It was Sen. Kamala Harris’ turn to speak as the rhetoric was flying Thursday night at the second 2020 Democratic presidential debate.
As her fellow candidates shouted around her, the former California state attorney general smiled and raised her hands.
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“Hey, guys, you know what? America does not want to witness a food fight. They want to know how we’re going to put food on their table,” Harris said to raucous cheers and applause.
Her parting of the debate waters in Miami came after an exchange between former Vice President Joe Biden and Rep. Eric Swalwell of California on old vs. new leadership within the Democratic Party – and other candidates had wanted in.
“As the youngest guy on the stage, I feel like I probably ought to contribute,” South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg said.
“As part of Joe’s generation, let me respond,” chimed in Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont.
“Before we move on from education … ,” said Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York.
“We forgive you for your young and immature comment,” author and spiritual adviser Marianne Williamson said, presumably to Swalwell.
Sanders briefly wrested back the floor, saying, “The issue is who has the guts to take on Wall Street, to take on the fossil fuel industry, to take on the big money interests who have unbelievable influence over the economic and political life of this country.”
Others soon piped back up, with Gillibrand asking Williamson across the stage, “Did you have a turn? You should have a turn,” as Swalwell stressed that “these issues still persist” and “we can’t afford to wait for evolution on these issues.”
Things quieted long enough for Harris to chide her cohorts for their “food fight” and, after the applause, pivot to her point on measuring the economy.
In traveling around the country, she said, “I’m meeting people who are working two and three jobs,” while President Donald Trump “walks around talking about and flouting his great economy” and pointing to stocks, joblessness and unemployment numbers.
“That’s fine if you own stocks – so many families in America do not,” Harris said, later adding, “Yeah, people in America are working – they’re working two and three jobs.”
She then brought it back to food.
“So when we talk about jobs, let’s be really clear,” she added. “In our America, no one should have to work more than one job to have a roof over their head and food on the table.”