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Democrat stands out for quirky remarks at debate

Rebecca Staudenmaier
June 28, 2019

Self-help guru and presidential hopeful Marianne Williamson raised eyebrows with her Democratic debate performance. Her plan to "harness love" to beat Trump prompted people to dig out some of her older online adages.

US Democratic presidential candidate Marianne Williamson
Image: picture-alliance/AP Photo/W. Lee

Marianne Williamson, a self-help guru and friend of Oprah Winfrey, set herself apart from her Democratic rivals during the second half of the debate on Thursday night, with her remarks going viral on social media.

Williamson, a fringe contender for the White House, drew quizzical looks for her policy proposals, particularly her plans for her first act as president.

"My first call is to the prime minister of New Zealand, who said that her goal is to make New Zealand the place where it's the best place in the world for a child to grow up, and I would tell her, 'Girlfriend, you are so wrong, because the United States of America is going to be the best place in the world for a child to grow up,'" she said.

Other foreign policy stances drew attention, like Williamson's pledge to try and rebuild relationships with European leaders — at times frosty under current US President Donald Trump — by calling them to say: "We're baaack." 

She became the most-searched candidate during the debate, according to Google Trends — beating out the current front-runner, former Vice President Joe Biden.

In her closing statement, she also laid out her plan to beat Trump in the 2020 election, saying that he has "harnessed fear for political purposes and only love can cast that out."

"I'm going to harness love for political purposes. I will meet you on that field, and sir, love will win," she said.

Old tweets go viral

Social media users appeared either to embrace or at least to derive amusement from Williamson's quirky style, with pop star Katy Perry tweeting that she also speaks like Williamson "after a few glasses of red [wine]."

Buzzfeed reporter Ellie Hall compiled an archive of Williamson's "amazing" old tweets, including one she wrote in 2009 about swine flu.

Others noted her almost boundless admiration for the 2009 James Cameron film Avatar, and the film's message on real-world conflict, discrimination and pollution.

Some Twitter users said they could also relate to the presidential hopeful, noting the concerned looks that other candidates like Biden and Bernie Sanders gave her as she was responding to questions.

For better or for worse, Williamson did at least manage to get noticed among the crowded field of Democratic presidential candidates.

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