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Cory Booker gets spicy at the second night of the Democratic debate

The marquee matchup at the second night of the Democratic Presidential Debate was expected to be between Sen. Kamala Harris and former vice president Joe Biden – who still holds a comfortable lead in most polls. Biden was the target of almost everyone on stage, but Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., in particular hit Biden hard multiple times throughout the debate.

Booker dished out several quips as Wednesday night aimed at the former vice president, and viewers on Twitter reacted with amusement at many of his jabs.

Here are some of the best zingers from Booker at Wednesday’s debate:

“You can’t have it both ways”

During a heated debate on immigration policy, Booker roasted Biden when the former vice president talked about how he would handle immigrants coming through the Southern border by saying “much more needs to be done” to treat them humanely.

Booker hit Biden hard for dodging Mayor Bill de Blasio’s question about whether he supported Obama’s deportations.

 “You can’t have it both ways. You invoke President Obama more than anyone in this campaign; you can’t do it when it’s convenient and then duck it when it’s not.”

In a particularly animated moment, Cory Booker blasted Joe Biden’s idea of letting highly educated immigrants enter the country illegally and obtain a green card.

‘You can’t have it both ways’: Booker accuses Biden of playing into Trump’s hands on immigration

Democratic presidential hopefuls US Senator from New Jersey Cory Booker (L) and Former Vice President Joe Biden (R) speak during the second round of the second Democratic primary debate of the 2020 presidential campaign season hosted by CNN at the Fox Theatre in Detroit, Michigan on July 31, 2019. (Photo by Jim WATSON / AFP)JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images
Democratic presidential hopefuls US Senator from New Jersey Cory Booker (L) and Former Vice President Joe Biden (R) speak during the second round of the second Democratic primary debate of the 2020 presidential campaign season hosted by CNN at the Fox Theatre in Detroit, Michigan on July 31, 2019. (Photo by Jim WATSON / AFP)JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images

Booker said that played “exactly into what the president wants” by dividing immigrants into different categories.

“Well that’s playing into what the Republicans want: to pit some immigrants against other immigrants,” he said.

“Some are from shithole countries,” Booker said, reprising a remark that Trump reportedly made in the White House when discussing whether to allow immigrants into the U.S. from Haiti and African countries. “Some are from worthy countries.

“I’m grateful that he endorsed my presidency already”

Booker seized on a brief slip of the tongue Biden made when debating criminal justice reform. 

Addressing Booker, Biden started, “the President here,” before catching himself. “Excuse me, the future President here,” Biden continued, touching Booker’s arm. 

“I’m grateful that he endorsed my presidency already,” Booker quipped, as he began his response to Biden.

‘A bunch of malarkey!’: Joe Biden uses familiar phrase to fight back against Kamala Harris

“You’re dipping into the Kool-Aid and you don’t even know the flavor”

In an exchange on criminal justice, Biden took heat for a bill that he shepherded through the Senate in 1994 that experts say resulted in mass incarceration. Biden challenged Booker on his criminal justice record as Mayor of Newark, New Jersey Booker hit back saying he was “shocked” Biden wanted to compare records.

“If you want to compare records – and, frankly I’m shocked that you do – I am happy to do that. Because all the problems that he is talking about that he created, I actually led the bill that got passed into law that reverses the damage that your bill…you were bragging about calling it the Biden crime bill up until 2015.”

Biden claimed that there was “nothing done” during Booker’s time as mayor and questioned his “zero tolerance policy of stop and frisk policy.”

“Mr Vice President, there’s a saying in my community: You’re dipping into the Kool Aid and you don’t even know the flavor,” Booker retorted.

“That is kindergarten”

Asked what he would do to combat climate change, Biden said he would immediately rejoin the Paris Climate Accord that President Obama signed in 2015 and “make sure we up the ante.”

The accord, signed by nearly 200 countries, allowed nations to set their own carbon goals.

Booker along with Jay Inslee, who’s made the fight against global warming his signature campaign plan, said his plan didn’t go far enough.

“Nobody should get applause when they say they’re going to rejoin the Paris climate accord. That is kindergarten, we need advanced thinking,” Booker said.

“The only way we are going to deal with this is if America leads,” he added. Climate change, Booker said, “must be the issue and the lens with which we view every issue.” 

Contributing: John Fritze, Nicholas Wu, Ledyard King, USA TODAY

Follow N’dea Yancey-Bragg on Twitter: @NdeaYanceyBragg

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Democratic debate 2019: Cory Booker’s best clapbacks on CNN Wednesday




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