During Thursday night’s heated Democrat presidential debate, former Obama admin Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julián Castro took a shot at fellow 2020 contender Joe Biden that was so “low” and “cheap” that it garnered across-the-board criticism.
But in response to the criticism, Castro ultimately chose to double down.
“Do you regret it?” CNN host Chris Cuomo asked him during the network’s post-debate analysis.
“Ah, no. Because we had a disagreement about health care,” Castro replied, before going on to defend his widely criticized thesis that Biden had suffered a memory lapse during the debate.
During the debate, Castro had specifically taken a shot at Biden’s conspicuous age by suggesting that the former vice president had forgotten what he’d said moments earlier.
“Are you forgetting what you said two minutes ago?” he said. “Are you forgetting already what you said just two minutes ago? I can’t believe that you said two minutes ago that they had to buy in and now you’re saying they don’t have to buy in. You’re forgetting that.”
Castro believed that the former VP had contradicted himself on whether or not uninsured Americans would have to voluntarily opt into his public healthcare plan.
But according to Cuomo, the legitimacy or lack thereof of Castro’s argument wasn’t the issue.
“I get your point, secretary. … but I’m asking you about the style of it,” he said to the 2020 contender. “You can disagree. You made a crack at him not having a good memory about it.”
“Why do you think the crowd went ‘ooh?’ Why do you think they said that? … [T]his show’s all about robust debate and it’s also about decency. It seemed like a cheap shot.”
He’s not the only one who feels like this.
Case in point:
Cheap shot from Castro at Biden for allegedly forgetting what Biden just said two minutes ago.Not cool.
— Michael McFaul (@McFaul) September 13, 2019
That was a kinda low attack from Castro to keep repeating “you’re forgetting” when Biden clearly wasn’t forgetting what he had said. The real attack there was too obvious.
— Ezra Klein (@ezraklein) September 13, 2019
Castro was wrong AND nasty: “Biden didn’t actually forget anything. At least, not on the substance of the policy. Biden explained earlier that his plan does allow people to choose Medicare” https://t.co/SGdWfP5Vqg
— Jennifer Rubin (@JRubinBlogger) September 13, 2019
— Daniella Greenbaum Davis (@DGreenbaum) September 13, 2019
— Michael Smerconish (@smerconish) September 13, 2019
— Josh Jordan (@NumbersMuncher) September 13, 2019
Castro’s fellow candidates South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg, and Sen. Amy Klobuchar both share the public’s sentiment. During the debate itself, in fact, they both called him out.
“This is why presidential debates are becoming unwatchable,” Buttigieg said. “This reminds everybody of what they cannot stand about Washington, scoring points against each other, poking at each other, and telling each other that — my plan, your plan. Look, we all have different visions for what is better …”
Castro then cut him off to say, “Yeah, that’s called the Democratic primary election, Pete. That’s called an election. That’s an election. You know? This is what we’re here for. It’s an election.”
“Yes,” Klobuchar then interrupted, “but a house divided cannot stand. And that is not how we’re going to win this.”
Source: ABC News
Speaking with CNN hosts Erin Burnett and Dana Bash after the debate, Klobuchar said that Castro’s remark was “not cool” and compared the former Obama admin official to President Donald Trump.
“Blegh, I just remembered thinking, this is not cool,” she said. “Just because you can have policy differences and I was one of the few up there that was willing to take on Bernie and the things even though we work together all the time. I would never do it personally.”
“We united behind candidates and didn’t treat each other like Donald Trump. One of the things bothered me is he coarsened the rhetoric. We don’t just have to change policy, we have to change the tone in the politics. And when a statement like that is made, it doesn’t feel like that. It felt like a Donald Trump tweet.”
(Except that the president’s tweets tend to actually be funny.)
While he didn’t speak out during the debate itself, 2020 contender Sen. Bernie Sanders has also expressed disapproval with Castro’s rhetoric.
“All I can say is, during this debate and tonight and forever, I will be contrasting my views and my positions and my record with Joe Biden,” he said Thursday evening to CNN host Anderson Cooper.
“As I said tonight, Joe voted for the disastrous war in Iraq, Joe voted for very bad trade policies which cost us millions of good-paying jobs, Joe voted for a bad bankruptcy bill, voted for the bailout of Wall Street. I voted the other direction on all of those issues and I think my vote was the right vote.”
“So I will disagree with Joe on our record and our vision for the future. I’m not going to go after him personally. That’s not right.”
As of Friday morning, Castro had not yet apologized. Rather, he’d tripled down:
It’s clear what was said.
Biden: “If you want Medicare, if you lose the job from your insurance—from your employer, you automatically can buy into this.”
I don’t think anyone should have to buy in to health coverage.
— Julián Castro (@JulianCastro) September 13, 2019
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