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.”

confused kid

Getty Images

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis and more, subscribe to Mother Jones' newsletters.

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.

THE BIG PICTURE

You expect the big picture, and it's our job at Mother Jones to give it to you. And right now, so many of the troubles we face are the making not of a virus, but of the quest for profit, political or economic (and not just from the man in the White House who could have offered leadership and comfort but instead gave us bleach).

In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

THE BIG PICTURE

You expect the big picture, and it's our job at Mother Jones to give it to you. And right now, so many of the troubles we face are the making not of a virus, but of the quest for profit, political or economic (and not just from the man in the White House who could have offered leadership and comfort but instead gave us bleach).

In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate

We have a new comment system! We are now using Coral, from Vox Media, for comments on all new articles. We'd love your feedback.