For Steve M. Dettelbach, the fourth Democratic presidential debate at Otterbein University in Westerville, Ohio, offered a chance to reflect on the size of the Democratic field.
“I think it’s great to have a process that is inclusive,” he said. “But at some point, it’s very, very hard and unwieldy to have so many people continue going forward to be part of these debates, because It becomes harder and harder for people to get time. You want to be inclusive and have everybody there, but it’s just not physically possible to get everybody the time that they need to say the things they want to say.”
Dettelbach, who is former U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio, attended the CNN-New York Times debate with his wife, Carol Bialostosky.
“The one area of vast agreement on health care is that the Republican party is doing nothing for the millions of working-class Ohioans who see their health care threatened,” he said. ”But there’s disagreements about how to fix it.”
He was reminded of the Aug. 4 shootings in Dayton, in which nine people were killed.
“I mean it’s just ridiculous this notion that we can’t respect people’s rights to hunt and rights to protect themselves and still not get assault weapons and extended magazine clips out of the hands of the people who are doing mass shootings,” Dettelbach said. “The notion that we’re not smart enough as Americans to do both of those things at the same time is just offensive. ... I thought having that debate in Ohio, with the mayor of Dayton sitting there and people from Ohio sitting there, was really important.”
Dettelbach said he was impressed with the level of discourse and was impressed with the debate on health care.
He and others noted the increased pressure on U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, which he said, might have to do with her recent lead in the polls. This stands in contrast with prior debates where former Vice President Joseph Biden has been in the hot seat.
As a Jew, Dettelbach was struck by the inclusive rhetoric on stage as opposed to the divisive language coming from the White House.
“Whoever the next president is has to bring us back together and has to stop this pitting one against the other, saying if this person’s doing well, you’re doing bad,” he said. “It’s just absolutely as (Jews), given our history, we should be the canary in the coal mine on that. We should be the ones who are telling people how dangerous it is ‘cause we’ve seen it again and again and again and know where it leads.”
Cleveland lawyer Cynthia Demsey, who heads the Cuyahoga Democratic Women’s Caucus, also attended the debate.
She said Ohio’s position as a battleground state was reinforced by the choice to hold the debate here.
She said she did not hear the word Israel mentioned during the three-hour debate, nor was there a single question about climate change. She would have preferred more time on recent U.S. policy leading to the recent slaughter of Kurds.
Demsey said she was alarmed by the rhetoric of U.S. Rep.
Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, in her remarks about American troops in Syria.
“She just seemed to be very friendly to Assad and Syria and her portrayal of the American military ... was not factually based,” Demsey said.
Demsey found it interesting to watch the body language of the candidates and to see how the moderators portioned time.
She said she was pleased that U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris from California, raised reproductive rights, and she said that U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders from Vermont, appeared to be healthy.
Demsey said she has not yet chosen her favorite candidate and was impressed with most of the field.
Ohio Republican Party Communications director Evan Machan released the following statement on the fourth round of the Democrat presidential debates:
“As the Democrats become more radical in their progressive ideologies, they move further and further away from what the average American cares about, leaving them in the dust. Ohioans care about job growth, a strong economy, and bringing more money home in each paycheck to care for their families.
“Tonight, we saw the Democrats pander to the progressive left during their visit to Westerville, but their vision of the future is a radical one that includes higher taxes, government controlled healthcare, and more government intervention overall. As we saw in 2016, that agenda simply won’t win here.”