Elizabeth Warren packs a wallop with debate performance

Chalk up a TKO for the two ladies on Tuesday night’s Democratic debate stage — Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Amy Kobluchar.

Warren came out the winner hands-down and took her sister-in-service Klobuchar into the winners circle with her.

Klobuchar landed some good jabs of her own, pointing out that any health care plan should cover mental health and opioid abuse treatment, followed by her bulldogging Bernie Sanders that he had a responsibility to lay out the cost of his health care plan. Warren had to. Sanders escaped that kind of scrutiny for months while Warren’s plan was literally raked over the coals for weeks.

The elephant in the room at the debate was the tension between once close friends — Warren and Sanders. Warren claims Sanders told her that he didn’t think a woman could win the presidency. Which, to me, begs the question that if a black man can win the White House, why can’t a woman? Or an Asian or Hispanic man or woman, for that matter.

Everyone was spoiling for a fight on the debate stage, especially the media, which had been hyping the showdown between Warren and Sanders like they were Pacquiao vs. Garcia. My online friends watching the debate went into a frenzy, with comments ranging from “Elizabeth Lied” to “it seems strange that Bernie of all people would say something like that” to the more judicious “must be a mistake.” I believe the latter.

However, Sanders could have handled his response better — asserting that it was ridiculous for him to say something like that while adding at least a disclaimer opening the door to the possibility that it could have been a mischaracterization. Instead that omission left Warren hanging. Purposely or inadvertently, it tagged her a liar.

But Warren, known for giving as good as she gets, deftly bobbed and weaved, deflecting a direct fight with Sanders that everyone was salivating for.

She didn’t bluster or bash, but floated like a butterfly while her comments stung like a bee.
Her knockout blow made a much more important point than the “he said-she said” between herself and Sanders. By speaking directly to the strengths of the women vying for the office of president, she set the record straight, and eloquently claimed her space.

“Look at the men on this stage,” Warren said. “Collectively they have lost 10 elections. The only people on this stage who have won every single election that they’ve been in are the women. Amy and me.”

I think it interesting that almost as much attention was given to Warren  not shaking hands with Sanders post-debate as her knockout punch during the debate. Ah, here we go, playing the “women’s temperament” card. Men are supposed to be cool-headed and strategic, women emotional. Of course, our current intemperate president completely debunks that theory, as have many other men.

Sen. Warren’s knock-it-out-of-the-park performance should be instructive to women everywhere. She won this fight, but the battle for women’s equality of opportunity rages on at every level.

To me, there’s no doubt a woman’s place is in the House — the White House.


Joyce Ferriabough Bolling is a media and political strategist and communications specialist.

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