The Hill’s 12:30 Report — Presented by UANI — Sparks fly at last Democratic debate of the year

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–> A midday take on what’s happening in politics and how to have a sense of humor about it.*

*Ha. Haha. Hahah. Sniff. Haha. Sniff. Ha–breaks down crying hysterically.

The Hill’s 12:30 Report — Presented by UANI — Highlights from December Dem debate | Rivals take on Buttigieg | Strong showing for Klobuchar | Sights, sounds from Los Angeles | DNC raises bar for January debate criteria | Dems hope to put public pressure on McConnell in impeachment fight | Trump’s Dingell insults test GOP unity | Trump heading to Mar-a-Lago today | DC restaurants that closed in 2019


And this brings us to the ‘Dramatic Improv Theatre’ portion of the election cycle:

Seven Democratic presidential candidates took the stage last night in the smallest presidential primary debate of the cycle.


  1. South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete ButtigiegPeter (Pete) Paul ButtigiegFive takeaways from the Democratic debate Buttigieg, Warren square off on donors at Democratic debate All female candidates pick ‘forgiveness,’ men pick ‘a gift’ when asked to choose at debate MOREvs. Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenFive takeaways from the Democratic debate Buttigieg, Warren square off on donors at Democratic debate All female candidates pick ‘forgiveness,’ men pick ‘a gift’ when asked to choose at debate MORE(D-Mass.) was the big moment
  2. Former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenFive takeaways from the Democratic debate Buttigieg, Warren square off on donors at Democratic debate Battle for Iowa takes center stage at Democratic debate MOREbrought a new sharpness
  3. Sen. Amy KlobucharAmy Jean KlobucharFive takeaways from the Democratic debate Buttigieg, Warren square off on donors at Democratic debate All female candidates pick ‘forgiveness,’ men pick ‘a gift’ when asked to choose at debate MORE(D-Minn.) shone
  4. The smaller stage make for better debate
  5. It was a gaffe-free zone

Context and details for each from The Hill’s Niall Stanage:

Happy Friday! I’m Cate Martel with a quick recap of the morning and what’s coming up. Send comments, story ideas and events for our radar to — and follow along on Twitter @CateMartel and Facebook.

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PROGRAMMING NOTE: The 12:30 Report will be off on Monday through the New Year. Happy Holidays, my friends!!



Via Politico’s Mary Newman:


Lol, this debate image looks eerily similar to a Weezer cover: Via @JoePerticone. Side-by-side photos:

Debate countdown clock in the spin room: This stresses me out. Photo from the spin room:

Lol, this does look like Jeopardy: “Looks like Warren, Biden, and Bernie have their final jeopardy answers” Via Buzzfeed’s Katherine Miller. Photo:

Debate moderator Tim Alberta tweeted a photo before the start: “My dad’s watch. My son’s pin. Hope to make them both proud tonight.” Photo:

Oh mannn, this gif perfectly describes Biden during the debate:

Judy Woodruff confused Tom SteyerThomas (Tom) Fahr SteyerButtigieg, Warren square off on donors at Democratic debate Steyer says US needs to work with China as a ‘frenemy’ Twitter users complain about background at Democratic debate MORE with Andrew YangAndrew YangFive takeaways from the Democratic debate All female candidates pick ‘forgiveness,’ men pick ‘a gift’ when asked to choose at debate Battle for Iowa takes center stage at Democratic debate MORE: It was pretty awkward. Watch:

If you’re wondering what the wine cave looks like:

There’s a wine cave an hour away from D.C. — I’m just saying…:

Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerFive takeaways from the Democratic debate Debate moderator calls out Sanders for not immediately answering question on race Yang gives shout out to Booker: ‘I think Cory will be back’ MORE would prefer a ‘sci-fi cave’: “Cory Booker got asked about the Wine Cave. He doesn’t drink, so: ‘If I were to have a cave in my house it would be a sci-fi cave.'”

A Bernie SandersBernie SandersFive takeaways from the Democratic debate Buttigieg, Warren square off on donors at Democratic debate Battle for Iowa takes center stage at Democratic debate MORE adviser made a custom t-shirt to troll Pete Buttigieg:

Lots of people on Twitter pointed this out: “Q: In the holiday spirit, would you like to ask for forgiveness for something or give a gift of something?

Female candidates: Forgive me for getting mad.

Male candidates: I have a gift. It is my book.” (Via The Huffington Post’s Jennifer Bendery)

The debate live feed went dark in China when the candidates were asked about China: From CNN international correspondent Will Ripley:


Overhead shot of the spin room:

Politico reporters spoke with a young reporter in the spoon room: Photos:

Reporters crowded around Andrew Yang post-debate: Here’s photo:

Surrogates for Bernie Sanders wore wine cave shirts:


Jan. 14 in Des Moines, Iowa.


Last night was fun. Now up your game:

Via CNN’s Kate Sullivan, the Democratic National Committee (DNC) released debate requirements to qualify for January’s presidential primary debate in Des Moines, Iowa.

Debate qualification No. 1: “Candidates will either need to receive 5% in at least four DNC-approved national or early state (Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, Nevada) polls, or receive 7% in two early state polls.”


Debate qualification No. 2: “For the fundraising threshold, candidates need to receive donations from at least 225,00 unique donors, and a minimum of 1,000 unique donors per state in at least 20 different states. The qualifying window for polls and donations is November 14 to 11:59 p.m. on January 10, 2020. The fundraising threshold must also be reached by January 10.”


(Almost) signed, sealed, delivered:

This morning, President TrumpDonald John TrumpFive takeaways from the Democratic debate Buttigieg, Warren square off on donors at Democratic debate Sanders, Biden spar over Medicare for All MORE said he spoke with Chinese President Xi Jinping about “phase one” of the trade agreement and that a signed deal is “being arranged.”

Trump tweeted: “Had a very good talk with President Xi of China concerning our giant Trade Deal. China has already started large scale purchaes [sic] of agricultural product & more. Formal signing being arranged. Also talked about North Korea, where we are working with China, & Hong Kong (progress!).”


Democrats, meet your new public enemy No. 1:

Via The Hill’s Alexander Bolton, Democrats are hoping to put more public focus on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellSenate confirms 13 Trump judicial nominees in end-of-year sprint Democratic candidates call for White House officials to testify during Senate impeachment trial Klobuchar on impeachment: ‘This is a global Watergate’ MORE (R-Ky.) in the battle over the rules of an impeachment trial.

What Democrats are doing: Holding back the articles of impeachment as a tactic to prevent the trial from beginning. “Democratic senators hope that slowing down the pace will give them time to highlight Republican opposition to additional witnesses and documents.”

McConnell reacted: “It’s beyond me how the Speaker and Democratic leader in the Senate think withholding the articles of impeachment and not sending them over gives them leverage.”

Remember that GOP unity we were talking about yesterday?:

Via The Hill’s Brett Samuels and Morgan Chalfant, “President Trump‘s insult of a prominent Democratic family in Michigan is earning criticism from Republicans just at the time the GOP is trying to project unity on impeachment.”

Back story: “Trump ripped Debbie DingellDeborah (Debbie) Ann DingellOvernight Energy: Greens sue over chemical safety rollback | EPA finalizes ethanol rule in face of opposition | House Dems detail environmental priorities for next year Democratic senators tweet photos of pile of House-passed bills ‘dead on Mitch McConnell’s desk’ CNN’s Bolduan fights tears, tells Debbie Dingell she’s ‘tired of getting emotional on air’ MORE (D) for voting for impeachment, and suggested her late husband, a legendary figure in the state and in Washington, D.C., who was the longest serving member of Congress in history when he died in February, was ‘looking up’ from hell.”

Timing: “The president’s remarks prompted a mix of groans and cheers from the crowd of supporters and a quick backlash from prominent Republicans on a day when Trump and his allies expected to trumpet the party voting unanimously against two articles of impeachment.”


Thousands of civilians flooded the streets of Tehran to protest conditions under the regime’s leadership – and they were met with a massacre. The U.S. and Europe must condemn this human rights crisis. Learn more.


Lol, oh mannnn:

The descriptor for President Trump is so local: “Former Jamaica Estates resident Donald Trump was impeached Wednesday by the U.S. House of Representatives. He is the third president to be impeached in United States history — and the first from Queens.” The full article:




The House and Senate are out for the holidays!

President Trump is in Washington, D.C. and is headed to his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida this evening.

Vice President Pence has no public events on his schedule.

12:30 p.m. EST: President Trump has lunch with Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoOvernight Defense: Senate sends .4T spending bill to Trump | Lawmakers fail to reach deal on impeachment trial before holidays | Pompeo hits Iran with new sanctions On The Money: House approves Trump USMCA deal in bipartisan vote | Senate sends .4T spending bill to Trump’s desk | Why budget watchdogs are howling over the spending deal Pompeo slaps new sanctions on Iran, imposes more visa restrictions MORE.

5:30 p.m. EST: President Trump and first lady Melania TrumpMelania TrumpThe Hill’s 12:30 Report — Presented by UANI — Pelosi looks to play hardball on timing of impeachment trial Meghan McCain blasts Trump for ‘bullying widows at a public rallies’ The Hill’s Morning Report – In historic vote, House impeaches Trump MORE host a Christmas reception in the Diplomatic Reception Room of the White House.

8:30 p.m. EST: President Trump and first lady Melania Trump leave for his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida.


7:30 p.m. EST: President Trump gives remarks and signs the National Defense Authorization Act at Joint Base Andrews. Livestream:


Today is National Sangria Day!

The bad news — 2019’s D.C. restaurant graveyard:

Via Popville, here’s a list of restaurants in the D.C. area that have closed this year. Pour one out. The list:

The good news — Yes, yes, yes:

Via Eater DC, a pop-up restaurant on U Street in D.C. will feature the best fried chicken sandwiches in the D.C. area. Details:

And to get your holidays off to the right start, here are two golden retrievers catching up on their snuggling:

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