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In a Democratic presidential nomination battle as filled with as much ambiguity as life itself, Thursday’s debate was pure clarity for the media.
The Washington Post’s Dan Balz: “Biden delivered the kind of performance his supporters have been waiting for — combative when needed and in the thick of the action throughout.”
New York Times: “Mr. Biden was steadier in what was his third debate of the primary contest, rattling off statistics and parrying attacks with good cheer, though he still rambled at other moments. And despite their criticism, none of the nine other candidates onstage appeared to significantly damage his candidacy.”
New York Times: “In the end, Mr. Biden exited the stage the same way he entered it: the embattled-yet-clear front-runner, no matter if his meandering syntax and twisting verbal gymnastics sometimes failed to land clear points.”
The AP: “Unlike prior debates, where Biden struggled for words and seemed surprised by criticism from fellow Democrats, he largely delivered crisp, aggressive responses.”
Reuters: “Those expecting Joe Biden’s presidential candidacy to flame out any day now will have to keep waiting.”
Bloomberg: “Rivals eager to dislodge Joe Biden from his front-runner’s perch tried attacking him in last month’s debate and going easy on him in Thursday’s debate. Neither worked.”
The Wall Street Journal: “Mr. Biden was halting in some of responses, but largely weathered the attacks.”
Politico’s John Harris: “There was no one who clearly owned the stage and loomed obviously larger than rivals.”
Ye Olde Winners & Losers
**Biden didn’t do as well here:
Winners: Warren, Buttigieg,
Losers: Castro, Harris, Yang
New York Post:
Winners: Booker, Buttigieg, Castro, Warren
Losers: Biden, Sanders, Yang, Klobuchar
Winners: Biden, O’Rourke
Losers: Castro, Warren, Yang
Winners: Biden, Booker, Buttigieg
Losers: Castro, Sanders
Winners: Biden, Booker, Buttigieg, Sanders, Warren
Losers: Castro, Harris, Klobuchar, O’Rourke, Yang
My take: The frontrunner was almost universally declared the winner of a three-hour debate by the powerful media filter. Normally, it is impossible to know if the filter has gotten it right when it comes to the reactions of real voters. In this case, the consensus is so strong, the filter creates the reality as much as it interprets it. Biden won; Warren and Sanders are still part of the Big Three; the other seven need something big to break into the top tier.
In other news:
**Trump said Thursday that he thought the nominee would be Biden, Warren, or Sanders.
My take: Illustrating once again that the president is, on the question of who will be picked to face him, a creature of conventional wisdom.
**“Private-sector economists surveyed in recent days expect U.S. gross domestic product to expand an inflation-adjusted 2.2% this year on average, measured from the fourth quarter a year earlier. Forecasters expect economic growth will slow to 1.7% in 2020 and will be 1.9% in 2021.” (WSJ)
**Budget deficit is out of control. (CNBC)
My take: No 3% growth, no fiscal restraint = two Trump broken promises that a talented Democratic presidential nominee can definitely take advantage of.
The Wall Street Journal says China is looking to put economic issues and national security issues on two separate tracks in trade talks with the U.S, while Politico says the U.S. is going to seek a return to the macro deal terms that were close to being agreed to previously, while the New York Times says both sides are trying to lower tensions in advance of the looming talks.
My take: Déjà vu all over again, with markets and newspeople encouraged by various signs of new progress.
But incremental progress < nothing is decided until everything is decided.
Top sports story: Newton on loss: All fingers ‘pointing back to me’
Top business story: China Adds Soybeans, Pork to Tariff Exemptions Before U.S. Talks
Top entertainment story: ‘Game of Thrones’ prequel series about the Targaryen family in development at HBO, reports say
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