’t in line with what we were doing, and actually, in some cases, he thought it was too tough what we were doing,” Trump said. “‘Mr. Tough Guy.’ You know, ‘You have to go into Iraq.’ Going into Iraq was something that he felt very strongly about.”

As we mention in the blog yesterday,  Trump claimed by tweet he fired Bolton, but the former NSC director texted Fox and Friends to tell Brian Killmeade, he quit.

Elizabeth Warren

On today’s podcast we played some sound with Elizabeth Warren.  First we start with the senator at a CNN Town Hall.   She is asked about light bulbs and she says the focus should be on the big corporations and not the lightbulbs and straws.

Next, she apologized to native people about her “ridicule” of her perceived native American ancestry.

Finally, she goes after defense secretary Mark Esper over his refusal to commit to recusing himself over contracts involving his former client Raytheon.  

Bernie Sanders

The Vermont senator spoke to Ady Barkin who has been a fierce fighter with Warren and Sanders on this issue of healthcare.   Some may remember in the last debate, Warren brought up Barkin, who has excellent healthcare, during the last debate.

To watch the full interview with Sanders by Now This, take a look here:

Bernie was also on Late Night with Seth Meyers. We clipped a portion for our podcast, you can view the full video here:

Joe Biden

On our podcast briefly went through major issues that benefit or hurt the vice president.

On of the things we did not have time to discuss was the history, for democrats, when you are the front runner:

  • According to Politico, a Biden backer warns he is at risk of losing New Hampshire: Lou D’Allesandro, the longest-serving state senator and highest-ranking elected official in the state who’s endorsed Biden, spoke with the candidate before a town hall event here.
  • D’Allesandro was blunt in his advice: Listen more. Talk less. Answer succinctly. Get your campaign operation organized.
  • “I told him that he’s gotta energize his speeches, and they need to be shorter and more to the point,” D’Allesandro said. “He’s gotta zero in on things and address them, and address them succinctly.”
  • The candidate then held an hour-long town hall that some attendees, including D’Allesandro, described as sleepy at times.
  • Other prominent Democrats in the state agreed with the state senator’s overall critique of Biden, and noted his campaign appears less than organized. For example, key local Democrats were not sent invitations to Friday’s event.
  • “Some of their events are a cluster f–k,” said a senior Democratic party member who is uncommitted in the primary and asked for anonymity to speak candidly.
  • in Iowa have similar concerns about the candidate and his operation.
  • “I think Vice President Biden needs to speak less, and listen more, and let people talk,” said Iowa State Senator Tony Bisignano. “When you campaign and you knock on a door, what you should be doing is 75 percent talking about them, and hear how they are doing.”

Vanity Fair outlines the pitfalls Biden has to overcome: an unnamed aide, on a conference call with reporters, seemed to downplay the importance of winning the Iowa caucuses.

  • “I think we’ll win,” one of the advisers said. “Do I think it’s a must-win? No.”
  • Dunn says the remarks were taken out of context, and the point was that Democrats believe in a nominee who is chosen by a diverse group of states. “Iowa is important,” she says, “but sometimes the person who wins does not have momentum. Ask Barack Obama, or Walter Mondale.
  • The Washington Post charts this history of Iowa and New Hampshire as well as Biden’s previous runs for the president: He didn’t make it to the Iowa caucuses in his 1988 run, as he dropped out in 1987 amid charges of plagiarism. He made it to Iowa in 2008, and his team believed things were moving sufficiently in his direction in the days before the caucuses that he would come out of the state prepared to compete for the nomination. Instead, he finished with just 1 percent of the vote and not a single delegate. He dropped out after that loss but said, “I ain’t going away.”
  • The Biden team has said it expects the nomination race to last many months after Iowa and New Hampshire. Perhaps that is lowering expectations or merely being ready for a long battle.

His performance during the climate change debate as compared to others is getting roundly panned:

Vox news in its winners and loser town hall review marks Biden a loser: He was called out for planning to attend a Thursday campaign fundraiser co-hosted by Andrew Goldman, who helped found the natural gas company Western LNG.

  • Biden gave long and often rambling answers about his climate plan, noting that climate groups gave it a “B+ or beyond.” He declined to join some of his opponents in supporting a nationwide ban on fracking. And he kept returning to the point that his experience talking to world leaders as Obama’s vice president would help him build an international climate coalition. In doing so, Biden seemed to suggest that whatever the US did to decarbonize ultimately wouldn’t matter if the rest of the world didn’t follow the lead.
  • Even Juan Williams of Fox News called his performance lackluster: Biden comes off as more moderate and deliberate than progressives Sens. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., who seem more passionate about the topic, Williams said Thursday.
  • “He comes across as, ‘Well, here’s an idea,’ and, ‘I’m thinking about this,’ and ‘We don’t need the details because, generally, we’re thinking about it.'”
  • According to the Nation: Biden repeated a right-wing talking point about the United States’ being responsible for “only 15 percent of the problem,” a point that omits the responsibility this country bears as the world’s biggest carbon polluter historically, as well as the US role in driving technological innovation that can be adopted elsewhere. 
  • On fracking, Biden said that rather than trying to ban the practice nationally (something that Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and a few other candidates have called for, though a president can’t do that unilaterally on private land), he favored no new wells on public lands