The second night of the first Democratic presidential primary debate degenerated into a socialist free-for-all, with every candidate pledging taxpayer-funded health care for illegals, calls for slavery reparations, plans to confiscate guns from Americans and an Oprah-endorsed New Age guru claiming she could defeat Trump by calling on New Zealand and the power of love.
But the highlight of the night was California Senator Kamala Harris calling former Vice President Joe Biden a segregation-loving racist in an attack that left him deflated.
The night started with vicious attacks on America’s health care system, with candidates vowing to impose government-run programs on Americans, even though it means closing hospitals and criminalizing private care.
Early in the debate, moderators asked candidates to raise their hand if their health care proposals included guaranteed coverage for illegal aliens. Every candidate raised their hand.
From there, candidates vowed to repeal laws criminalizing illegal immigration and grant amnesty to tens of millions of illegals living in the U.S. — giving them a pathway to voter registration.
It got crazier when California Congressman Eric Swalwell began screaming about his plans to forcibly confiscate every semi-automatic firearm in America. He previously taunted gun owners with threats to use nuclear weapons on American cities if people refused to turn in their firearms.
On the fringe of the debate, literally and figuratively, was New Age love guru and Oprah Winfrey Book Club author Marianne Williamson, who claimed she could defeat Trump by “harnessing love” and that her first act as President would be to call the Prime Minister of New Zealand, who she described as “my girlfriend.”
But the highlight of the night was Harris delivering a direct shot at Biden, leaving him shaken.
A transcript of the exchange reads:
HARRIS: Growing up, my sister and I had to deal with the neighbor who told us her parents couldn’t play with us because she — because we were black. And I will say also that — that, in this campaign, we have also heard — and I’m going to now direct this at Vice President Biden, I do not believe you are a racist, and I agree with you when you commit yourself to the importance of finding common ground.
But I also believe, and it’s personal — and I was actually very — it was hurtful to hear you talk about the reputations of two United States senators who built their reputations and career on the segregation of race in this country. And it was not only that, but you also worked with them to oppose busing.
And, you know, there was a little girl in California who was part of the second class to integrate her public schools, and she was bused to school every day. And that little girl was me.
So I will tell you that, on this subject, it cannot be an intellectual debate among Democrats. We have to take it seriously. We have to act swiftly. As attorney general of California, I was very proud to put in place a requirement that all my special agents would wear body cameras and keep those cameras on.
RACHEL MADDOW (Moderator): Senator Harris, thank you. Vice President Biden, you have been invoked. We’re going to give you a chance to respond.
BIDEN: It’s a mischaracterization of my position across the board. I did not praise racists. That is not true, number one. Number two, if we want to have this campaign litigated on who supports civil rights and whether I did or not, I’m happy to do that.
I was a public defender. I didn’t become a prosecutor. I came out and I left a good law firm to become a public defender, when, in fact — when, in fact, my city was in flames because of the assassination of Dr. King, number one.
Number two, as the U.S. — excuse me, as the vice president of the United States, I worked with a man who, in fact, we worked very hard to see to it we dealt with these issues in a major, major way.
The fact is that, in terms of busing, the busing, I never — you would have been able to go to school the same exact way because it was a local decision made by your city council. That’s fine. That’s one of the things I argued for, that we should not be — we should be breaking down these lines.
But so the bottom line here is, look, everything I have done in my career, I ran because of civil rights, I continue to think we have to make fundamental changes in civil rights, and those civil rights, by the way, include not just only African-Americans, but the L.G.B.T. community.
HARRIS: But, Vice President Biden, do you agree today — do you agree today that you were wrong to oppose busing in America then? Do you agree?
BIDEN: I did not oppose busing in America. What I opposed is busing ordered by the Department of Education. That’s what I opposed. I did not oppose ——
HARRIS: Well, there was a failure of states to integrate public schools in America. I was part of the second class to integrate Berkeley, California, public schools almost two decades after Brown v. Board of Education.
BIDEN: Because your city council made that decision. It was a local decision.
HARRIS: So that’s where the federal government must step in.
BIDEN: The federal government ——
HARRIS: That’s why we have the Voting Rights Act and the Civil Rights Act. That’s why we need to pass the Equality Act. That’s why we need to pass the E.R.A., because there are moments in history where states fail to preserve the civil rights of all people.
Biden attempted to give a fumbling 30-second response before giving up and moaning, “My time is up. Sorry.”
Yes, Joe. “My time is up. Sorry.”