Greta Van Susteren chats with Will Puckett about the Democratic presidential debates

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(WYMT) - The first set of ten democratic candidates took the stage in Detroit Tuesday night in the 2nd debate for the massive field in the race for president.

Greta Van Susteren, American commentator and former television news anchor for CNN, Fox News, and NBC News., Photo Date: February 2018 / Photo: Voice of America / (MGN)

Gray Television's Chief National Political Analyst and host of Full Court Press Greta Van Susteren joined Will Puckett on the Wednesday edition of Mountain News This Morning.

Here's the transcript of their conversation:

Will: Greta, good morning and thank you for joining us again.

Greta: Good morning, Will.

Will: Was last night's first rounds of the second Democratic debates more thrilling than the first?

Greta: If you are a political junkie, you like it. You love it. You love to watch this. If you were just turning it on for the first time and just trying to see who's running on the Democratic side of the ledger, of course, the other half is tonight, it was sort of your chance to kick the tires, to see who you might like because, frankly, there is not a lot of policy dispute between and among them. There are a few little differences, but not that significant. Last night, no one did anything, no horrible gaffes, so expect those 10 to stay in the race, provided that they can save money and be able to make this financially viable, and provided they can qualify for the next round, as the Democratic party increases the requirements to be eligible for the next debate. So, last night, if you like politics, it was great to watch.

Will: You talked about having a group of people that really don't differ that much, last night featured two of the most progressive figures in Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, what did that showdown deliver?

Greta: Well, they were actually somewhat supportive of each other. It was interesting when they walked out on stage, they were very gracious to each other. Senator Warren patted Senator Bernie Sanders on the back, so you could see some sort of warmth. You know, neither one of them wants to come out at this point as the main guy, so they're very careful to be very forceful about their opinions to try to distinguish themselves, but you'll see later on, as they progress down the road, because those are the two front runners of the Democratic Party, along with Vice President Biden, I think later on down the road, you're going to see the gloves come off and they're going to start pulling each other apart. They don't want to publicly look like bad Democrats, trying to destroy each other.

Will: Some say that it seemed at points yesterday that Bernie Sanders might have started to lose his cool at some points. Did you see that any at all?

Greta: He's always been a little bit of a yeller. When you ask him questions, he sort of yells the answers back. You know, I suppose his supporters would say he has great passion. Those who don't like that will perhaps not like him so much. That's what that really is at this point. It's a little bit of a beauty contest. Which candidate seems to identify more with you, not just on policies, but someone who you think could communicate with you, you think is more presidential. People who like someone who is aggressive and almost pounds the table and yells, those are going to be Bernie Sanders people. Maybe some people might like a softer approach, maybe a moderate approach, and they may look more toward Governor Bullock or Senator Klobuchar from Minnesota. Yes, he was forceful, but that is Bernie Sanders.

Will: Two other notable people also on stage were South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg and then also Beto O'Rourke. What did the two of them do? Is Beto losing ground possibly, as these debates continue on?

Greta: I think there is a lot of hope with Beto's supporters that he would really shine at these debates and I think he's not distinguishing himself, but he's also not hurting himself, which is important. He ran in Texas for senate and lost statewide, so a lot of people thought why in the world are you now going to run nationwide for president of the United States? So, a lot of people were wondering why he was running anyway. He did not particularly distinguish himself last night, but, he didn't hurt himself. This is a long-distance run. Even if you go farther down the road to former Representative Delaney who is up there and may have gotten a little more attention last night, people looking at this for the first time think that he has no chance at all, but he probably has one of the most active races in Iowa. I think he has 11 offices in Iowa. Everyone wants to win the Iowa Caucus because of that, of course, pole vaults you into New Hampshire and then on to South Carolina. He may be sort of a sleepy candidate on these debates, but he may show up and all of a sudden be very popular in Iowa. Let's face it. This is so early. We're at the stage where it's really exciting for those of us who really like politics, but a lot can change. Remember in 2008 when everyone thought that then-Senator Hillary Clinton would be the Democratic nominee, but it didn't work out that way. It was then-Senator Barack Obama. Same thing in 2016. A lot of people thought then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton would win, well then it didn't turn out that way. It's really hard to say. People who are projecting who is going to win or lose right now, I don't know where they are getting their wisdom, because we have so many times been made wrong on these guesses as to who is going to win.

Will: Greta, before we let you go, obviously, former Vice President Joe Biden and also Kamala Harris will take the stage tonight. What should we expect from the two of them? What should we expect from the other 8 who will be up there with them tonight?

Greta: Alright, let me just do what I just said I was not going to do and predict. I would be surprised if Senator Kamala Harris was aggressive with former Vice President Biden like she was last time because she doesn't want to come across as mean. She wants to come across as strong and passionate. So, if she does it twice, she may get tagged as mean. Vice President Biden, whether you agree with him or not, he's very well-liked within the Democratic party. He's a nice guy. I think what will probably happen tonight instead of seeing the action from Senator Kamala Harris, I think you may see Senator Cory Booker be the one who is more aggressive with Vice President Biden. That's going to be a lot of talk about the crime bill that Vice President Biden was the author of and supporter up back in the 1990s. I think that's what Senator Booker is going to zero in on, because that might have been popular in 1994 with the American people, including African Americans, but it's not popular in 2019 and that's going to be something that Vice President Biden is going to have to explain to those who are critizing him for it.

Will: Alrighty Greta, it's heating up for sure. We will catch you again tomorrow morning. Thank you so much for joining us.

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