Spin Room: What did candidates say and spiel after debate in Miami?
Amy Klobuchar enters spin zone after First Democratic Presidential Debate. Photo by Jacob Ogles.

Biden surrogates prelude bipartisan vision. Candidates sell own performances as winners.

Debate. Spin. Repeat.

The spin zone has become a soundbite-making post-debate tradition in American politics, and Miami gets to host it two nights in a row.

So what happened in the Adrienne Arsht Center as soon as the First Democratic Presidential Debate came to a close?

With a wide set of candidates trying to become better known, every candidate in the state spent some time in convening with reporters.

A couple, like Elizabeth Warren, came over to do interviews with host network MSNBC then quickly left.

The minor candidates came over and engaged in lengthy conversation with voters. Tulsi Gabbard defended her record on LGBTQ rights. “My record speaks for itself,” she told Florida Politics.

She also gave an interview about her startling traction with readers of the conservative Drudge Report, who said she won the debate.

Jay Inslee beat his chest over having his climate record ballyhooed. And virtually everyone complained about a lack of time.

“I would have loved to talk about climate change,” lamented New Jersey U.S. Sen. Cory Booker. He noted his own environmental agenda has been compared to Inslee’s.

Of course, Inslee had memorable moments on stage besides talking about climate; he did also get attention listing President Donald Trump as the greatest threat to U.S. security.

“Climate change is my foundational issue,” the Washington Governor stressed to reporters after the debate.

Beto O’Rourke conducted whole gaggles in Spanish, crowded by Univision and Telemundo reporters.

Amy Klobuchar took a victory lap on abortion rights and a powerful moment in the debate when she credited all the women on stage for defending the right to choose.

But even campaigns with no presence on stage enjoyed attention in the spin room.

Surrogates for former Vice President Joe Biden, the clear frontrunner in Florida in a recent St. Pete Polls survey, drew a crowd of media. Biden won’t take the stage until Thursday evening, but his mind is already on the stage.

“I think a lot of people will want to talk about Joe Biden on that stage tomorrow,” said Biden surrogate Symone Sanders. “Joe Biden will want to talk to the American people.”

The campaign surrogates said Biden will bring progressive plans for education, climate change and other issues. But he will also offer a promise of unity in the U.S.

“He sees we are in a hyper-partisan place,” said Biden surrogate Kate Bettington. “His is a vision for America where we can come together.”

He will take the stage with nine other presidential candidates on Thursday.

Jacob Ogles

Jacob Ogles has covered politics in Florida since 2000 for regional outlets including SRQ Magazine in Sarasota, The News-Press in Fort Myers and The Daily Commercial in Leesburg. His work has appeared nationally in The Advocate, Wired and other publications. Events like SRQ’s Where The Votes Are workshops made Ogles one of Southwest Florida’s most respected political analysts, and outlets like WWSB ABC 7 and WSRQ Sarasota have featured his insights. He can be reached at [email protected]


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