Google reveals most-searched candidate during Wednesday debate

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What does it tell us about the modern political debate process that… The top trending question on Google, during the debate, was “Who is winning the debate tonight?”
Afterward, the search engine said that Tulsi Gabbard was the most-searched candidate in all 50 states, similar to Marianne Williamson’s dominance in 49 of 50 states on Tuesday night.
Oliver Darcy emails: This of course does not mean that Gabbard walked away with the most support of the Democratic contenders. It simply means that people were intrigued enough to search for her name. More Google data here…

Meanwhile, the most tweeted about moment, according to data released by Twitter, came when Booker zinged Biden during a clash on criminal justice. After receiving criticism from Biden, Booker quipped, “Mr. Vice President, there is a saying in my community: ‘You’re dipping into the Kool-Aid and you don’t even know the flavor.'” The crowd at the Fox Theatre had an audible reaction to it, and the people on Twitter apparently had their own as well.

The lead story

Maeve Reston, who wrote the night’s lead story for CNN.com, summed it up this way: The candidates “ganged up” on Joe Biden throughout the debate, “leaving a noticeably more energetic Biden taking shots from all sides while defending his record.”
Chris Cillizza says Biden came away as a winner, “barely.” His other winners were Gabbard, Cory Booker, and Julián Castro. Noticeably absent from his list: Kamala Harris. Read on…

→ A decent # of commenters on Twitter said Elizabeth Warren won night two by not being on the stage…

Top tweets

— During the final half hour of the debate, Michael Smerconish stepped back and asked “if the status of this race really shifted in Detroit? I suspect not. Some helped themselves. No one tanked. Many won’t make next cut…”

— Neera Tanden: “The last time we had a large field – 2007/2008 – the Democratic candidates spent a lot more time attacking the Bush record than these folks are discussing the sitting president that one will face next year…”

— James Fallows: “Of 20 people on stage these past nights, Dems can imagine at least 6 or 8 as plausible candidates and office-holders. Trick is to get from 20 contenders, to 6-8 plausibles, to 1 nominee, with minimum fratricide…”

Who spoke the most?

No surprises here: Biden had the most time, followed by Harris and Booker. Yang was the candidate who spoke the least, with Bill de Blasio and Castro joining him in the bottom three pack…

Trump lingers in the background

For the second night, Trump was the most-tweeted-about US politician during the #DemDebates, according to data from Twitter. That’s not super surprising, given the # of times the candidates invoked his name. But it’s still noteworthy…

Darcy’s first debates…

Darcy emails from the debate hall: Prior to this week, I had never seen a presidential debate in person — and while it is great to watch on television, being in the audience offers a unique POV. The one element that does not quite translate onto TV is the energy inside the debate halls. Both debates at the Fox Theatre kicked off with applause that can only be described as a deafening pandemonium. The excitement in the room was also palpable at other times. When candidates delivered zingers, thunderous applauses often ensued. Regardless of politics, being there in person, feeling the electricity in the room, has been pretty incredible…

About those protesters…

Darcy adds: There were a couple of brief disruptions on Wednesday night. The first interruption came when a handful of demonstrators shouted for the firing of the officer who put Eric Garner in a deadly chokehold. “Fire Pantaleo!” the protesters shouted, before being escorted out. The second interruption happened when a couple of protesters heckled Biden for the Obama admin’s record on deportations. All in all, everything remained peaceful and the protests only caused minor delays…

Yang took shots at the pundits

If Bernie Sanders played the media critic on night one, Andrew Yang played the role on night two. “You know what the talking heads couldn’t stop talking about about after the last debate? It’s not the fact that I am somehow No. 4 on the stage in national polling,” he said. “It was the fact that I wasn’t wearing a tie. Instead of automation in the future, including the fact we automated away 4 million manufacturing jobs. Hundreds of thousands right here in Michigan.” He got meta and commented on the artificial nature of debates: “We’re up here with makeup on our faces and our rehearsed attack lines. Playing roles in this reality TV show. It’s one reason why we elected a reality TV star as our president.” Yes, but everyone chooses his/her own role and lines…

FOR THE RECORD

— Here are the closing arguments from all of Wednesday’s candidates…
— Here are CNN’s fact-checks of night two… And night one…
Read more of Wednesday’s “Reliable Sources” newsletter… And subscribe here to receive future editions in your inbox…

— Daniel Dale tweeted after night one, “One notable thing about checking the Democrats, as opposed to Trump, is that the statistics they cite are overwhelmingly either accurate or at least rooted in an actual source. With Trump, you have to be suspicious that almost everything is invented.”

Tomi Lahren’s repugnant commentary rankles some of her colleagues

Oliver Darcy writes: Fox News personality Tomi Lahren drew criticism for a reprehensible piece of debate commentary on Kamala Harris that she offered in a tweet Wednesday night, slurring Harris with the suggestion that Harris had used her relationship with Willie Brown to advance her career.

Lahren seemed to double down on her tweet, urging her followers to look into their relationship. I asked a Fox spokesperson if the tweet was in accordance with network standards, but did not hear back.

I did hear from several Fox employees who reached out to me on their own accord. “It makes me sick that I work for the same company as Tomi Lahren,” one Fox employee told me. “Mindblowing how we give this woman a job.” Another employee texted me the URL to Lahren’s tweet, calling it “unacceptable.” I reached out to the Harris campaign, which declined to comment…





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