The Hill's 12:30 Report: Sights and sounds from Houston debate

The Hill's 12:30 Report: Sights and sounds from Houston 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: Sights and sounds from Houston | Debate takeaways | Warren looked like 2020 front-runner | Trump rips ‘sad’ impeachment effort | Congress to ignore Trump’s wall request in government funding | Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzTrump circuit court nominee in jeopardy amid GOP opposition Trump has officially appointed one in four circuit court judges On The Money: Retirement savings bill blocked in Senate after fight over amendments | Stopgap bill may set up December spending fight | Hardwood industry pleads for relief from Trump trade war MORE hopes to ‘run again’ for president | Full moon on Friday the 13th | Krispy Kreme’s doughnut deal today




Three debates down, only nine *nervous laugh* to go…:



  1. Joe BidenJoe BidenDemocrats face make-or-break moment on impeachment Here are the key players to watch at impeachment hearing George Kent: What you need to know MORE holds ground amid a barrage of attacks
  2. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenOvernight Energy: BLM staff face choice of relocation or resignation as agency moves | Trump says he's 'very much into climate' | EPA rule would expand limits on scientific studies Krystal Ball credits Gabbard's upswing in 2020 race to 'feckless' Democratic establishment Outsider candidates outpoll insider candidates MORE acts like a front-runner
  3. Former President Obama’s legacy comes to forefront
  4. Beto O'RourkeBeto O'RourkeO'Rourke says he 'absolutely' plans to stay in politics Krystal Ball: Buttigieg is 'the boomer candidate' Language is a weapon in political warfare — if the media play along MORE has a good night, but does it matter?
  5. Last night didn't change a thing*

*Most importantly

Context and details for each

It’s Friday ... the 13th. Oh, and we will have a full moon tonight ... just saying. 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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Booker’s best joke of the night: “Booker, asked if the country should go vegan: ‘First of all I want to say: no. I want to translate that into Spanish: No.’” 

Whooops: “Hello from a Bookuchar #DemDebate watch party in Des Moines. It seems both campaigns planned for the same bar” (Via Iowa Starting Line’s Pat Rynard) Photo


 The best part of the night: Right after the debate, Andrew YangAndrew YangNew Quinnipiac poll finds Biden leading in New Hampshire Intercollegiate athletics just got a two-minute warning AI and automation will disrupt our world — but only Andrew Yang is warning about it MORE came close to the camera and blew a kiss. Photo

The candidate opening looks like ’90s sitcom opening credits

Riiiiight as the debate startedPresident TrumpDonald John TrumpJim Jordan: Latest allegation of ignoring sexual misconduct is 'ridiculous' Trump's schedule shows open morning when impeachment hearings begin Overnight Defense: Families sue over safety hazards at Army base | Lawmakers, NBA's Enes Kanter speak out ahead of Erdoğan visit | Washington braces for public impeachment hearings MORE took the stage at House Republicans’ retreat in Baltimore. Republicans chanted, "four more years! Four more years!"

Photo of the spin room before the chaos:

Biden did it for the Gram 

Maybe I was just delirious by the third hour, but I laughed out loud at this: “The Daily Show” tweeted, 

“BETO: We need to stop gun violence

BOOKER: I can unite the country

YANG: Guess what, America? You just got in THE CASH CAB.”

Check out these candidate animations: The Huffington Post’s Peter Finocchiaro tweeted, “I’M UNCOMFORTABLE.”

Photo of a protester getting escorted out: Don’t forget, the protesters started making noise when Biden mentioned his wife and daughter. 

Omg, 30 is not old!: “OVERHEARD as reporters and embeds wait in spin room just now: ‘He’s old now. He’s about to turn 30.  So he can’t handle it anymore.’” 

I thought this was pretty funny: Pete ButtigiegPeter (Pete) Paul ButtigiegPress: Another billionaire need not apply Saagar Enjeti dismisses Warren, Klobuchar claims of sexism Warren on winning over male voters: I was told to 'smile more' MORE with a completely straight face: "You know, I served under Gen. Dunford. Way under Gen. Dunford, in Afghanistan.”


Joe Biden: “Nothing happened on Thursday night to fundamentally change the nature of the race, making it a positive night for Biden.” 

Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersTech firms face skepticism over California housing response Press: Another billionaire need not apply Ex-Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick mulling 2020 run: report MORE (I-Vt.): “Sanders was on-brand as always ... [but] appeared to be hoarse or battling a cold, and it was a struggle for him at times to get his thoughts out with the usual emphasis.” 

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.): “Warren was steady on Thursday night, sticking to the script and refusing to be drawn into a confrontation with Biden.”

Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisOutsider candidates outpoll insider candidates Poll: Buttigieg leads Democratic field in Iowa Press: Another billionaire need not apply MORE (D-Calif.): “All in all it was a strong night for Harris, who was more at ease in a debate where she didn’t seem pressured to be leading the attacks against Biden.”

South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg: “Buttigieg was steady, but he was one of several candidates who seemed to be operating in the background all night.” 

Tech entrepreneur Andrew Yang: “Yang is not a very polished public speaker, creating a negative contrast between himself and the more experienced debaters on stage next to him. Instead, the tech entrepreneur has gotten this far by pluck, charm and media savvy.” 

Former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas): “O’Rourke might have had one of the best nights of anyone on stage ... [but] it may end up being too little too late for O’Rourke, whose fundraising has dried up as his poll numbers have stalled.”

Sen. Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerThe Hill's Campaign Report: Bloomberg looks to upend Democratic race Poll: Biden support hits record low of 26 percent The Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump demands Bidens testify MORE (D-N.J.): “Booker earned scores of headlines for vigorously attacking Biden at the previous debates. There was none of that on Thursday night, pushing Booker into the background for much of the debate. 

Sen. Amy KlobucharAmy Jean KlobucharPress: Another billionaire need not apply Saagar Enjeti dismisses Warren, Klobuchar claims of sexism Warren on winning over male voters: I was told to 'smile more' MORE (D-Minn.): “Klobuchar had several strong moments ... [but] Klobuchar’s night was unremarkable overall and it’s tough to see her path to the nomination as she tries to sell herself as the pragmatic centrist in a race where Biden is dominating that lane.”

Former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro: “Castro bet big that going after Biden would be his best path to become a top contender. ... The attacks were praised by progressives eager to see Biden taken down, but many Democrats viewed the attacks as nasty, unnecessary and hitting below the belt.” 

Context and details for each from The Hill’s Jonathan Easley:



Sad, just sad:

This morning, President Trump insulted Democrats over what he called a “sad” effort to impeach him. 

He tweeted: “How do you impeach a President who has helped create perhaps the greatest economy in the history of our Country? All time best unemployment numbers, especially for Blacks, Hispanics, Asians & Women. More people working today than ever before.”

Trump’s message to Republicans last night:

As Democratic presidential candidates debated in Houston, President Trump spoke to House Republicans at their annual retreat.

The message: “The best is yet to come.”


Sorry, we all can’t hear you:

Via The Hill’s Jordain Carney, “Lawmakers are preparing to ignore President Trump’s request to loosen restrictions on border wall funding as part of a short-term spending deal.” 

Context: “The ask, included in the Trump administration’s 21-page wish list for a continuing resolution (CR), comes amid renewed tensions over the border ahead of a Sept. 30 deadline to avoid another government shutdown. The administration also announced recently it was moving forward with shifting $3.6 billion from military projects to wall construction.”

This morning — Congress vs. Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google. Seems fun:

“House lawmakers are escalating their antitrust investigation of Silicon Valley, issuing expansive requests for internal documents to four of the nation’s largest technology companies.”

How so: “Bipartisan leaders of the House Judiciary antitrust subcommittee sent letters to Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google on Friday seeking internal communications and documents regarding the use of their market dominance.”

I shall be back:

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) told The Christian Science Monitor that he hopes to “run again” for president.

“Look, I hope to run again. We came very, very close in 2016. And it’s the most fun I’ve ever had in my life. ... The great thing is, every issue I was fighting for in the presidential campaign is front and center in the Senate.” 


Imagine the texts this number will receive:




At Dulles airport:







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

Today–Sunday: The 2019 House Republican Conference Member Retreat at the Baltimore Marriott Waterfront Hotel.

11:45 a.m. EDT: President Trump received an intelligence briefing.

3:30 p.m. EDT: President Trump meets with Defense Secretary Mark EsperMark EsperOvernight Defense: Pentagon says Syrian oil revenue going to Kurdish forces | GOP chair accuses Dems of using Space Force as leverage in wall fight | Dems drop plans to seek Bolton testimony Pentagon: Revenue from Syria oil fields going to Kurdish-led forces The Hill's Morning Report - Dems poised to air alleged Trump abuses on TV MORE.

Sept. 26: The Hill is hosting “The Future of Mobility Summit” in Washington, D.C. Details and how to RSVP


12:05 p.m. EDT: Vice President Pence speaks at the 2019 House Republican Conference Member Retreat in Baltimore. Livestream


Today is National Peanut Day.

Pssst, Krispy Kreme has a Friday the 13th deal:

Krispy Kreme is offering two dozen doughnuts for $13 today.

And to get you in the right state of mind on a Friday afternoon, here’s a golden retriever smiling for the camera: