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California Gov. Newsom calls GOP Primary Debate "a nothing burger"

CBS News Live
CBS News Sacramento Live

SIMI VALLEY — Democratic California Gov. Gavin Newsom was front and center at the GOP presidential primary debate in Simi Valley on Wednesday.

The governor was swarmed by media inside a packed spin room in his role at the debate offering counterpoints to the Republican candidates as President Biden's spokesperson.

Reporters asked Gov. Newsom for his takeaway of the night. 

"That there was no takeaway," Newsom said. "I mean, this is a nothing burger you will forget. In the next 72 hours, none of you will be talking about this debate."

Gov. Newsom was shoulder to shoulder with reporters in this unusual setting for him, playing the role of political pundit, grading Republican candidates on their primary debate performance. 

"Honestly, the only thing that was a little bit chilling and strange was the Mike Pence sex joke, which I'm still struggling to get through," he said. 

Gov. Newsom's attacks on Republican candidates followed the GOP debate on the Fox Business Network held at the Ronald Reagan Library, with Air Force One as the backdrop.

At times, the exchanges turned impossible to follow.

Leading Republican candidate Donald Trump was not in attendance, leading several challengers to call him out.

"Donald Trump is missing in action," Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said. "He should be on this stage tonight."

"You're not here tonight because you're afraid of being held to answer to the people on this stage," former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said. "If you keep doing that, nobody's going to call you Donald Trump anymore. They're going to call you Donald Duck."

This road to the White House made a stop in California, and Gov. Newsom joining the GOP spin room frenzy furthered speculation he wants to run, too.

Gov. Newsom appeared on the Fox Business Channel after the debate where he was asked by Sean Hannity about running for president. His answer was that he was there to support President Biden's campaign.

The next GOP debate is in Miami in November.

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