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The Verdict Is In: These Mom & Dad Jokes Won The Latest Democratic Debate

by Morgan Brinlee

In the aftermath of any political debate, it's fairly common for folks to dissect candidates' answers in an effort to determine the event's "winner." Unsurprisingly, the third 2020 Democratic Party presidential debate, hosted in Houston on Thursday, was no exception. But perhaps the real winner of the latest Democratic debate wasn't one singular person. Perhaps it was candidates' mom and dad jokes that won the Democratic debate last night.

With stricter participation requirements than either of the two previous Democratic debates had, Thursday's debate saw only 10 of the party's 2020 candidates take the stage to discuss issues like education, health care, and climate change. Present on stage Thursday were former Vice President Joe Biden, entrepreneur Andrew Yang, former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro, former Rep. Beto O'Rourke, South Bend Major Pete Buttigieg, and Sens. Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, Bernie Sanders, Cory Booker, and Amy Klobuchar.

And while there were a number of notable moments in Thursday's debate, from Buttigieg sharing his coming out story to Sanders' defense of democratic socialism to Klobuchar and Warren sparring over Medicaid-For-All, it was candidates' attempts at humor that made perhaps the biggest impression on viewers — for better or worse.

Here are some of the best, and worst, mom and dad jokes uttered during Thursday's third 2020 Democratic primary debate:

Sen. Kamala Harris' Wizard Of Oz Dig

Early in the debate, Harris referenced The Wizard of Oz while taking a dig at President Donald Trump. "The bottom line is this: Donald Trump, in office on trade policy, you know, he reminds me of that guy in The Wizard of Oz," she said. "You know, when you pull back the curtain, it's a really small dude?"

Sen. Cory Booker's Translation Skills

Although it was former Rep. Beto O'Rourke who first made waves by speaking Spanish at a presidential debate, Sen. Cory Booker jokingly sought to translate one of his answers from English into Spanish at the third Democratic debate. "First of all, I want to say, no," Booker said, when asked if he felt Americans should become vegans like himself. "Actually, I want to translate that into Spanish, 'No.'"

Sen. Amy Klobuchar's “Houston, we have a problem”

Any parent who has ever referenced or quoted a well-known pop culture moment only to find their kids, less than impressed, rolling their eyes, likely cringed out of embarrassment for Amy Klobuchar. According to The Hill, the Minnesota senator attempted to take a dig at Trump by accusing him of running the country "like a game show" after uttering an infamous line: "Houston, we have a problem." Clearly proud of her joke, Klobuchar attempted to continue the reference Friday with a tweet featuring a selfie in "the astronaut mirror in the Houston Marriott elevator."

Andrew Yang's Doctor Crack

Known for often poking fun at Asian stereotypes, Andrew Yang worked a joke about how Asians are often typecast into his plan for health care. "Now, I'm Asian so I know a lot of doctors," Yang said Thursday, before divulging some of the insights his doctor friends had shared with him about the current health care system's issues.

Sen. Amy Klobuchar Gets Biblical

Not too far into the debate, Klobuchar hit viewers with a second joke, this time going for a Biblical reference. "Day four, five, and six, I'll work on sweeping legislation with Congress and local governments," The Hill reported she said while outlining her plan to tackle climate change during her first week in office. "And on day seven you're supposed to rest, but I won't." Her The Day After Tomorrow reference also shouldn't be overlooked.

Sen. Cory Booker's Bald Joke

Booker dropped another epic dad-esque joke Thursday when criticizing President Trump's decision to use a national security waiver to impose steel and aluminum tariffs on Canada in 2018. "Now look, I'm the only person on this stage who finds Trudeau's hair menacing but they are not a national security threat," Booker, who is bald, said.

While the important part of presidential debates aren't the jokes, a little humor never hurt. But be honest, would any of the Democratic presidential candidates' jokes make the cut with your kids?