The Democratic representative for the state of Hawaii, Tulsi Gabbard, was asked fewer questions and given less time to speak in the fifth debate for the Democratic presidency, despite having more approval in the polls than some of her opponents, White House correspondent Amber Athey described for the Daily Caller.
Gabbard, after opposing some of her party’s own guidelines and challenging former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, reached 3% approval nationwide on debate day, according to the Economist/YouGov poll.
However, it took about half an hour for the MSNBC and Washington Post moderators to address Gabbard. And the first question was about the words she dedicated to Hillary Clinton, after she implied—without providing proof—that Gabbard was the “favorite of the Russians,” and that they were preparing her to run for office and defend their interests.
“Thank you, Hillary Clinton. You, the queen of warmongers, embodiment of corruption, and personification of the rot that has sickened the Democratic Party for so long, have finally come out from behind the curtain,” Gabbard tweeted.
“From the day I announced my candidacy, there has been a concerted campaign to destroy my reputation,” she continued. “It’s now clear that this primary is between you and me. Don’t cowardly hide behind your proxies. Join the race directly,” Gabbard concluded.
First question in the debate to Gabbard
“Congresswoman Gabbard, you have criticized Hillary Clinton as the, quote, personification of the rot that has sickened the Democratic Party. What is the rot you see in the Democratic Party?” Washington Post moderator and journalist Ashley Parker asked.
“That our Democratic Party, unfortunately, is not the party that is of, by, and for the people,” Gabbard replied. “It is a party that has been and continues to be influenced by the foreign policy establishment in Washington, represented by Hillary Clinton and others’ foreign policy, by the military industrial complex, and other greedy corporate interests. I’m running for president to be the Democratic nominee that rebuilds our Democratic Party, takes it out of their hands and truly puts it in the hands of the people of this country,” she added.
After this first intervention, the moderators decided to give the floor to Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.). “I think that it’s unfortunate that we have someone on this stage that is attempting to be the Democratic nominee for President of the United States,” Harris said.
“Who during the Obama administration spent four years full time on Fox News, criticizing President Obama, who has been full time criticizing people on this stage as affiliated with the Democratic Party,” Harris lamented, calling Gabbard’s allegations an attack on the party.
‘To traffic in lies, smears, and innuendos’
Gabbard’s response was not long in coming. “What Senator Harris is doing is unfortunately continuing to traffic in lies, and smears, and innuendos, because she cannot challenge the substance of the argument that I’m making, the leadership and the change that I’m seeking to bring in our foreign policy, which only makes me guess that she will as president continue the status quo, continue the Bush-Clinton-Trump foreign policy of regime change wars, which is deeply destructive,” she criticized.
After this brief exchange, the tendency to keep Gabbard out of important discussions continued throughout the rest of the debate, preventing her from even talking about the main approaches of her foreign policy campaign, Daily Caller reported.
This was not the first time that the two congresswomen had faced each other. In the second 2020 Democratic presidential debate in Detroit, Michigan, Gabbard criticized that during the time Harris served as California attorney general “she blocked evidence that would have freed an innocent man from death row. She kept people in prison beyond their sentences to use them as cheap labor for the state of California, and she fought to keep the cash bail system in place that impacts poor people in the worst kind of way,” said Gabbard according to Business Insider.
Gabbard has long been heavily criticized, whether for repeatedly challenging the establishment by denouncing Clinton’s actions, for showing respect for President Trump’s supporters, or for expressing her ideas in the media.