5 Debate moments you might have missed: Viral Amy photo and Bernie’s scrunchy face

Including Amy Klobuchar as the human embodiment of the shruggie.

Jared Goyette
February 26, 2020 - 1:55 am
 Joe Biden (L) and Tom Steyer (R) debate as Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) reacts

(Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)


The Democratic presidential primary debate in Charleston, South Carolina Wednesday night was so messy that it might have been easy to miss some of the small but still memorable moments, including a few featuring Minnesota's senior senator, Amy Klobuchar. 

1. Zen Klobuchar

Her effort to appear as the “adult in the room,” ready to bring together the bickering tribes of the Democratic party got an unexpected boost from Joe Biden, Tom Steyer and the quick reactions of a Getty photographer who captured what will likely be one of the lasting images of this debate cycle. 


Palms upraised, Klobuchar looks at neither of the two roaring silverbacks on either side of her, instead smiling and looking straight at the audience, a human embodiment of the shruggie. Steyer does his part to make the image as cinematic as possible, raising his hand and opening his mouth so wide he looks like a nutcracker figurine. His neck muscles bulge, and he seems to have taken a small step forward, crowding Klobuchar. She seems unbothered, almost zen (not a word often used to describe her) amidst the chaos around her. 

Her staff were quick to turn it to an opportunity to get donations, which she might be in urgent need of come March 4. 

2. Uncle Dick in the Deer Stand: The Return 

Let’s stick with the hometown rep a moment longer. Klobuchar reprised some of her past debate hits, including Donald Trump tweeting in his bathrobe at 4 a.m, and least we forget, “Does this hurt my Uncle Dick in the deer stand?,” a family story she often returns to when talking about gun control. 

She also got in a mention of hotdish while dissing Trump’s approach to negotiating with North Korea. 


3. The Many-Faced Bernie 

In the second half of the debate, Elizabeth Warren ripped Sander’s healthcare proposal for lacking specifics. 

It was an important shift, representing one of her clearest attempts yet at striking a contrast with her progressive rival. It was made more memorable by the rapid series of facial expressions Sanders cycled through as he listened. 

4. A Buttigieg-Sanders Simulcast

As the frontrunner, Sanders took the brunt of incoming fire from the other candidates. South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg took his turn, attempting to portray Sanders as outside the American mainstream on issues like Medicare for All. 

But the debate reached peak messy when he tried to interject as Sanders was speaking. Sanders didn’t stop. Neither did Buttigieg. The moderators did nothing, and so it went on for 30 seconds. 

5. Biden’s Reverse Hair Dysmorphia

The moderators tried to get personal by asking the candidates what they thought was the biggest misconception about them.

Biden replied with the biggest misconception he thinks he has about himself. 

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