Julián Castro, the lowest-polling candidate in the Democratic debate Thursday night, reached up the ladder and tried to yank Joe Biden off it.
Castro’s decision to attack the former vice president and 2020 front-runner, in a way that appeared designed to highlight Biden’s advancing age, was a high-stakes move at a time when the former Housing and Urban Development secretary needs a big boost of momentum to change the trajectory of his campaign.
But it may well backfire, inspiring a shocked reaction from Democrats in the audience and fact-checking of Castro’s specifics afterward — the latest in a series of moves against Biden that, in retrospect, are looking more like cautionary tales.
CBS News reports:
In the post-debate spin room after the third Demcratic debate, CBS News’ Ed O’Keefe pressed Julián Castro on his line of attack against Joe Biden, perhaps the most memorable exchange of the night. Castro accused Biden of contradicting himself and wondered whether the former vice president’s memory was failing him in what appeared to many to be an attack on Biden’s age.
“Are you forgetting what you said two minutes ago? Are you forgetting already what you said just two minutes ago? I mean, I can’t believe that you said two minutes ago that they had to buy in and now you’re saying they don’t have to buy in,” Castro said to Biden. “You’re forgetting that.”
Castro asserted that media fact checkers agreed. “This was a conversation about why he’s denying saying that you would have to ‘buy in,”‘ Castro said. “If you lose your job, you would automatically ‘buy in”‘ and “not everybody can buy into a plan,” he told O’Keefe.
Vanity Fair reports:
Castro’s line of attack against Biden didn’t sit well with the other politicians onstage, who decried the partisan in-fighting on display.
“This is why presidential debates are becoming unwatchable,” Mayor Pete Buttigieg cut in to say, starting in on a diatribe. “This reminds everybody of what they can not stand about Washington.”
Castro interrupted Buttigieg, saying, “That’s called an election. This is what we’re here for.” But Senator Amy Klobuchar pushed back, telling Castro, “But a house divided cannot stand.”
That was a kinda low attack from Castro to keep repeating “you’re forgetting” when Biden clearly wasn’t forgetting what he had said. The real attack there was too obvious.
— Ezra Klein (@ezraklein) September 13, 2019
My takeaways: Biden had a decent night, mostly buoyed by some unfair personal attacks on him. Warren and Bernie were serviceable, but didn’t move needles either way. Harris seemed too rehearsed. Buttigieg, Booker, Yang and Beto had standout moments. Castro is done. #DemDebate
— S.E. Cupp (@secupp) September 13, 2019
Buttigieg, the youngest candidate, is the adult in the room, schooling Castro for his truly dickish, personal attacks on Biden. #DemDebate
— S.E. Cupp (@secupp) September 13, 2019
Tale of the transcript:
Biden, 8:22 pm: “Anyone who can’t afford it gets automatically enrolled in the Medicare-type option we have.”
Castro, 8:35: “You just two minutes ago they would have to buy in. Are you forgetting what you said two minutes ago?”
— Mike Memoli (@mikememoli) September 13, 2019
Here’s video of that Castro-Biden clash over health care — with Castro repeatedly saying “are you forgetting what you said two minutes ago?”
Already heard from several Dems who called it an ugly + disrespectful exchange. pic.twitter.com/AcOAtX808U
— Dan Diamond (@ddiamond) September 13, 2019
Bernie Sanders on Julián Castro’s attack on Joe Biden’s memory: “I will disagree with Joe on our record and our vision for the future. I am not going to go after him personally, that’s not right.” pic.twitter.com/hTnEzGq4oS
— CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) September 13, 2019
“I just thought this was not cool,” Amy Klobuchar tells @DanaBashCNN of Julian Castro’s dig at Biden’s memory. “I thought that was so personal and so unnecessary.”
— Manu Raju (@mkraju) September 13, 2019
Julián Castro goes after Joe Biden on health care: “I’m fulfilling the legacy of Barack Obama, and you’re not.”
— ABC News (@ABC) September 13, 2019
It’s clear what was said.
Biden: “If you want Medicare, if you lose the job from your insurance—from your employer, you automatically can buy into this.”
I don’t think anyone should have to buy in to health coverage.
— Julián Castro (@JulianCastro) September 13, 2019