‘The debate forgot who’s president’: Joy Reid chews out Dem candidates for attacking Obama instead of Trump
Joy Reid (MSNBC/screen grab)

Progressive MSNBC host Joy Reid agreed with more conservative former Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) that the biggest loser of the night appeared to be President Barack Obama's administration. For reasons passing in understanding, the panel of Democrats went after Obama instead of President Donald Trump.


Even "Morning Joe" host Joe Scarborough noticed the strange moments.

McCaskill lamented that she was very interested, but several times wanted to mute the television.

"But when they were all — I mean, you had [Rep. Tulsi] Gabbard attacking Sen. Kamala [Harris] and you had someone even going to the trouble of attacking [Bill] de Blasio," she said. "It was like, what? And the weirdest thing to me which I’m having a hard time with is -- is it a smart strategy to attack the Obama Administration? I mean, this is a Democratic president elected twice. I think he’s the only Democrat we’ve had with the margins he’s had since FDR that did that. He remains wildly popular in the Democratic Party."

Host Brian Williams agreed, repeating the phrase, "wildly popular."

According to the latest public opinion polls, Obama has a 97 percent favorability rating among Democrats.

"Wildly popular!" McCaskill repeated. "And the notion that the goal tonight was to attack the Obama Administration, I think that could blow up in some folks’ faces before this thing is all over. And I’ve got to say this. Biden was a lot better. You know, he — it was a circular firing squad and he was in the middle. And it was really — I think he withstood the attacks pretty well, had some wobbles from time to time. But overall he was much stronger and much more forceful. His delivery was so much stronger than he was in the last debate."

Reid admitted that it's incredibly rare that she and Sen. McCaskill agree so much on something, but they certainly did Wednesday night.

"But it was weird for me to watch about almost 40 minutes of -- primarily -- attacks on the Obama Administration’s policies," Reid said. "It was odd. It took — I mean, de Blasio made a full-on attack of ObamaCare. Essentially said we have no working health care system in America. But hello, we have ObamaCare. So that means the system he’s attacking and saying it isn’t working is ObamaCare."

She noted that it wasn't until Cory Booker finally brought up Trump that other candidates seemed to realize that Trump should be their enemy and not Obama.

"You finally had a couple of candidates realize they need to also mention that it is Donald Trump that’s trying to take away the health care of 30 million people who got it from ObamaCare," she said. "So, it was an odd strategy to me. It was almost as if we had this debate with the luxury of Hillary Clinton being president and all we were debating was how we were going to further fix health care. It’s almost as if the debate forgot who’s president because the attacks on Donald Trump, I don’t remember his name being mentioned that much. And so it was odd for me for these candidates to debate changes in health care and their different policies on immigration as if Trump doesn’t exist. I think Cory Booker did it a bit — hit the president. Donald Trump is supposed to be who you’re running against, not Barack Obama."

Watch the panel discussion below: