Hawaii congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard again topped the rankings of the most Googled candidate during the Ohio Democratic presidential debate Tuesday night. Gabbard, who had threatened to boycott the debate calling the process “rigged,” slammed the sponsors of the debate, CNN and the New York Times, calling both organizations’ attacks on her “despicable.”
Gabbard said, “The New York Times and CNN have also smeared veterans like myself for calling for an end to this regime change war” - referring to her position on Syria. Gabbard’s debate performance won her the Drudge Report's non-scientific, snap poll, with an overwhelming %40 percent saying she won the debate.
She continued, “Just two days ago, the New York Times put out an article saying that I’m a Russian asset and an Assad apologist and all these different smears. This morning, a CNN commentator said on national television that I’m an asset of Russia. Completely despicable.”
Gabbard took a different view from her fellow Democrats in attacking Trump for his withdrawal of U.S. troops from areas of Syria - suggesting the problem was not Trump’s alone. A veteran of the Iraq war, Gabbard has defined her campaign around ending America's overseas conflicts, but has come in for criticism for meeting Assad and defending his regime.
"Donald Trump has the blood of the Kurds on his hand, but so do many of the politicians in our country from both parties who have supported this ongoing regime change war in Syria that started in 2011, along with many in the mainstream media who have been championing and cheerleading this regime change war," she said.
Gabbard was confronted by Pete Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, who served in the U.S. Navy Reserve in Afghanistan and who has urged Congress to repeal a law passed days after Sept. 11, 2001, that paved the way for the campaigns against al Qaeda and Taliban militants.
"The slaughter going on in Syria is not a consequence of American presence, it's a consequence of a withdrawal and the betrayal by this president of American allies and American values," said Buttigieg, who concluded, “You can put an end to endless war without embracing Donald Trump’s policy, as you’re doing.”