The Hill's 12:30 Report: Sparks fly at Detroit Democratic debate

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--> A midday take on what's happening in politics and how to have a sense of humor about it.*

*Ha. Haha. Hahah. Sniff. Haha. Sniff. Ha--breaks down crying hysterically.


The Hill's 12:30 Report: Key takeaways from Detroit debate's first night | Sights and sounds | Progressives, moderates brawl | Warren, Sanders dominate talk time | Williamson goes viral over 'dark psychic force' | Buttigieg forehead smudge explained | CNN takes heat over format | Tim RyanTimothy (Tim) RyanThe Hill's Coronavirus Report: HHS Secretary Azar says US plans to have tens of millions of vaccine doses this fall; Kremlin allegedly trying to hack vaccine research Democrats see victory in Trump culture war House Democrat calls for 'real adult discussion' on lawmaker pay MORE denies protesting anthem | Dems fear trap in Trump attacks on minority lawmakers | Senate to vote today on budget | Fight looms over Trump spy pick | National Avocado Day 



So we put our hands up like the ceiling can't hold us

Like the ceiling can't hold us: 




  1. Debate puts Democratic divides on display -- moderates vs. progressives
  2. Bernie SandersBernie SandersProgressives soaring after big primary night 'Absolutely incredible': Ocasio-Cortez congratulates Cori Bush on upset victory over Lacy Clay Sanders supporters launch six-figure ad campaign explaining why they're voting for Biden MORE gets lots of time, but Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenBill from Warren, Gillibrand and Waters would make Fed fight economic racial inequalities The other reason Democrats want Biden to shun debates The Memo: Biden faces balancing act MORE gets biggest moment
  3. Steve BullockSteve BullockRepublicans uncomfortably playing defense 300 green groups say Senate has 'moral duty' to reject Trump's public lands nominee Lincoln Project targets Senate races in Alaska, Maine, Montana with M ad buy MORE has big night -- this is the first debate that he qualified for.
  4. Marianne WilliamsonMarianne WilliamsonMarianne Williamson touts endorsements for progressive congressional candidates The Hill's 12:30 Report: Warren becomes latest 2020 rival to back Biden The Hill's Campaign Report: Biden looks to stretch lead in Tuesday contests MORE's 'dark psychic force' comment breaks internet and keeps her in race
  5. Beto O'RourkeBeto O'RourkeBeto O'Rourke calls Texas GOP 'a death cult' over coronavirus response Hegar, West to face off in bitter Texas Senate runoff Bellwether counties show trouble for Trump MORE sags; Pete ButtigiegPete ButtigiegCNN's Ana Navarro to host Biden roundtable on making 'Trump a one-term president' Former Indiana Gov. Joe Kernan dies How Republicans can embrace environmentalism and win MORE doesn't leave big impression

Context and details for each from The Hill's Max Greenwood and Jonathan Easley:

CNN was criticized for the debate format: "CNN faced backlash for its first primary debate of the 2020 campaign season, with members of the media comparing its production to a sporting event or movie trailer and others lamenting the time spent to kick off the event." Explanation from The Hill's Joe Concha: 

Here's a list of the top five moments during the debate:


It's Wednesday -- hump day! I'm Cate Martel with a quick recap of the morning and what's coming up. Send comments, story ideas and events for our radar to -- and follow along on Twitter @CateMartel and  Facebook.

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Now THIS you have to watch: Here is video of Montana Gov. Steve Bullock (D) scootering between the TV satellite trucks. Don't fall. Don't fall. Don't fall. Watch:

That's a nifty press badge: "The CNN press badge is in the shape of an orb, advantage Marianne" (From The Washington Post's Dave Weigel) Photo:


Tidbit: "A Marianne Williamson staffer told me in Miami that when she visits the networks, reporters and producers sneer at her but the makeup artists always cry when they meet her." (Via BuzzFeed's Ben Smith)



Did anyone notice the smudge on Pete Buttigieg's face at the beginning of the debate?: Here's a photo of the smudge: Then this morning, Buttigieg explained on CNN's "New Day": "Alright, so our best guess is that there were these little, kind of gnats around. Maybe I smushed one and it got on my forehead. I don't know," Buttigieg laughed. "I didn't know about it until after." Watch: 

LOL -- that is code for...: "Whenever a candidate says, 'My friend here,' it's code for 'This SOB that I want to punch in their face'"

Oops, that was Tim Ryan: Former Fox News host Bill O'Reilly confused Tim Ryan for Bill de BlasioBill de BlasioOvernight Health Care: Fauci says family has faced threats | Moderna to charge to a dose for its vaccine | NYC adding checkpoints to enforce quarantine New York City adding 'key entry point' checkpoints to enforce quarantine The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by the Air Line Pilots Association - Virus bill unlikely to pass this week MORE during the debate. Screenshot of the tweet:

The gif of the night: 'So we put our hands up like the ceiling can't hold us, like the ceiling can't hold us!' Gif of Sanders and Hickenlooper

Sir Charles was there: Photo:

On the age difference between Sanders and Buttigieg -- oh snap: "Buttigieg won an essay contest in high school by writing about then-Rep. Sanders." (Via NBC's Alex Seitz-Wald)

^ Eeeek: "Sanders was older when Buttigieg was born than Buttigieg is now." (From The Hill's Reid Wilson)

Observation after the debate: Right after last night's debate, CNN already added its countdown clock for the next debate.

New Twitter followers for each candidate: Marianne Williamson gained the most Twitter followers during the debate with 8,008. Full list of the Twitter follower increase:


Can't. Unsee.:


Observation about Beto's answer about the border: "O'Rourke was clearly prepared for that question about illegal border crossings - and had his answer down pat - right down to the time limit." (Via MSNBC's Garrett Haake)

Speaking times for each candidate: Elizabeth Warren spoke the most (18:33), followed by Bernie Sanders (17:45) and Pete Buttigieg (14:07). The full chart of speaking times:

The Fox Theatre is beautiful: Here's a photo of the debate venue:



The line of the night: "I don't understand why anyone goes through all the trouble of running for president of the United States just to talk about what we can't do and what we shouldn't fight for," Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) told former Rep. John DelaneyJohn DelaneyCoronavirus Report: The Hill's Steve Clemons interviews Rep. Rodney Davis Eurasia Group founder Ian Bremmer says Trump right on China but wrong on WHO; CDC issues new guidance for large gatherings The Hill's Coronavirus Report: Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas says country needs to rethink what 'policing' means; US cases surpass 2 million with no end to pandemic in sight MORE (D-Md.). Video of the back and forth:

The top tweeted moments of the nightNo. 1: Warren's line ^ to Delaney about "what we can't do." No. 2: Responses to the Green New Deal. No. 3: Williamson and Warren discussing racism.

The crowd got a kick out of this Marianne Williamson answer: "Crowd erupts after [Marianne] Williamson says the wonkiness of #DemDebate doesn't dispel 'the dark psychic force' of 'hate' coming from Trump."

^ The force I'm now picturing: For all the Stranger Things fans:

Powerful moment from Buttigieg: "A 13-year-old asked me what we're going to do about school safety and then began shaking and ... crying ... all I could think of looking into the eyes of this child is, 'we're supposed to be dealing with this so you don't have to.' "

Good representation of the night: " 'Might as well FedEx the election to Donald Trump,' Hickenlooper says of Sanders' policy being a losing strategy in 2020.  (This is definitely a moderates vs. progressives night.)"



From the chaos of the spin room: Claustrophobia warning. Video:

Let's play, 'where's Bernie?': Photo:

From Sen. Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyNRCC poll finds McBath ahead of Handel in Georgia Unemployment debate sparks GOP divisions Senate GOP divided over whether they'd fill Supreme Court vacancy  MORE (R-Utah): "Asked why @BernieSanders is so angry, the answer is simple: 28 years in Congress and never able to pass even a scintilla of his socialist agenda. All hat, no cattle."

Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio) denies protesting the national anthem: "Congressman Ryan wasn't protesting and didn't mean to make any statement last night in Detroit, it was a moment of absentmindedness while on a debate stage that won't happen again," his campaign said in a statement. During the anthem, Ryan did not place his hand on his heart, attracting attention on social media.

Williamson on herself: During an interview with CNN after the debate, Marianne Williamson said that besides herself, she's "a Bernie and Elizabeth person."


Finally, someone asks Warren the practical question we all want to know!: 



Such a relatable answer: A reporter asked Marianne Williamson if the night went as she hoped it would. Her answer: "I don't know yet. I mean, I'll tell you when, you know, later when I see the memes." Watch:



Who is debating tonight:

Sen. Michael BennetMichael Farrand BennetHow Congress is preventing a Medicare bankruptcy during COVID-19 Tom Cotton rips NY Times for Chinese scientist op-ed criticizing US coronavirus response Our national forests need protection — and Congress can help MORE (D-Colo.)

Former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenGOP chairmen hit back at accusation they are spreading disinformation with Biden probe Trump outraises Biden in July, surpasses billion for the cycle Duckworth: Republican coronavirus package would 'gut' Americans With Disabilities Act MORE

Sen. Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerEx-USAID employee apologizes, denies sending explosive tweets Exclusive: Democrats seek to increase racial diversity of pandemic relief oversight board USAID appointee alleges 'rampant anti-Christian sentiment' at agency MORE (D-N.J.)

Former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio

Rep. Tulsi GabbardTulsi GabbardFinancial firms facing serious hacking threat in COVID-19 era Gabbard drops defamation lawsuit against Clinton It's as if a Trump operative infiltrated the Democratic primary process MORE (D-Hawaii) 

Sen. Kirsten GillibrandKirsten GillibrandProgressives soaring after big primary night Bill from Warren, Gillibrand and Waters would make Fed fight economic racial inequalities Biden should pick the best person for the job — not the best woman MORE (D-N.Y.)

Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisTwitter bans Trump campaign until it deletes tweet with COVID-19 misinformation Virginia mayor refuses to resign over controversial Biden, 'Aunt Jemima' post Exclusive: Democrats seek to increase racial diversity of pandemic relief oversight board MORE (D-Calif.)

Gov. Jay InsleeJay Robert InsleeInslee, GOP's Culp advance in Washington governor's race Governors call for Trump to extend funding for National Guard coronavirus response Washington state officials confirm federal officers leaving Seattle MORE (D-Wash.)

Businessman Andrew YangAndrew YangIs this the end of the 'college experience'? Biden campaign to take over 'Supernatural' star's Instagram for interview Hillicon Valley: Justice Department announces superseding indictment against WikiLeaks' Assange | Facebook ad boycott gains momentum | FBI sees spike in coronavirus-related cyber threats | Boston city government bans facial recognition technology MORE


What time: 8 p.m. EDT

Rules and logistics for tonight's debate: 



Trump has a natural talent for setting traps:

Via The Hill's Mike Lillis and Scott Wong, "House Democrats up in arms over President TrumpDonald John TrumpLincoln Project ad dubs Jared Kushner the 'Secretary of Failure' Pence: Chief Justice Roberts 'has been a disappointment to conservatives' Twitter bans Trump campaign until it deletes tweet with COVID-19 misinformation MORE's attacks on minority lawmakers are sounding a warning to their own party heading into the 2020 elections: Don't take the bait."

Keep in mind: "While Democrats have rushed to the defense of Rep. Elijah CummingsElijah Eugene CummingsThe Hill's Campaign Report: Biden comes to Washington to honor John Lewis Lawmakers set for tearful goodbye to John Lewis We have 100 days to make our nation right MORE (D-Md.), the prominent Congressional Black Caucus member Trump has attacked this week, they also sense the president is setting a political trap."


Democrats are making their dissatisfaction clear:

Via The Hill's Jordain Carney and Morgan Chalfant, Democrats are signaling they will oppose President Trump's pick for director of national intelligence, Rep. John RatcliffeJohn Lee RatcliffeHillicon Valley: Google extending remote work policy through July 2021 | Intel community returns final Russia report to Senate committee after declassification | Study finds election officials vulnerable to cyberattacks Intel community returns final Russia report volume to Senate after declassification review Hillicon Valley: Feds warn hackers targeting critical infrastructure | Twitter exploring subscription service | Bill would give DHS cyber agency subpoena power MORE (R-Texas), setting up a brutal and uncertain confirmation battle.

What it would take for Ratcliffe to be rejected: "Republicans hold a 53-47 edge in the Senate, so it would take four GOP defections with unified Democratic opposition to deny Ratcliffe's confirmation."

Why Ratcliffe is controversial: "Ratcliffe, a three-term congressman and former federal prosecutor, has faced a wave of criticism for his dearth of intelligence credentials, and his opponents argue he lacks the experience to fulfill the role effectively ... Critics have also raised concerns that Ratcliffe, a staunch Trump ally, is too political for the role and will not be an unbiased steward of the nation's intelligence, an issue guaranteed to come up during his confirmation hearing." 

What to expect:



Happening today — let’s do this thing and get out of town:

The Senate is expected to vote on a House-passed two-year budget deal before they head out of town.

When: “Exact timing of the vote on the budget deal is not locked in yet but is expected to be announced by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellNegotiators remain far apart on coronavirus deal as deadline looms States begin removing Capitol's Confederate statues on their own Skepticism grows over Friday deadline for coronavirus deal MORE sometime Wednesday -- meaning the vote could come in the afternoon or evening or slip to Thursday.”  

Is it expected to pass?: Yes, it will likely pass. The House already approved the measure and left town last week.

What to expect, via CNN’s Ted Barrett and Lauren Fox



Announced this morning -- Puerto Rico's next governor:

"Outgoing Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló (D) on Wednesday named former Resident Commissioner Pedro PierluisiPedro Rafael PierluisiThere's only one candidate for Democrats in Puerto Rico Trump reignites Puerto Rico feud amid Hurricane Dorian The Hill's Morning Report - Trump vows federal response to Ohio, Texas shootings MORE (D) as his secretary of State designate, putting Pierluisi in line to become Puerto Rico's next governor."


He should just wear a target polo, tbh: 

Via The Hill's Alex Gangitano, "Democrats and organized labor aim to make Eugene Scalia, the pick to lead the Labor Department, a target in 2020 in hopes of testing President Trump's support among rank-and-file union voters."

Keep in mind: "Trump has yet to formally nominate Scalia but critics are already vowing to put a spotlight on that agenda and Scalia's work as a lawyer for businesses in high-profile labor fights." 



So close to recess, they can almost touch it:  



The Senate is in. The House is out. President Trump and Vice President Pence are in Washington, D.C. 

The Senate's full schedule today:

1:45 p.m. EDT: President Trump meets with the president of Mongolia. 

5 p.m. EDT: Vice President Pence speaks at a victory committee reception in Washington, D.C., for North Carolina House candidate Dan Bishop.

Today: Harry Potter's birthday! Photo of the celebration by the books' publisher:



11 a.m. EDT: Vice President Pence speaks at the Young America's Foundation Annual National Conservative Student Conference in Washington, D.C. Livestream:

2:30 p.m. EDT: Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell holds a press conference. The Fed is expected to cut rates today for the first time in a decade. Livestream:

8 p.m. EDT: The next Democratic presidential primary debate in Detroit.



Today is National Avocado Day.


What is better than Chipotle guac? Free Chipotle guac:

To celebrate National Avocado Day, Chipotle isn't charging for guacamole on its entrees.


And because it's been a long week so far, here's a proud mama parrot posing with her newborn. So photogenic!