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On Tuesday night, 12 Democratic presidential candidates took the stage in Ohio for the biggest primary debate in history. My boss — Marc Lacey, The Times’s National editor — helped moderate, and my colleagues covered every minute of the three-hour show extensively. (They also made a quiz on the 2020 campaign so far, if you’re into that.)
Here are the biggest takeaways for those of us watching from the Golden State:
There were two Californians onstage, Senator Kamala Harris and the billionaire Tom Steyer, who lives in San Francisco. How did they do?
This was Mr. Steyer’s first time on a presidential debate stage, and he spent much of his seven minutes and 13 seconds of speaking time introducing himself and his ideas.
Yes, he acknowledged, he is a very rich guy. But as a longtime Democratic donor who has pushed for impeachment for years, he sought to position himself as the best person to expose what he described as the president’s failures.
And asked whether billionaires should be taxed out of existence, he answered yes without hesitation. He also railed against a government that he said has been bought by big corporations.
“This is part of the Steyer conundrum,” my colleague Lisa Lerer wrote. “In a race where attacking billionaires fuels several of these campaigns, Steyer is a billionaire. But he’s also one of the most progressive candidates on the stage.”
Before the debate Mr. Steyer had a national polling average of about 1 percent.
Ms. Harris and Senator Cory Booker mainly played the roles of peacemakers and unifiers. Still, Ms. Harris landed a couple of applause lines, including when she drew attention to the fact that women’s access to reproductive health had been largely left out of the debates so far.
“This is the sixth debate we have had in this presidential cycle,” she said. “And not nearly one word, with all of these discussions about health care, on women’s access to reproductive health care, which is under full-on attack in America today. And it’s outrageous.”
She spoke for 12 minutes and 23 seconds — almost precisely the middle of the pack.
There was a big discussion about big tech, which led to a dust-up between Ms. Harris and Senator Elizabeth Warren over President Trump’s Twitter account.
“Senator Warren, I just want to say that I was surprised to hear that you did not agree with me that on this subject of what should be the rules around corporate responsibility for these big tech companies, when I called on Twitter to suspend Donald Trump’s account, that you did not agree,” Ms. Harris said.
Ms. Warren didn’t agree and instead pivoted to campaign finance, and her vow not to take money from big tech executives. She didn’t want to just “push Donald Trump off Twitter,” she said. “I want to push him out of the White House.”
On Tuesday, Twitter said it would continue to stand by the president because preserving his tweets is in the public interest.
Topics that didn’t really crack the discussion?
Housing and homelessness — although candidates denounced growing economic inequality — and climate change.
But both Ms. Harris and Mr. Steyer have qualified for the next debate, which is set for Nov. 20.
Here’s what else we’re following
We often link to sites that limit access for nonsubscribers. We appreciate your reading Times coverage, but we also encourage you to support local news if you can.
An explosion and large fire at a Contra Costa County refinery prompted an order to shelter in place in parts of the East Bay on Tuesday afternoon. About 20 people living in a tiny community of Tormey were evacuated. It’s possible the blast was triggered by a 4.5 magnitude earthquake that hit nearby on Monday night. [The San Francisco Chronicle]
And processing plants at refineries in Martinez malfunctioned following Monday’s temblor. [East Bay Times]
Also: Here’s how such incidents can contribute to California’s sky-high gas prices . [ The New York Times ]
The Environmental Protection Agency escalated concerns about water pollution in California in a letter put together by a small group of political appointees in Washington, without its in-state staff’s knowledge. The unusual process bolsters suspicions that the Trump administration is retaliating against California. [The New York Times]
Children separated from their families at the border talk about their experiences: “I couldn’t sleep because I didn’t know when we were going to be released.” [California Sunday]
Peter Navarro, a top adviser to President Trump on China and a former U.C. Irvine professor, quoted a man named Ron Vara a dozen times in six books, saying things like, you’ve “got to be nuts to eat Chinese food.” He is a Harvard-trained economist, is a military veteran and was also made up by Mr. Navarro. [The Chronicle of Higher Education]
Is Kevin Faulconer, San Diego’s mayor, a potential model for California’s struggling G.O.P.? [National Review]
Felicity Huffman reported to a prison camp in Dublin where security is so low that inmates have sometimes walked out. There are zumba and yoga classes. She’s serving a 14-day sentence for her role in the college admissions scandal. [The New York Times]
Join a discussion about 5G and the future.
R. S. V. P. for a Times Talk in San Francisco on Oct. 24 all about connectivity. Cade Metz , who covers technology for The Times, will moderate a panel featuring Sam Liccardo, the mayor of San Jose. [ Times Events ]
Something completely different: Catalan human towers.
Last week, for the first time, the Castellers de Vilafranca, a group based in Barcelona, toured the Bay Area, performing on the campuses of U.C. Berkeley and Stanford, on Baker Beach and at half-court before the Golden State Warriors’ win at Chase Center.
They climbed on top of one another’s shoulders in a tradition that’s been recognized by Unesco as part of the intangible cultural heritage of humanity. In a nice bit of symbolism, larger men build the lower levels and children are lifted to the top.
Jill Cowan grew up in Orange County, graduated from U.C. Berkeley and has reported all over the state, including the Bay Area, Bakersfield and Los Angeles — but she always wants to see more. Follow along here or on Twitter, @jillcowan .
California Today is edited by Julie Bloom, who grew up in Los Angeles and graduated from U.C. Berkeley.
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