Julián Castro is not pulling any punches.
At tonight’s Democratic debate in Houston, the former United States secretary of housing and urban development went for the jugular during a fiery exchange with former Vice President Joe Biden as the two were sparring over their healthcare plans.
“You just said two minutes ago that they would have to buy in,” Castro said to Biden, regarding Biden’s plan to expand on Obamacare rather than create a Medicare for All system. “Are you forgetting what you said two minutes ago?”
You can watch the exchange below:
Julián Castro tangles with Joe Biden on health care.
Biden: “They do not have to buy in.”
— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) September 13, 2019
Castro also accused the former vice president of riding Obama’s coattails. “Every time something good about Barack Obama comes up he says, ‘Oh, I was there, I was there, I was there, that’s me too,'” he said. “And every time someone questions part of the administration that we were both a part of, he says, ‘Well, that was the president.’ He wants to take credit for Obama’s work, but not have to answer any questions.”
Attacking Biden’s memory was deemed ageist by a number of people on social media, and surely it could be read that way. (The 76-year-old Biden’s numerous gaffes throughout the 2020 campaign have sparked rumblings about his mental alertness.)
But Castro followed up with an attack on the youngest person on the stage. When Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Indiana, suggested that Castro and Biden’s ugly exchange was exactly what Americans hate about the political process, Castro had an answer for that, too.
“It’s called an election,” Castro said, echoing recent debates about the role of so-called civility in American politics in 2019.
Mayor of S. Bend: This “reminds everybody of what they cannot stand about Washington. Scoring points against each other, poking at each other…”@JulianCastro: “That’s called the Democratic primary. It’s what we’re here for. It’s called an election”
— Alexis Goldstein ???? (@alexisgoldstein) September 13, 2019
Castro, who is polling at about 7.9% according to a FiveThirtyEight/Ipsos poll, clearly knows this debate is do-or-die time for his campaign. The question of whether voters will go along for the ride remains to be seen.