9:55am PT by Trilby Beresford, Katherine Schaffstall
Seth Meyers Evaluates "Deeply Substantive" Second Debate
As the second Democratic debate kicked off Tuesday in Detroit, late-night host Seth Meyers evaluated the evening takeaways during a live episode of Late Night.
Prominent Democratic candidates participating in the first night included Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, South Bend mayor and former military officer Pete Buttigieg, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and former Texas Congressman Beto O'Rourke.
Additional candidates were author and activist Marianne Williamson; U.S. Representative from Ohio Tim Ryan; Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar; former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper; Maryland politician John Delaney; and Montana Gov. Steve Bullock.
The event was moderated by CNN's Dana Bash, Don Lemon and Jake Tapper.
The second installment of the debate will take place Wednesday with the same moderators. Prominent candidates for Wednesday night's debate include Cory Booker, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris.
Meyers opened the episode by sharing that Warren said Trump "disgraces the office of the president every single day" during the debate. Meyers noted that Warren's comment "isn't fair because he's really only in the office like twice a week."
Meyers also added that Trump didn't tweet throughout the debate. "I think we all owe a big thank you to the Bachelorette finale," he joked.
The host next touched on the format of the two-night debate, which featured 10 candidates Tuesday and 10 on Wednesday. "You can't have a substantive debate between 10 people," he said. "Even in a threesome, somebody ends up feeling left out — even if they had the best ideas."
Tuesday marked Bullock's first debate appearance after U.S. Rep. Eric Swalwell, who was in the first set of debates on MSNBC, dropped out of the race. "Not gonna lie. Still not sure which is which," said Meyers as side-by-side photos of the two politicians appeared onscreen.
Meyers continued to discuss the debate in the "Closer Look" segment.
After he poked fun at Trump for mispronouncing the word "bipartisan" as "bar-partisan," Meyers said that the debate was "a relief and a change of pace to hear a bunch of people who can speak in coherent sentences about actual policies." He added, "The only time Elizabeth Warren's ever been a bar-partisan is when she drank a beer that one time on Instagram Live."
Before the debate, members of the media wondered how political allies Warren and Sanders would interact onstage. While some people thought that they would be tough on each other, others thought they would team up. "They should team up like a wrestling duo. Warren could start by giving a lengthy explanation for a wealth tax on assets over $50 million and then Bernie could tag in and hit a billionaire over the head with a chair," Meyers suggested.
The candidates made individual entrances at the top of the debate. While candidates including Sanders, Warren and Buttigieg earned loud rounds of applause, Delaney received polite claps from the audience. "What a bummer for that guy to have to follow Warren, Buttigieg and Bernie," said Meyers. "It's like if Springsteen, Bono and The Rolling Stones all opened a concert and then they were followed by a Weezer cover band."
He also noted that Williamson's opening statement was "weird" due to her word choice. "In 1776, our founders brought forth on this planet an extraordinary possibility," she said during the debate. "On this planet? 'To be clear, on the planet I'm from, you can only vote if you've gathered enough moon crystals to please the ancient oracle,'" Meyers said, impersonating Williamson.
Also during the debate, Sanders was asked to respond to Delaney after the moderate candidate said that Sanders' health care plan would get Trump re-elected. Sanders quickly responded, "You're wrong."
"Bernie said that like he's definitely used those words before," said Meyers. "'You ordered the lobster bisque?' 'You're wrong! I ordered the chicken soup, and I want those crackers. Crackers for all!'"
Meyers noted that Sanders was "feisty" during the debate and explained that he shouted over the moderators when they interrupted him and landed a big blow against Ryan when he told Sanders that he didn't know if free health insurance would cover all health care needs for senior citizens. "I do know that. I wrote the damn bill," Sanders told Ryan.
"Tim Ryan better hope Medicare for All passes cause he's gonna need some health care for the burn," said Meyers. "Bernie scared him so bad, Ryan turned white as a sheet 40 years ago."
Many moderate candidates took shots at Warren and Sanders during the debate. While Hickenlooper mocked Sanders' mannerisms, other candidates told Warren that her ideas were impossible. She responded by stating, "I don't understand why anybody goes to all the trouble of running for president of the United States just to talk about what we really can't do and shouldn't fight for."
"What's the point of running for president if all of your positions are about stuff you can't do? It's like if Ronald Reagan has said, 'Mr. Gorbachev, make this wall a little shorter,'" joked Meyers.
The candidates also fought over climate change during the debate. After a clip of Sanders enthusiastically defending his plans to address climate change played, Ryan told him that he didn't have to yell. "He absolutely does have to yell," said Meyers. "Bernie's been kicked out of every library in Vermont."
"This debate basically seemed like a bunch of moderates trying to take on Warren and Bernie," said Meyers. "Warren and Bernie teaming up to fend them off was like watching Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen take on the Washington Generals.
Meyers also took on Williamson, who earned a round of applause after she spoke about the water crisis in Flint, Michigan. "Wait, was that good? Is Marianne Williamson like one of those albums you have to listen to a couple of times before you figure out what they were trying to do? Is Marianne Williamson jazz?" Meyers asked before he played a few more clips of the candidate during the debate. "OK, I think I'm gonna put this album away."
The host added that he thought it was odd Delaney was asked so many questions during the debate. "Why do they keep asking him to chime in? He's polling within the margin of error. He's not going to win," said Meyers. "It's like going to a Maroon 5 concert if Adam Levine kept going, 'All right, now time for another drum solo.'"
"Ultimately, this was a deeply substantive debate that showcased genuine differences among the candidates on key policy questions and no matter what you think of any of them, eventually one of them is gonna go up against a guy whose campaign slogan is basically," said Meyers before a clip played of Trump saying, "I know nothing."
Fellow late-night hosts Trevor Noah and Stephen Colbert also went live to discuss the first night of the debates. While Noah praised Williamson and Warren, Colbert joked that Hickenlooper is only in the race because he needs a job.
Over on Jimmy Kimmel Live!, the ABC host joked that the debate made it clear that "it's John Hickenlooper's election to lose."
"There were more characters than on the show This Is Us in this debate," said Kimmel of the 10 candidates. "Have 30 years of reality TV taught the Democrats nothing? You can't go from 20 candidates right to one. First you have to put them on an island and separate them into tribes."
Kimmel also commented on Sanders' behavior during the debate. "He always looks like he's hitting every button in the elevator at once," he said about Sanders. The host then joked that Sanders can attract younger voters by using the Snapchat baby filter to appear younger.
After he joked that Warren and Klobuchar were dressed in a manner similar to Michael Jackson, he said that Buttigieg is making history as the first "openly Vulcan candidate."
Kimmel then took on Williamson. "She's like if the trailer for the movie Cats became a person," he said.