CBS moderators struggled to control their Democrat debate on Tuesday as candidates tried to get in their last shots against each other before the South Carolina primary.
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) was repeatedly under fire as all of the candidates tried to attack him. That resulted in shouting matches in which moderators were left pleading with the candidates to follow the rules of the Democrat debate.
“I’m hearing my name mentioned a little bit. I wonder why,” Sanders sarcastically said after a candidate shouting match.
Mayor Pete Buttigieg repeatedly tried to interrupt and challenge Sen. Bernie Sanders, mostly unsuccessfully, which led to several incidents where both candidates were talking at the same time extensively.
“One at a time please,” one moderator called out, but the two candidates kept speaking at the same time.
“The moderator guys!” Sanders shouted at one point after he was selected to respond.
Former Vice President Joe Biden complained the loudest that his fellow candidates were failing to obey the rules, and the moderators were letting him suffer as a result.
At one point, billionaire candidate Tom Steyer tried to tell Biden that he was out of time, but Biden snapped back, “No, I’m not out of time. He spoke overtime, and I’m gonna talk.”
Elizabeth Warren repeatedly stole time by jumping in and speaking before moderators could react.
“I know it goes fast, but 1:15 is really a long time. We’d ask respectfully if you would all please try to stick to the time,” moderator Gayle King stated after the first hour.
“Good idea,” Biden interrupted.
“I promise, Mr. Vice President, we are going to get to you today,” she said.
“You keep promising me that; you haven’t done it yet,” Biden complained.
“I’ve never broken a promise,” King replied.
“Well get to it,” Biden said, shaking his head with disappointment.
At another point, Biden complained that he was the only one to stop when the clock was up.
“Why am I stopping? No one else stops. There’s my Catholic school training,” he said.
“Vice President Biden, you’re a gentleman — good home training,” King replied.
“Yeah?” Biden replied. “Gentlemen don’t get very well treated up here.”
The end of the debate ended awkwardly at 10:00 p.m. after candidates gave their closing comments.
“Well, thank you, that concludes our debate,” moderator Norah O’Donnell said, as the music for a break began to play.
“No. We have time for one more break, Norah, one more break,” King hastily interrupted. “Time flies when you’re having fun.”
When they came back after the commercial break, both moderators admitted that, yes, the debate was over and that they would be leaving.