Democrat Debate: Will Biden and Buttigieg Continue to Avoid Spin Room?

Pete Buttigieg (Joel Pollak / Breitbart News)
Joel Pollak / Breitbart News

The fifth Democrat debate will be held on Wednesday, Nov. 20, in Atlanta, Georgia, co-hosted by MSNBC and the Washington Post from 9:00 to 11:00 p.m.

It will feature ten candidates — including former Vice President Joe Biden and South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, whose campaigns have been moving in opposite directions lately.

Buttigieg is still in a distant fourth in the nationwide RealClearPolitics poll average, but has surged to the fore in Iowa and is doing well in other early primary states. Biden still holds a lead in South Carolina, where he is relying on strong support from African-American voters. However, he is no longer the clear nationwide frontrunner.

One thing the two have in common, however, is that they both avoid post-debate spin rooms. Buttigieg made a brief appearance on a news set after the third debate, in Houston, in September, but barely ventured into the area where journalists were standing, and ignored questions.

Biden has avoided spin rooms entirely, sending surrogates instead.

Most candidates use their time in the spin room to elaborate on points they made in the debate, and to generate additional media exposure. Donald Trump, notably, lingered in the spin room after Republican debates in the 2016 campaign. But there are risks: candidates can be caught off guard, and venture off message, in spin room clashes.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) has appeared occasionally in spin rooms; Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) spoke to reporters at length in the spin room after the first Democrat debate in Miami, Florida, and has been more reticent  since then. Neither, however, has avoided the spin room to the same extent that Biden and Buttigieg have done.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He earned an A.B. in Social Studies and Environmental Science and Public Policy from Harvard College, and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. He is also the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.


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