5 Things We Learned Interviewing 2020 Democrats (Again)

But while all of them swathed their answers in lavish praise for the Obama record, several offered revealing hints of criticism. Mr. Bloomberg said the former president should have moved faster to fill vacant judgeships, while Ms. Klobuchar called the failure to take on prescription drug pricing a significant missed opportunity. Mr. Steyer faulted the former president for having spent too much time trying to work with Republican adversaries whom Mr. Steyer said would “never compromise.”

“He trusted the Republicans too much, too long,” Mr. Steyer said.

Most interesting of all may have been Mr. Yang, who delivered a big-picture critique of the Obama economic record: “When we had a fundamental choice to either recapitalize the banks or keep Americans in their homes, we chose the banks, we bailed out Wall Street,” Mr. Yang said. That is a view several other candidates in the race surely share, even if they did not say it out loud.

[See their responses about bad habits, books and celebrity crushes.]

While the interviews were mostly serious, eat-your-vegetables questions, we couldn’t resist adding a bit of dessert. And so we asked all of the candidates to name their bad habits, the last book they read and their celebrity crushes.

The bad habits were almost endearingly normal.

“I like Cheez-Its,” Mr. Bloomberg said, “which are probably not good for you.”

“I bite my nails,” said Mr. Buttigieg.

Ms. Klobuchar had perhaps our favorite bad habit: “The New York Times crossword puzzle,” she said. “So, my problem is that I do it at night.”

Some candidates were willing to name a celebrity crush, but most were not. Without hesitation, Ms. Warren named The Rock. “Just look at that man!” she said. “He’s eye candy!”

Mr. Booker, who left the race after recording his interview, had perhaps the easiest answer to that question.

“Yeah, I have a celebrity crush,” he said. “Her name is Rosario Dawson, and I happen to live in the wonderful world where I am ridiculously blessed that she has a crush back on me.”