So, as somebody who is writing
a book about 2020, tonight’s debate, do you think that factors in? Is it– is it a domino? Is it anything that shifted
the conversation in any way? What was your big takeaway
of tonight? Well, I think we won’t know what
is important two years from now until two years from now, right? We might look back
at this debate and say that this was a turning point, this is when Marianne Williamson
became president. -Wow.
-Um… I’m kidding. -Which is– You say “kidding.”
-Or… After Trump,
anything is possible. -So, yes.
-Right. Or, uh, we look back
and we can barely remember it. -We won’t know until then.
-Right. ‘Cause there are
a lot of moments– Even when we were talking
about Donald Trump saying his hands at that–
at that debate stage -that they were on tonight,
-Right, right. I mean, I could– if I was asked
where he did that, I would have no idea,
earlier today. So when you look at just tonight
then in isolation, you had ten people up
on that stage who all, you know, were trying
to get policy ideas across. Let’s start at the basics. Do you think they
were successful in doing that? Some of them were. Um, I think it’s difficult
to see where they differ. Uh, there-there are
a lot of similarities with what they believe, and I think, uh,
it depends on the personality. Uh, I think Elizabeth Warren’s
very consistent. She talks about the same things
in the same way, -regardless of where she is,
right? -Right. Um, and I think
somebody like Pete Buttigieg is a little bit, uh,
less talented at getting across what precisely he believes, uh, because of the way
that he communicates it in an environment like that. -He’s more careful
with his wording. -Yeah. Right. When you look
at Marianne Williamson tonight, why do you think
she won the debate, as they say? -Are they saying that?
-No, I’m saying, it’s people– No, I’m saying, as a phrase,
you know people say, “They won the deba–” I don’t
know how you win at debates, but people say,
“They won the debate,” so… I-I think pundits–
This is something -that pundits get to decide,
right? -Right. And so we, therefore,
really shouldn’t believe it when people say
anything definitive about something
where there is no voting. Um, but, that said,
I do think she was a very strong performer
tonight. And I think it’s because
she’s coming from it– She’s– It was not, uh,
the most diverse crowd up there. -Yes. Right.
-Um, and I think she is genuinely different, and that helps kind of set her
apart and helps her be heard. But I also think the way that
she talks about these things, she’s not– because the
expectations for her are so low, -they’re much lower
than they are… -(laughter) No, this is true. This–
I understand what you’re saying. -They are. -Yes. Because you are
coming in as a one percent, -a non-politician, yes.
-Yes. No one was, like, waiting for her
to get in the race because they thought she was
surely the next president. -Right, right.
-Right? She does not have that in common with Hillary Clinton. Um, but I think, because
the expectations are so low, she, uh, is kind of freed up. She’s able to talk
and say what she really means and what she really thinks,
and she doesn’t sound -like a consultant, clearly.
-Right. Or not like any consultant
I’ve ever met. -Yes.
-And so she’s able to get at these kind of
universal truths in an interesting way,
and I think that separates her from people like Pete Buttigieg
or even Beto or any of the other candidates
who are so afraid of screwing up that they,
uh, sound inhuman. If you were to look
at today’s debate -as, uh, foreshadowing
for tomorrow’s debate, -Mm-hmm. there are ten other candidates
who are now lining up. -Are there?
-They’ve seen how– They– I think there’s even,
like, four, like, backups if they need substitutes. Those candidates
have now watched a debate. They’ve seen how CNN does it. -It’s a different style
to NBC’s. -Yes. There’s a– there’s a little bit
of a different tactic that they use. If you were looking
at tomorrow’s debate and you were giving advice
to those candidates, what would you say that
they would need to improve on -from tonight? -Well, I wouldn’t
give advice to any candidates. -Um, but I… -But if you had
to, what would you say? If I had to,
I guess I would say to try and not be so stiff. I mean, as journalists, we want
more information all the time. Right? That’s what we want
in general from any politician. And I think that when you talk
in this stilted way, when you sound
like a consultant, when you’re afraid
of making people angry at you, you’re tiptoeing around, uh, you’re not really saying
the truth. And I think
people can sense that. And I do think that is part
of why Marianne Williamson was able to really puncture
through in some ways tonight. She really had a–
she really had a powerful breakthrough moment. One thing
that was interesting for me is watching
how different moderators and how different stations
can shape -how a debate actually plays
out, you know? -Yeah. NBC’s debate was very different
to CNN’s one tonight. For instance,
NBC would ask questions directly of a candidate,
just of their policies. It seemed like CNN tonight
skewed more towards -how do you respond to somebody
else’s criticism of you -Mm-hmm. -during a race,
et cetera, et cetera. -Right. Do you think that is something that a journalist
should be doing? Or do you think that’s just,
like, up to a network? Like, how do you–
how do you figure out -a good debate as a journalist?
-I don’t know. I guess the result is
what tells us whether or not it was a good debate.
Did we learn a lot? -Right. -Right? Did we–
Was the information gleaned during the debate, uh, important
and valuable to voters? Um, did we see something that
we didn’t know about before? Um, I do think–
I think people talk a lot about the media being biased
in one way or another, to the left or to the right.
Usually, they’re talking about it having a liberal bias,
which I think, uh, can be true in some cases. Uh, but I do think
that the real bias in the media is towards conflict. It’s not about
an ideological thing. -Interesting. -It’s just that
journalists look for risk. They look for, um,
things that are happening. And often, in politics,
what’s happening is conflict, whether it’s inside
of a campaign or it’s between candidates. Uh, that is exciting.
It makes for good television. It makes for a good headline. And I think that oftentimes,
uh, means that you can’t really have
much of a conversation, because, uh,
the truth is usually nuanced and it’s not black and white. Right.
Doesn’t make for great TV unless you get the people
to fight. Well, thank you so much
for being on the show. I’m excited
to see what happens tomorrow. Thank you for having me. Olivia Nuzzi, everybody.