We Need to Talk About These Weird New York Times Presidential Candidate Interviews

The most interesting comfort food a candidate names is a “baked potato.”

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A week out from the first Democratic presidential debates, the New York Times interviewed 21 of the 24 candidates—but not Joe Biden—and asked all of them the same 18 questions. It’s a pretty fun concept, which, if not quite a substantive alternative to a debate, succeeds in illustrating just how weird and boring presidential candidates—and perhaps all of us, really—can be, when given the opportunity. Maybe they’d all have better answers if they slept more.

Here are the most interesting things we learned:

  • John Delaney’s favorite comfort food is a “grilled chicken sandwich…no sauce.” John Delaney’s favorite comfort food is John Delaney.
  • Marianne Williamson has no comfort food. Honestly, what the hell.
  • Eric Swalwell says he sleeps four hours every night and that his comfort food is “coffee,” like every other 38-year-old white guy in the East Bay.
  • Amy Klobuchar’s favorite comfort food is a “baked potato.”
  • Delaney’s hero is his wife.
  • Seth Moulton’s hero is his wife.
  • Jay Inslee’s hero is his wife.
  • Beto O’Rourke hero is his wife.
  • Steve Bullock’s hero is his wife.
  • Elizabeth Warren says her first international visit would be to “Central America,” which is actually an interesting answer to a question that a surprising number of people who won’t be president punted on. (I regret to inform several candidates that “one of our allies” is not a place.)
  • Kamala Harris says she cooks to relax: “Chop, chop, chop.”
  • Inslees sleeps “enough to be able to have dreams at night time and vision statements during the daytime.” Spoken like a normal person!
  • Bill de Blasio is embarrassed about wearing cargo shorts to the gym, which is not the part of his gym routine he should be embarrassed about.
  • Williamson is embarrassed about not being able to remember the last time she was embarrassed.

Watch all the answers here.

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It’s really that simple. But if you’d like to read a bit more, our membership lead, Brian Hiatt, has a post for you highlighting some of our newsroom's impressive, impactful work of late—including two big investigations in just one day and covering voting rights the way it needs to be done—that we hope you’ll agree is worth supporting.

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