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Quick Facts
Personal Details

Robert "Beto" O'Rourke was a Democratic candidate for president of the United States in 2020. He announced his candidacy on March 14, 2019. On November 1, 2019, O'Rourke announced he was ending his campaign.

From 2013 to 2019, O'Rourke was a Democratic member of the U.S. House, representing Texas' 16th Congressional District. He was first elected in 2012 after defeating incumbent Rep. Silvestre Reyes in the Democratic primary. O'Rourke also served on the El Paso City Council from 2005 to 2011.

In 2018, O'Rourke was a Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate in Texas. Incumbent Sen. Ted Cruz (R) defeated O’Rourke in the general election by a margin of 3 percentage points.

Candidate Connection survey in 2019. .

O'Rourke was born in 1972 and grew up in El Paso, Texas. He earned a bachelor's degree in English from Columbia University in 1995.

O'Rourke worked in New York as an art mover, nanny, and proofreader for publisher H.W. Wilson Company. He returned to El Paso in 1998 and co-founded the IT consulting company Stanton Street.

In 2005, O'Rourke was elected to the El Paso City Council, where he served until 2011. He ran to represent Texas' 16th Congressional District in the U.S. House in 2012, defeating eight-term incumbent Silvestre Reyes in the Democratic primary with 51 percent of the vote and winning the general election with 65 percent. He served in the U.S. House until 2019.

O'Rourke challenged Sen. Ted Cruz (R) in the U.S. Senate election for Texas in 2018 and raised more than $80 million for his bid—the most that had ever been raised by a U.S. Senate candidate at the time.

Education

  • BA, English, Columbia University at New York City, 1991-1995

Professional Experience

  • BA, English, Columbia University at New York City, 1991-1995
  • Owner, Stanton Street Technology, 1999-2012

Political Experience

  • BA, English, Columbia University at New York City, 1991-1995
  • Owner, Stanton Street Technology, 1999-2012
  • Candidate, President of the United States, 2020
  • Representative, United States House of Representatives, District 16, 2013-2019
  • Candidate, United States Senate, 2018
  • Member, El Paso City Council, 2005-2011

Former Committees/Caucuses

Former Member, Armed Services Committee, United States House of Representatives

Former Member, Fourth Amendment Caucus, United States House of Representatives

Former Ranking Member, Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity, United States House of Representatives

Former Member, Subcommittee on Emerging Threats and Capabilities, United States House of Representatives

Former Member, Subcommittee on Health, United States House of Representatives

Former Member, Subcommittee on Military Personnel, United States House of Representatives

Former Member, Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, United States House of Representatives

Former Member, Subcommittee on Readiness, United States House of Representatives

Former Member, Subcommittee on Strategic Forces, United States House of Representatives

Former Member, Veterans' Affairs Committee, United States House of Representatives

Other Info

  • Pat

  • El Paso County Commissioner/County Judge

  • Melissa

  • Owner, Charlottes Furniture

2019


Policy Positions

2020

Afghanistan

Would you commit to the full withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan by the end of your first term, or would you require certain conditions be met before doing so?

- Yes, I will commit to withdrawing all U.S. service members by the end of my first term. Seventeen years into America’s longest war, we are no closer to achieving our original objectives than we were in the beginning. Enemy-initiated attacks are on the rise, as are Afghan military and civilian casualties. Corruption and poppy production are stubbornly persistent. 

The status quo approach to Afghanistan—including our current deployment of 14,000 troops—is not serving America’s interests. It is time for a fundamental change. As President, I will be committed to a new approach to Afghanistan, one that responsibly ends our military operations there and shifts our priorities to bringing all parties to the table, putting the Afghan people in the driver’s seat to envision their own future. 

There is no question that withdrawing our troops from Afghanistan poses risks, and our plan—including the timing of when and how to bring Americans home—must be part of a broader risk management strategy. Working with our allies and partners, I will phase troop withdrawal to minimize known risks, while at the same time doing what we can to ensure a sustainable peace, including prioritizing participation by Afghan women in the peace process and reintegrating former fighters into the new Afghan society.

Trade

1. Under what circumstances, if any, would you support the United States joining the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), formerly the Trans-Pacific Partnership?

- The United States should only enter trade agreements that benefit American workers and consumers. As President, I will not support joining the CPTPP unless we are able to negotiate substantial improvements to protect workers, the environment, and human rights.  I will also demand that any agreement include effective enforcement mechanisms.

China

How, if at all, should China’s treatment of the Uighurs and the situation in Hong Kong affect broader U.S. policy toward China?

- To address complex global challenges—climate change chief among them—we need smart, principled engagement with China. But we don’t do ourselves, or our relationship with China, any favors by not being forthright about our core values. Chinese oppression of the Uighur minority is a human rights disaster, and the United States should not only be condemning their detention and surveillance, but should be leading an international effort to pressure China to relent. Likewise, the people of Hong Kong should have no doubt about where we, as Americans, stand in their struggle to preserve democracy against increasing efforts by the Chinese government to undermine it. 

These issues are not—and should not be seen as—separate from other strategic interests we pursue in the broader relationship with China. Our values are assets, not liabilities, in the global competitive environment. Indeed, we are more likely to achieve our other objectives with China when China upholds its human rights obligations, including its promises to respect Hong Kong’s independence.

Navigating the wide range of trade, security, climate, and human rights interests we have with China requires skillful and patient diplomacy, something that is sorely lacking in the current administration. Like all nations, China will act in a way that it believes is consistent with its interests. As President, I will seek to engage China around mutual interests, like climate change, where our countries should be cooperating to build the global green economy.

Iran

Would you rejoin the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA)? What changes to the existing agreement, if any, would you require before agreeing to rejoin the accord?

- Yes, as President, I will rejoin the JCPOA, conditioned on Iran’s compliance with its commitments under the agreement. President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the JCPOA was short-sighted, reckless, and against the recommendations of both the U.S. and Israeli intelligence communities. The nuclear agreement was not perfect—no negotiated agreement can be—but it significantly advanced American interests and was succeeding in blocking Iran’s pathway to achieving nuclear capability. Moreover, our sudden withdrawal has made the United States and our allies less safe and weakened our credibility as a good-faith negotiator for subsequent dealings with Iran and other regimes. 

As President, I will reverse these policies. I will restore US credibility, and use the agreement as a starting point for future negotiations, along with our allies, aimed at reigning in Iran’s most destabilizing behavior in the region, limiting Iran’s ballistic missile capability, and ensuring that Iran never becomes a nuclear weapon state. 

President Trump’s reckless and cavalier saber-rattling is moving us closer to a military confrontation with the Iranian regime. As President, I will put an end to this irresponsible approach. I will work with our allies in Europe and in the region to tackle the serious challenges posed by the Iranian regime and restore our commitment to the hard work of diplomacy.

North Korea

Would you sign an agreement with North Korea that entailed partial sanctions relief in exchange for some dismantling of its nuclear weapons program but not full denuclearization?

- Any nuclear negotiations process with North Korea should be judged by its ability to deliver verifiable progress toward eliminating the regime’s nuclear weapons program. By that metric, President Trump’s policy has been a complete failure. In return for providing Kim Jong Un with the propaganda and legitimacy that comes with multiple presidential summits, President Trump has gotten nothing for the United States. North Korea’s nuclear stockpile continues to grow. It continues to fire missiles into the Sea of Japan. Even the delivery of American Korean War veteran remains has come to a stop.

As President, I would be open to a deal that provided partial sanctions relief for a partial rollback of North Korea’s nuclear weapons program. But for such an agreement to be in America’s interest, North Korea would have to commit to a mutually agreeable definition of denuclearization, vigorous international inspections, and provide a full accounting of its nuclear program. Any sanctions relief would have to have strong “snap back” provisions. In all these efforts, I will place a high value on working with our allies in the region, South Korea and Japan, each of which shares our interest in a peaceful and denuclearized peninsula.

Ukraine

What, if any, steps would you take to counter Russian aggression against Ukraine?

- Russia’s invasion of Crimea and eastern Ukraine violated the post-World War II international consensus that states cannot expand their territory through military force. In addition to Russia’s direct military aggression against Ukraine, Russia continues to try to destabilize Ukraine through disinformation campaigns, cyberattacks, and threatening its energy supply. By cozying up to Putin and running down NATO, President Trump invites this kind of hostile behavior from Russia. 

As President, I will support Ukraine’s efforts to defend itself against Russian aggression. Key among those efforts is helping Ukraine build institutions that will stabilize its democracy. A free and prosperous Ukraine sitting on Russia’s doorstep would not only better deter Putin’s aggression, it would undermine the political narrative Putin relies on for power. The Ukrainian people and their newly-elected government have an opportunity now to adopt reforms that will strengthen the legal, economic, and political architecture supporting democratic progress—and root out corruption—for the long haul. As President, I will encourage these steps and will leverage American finance, particularly through the promotion of renewables, to help Ukraine become energy independent from Russia.

Finally, we now know that Putin has used Ukraine as a laboratory to test disinformation and cyber tactics that it later deploys elsewhere, including in the US. I will be prepared to sanction Russian officials who engage in activities aimed at undermining American democracy, and I will place a high priority on safeguarding our elections by investing in cybersecurity systems and risk-limiting audits for ballots.

Saudi Arabia

Given the assassination of Jamal Khashoggi and Saudi Arabia’s involvement in the civil war in Yemen, what changes, if any, would you make to U.S. policy toward Saudi Arabia?

- Trump’s failure to impose consequences for the murder of a U.S. resident, his refusal to comply with a congressionally-mandated review of Saudi behavior, and his veto of bipartisan legislation that would have blocked arms sales, have given the Saudis latitude to set a new normal in the bilateral relationship in which the range of American interests is reduced to maintaining the kingdom as a consumer of American weapons. 

This must change. Our relationship with Saudi Arabia should be grounded in a clear expression of American interests and values. Otherwise, the Saudis will continue to believe that our security relationship is a blank check for their destabilizing behavior—fueling war and a humanitarian crisis in Yemen, kidnapping the prime minister of a sovereign nation, assassinating an American resident. These abhorrent actions—not U.S. forthrightness about its values—weaken the bilateral relationship and threaten the international community. 

As President, I will call for an end to the repression of women’s rights activists, impose Global Magnitsky Act sanctions on those responsible for Jamal Khashoggi’s murder, respond to the clearly-articulated desire of the American people to end US involvement in the war in Yemen and halt arms sales to the kingdom until it commits to a cessation of hostilities and peace negotiations. A constructive US-Saudi relationship is worth preserving, but only if Riyadh is willing to engage in a significant course correction.

Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

Do you support a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and, if so, how would you go about trying to achieve it?

- A two-state solution that realizes the aspirations of the Palestinian people and addresses Israel’s legitimate security concerns is the only way to guarantee peace and the human rights and dignity of both Israelis and Palestinians. Our strong relationship with Israel is key to achieving that outcome, and as President, I will support and sustain it. 

Leaders on both sides continue to take steps that make negotiating a two-state solution more difficult, including Netanyahu’s embrace of the far-right in Israel and Abbas’ ineffectual leadership of the Palestinian Authority. Ultimately, peace will require bold and principled leadership from both parties. But the United States also has an indispensable role to play. Far from fulfilling that role, President Trump’s reckless and inflammatory actions have added fuel to the fire. As President, I will leverage the unique position of the United States in the region to cultivate a foundation on which negotiations can take place. That will include holding both sides accountable for unjustified acts of violence, whether it be rocket attacks from Gaza, or disproportionate use of force from Israel. Palestinians and Israelis have the right—and deserve the opportunity—to live lives free from violence and depredation. In my administration, I will prioritize rebuilding the foundation for the best way to achieve that outcome: a two-state solution. 

Venezuela

What, if any, additional steps should the United States take to remove Nicolás Maduro from power in Venezuela?

- Venezuela has collapsed. The illegitimate regime of Nicolás Maduro has plunged the Venezuelan people into a nightmare of chaos and deprivation; more than four million of whom have fled because they cannot survive at home. As President, I will take urgent action to alleviate the humanitarian crisis and work with regional allies to support a lasting solution to Venezuela’s political and economic collapse. 

First, I will reverse the Trump administration’s politicization of humanitarian aid, which has prevented support from reaching Venezuelans who need it most, particularly women and children. By supporting the efforts of neutral humanitarian agencies like the International Committee of the Red Cross to deliver life-saving food, medicine, and protection, we will ensure that aid reaches the most vulnerable. I will also immediately grant Temporary Protected Status to Venezuelans already in the United States, something President Trump has refused to do.

Second, to foster a democratic transition away from the Maduro regime to Juan Guaido, the legitimate president under the Venezuelan constitution, I will support efforts by opposition and regime officials to negotiate a political settlement, while using targeted measures like asset seizure and supporting criminal indictments to increase pressure on regime officials. To reverse Venezuela’s economic collapse, I will lead an international effort to provide financial assistance to stabilize the post-Maduro Venezuelan economy and enable the Venezuelan people to rebuild their lives.

Africa

By 2050, Africa will account for 25 percent of the world’s population according to projections by the United Nations. What are the implications of this demographic change for the United States, and how should we adjust our policies to anticipate them?

- The implications of population growth in Africa and elsewhere will be shaped by the changes in climate that have already begun. These changes will have a profound impact on the continent. From rising sea levels, to the expansion of deserts like the Sahara, climate change is altering where and how populations can safely live. Africa’s young, growing population will be forced to confront the effects of climate change. When population centers become uninhabitable, we will witness significant migration and perhaps the biggest set of refugee crises the world has ever seen. Moreover, the wealth in these countries will become more limited and a host of other issues, including violent fights for resources, may arise. Population growth will only exacerbate these conflicts. We have already seen the consequences of violence and instability abroad impacting our southern border, and we have a responsibility to do everything in our power to mitigate future crises. As President, I will mobilize $5 trillion to combat climate change by investing in innovation, our infrastructure, and our communities. I will also take bold steps to cut pollution and reach the goal of achieving net-zero emissions by 2050. And working with the international community, I will re-enter the Paris Agreement and lead the negotiations for an even more ambitious global plan for 2030 and beyond.

Climate

How would you discourage the proliferation of coal-fired power plants in developing countries?

- The best way for the United States to confront climate change is through an ambitious national project at home and by rejoining the Paris Climate Accords to spur a clean energy transition abroad. The United States should lead by example, showing other countries it is not only viable, but economically advantageous, to make transformative investments in green energy. That’s why I have proposed a comprehensive, $5 trillion plan to fight climate change through investment in infrastructure, innovation, and American workers and communities. We cannot credibly call upon developing nations to reduce climate emissions unless we do the same. 

But many countries need more than an example from the United States. They need technical and financial assistance to transition away from fossil fuels. While developing countries contribute the least to climate change, they have the least financial capacity to mitigate its catastrophic effects. Instead of leading the world in a green energy transition, President Trump has gutted U.S. funding for institutions like the Green Climate Fund and Global Environmental Facility - programs that are crucial to helping developing countries shift to sustainable energy. As President, I will restore assistance to these vital institutions and reestablish American leadership in the global fight against climate change.

U.S. Foreign Policy

What has been the greatest foreign policy accomplishment of the United States since World War II? What has been the biggest mistake?

- The pinnacle of American leadership in foreign affairs was our role in shaping the global order following World War II. Having defeated the greatest threat to peace the world has ever known, our leadership in developing institutions to secure peace like the United Nations and the Bretton Woods system, our commitment to rebuilding Europe through the Marshall Plan, and the creation of NATO helped to ensure that the second half of the 20th century was among the most peaceful and economically beneficial periods in world history. As President, I will be committed to replicating the successes of our past by investing in aid to regions like Central America to promote peace and economic growth and reaffirming our commitment to NATO in the face of increased Russian aggression.

Our greatest foreign policy mistake was the invasion of Iraq in 2003. The negative consequences of that war have been lasting and profound. The decision to topple Saddam Hussein and our occupation of Iraq damaged our alliances and cost nearly 4,500 American and hundreds of thousands of Iraqi lives, all while making our country less safe. The vacuum created by toppling Hussein led to the spread of al-Qaeda, and later, ISIL over significant portions of the country, which left us further entangled in a quagmire of our own creation. As President, I will end our “forever wars,” repair our strained relationships with our traditional allies, and make the decision to put our service members in harm’s way only when absolutely necessary.

Presidential Election 2020 Political Courage Test

Abortion

1. Do you generally support pro-choice or pro-life legislation?
- Pro-choice

2. Other or expanded principles
- At a time of unprecedented attacks on women and their health care, an O'Rourke Administration will call upon all three branches of the federal government to protect Roe v. Wade and defend a woman's right to make her own decisions about her body. At the executive level, Beto will increase funding for women's health care and put no restrictions on the use of funds for abortions. At the judicial level, Beto will appoint judges who recognize Roe as settled precedent. At the legislative level, Beto will repeal Hyde and work to pass legislation protecting the full spectrum of reproductive health.

Budget

1. Other or expanded principles
- Social Security works. Yet today, the GOP's borrowing from our kids, to cut checks to corporations, and then threatening our parents and grandparents with cuts to Medicare and Social Security they've earned. Beto rejects those cuts. As president, he would work to enact Medicare for America, giving all Americans the option to join Medicare; and supports the Social Security 2100 Act, which will not only increase benefits, but guarantees the long-term viability of Social Security by, for example, ensuring that millionaires and billionaires no longer pay less in Social Security taxes than truck drivers and nurses.

2. In order to balance the budget, do you support an income tax increase on any tax bracket?
- Yes

3. Do you support expanding federal funding to support entitlement programs such as Social Security and Medicare?
- Yes

Education

1. Do you support requiring states to adopt federal education standards?
- No

2. Other or expanded principles
- We need to ensure that each and every child, regardless of their zip code, has a chance to reach their potential. All students should have access to instruction based on college and career ready standards. But standards are just one critical building block. We must ensure that our children and teachers have access to the resources they need to succeed. As President, Beto would create a permanent fund for equity and excellence to ensure families have access to high-quality public schools, closing gaps in funding based on race and income.

Energy & Environment

1. Other or expanded principles
- Climate change is the greatest threat we face, one which will test our country, our democracy, and every single one of us. Our longstanding inaction has not only impacted our climate but led to a growing emergency that has already started to sap our economic prosperity and public health, worsening inequality and threatening our safety and security. Climate change will be Beto's top priority as president. As President, he'll leverage a multitude of resources and invest $5 trillion into combating climate change, guaranteeing that we reach net-zero emissions by 2050, and get halfway there by 2030.

2. Do you support the federal regulation of greenhouse gas emissions?
- Yes

3. Do you support government funding for the development of renewable energy (e.g. solar, wind, geo-thermal)?
- Yes

Guns

1. Do you generally support gun-control legislation?
- Yes

2. Other or expanded principles
- As President, Beto will directly address the gun violence epidemic by working with Congress to implement a national licensing system and universal background checks, ban assault weapons, and institute a mandatory buyback program for assault weapons and a voluntary buyback program for handguns. Beto will also close loopholes and support Extreme Risk Protection Order laws. Beto will declare our gun violence epidemic a public health emergency and invest in CDC research into gun violence. He will also address the root causes of hate and white nationalism that are fueling many of the mass shootings and tragedies across the country.

Health Care

1. Other or expanded principles
- We cannot reverse the progress made in securing health care coverage for nearly 20 million Americans. But we must go further. Every American deserves guaranteed, universal, high-quality health care without exception. That's why Beto supports Medicare for America, which guarantees universal, high-quality care for every American. Under this plan, everyone without care will be automatically enrolled into Medicare. Those with insufficient coverage can enroll into Medicare, and those whose employers continue to offer employer-sponsored care can keep if they want to or enroll in Medicare. Under Medicare, deductibles will be eliminated. Premiums will be affordable and based on income.

2. Do you support repealing the 2010 Affordable Care Act ("Obamacare")?
- No

Campaign Finance

1. Do you support the regulation of indirect campaign contributions from corporations and unions?
- Yes

2. Other or expanded principles
- We must be responsive to people, not PACs and corporations. To ensure that politicians are always putting the interests of their constituents above the interests of corporations, Beto will call for legislation that ends the influence of PACs; provides matching contributions for low dollar donors; brings transparency to donations made by corporations and other large donors and imposes term limits on Members of Congress.

Economy

1. Other or expanded principles
- President Trump has already cut corporate tax cuts, draining federal revenue which will prevent us from making the investments we need to ensure America stays competitive. We need to make sure that wealthy investors and corporations face the same set of rules as workers by ending tax preferences for capital gains and reversing the Trump tax cuts, restoring the top marginal tax rate and increasing the corporate tax rate to at least the mid 20s. Beto also favors efforts to simplify the tax code for small business owners by establishing a standard deduction for small businesses.

2. Do you support federal spending as a means of promoting economic growth?
- Yes

3. Do you support lowering corporate taxes as a means of promoting economic growth?
- No

Immigration

1. Other or expanded principles
- No matter when you arrived, your story is part of the American story. At this time of great horror at our border and in our communities, we have an opportunity to meet this fear and smallness with an ambition and a bigheartedness that reflects the genius of this nation. Beto is proposing the most sweeping rewrite of our immigration laws in a generation to end the chaos at the border and reunite families, reform our asylum system, provide a pathway to citizenship for 11 million people including DREAMers and their parents and make naturalization free for 9 million eligible immigrants.

2. Do you support the construction of a wall along the Mexican border?
- No

3. Do you support requiring immigrants who are unlawfully present to return to their country of origin before they are eligible for citizenship?
- No

National Security

1. Other or expanded principles
- There can no longer be a blank check for war. We must withdraw our troops from Iraq, Afghanistan, and Syria while working with our allies and partners to ensure a sustainable peace. In Iraq and Afghanistan, Beto will negotiate a drawdown of troops in coordination with our allies and international partners. In Syria, he will pursue a thoughtful strategy that puts diplomacy in the driver's seat and works by, with, and through partners to pursue multiple lines of effort that builds existing military capacity, targets the flow of foreign terrorist fighters, cuts off funding to ISIS, and provides humanitarian relief.

2. Should the United States use military force to prevent governments hostile to the U.S. from possessing a weapon of mass destruction (for example: nuclear, biological, chemical)?
- Unknown Position

3. Do you support reducing military intervention in Middle East conflicts?
- Yes

Administrative Priorities

Please explain in a total of 100 words or less, your top two or three priorities if elected. If they require additional funding for implementation, please explain how you would obtain this funding.
- Beto will immediately take action to address climate change; reverse Trump's cruel policies towards immigrants and protect DREAMers; support workers, entrepreneurs, farmers, and grow the economy; protect a women's right to choose; protect the rights of all people to love -- free from discrimination; make hate crimes a law enforcement priority, while acting swiftly to curb the epidemic of gun violence and to tackle racial disparities in law enforcement. Beto will cancel the blank check on endless war and reassert our country's role on the global stage, no longer alienating our partners, or squandering the standing we earned over decades.

Trade

1. Do you generally support removing barriers to international trade (for example: tariffs, quotas, etc.)?
- Yes

2. Other or expanded principles
- Instead of reckless trade wars that alienate our allies while raise taxes on working families, we need a trade policy that puts working families first. While Beto recognizes that targeted tariffs are a tool that may sometimes be necessary, Trump's Tariffs are part of a reckless trade war that have amounted to a tax hike on middle-class Americans. As president, Beto will immediately end Trump's reckless tariffs and implement a trade policy that supports rural communities, puts working families first, and ensures that our trading partners meet high-quality environmental and labor requirements.

Defense

1. Do you support increasing defense spending?
- Yes

2. Other or expanded principles
- Our power rests in our unyielding commitment to our values and our leadership at home and abroad. And as the world creeps towards authoritarianism, we need to defend those values---now more than ever---with bold leadership on the international stage. We need to be smarter about defense spending. As President, Beto will go line by line to ensure spending is necessary and, more importantly, to ensure we are preparing for current threats to our national security (eg, cybersecurity). We also need to ensure that we're shifting funds we're saving from ending forever wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to supporting veterans.

Debates/Survey

CNN Democratic Primary Debate

October 15, 2019

COOPER: And live from Otterbein University, just north of Columbus, Ohio, this is the CNN-New York Times Democratic presidential debate.

We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and watching around the world, watching us on CNN, CNN International, CNN En Espanol, Cnn.com, thenewyorktimes.com, CNN's Facebook page, and listening on the Westwood One radio network, SiriusXM satellite radio, NPR, and the American Forces Network.

I'm Anderson Cooper moderating tonight's debate, along with Anderson Cooper and New York Times national editor Mark Lacey. We are in Ohio tonight, because it's one of the most critical battleground states. Ohio has backed all but two presidential winners in every election since 1896.

BURNETT: The top 12 Democratic presidential candidates are at their positions behind the podiums. This is a record number of candidates for a presidential primary debate, so to accommodate the large group, there are no opening statements tonight.

LACEY: Before we begin, a reminder of the ground rules. You'll each receive 75 seconds to answer questions, 45 seconds for responses and rebuttals, and 15 seconds for clarifications. Please refrain from interrupting your fellow candidates, as that will count against your time.

COOPER: And we remind our audience here in the Rike Center at Otterbein to be respectful so the candidates can hear the questions and each other. All right, let's begin.

Since the last debate, House Democrats have officially launched an impeachment inquiry against President Trump, which all the candidates on this stage support. Senator Warren, I want to start with you. You have said that there's already enough evidence for President Trump to be impeached and removed from office. But the question is, with the election only one year away, why shouldn't it be the voters who determine the president's fate?

WARREN: Because sometimes there are issues that are bigger than politics. And I think that's the case with this impeachment inquiry.

When I made the decision to run for president, I certainly didn't think it was going to be about impeachment. But when the Mueller report came out, I read it, all 442 pages. And when I got to the end, I realized that Mueller had shown, too, a fare-thee-well, that this president had obstructed justice and done it repeatedly. And so at that moment, I called for opening an impeachment inquiry.

Now, that didn't happen. And look what happened as a result. Donald Trump broke the law again in the summer, broke it again this fall. You know, we took a constitutional oath, and that is that no one is above the law, and that includes the president of the United States.

Impeachment is the way that we establish that this man will not be permitted to break the law over and over without consequences. This is about Donald Trump, but, understand, it's about the next president and the next president and the next president and the future of this country. The impeachment must go forward.

COOPER: Thank you, Senator Warren. You're all going to get in on this, by the way. Senator Sanders, do Democrats have any chance but to impeach President Trump? Please respond.

SANDERS: No, they don't. In my judgment, Trump is the most corrupt president in the history of this country. It's not just that he obstructed justice with the Mueller Report. I think that the House will find him guilty of -- worthy of impeachment because of the emoluments clause. This is a president who is enriching himself while using the Oval Office to do that, and that is outrageous.

And I think in terms of the recent Ukrainian incident, the idea that we have a president of the United States who is prepared to hold back national security money to one of our allies in order to get dirt on a presidential candidate is beyond comprehension. So I look forward, by the way, not only to a speedy and expeditious impeachment process, but Mitch McConnell has got to do the right thing and allow a free and fair trial in the Senate.

COOPER: Vice President Biden, during the Clinton impeachment proceedings, you said, and I quote, "The American people don't think that they've made a mistake by electing Bill Clinton, and we in Congress had better be very careful before we upset their decision." With the country now split, have Democrats been careful enough in pursuing the impeachment of President Trump?

BIDEN: Yes, they have. I said from the beginning that if, in fact, Trump continued to stonewall what the Congress is entitled to know about his background, what he did, all the accusations in the Mueller Report, if they did that, they would have no choice -- no choice -- but to begin an impeachment proceeding, which

[20:05:00]

gives them more power to seek more information.

This president -- and I agree with Bernie, Senator Sanders -- is the most corrupt president in modern history and I think all of our history. And the fact is that this president of the United States has gone so far as to say, since this latest event, that, in fact, he will not cooperate in any way at all, will not list any witnesses, will not provide any information, will not do anything to cooperate with the impeachment. They have no choice but to move.

COOPER: Senator Harris, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has said that members of Congress have to be, in her words, fair to the president and give him a chance to exonerate himself. You've already said that based on everything you've seen, you would vote to remove him from office. Is that being fair to the president?

HARRIS: Well, it's just being observant, because he has committed crimes in plain sight. I mean, it's shocking, but he told us who he was. Maya Angelou told us years ago, listen to somebody when they tell you who they are the first time.

During that election, Donald Trump told us he could shoot somebody on Fifth Avenue and get away with it. And he has consistently since he won been selling out the American people. He's been selling out working people. He's been selling out our values. He's been selling out national security. And on this issue with Ukraine, he has been selling out our democracy.

Our framers imagined this moment, a moment where we would have a corrupt president. And our framers then rightly designed our system of democracy to say there will be checks and balances. This is one of those moments. And so Congress must act.

But the reality of it is that I don't really think this impeachment process is going to take very long, because as a former prosecutor, I know a confession when I see it. And he did it in plain sight. He has given us the evidence. And he tried to cover it up, putting it in that special server. And there's been a clear consciousness of guilt. This will not take very long. Donald Trump needs to be held accountable. He is, indeed, the most corrupt and unpatriotic president we have ever had.

COOPER: Senator Booker, you have said that President Trump's, quote, "moral vandalism" disqualifies him from being president. Can you be fair in an impeachment trial? Please respond.

BOOKER: So, first of all, we must be fair. We are talking about ongoing proceedings to remove a sitting president for office. This has got to be about patriotism and not partisanship.

Look, I share the same sense of urgency of everybody on this stage. I understand the outrage that we all feel. But we have to conduct this process in a way that is honorable, that brings our country together, doesn't rip us apart.

Anybody who has criticisms about a process that is making all the facts bare before the American public, that works to build consensus, that's what this nation needs, in what is a moral moment and not a political one. So I swore an oath to do my job as a senator, do my duty. This president has violated his. I will do mine.

COOPER: Thank you, Senator Booker. Senator Klobuchar, you have -- what do you say to those who fear that impeachment is a distraction from issues that impact people's day-to- day lives, health care, the economy, and could backfire on Democrats?

KLOBUCHAR: We can do two things at once. That's our job. We have a constitutional duty to pursue this impeachment, but we also can stand up for America, because this president has not been putting America in front of his own personal interests.

He has not been standing up for the workers of Ohio. He's not been standing up for the farmers in Iowa. And I take this even a step further. You know, when he made that call to the head of Ukraine, he's digging up dirt on an opponent. That's illegal conduct. That's what he was doing. He didn't talk to him about the Russian invasion. He talked to him about that.

So I'm still waiting to find out from him how making that call to the head of Ukraine and trying to get him involved in interfering in our election makes America great again. I'd like to hear from him about how leaving the Kurds for slaughter, our allies for slaughter, where Russia then steps in to protect them, how that makes America great again. And I would like to hear from him about how coddling up to Vladimir Putin makes America great again.

It doesn't make America great again. It makes Russia great again. And that is what this president has done. So whether it is workers' issues, whether it is farmers' issues, he has put his own private interests...

COOPER: Thank you.

KLOBUCHAR: ... and I will not do that.

COOPER: Thank you. Secretary Castro, is impeachment a distraction?

CASTRO: Not at all. We can walk and chew gun at the same time. And all of us are out there every single day talking about what we're going to do to make sure that more people cross a graduation stage, that more families have great health care, that more folks are put to work in places like Ohio, where Donald Trump has broken his promises, because Ohio, Michigan, and Pennsylvania actually in the latest jobs data have lost jobs, not gained them.

[20:10:00]

Not only that, what we have to recognize is that not only did the Mueller Report point out 10 different instances where the president obstructed justice or tried to, and he made that call to President Zelensky of the Ukraine, but he is in ongoingly -- in an ongoing way violating his oath of office and abusing his power.

We have to impeach this president. And the majority of Americans not only support impeachment, they support removal. He should be removed.

COOPER: Mayer Buttigieg, you have said that impeachment should be bipartisan. There's been, obviously, very little Republican support to date, yet Democrats are proceeding. Is that a mistake?

BUTTIGIEG: Well, it's a mistake on the part of Republicans, who enable the president whose actions are as offensive to their own supposed values as they are to the values that we all share.

Look, the president has left the Congress with no choice. And this is not just about holding the president accountable, for not just the things emerging in these investigations, but actions that he has confessed to on television. It's also about the presidency itself, because a president 10 years or 100 years from now will look back at this moment and draw the conclusion either that no one is above the law or that a president can get away with anything.

But everyone on this stage, by definition, is competing to be a president for after the Trump presidency. Remember, one way or the other, this presidency is going to come to an end. I want you to picture what it's going to be like, what it's actually going to feel like in this country the first day the sun comes up after Donald Trump has been president.

It starts out feeling like a happy thought; this particular brand of chaos and corruption will be over. But really think about where we'll be: vulnerable, even more torn apart by politics than we are right now. And these big issues from the economy to climate change have not taken a vacation during the impeachment process.

I'm running to be the president who can turn the page and unify a dangerously polarized country while tackling those issues that are going to be just as urgent then as they are now.

COOPER: Thank you, Mr. Mayor. Congresswoman Gabbard, you're the only sitting House member on this stage. How do you respond?

GABBARD: If impeachment is driven by these hyperpartisan interests, it will only further divide an already terribly divided country. Unfortunately, this is what we're already seen play out as calls for impeachment really began shortly after Trump won his election. And as unhappy as that may make us as Democrats, he won that election in 2016.

The serious issues that have been raised around this phone call that he had with the president of Ukraine and many other things that transpired around that are what caused me to support the inquiry in the House. And I think that it should continue to play its course out, to gather all the information, provide that to the American people, recognizing that that is the only way forward.

If the House votes to impeach, the Senate does not vote to remove Donald Trump, he walks out and he feels exonerated, further deepening the divides in this country that we cannot afford.

COOPER: Thank you, Congresswoman.

Mr. Steyer, you've been calling for impeachment for two years. Does there need to be bipartisan support? STEYER: Well, Anderson, this is my first time on this stage, so I just want to start by reminding everybody that every candidate here is more decent, more coherent, and more patriotic than the criminal in the White House.

(APPLAUSE)

But I also want to point out that Anderson's right. Two years ago, I started the Need to Impeach movement, because I knew there was something desperately wrong at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, that we did have the most corrupt president in the country, and that only the voice and the will of the American people would drag Washington to see it as a matter of right and wrong, not of political expediency. So, in fact, impeaching and removing this president is something that the American people are demanding. They're the voice that counts, and that's who I went to, the American people.

COOPER: Mr. Yang, do you think there's already enough evidence out there to impeach the president? Please respond.

YANG: I support impeachment, but we shouldn't have any illusions that impeaching Donald Trump will, one, be successful or, two, erase the problems that got him elected in 2016. We're standing in the great state of Ohio, the ultimate purple state, the ultimate bellwether state.

Why did Donald Trump win your state by eight points? Because we got rid of 300,000 manufacturing jobs in your towns. And we are not stopping there. How many of you have noticed stores closing where you work and live here in Ohio? Raise your hands.

It's not just you. Amazon alone is closing 30 percent of America's stores and malls, soaking up $20 billion in business while paying zero in taxes. These are the problems that got Donald Trump elected, the fourth industrial revolution. And that is going to accelerate and grow more serious regardless of who is in the Oval Office.

The fact is, Donald Trump, when we're talking about him, we are losing. We need to present a new vision, and that even includes talking about impeaching Donald Trump.

COOPER: Congressman O'Rourke, on impeachment, please respond.

[20:15:00]

O'ROURKE: You know, I think about everyone who's ever served this country in uniform. We have two examples here on this stage tonight in Mayor Buttigieg and Congresswoman Gabbard, those who have willingly sacrificed their lives to defend this country and our Constitution. We are the inheritors of their service and their sacrifice.

And we have a responsibility to be fearless in the face of this president's criminality and his lawlessness. The fact that as a candidate for the highest office in the land, he invited the participation, the invasion of a foreign power in our democracy. As president, he lied to investigators, obstructed justice, fired James Comey, head of the FBI, tried to fire Mueller, head of the investigation, then invited President Zelensky to involve himself in our politics, as well as China, in exchange for favorable trade terms in an upcoming trade deal.

COOPER: Thank you, Congressman.

O'ROURKE: If we do not hold him to account, if there is not justice, not only have we failed this moment, our Constitution and our country, but we have failed everyone who has sacrificed and laid their lives down on the line.

COOPER: Thank you.

O'ROURKE: And we cannot do that.

COOPER: Thank you, Congressman. The impeachment inquiry is centered on President Trump's attempts to get political dirt from Ukraine on Vice President Biden and his son, Hunter. Mr. Vice President, President Trump has falsely accused your son of doing something wrong while serving on a company board in Ukraine. I want to point out there's no evidence of wrongdoing by either one of you.

Having said that, on Sunday, you announced that if you're president, no one in your family or associated with you will be involved in any foreign businesses. My question is, if it's not OK for a president's family to be involved in foreign businesses, why was it OK for your son when you were vice president? Vice President Biden?

BIDEN: Look, my son did nothing wrong. I did nothing wrong. I carried out the policy of the United States government in rooting out corruption in Ukraine. And that's what we should be focusing on.

And what I wanted to make a point about -- and my son's statement speaks for itself. He spoke about it today. My son's statement speaks for itself. What I think is important is we focus on why it's so important to remove this man from office.

On the -- look, the fact that George Washington worried on the first time he spoke after being elected president that what we had to worry about is foreign interference in our elections, it was the greatest threat to America. This president on three occasions -- three occasions -- has invited foreign governments and heads of government to get engaged in trying to alter our elections. The fact is that it is outrageous.

Rudy Giuliani, the president, and his thugs have already proven that they, in fact, are flat lying. What we have to do now is focus on Donald Trump. He doesn't want me to be the candidate. He's going after me because he knows, if I get the nomination, I will beat him like a drum.

(UNKNOWN): Anderson -- Anderson...

COOPER: Hold on, sorry, just to follow up. Mr. Vice President, as you said, your son, Hunter, today gave an interview, admitted that he made a mistake and showed poor judgement by serving on that board in Ukraine. Did you make a mistake by letting him? You were the point person on Ukraine at the time. You can answer.

BIDEN: Look, my son's statement speaks for itself. I did my job. I never discussed a single thing with my son about anything having do with Ukraine. No one has indicated I have. We've always kept everything separate. Even when my son was the attorney general of the state of Delaware, we never discussed anything, so there would be no potential conflict.

My son made a judgment. I'm proud of the judgement he made. I'm proud of what he had to say. And let's focus on this. The fact of the matter is that this is about Trump's corruption. That's what we should be focusing on.

COOPER: Senator Sanders, your response?

SANDERS: Let me make a point. I think that it is absolutely imperative we go forward with impeachment. I hope that he is impeached. But I think what would be a disaster, if the American people believe that all we were doing is taking on Trump and we're forgetting that 87 million Americans are uninsured or underinsured. We're forgetting about the existential threat of climate change. We are forgetting about the fact that half of our people are living paycheck to paycheck. So what we have got to do is end this corruption, set a precedent for future history that says presidents like this cannot behave this way.

But we cannot and must not turn our backs on the pain of the working class of this country.

COOPER: Senator Sanders, thank you. Mark?

LACEY: We want to move now to the economy.

MORE

XXX to the economy.

(UNKNOWN): May I get in, please?

LACEY: You've proposed some sweeping plans...

(CROSSTALK)

LACEY: ... free public college...

(CROSSTALK)

(UNKNOWN): It is wrong to move on.

LACEY: Thank you. We're going to -- Senator Warren.

(UNKNOWN): It is wrong to move on.

LACEY: Senator Warren, we've proposed -- you've proposed some sweeping plans, free public college, free universal childcare, eliminating most Americans' college debt. [20:20:00]

And you've said how you're going to pay for those plans. But you have not specified how you're going to pay for the most expensive plan, Medicare for all. Will you raise taxes on the middle class to pay for it, yes or no?

WARREN: So I have made clear what my principles are here, and that is costs will go up for the wealthy and for big corporations, and for hard-working middle-class families, costs will go down. You know, the way I see this is, I have been out all around this country. I've done 140 town halls now, been to 27 states and Puerto Rico. Shoot, I've done 70,000 selfies, which must be the new measure of democracy.

And this gives people a chance to come up and talk to me directly. So I have talked with the family, the mom and dad whose daughter's been diagnosed with cancer. I have talked to the young woman whose mother has just been diagnosed with diabetes. I've talked to the young man who has MS.

And here's the thing about all of them. They all had great health insurance right at the beginning. But then they found out when they really needed it, when the costs went up, that the insurance company pulled the rug out from underneath them and they were left with nothing.

Look, the way I see this, it is hard enough to get a diagnosis that your child has cancer, to think about the changes in your family if your mom has diabetes, or what it means for your life going forward if you've been diagnosed with MS. But what you shouldn't have to worry about is how you're going to pay for your health care after that.

LACEY: Senator Warren, to be clear, Senator Sanders acknowledges he's going to raise taxes on the middle class to pay for Medicare for all. You've endorsed his plan. Should you acknowledge it, too?

WARREN: So the way I see this, it is about what kinds of costs middle- class families are going to face. So let me be clear on this. Costs will go up for the wealthy. They will go up for big corporations. And for middle-class families, they will go down. I will not sign a bill into law that does not lower costs for middle-class families.

LACEY: Mayor Buttigieg, you say Senator Warren has been, quote, "evasive" about how she's going to pay for Medicare for all. What's your response?

BUTTIGIEG: Well, we heard it tonight, a yes or no question that didn't get a yes or no answer. Look, this is why people here in the Midwest are so frustrated with Washington in general and Capitol Hill in particular. Your signature, Senator, is to have a plan for everything. Except this.

No plan has been laid out to explain how a multi-trillion-dollar hole in this Medicare for all plan that Senator Warren is putting forward is supposed to get filled in. And the thing is, we really can deliver health care for every American and move forward with the boldest, biggest transformation since the inception of Medicare itself.

But the way to do it without a giant multi-trillion-dollar hole and without having to avoid a yes-or-no question is Medicare for all who want it. We take a version of Medicare. We let you access it if you want to. And if you prefer to stay on your private plan, you can do that, too. That is what most Americans want, Medicare for all who want it, trusting you to make the right decision for your health care and for your family. And it can be delivered without an increase on the middle-class taxes.

LACEY: Thank you, Mayor. Senator, your response?

WARREN: So, let's be clear. Whenever someone hears the term Medicare for all who want it, understand what that really means. It's Medicare for all who can afford it. And that's the problem we've got.

Medicare for all is the gold standard. It is the way we get health care coverage for every single American, including the family whose child has been diagnosed with cancer, including the person who's just gotten an MS diagnosis. That's how we make sure that everyone gets health care.

We can pay for this. I've laid out the basic principles. Costs are going to go up for the wealthy. They're going to go up for big corporations. They will not go up for middle-class families. And I will not sign a bill into law that raises their costs, because costs are what people care about.

I've been studying this, you know, for the biggest part of my life...

LACEY: Thank you, Senator. Can the -- can the...

WARREN: ... why people go bankrupt.

LACEY: ... mayor respond?

WARREN: Sure.

BUTTIGIEG: I don't think the American people are wrong when they say that what they want is a choice. And the choice of Medicare for all who want it, which is affordable for everyone, because we make sure that the subsidies are in place, allows you to get that health care. It's just better than Medicare for all whether you want it or not.

And I don't understand why you believe the only way to deliver affordable coverage to everybody is to obliterate private plans, kicking 150 million Americans off of their insurance in four short years, when we could achieve that same big, bold goal -- and once again, we have a president -- we're competing to be president for the day after Trump. Our country will be horrifyingly polarized, even more than now, after everything we've been through, after everything we are about to go through, this country

[20:25:00]

will be even more divided. Why unnecessarily divide this country over health care when there's a better way to deliver coverage for all?

LACEY: Thank you. Thank you, Mayor. Senator Sanders?

WARREN: I'd like to be able to respond...

SANDERS: Well, as somebody who wrote the damn bill, as I said, let's be clear. Under the Medicare for all bill that I wrote, premiums are gone. Co-payments are gone. Deductibles are gone. All out-of-pocket expenses are gone. We're going to do better than the Canadians do, and that is what they have managed to do.

At the end of the day, the overwhelming majority of people will save money on their health care bills. But I do think it is appropriate to acknowledge that taxes will go up. They're going to go up significantly for the wealthy. And for virtually everybody, the tax increase they pay will be substantially less -- substantially less than what they were paying for premiums and out-of-pocket expansions.

BUTTIGIEG: Well, at least that's a straightforward answer, but there's a better way.

LACEY: Senator Warren, will you acknowledge what the senator just said about taxes going up?

WARREN: So my view on this, and what I have committed to, is costs will go down for hardworking, middle-class families. I will not embrace a plan like Medicare for all who can afford it that will leave behind millions of people who cannot. And I will not embrace a plan that says people have great insurance right up until you get the diagnosis and the insurance company says, "Sorry, we're not covering your expensive cancer treatments, we're not covering your expensive treatments for MS."

LACEY: Thank you, Senator. Senator Klobuchar...

WARREN: "We're not covering what you need."

KLOBUCHAR: At least Bernie's being honest here and saying how he's going to pay for this and that taxes are going to go up. And I'm sorry, Elizabeth, but you have not said that, and I think we owe it to the American people to tell them where we're going to send the invoice.

I believe the best and boldest idea here is to not trash Obamacare but to do exactly what Barack Obama wanted to do from the beginning and that's have a public option that would bring down the cost of the premium and expand the number of people covered and take on the pharmaceutical companies. That is what we should be doing instead of kicking 149 million people off their insurance in our years.

And I'm tired of hearing, whenever I say these things, oh, it's Republican talking points. You are making Republican talking points right now in this room by coming out for a plan that's going to do that. I think there is a better way that is bold, that will cover more people, and it's the one we should get behind.

LACEY: Senator Warren?

WARREN: You know, I didn't spend most of my time in Washington. I spent most of my time studying one basic question, and that is why hardworking people go broke. And one of the principal reasons for that is the cost of health care.

And back when I was studying it, two out of every three families that ended up in bankruptcy after a serious medical problem had health insurance. The problem we've got right now is the overall cost of health care. And, look, you can try to spin this any way you want. I've spent my entire life on working on how America's middle class has been hollowed out and how we fight back. I've put out nearly 50 plans on how we can fight back and how we can rebuild an America that works. And a part is that is we have got to stop...

LACEY: Thank you, Senator.

WARREN: ... Americans from going bankrupt over health care costs.

LACEY: Senator Klobuchar, do you want to respond?

KLOBUCHAR: Yes, I do. And I appreciate Elizabeth's work. But, again, the difference between a plan and a pipe dream is something that you can actually get done. And we can get this public option done. And we can take on the pharmaceutical companies and bring down the prices.

But what really bothers me about this discussion, which we've had so many times, is that we don't talk about the things that I'm hearing about from regular Americans. That is long-term care. We are seeing -- I once called it a silver tsunami. The aging -- and then someone told me that was too negative, so I call it the silver surge -- the aging of the population.

We need to make easier to get long-term care insurance and strengthen Medicaid. In this state, the state of Ohio, that has been hit by the opioid epidemic, we need to take on those pharma companies and make them pay for the addictions that they have caused and the people that they have killed.

LACEY: Thank you. Thank you, Senator.

KLOBUCHAR: Those are the issues that I hear about when I'm in Toledo.

LACEY: Thank you, Senator. Vice President Biden...

(CROSSTALK)

HARRIS: I'd like to be...

LACEY: Let me -- let me bring you in here, Vice President, for your response. Are Senators Warren and Sanders being realistic about the difficulty of enacting their plans?

BIDEN: First of all, the plan we're hearing discussed is the Biden plan, the one I built forward. Build on Obamacare, add a public option. We can go into that. I can talk about that if you'd like. But here's the deal. On the single most important thing facing the American public, I think it's awfully important to be straightforward with them. The plan is going to cost at least $30 trillion over 10 years.

[20:30:00]

That is more on a yearly basis than the entire federal budget.

And we talk about how we're going to pay for it. The study recently came out showing that, in fact, it will reduce costs. But for people making between $50,000 and $75,000 a year, their taxes are going to go up about $5,000, because the fact is they'll pay more in new taxes, 7.4 percent plus, or 5 percent, plus a 4 percent income tax. If you're making -- if a fireman and a schoolteacher are making $100,000 a year, their taxes are going to go up about $10,000. That is more than they will possibly save on this health care plan. We have a plan put forward that will work.

LACEY: Senator Sanders, do you want to respond to -- we were coming to you.

WARREN: I get a little bit tired -- I must say -- of people defending a system which is dysfunctional, which is cruel, 87 million uninsured, 30,000 people dying every single year, 500,000 people going bankrupt for one reason, they came down with cancer.

I will tell you what the issue is here. The issue is whether the Democratic Party has the guts to stand up to the health care industry, which made $100 billion in profit, whether we have the guts to stand up to the corrupt, price-fixing pharmaceutical industry, which is charging us the highest prices in the world for prescription drugs.

(APPLAUSE)

And if we don't have the guts to do that, if all we can do is take their money, we should be ashamed of ourselves.

LACEY: Thank you, Senator Sanders.

BIDEN: We can stand up to them.

LACEY: Senator Harris, your response?

HARRIS: This is the sixth debate we have had in this presidential cycle and not nearly one word, with all of these discussions about health care, on women's access to reproductive health care, which is under full-on attack in America today.

(APPLAUSE)

And it's outrageous. There are states that have passed laws that will virtually prevent women from having access to reproductive health care. And 3it is not an exaggeration to say women will die, poor women, women of color will die, because these Republican legislatures in these various states who are out of touch with America are telling women what to do with our bodies.

Women are the majority of the population in this country. People need to keep their hands off of women's bodies and let women make the decisions about their own lives.

(APPLAUSE)

LACEY: Thank you, Senator.

HARRIS: And let's talk about that.

LACEY: Thank you, Senator.

HARRIS: That is a significant health care issue in America today.

LACEY: Thank you, Senator.

BURNETT: I want to turn now to jobs. According to a recent study, about a quarter of American jobs could be lost to automation in just the next 10 years. Ohio is one of the states likely to be hardest hit.

Senator Sanders, you say your federal jobs guarantee is part of the answer to the threat from automation, but tens of millions of Americans could end up losing their jobs. Are you promising that you will have a job for every single one of those Americans?

SANDERS: Damn right we will. And I'll tell you why. If you look at what goes on in America today, we have an infrastructure which is collapsing. We could put 15 million people to work rebuilding our roads, our bridges, our water systems, our wastewater plants, airports, et cetera.

Furthermore -- and I hope we will discuss it at length tonight -- this planet faces the greatest threat in its history from climate change. And the Green New Deal that I have advocated will create up to 20 million jobs as we move away from fossil fuel to energy efficiency and sustainable energy.

We need workers to do childcare. We need workers, great teachers to come in to school systems which don't have the teachers that we need right now. We need more doctors. We need more dentists. We need more carpenters. We need more sheet metal workers. And when we talk about making public colleges and universities tuition fee and cancelling student debt, we're going to give those people the opportunity to get those good jobs.

BURNETT: Senator Sanders, thank you. Mr. Yang, your main solution to job loss from automation is a universal basic income. Why is giving people $1,000 a month better than Sanders' plan to guaranteeing them a job?

YANG: I am for the spirit of a federal jobs guarantee, but you have to look at how it would actually materialize in practice. What are the jobs? Who manages you? What if you don't like your job? What if you're not good at your job? The fact is, most Americans do not want to work for the federal government. And saying that that is the vision of the economy of the 21st century to me is not a vision that most Americans would embrace.

Also, Senator Sanders, the description of a federal jobs guarantee does not take into account the work of people like my wife, who's at home with our two boys, one of whom is autistic. We have a freedom dividend of $1,000 a month. It actually recognizes the work that is happening in our families and our communities. It helps all Americans transition.

Because the fact is -- and you know this in Ohio -

[20:35:00]

if you rely upon the federal government to target its resources, you wind up with failed retraining programs and jobs that no one wants. When we put the money into our hands, we can build a trickle-up economy from our people, our families, and our communities up. It will enable us to do the kind of work that we want to do. This is the sort of positive vision in response to the fourth industrial revolution that we have to embrace as a party.

BURNETT: Senator Booker, a federal jobs guarantee or $1,000 a month, are those the best solutions there? Please respond.

BOOKER: Well, first of all, I'm happy to get in finally. And I just want to say, as a great -- as a great New Jersian, Yogi Berra, said, "I am having deja vu all over again."

I'm having deja vu all over again, first of all, because I saw this play in 2016's election. We are literally using Donald Trump's lies. And the second issue we cover on this stage is elevating a lie and attacking a statesman. That was so offensive. He should not have to defend ourselves. And the only person sitting at home that was enjoying that was Donald Trump seeing that we're distracting from his malfeasance and selling out of his office.

(APPLAUSE)

And I'm having deja vu all over again. And I'm having deja vu all over again because we have another health care debate, and we're not talking about the clear and existential threat in America that we're in a state that has had two Planned Parenthoods close. We are seeing all over this country women's reproductive rights under attack. And God bless Kamala, but you know what? Women should not be the only ones taking up this cause and this fight.

(APPLAUSE)

And men...

BURNETT: Thank you.

BOOKER: It is not just because women are our daughters and our friends and our wives. It's because women are people. And people deserve to control their own bodies.

BURNETT: Senator, thank you. We are going to get to that issue later on tonight.

Senator Warren, you wrote that blaming job loss on automation is, quote, "a good story, except it's not really true." So should workers here in Ohio not be worried about losing their jobs to automation?

WARREN: So the data show that we have had a lot of problems with losing jobs, but the principal reason has been bad trade policy. The principal reason has been a bunch of corporations, giant multinational corporations who've been calling the shots on trade, giant multinational corporations that have no loyalty to America. They have no loyalty to American workers. They have no loyalty to American consumers. They have no loyalty to American communities. They are loyal only to their own bottom line.

I have a plan to fix that, and it's accountable capitalism. It says, you want to have one of the giant corporations in America? Then, by golly, 40 percent of your board of directors should be elected by your employees. That will make a difference when a corporation decides, gee, we could save a nickel by moving a job to Mexico, when there are people on the board in the boardroom saying, no, do you know what that does to our company, do you know what that does to our community, to what it does to our workers?

We also need to make it easier to join a union and give unions more power when they negotiate.

(APPLAUSE)

We need to restructure strength in this economy, and that's where it starts.

BURNETT: Thank you, Senator.

Secretary Castro, what's your response to Senator Warren's claim that automation is a good story, except it's not really true?

CASTRO: Well, I think -- I think what folks have said is that that is only part of the issue, right? You know, I believe that we need to address communities that are being impacted by automation. I'm even willing to pilot something like UBI and to see how that would work.

But I think we need to focus on making sure that we spark job opportunity for people across this country. As I mentioned earlier, here in Ohio, in the latest job data, Ohio is losing jobs under Donald Trump. He has broken his promises to Ohio and the industrial Midwest. I would invest in infrastructure to put people back to work. I would invest in a Green New Deal to unleash millions of new jobs in a clean energy economy.

I was in Newton, Iowa, a few weeks ago and I visited a place called TPI. Newton, Iowa, had a Maytag washing machine manufacturing facility, and then it closed down. TPI manufactures wind turbines. They're putting hundreds of people to work at decent-paying jobs and creating a better future for those families.

On top of that, let me just say this. We need to support working families. We need to invest in things like...

BURNETT: Thank you, Mr. Secretary.

CASTRO: ... universal childcare, so that people can afford childcare instead of having to pay 20 percent of their income for it.

YANG: Senator Warren, I just need -- I just need to address this.

BURNETT: Go ahead, Mr. Yang.

YANG: Senator Warren, I've been talking to Americans around the country about automation. And they're smart. They see what's happening around them. Their Main Street stores are closing. They see a self- serve kiosk in every McDonalds, every grocery store, every CVS. Driving a truck is the most common job in 29 states, including this one; 3.5 million truck drivers in this country. And my friends in California are piloting self-driving trucks.

What is that going to mean for the 3.5 million truckers or the 7 million Americans who work in truck stops, motels, and diners that rely upon the truckers getting out and having a meal? Saying this is a rules problem is ignoring the reality that Americans see around us every single day.

[20:40:00]

BURNETT: Senator Warren, respond, please.

(CROSSTALK)

(APPLAUSE)

WARREN: So I understand that what we're all looking for is how we strengthen America's middle class. And actually, I think the thing closest to the universal basic income is Social Security. It's one of the reasons that I've put forward a plan to extend the solvency of Social Security by decades and add $200 to the payment of every person who receives Social Security right now and every person who receives disability insurance right now.

That $200 a month will lift nearly 5 million families out of poverty. And it will sure loosen up the budget for a whole lot more. It also has a provision for your wife, for those who stay home to do caregiving for children or for seniors, and creates an opportunity for them to get credit on their Social Security.

BURNETT: Thank you.

WARREN: So after a lifetime of hard work, people are entitled to retire with dignity.

BURNETT: Thank you, Senator Warren.

WARREN: I see this as an important question about just -- I want to understand the data on this.

BURNETT: Senator, thank you very much.

WARREN: And I want to make sure we're responding to make this work.

BURNETT: Your time is up.

(CROSSTALK)

BURNETT: I want to give Congresswoman Gabbard a chance to respond.

GABBARD: Thank you. You know, really what this is about is getting to the heart of the fear that is well founded. As people look to this automation revolution, they look to uncertainty. They don't know how this is going to affect their jobs and their everyday lives.

And I agree with my friend, Andrew Yang. I think universal basic income is a good idea to help provide that security so that people can have the freedom to make the kinds of choices that they want to see.

This has to do with bad trade deals that we've seen in the past that have also driven fear towards people losing the way that they provide for their families. Really what we need to do is look at how we can best serve the interests of the American people. I do not believe a federal jobs guarantee is the way to do that. The value that someone feels in themselves and their own lives is not defined by the job that they have but is intrinsic to who we all are as Americans, whatever we choose to do with our lives, and we can't forget that.

BURNETT: Thank you very much.

LACEY: One of the industries most at risk from a changing economy is the auto industry. General Motors used to be the largest employer in Ohio. Now it's 72nd. Today, thousands of GM workers here in Ohio and across the country are on strike. All of you on the stage have voiced support for these workers.

Senator Booker, one of the latest impasses in negotiations involves bringing jobs back from Mexico. As president, how would you convince GM to return production to the United States?

BOOKER: Well, first of all, the one point I wanted to make about the UBI conversation -- and I hope that my friend, Andrew Yang, will come out for this -- doing more for workers than UBI would actually be just raising the 33minimum wage to $15 an hour. It would put more money in people's pockets than giving them $1,000 a month.

We have to start putting the dignity back in work. And, number one, you start having trade deals, not like this thing that the president is trying to push through Congress right now that gives pharmaceutical companies and other corporations benefits and doesn't put workers at the center of every trade deal.

We must make sure we are not giving corporate tax incentives for people to move jobs out of our country, but start to put the worker at the center of that and make sure that they have the resources to succeed.

But it's more than that. I stood with these workers because we're seeing this trend all over our country. I stood with unions because, right now, unions in America are under attack. As union membership has gone down, we have seen a stratification of wealth and income in this country.

So the other thing that I'll do as president of the United States is begin to fight again to see union strength in this country spread, to make sure we have sectoral bargaining so that unions from the auto workers all the way to fast food workers can ensure that we improve workers' conditions and make sure that every American has a living wage in this country.

LACEY: Thank you, Senator.

Congressman O'Rourke, same question for you. How would you convince GM to bring production back to the United States from Mexico?

O'ROURKE: I've met with these members of the UAW who are striking outside of facilities in Cincinnati, in Lordstown, Ohio, which has just been devastated, decimated by GM and their malfeasance, paying effectively zero in taxes last year. The people of Ohio investing tens of millions of dollars in the infrastructure around there.

What they want is a shot. And they want fairness in how we treat workers in this country, which they are not receiving today. Part of the way to do that is through our trade deals, making sure that if we trade with Mexico, Mexican workers are allowed to join unions, which they are effectively unable to do today. Not only is that bad for the Mexican worker, it puts the American worker at a competitive disadvantage.

[20:45:00]

If we complement that with investment in world-class pre-K through 12 public education, get behind our world-class public school educators, if we make sure that cost is not an object to be able to attend college, and if we elevate the role of unions in this country, and create more than 5 million apprenticeships over the next eight years, we will make sure that every single American has a shot.

They don't want a handout. They don't want a job guarantee. They just want a shot. And as president, I will give them that shot.

LACEY: Thank you, Congressman.

BURNETT: Income inequality is growing in the United States at an alarming rate. The top 1 percent now own more of this nation's wealth than the bottom 90 percent combined. Senator Sanders, when you introduced your wealth tax, which would tax the assets of the wealthiest Americans, you said, quoting you, Senator, "Billionaires should not exist." Is the goal of your plan to tax billionaires out of existence?

WARREN: When you have a half-a-million Americans sleeping out on the street today, when you have 87 people -- 87 million people uninsured or underinsured, when you've got hundreds of thousands of kids who cannot afford to go to college, and millions struggling with the oppressive burden of student debt, and then you also have three people owning more wealth than the bottom half of American society, that is a moral and economic outrage.

And the truth is, we cannot afford to continue this level of income and wealth inequality. And we cannot afford a billionaire class, whose greed and corruption has been at war with the working families of this country for 45 years.

So if you're asking me do I think we should demand that the wealthy start paying -- the wealthiest, top 0.1 percent, start paying their fair share of taxes so we can create a nation and a government that works for all of us? Yes, that's exactly what I believe.

BURNETT: Thank you, Senator.

(APPLAUSE)

Mr. Steyer, you are the lone billionaire on this stage. What's your plan for closing the income gap?

STEYER: Well, first of all, let me say this. Senator Sanders is right. There have been 40 years where corporations have bought this government, and those 40 years have meant a 40-year attack on the rights of working people and specifically on organized labor. And the results are as shameful as Senator Sanders says, both in terms of assets and in terms of income. It's absolutely wrong. It's absolutely undemocratic and unfair.

I was one of the first people on this stage to propose a wealth tax. I would undo every Republican tax cut for rich people and major corporations. But there's something else going on here that is absolutely shameful, and that's the way the money gets split up in terms of earnings.

As a result of taking away the rights of working people and organized labor, people haven't had a raise -- 90 percent of Americans have not had a raise for 40 years. If you took the minimum wage from 1980 and just adjusted it for inflation, you get $11 bucks. It's $7.25. If you included the productivity gains of American workers, it would be over $20 bucks.

There's something wrong here, and that is that the corporations have bought our government. Our government has failed. That's why I'm running for president, because we're not going to get any of the policies that everybody on this stage wants -- health care, education, Green New Deal, or a living wage...

BURNETT: Thank you, Mr. Steyer.

STEYER: ... unless we break the power of these corporations.

BURNETT: Thank you, Mr. Steyer.

(APPLAUSE)

Vice President Biden, you have warned against demonizing rich people. Do you believe that Senator Sanders and Senator Warren's wealth tax plans do that?

BIDEN: No, look, demonizing wealth -- what I talked about is how you get things done. And the way to get things done is take a look at the tax code right now. The idea -- we have to start rewarding work, not just wealth. I would eliminate the capital gains tax -- I would raise the capital gains tax to the highest rate, of 39.5 percent.

I would double it, because guess what? Why in God's name should someone who's clipping coupons in the stock market make -- in fact, pay a lower tax rate than someone who, in fact, is -- like I said -- the -- a schoolteacher and a firefighter? It's ridiculous. And they pay a lower tax.

Secondly, the idea that we, in fact, engage in this notion that there are -- there's $1,640,000,000,000 in tax loopholes. You can't justify a minimum $600 billion of that. We could eliminate it all. I could go into detail had I the time.

Secondly -- I mean, thirdly, what we need to do is we need to go out and make it clear to the American people that we are going to -- we are going to raise taxes on the wealthy.

[20:50:00]

We're going to reduce tax burdens on those who are not.

And this is one of the reasons why these debates are kind of crazy, because everybody tries to squeeze everything into every answer that is given. The fact is, everybody's right about the fact that the fourth industrial revolution is costing jobs. It is. The fact is also corporate greed is th33ey're going back and not investing in our employees, they're reinvesting and buying back their stock.

BURNETT: Thank you, Mr. Vice President.

BIDEN: See, I'm doing the same thing.

BURNETT: Thank you, Mr. Vice President.

(LAUGHTER)

Senator Warren, your response.

WARREN: So I think this is about our values as a country. Show me your budget, show me your tax plans, and we'll know what your values are.

And right now in America, the top 0.1 percent have so much wealth -- understand this -- that if we put a 2 cent tax on their 50 millionth and first dollar, and on every dollar after that, we would have enough money to provide universal childcare for every baby in this country, age zero to five, universal pre-K for every child, raise the wages of every childcare worker and preschool teacher in America, provide for universal tuition-free college, put $50 billion into historically black colleges and universities...

BURNETT: Thank you, Senator Warren.

WARREN: ... and cancel -- no, let me finish, please, and cancel student loan debt for 95 percent of the people who have it. My question is not why do Bernie and I support a wealth tax. It's why is it does everyone else on this stage think it is more important to protect billionaires than it is to invest in an entire generation of Americans?

BURNETT: Thank you, Senator Warren.

BIDEN: No one is supporting billionaires.

BURNETT: Mayor Buttigieg? Mayor Buttigieg, your response?

BUTTIGIEG: I'm all for a wealth tax. I'm all for just about everything that was just mentioned in these answers. Let me tell, though, how this looks from the industrial Midwest where I live.

Washington politicians, congressmen and senators, saying all the right things, offering the most elegant policy prescriptions, and nothing changes. I didn't even realize it was unusual to have empty factories that I would see out the windows of my dad's Chevy Cavalier when he drove me to school, I didn't know that wasn't every city until I went away to college. Now I drive my own Chevy. It's a Chevy Cruze. It used to be built right in Lordstown, which is now one more symbol of the broken promises that this president has made to workers.

But why did workers take a chance on this president in the first place? It's because it felt like nobody was willing to actually do anything. And while he's unquestionably made it dramatically worse, this is time to realize that we're paying attention to the wrong things. We're paying attention...

BURNETT: Thank you, Mayor. Thank you, Mayor Buttigieg.

BUTTIGIEG: ... to who sounded better on a debate stage or in a committee hearing...

(CROSSTALK)

BURNETT: Senator Klobuchar -- Senator Klobuchar...

BUTTIGIEG: This is what it's going to take to get something done.

BURNETT: Will a wealth tax -- will a wealth tax work?

KLOBUCHAR: It could work. I am open to it. But I want to give a reality check here to Elizabeth, because no one on this stage wants to protect billionaires. Not even the billionaire wants to protect billionaires.

(LAUGHTER)

We just have different approaches. Your idea is not the only idea. And when I look at this, I think about Donald Trump, the guy that after that tax bill passed went to Mar-a-Lago, got together with his cronies, and said, guess what, you guys all got a lot richer. That was the one time in his presidency he told the truth.

So we have different ways -- I would repeal significant portions of that tax bill that help the rich, including what he did with the corporate tax rate, including what he did on international taxation. You add it all up, you got a lot of money that, one, helps pay for that childcare, protects that dignity of work, makes sure we have decent retirement, and makes sure that our kids can go to good schools.

BURNETT: Thank you. Senator...

KLOBUCHAR: It is not one idea that rules here.

BURNETT: Thank you, Senator Klobuchar. Senator Warren, please respond.

(APPLAUSE)

WARREN: So understand, taxing income is not going to get you where you need to be the way taxing wealth does, that the rich are not like you and me. The really, really billionaires are making their money off their accumulated wealth, and it just keeps growing. We need a wealth tax in order to make investments in the next generation.

Look, I understand that this is hard, but I think as Democrats we are going to succeed when we dream big and fight hard, not when we dream small and quit before we get started.

KLOBUCHAR: I would like to respond to that.

BURNETT: Senator Klobuchar, respond, please.

KLOBUCHAR: You know, I think simply because you have different ideas doesn't mean you're fighting for regular people. I wouldn't even be up on this stage if it wasn't for unions and the dignity of work. If my grandpa didn't have unions protecting him in those mines, he wouldn't have survived. If my mom didn't have unions as a teacher, she wouldn't have been able to make the wages she made when my parents got divorced.

So just because we have different ideas, and

[20:55:00]

get to the same place in terms of beating Donald Trump and taking this on, we are in Ohio. We can win Ohio in the presidency, but only if we unite, if we unite around ideals and don't go fighting against each other and instead take the fight to him.

BURNETT: Thank you, Senator.

Senator Harris, you want to give working families a tax credit of up to $6,000 a year to help close the income gap.

HARRIS: Right.

BURNETT: Is that a better solution than a wealth tax?

HARRIS: Well, here's how I think about it. When I was growing up, my mother raised my sister and me. We would often come home from school before she came home from work. She'd come home, she'd cook dinner, and at some point we'd go to bed, and she'd sit up at the kitchen table trying to figure out how to make it all work.

And when I think about where we are right now in 2020, I do believe justice is on the ballot. It's on the ballot in terms of impeachment, it's on the ballot in terms of economic justice, health justice, and so many other issues.

So when I think about this issue, I'm thinking about that dad who tonight is going to be sitting at his kitchen table, after everyone's gone to sleep, and sitting there with his cup of tea or coffee trying to figure out how it's going to make -- how he's going to make it work. And he's probably sitting there deciding that on that minimum wage job that does not pay enough for him to meet the bills at the end of the month, he's going to have to start driving an Uber. And what does that mean? That means that with those two jobs, he's going to miss his kids' soccer games.

That's the reality for Americans today, which is why, yes, when I get elected and pass this bill, which will give the American family who makes less than $100,000 a year a tax credit of up to $6,000 a year that they can take home at up to $500 a month, that's going to make a real difference in that man's life. And don't tell him that's not a big deal...

BURNETT: Thank you, Senator.

HARRIS: ... when he's trying to get through to the end of the month.

BURNETT: Mr. Yang, your response. Would you impose a wealth tax?

YANG: Senator Warren is 100 percent right that we're in the midst of the most extreme winner-take-all economy in history. And a wealth tax makes a lot of sense in principle. The problem is that it's been tried in Germany, France, Denmark, Sweden, and all those countries ended up repealing it, because it had massive implementation problems and did not generate the revenue that they'd projected.

If we can't learn from the failed experiences of other countries, what can we learn from? We should not be looking to other countries' mistakes. Instead, we should look at what Germany, France, Denmark, and Sweden still have, which is a value-added tax. If we give the American people a tiny slice of every Amazon sale, every Google search, every robot truck mile, every Facebook ad, we can generate hundreds of billions of dollars and then put it into our hands, because we know best how to use it.

BURNETT: Thank you. Thank you.

Congressman O'Rourke, do you think a wealth tax is the best way to address income inequality? Your response.

O'ROURKE: I think it's part of the solution. But I think we need to be focused on lifting people up. And sometimes I think that Senator Warren is more focused on being punitive and pitting some part of the country against the other instead of lifting people up and making sure that this country comes together around those solutions.

I think of a woman that I met in Las Vegas, Nevada. She's working four jobs, raising her child with disabilities, and any American with disabilities knows just how hard it is to make it and get by in this country already. Some of those jobs working for some of these corporations, she wants to know how we are going to help her, how we're going to make sure that her child has the care that she needs, that we strengthen protections for those with disabilities, that she just has to work one job because it pays a living wage.

And Senator Warren said show me your budget, show me your tax plan, and you'll show me your values. She has yet to describe her tax plan and whether or not that person I met would see a tax increase. Under my administration, if you make less than $250,000 a year as a family, you will not see a tax increase. That family needs to know that.

(CROSSTALK)

BURNETT: Thank you, Congressman.

(UNKNOWN): Erin, let me say...

BURNETT: I want to give Senator Warren a chance to respond.

WARREN: So I'm really shocked at the notion that anyone thinks I'm punitive. Look, I don't have a beef with billionaires. My problem is you made a fortune in America, you had a great idea, you got out there and worked for it, good for you. But you built that fortune in America. I guarantee you built it in part using workers all of us helped pay to educate. You built it in part getting your goods to markets on roads and bridges all of us helped pay for. You built it at least in part protected by police and firefighters all of us help pay the salaries for.

And all I'm saying is, you make it to the top, the top 0.1 percent, then pitch in two cents so every other kid in America has a chance to make it.

BURNETT: Senator, thank you.

WARREN: That's what this is about.

BURNETT: Senator Castro, your response?

O'ROURKE: There's no argument there. I just want to make sure that we're lifting up those families who are working and need help through an expanded earned income tax credit or child tax credit...

WARREN: But that is...

(CROSSTALK)

O'ROURKE: ... which we will do in my administration.

BURNETT: Go ahead, Senator.

WARREN: That is the point. This is universal childcare for every baby in this country, early educational opportunities for every child, universal pre-K no matter where you live for every 3-year-old and 4- year-old.

O'ROURKE: But in addition to that, will they see a tax increase?

WARREN: Raising the wages -- no, raising the wages of every childcare worker and preschool teacher in this country. This is about universal college, about investment in our HBCUs, about making sure that we get rid of the student loan debt burden that is crushing...

BURNETT: Thank you, Senator...

(CROSSTALK)

O'ROURKE: ... I just want to know if working families are going to see a tax increase.

(CROSSTALK)

BURNETT: I want to get Secretary Castro in here, please, Congressman. Go ahead, Secretary.

CASTRO: Thanks a lot, Erin. And you see that everybody has their own plans. And let me just say that the way that I view this is born out of my own experience.

I grew up like I bet a lot folks in this room grew up and folks that are watching on TV. I grew up with my twin brother, Joaquin, in a single-parent household where my mom was working hard to support us and also her mom, my grandmother. And we knew what it was like to wonder whether we were going to be able to pay the rent at the first of the month or sometimes have the electricity turned off.

And when I was a kid, to look at the grocery list that seemed to get shorter and shorter, and that's what's happening to a lot of families these days. I was in Las Vegas a few months ago, and I visited people who were homeless, who are living in storm drainage tunnels under the Las Vegas strip in the shadow of hotels and casinos that are worth hundreds of millions of dollars, where people from around the world are spending so much money on vacations.

We can do better than that. I believe that wealth and equality tax, as I've proposed, is part of the answer, but also I've proposed an inheritance tax, raising the top marginal tax rate...

BURNETT: Thank you, Secretary. CASTRO: ... and investing in things like universal childcare and affordable housing.

BURNETT: All right. Senator Booker, please respond.

BOOKER: Well, first of all, I just want to be respond by -- you know, we've got one shot to make Donald Trump a one-term president. And how we talk about each other in this debate actually really matters.

I've had the privilege of working with or being friends with everybody on this stage, and tearing each other down because we have a different plan to me is unacceptable. I have seen this script before.

(APPLAUSE)

It didn't work in 2016, and it will be a disaster for us in 2020. And so I have a different plan than Elizabeth Warren. I have a different plan than many people on this stage. And it involves, again, fair taxes for the richest. We have a lot of work to do there. But we've had 20 years of presidential debates, and we have never talked about the violence in America of child poverty.

We have got to begin to talk more eloquently and persuasively and urgently about doing the things not just to make sure fair taxes are paid by people on the top, but that we deal with the moral obscenity of having the highest levels of child poverty in the industrial world.

My plan will focus on that, and these are some of the issues we should be talking about, not defining ourselves just by what we're against, but we need to win this election by talking about who and what we are for.

BURNETT: Thank you, Senator Booker.

(APPLAUSE)

COOPER: We've got to take a quick break. We've got to take a quick break right now. The CNN-New York Times debate live from Otterbein University in Ohio will be right back after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: And welcome back to the CNN-New York Times Democratic presidential debate live from Otterbein University in Westerville, Ohio.

[21:08:07]

I want to turn now to foreign policy. President Trump ordered the withdrawal of all American forces from northern Syria, abandoning America's long-time Kurdish allies. As a result, Turkey has now evaded Syria, ISIS detainees have escaped, and the Kurds have announced a new deal with the government in Damascus, a victory for Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad, and Russia, and Iran.

Vice President Biden, we know you would not have withdrawn troops from northern Syria in this way, but that is already in process. So would you send American troops back into northern Syria to prevent an ISIS resurgence and protect our Kurdish allies?

BIDEN: I would not have withdrawn the troops and I would not have withdrawn the additional thousand troops who are in Iraq, which are in retreat now, being fired on by Assad's people. And the president of the United States saying, if those ISIS folks escape from the prisons they're in, they'll only go to Europe and won't affect us.

It has been the most shameful thing that any president has done in modern history -- excuse me, in terms of foreign policy. And the fact of the matter is, I've never seen a time -- and I've spent thousands of hours in the Situation Room, I've spent many hours on the ground in those very places, in Syria and in Iraq, and guess what? Our commanders across the board, former and present, are ashamed of what's happening here.

What I would do is I would be making it real clear to Assad that, in fact, where he's going to have a problem -- because Turkey is the real problem here. And I would be having a real lockdown conversation with Erdogan and letting him know that he's going to pay a heavy price for what he has done now. Pay that price.

COOPER: Just to clarify, Mr. Vice President, would you want American troops back in northern Syria?

BIDEN: I would want those thousand troops to be protected by air cover, those thousand troops that are being -- having to withdraw under fire, make it clear that they're not going anywhere, and have them protected, and work my way back toward what, in fact, needs to be done, protecting those Kurds.

[21:10:00]

They lost their lives. This is shameful, shameful what this man has done.

(APPLAUSE)

COOPER: Congresswoman Gabbard, last week you said that American troops should get out of Syria now. You don't agree with how the president handled the withdrawal. What would you have done differently? How would you have pulled out troops without the bloodshed we're seeing now?

GABBARD: Well, first of all, we've got to understand the reality of the situation there, which is that the slaughter of the Kurds being done by Turkey is yet another negative consequence of the regime change war that we've been waging in Syria.

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. Not only that, but the New York Times and CNN have also smeared veterans like myself for calling for an end to this regime change war. 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.

As president, I will end these regime change wars by doing two things -- ending the draconian sanctions that are really a modern-day siege the likes of which we are seeing Saudi Arabia wage against Yemen, that have caused tens of thousands of Syrian civilians to die and to starve, and I would make sure that we stop supporting terrorists like Al Qaida in Syria who have been the ground force in this ongoing regime change war.

COOPER: Thank you.

GABBARD: I'd like to ask Senator Warren if she would join me in calling for an end to this regime change war in Syria, finally.

WARREN: So, look, I think that we ought to get out of the Middle East. I don't think we should have troops in the Middle East. But we have to do it the right way, the smart way.

What this president has done is that he has sucked up to dictators, he has made impulsive decisions that often his own team doesn't understand, he has cut and run on our allies, and he has enriched himself at the expense of the United States of America. In Syria, he has created a bigger-than-ever humanitarian crisis. He has helped ISIS get another foothold, a new lease on life.

I sit on the Armed Services Committee. I talk with our military leaders about this.

COOPER: Thank you, Senator.

WARREN: I was in Iraq and went through the neighborhoods that ISIS destroyed.

COOPER: Thank you.

WARREN: We need to get out, but we need to do this through a negotiated solution. There is no military solution in this region.

COOPER: Thank you, Senator. Mayor Buttigieg, Mayor Buttigieg, like many of your fellow candidates on the stage, you've been calling for an end to endless wars. What's your response on Syria?

BUTTIGIEG: Well, respectfully, Congresswoman, I think that is dead wrong. The slaughter going on in Syria is not a consequence of American presence. It's a consequence of a withdrawal and a betrayal by this president of American allies and American values.

Look, I didn't think we should have gone to Iraq in the first place. I think we need to get out of Afghanistan. But it's also the case that a small number of specialized, special operations forces and intelligence capabilities were the only thing that stood between that part of Syria and what we're seeing now, which is the beginning of a genocide and the resurgence of ISIS.

Meanwhile, soldiers in the field are reporting that for the first time they feel ashamed -- ashamed -- of what their country has done. We saw the spectacle, the horrifying sight of a woman with the lifeless body of her child in her arms asking, what the hell happened to American leadership?

And when I was deployed, I knew one of the things keeping me safe was the fact that the flag on my shoulder represented a country known to keep its word. And our allies knew it and our enemies knew it.

COOPER: Thank you, Mayor.

BUTTIGIEG: You take that away, you are taking away what makes America America.

COOPER: Thank you, Mayor.

BUTTIGIEG: It makes our troops and the world a much more dangerous place.

(APPLAUSE)

COOPER: Congresswoman Gabbard, your response?

GABBARD: Yeah, absolutely. So, really, what you're saying, Mayor Pete, is that you would continue to support having U.S. troops in Syria for an indefinite period of time to continue this regime change war that has caused so many refugees to flee Syria, that you would continue to have our country involved in a war that has undermined our national security, you would continue this policy of the U.S. actually providing arms in support to terrorist groups in Syria, like Al Qaida, HTS, al-Nusra and others, because they are the ones who have been the ground force in this regime change war? That's really what you're saying?

COOPER: Mayor Pete -- Mayor Buttigieg?

[21:15:00]

BUTTIGIEG: No, you can embrace -- or you can put an end to endless war without embracing Donald Trump's policy, as you're doing.

GABBARD: Will you end the regime change war, is the question.

BUTTIGIEG: What we are doing...

GABBARD: What is an endless war if it's not a regime change war?

COOPER: Allow him to respond. Please allow him to respond.

BUTTIGIEG: What we are doing -- or what we were doing in Syria was keeping our word. Part of what makes it possible for the United States to get people to put their lives on the line to back us up is the idea that we will back them up, too.

When I was deployed, not just the Afghan National Army forces, but the janitors put their lives on the line just by working with U.S. forces. I would have a hard time today looking an Afghan civilian or soldier in the eye after what just happened over there. And it is undermining the honor of our soldiers. You take away the honor of our soldiers, you might as well go after their body armor next.

This president has betrayed American values. Our credibility has been tattered.

COOPER: Thank you.

BUTTIGIEG: I will restore U.S. credibility before it is finally too late.

COOPER: Senator Sanders, is Turkey still a U.S. ally? Should they remain in NATO?

SANDERS: I'm sorry. Say that again?

COOPER: Is Turkey still a U.S. ally? Should they remain in NATO?

SANDERS: No, Turkey is not a U.S. ally when they invade another country and engage in mass slaughter.

The crisis here, as I think Joe said and Pete said, is when you begin to betray people, in terms of the Kurds, 11,000 of them died fighting ISIS, 20,000 were wounded. And the United States said, "We're with you, we're standing with you." And then suddenly, one day after a phone call with Erdogan, announced by tweet, Trump reverses that policy.

Now, you tell me what country in the world will trust the word of the president of the United States. In other words, what he has done is wreck our ability to do foreign policy, to do military policy, because nobody in the world will believe this pathological liar.

(APPLAUSE)

BUTTIGIEG: But this is really important, because what this president has done shows that American leadership shapes the behavior of our allies, or sometimes allies, too. Remember, the problem right now is not just that -- with our competitors. And, for example a place like China, the people of Hong Kong rise up for democracy and don't get a peep of support from the president. It's just not the behavior of adversaries like Russia.

But our one-time allies, like Saudi Arabia, which the CIA just concluded was responsible, as we all knew, for murdering and dismembering an American resident and journalist.

And Turkey, which was an American ally. That's the point. We had leverage. But when we abandon the international stage, when we think our only choices are between endless war or total isolation, the consequence is the disappearance of U.S. leadership... COOPER: Thank you, Mayor.

BUTTIGIEG: ... from the world stage.

COOPER: Senator...

BUTTIGIEG: And that makes this entire world a more dangerous place.

COOPER: Senator Klobuchar, should Turkey remain in NATO? Your response?

KLOBUCHAR: We need to work with our allies, to work with Turkey and bring them out. This is an outrageous thing that happened here. And I think we need to talk about this not only in terms of the horror of what happened here with Turkey, but the fact that our president blew it and now he's too proud to say it.

And what do we do now? We continue that humanitarian aid, but then we work with our allies to say come back, Turkey, and stop this, because what Mayor Pete has just said is true. Think about our other allies, Israel. How do they feel right now? Donald Trump is not true to his word when they are a beacon of democracy in the Mideast.

Think about our allies in Europe when he pulls out of the Iranian agreement and gives them holding the bag and gives the power to China and Russia.

COOPER: Thank you, Senator.

KLOBUCHAR: Think about the nuclear agreement with Russia that he precipitously pulled out of. This is part of a pattern. It's not an isolated incident.

COOPER: Thank you, Senator.

Senator Harris, given that the U.S. abandoned our Kurdish allies, what would you do as president to convince the rest of the world that we can still be trusted?

HARRIS: That's a great question, Anderson, because the commander-in- chief of the United States of America has as one of her greatest priorities and responsibilities to concern herself with the security of our nation and homeland.

I serve on the Senate Intelligence Committee. I have over a period of time received classified information about the threats to our security and hot spots around the world.

What has happened in Syria is yet again Donald Trump selling folks out. And in this case, he sold out the Kurds, who, yes, fought with us and thousands died in our fight against ISIS.

And let's be clear. What Donald Trump has done, because of that phone call with Erdogan, is basically giving 10,000 ISIS fighters a "get out of jail free" card. And you know who the winner is in this? There are four: Russia, Iran, Assad, and ISIS. This is a crisis of Donald Trump's making. And it is on a long list of crises of Donald Trump's making. And that's why dude got to go. And when I am commander-in-chief, we will stop this madness.

[21:20:00]

COOPER: Secretary Castro, your response.

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XXX Castro, your response.

(APPLAUSE)

CASTRO: Well, I mean, you asked the question of, how are we going to get people to trust us again? The first thing is we got to boot Donald Trump out of the Oval Office so that people will trust us again.

You know, I also want people to think -- the folks this week that saw those images of ISIS prisoners running free to think about how absurd it is that this president is caging kids on the border and effectively letting ISIS prisoners run free.

(APPLAUSE)

He has made a tremendous mistake, a total disaster there in Syria. And just to connect the dots for a second, if you're Kim Jong-un, for instance, why in the world would you believe anything that this president says to contain your nuclear weapons program, when he tore up an Iran nuclear agreement that we just signed four years ago, which was the strongest agreement to contain Iran's nuclear weapons program, and now he's abandoned the very people that we gave our word to?

I would make sure that we work with our allies to pressure Syria to stop the aggression, and I support efforts at stronger sanctions than this president has announced.

COOPER: Thank you, Mr. Secretary.

LACEY: Senator Booker, the American intelligence community says that Russia is trying to capitalize on the power vacuums around the world as we're seeing right now in northern Syria. What specifically would you do as president to check Vladimir Putin's power on the world stage?

BOOKER: So, first of all, understand that this president is turning the moral leadership of this country into a dumpster fire. We literally have great generals like Mattis who said on the world stage, the United States of America, there can be no better friend than the United States of America and no better -- no greater enemy than the United States of America. This president has turned that upside down and now is doing things to undermine our critical alliances and partner with Russia.

And so clearly, to your question, number one, we cannot allow the Russians to continue to grow in influence by abandoning the world stage. We cannot allow Russia to not only interfere in the democracies of the Ukraine, and Latvia, and Lithuania, but even not calling them out for their efforts to interfere in this democracy are unacceptable.

Russia and Putin understand strength, and this president time and time again is showing moral weakness. He makes promises to the American people that he's going to protect this nation. Well, instead of doing something to defeat ISIS, he's now given them a foothold again.

This is an American president that even right now is lying to the American public and saying he's bringing our troops home, at the same time he's increasing troop presence with the Saudis, while they're involved in an unjust war that is killing tens of thousands of children in Yemen.

This president is making us less safe. He is partnering more with Putin than he is with Merkel and Macron. And as president of the United States, I will stop this and restore American integrity abroad.

LACEY: Thank you, Senator. Vice President?

BIDEN: I think I maybe -- it doesn't make me any better or worse, but maybe the only person who spent extensive time alone with Putin, as well as with Erdogan. And Erdogan understands that -- you talk about should he stay in or out of NATO -- he understands if he's out of NATO, he's in real trouble.

But the fact of the matter is, we have been unwilling in this administration, because we have an erratic, crazy president who knows not a damn thing about foreign policy and operates out of fear for his own re-election.

(APPLAUSE)

Think what's happened. The fact of the matter is, you have Russia influencing and trying to break up NATO. What does the president do? He says, "I believe Vladimir Putin. I believe Vladimir Putin. I don't believe our intelligence community."

SANDERS: You're suggesting I'm Vladimir Putin here.

BIDEN: No, no, I'm not. No, I'm not. I'm not.

SANDERS: I know.

(LAUGHTER)

BIDEN: But here -- look, but here's the deal. Think what that did. He turns around and he questions whether or not he'll keep the sacred commitment of Article 5 for the NATO members. If he is re-elected, I promise you, there will be no NATO. Our security will be vastly underrated, under -- we will be in real trouble.

And with regard to regime change in Syria, that has not been the policy we change the regime. It has been to make sure that the regime did not wipe out hundreds of thousands of innocent people between there and the Iraqi border. And lastly, and I apologize for going on, but lastly, what is happening in Iraq is going to -- I mean, excuse me, in Afghanistan, as well as all the way over to Syria, we have ISIS that's going to come here. They are going to, in fact, damage the United States of America. That's why we got involved in the first place and not ceded the whole area to Assad and to the Russians.

LACEY: Thank you, Mr. Vice President.

Congressman O'Rourke, Senate Democrats put out a report last year on Russia's hostile actions around the world. They suggest the next president could fight back by publicly

[21:25:00]

revealing what the U.S. knows about Putin's corruption and work with allies to freeze his bank accounts. Would you take either of those actions, even in the face of possible retaliation?

O'ROURKE: Yes. We must be unafraid in ensuring that we hold Russia accountable for invading the world's greatest democracy and being able to do it thanks to Donald Trump functionally with impunity so far, so much so that they are invading this democracy right now as we speak, still at the invitation of this president. So if there are not consequences, we will continue to see this problem going forward.

But in addition, y ademas, to answer the previous question that you asked, how do we stand up to Russia on the global stage, we do that by renewing our alliances and our friendships. That is what makes America stronger. There isn't enough money in this country, there aren't enough servicemembers as brave and courageous as they are to do everything that we want to accomplish militarily around the world.

And the Kurds are case in point. In fact, because we turned our backs on them, those Kurds who fought for us in Syria, helped to defeat ISIS not just for themselves, but for the United States of America, it makes it more likely that we will have to send another generation of servicemembers to fight those battles there.

And then lastly, as General Mattis, who was invoked earlier, has said, we have two powers, one of intimidation and one of inspiration. We need to now focus on that latter power and make sure that we invest in diplomacy and our State Department and peacefully and non-violently resolving our foreign policy goals not on the backs of 18-, and 19-, and 20-year-olds any more, but making sure that our diplomats are invested in, have the focus necessary by this next president to make that they can accomplish those goals for this country and for the world.

LACEY: Thank you, Congressman. Thank you, Congressman.

Mr. Steyer, would you publicly reveal what the U.S. knows about Putin's corruption or work to freeze his bank accounts? Please respond.

STEYER: Absolutely. As far as I'm concerned, Mr. Trump's America first program, which involves having no plans, having no process, and having no partners, has proved to be a disaster in Syria, it's proved to be a disaster in terms of our response to Russia's attacking our democracy, and more than that, when we look at the problems around the world, the idea that the United States is going to act unilaterally against a country without the support of our traditional allies makes absolutely no sense.

Let's go to the most important international problem that we're facing, which no one has brought up, which is climate. We can't solve the climate crisis in the United States by ourselves. It's an international crisis. I've been working on it for 10 years, taking on the corporations. But we have to work with our allies and our frenemies around the world.

So if you look at what Mr. Trump is doing, of course he's been bought by the oil and gas companies. But any problem that we're going to do, but specifically climate, we're going to have to lead the world morally, we're going to have to lead it technologically, financially, and commercially.

This is the proof that this kind of America first, go-it-alone, trust nobody and be untrustworthy is the worst idea I have ever heard and I would change it on day one in every single light.

LACEY: Mr. Yang, your response to Putin and Russia.

YANG: Of course. We have to look at the chain of events. How did we get here? The fact is, we were falling apart at home, so we voted in Donald Trump, and he's now led us down this dangerous path with erratic and unreliable foreign policy.

We have to let Russia know, look, we get it. We've tampered with other elections, you've tampered with our elections. And now it has to stop. And if it does not stop, we will take this as an act of hostility against the American people. I believe most Americans would support me on this.

But Russian hacking of our democracy is an illustration of the 21st century threats. Artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, climate change, loose nuclear material, military drones, and non-state actors, these are the threats that are going to require our administration to catch up in terms of technology.

We all know we are decades behind the curve on technology. We saw when Mark Zuckerberg testified at Congress the nature of the questioning. As commander-in-chief, I will help pull us forward...

LACEY: Thank you.

(CROSSTALK)

KLOBUCHAR: I want to respond to Mr. Yang.

YANG: ... and that's going to be the responsibility of the next president. KLOBUCHAR: I want to respond to Mr. Yang. I don't see a moral equivalency between our country and Russia. Vladimir Putin is someone who has shot down planes over Ukraine, who has poisoned his opponent, and we have not talked about what we need to do to protect ourselves from Russia invading our election.

This wasn't meddling. That's what I do when I call my daughter on a Saturday night and ask her what she's doing. Sorry.

(CROSSTALK)

KLOBUCHAR: This was much more serious than that. This was actually invading our election. So to protect ourselves in 2020, what we need, one, backup paper ballots in every single state. That is a bill that I need, and we need to stop Mitch McConnell from stopping that from happening.

[21:30:02]

And then we need to stop the social media companies from running paid political ads, including ones last time in rubles, without having to say where those ads came from and who paid for them. That's the Honest Ads Act. That's a bipartisan bill that I lead. And we can't wait...

LACEY: Thank you, Senator.

KLOBUCHAR: ... to become president to get that done. We need to get it done now.

LACEY: Thank you, Senator.

COOPER: We want to turn back to domestic issues and the epidemic of gun violence in this country. We're less than 100 miles from Dayton, Ohio, where two months ago a gunman killed nine people using an AR-15- style weapon with a high-capacity magazine.

Congressman O'Rourke, in the last debate, you said, quote, "Hell yes, we're going to take your AR-15, your AK-47," but when you were asked how you'd enforce a mandatory buyback, you said police wouldn't be going door to door. So how exactly are you going to force people to give up their weapons? You don't even know who has those weapons.

O'ROURKE: Look, we're going to make sure that the priority is saving the lives of our fellow Americans. I think almost everyone on this stage agrees that it's not right and as president would seek to ban the sale of AR-15s and AK-47s.

Those are weapons of war. They were designed to kill people effectively, efficiently on a battlefield. You mentioned the massacre in Dayton. Nine people killed in under 40 seconds. In El Paso, Texas, 22 were killed in under three minutes. And the list goes on throughout the country.

So if the logic begins with those weapons being too dangerous to sell, then it must continue by acknowledging, with 16 million AR-15s and AK- 47s out there, they are also too dangerous to own. Every single one of them is a potential instrument of terror.

Just ask Hispanics in Texas. Univision surveyed them. More than 80 percent feared that they would be a victim of a mass terror attack like the one in El Paso that was targeted at Mexican Americans and immigrants, inspired in part by this president's racism and hatred that he's directed at communities like mine in El Paso.

COOPER: Congressman...

O'ROURKE: So I expect my fellow Americans to follow the law, the same way that we enforce any provision, any law that we have right now.

COOPER: OK.

O'ROURKE: We don't go door to door to do anything in this country to enforce the law. I expect Republicans, Democrats, gun-owners, non-gun- owners alike to respect and follow the law.

COOPER: Congressman, let me follow up. Just to follow up, your expectations aside, your website says you will fine people who don't give up their weapons. That doesn't take those weapons off the street. So to be clear, exactly how are you going to take away weapons from people who do not want to give them up and you don't know where they are?

O'ROURKE: If someone does not turn in an AR-15 or an AK-47, one of these weapons of war, or brings it out in public and brandishes it in an attempt to intimidate, as we saw when we were at Kent State recently, then that weapon will be taken from them. If they persist, they will be other consequences from law enforcement.

But the expectation is that Americans will follow the law. I believe in this country. I believe in my fellow Americans. I believe that they will do the right thing.

COOPER: Thank you. Mayor Buttigieg, just yesterday, you referred to mandatory buybacks as confiscation and said that Congressman O'Rourke has been picking a fight to try to stay relevant. Your response on guns?

BUTTIGIEG: Look, Congressman, you just made it clear that you don't know how this is actually going to take weapons off the streets. If you can develop the plan further, I think we can have a debate about it. But we can't wait. People are dying in the streets right now.

We can't wait for universal background checks that we finally have a shot to actually get through. We can't wait to ban the sale of new weapons and high-capacity magazines so we don't wind up with millions more of these things on the street. We can't wait for red flag laws that are going to disarm domestic abusers and prevent suicides, which are not being talked about nearly enough as a huge part of the gun violence epidemic in this country. We cannot wait for purity tests. We have to just get something done.

COOPER: Congressman O'Rourke, your response. O'ROURKE: This is not a purity test. This is a country that loses 40,000 of our fellow Americans every year to gun violence. This is a crisis. We've got to do something about it.

And those challenges that you described are not mutually exclusive to the challenges that I'm describing. I want to make sure we have universal background checks and red flag laws and that we end the sale of these weapons of war, but to use the analogy of health care, it would be as though we said, look, we're for primary care, but let's not talk about mental health care because that's a bridge too far. People need that primary care now, so let's save that for another day.

No, let's decide what we are going to believe in, what we're going to achieve. And then let's bring this country together in order to do that. Listening to my fellow Americans, to those moms who demand action, to those students who march for our lives, who, in fact, came up with this extraordinary bold peace plan...

COOPER: Thank you, Congressman.

O'ROURKE: ... that calls for mandatory buybacks, let's follow their inspiration and lead and not be limited by the polls and the consultants and the focus groups. Let's do what's right...

(CROSSTALK)

COOPER: Mayor Buttigieg, your response? Mayor Buttigieg?

BUTTIGIEG: The problem isn't the polls. The problems is the policy. And I don't need lessons from you on courage, political or personal. Everyone on this stage is determined to get something done.

[21:35:05]

Everyone on this stage recognizes, or at least I thought we did, that the problem is not other Democrats who don't agree with your particular idea of how to handle this.

The problem is the National Rifle Association and their enablers in Congress, and we should be united in taking the fight to them.

(APPLAUSE)

O'ROURKE: That's a mischaracterization. Anderson, I've got to answer this. Never took you or anyone else on who disagrees with me on this issue. But when you, Mayor Buttigieg, described this policy as a shiny object, I don't care what that meant to me or my candidacy, but to those who have survived gun violence, those who've lost a loved one to an AR-15, an AK-47, marched for our lives, formed in the courage of students willing to stand up to the NRA and conventional politics and poll-tested politicians, that was a slap in the fact to every single one of those groups and every single survivor of a mass casualty assault with an AR-15 and an AK-47.

COOPER: Thank you.

O'ROURKE: We must buy them back.

COOPER: Congressman...

BUTTIGIEG: What we owe to those survivors is to actually deliver a solution. I'm glad you offered up that analogy to health care, because this is really important. We are at the cusp of building a new American majority to actually do things that congressmen and senators have been talking about with almost no impact for my entire adult life.

COOPER: Thank you, Mayor.

BUTTIGIEG: No, this is really important, OK? On guns, we are this close to an assault weapons ban. That would be huge. And we're going to get wrapped around the axle in a debate over whether it's "hell, yes, we're going to take your guns"? We have an opportunity...

COOPER: Thank you, Mayor. Your time is up.

BUTTIGIEG: ... to deliver health care to everybody, and some on this stage are saying it doesn't count unless we obliterate...

(CROSSTALK)

COOPER: I want to give somebody -- I want to give other -- I want to give other candidates a chance. Senator Booker, what's your response to Mayor Buttigieg?

BOOKER: Well, look, I again, worry about how we talk to each other and about each other and what this last week has shown. There was a young man in my neighborhood, I watched him grow up. I lived in some high- rise projects with him named Shahad, and he was murdered on my block last year with an assault rifle.

I'm living with a sense of urgency on this problem, because when I go home to my community, like millions of Americans, we live in communities where these weapons, where these gun shots are real every single day.

And I know where the American public is. This is not about leadership. This is why when I talk about things like gun licensing and point out the differences between us, I'm not attacking people or their character or their courage on these issues. We all have courage.

But it's frustrating that when the American people, 77 percent of Americans agree on licensing, we don't need leadership right now. We just need folks that are going to stand up and follow where the people already are, because there are millions of Americans where this is a daily nightmare, where we're surrendering our freedoms...

COOPER: Thank you.

BOOKER: ... to fear in this country. This is the first time in American history, this fall, where we have sent our children to school, the strongest nation on the Planet Earth, and said to them, "We can't protect you"... COOPER: Thank you, Senator.

BOOKER: ... "so in school, we're going to teach you how to hide." There are more duck-and-cover drills and shelter-in-place drills in America now than fire drills.

COOPER: Thank you, Senator.

BOOKER: If I'm president of the United States, I will bring an urgency to this issue and make sure that we end the scourge of mass violence in our country.

COOPER: Senator Klobuchar -- Senator Klobuchar, Senator Warren -- Senator Warren supports a voluntary -- excuse me, Senator Klobuchar, you support a voluntary buyback, if I'm correct, right. What is wrong with a mandatory buyback? Your response.

KLOBUCHAR: I just keep thinking of how close we are to finally getting something done on this. I'm looking at the mayor of Dayton. I met one of the survivors from that shooting, 30 seconds, nine people killed.

The public is with us on this in a big way. The majority of Trump voters want to see universal background checks right now. The majority of hunters want to see us move forward with gun safety legislation. There are three bills right now on Mitch McConnell's desk, the background check bill, my bill to close the boyfriend loophole so domestic abusers don't get guns, the bill to make it easier for police to vet people before they get a gun. That's what we should be focusing on.

And I just don't want to screw this up. When I'm president, I do want to bring in an assault weapon ban and I do want to put a limitation on magazines so what happened in Dayton, Ohio, will never happen again. But let's not mess this up with this fight.

COOPER: Senator Warren, you support a voluntary gun buyback of assault-style weapons, as well. Why not a mandatory one?

WARREN: So, look, I want to get what works done. I want to use the method we used, for example, with machine guns. We registered them, we put in a huge penalty if you didn't register them, and a huge tax on them, and then let people turn them in, and it got machine guns out of the hands of people.

But the problem here that we need to focus on is, first, how widespread gun violence is. As you've rightly identified, it's not just about mass shootings. It's what happens in neighborhoods all across this country. It is about suicide, and it is about domestic violence.

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XXX about domestic violence.

This is not going to be a one and done, that we do one thing or two things or three things and then we're done. [21:40:00]

We have to reduce gun violence overall. And the question we have to ask is, why hasn't it happened?

You say we're so close. We have been so close. I stood in the United States Senate in 2013...

COOPER: Thank you.

WARREN: ... when 54 senators voted in favor of gun legislation and it didn't pass because of the filibuster.

COOPER: Thank you, Senator. Senator...

WARREN: We have got to attack the corruption and repeal the filibuster or the gun industry will always have a veto over what happens.

COOPER: Senator Harris? Senator Harris, you disagree with Senator Warren. You think the buyback should be mandatory. Please respond.

HARRIS: Five million assault weapons are on the streets of America today. During the course of this debate, eight people will die from gun violence. The leading cause of death of young black men in America is gun violence, more than the top other six reasons total.

This is a serious matter. I have personally hugged more mothers of homicide victims than I care to tell you. I have looked at more autopsy photographs than I care to tell you. I have attended more police officer funerals than I care to tell you. I'm done. And we need action.

And Congress has had years to act and failed because they do not have the courage. When I'm elected, I'll give them 100 days to pull their act together, put a bill on my desk for signature, and if they don't, I will take executive action and put in place a comprehensive background check requirement and ban the importation of assault weapons into our country because it is time to act.

COOPER: Senator Biden -- Vice President Biden, your response.

BIDEN: I'm the only one on this stage who has taken on the NRA and beat them, and beat them twice. We were able to get assault weapons off the streets and not be able to be sold for 10 years. Recent studies show that mass violence went down when that occurred.

The way to deal with those guns and those AR-15s and assault weapons that are on the street -- or not on the street, that people own, is to do what we did with the National Firearms Act as it related to machine guns. You must register that weapon. You must register it. When you register it, the likelihood of it being used diminishes exponentially.

I'm the only one that got -- got -- moved the -- to make sure that we could not have a magazine that had more than 10 rounds in it. I've done this. I know how to get it done. If you really want to get it done, go after the gun manufacturers and take back the exemption they have of not being able to be sued. That would change it.

(APPLAUSE)

COOPER: Thank you, Mr. Vice President.

Secretary Castro, the vast majority of homicides committed with a gun in this country are from handguns, not assault-style weapons. What's your plan to prevent those deaths?

CASTRO: Thank you very much for the question. You know, I grew up in neighborhoods where it wasn't uncommon to hear gunshots at night. And I can remember ducking into the back seat of a car when I was a freshman in high school, across the street from my school, my public school, because folks were shooting at each other.

You know, in the neighborhoods -- let me answer this question about voluntary versus mandatory. There are two problems I have with mandatory buybacks. Number one, folks can't define it. And if you're not going door to door, then it's not really mandatory.

But also, in the places that I grew up in, we weren't exactly looking for another reason for cops to come banging on the door. And you all saw a couple days ago what happened to Atatiana Jefferson in Fort Worth. A cop showed up at 2:00 in the morning at her house when she was playing video games with her nephew. He didn't even announced himself. And within four seconds, he shot her and killed her through her home window. She was in her own home.

And so I am not going to give these police officers another reason to go door to door in certain communities, because police violence is also gun violence, and we need to address that.

(APPLAUSE)

COOPER: Secretary Castro, thank you.

LACEY: Turning to another key issue here in Ohio and around the country, the opioid epidemic, Senator Klobuchar, CNN reached out to Ohio Democratic voters for their most pressing questions. Brie, a teacher in Proctorville, asks, in rural Ohio, the opioid epidemic has affected our communities and schools. I have many high school students who have lost one or both parents to heroin. Teachers are on the front lines daily, witnessing these tragedies. How will you tackle this problem in general, but specifically what will you offer people in rural communities where rehabilitation is not easily accessed and access to jobs is difficult?

KLOBUCHAR: Well, I want to thank her for this question. This is something that should never have happened to begin with. I remember, when I was a prosecutor, these were not the kind of cases that were coming in our door. And it's gotten worse and worse. And we now know why.

[21:45:00]

As the evidence is coming out of those lawsuits, probably one of the most horrible things that I saw was the e-mail from one of the pharma executives that actually said, "Keep pumping them out. They're eating them like Doritos."

So my first answer to that question, and which is included in my plan, is that the people that should pay for this, that should pay for the treatment, are the very people that got people hooked and killed them in the first place. And that is the people that are manufacturing these opioids. That's the first way.

And you can, with a 2 cents per milligram tax, bring in the money, plus with the federal master settlement, to help rural areas where they're so isolated, and also in urban areas, where it's, by the way, not just opiates. There are still mental health issues and crack cocaine issues.

This is personal for me. My dad, he struggled with alcoholism his whole life. And by his third DWI, they said to him, the prosecutor, you've got to face jail or you got to go to treatment. He picked treatment, and he was pursued by grace. And he has been sober ever since. And now he's 91 and in assisted living, and he said to me last year, it's hard to get a drink around here, anyway. But he still has an AA group that visits him there.

And so for me, I believe that everyone in this country, including the people in rural America, have that same right to be pursued by grace.

LACEY: Thank you, Senator. Mr. Steyer, how would you address the opioid epidemic that exists here in Ohio and around the country? Please respond.

STEYER: Well, I think this is one of the most heartbreaking experiences that America has had, 72,000 people died of opioid overdoses last year, and that's not only a tragedy for them, it's a tragedy for their family and their communities.

And so I think we have to treat this as a health citizens. We have to move the resources and the support there to try and help people.

But I think that Senator Klobuchar makes a good point. The reason I'm running for president is that we have a broken government. And we have a broken government because corporations have bought it. And every single one of these conversations is about that broken government. It's about drug companies buying the government and getting what they want. It's about the gun manufacturers buying the government and get what we want.

We need to break the corporate stranglehold on our government. I've put forward actual structural changes, including term limits, a natural referendum, the end to the idea that corporations are people and have the rights of American citizens politically, and make it a lot easier to vote

These corporations have taken over our government. And 72,000 deaths...

LACEY: Thank you, Mr. Steyer. STEYER: ... last year are the tragic result.

LACEY: Thank you, Mr. Steyer. Mr. Yang, you want to decriminalize the possession and use of small amounts of opioids, including heroin. How would that solve the crisis?

YANG: That's exactly right. And we have to recognize this is a disease of capitalism run amok. There was a point when there were more opiate prescriptions in the state of Ohio than human beings in the state of Ohio. And for some reason, the federal government thought that was appropriate.

They ended up levying a $600 million fine against Purdue Pharma, which sounds like a lot of money, until you realize that company made $30 billion. They got a 2 percent fine, and they killed tens of thousands of Americans, eight an hour.

So if the government turned a blind eye to this company spreading a plague among its people, then the least we can do is put the resources to work in our community so our people have a fighting chance to get well, even though this is not a money problem. We all know this is a human problem.

And part of helping people get the treatment that they need is to let them know that they're not going to be referred to a prison cell. They will be referred to treatment and counseling. I talked to an EMT in New Hampshire, and he said he saves the same addicts over and over again, because the fact is, after you save someone who's OD'ing, you just bring them back to their house and they OD again the following week.

So we need to decriminalize opiates for personal use. We have to let the country know this is not a personal failing. This was a systemic government failing. And then we need to open up safe consumption and safe injection sites around the country, because they save lives.

LACEY: Thank you, Mr. Yang. Congressman O'Rourke, is decriminalizing opioids part of the solution? Please respond.

O'ROURKE: Yes, it is, for many of the reasons that Mr. Yang just described. And also just from some personal experiences I've had as a member of Congress where constituents of mine have come forward, in some cases publicly, at a town hall meeting to describe their addictions.

I remember a veteran telling me that he bought heroin off the street because he was originally prescribed an opioid at the V.A. Now, imagine if that veteran, instead of being prescribe an opioid, had been prescribed marijuana because we made that legal in America, ensured the V.A....

YANG: Yes, preach, Beto.

O'ROURKE: ... could prescribe it, expunge the arrest records for those who've been arrested for possession, and make sure that he was not prescribed something to which he would become addicted. I also want to agree with Senator Klobuchar. Until we hold those responsible accountable for their actions, Purdue Pharma, Johnson & Johnson, we're going to continue to have this problem going on again.

[21:50:00]

So that veteran that I met, and anyone with drug addiction today, is not a problem for the criminal justice system.

LACEY: Thank you.

O'ROURKE: They're an opportunity for our public health system in America.

LACEY: Thank you, Congressman. Senator Harris, you want to hold the drug manufacturers that fueled the crisis accountable. Are you in favor of sending those drug company executives to jail?

HARRIS: I am. And I will tell you, as a former prosecutor, I do think of this as being a matter of justice and accountability, because they are nothing more than some high-level dope dealers. They have been engaged...

(APPLAUSE)

And I've seen it happen before. I've taken on the pharmaceutical companies when I was attorney general of California and led the second largest Department of Justice. I've seen what they do.

The biggest pharmaceutical companies, the eight biggest pharmaceutical companies and insurance companies last year profited $72 billion on the backs of people like the families that we are talking about that have been overwhelmed by this crisis, which is a public health epidemic.

And they knew what they were doing. They were marketing false advertising. They knew what they were pushing in communities and states like Ohio, without any concern about the repercussions because they were profiting and making big bucks. And, yes, they should be held accountable. This is a matter of justice.

And so as president of the United States, I would ensure that the United States Department of Justice, understand that you want to deal with who is really a criminal? Let's end mass incarceration and end that failed war on drugs, and let's go after these pharmaceutical companies for what they've been doing to destroy our country and states like Ohio.

LACEY: Thank you, Senator. Secretary Castro, are you in favor of sending those drug company executives to prison? Please respond.

CASTRO: Yes, I am. They need to be held accountable, not only financially, but also with criminal penalties. And, you know, you can draw a straight line between making sure that we hold executives accountable, whether it's these drug manufacturers or Wall Street executives that should have been held accountable a decade-and-a-half ago.

LACEY: Thank you.

BURNETT: Now to the issue of candidates and their health. Senator Sanders, I want to start with you. We're moving on, Senator. I'm sorry.

SANDERS: I'm healthy. I'm feeling great, but I would like to respond to that question.

BURNETT: I want to -- I want start by saying...

(APPLAUSE)

BOOKER: And Senator Sanders is in favor of medical marijuana. I want to make sure that's clear, as well.

BURNETT: Senator Sanders, this debate does mark your...

SANDERS: I do. I'm not on it tonight.

(LAUGHTER)

BURNETT: This debate -- this debate, sir, does mark your return to the campaign trail. Go ahead and finish your point and then I'll ask my question, Senator.

SANDERS: I'm more than happy to answer your question, but I wanted to pick up on what Kamala and Cory and others have said. Let's take a deep breath. Take a look at this opioid epidemic.

You have executives, CEOs of major pharmaceutical companies, making tens of millions of dollars a year. And in this particular case with the opioids, they knew that they were selling a product to communities all over this country which were addicting people and killing them. And last year, the top 10 drug companies made $69 billion in profit.

This is what unfettered capitalism is doing to this country. And it's not just the drug companies. Right now, the CEOs in the fossil fuel industry know full well that their product is destroying this world. And they continue to make huge profits.

BURNETT: Senator...

SANDERS: That is why we need a political revolution...

BURNETT: Thank you, Senator.

SANDERS: ... that says enough is enough to this behavior.

(APPLAUSE)

BURNETT: Senator, we are all very glad you're feeling well...

SANDERS: Thank you. BURNETT: ... as you just said. But there is a question on a lot of people's minds, and I want to address it tonight. You're 78 years old, and you just had a heart attack. How do you reassure Democratic voters that you're up to the stress of the presidency?

SANDERS: Well, let me invite you all to a major rally we're having in Queens, New York, berniesanders.com. We're going to have a special guest at that event. And we are going to be mounting a vigorous campaign all over this country. That is how I think I can reassure the American people.

But let me take this moment, if I might, to thank so many people from all over this country, including many of my colleagues up here, for their love, for their prayers, for their well wishes. And I just want to thank you from the bottom of my heart. And I'm so happy to be back here with you this evening.

(APPLAUSE)

BURNETT: Vice President Biden, if you're elected, you will turn 80 during your first term. Last month, former President Jimmy Carter said he could not have undertaken the duties of the presidency at 80 years old. Why are you so sure that you can?

[21:55:00]

BIDEN: Because I've watched it. I know what the job is. I've been engaged.

Look, one of the reasons I'm running is because of my age and my experience. With it comes wisdom. We need someone to take office this time around who on day one can stand on the world stage, command the respect of world leaders, from Putin to our allies, and know exactly what has to be done to get this country back on track.

It is required now more than any time in any of our lifetimes to have someone who has that capacity on day one. That's one of the reasons why I decided to run, why I decided to run this time, because I know what has to be done. I've done it before. I've been there when we pulled the nation out of the worst financial recession in history. I've been there, and I've got so many pieces of legislation passed, including the Affordable Care Act, as well as making sure that we had the Recovery Act, which kept us from going into a depression.

I know what has to be done. I will not need any on-the-job training the day I take office. And I will release my medical records, as I have 21 years of my tax records, which no one else on this stage has done, so that you can have full transparency as to my health and what I am doing.

BURNETT: Just to be clear, Mr. Vice President, when will you release those records?

BIDEN: Before the first vote.

BURNETT: Before Iowa? BIDEN: Yes.

BURNETT: Not by the end of this year?

BIDEN: Well, before Iowa. I mean, look, I've released them before. I released 55 pages of my -- I'm the only guy that's released anything up here.

BURNETT: Senator Warren, like Senator Sanders and Vice President Biden, if you win the presidency, you would be the oldest president ever inaugurated in a first term. You would be 71. Forty percent of Democratic primary voters say they think a candidate under the age of 70 is more likely to defeat President Trump. What do you say to them?

WARREN: Well, I say, I will out-work, out-organize, and outlast anyone, and that includes Donald Trump, Mike Pence, or whoever the Republicans get stuck with.

(LAUGHTER)

Look, the way I see this, the way we're going to win is by addressing head-on what millions of Americans know in their bones, and that is that the wealthy and the well-connected have captured our democracy, and they're making it work for themselves and leaving everyone else behind.

And political pundits and Washington insiders and, shoot, people in our own party don't want to admit that. They think that running some kind of vague campaign that nibbles around the edges of big problems in this country is a winning strategy. They are wrong.

If all Democrats can promise is after Donald Trump it will be business as usual, then we will lose. Democrats win when we call out what's broken and we show how to fix it. Democrats will win when we fight for the things that touch people's lives, things like childcare and health care and housing costs. Democrats will win when we give people a reason to get in the fight.

BURNETT: Thank you, Senator Warren.

Congresswoman Gabbard, you're 38 years old, and you would be the youngest president if elected. Should age matter when choosing a president?

GABBARD: I'm glad you asked, because I was going to say it's not fair to ask these three about their health and their fitness to serve as president but not every other one of us. I am grateful to have been trained very well by the Army and do my best to stay in shape.

But here's the real question I believe you should be asking is: Who is fit to serve as our commander-in-chief? This is the most important responsibility that the president has. What Donald Trump has been doing in Syria and what we have just seen with him, inviting Turkey to come in and slaughter the Kurds, show what an unfit president looks like. It highlights how critical it is that we have a president and commander-in-chief who is ready on day one, bringing experience and understanding in foreign policy and national security.

Bringing the experience that I have, both serving in Congress now for nearly seven years, serving on the Foreign Affairs Committee, serving on the Armed Services Committee, subcommittees related to terrorism and upcoming threats, serving on the Homeland Security Committee, the experience that I have as a soldier, serving for over 16 years in the Army National Guard, deploying twice to the Middle East, being able to serve in different capacities, joint training exercises, training the Kuwait National Guard.

I understand the importance of our national security. I am prepared to do this job, to fulfill this responsibility as commander-in-chief on day one.

BURNETT: Thank you, Congresswoman.

GABBARD: I'd like to ask our other candidates this question. I'd like to start with Senator Warren...

BURNETT: Sorry, Congressman, I'm sorry.

GABBARD: ... what her experience and background is to serve as commander-in-chief.

BURNETT: I'm sorry, thank you. We're going to take another break now. The CNN-New York Times debate live from Otterbein University here in Ohio will be back in just a few moments.

[21:55:59]

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: And welcome back to the CNN-New York Times Democratic presidential debate. Mark Lacey from the New York Times starts off our questioning. Mark?

LACEY: Thank you. Let's turn to the growing concerns over the power of big tech companies.

[22:05:00]

Mr. Yang, Senator Warren is calling for companies like Facebook, Amazon, and Google to be broken up. Is she right? Does that need to happen?

YANG: As usual, Senator Warren is 100 percent right in diagnosing the problem. There are absolutely excesses in technology and in some cases having them divest parts of their business is the right move.

But we also have to be realistic that competition doesn't solve all the problems. It's not like any of us wants to use the fourth best navigation app. That would be like cruel and unusual punishment. There is a reason why no one is using Bing today. Sorry, Microsoft. It's true.

So it's not like breaking up these big tech companies will revive Main Street businesses around the country. And as the parent of two young children, I'm particularly concerned about screen use and its effect on our children. Studies clearly show that we're seeing record levels of anxiety and depression coincident with smartphone adoption and social media use.

Breaking up the tech companies does nothing to make our kids healthier. What we have to do is we have to hone in on the specific problems we're trying to solve and use 21st century solutions for 21st century problems. Using a 20th century antitrust framework will not work. We need new solutions and a new toolkit.

LACEY: Thank you. Senator Warren, is Mr. Yang wrong? Your response, please.

WARREN: Look, I'm not willing to give up and let a handful of monopolists dominate our economy and our democracy. It's time to fight back. Think about it this way. When you talk about how it works in competition, about 8 percent, 9 percent of all retail sales happen at bricks and sticks stores, happen at Walmart. About 49 percent of all sales online happen in one place: that's Amazon.

It collects information from every little business, and then Amazon does something else. It runs the platform, gets all the information, and then goes into competition with those little businesses. Look, you get to be the umpire in the baseball game, or you get to have a team, but you don't get to do both at the same time. We need to enforce our antitrust laws, break up these giant companies that are dominating, big tech, big pharma, big oil, all of them.

LACEY: Thank you, Senator.

Mr. Steyer, your response?

STEYER: Look, I agree with Senator Warren that, in fact, monopolies have to be dealt with. They either have to be broken up or regulated, and that's part of it.

But we have to understand that Mr. Trump is going to be running on the economy. He's going to be saying he's the person who can make it grow. I started a business from scratch -- one room, no employers -- and built a multi-billion-dollar international business. We're going to have to show the American people that we don't just know how to tax and have programs to break up companies but also talk about prosperity, talk about investing in the American people, talk about harnessing the innovation and competition of the American private sector.

In fact, if we want to beat Mr. Trump, I think somebody who can go toe to toe with him and show him to be a fraud and a failure as a businessperson, and a fraud and a failure as a steward of the American economy is going to be necessary. He is one. His tax plan's a failure. His trade war is a failure. I would love to take him on as a real businessman and show that, in fact, he's failed the American people, and he has to go.

LACEY: Thank you, Mr. Steyer.

Senator Booker, how do you respond? Would a President Booker break up big tech companies like Facebook and Amazon?

BOOKER: Anybody that does not think that we have a massive crisis in our democracy with the way these tech companies are being used, not just in terms of anti-competitive practices, but also to undermine our democracy -- we have seen it in the '16 election practices being used that have not been corrected now. We need regulation and reform.

And antitrust, I mean Robert Bork right now is laughing in his sleep. We have a reality in this country where antitrust, from pharma to farms, is causing trouble, and we have to deal with this. As president of the United States, I will put people in place that enforce antitrust laws.

And I want to say one last thing, and I feel qualified to say this as the vegan on the stage. Going back to the fact that we -- it's rich to me that we asked three people about their health when looking at this stage we know that the most unhealthy person running for the presidency in 2020 is Donald Trump.

(APPLAUSE)

LACEY: Thank you, Senator.

Congressman O'Rourke, you say you're not sure if it's appropriate for a president to designate which companies should be broken up. So what's the proper level of oversight here?

O'ROURKE: Yeah, we need to set very tough, very clear, transparent rules of the road, the kind of rules that we do not have today, that allow these social media platforms, where we, the people, have become the product, to abuse that public trust, and to do so at extraordinary profits.

Right now, we treat them functionally as a utility, when,

[22:10:00]

in reality, they're more akin to a publisher. They curate the content that we see. Our pictures and personal information that they share with others, we would allow no publisher to do what Facebook is doing, to publish that ad that Senator Warren has rightfully called out, that CNN has refused to air because it is untrue and tells lies about the vice president, treat them like the publisher that they are. That's what I will do as president.

And we will be unafraid to break up big businesses if we have to do that, but I don't think it is the role of a president or a candidate for the presidency to specifically call out which companies will be broken up. That's something that Donald Trump has done, in part because he sees enemies in the press and wants to diminish their power. It's not something that we should do.

So tough rules of the road, protect your personal information, privacy, and data, and be fearless in the face of these tech giants.

LACEY: Senator Sanders, your response?

SANDERS: When we talk about a rigged economy, it's not just the grotesque level of income and wealth inequality. It is also the fact that in sector after sector, whether it is Wall Street, where you have six banks that have assets equivalent to half of the GDP of the United States, whether it is media, where you have 10 media companies that control about 90 percent of what the American people see, hear, or read, whether it is agribusiness, where we see merger after merger which is resulting in the decline of family-based farming in this country, we need a president who has the guts to appoint an attorney general who will take on these huge monopolies, protect small business, and protect consumers by ending the price fixing that we see every day.

LACEY: Thank you, Senator. Thank you, Senator. Senator Harris, to you, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg says that splitting up big tech companies will make election interference more likely because the companies won't be able to work together to fight it. Could breaking up these companies make the spread of disinformation worse?

HARRIS: No, I don't agree with that at all. And serving on the Senate Intelligence Committee, working with Amy Klobuchar on what we need to do to upgrade the elections infrastructure, knowing that Russia needs to be held accountable for the fact that they interfered in the election of the president of the United States and will attempt to do it again, that's -- that's a ridiculous argument he's making.

But I do want to also say this. What we're talking about is a grave injustice, when rules apply to some but not equally to all, and in particular when the rules that apply to the powerless don't apply to the powerful.

And so, Senator Warren, I just want to say that I was surprised to hear that you did not agree with me that on this subject of what should be the rules around corporate responsibility for these big tech companies, when I called on Twitter to suspend Donald Trump's account, that you did not agree, and I would urge you to join me.

Because here we have Donald Trump, who has 65 million Twitter followers and is using that platform as the president of the United States to openly intimidate witnesses, to threaten witnesses, to obstruct justice, and he and his account should be taken down.

We saw in El Paso that that shooter in his manifesto was informed by how Donald Trump uses that platform, and this is a matter of corporate responsibility. Twitter should be held accountable and shut down that site. It is a matter of safety and corporate accountability.

LACEY: Thank you. Senator Warren, you can respond.

WARREN: So, look, I don't just want to push Donald Trump off Twitter. I want to push him out of the White House. That's our job.

HARRIS: Well, join me -- join me in saying that his Twitter account should be shut down.

WARREN: But let's figure -- no. Let's figure out...

HARRIS: No?

WARREN: ... why it is that we have had laws on the books for antitrust for over a century, and yet for decades now, we've all called on how the big drug companies are calling the shots in Washington, big ag, how the gun industry, big tech -- you know, we really need to address the elephant in the room, and that is how campaigns are financed.

HARRIS: You can't say you're for corporate responsibility if it doesn't apply to everyone.

WARREN: I announced this morning -- I announced this morning that I'm not going to take any money from big tech executives, from Wall Street executives. We've already agreed, Bernie and I, we're not taking any money from big pharma executives.

You can't go behind closed doors and take the money of these executives and then turn around and expect that these are the people who are actually finally going to enforce the laws. We need campaign finance rules and practices...

LACEY: Thank you, Senator Warren. Senator Harris?

WARREN: ... that support us all.

HARRIS: You -- it does not represent a system of justice to say that the rules will apply differently to different people. This is a matter, you are saying, of holding big tech accountable.

WARREN: Yes.

[22:15:00]

HARRIS: Holding big tech accountable because they have an outsized influence on people's perceptions about issues, and they actually influence behaviors. We all have to agree this is their power. It is immense.

LACEY: Senator Klobuchar, let me bring you in here.

(CROSSTALK)

LACEY: Your response?

HARRIS: I'm not finished. I'm not finished.

(CROSSTALK)

HARRIS: And so what I am saying is that it seems to me that you would be able to join me in saying the rule has to apply to Twitter the same way it does to Facebook.

WARREN: Look, I think all of the rules should apply across the board. I don't have a problem with that.

HARRIS: So you will join me in saying Twitter should shut down that account?

WARREN: What I do have a problem with is that if we're going to talk seriously about breaking up big tech, then we should ask if people are taking money from the big tech executives. If we're going to talk seriously about breaking up big drug companies, we should ask if people are financing their campaigns by taking money from big drug executives. If we are going to talk about Wall Street and having some serious regulation over Wall Street, we should ask if people are funding their campaigns by taking money from those executives.

LACEY: Thank you, Senator. Senator Klobuchar, let's bring you in here. (CROSSTALK)

KLOBUCHAR: I would like to have a different take on this. I was in the private sector for 14 years, represented companies that were fighting to get into the telecom markets. I had a life before government.

And what I saw was when we got more competition there, the prices went down in a big way in the long distance market. Well, right now we have another gilded age going on, and I am the lead Democrat on the Antitrust Committee. I have the lead legislation, which means, one, changing the standard so we can do a better job of doing just what we've been talking about here, is breaking down some of this consolidation, and also making sure that the enforcers have the resources to take them on because they're so overwhelmed.

But the issue here is this. Start talking about this as a pro- competition issue. This used to be a Republican and Democratic issue, because America, our founding fathers, actually wanted to have less consolidation. We were a place of entrepreneurship. We are seeing a startup slump in this country.

LACEY: Thank you, Senator. Secretary Castro, would you like to weigh in?

KLOBUCHAR: And this means everything from tech on down.

LACEY: Please respond.

CASTRO: Yeah, I think that we're on the right track in terms of updating how we look at monopolistic practices and setting, as Congressman O'Rourke said, rules for the road that match the challenges that we face today.

And, you know, whether that's Amazon that is leveraging its size I think to help put small businesses out of business, and then at the same time shortchanging a lot of its workers, not paying them as they should, not giving them the benefits that they should, or it's a number of other companies, big tech companies. We need to take a stronger stance when it comes to cracking down on monopolistic trade practices, and that's what I would do as president.

LACEY: Thank you, Mr. Secretary.

(CROSSTALK)

YANG: The best way we can fight back -- the best way we can fight back against big tech companies is to say our data is our property. Right now, our data is worth more than oil. How many of you remember getting your data check in the mail? It got lost. It went to Facebook, Amazon, Google. If we say this is our property and we share in the gains, that's the best way we can balance the scales against the big tech companies.

BURNETT: Thank you, Mr. Yang.

GABBARD: There's a bigger issue here... BURNETT: Turning to women's reproductive rights, Ohio is now one of several states that has banned abortions after as early as six weeks of pregnancy. Many women don't even know they're pregnant at that time. The Ohio law, like many others, is being challenged in the courts and has not yet taken effect. Senator Harris, if states prevail on restricting abortion, what's your plan to stop them?

HARRIS: My plan is as -- as follows. For any state that passes a law that violates the Constitution, and in particular Roe v. Wade, our Department of Justice will review that law to determine if it is compliant with Roe v. Wade and the Constitution, and if it is not, that law will not go into effect. That's called pre-clearance.

Because the reality is that while we still have -- as I said earlier -- these state legislators who are outdated and out of touch, mostly men who are telling women what to do with their bodies, then there needs to be accountability and consequence.

(APPLAUSE)

But, you know, I'll go further. You may have seen it. I questioned Brett Kavanaugh when I was a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee and asked him as a nominee to serve on the United States Supreme Court, could he think of any law that tells a man what to do with his body? And the answer was, uh, uh, no.

The reality of it is, this is still a fundamental issue of justice for women in America. Women have been given the responsibility to perpetuate the human species. Our bodies were created to do that. And it does not give any other person the right to tell a woman what to do with that body. It is her body. It is her right. It is her decision.

(APPLAUSE)

BURNETT: Senator Harris, thank you.

[22:20:00]

Senator Klobuchar, what would you do to stop states from prevailing? Your response?

KLOBUCHAR: I would codify Roe v. Wade and make it the law of the land. But what I want to do right now is just say, what if Donald Trump was standing up here on the debate stage with me? You know what I would say to him? I said, you knew -- you said you wanted to do this in your race for president. You actually said that you wanted to put women in jail. Then you tried to dial it back, and you said you wanted to put doctors in jail.

That is exactly what the Alabama law is. It put doctors in jail for 99 years. You, Donald Trump, are not on the side of women. You are not on the side of people of this country, when over 75 percent of people want to keep Roe v. Wade on the book, when over 90 percent of people want to make sure we have available contraception. You defunded Planned Parenthood. I would fund it again.

BURNETT: Senator, thank you.

Senator Booker, if states prevail on restricting abortion, how would you stop them? Please respond.

BOOKER: Well, first of all, let's be clear about these laws we see from Alabama to Ohio. They're not just attacks on one of the most sacrosanct ideals in our country -- liberty, the ability to control your own body -- but they're particularly another example of people trying to punish, trying to penalize, trying to criminalize poverty, because this is disproportionately affecting low-income women in this country, people in rural areas in this country. It is an assault on the most fundamental ideal that human beings should control their own body.

And so the way as president of the United States I'm going to deal with this is, first of all, elevating it like we have with other national crises to a White House-level position. And I will create the Office of Reproductive Freedom and Reproductive Rights in the White House and make sure that we begin to fight back on a systematic attempt that's gone on for decades to undermine Roe v. Wade.

I will fight to codify it, and I will also make sure that we fight as this country to repeal the Hyde amendment, so that we are leading the Planet Earth in defending the global assault we see on women right now.

BURNETT: Thank you, Senator.

Congresswoman Gabbard, your response?

GABBARD: This is often one of the most difficult decisions that a woman will ever have to make, and it's unfortunate to see how in this country it has for so long been used as a divisive political weapon.

I agree with Hillary Clinton on one thing, disagree with her on many others, but when she said abortion should be safe, legal, and rare, I think she's correct. We see how the consequences of laws that you're referring to can often lead to a dangerous place, as we've seen them as they're passed in other countries, where a woman who has a miscarriage past that six weeks could be imprisoned because abortion would be illegal at that point.

I do, however, think that there should be some restrictions in place. I support codifying Roe v. Wade while making sure that, during the third trimester, abortion is not an option unless the life or severe health consequences of a woman are at risk.

BURNETT: Thank you very much.

The Supreme Court is currently made up of five Republican-appointed justices and four appointed by Democrats. The court just announced it will hear arguments in a case challenging some abortion rights.

Vice President Biden, the Constitution does not specify the number of justices that serve on the Supreme Court. If Roe v. Wade is overturned on your watch and you can't pass legislation in Congress, would you seek to add justices to the Supreme Court to protect women's reproductive rights?

BIDEN: I would not get into court packing. We had three justices. Next time around, we lose control, they add three justices. We begin to lose any credibility the court has at all.

I want to point out that the justices I've supported, when I defeated Robert Bork -- and I say when I defeated Robert Bork, I made sure we guaranteed a woman's right to choose for the better part of a generation. I would make sure that we move and insist that we pass, we codify Roe v. Wade.

The public is already there. Things have changed. And I would go out and I would campaign against those people in the state of Ohio, Alabama, et cetera, who in fact are throwing up this barrier. Reproductive rights are a constitutional right. And, in fact, every woman should have that right.

And so I would not pack the court. What I would do is make sure that the people that I recommended for the court, from Ruth Bader Ginsburg to Elena Kagan, who used to work for me, to others, that they, in fact, support the right of privacy, on which the entire notion of a woman's right to choose is based. And that's what I would do. No one would get on the court.

And by the way, if, in fact, at the end of this -- beginning next year, if, in fact, one of the justices steps down, God forbid, in fact, I would make sure that we would do exactly what McConnell did last time out. We would not allow any hearing to be held for a new justice.

BURNETT: Thank you, Mr. Vice President.

Mayor Buttigieg, you have discussed expanding the court from 9 to 15 justices. What's your response to the vice president?

[22:25:00]

BUTTIGIEG: That's right. When I proposed reforming the Supreme Court, some folks said that was too bold to even contemplate. Now, I'm not talking about packing the court just with people who agree with me, although I certainly will appoint people who share my values, for example, the idea that women's reproductive freedom is an American right.

What I'm talking about is reforms that will depoliticize the court. We can't go on like this, where every single time there is a vacancy, we have this apocalyptic ideological firefight over what to do next.

Now, one way to fix this would be to have a 15-member court where five of the members can only be appointed by unanimous agreement of the other 10. Smarter legal minds than mine are discussing this in the Yale Law Journal and how this could be done without a constitutional amendment. But the point is that not everybody arrives on a partisan basis.

There are other reforms that we could consider, from term limits -- don't forget, justices used to just retire like everybody else -- to a rotation off the appellate bench.

BURNETT: Thank you.

BUTTIGIEG: I'm not wedded to a particular solution, but I am committed to establishing a commission on day one...

BURNETT: Thank you, Mayor Buttigieg.

BUTTIGIEG: ... that will propose reforms to depoliticize the Supreme Court, because we can't go on like this.

BURNETT: Thank you very much, Mayor Buttigieg. Secretary Castro, he's talking about making the court bigger. Your response? Is it a good idea?

CASTRO: I don't think it is. I wouldn't pack the court. You know, I think the plan that Mayor Pete mentioned is an interesting one, but I actually believe, if we were selecting from one of those things, that the smarter move might be to look at term limits or having people cycle off from the appellate courts so that you would have a replenishment of perspective.

I would also make sure that I appoint as president people who respect the precedent of Roe v. Wade, that we codify Roe v. Wade, and that we do away with things like the Hyde amendment, because you shouldn't only be able to have reproductive freedom if you have money. We have to think about people who do not, people who are poor. And we have to concern ourselves not only with reproductive freedom, but also reproductive justice and invest in the ability of every woman to be able to make a choice and to be able to have her health care needs met.

BURNETT: Senator Warren, would you consider adding more justices to the Supreme Court to protect Roe v. Wade? Your response?

WARREN: I think there are a number of options. I think, as Mayor Buttigieg said, there are many different ways. People are talking about different options, and I think we may have to talk about them.

But on Roe v. Wade, can we just pause for a minute here? I lived in an America where abortion was illegal, and rich women still got abortions, because they could travel, they could go to places where it was legal.

What we're talking about now is that the people who are denied access to abortion are the poor, are the young, are 14-year-olds who were molested by a family member. And we now have support across this country. Three out of four Americans believe in the rule of Roe v. Wade. When you've got three out of four Americans supporting it, we should be able to get that passed through Congress.

BURNETT: Senator, thank you.

WARREN: We should not leave this to the Supreme Court. We should do it through democracy, because we can.

BURNETT: Thank you very much, Senator.

COOPER: As some of you have indicated, the differences between all of you on this stage are tiny compared to the differences between you and President Trump. There are, however, fundamental differences between many of you on this stage.

Vice President Biden, just on either side of you, Senator Warren is calling for big structural change. Senator Sanders is calling for a political revolution. Will their visions attract the kind of voters that the Democrats need to beat Donald Trump?

BIDEN: Well, I think their vision is attracting a lot of people, and I think a lot of what they have to say is really important. But, you know, Senator Warren said we can't be running any vague campaigns. We've got to level with people. We've got to level with people and tell them exactly what we're going to do, how we're going to get it done, and if you can get it done.

I'm going to say something that is probably going to offend some people here, but I'm the only one on this stage that has gotten anything really big done, from the Violence Against Women Act to making sure that we pass the Affordable Care Act to being in a position where we, in fact, took almost a $90 billion act that kept us from going into a depression, making us -- putting us in a position where I was able to end roe -- excuse me, able to end the issue of gun sales in terms of assault weapons.

And so the question is, who is best prepared? We all have good ideas. The question is, who is going to be able to get it done? How can you get it done? And I'm not suggesting they can't, but I'm suggesting that that's what we should look at. And part of that requires you not being vague. Tell people what it's going to cost, how you're going to do it, and why you're going to do it. That's the way to get it done. Presidents are supposed to be able to persuade.

COOPER: Just to clarify, Vice President, who are you saying is being vague?

[22:30:00]

BIDEN: Well, the senator said -- she's being vague on the issue of -- actually, both are being vague on the issue of Medicare for all. No, look, here's the deal. Come on. It costs $30 trillion. Guess what? That's over $3 trillion -- it's more than the entire federal budget -- let me finish, OK?

COOPER: You'll both get in.

BIDEN: If you eliminated the entire Pentagon, every single thing, plane, ship, troop, the buildings, everything, satellites, it would get you -- it would pay for a total of four months. Four months. Where do you get the rest? Where does it come from?

SANDERS: Two things. Let me explain in two ways.

COOPER: Senator Sanders, respond. SANDERS: Joe, you talked about working with Republicans and getting things done. But you know what you also got done? And I say this as a good friend. You got the disastrous war in Iraq done. You got a bankruptcy bill, which is hurting middle-class families all over this country. You got trade agreements, like NAFTA and PNTR, with China done, which have cost us 4 million jobs.

Now, let's get to Medicare for all. Let's be honest. We spend twice as much per person as do the people of any other major country on Earth. And the answer is, if we have the guts that I would like to see the Democratic Party have that guts, to stand up to the drug companies and the insurance companies and tell them that the function of health care is to guarantee care to all people, not to make $100 billion in profit.

COOPER: Thank you, Senator.

SANDERS: If we stood together, we could create the greatest health care system in the world.

COOPER: Vice President Biden, you can respond, and then Senator Warren.

BIDEN: We can do that without Medicare for all. We can do that by adding a public option.

SANDERS: No.

BIDEN: We can.

SANDERS: No, you can't.

BIDEN: And we can afford to do it.

SANDERS: You've got to take on the greed and the profiteering of the health care industry.

BIDEN: By the way, the greed and...

COOPER: Let him respond. Mr. Vice President?

BIDEN: The greed and profiteering of those insurance companies, they are as much against my bill as they are anybody else. They were strongly against Obamacare. They know it cost them. And it's going to take away the right of people to choose, the 160 million people out there who've negotiated their health insurance, and they want to keep it. They should have a right to keep it.

COOPER: Senator Warren, your response?

WARREN: So you started this question with how you got something done. You know, following the financial crash of 2008, I had an idea for a consumer agency that would keep giant banks from cheating people. And all of the Washington insiders and strategic geniuses said, don't even try, because you will never get it passed. And sure enough, the big banks fought us. The Republicans fought us. Some of the Democrats fought us. But we got that agency passed into law. It has now forced big banks to return more than $12 billion directly to people they cheated.

I served in the Obama administration. I know what we can do by executive authority, and I will use it. In Congress, on the first day, I will pass my anti-corruption bill, which will beat back the influence of money...

COOPER: Thank you, Senator.

WARREN: ... and repeal the filibuster. And the third, we want to get something done in America, we have to get out there and fight...

COOPER: Thank you, Senator.

WARREN: ... for the things that touch people's lives.

COOPER: Mayor...

BIDEN: I agree. Let me -- she referenced me. I agreed with the great job she did, and I went on the floor and got you votes. I got votes for that bill. I convinced people to vote for it. So let's get those things straight, too.

COOPER: Senator Warren, do you want to respond?

(APPLAUSE)

WARREN: I am deeply grateful to President Obama, who fought so hard to make sure that agency was passed into law, and I am deeply grateful to every single person who fought for it and who helped pass it into law. But understand...

BIDEN: You did a hell of a job in your job.

WARREN: Thank you.

(LAUGHTER)

But understand this. It was a dream big, fight hard. People told me, go for something little, go for something small, go for something that the big corporations will be able to accept.

COOPER: Thank you, Senator.

WARREN: I said, no, let's go for an agency that will make structural change in our economy.

COOPER: Senator, thank you.

WARREN: And President Obama said, I will fight for that, and he sometimes had to fight against people in his own administration. We have...

BIDEN: Not me.

WARREN: We have to be willing to make good, big, structural change.

COOPER: Mayor Buttigieg, which is the right vision for a Democrat to beat Donald Trump? That's the essential question.

BUTTIGIEG: If I had a buck for every argument that I've witnessed like this, I could pay for college for everybody. We need to move past what has been consuming this whole political space for as long as I've been alive.

We're being offered a false choice. I don't agree with the vice president that Trump is an aberration.

[22:35:00]

I don't agree that there's any such thing as back to normal. Because here in the industrial Midwest, definitely where I live, normal didn't work. That's part of how we got here. That's part of how a guy like Donald Trump managed to get within cheating distance of the Oval Office in the first place.

But I also don't agree with Senator Warren that the only way forward is infinite partisan combat. Yes, we have to fight -- absolutely, we have to fight for the big changes at hand, but it's going to take more than fighting. Once again, I want to take you back to that day after Trump has stopped being president. Think about what the president can do to unify a new American majority for some of the boldest things we've attempted in my lifetime -- Medicare for all who want it, actually getting something done on immigration for the first time since the '80s, an assault weapons ban, which would be a huge deal, making college free for low- and middle-income students.

Yet there are some here on this stage who say it doesn't count unless we go even further, free college for low- and middle-income students isn't good enough unless we're also paying for the children of billionaires. Immigration reform isn't enough unless we also decriminalize border crossings. We have an opportunity to do the biggest things we've done...

COOPER: Thank you, Mayor.

BUTTIGIEG: ... in my lifetime...

COOPER: Senator?

BIDEN: I did not say back to normal.

(CROSSTALK)

COOPER: Thank you, Mayor. Senator Klobuchar? Senator Klobuchar?

(CROSSTALK)

KLOBUCHAR: Thank you. You know, this isn't a flyover part of the country to me. The heartland is where I live. And I want to win those states that we lost last time, and I have bold ideas to get us there. And I think just because they're different than Elizabeth's doesn't mean they're bold.

But we can't get any of this done on climate change or immigration reform unless they win. And what I have done is win and the only one up here, time and time again, the reddest of red districts, Michele Bachmann's, I -- I won that district three times, rural districts that border Iowa and North and South Dakota. And I do it by going not just where it's comfortable but where it's uncomfortable.

And that is why I have been in Pennsylvania and in Michigan and in Wisconsin and all over Ohio and in Iowa, because I think we need to build a blue Democratic wall around those states and make Donald Trump pay for it.

COOPER: Thank you. Senator Warren, she referenced you, so you can respond.

WARREN: Now, people who are struggling to pay health care are fighting today. People who are getting crushed by student loans are in a fight today. People who are getting stopped by the police or paid less because of the color of their skin are in a fight today.

And anyone who doesn't understand that Americans are already in these fights is not someone who is likely to win them. For me, this is about knowing what's broken, knowing how to fix it, and, yes, I'm willing to get out there and fight for it.

COOPER: Senator Sanders...

BUTTIGIEG: There's a missing people, and that is...

(CROSSTALK)

COOPER: Senator Sanders, why is your approach more likely to beat President Trump?

SANDERS: I'll tell you why.

COOPER: Please respond.

SANDERS: And here's the radical reason why. It's what the American people want.

WARREN: Yes.

SANDERS: All right, the American people do not want tax breaks for billionaires. They want the rich to start paying their fair share of taxes. A poll came out yesterday, 71 percent of Democrats support Medicare for all. The people of this country understand that we've got to make public colleges and universities tuition-free. And more and more Americans, including Republicans, understand we need bold action if we're going to save this planet for our children and our grandchildren.

The way you win an election in this time in history is not the same old, same old. You have to inspire people. You have to excite people. You've got to bring working people and young people and poor people into the political process...

COOPER: Thank you. Thank you.

SANDERS: ... because they know you stand for them, not corporate America.

(APPLAUSE)

COOPER: Congressman O'Rourke, is political revolution what the American people want? Your response.

O'ROURKE: There was some talk about getting big things done. When I was first elected to Congress, I found that El Paso, Texas, had the worst wait times in the country to see a mental health care provider at the V.A. I don't know how sensational or exciting that was to everyone in the country or even most people in El Paso, but it was important to those veterans who I serve.

So we set about turning around the V.A., hiring up the psychiatrists and psychologists and therapists to take care of those women and men who had put their lives on the line for this country. And we were able to do that, and we took what we learned, and we applied it to a national law as a member of the minority working with Republicans and Democrats alike to expand mental health care access for veterans nationally.

And then in Texas, one of what was thought to be the reddest states in the country, going to every single county...

COOPER: Thank you, Congressman.

O'ROURKE: ... talking about this progressive agenda, and winning more votes than any Democrat has ever won, that's the way that we defeat Donald Trump in November of 2020.

COOPER: Congressman O'Rourke, thank you. We have to take a quick break. The CNN-New York Times debate live from Ohio will continue right after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[22:44:29]

COOPER: We are back with the CNN-New York Times Democratic presidential debate. We have time for one more question that we would like all of you to weigh in on.

Last week, Ellen DeGeneres was criticized after she and former President George W. Bush were seen laughing together at a football game. Ellen defended their friendship, saying, we're all different and I think that we've forgotten that that's OK that we're all different.

So in that spirit, we'd like you to tell us about a friendship that you've had that would surprise us and what impact it's had on you and your beliefs.

Secretary Castro, let's begin with you.

[22:45:00]

CASTRO: Well, first of all, thank you to Marc, thank you, Anderson, and thank you, Erin, and CNN, and New York Times and everybody who is here tonight.

You know, some of the most interesting friendships that I've had have been with people different from me, either people older than me that had a lot to teach me, or people who grew up very different from me. Also, teachers, as I was growing up, people that had a life experience that when I was growing up was beyond mine.

And sometimes also -- and this goes to the heart of your question, I think -- people who thought differently from me, folks that I considered and have considered friends, and I think that there's a value to that. I think that that should be reflected more in our public life.

I also believe, to just speak about the incident last week with Ellen and George W. Bush, I completely understood what she was saying about being kind to others. I believe that we should be more kind to other folks.

I also believe that we should hold people to account for what they've done, especially public servants who have a record of having done something or not done something. And I think that we can do both of those things. I think that we can be kind to people and also hold them accountable for their actions.

And there are people, whether it's our former president, George W. Bush, or others that should be held accountable. Just as we should be kind, we shouldn't be made to feel shameful about holding people accountable for what they've done.

COOPER: Congresswoman Gabbard?

GABBARD: Thank you. You know, where I come from in Hawaii, many of you know, we greet each other with "aloha." It's not a word that means hello and goodbye. It actually means something much more powerful than that. It means I come to you with respect and a recognition that we're all connected, we're all brothers and sisters, we're all God's children.

So I've developed friendships that some people may be surprised about within the Washington circles, especially, with Republicans, like Trey Gowdy, for example. He and I disagree a lot and very strongly on a lot of political issues. We've developed a friendship that's based on respect. And he's been there for me during some personally challenging times.

The challenge before us today is that our country is very divided. Donald Trump must be defeated. But we must do more than just defeat Donald Trump. We need to deliver a win for the American people. We must stand united as Americans, remembering that we are all brothers and sisters, that we are all connected. This is the kind of leadership that I seek to bring as president, inspired by the example of presidents like Abraham Lincoln, who talked about how we should have malice for none and charity for all.

When I look out at our country, I don't see deplorables, I see fellow Americans, people who I treat with respect, even when we disagree and when we disagree strongly. I will work to restore a White House that represents light and compassion and respect for every American regardless of race, religion, orientation, gender, or political affiliation.

So I want to ask everyone to join me. Join me in bringing about this government of, by, and for the people that serves all the people of this country. You can visit my website, tulsi2020.com, for more information.

COOPER: Thank you, Congresswoman.

Senator Klobuchar?

KLOBUCHAR: For me, it's John McCain, and I miss him every day. I traveled all over the world with him. And he would sometimes, when we were seated with world leaders, and they would look away from me, he'd say, "Senator Klobuchar is the lead Democrat on this trip, and she will go next."

And I still remember being there at his ranch. John and I went to visit him and Cindy when he was dying. And he pointed to some words in his book, because he could hardly talk. And the words says this: "There is nothing more liberating in life than fighting for a cause larger than yourself."

That's what we're doing right now. And while we have had major debates about policy, we have to remember that what unites us is so much bigger than what divides us. And we have to remember that our job is to not just change policy, but to change the tone in our politics, to look up from our phones, to look at each other, to start talking to each other, because the way we win -- and not just win the presidency, but take back the U.S. Senate -- is by winning big.

And the way we win big is with that fired up Democratic base that's out there today, but it is also about bringing in independents and moderate Republicans. I can lead this. And I ask you to join me because I've done it before and I will do it again, amyklobuchar.com. Join our team. Thank you.

COOPER: Senator, thank you very much.

(APPLAUSE)

Mr. Steyer, tell us about your most surprising friendship.

STEYER: So I'm friends with a woman from Denmark, South Carolina, named Deanna Berry, who's fighting for clean water and environmental justice in her community. [22:50:00]

She's a different gender. She's a different race. She's from a different part of the country. But she reminds me of my parents in terms of her courage and her optimism and her honor.

My mother was a schoolteacher in the New York Public Schools and in the Brooklyn House of Detention. My father was the first generation in his family to go to college. My grandfather was a plumber. He interrupted his law degree to go into the Navy in World War II and he ended up prosecuting the Nazis at Nuremberg. And when I asked him what that experience meant, he said, when you see something wrong in your society, you fight it from the first day and every single day after.

And that's why I started the Need to Impeach movement two years ago, because there was something terribly wrong at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. And over 10 years ago, I saw that there was a terrible threat to the safety and health of every American in terms of the climate crisis. And I've been fighting those companies with the help of the American people ever since successfully, and that's why I'm running for the president, because our government has failed, it's been bought by corporations, and it's absolutely essential to return power to the people.

I have been doing exactly what my parents taught me to do, which is to take on the biggest problems in America directly and fight for them every single day.

COOPER: Thank you, Mr. Steyer.

(APPLAUSE)

Congressman O'Rourke?

O'ROURKE: I've always tried to bring people in to the solutions that we have to our common challenges, regardless of the differences. I did that as a small-business owner more than 20 years ago, making sure that we could get a small tech company off the ground in El Paso, Texas.

Did it as a member of the City Council, where I saw my colleagues not as Republicans or Democrats, but my fellow El Pasoans who had a responsibility to deliver for our community.

As a member of Congress, I remember being in San Antonio. I was visiting the V.A. there, March of 2017. Found that my flight had been snowed in, in Washington, D.C. I happened to be in the elevator with a Republican member of Congress, Will Hurd. And on a whim, I said, do you want to just rent a car and drive from San Antonio to Washington?

And he called my bluff. We got in that Chevy Impala, last car on the lot. It was spring break. Drove 1,600 miles across the country. Live streamed the conversation, a Republican and a Democrat finding out what we had in common.

By the end of that trip, not only had we formed a friendship, but we had formed trust. We worked with each other on each other's bills. I got Will to work with me on an immigration bill, showing party leaders from either side that Republicans and Democrats could work together on an otherwise contentious issue.

And then across Texas, I mentioned winning more votes than any Democrat. We won independents and Republicans in record numbers, as well. I will bring people in and together to face the common challenges that we have and to make sure that America rises to this opportunity.

COOPER: Senator Booker, tell us about your most surprising friendship.

BOOKER: Well, look, I have so many, I don't even know where to count. I was the mayor of a large city with a Republican governor. He and I had to form a friendship, even though I can write a dissertation on our disagreements. When I got to the United States Senate, I went there with the purpose of making friendships across the aisle.

I go to Bible study in Chairman Inhofe's office. He and I pass legislation together to help homeless and foster kids. I went out to try to invite every one of my Republican colleagues to dinner. And let me again say, finding a dinner at a restaurant, agreeing on one with Ted Cruz was a very difficult thing. I'm a vegan, and he's a meat- eating Texan.

But I'll tell you this right now, this is the moment in America that this is our test. The spirit of our country, I believe in the values of rugged individualism and self-reliance, but think about our history. Rugged individualism didn't get us to the Moon. It didn't beat the Nazis. It didn't map the human genome. It didn't beat Jim Crow. Everything we did in this country big.

And, Vice President, we have done so many big things. The fact that there's an openly gay man, a black woman, all of us on the stage are because we in the past are all inheritors of a legacy of common struggle and common purpose.

This election is not a referendum on one guy in one office. It's a referendum on who we are and who we must be to each other. The next leader is going to have to be one amongst us Democrats that can unite us all, not throw elbows at other Democrats that are unfair, because the preparation is being the leader that can revive civic of grace in our country, teach us a more courageous empathy, and remind America that patriotism is love of country, and you cannot love your country unless you love your fellow countrymen and women.

And love is not sentimentality. It's not anemic. Love is struggle. Love is sacrifice. Love is the words of our founders who said at the end of the Declaration of Independence that if we're ever going to make it as a nation, we must mutually pledge to each other...

COOPER: Thank you.

BOOKER: ... our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor. I am running for president to restore that sacred honor.

COOPER: Thank you.

BOOKER: And if you believe in that like I do, please join me by going to corybooker.com. Thank you.

(APPLAUSE)

COOPER: Thank you, Senator. Mr. Yang?

YANG: First, I want to thank all the voters tuned in at home.

[22:55:00]

And if you don't feel like you answered your -- you got your question answered tonight, it's understandable. There are 12 of us.

I'm going to be answering voter questions for 10 straight hours this Friday. My web site, yang2020.com. And if you ask your question tonight, there's a better chance I'll get to it.

My surprising friendship, it's been so much fun running for president, because I've gotten to meet so many Americans I never would have gotten to meet otherwise. The friendship that sticks out for me is a guy named Fred, who's an avid Trump supporter, a trucker. He let me ride in his truck for hours. He spent some time in jail. I heard about his experiences trying to get other people off of drugs.

And I'm happy to say that, after our ride together, he actually said that he would move from Donald Trump to my campaign, which was a thrill for me. And we remained in touch ever since.

The truth is that what happened to the 4 million manufacturing workers here in Ohio and Michigan and Pennsylvania and Wisconsin and Iowa did not care about our political party. The fourth industrial revolution is now migrating from manufacturing workers to retail, call centers, transportation, as well as to white-collar workers like attorneys, pharmacists, and radiologists. It does not care about our party.

Donald Trump had a set of solutions in 2016. What did he say? He said we're going to build a wall, we're going to turn the clock back, we're going to bring the old jobs back. America, we have to do the opposite of all of these things. We have to turn the clock forward. We have to accelerate our economy and society as quickly as possible. We have to evolve in the way we think about ourselves and our work and our value. It is not left. It is not right. It is forward. And that is where we must take the country in 2020.

(APPLAUSE)

COOPER: Mr. Yang, thank you very much. Senator Harris?

HARRIS: Thank you. Probably Rand Paul. He and I -- actually, I invited him to join me on a bill to end the money bail system in the United States. He and I agree on almost nothing, but we agree on that. And after we joined forces, he said to me, "Kamala, you know, Appalachia loves this." And it really made the point that the vast majority of us have so much more in common than what separates us. And I guess that's why I'm running. I do believe that to beat Donald Trump, but also to heal our country, we need a leader who has the ability to unify our country and see that the vast majority of us have so much more in common than what separates us.

And I'll tell you, my mother was 19 when she left India alone. And she wanted to travel to learn science because her mission in life was to cure cancer. And so she arrived in California. She got -- you know, she was supposed to have an arranged marriage, but she got involved in the civil rights movement, she met my father, and that produced my sister and me. They got married. But when I was five, that marriage ended.

But my mother convinced us that we could do anything. And so I became the first woman attorney general of California, the second black woman elected to the United States Senate, and I will tell you, that's part of why I'm running, because Donald Trump, if he had his way, my story would not be possible. And I am running to make sure that that dream, the American dream, American values, American ideas will always hold true.

And so that's what is at stake in this election. And I believe I am uniquely able to see the commonalities among us and to speak the story of the American dream and the need to reclaim it.

(APPLAUSE)

COOPER: Thank you, Senator Harris. Mayor Buttigieg?

BUTTIGIEG: Well, I think about the friendships that I formed in the military, people who were radically different from me, different generation, different race, definitely different politics. And we learned to trust each other with our lives.

When they got into my vehicle and when we went outside the wire, they didn't care if I was going home to a boyfriend or a girlfriend, they didn't care what country my dad immigrated from and whether he was documented or not. We just learned to trust each other.

In fact, the fact that I want every American to have that experience without having to go to war to get there is one of the reasons why I believe national service is so important. I guess I'll follow in the pattern tonight and point out you can go to peteforamerica.com and read all about it.

It's also about building a sense of belonging in this country, because I think that's what friendship and that's what service can create. And I think we have a crisis of belonging in this country that is helping to explain so many of our problems, from our politics being what it is to the fact that people are self-medicating and we're seeing a rise in the deaths from despair.

I believe only the president can build a sense of belonging and purpose for the entire country. The purpose of the presidency is not the glorification of the president. It is the unification of the American people. And I'm asking for your vote to be that president, when the dust clears over the rubble of our norms and institutions at the end of the Trump presidency, pick up the pieces and guide us toward a better future.

(APPLAUSE)

COOPER: Mr. Mayor, thank you. Senator Sanders?

[23:00:00]

SANDERS: When I was chairman of the Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs, I tried to get through the most comprehensive piece of veterans legislation in modern American history. And I failed. I only had two Republicans to vote with me in the Senate. So we had to go back to the drawing board.

And I worked with John McCain. I certainly did not get in that legislation working with McCain all that I wanted. But it turned out that we were able to pass a very, very significant piece of legislation, including $5 billion more for the Veterans Administration.

More recently, I worked with a very conservative Republican from Utah, Mike Lee. And Mike understood, although he and I disagree on everything, that the U.S. involvement in the Saudi-led war in Yemen was a catastrophic disaster for the people of Yemen. And for the first time in 45 years, we were able to get the War Powers Act utilized and get U.S. -- get the votes to get the U.S. troops out of that area.

But I think, at the end of day, what I appreciate is that we have got to end the hatred that Trump is fostering on our people, the divisiveness, trying to divide us up by the color of our skin or where we were born or our sexual orientation or our religion.

And there is no job that I would undertake with more passion than bringing our people together around an agenda that works for every man, woman, and child in this country rather than the corporate elite and the 1 percent. A progressive agenda that stands for all is the way that we transform this country.

(APPLAUSE)

COOPER: Senator Sanders, thank you. Senator Warren?

WARREN: You ask about a surprising friend. For me, it would be Charles Fried. Twenty-seven years ago, when I was under consideration for a job, he was someone who had been George Bush, the first, solicitor general, a deeply principled Republican.

And we didn't agree on much. I was far more liberal than he was. But he also was willing to listen to my work about what's happening to America's middle class. And Charles engaged with it over and over and ultimately is the person who made sure I got the job.

You know, I grew up out in Oklahoma. I have three elder brothers. They all served in the military. Two of the three are still Republicans. I love all three of my brothers. And there are a lot of things that we're divided on, but there are core things that we believe in together.

We want to see all of our children get a good start in life. We don't want to see any of our friends or neighbors not get covered by health care. We're willing to get out there for the things we believe in.

Look, people across this country, whether they're Democrats, independents, or Republicans, they know what's broken. They know that we have an America that's working better and better and better for a thinner and thinner and thinner slice at the top and leaving everyone else behind.

People across this country, regardless of party, are ready to say no more, we want an America that works for everyone. 2020 is our moment in history. It is a deep honor to be here, to be in this fight.

COOPER: Thank you.

WARREN: I know what's broken. I know how to fix it. And we are building a grassroots movement to get it done that includes everyone.

(APPLAUSE)

COOPER: Thank you, Senator Warren. Vice President Biden?

BIDEN: This is reassuring in the fact that we're all acknowledging that we have to reach across the aisle, get things done. No other way to get anything done in this country.

The two people maybe would surprise you the most were -- he's been mentioned twice, but John McCain. John McCain worked for me when he worked in the Navy, and he was -- he was my assigned to me to travel around the world. We became close friends. He became very close friends with my wife, Jill. Visited our home. He was there with his children.

And on his death bed, he asked me to do his eulogy. John, I would say to John, "John, you didn't see a war you never wanted to fight." And he'd say, "You didn't see a problem you never wanted to solve." But he was a great man of principle. He was honorable. He was honorable.

And one of the things -- that's the reason why I'm running. We have to restore the soul of this country. That's why I'm doing this. In fact, this president has ripped the soul out of this country, divided us in ways that are absolutely outrageous. A liar, he cheats, he does not do anything to promote people generally.

Secondly, we have to rebuild the middle class. The only way we're going to do that is to be able to reach across the aisle. My dad used to say a job is about a lot more than a paycheck, Joey. It's about your dignity. We have to restore people's dignity.

And lastly, we have to unite the country, because, folks, it's time we stopped walking around with our heads down. We are better positioned than any country in the world to own the 21st century. So for god's sake, get up. Get up and remember, there is the United States of America. There's nothing, nothing we're unable to do when we decide we're going to do it. Nothing at all. Period.

(APPLAUSE)

COOPER: Candidates, thank you. That concludes the fourth Democratic presidential debate. We want to thank Otterbein University for hosting us. Now please stay tuned to CNN for special coverage of tonight's debate with Jake Tapper and Chris Cuomo.


ABC Democratic Party Presidential Debate

September 12, 2019

[BEGIN]

STEPHANOPOULOS: The stage is set. The field has been narrowed. For one night only, the top 10 candidates are here. Our Democratic primary debate starts right now.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ANNOUNCER: This is an ABC News special.

BIDEN: I will be a president for every American.

WARREN: This is our moment.

SANDERS: We are in a struggle for the future of this country.

HARRIS: We fight for our country. That's the nature of who we are.

SANDERS: Right now we can act.

YANG: We're in the midst of the greatest economic transformation.

BOOKER: We have overcome worse times and darker moments than this.

O'ROURKE: We will make the most of this moment that we have here together.

KLOBUCHAR: We are on a march together.

CASTRO: We're going to win by being bold. We're going to win by being fearless.

ANNOUNCER: Live from Texas Southern University in Houston, Texas, here now, chief anchor George Stephanopoulos.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Good evening, and welcome to Houston. We are live from Texas Southern University for tonight's Democratic debate. The top 10 candidates are here. It's going to start right now.

And on the stage, you see them. They have all met the criteria set by the Democratic National Committee. At least 10 others have not met the threshold. So, for the first time in this primary, a single debate in a single night with all the top candidates facing off.

It is a critical test for the candidates and their campaigns at a critical time for our country. They're going to lay out their vision for the country, their records, their differences with President Trump and each other. And we're going to do our best to bring you a lively, informative, and civil debate.

I'm joined here tonight by my ABC colleague, "World News Tonight" anchor David Muir, our national correspondent, Linsey Davis, and Jorge Ramos from our partner network, Univision.

Jorge?

RAMOS: George, thank you very much. We appreciate the opportunity to welcome Latinos across the country and to ask about Latinx issues during these challenging times.

(SPEAKING SPANISH)

Let me just give you a little translation here. I'm telling Latinos that, despite the fact that we are facing difficult times, this is our country, too. Linsey?

(APPLAUSE)

DAVIS: We are delighted to be on the beautiful campus of Texas Southern University, one of the largest historically black colleges and universities in the country. And here in the Health and Physical Education Building tonight, we are joined by a live audience of 3,500 people, most invited by the Democratic National Committee, and, of course, some of the brightest minds of the student body here at TSU. Go Tigers.

(APPLAUSE)

MUIR: We can feel the energy in the room, can't we, Linsey? The rules of this debate are very basic tonight and have been agreed to by all the campaigns in advance. Candidates will have one minute, 15 seconds to answer a direct question and 45 seconds for a rebuttal or response as directed by one of the moderators. Candidates will each see green and yellow lights -- there you see them right there -- indicating how much time they have remaining. And when time is up, the light will turn red. Candidates who interrupt will be subject to having their time reduced later on.

But this is democracy, the great American experiment, and the candidates are here tonight to make their case.

STEPHANOPOULOS: The podium placement was based on their current standings in nationally recognized polls with the leading candidates in the center. All candidates have been told they can have one minute to make an opening statement. And we're going to begin in reverse polling order with Secretary Julian Castro.

(APPLAUSE)

CASTRO: Good evening, y bienvenidos a Texas. Welcome to Texas.

(APPLAUSE)

It's great to be here at TSU, home of the Tigers. You know, on January 20, 2021, at 12:01 p.m., we're going to have a Democratic president, a Democratic House, and a Democratic Senate.

(APPLAUSE)

There will be life after Donald Trump. But the truth is that our problems didn't start just with Donald Trump, and we won't solve them by embracing old ideas. We need a bold vision: universal pre-K and universal health care, unleashing millions of new jobs in the clean energy economy, a tax system that rewards people who have to work for a living.

But first, we have to win. And that means exciting a young, diverse coalition of Americans who are ready for a bold future. That's what Kennedy did, it's what Carter did, it's what Clinton did, it's what Barack Obama did, and it's what I can do in this race. Get back Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania, Florida, Georgia, and Arizona, and finally turn Texas blue and say goodbye to Donald Trump.

(APPLAUSE)

STEPHANOPOULOS: Senator Klobuchar?

KLOBUCHAR: Good evening, Texas Southern. I believe that what unites us up here, the 10 of us, is much stronger than what divides us. And I think that's true of our country, too.

Now, I may not be the loudest person up here, but I think we've already got that in the White House.

(APPLAUSE)

Houston, we have a problem. This -- we have a guy there that is literally running our country like a game show. He would rather lie than lead. I think we need something different.

I am someone that tells the truth. I don't make promises that I can't keep. I have people's back. And I believe that to win, you bring people with you and that is how you govern, as well.

So, you're going to hear a lot of ideas up here. Some will be great. But if you see that some of them seem a little off-track, I've got a better way. If you feel stuck in the middle of the extremes in our politics and you are tired of the noise and the nonsense, you've got a home with me, because I don't want to be the president for half of America. I want to be the president for all of America.

(APPLAUSE)

STEPHANOPOULOS: Congressman Beto O'Rourke?

O'ROURKE: It's an honor to be on this debate stage. It is wonderful to be back in Texas, in Houston, back here at TSU.

On August 3rd, in El Paso, Texas, two things became crystal clear for me, and I think produced a turning point for this country. The first is just how dangerous Donald Trump is, the cost and the consequence of his presidency.

A racism and violence that had long been a part of America was welcomed out into the open and directed to my hometown of El Paso, Texas, where 22 people were killed, dozens more grievously injured by a man carrying a weapon he should never have been able to buy in the first place, inspired to kill by our president.

The second is how insufficient our politics is to meet the threat that we have right now. The bitterness, the pettiness, the smallness of the moment, the incentives to attack one another and try to make differences without distinctions, mountains out of mole hills, we have to be bigger. We have to see clearly, we have to speak honestly, and we have to act decisively. That's what I want to do for you as president of the United States. Thank you.

(APPLAUSE)

STEPHANOPOULOS: Senator Cory Booker?

BOOKER: It was over 20 years ago that I was a law student and moved to inner city Newark, New Jersey, to serve as a tenants rights lawyer to try to address the challenges in my community. And I was sobered by them -- the gun violence, the sub-standard housing.

But it was my greatest mentor, a woman named Ms. Virginia Jones, who challenged me. She said, boy, if all you see in this neighborhood is problems, that's all there's ever going to be. But if you're stubborn and defiant and can put forth a vision that can unify people, then we can make transformative change. She was a church woman that said, without vision, the people will perish.

Well, that's exactly what we did. We created extraordinary unity in our community, and we did things that other people think -- thought was impossible.

That's the story of America. At our best, we unify, we find common cause and common purpose. The differences amongst us Democrats on the stage are not as great as the urgency for us to unite as a party, not just to beat Donald Trump, but to unite America in common cause and common purpose. That's why I'm running for president, and that's how I will lead this nation.

(APPLAUSE)

STEPHANOPOULOS: Entrepreneur Andrew Yang?

YANG: In America today, everything revolves around the almighty dollar -- our schools, our hospitals, our media, even our government. It's why we don't trust our institutions anymore. We have to get our country working for us again, instead of the other way around. We have to see ourselves as the owners and shareholders of this democracy rather than inputs into a giant machine.

(APPLAUSE)

When you donate money to a presidential campaign, what happens? The politician spends the money on TV ads and consultants and you hope it works out. It's time to trust ourselves more than our politicians.

That's why I'm going to do something unprecedented tonight. My campaign will now give a freedom dividend of $1,000 a month for an entire year to 10 American families, someone watching this at home right now. If you believe that you can solve your own problems better than any politician, go to yang2020.com and tell us how $1,000 a month will help you do just that. This is how we will get our country working for us again, the American people.

(APPLAUSE)

STEPHANOPOULOS: Mayor Pete Buttigieg?

BUTTIGIEG: It's original, I'll give you that.

The American people are divided and doubtful at the very moment we need to rise to some of the greatest challenges we've ever seen. As a mayor of an industrial city coming back from the brink, as a veteran of the war in Afghanistan, I know what's at stake in our national leadership.

We keep sending politicians to Washington asking them to fight for us, but then when they get there, they seem more interested in the part about fighting than the part about us. Good politics is supposed to be not about the day-to-day fights of the politicians, but about the day-to-day lives of Americans.

We just marked the anniversary of 9/11. All day today, I've been thinking about September 12th, the way it felt when for a moment we came together as a country. Imagine if we had been able to sustain that unity. Imagine what would be possible right now with ideas that are bold enough to meet the challenges of our time, but big enough, as well, that they could unify the American people. That's what presidential leadership can do. That's what the presidency is for. And that is why I'm asking for your vote.

(APPLAUSE)

STEPHANOPOULOS: Senator Kamala Harris?

HARRIS: Thank you. It's great to be back at TSU.

So I plan on spending tonight talking with you about my plans to address the problems that keep you up at night. But first, I have a few words for Donald Trump, who we all know is watching.

(LAUGHTER)

So, President Trump, you've spent the last two-and-a-half years full-time trying to sow hate and division among us, and that is why we've gotten nothing done. You have used hate, intimidation, fear, and over 12,000 lies as a way to distract from your failed policies and your broken promises. The only reason you've not been indicted is because there was a memo in the Department of Justice that says a sitting president cannot be charged with a crime.

But here's what you don't get: What you don't get you is that the American people are so much better than this. And we know that the vast majority of us have so much more in common than what separates us, regardless of our race, where we live, or the party with which we're registered to vote. And I plan on focusing on our common issues, our common hopes and desires, and in that way, unifying our country, winning this election, and turning the page for America.

And now, President Trump, you can go back to watching Fox News.

(APPLAUSE)

STEPHANOPOULOS: Senator Bernie Sanders? Senator Sanders?

SANDERS: Let me be blunt and tell you what you don't hear much about in Congress or in the media, and that is, it goes without saying that we must and will defeat Trump, the most dangerous president in the history of this country.

(APPLAUSE)

But we must do more. We must do more. We have got to recognize that this country is moving into an oligarchic form of society where a handful of billionaires control the economic and political life of this country. And as president, I am prepared to take them on.

Yes, we will raise the minimum wage to a living wage. Yes, we will finally make sure that every American has health care as a human right, not a privilege. And, yes, we will address the catastrophic crisis of climate change and transform our energy system away from fossil fuel.

(APPLAUSE)

STEPHANOPOULOS: Senator Elizabeth Warren?

WARREN: So, I was born and raised in Oklahoma, but I'm sure glad to be in Texas tonight.

(APPLAUSE)

All three of my brothers served in military bases here in Texas. That was their ticket to the middle class. Me, I got my big opportunity about a half-mile down the road from here at the University of Houston, back when it cost $50 a semester.

(APPLAUSE)

For a price that I could pay for, on a part-time waitressing job, I got to finish my four-year degree and I became a special needs teacher. And after law school, my first big job was back here in Houston.

By then, I had two little kids, and when childcare nearly brought me down, my Aunt Bee moved in and saved us all.

The paths to America's middle class have gotten a lot smaller and a lot narrower. Today, service-members are preyed upon by predatory lenders. Students are crushed by debt. And families cannot afford childcare.

(APPLAUSE)

I know what's broken. I know how to fix it. And I'm going to lead the fight to get it done.

(APPLAUSE)

STEPHANOPOULOS: Vice President Joe Biden.

BIDEN: You know, when President Kennedy announced the moon shot, he used a phrase that sticks with me my whole life. He said, we're doing it because we refuse to postpone. Well, I refuse to postpone one more minute spending billions of dollars on curing cancer, Alzheimer's, and other diseases which, if we invest in them, we can find cures.

I refuse to postpone giving single child in America, no matter their zip code, pre-K all the way through high school and beyond. I refuse to postpone any longer taking on climate change and leading the world in taking on climate change.

Look, this is the United States of America. There has never been a single solitary time when we've set our mind to something we've been unable to do it. We're walking around with our heads down like woe is me. We're the best-equipped nation in the world to take this on. It's no longer time to postpone. We should get moving. There's enormous, enormous opportunities once we get rid of Donald Trump.

(APPLAUSE)

STEPHANOPOULOS: Candidates, thank you. Several of you said you are more united than divided, and that is certainly true. All of you agree on one big thing, the goal of defeating President Trump, driving the country in a new direction. But out on the campaign trail, you have outlined big differences over how far to go and how fast to go.

And, Vice President Biden, the differences between you and the senators on either side of you tonight strike at the heart of this primary debate. Both senators Warren and Sanders want to replace Obamacare with Medicare for All. You want to build on Obamacare, not scrap it. They propose spending far more than you to combat climate change and tackle student loan debt. And they would raise more in taxes than you to pay for their programs.

Are senators Warren and Sanders pushing too far beyond where Democrats want to go and where the country needs to go?

BIDEN: That will be for the voters to decide that question. Let me tell you what I think. I think we should have a debate on health care. I think -- I know that the senator says she's for Bernie, well, I'm for Barack. I think the Obamacare worked. I think the way we add to it, replace everything that has been cut, add a public option, guarantee that everyone will be able to have affordable insurance, number one.

Number two, I think we should be in a position of taking a look at what costs are. My plan for health care costs a lot of money. It costs $740 billion. It doesn't cost $30 trillion, $3.4 trillion a year, it turns out, is twice what the entire federal budget is. That's before -- exists now, without interest on the debt. How are we going to pay for it? I want to hear that tonight how that's happened.

Thus far, my distinguished friend, the senator on my left, has not indicated how she pays for it. And the senator has, in fact, come forward and said how he's going to pay for it, but it gets him about halfway there. There's a lot of other things that need to be done.

I have a bold plan to deal with making sure we triple the money for at-risk schools that are Title I schools, from 15 to $45 billion a year. But I go down the line and these are things we're talking about, I lay out how I can pay for it, how I can get it done, and why it's better.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Senator Warren, let me take that to you, particularly on what Senator Biden was saying there about health care. He has actually praised Bernie Sanders for being candid about his health care plan, that Senator -- says that Sanders has been candid about the fact that middle class taxes are going to go up and most of private insurance is going to be eliminated. Will you make that same admission?

WARREN: So, let's be clear about health care. And let's actually start where vice president did. We all owe a huge debt to President Obama, who fundamentally transformed health care in America and committed this country to health care for every human being.

(APPLAUSE)

And now the question is, how best can we improve on it? And I believe the best way we can do that is we make sure that everybody gets covered by health care at the lowest possible cost. How do we pay for it? We pay for it, those at the very top, the richest individuals and the biggest corporations, are going to pay more. And middle class families are going to pay less. That's how this is going to work.

(APPLAUSE)

STEPHANOPOULOS: Direct question. You said middle class families are going to pay less. But will middle class taxes go up to pail for pay for the program? I know you believe that the deductibles and the premiums will go down. Will middle class taxes go up? Will private insurance be eliminated?

WARREN: Look, what families have to deal with is cost, total cost. That's what they have to deal with. And understand, families are paying for their health care today. Families pay every time an insurance company says, sorry, you can't see that specialist. Every time an insurance company says, sorry, that doctor is out of network, sorry, we are not covering that prescription.

Families are paying every time they don't get a prescription filled because they can't pay for it. They don't have a lump checked out because they can't afford the co-pay. What we're talking about here is what's going to happen in families' pockets, what's going to happen in their budgets.

And the answer is on Medicare for All, costs are going to go up for wealthier individuals and costs are going to go up for giant corporations. But for hard-working families across this country, costs are going to go down and that's how it should work under Medicare for All in our health care system.

(APPLAUSE)

STEPHANOPOULOS: Senator Sanders, you were invoked by the vice president, also take on that question about taxes.

SANDERS: Well, Joe said that Medicare for All would cost over $30 trillion.

That's right, Joe.

Status quo over 10 years will be $50 trillion. Every study done shows that Medicare for All is the most cost-effective approach to providing health care to every man, woman, and child in this country. I, who wrote the damn bill, if I may say so...

(APPLAUSE)

... intend to eliminate all out-of-pocket expenses, all deductibles, all co-payments. Nobody in America will pay more than $200 a year for prescription drugs, because we're going to stand up to the greed and corruption and price-fixing of the pharmaceutical industry.

(APPLAUSE)

We need -- we need a health care system that guarantees health care to all people as every other major country does, not a system which provides $100 billion a year in profit for the drug companies and the insurance companies.

And I'll tell you how absurd the system is tonight on ABC, the health care industry will be advertising, telling you how bad Medicare for All is, because they want to protect their profits. That is absurd.

(APPLAUSE)

STEPHANOPOULOS: Vice president Biden...

KLOBUCHAR: If I could respond, George.

STEPHANOPOULOS: You get a response and then we're going to broaden out the discussion.

BIDEN: OK, number one, my health care plan does significantly cut the costs of -- the largest out-of-pocket payment you'll pay is $1,000. You'll be able to get into a -- anyone who can't afford it gets automatically enrolled in the Medicare-type option we have, et cetera.

But guess what? Of the 160 million people who like their health care now, they can keep it. If they don't like it, they can leave. Number one.

Number two, the fact of the matter is, we're in a situation where, if you notice, he hasn't answered the question. This is about candor, honesty, big ideas. Let's have a big idea. The tax of 2 percent that the senator is talking about, that raises about $3 billion. Guess what? That leaves you $28 billion short.

The senator said before, it's going to cost you in your pay -- there will be a deductible, in your paycheck. You're going to -- the middle class person, someone making 60 grand with three kids, they're going to end up paying $5,000 more. They're going to end up paying 4 percent more on their income tax. That's a reality. Now, it's not a bad idea if you like it. I don't like it.

STEPHANOPOULOS: OK, now I want everybody to keep to the time, but you did invoke both senators. I have to get responses from them...

BIDEN: Sure, no, that's good.

STEPHANOPOULOS: ... and then we will broaden it out.

Senator Warren, you go first.

WARREN: So, let's be clear, I've actually never met anybody who likes their health insurance company.

(APPLAUSE)

I've met people who like their doctors. I've met people who like their nurses. I've met people who like their pharmacists. I've met people who like their physical therapists. What they want is access to health care. And we just need to be clear about what Medicare for All is all about.

Instead of paying premiums into insurance companies and then having insurance companies build their profits by saying no to coverage, we're going to do this by saying, everyone is covered by Medicare for All, every health care provider is covered. And the only question here in terms of difference is where to send the bill?

STEPHANOPOULOS: Senator Sanders.

SANDERS: Let us be clear, Joe, in the United States of America, we are spending twice as much per capita on health care as the Canadians or any other major country on earth.

BIDEN: This is America.

SANDERS: Yes, but Americans don't want to pay twice as much as other countries. And they guarantee health care to all people. Under my Medicare for All proposal, when you don't pay out-of-pocket and you don't pay premiums, maybe you've run into people who love their premiums, I haven't.

What people want is cost-effective health care, Medicare for All will save the average American substantial sums of money on his or her health care bill.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Senator Klobuchar, you said in your opening statement you don't -- you want to represent the people stuck in the middle of the extremes. Who represents the extreme on this stage?

KLOBUCHAR: I think you know that I don't agree with some of these proposals up here, George, so I'm talking about...

STEPHANOPOULOS: Which ones?

KLOBUCHAR: If I could -- if I could respond to some of the proposals from my friends. First of all, Senator Sanders and I have worked valiantly to bring down the cost of pharmaceuticals. That was a Klobuchar-Sanders Amendment to allow for drugs to come in from less expensive countries like Canada.

We have worked to bring down the cost by fighting to allow 43 million seniors, that's a bill I lead, to negotiate for better prices under Medicare. I figure that's a lot of seniors and they should be allowed to get a better price.

But when it comes to our health care and when it comes to our premiums, I go with the doctor's creed, which is, do no harm. And while Bernie wrote the bill, I read the bill. And on page eight -- on page eight of the bill, it says that we will no longer have private insurance as we know it. And that means that 149 million Americans will no longer be able to have their current insurance.

That's in four years. I don't think that's a bold idea, I think it's a bad idea. And what I favor is something that what Barack Obama wanted to do from the very beginning. And that is a public option. A non-profit choice that would bring down the cost of insurance, cover 12 million more people, and bring down the prices for 13 million more people. That is a bold idea.

(APPLAUSE)

STEPHANOPOULOS: Senator Warren, page eight of the bill, she says, 149 people will lose their health insurance.

WARREN: I'm sorry.

STEPHANOPOULOS: She said, page eight of the bill, 149 million people will lose their health insurance.

KLOBUCHAR: Current health insurance.

BIDEN: One hundred forty-nine million.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Million, excuse me.

WARREN: So let's be clear about this. People will have access to all of their doctors, all of their nurses, their community hospitals, their rural hospitals. Doctors won't have to hire people to fill out crazy forms. They won't have to spend time on the phone arguing with insurance companies. People who have sick family members won't have to get into these battles.

What this is about is making sure that we have the most efficient way possible to pay for health care for everyone in this country. Insurance companies last year sucked $23 billion in profits out of the system. How did they make that money? Every one of those $23 billion was made by an insurance company saying no to your health care coverage.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Mayor Buttigieg?

BUTTIGIEG: The problem, Senator Sanders, with that damn bill that you wrote, and that Senator Warren backs, is that it doesn't trust the American people. I trust you to choose what makes the most sense for you. Not my way or the highway.

Now look, I think we do have to go far beyond tinkering with the ACA. I propose Medicare for all who want it. We take a version of Medicare, we make it available for the American people, and if we're right, as progressives, that that public alternative is better, then the American people will figure that out for themselves. I trust the American people to make the right choice for them. Why don't you?

STEPHANOPOULOS: Senator Sanders, 45 seconds.

SANDERS: George, you talked about, was it 150 million people on private insurance? Fifty million of those people lose their private insurance every year when they quit their jobs or they go unemployed or their employer changes their insurance policy. Medicare for All is comprehensive health care. Covers all basic needs, including home health care.

It allows you to go to any doctor you want, which many private insurance company programs do not. So, if you want comprehensive health care, freedom of choice regarding doctor or hospital, no more than $200 a year for prescription drugs, taking on the drug companies and the insurance companies, moving to Medicare for All is the way to go.

(APPLAUSE)

STEPHANOPOULOS: Senator Harris, you startled out co-sponsoring Senator Sanders's bill, you now say you're uncomfortable with it. Why?

HARRIS: I want to give credit first to Barack Obama for really bringing us this far. We would not be here if he hadn't the courage, the talent, or the will to see us this far.

I want to give credit to Bernie. Take credit, Bernie. You know, you brought us this far on Medicare for All. I support Medicare for All, I always have, but I wanted to make the plan better, which I did.

Which is about offering people choice, not taking that from them.

So, under my Medicare for all plan, people have the choice of a private plan or a public plan, because that's what people want. And I agree, we shouldn't take choice from people.

But here's the thing. Everybody on this stage, I do believe, is well intentioned and wants that all Americans have coverage and recognizes that right now 30 million Americans don't have coverage. But at least five people have talked, some repeatedly on this subject, and not once have we talked about Donald Trump.

So let's talk about the fact that Donald Trump came into office and spent almost the entire first year of his term trying to get rid of the Affordable Care Act. We all fought against it. And then the late, great John McCain, at that moment at about 2 o'clock in the morning, killed his attempt to take health care from millions of people in this country.

(APPLAUSE)

Fast forward to today, and what is happening? Donald Trump's Department of Justice is trying to get rid of the Affordable Care Act. Donald Trump's administration is trying to get rid of the ban that we placed on denying people who have pre-existing conditions coverage. Donald Trump is trying to say that our kids up to the age of 26 can no longer be on our plans.

And frankly, I think this discussion has given the American public a headache. What they want to know is that they're going to have health care and cost will not be a barrier to getting it. But let's focus on the end goal. If we don't get Donald Trump out of office, he's going to get rid of all of it.

BIDEN: George, 15 seconds? Fifteen seconds?

(APPLAUSE)

STEPHANOPOULOS: Let me get to Congressman O'Rourke and then bring you -- go ahead, Mr. Vice President.

BIDEN: Fifteen seconds. Look, everybody says we want an option. The option I'm proposing is Medicare for all -- Medicare for choice. If you want Medicare, if you lose the job from your insurance -- from your employer, you automatically can buy into this. You don't have -- no pre-existing condition can stop you from buying in. You get covered, period.

And if you notice, nobody's yet said how much it's going to cost the taxpayer. I hear this large savings, the president thinks -- my friend from Vermont thinks that the employer's going to give you back if you negotiated as a union all these years, got a cut in wages because you got insurance. They're going to give back that money to the employee?

SANDERS: As a matter of fact, they will in our bill.

BIDEN: Well, let me tell you something. For a socialist, you've got -- for a socialist, you've got a lot more confidence in corporate America than I do.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Senator Sanders?

SANDERS: OK, one minute, George?

STEPHANOPOULOS: Go ahead.

SANDERS: All right. Two points. You got to defend the fact that today not only do we have 87 million people uninsured and underinsured, you got to defend the fact that 500,000 Americans are going bankrupt. You know why they're going bankrupt? Because they suffered a terrible disease -- cancer or heart disease.

Under my legislation, people will not go into financial ruin because they suffered with a diagnosis of cancer. And our program is the only one that does that.

BIDEN: I know a lot about cancer, let me tell you something. It's personal to me. Let me tell you something. Every single person who is diagnosed with cancer or any other disease can automatically become part of this plan. They will not go bankrupt because of that. They will not go bankrupt because of that. They can join immediately.

And we're talking four, six, eight, ten years, depending on who you talk about, before we get to Medicare for all. Come on. I've been there. You've been there. You know what it's like. People need help now, hope now, and do something now.

(APPLAUSE)

STEPHANOPOULOS: Congressman O'Rourke?

O'ROURKE: Yeah. Thank you. Listen, I'm grateful that we all agree about the urgency of this challenge and the fact that Donald Trump is undermining the limited protections that we have right now.

But I also think we're being offered a false choice between those who propose an all-or-nothing gambit, forcing tens of millions off of insurance that they like, that works for them, to force them onto Medicare, and others who want to, as the vice president does, incrementally improve what we have, which will still leave many, maybe millions uninsured and uncared for.

In a state like Texas, where the largest provider of mental health care services is the county jail system, we've got to do better. In my proposal, Medicare for America, says everyone who's uninsured will be enrolled in Medicare. Everyone who's insufficiently insured, cannot afford it, can move over to Medicare. And those, like members of unions who've fought for the health care plans that work for them and their families, are able to keep them. This is the best possible path forward.

BIDEN: You just described my plan (ph).

STEPHANOPOULOS: This is -- health care is the top issue for everyone in the country. I want to make sure everyone gets one minute to respond. So, Secretary Castr, Andrew Yang, and then Senator Booker, you will get a minute.

CASTRO: Thank you. And, you know, I also want to recognize the work that Bernie has done on this. And, of course, we owe a debt of gratitude to President Barack Obama. Of course, I also worked for President Obama, Vice President Biden, and I know that the problem with your plan is that it leaves 10 million people uncovered.

Now, on the last debate stage in Detroit, you said that wasn't true, when Senator Harris brought that up. There was a fact check of that, and they said that was true.

You know, I grew up with a grandmother who had type 2 diabetes, and I watched her condition get worse and worse. But that whole time, she had Medicare. I want every single American family to have a strong Medicare plan available.

If they choose to hold on to strong, solid private health insurance, I believe they should be able to do. But the difference between what I support and what you support, Vice President Biden, is that you require them to opt in and I would not require them to opt in. They would automatically be enrolled. They wouldn't have a buy in.

That's a big difference, because Barack Obama's vision was not to leave 10 million people uncovered. He wanted every single person in this country covered. My plan would do that. Your plan would not.

BIDEN: They do not have to buy in. They do not have to buy in.

CASTRO: You just said that. You just said that two minutes ago. You just two minutes ago that they would have to buy in.

BIDEN: Do not have to buy in if you can't afford it.

CASTRO: You said they would have to buy in.

BIDEN: Your grandmother would not have to buy in. If she qualifies for Medicaid, she would automatically be enrolled.

CASTRO: Are you forgetting what you said two minutes ago? Are you forgetting already what you said just two minutes ago? I mean, I can't believe that you said two minutes ago that they had to buy in and now you're saying they don't have to buy in. You're forgetting that.

BIDEN: I said anyone like your grandmother who has no money.

CASTRO: I mean, look, look, we need a health care system...

BIDEN: She -- you're automatically enrolled.

CASTRO: It automatically enrolls people regardless of whether they choose to opt in or not. If you lose your job, for instance, his health care plan would not automatically enroll you. You would have to opt in. My health care plan would. That's a big difference. I'm fulfilling the legacy of Barack Obama, and you're not.

BIDEN: That'll be a surprise to him.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Andrew Yang?

YANG: Come on, guys.

BUTTIGIEG: This is why presidential debates are becoming unwatchable.

KLOBUCHAR: Yeah.

BUTTIGIEG: This reminds everybody of what they cannot stand about Washington, scoring points against each other, poking at each other, and telling each other that -- my plan, your plan. Look, we all have different visions for what is better...

CASTRO: Yeah, that's called the Democratic primary election, Pete. That's called an election.

(APPLAUSE)

That's an election. You know? This is what we're here for. It's an election.

KLOBUCHAR: Yes, but a house -- a house divided cannot stand. And that is not how we're going to win this.

(APPLAUSE)

YANG: Look, everyone, we know we're on the same team here. We know we're on the same team. We all have a better vision for health care than our current president.

And I believe we're talking about this the wrong way. As someone who has run a business, I know that our current health care system makes it harder to hire people, makes it harder to give them benefits and treat them as full-time employees. You instead pretend their contractors. It's harder to change jobs. It's certainly harder to start a business.

The pitch we have to make to the American people is, we will get the health care weight off of your backs and then unleash the hopes and dreams of the American people.

(APPLAUSE)

STEPHANOPOULOS: Senator Booker...

YANG: Now, I am Asian, so I know a lot of doctors, and they tell me that they spend a lot of time on paperwork, avoiding being sued, and navigating the insurance bureaucracy. We have to change the incentives so instead of revenue and activity, people are focused on our health in the health care system.

And the Cleveland Clinic, where they're paid not based upon how many procedures they prescribe -- shocker -- they prescribe fewer procedures, and patient health stays the same or improves. That is the pitch to the American people.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Senator Booker, close out this discussion.

BOOKER: Thank you very much. Look, there are a lot of people watching at home right now, listening to us that are afraid because they are in crisis. They don't have health insurance. Their health insurance doesn't go far enough. They can't afford their prescription drugs.

Look, I'm clear in what I believe. I believe in Medicare for all. I believe it's the best way to rationalize the system. But dear God, I know every one of my colleagues on this stage is in favor of universal health coverage and comes at this with the best of intentions.

And I'll tell you, there is an urgency right now in this nation. Everybody feels it. And as a person who has an ideal, I know we cannot sacrifice progress on the altar of purity, because people in my community, they need help right now. They have high blood pressure right now. They have unaffordable insulin right now.

And this must be a moment where we as Democrats can begin to show that we cannot only stake and stand our ground, but find common ground, because we've got one shot to make Donald Trump a one-term president.

(APPLAUSE)

And we cannot lose it by the way we talk about each other or demonize and degrade each other. We can walk and chew gum at the same time. If I am the leader, I will work towards the ideal of health insurance, health coverage being a right for all Americans. But every single day, I'll join with other Democrats to make progress happen in our nation for the people that are struggling and suffering today.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Candidates, thank you. Linsey Davis?

DAVIS: Thanks, George. Since we're here at an HBCU, I'd like to start with young black voters. Several recent polls indicate their number-one concern is racism. This campus, this state, and this nation are still raw from that racially motivated attack on Latinos in El Paso.

Now, we know that the racial divide started long before President Trump and President Obama, but each of you on this stage has said that President Trump has made that divide worse. Congressman O'Rourke, coming to you first, why are you the most qualified candidate to address this divide?

O'ROURKE: You know, I called this out in no uncertain terms on August 3rd and every day since then. And I was talking about it long before then, as well.

Racism in America is endemic. It is foundational. We can mark the creation of this country not at the Fourth of July, 1776, but August 20, 1619, when the first kidnapped African...

(APPLAUSE)

... was brought to this country against his will and in bondage and as a slave built the greatness and the success and the wealth that neither he nor his descendants would ever be able to fully participate in and enjoy.

We have to be able to answer this challenge. And it is found in our education system, where in Texas, a 5-year-old child in kindergarten is five times as likely to be disciplined or suspended or expelled based on the color of their skin.

(APPLAUSE)

In our health care system, where there's a maternal mortality crisis three times as deadly for women of color, or the fact that there's 10 times the wealth in white America than there is in black America.

I'm going to follow Sheila Jackson Lee's lead and sign into law a reparations bill that will allow us to address this at its foundation.

(APPLAUSE)

But we will also call out the fact that we have a white supremacist in the White House and he poses a mortal threat to people of color all across this country.

(APPLAUSE)

DAVIS: Secretary Castro, 45 seconds to respond.

CASTRO: Look, you know, I want to commend Beto for how well he has spoken to the passion and the frustration and the sadness after what happened in his hometown of El Paso. He's done a great job with that.

Look, a few weeks ago, a shooter drove 10 miles inspired by this -- 10 hours inspired by this president to kill people who look like me and people who look like my family. White supremacy is a growing threat to this country, and we have to root it out.

I'm proud that I put forward a plan to disarm hate. I'm also proud that I was the first to put forward a police reform plan, because we're not going to have any more Laquan McDonalds or Eric Garners or Michael Browns or Pamela Turners or Walter Scotts or Sandra Bland, here from the Houston area. We need to root out racism, and I believe that we can do that, because that doesn't represent the vast majority of Americans who do have a good heart. They also need a leader to match that, and I will be a president that matches that.

DAVIS: Senator Booker, you have said, quote, "The real question isn't who is or isn't a racist. It's who is going to do something about it." Senator, what do you plan to do about it?

BOOKER: Well, first and foremost, I want to hit that point, because we know Donald Trump's a racist, but there is no red badge of courage for calling him that. Racism exists. The question isn't who isn't a racist. It's who is and isn't doing something about racism.

And this is not just an issue that started yesterday. It's not just an issue that we hear a president that can't condemn white supremacy. We have systemic racism that is eroding our nation from health care to the criminal justice system. And it's nice to go all the way back to slavery, but dear God, we have a criminal justice system that is so racially biased, we have more African-Americans under criminal supervision today than all the slaves in 1850.

We have to come at this issue attacking systemic racism, having the courage to call it out, and having a plan to do something about it. If I am president of the United States, we will create an office in the White House to deal with the problem of white supremacy and hate crimes.

(APPLAUSE)

And we will make sure that systemic racism is dealt with in substantive plans, from criminal justice reform to the disparities in health care to even one that we don't talk about enough, which is the racism that we see in environmental injustice in communities of color all around this country.

(APPLAUSE)

DAVIS: Mayor Buttigieg, you've been struggling with issues around race in your own community. You've also said that anyone who votes to re-elect President Trump is, at best, looking the other way on racism. Does that sort of talk alienate voters and potentially deepen divisions in our country?

BUTTIGIEG: I believe what's deepened divisions in the country is the conduct of this president, and we have a chance to change all of that.

Look, systemic racism preceded this president, and even when we defeat him, it will be with us. That's why we need a systemic approach to dismantle it. It's -- it's not enough to just take a racist policy, replace it with a neutral one and expect things will just get better on their own. Harms compound. In the same way that a dollar saved compounds, so does a dollar stolen.

And we know that the generational theft of the descendants of slaves is part of why everything from housing to education to health to employment basically puts us in two different countries.

I have proposed the most comprehensive vision to tackle systemic racism in every one of these areas, marshaling as many resources as went into the Marshall plan that rebuilt Europe, but this time, a Douglass plan that we invest right here at home, to make sure that we're not only dealing with things like the overincarceration of black Americans, but also black solutions, entrepreneurship, raising to 25 percent...

(APPLAUSE)

... the target for the federal government to do business with minority-owned businesses, investing in HBCUs that are training and educating the next generation of entrepreneurs.

(APPLAUSE)

We can and must do that. But that means transcending this framework that pits us against each other, that pits a single black mother of three against a displaced auto worker. Because when I -- where I come from, a lot of times that displaced auto worker is a single black mother of three. We've got to say that...

(APPLAUSE)

... and bring people together.

DAVIS: Also a concern for people of color is criminal justice reform.

Senator Harris, you released your plan for that just this week. And it does contradict some of your prior positions. Among them, you used to oppose the legalization of marijuana; now you don't. You used to oppose outside investigations of police shootings; now you don't. You've said that you changed on these and other things because you were, quote, "swimming against the current, and thankfully the currents have changed."

But when you had the power, why didn't you try to effect change then?

(APPLAUSE) (ph)

HARRIS: So, there have been -- there have been -- I'm glad you asked me this question, and there have been many distortions of my record.

Let me be very clear. I made a decision to become a prosecutor for two reasons. One, I've always wanted to protect people and keep them safe. And second, I was born knowing about how this criminal justice system in America has worked in a way that has been informed by racial bias. And I could tell you extensively about the experiences I and my family members have personally had. But I made a decision that, if I was going to have the ability to reform the system, I would try to do it from the inside.

And so I took on the position that allowed me, without asking permission, to create one of the first in the nation initiatives that was a model and became a national model around people who were arrested for drugs and getting them jobs.

I created one of the first in the nation requirements that a state law enforcement agency would have to wear cameras and keep them on full-time.

I created one of the first in the nation trainings for a police officer on the issue of racial bias and the need to reform the system.

Was I able to get enough done? Absolutely not. But my plan has been described by activists as being a bold and comprehensive plan that is about ending mass incarceration, about taking the profit out of the criminal justice system. I plan on shutting down for-profit prisons on day one.

(APPLAUSE)

It will be about what we need to do to hold law enforcement, including prosecutors, accountable.

And finally, my plan is about making sure that, in America's criminal justice system, we de-incarcerate women and children, that we end solitary confinement and that we work on keeping families intact.

And as president of the United States, knowing the system from the inside, I will have the ability to be an effective leader and get this job complete.

DAVIS: Thank you, Senator Harris.

(APPLAUSE)

Senator Klobuchar, during your eight years as a prosecutor in Minnesota, there were dozens of incidents where black men were killed by police. Critics say that too often you sided with police in these cases.

The ACLU's legal director in Minnesota has said that you showed no interest in racial justice. Do you wish now that you had done more?

KLOBUCHAR: That's not my record.

(UNKNOWN): (inaudible)

KLOBUCHAR: We are here at a historically black college. And I think of an alum of that college, Barbara Jordan, and something that she once said. She said, "What the people want is simple; they want a country as good as its promise."

And that same can be said of the criminal justice system. So when I was there, the way we handled these police shootings, I actually took a stand to make sure outside investigators handled them. I took on our major police chief in Minneapolis.

But in the prosecutor's office, they were handled with a grand jury. That's how they were all handled across our state. I now believe it is better for accountability if the prosecutor handles them and makes those decisions herself.

That aside, I am proud of the work our staff did, 400 people in our office. The cases that came to us, the African-American community that came to us, they said there was no justice for their little kids.

There was a kid named Byron Phillips that was shot on his front porch. No one had bothered to figure out who did it. When I came into that office, we worked with the community groups; we put up billboards; we found the shooter and we put him in jail. We did the same for the killer of a little girl named Tyesha Edwards who was doing her homework at her kitchen table and was shot through the window.

What changes did we make? Go after white-collar crimes in a big way, diversity the office in a big way, work with the Innocence Project to make sure we do much better with eyewitness ID.

And as a senator and as your president, I will make sure that we don't just do the First Step Act when it comes to criminal sentencing, that we move to the Second Step Act, which means the 90 percent of people that are incarcerated in local and state jails, let's reduce those sentences for nonviolent offenders and let's get them jobs and let them vote when they get out of prison.

(APPLAUSE)

DAVIS: Thank you, Senator Klobuchar.

You all believe that the war on drugs has put too many Americans behind bars.

Vice President Biden, you have a plan to release many nonviolent drug offenders from prison. Senator Booker says that your plan is not ambitious enough. Your response?

BIDEN: Well, first of all, let me say that, when I came back from law school, I had a job with a great -- a big-time law firm. I left and became a public defender because my state was under siege when Dr. King was assassinated. We were occupied by the National Guard for 10 months.

I've been involved from the beginning. As a young congressman -- as a young councilman, I introduced legislation to try to keep them from putting a sewer plant in a poor neighborhood. I made sure that we dealt with redlining; banks should have to lend where they operate, et cetera.

The fact of the matter is that what's happened is that we're in a situation now where there are so many people who are in jail and shouldn't be in jail. The whole means by which this should change is the whole model has to change. We should be talking about rehabilitation.

Nobody should be in jail for a nonviolent crime. As -- when we were in the White House, we released 36,000 people from the federal prison system. Nobody should be in jail for a drug problem. They should be going directly to a rehabilitation. We build more rehabilitation centers, not prisons.

(APPLAUSE)

We -- I'm the guy that put in the drug courts to divert people from the criminal justice system. And so we have to change the whole way we look at this. When we put people in prison, we have to equip them that when they get out -- nobody who got in prison for marijuana, for example, immediately upon being released -- they shouldn't be in there; that should be a misdemeanor. They should be out and their record should be expunged. Every single right should be returned.

When you finish your term in prison, you should be able not only to vote but have access to Pell grants, have access to be able to get housing...

(APPLAUSE)

... have access to be able to move along the way. I've laid out a detailed plan along those lines. And the fact is, we've learned so much more more...

DAVIS: Thank you, Mr. Vice President.

BIDEN: Thank you.

DAVIS: Senator Booker, 45 seconds to respond.

BOOKER: Our criminal justice system is so savagely broken. There's no difference in America between blacks, whites and Latinos for using drugs or dealing drugs. But if you are African-American, you are almost four times more likely to be arrested and incarcerated, destroying your lives.

And so much of this comes down to privilege. We have a criminal justice system that Brian Stephenson (ph) says treats you better if you're rich and guilty than if you're poor and innocent.

And so I have challenged this whole field. We can specifically and demonstrably now show that there are 17,000 people unjustly incarcerated in America, and all of us should come forward and say, when we are president of the United States; when I am president of the United States, we will release them.

And let me be specific. I joined together and led in the United States Senate the only major bipartisan bill to pass under this president, for criminal justice reform, that has already led to thousands of people coming out of jail.

If 87 members of the United States Senate says that these sentences are way too long, and we changed it, but we didn't make it retroactive, we could literally point to the people that are in jail unjustly right now.

Everyone on this stage should say that we are going to give clemency to these 17,000 people. And I challenge you. Don't just say a big statement; back it up with details of the people in prison right now looking for one of the most sacrosanct ideals of this nation, which is liberty and freedom. We need to reform this system and we must do it now. Every day we wait is too long.

DAVIS: Thank you, Senator Booker.

(APPLAUSE)

David?

MUIR: Thank you, Linsey.

I want to turn to the deadly mass shootings here in this country. And of course we are all mindful tonight of where we stand. We are here in Texas tonight, where 29 people have lost their lives in just the last month alone, El Paso, which we've discussed; in Odessa. And I know there are survivors from El Paso right here in the hall tonight.

Vice President Biden, I do want to direct this to you, because we all remember Sandy Hook. Twenty-six people died in that school, 20 of them children. Those first graders would be in eighth grade today.

MUIR: At the time, there was a groundswell in this country to get something done. President Obama asked you to lead the push for gun control.

You have often pointed to your ability to reach across the aisle to get things done, but four months after Sandy Hook, a measure to require expanded background checks died on the Senate floor.

If you couldn't get it done after Sandy Hook, why should voters give you another chance?

BIDEN: Because I got it done before. I'm the only one up here that's ever beat the NRA --only one ever to beat the NRA nationally. I'm the guy that brought the Brady bill into -- into focus and became law.

And so that's number one. Number two, after Sandy Hook, a number of things happened. It went from a cause to a movement. Look what's happened now. Mothers -- the organization -- mothers against violence -- gun violence. We've seen what's happened again. Now we have all these young people marching on Washington, making sure that things are going to change.

There has been a sea change. Those proposals I put forward for the president had over 50 percent of gun -- of gun -- of members of the NRA supporting them, and overwhelmingly the rest of the people supporting them. Now the numbers are much higher, because they realize what I've been saying and we've all been saying is correct.

Over 90 percent of the American people think we have to get assault weapons off the street -- period. And we have to get buy-backs and get them out of their basements.

(APPLAUSE)

So the point is, things have changed. And things have changed a lot. And now what's happening is -- and, by the way, the way Beto handled -- excuse me for saying Beto. What the congressman...

O'ROURKE: That's all right. Beto's good.

(APPLAUSE)

BIDEN: The way he handled what happened in his hometown is meaningful, to look in the eyes of those people, to see those kids...

(APPLAUSE)

... to understand those parents, you understand the heartache.

(UNKNOWN): But this is the problem.

BIDEN: We are ready to do this.

(APPLAUSE)

MUIR: Mr. Vice President...

(UNKNOWN): This is the problem.

O'ROURKE: Thank you.

(APPLAUSE)

MUIR: ... you did bring up assault weapons here.

(APPLAUSE)

You did bring up assault weapons here, and many of you on this stage have talked about executive order.

Senator Harris, you have said that you would take executive action on guns within your first 100 days...

HARRIS: Correct.

MUIR: ... including banning imports of AR-15 assault weapons.

HARRIS: That's right.

MUIR: President Obama, after Sandy Hook, more than 23 executive actions, and yet here we all are today.

In recent days former Vice President Biden has said about executive orders, "Some really talented people are seeking the nomination. They said 'I'm going to issue an executive order.'" Biden saying, "There's no constitutional authority to issue that executive order when they say 'I'm going to eliminate assault weapons,'" saying, "you can't do it by executive order any more than Trump can do things when he says he can do it by executive order."

Does the vice president have a point there?

BIDEN: Some things you can. Many things you can't.

MUIR: Let's let the senator answer.

HARRIS: Well, I mean, I would just say, hey, Joe, instead of saying, no, we can't, let's say yes, we can.

(LAUGHTER)

(APPLAUSE)

BIDEN: Let's be constitutional. We've got a Constitution.

HARRIS: And yes, we can, because I'll tell you something. The way that I think about this is, I've seen more autopsy photographs than I care to tell you. I have attended more police officer funerals than I care to tell you. I have hugged more mothers of homicide victims than I care to tell you.

And the idea that we would wait for this Congress, which has just done nothing, to act, is just -- it is overlooking the fact that every day in America, our babies are going to school to have drills, elementary, middle and high school students, where they are learning about how they have to hide in a closet or crouch in a corner if there is a mass shooter roaming the hallways of their school.

I was talking about this at one of my town halls, and -- and this child who was eight years old, probably, came up to me -- it was like it was a secret between the two of us, and he tugged on my jacket and he said, "I had to have one of those drills."

It is traumatizing our children. El Paso -- and, Beto, God love you for standing so courageously in the midst of that tragedy. You know, people asked me...

(APPLAUSE)

... in El Paso -- they said, you know, because I have a long-standing record on this issue. They said, "Well, do you think Trump is responsible for what happened?"

And I said, "Well, look, I mean, obviously, he didn't pull the trigger, but he's certainly been tweeting out the ammunition."

(APPLAUSE)

MUIR: Senator Harris, thank you.

Vice President Biden, do you still stand by what you said on an executive order?

BIDEN: No, what I said was -- the question -- speak to constitutional scholars. If in fact we could say, "By the way, you can't own the following weapons, period; they cannot be sold anymore" -- check with constitutional scholars. Now, you can say...

MUIR: Mr. Vice President, thank you.

Congressman O'Rourke, I want to get to you on this.

(CROSSTALK)

HARRIS: John, could I tell you what you could do in 100 days?

MUIR: I'm going to -- I'm going to work down the row here. But I do want to come to Congressman O'Rourke, because I know this is personal to you. El Paso is your hometown. Some on this stage have suggested a voluntary buy-back for guns in this country.

You've gone further. You've said, quote, "Americans who own AR-15s and AK-47s will have to sell them to the government, all of them." You know that critics call this confiscation. Are you proposing taking away their guns? And how would this work?

O'ROURKE: I am, if it's a weapon that was designed to kill people on a battlefield...

(APPLAUSE)

If the high impact, high velocity round, when it hits your body, shreds everything inside of your body, because it was designed to do that, so that you would bleed to death on a battlefield and not be able to get up and kill one of our soldiers.

When we see that being used against children, and in Odessa, I met the mother of a 15-year-old girl who was shot by an AR-15, and that mother watched her bleed to death over the course of an hour because so many other people were shot by that AR-15 in Odessa and Midland, there weren't enough ambulances to get to them in time, hell, yes, we're going to take your AR-15, your AK-47.

(APPLAUSE)

We're not going to allow it to be used against our fellow Americans anymore.

(APPLAUSE)

MUIR: Congressman, thank you.

O'ROURKE: And I want to say this. I'm listening to the people of this country. The day after I proposed doing that, I went to a gun show in Conway, Arkansas, to meet with those who were selling AR-15s and AK-47s and those who were buying those weapons. And you might be surprised, there was some common ground there, folks who said, I would willingly give that up, cut it to pieces, I don't need this weapon to hunt, to defend myself. It is a weapon of war.

So, let's do the right thing, but let's bring everyone in America into the conversation, Republicans, Democrats, gun-owners, and non-gun owners alike.

(UNKNOWN): May I make a point?

MUIR: Congressman, thank you. I want to bring in Senator Klobuchar on this, because you've often talked about your uncle and the proud hunters back home in Minnesota. So I wanted to get your response to Congressman O'Rourke tonight. Where do you stand on mandatory gun buybacks?

KLOBUCHAR: I so appreciate what the congressman's been doing. And I want to remind people here that what unites us is so much bigger than what divides us.

Everyone up here favors an assault weapon ban. Everyone up here favors magazine limitations, which, by the way, would have made a huge difference if that was in place in El Paso, in that store, where all those ordinary people showed such extraordinary courage. And certainly in Dayton, Ohio, where in 30 seconds, one man guns down innocent people. The cops got there in one minute, and it still wasn't enough to save those people. That's what unites us.

You know what else unites us? And I'll tell you this. What unites us is that right now, on Mitch McConnell's desk, are three bills -- universal background checks, closing the Charleston loophole, and passing my bill to make sure that domestic abusers don't get AK-47s.

(APPLAUSE)

MUIR: Senator Klobuchar?

KLOBUCHAR: So if we want to get something done -- and I personally think we should start with a voluntary buyback program. That's what I think, David. But I want to finish this, because if you want action now, if you want action now, we got to send a message to Mitch McConnell. We can't wait until one of us gets in the White House. We have to pass those bills right now to get this done.

MUIR: Senator Klobuchar...

KLOBUCHAR: Because we cannot spare another innocent life.

MUIR: Thank you. Thank you.

I want to turn to Senator Booker, because you have said just this week about guns and about the candidates on this stage, that the differences do matter. Those were your words.

You have argued, if you need a license to drive a car in this country, you should have a license to buy a gun. Gun-owners would not only have to pass a background check, they would have to obtain a federal license to buy a gun. This would require, as you know, Congress to pass legislation.

If Democrats can't get universal background checks, how would you get this done? And can you name one Republican colleague of yours in the Senate right now who would be onboard with this idea?

BOOKER: So, background checks and gun licensing, these are agreed to by overwhelmingly the majority of Americans. Eighty-three percent of Americans agree with licensing. This is the issue.

Look, I grew up in the suburbs. It was about 20 years ago that I came out of my home when I moved to inner city Newark, New Jersey, and witnessed the aftermath of a shooting. It's one of the reasons why shooting after shooting after shooting in neighborhoods like mine for decades, this has been a crisis for me. It's why I was the first person to come out for gun licensing. And I'm happy that people like Beto O'Rourke are showing such courage now and coming forward and also now supporting licensing.

But this is what I'm sorry about. I'm sorry that it had to take issues coming to my neighborhood or personally affecting Beto to suddenly make us demand change. This is a crisis of empathy in our nation. We are never going to solve this crisis if we have to wait for it to personally affect us or our neighborhood or our community before we demand action.

You want to know how we get this done? We get this done by having a more courageous empathy, where people don't wait for this hell to visit upon their communities. They stand up and understand the truth of what King said, that injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.

I will lead change on this issue, because I have seen what the carnage creates in communities like mine, because we forget, national shootings, these mass shootings are tragedies, but the majority of the homicide victims come from neighborhoods like mine. Nobody has ascended to the White House that will bring more personal passion on this issue. I will fight this and bring a fight to the NRA and the corporate gun lobby like they have never seen before.

(APPLAUSE)

MUIR: Senator Booker, thank you. A quick follow-up, though, because Americans watching tonight know the reality of Congress in Washington. I asked do you have a Republican colleague in the Senate who would be onboard with this idea to get this done?

BOOKER: You know, if that was the attitude when Strom Thurmond had the longest filibuster ever on civil rights, if it was this idea that we can't get it done because of the situation in the Senate, I'm looking to lead a movement. The number-one reason why governments are formed is to protect the citizenry.

Think about this. We have had more people die due to gun violence in my lifetime than every single war in this country combined, from the Revolutionary War until now. This is not a side issue to me. It is a central issue to me.

That is the kind of fight -- because the majority of homicide victims -- we have a mass shooting every single day in communities like mine. We must awaken a more courageous empathy in this country so that we stand together and fight together and overwhelm those Republicans who are not even representing their constituency. Because the majority of Americans, the majority of gun-owners agree with me, not the corporate gun lobby. It is time for a movement on this issue, and I will lead it.

(APPLAUSE)

BIDEN: Go beat them (ph).

MUIR: Senator Booker, thank you. Senator Warren, I want to come to you next, because you have actually said in recent days that there are things you can get done with Republicans in the Senate. What can you get done on gun control?

WARREN: So let's start by framing the problem the right way. We have a gun violence problem in this country. The mass shootings are terrible, but they get all the headlines. Children die every day on streets, in neighborhoods, on playgrounds. People die from violence, from suicide and domestic abuse. We have a gun violence problem in this country.

And we agree on many steps we could take to fix it. My view on this is, we're going to -- it's not going to be one and done on this. We're going to do it, and we're going to have to do it again, and we're going to have to come back some more until we cut the number of gun deaths in this country significantly.

But here's the deal. The question we need to ask is, when we've got this much support across the country, 90 percent of Americans want to see us do -- I like registration -- want to see us do background checks, want to get assault weapons off the streets, why doesn't it happen? And the answer is corruption, pure and simple.

(APPLAUSE)

We have a Congress that is beholden to the gun industry. And unless we're willing to address that head-on and roll back the filibuster, we're not going to get anything done on guns. I was in the United States Senate when 54 senators said let's do background checks, let's get rid of assault weapons, and with 54 senators, it failed because of the filibuster.

Until we attack the systemic problems, we can't get gun reform in this country. We've got to go straight against the industry and we've got to change Congress, so it doesn't just work for the wealthy and well-connected, so it works for the people.

(APPLAUSE)

MUIR: Senator Warren, thank you. You bring up eliminating the filibuster, which means you would need simply a simple majority in a Republican Senate to get something done. I want to turn to Senator Sanders on this, because you've said before of this, if Donald Trump supports ending the filibuster, which he's talked about himself, you should be nervous. Would you support ending the filibuster?

SANDERS: No. But what I would support, absolutely, is passing major legislation, the gun legislation the people here are talking about, Medicare for all, climate change legislation that saves the planet. I will not wait for 60 votes to make that happen, and you can do it in a variety of ways. You can do that through budget reconciliation law. You have a vice president who will, in fact, tell the Senate what is appropriate and what is not, what is in order and what is not.

But I want to get back to a point that Elizabeth made and that, in fact, in terms of gun issues, picking up on Cory and Beto and everybody else, what we are looking at is a corrupt political system, and that means whether it is the drug companies or the insurance companies or the fossil fuel industry determining what's happening in Washington or, in this case, you've got an NRA which has intimidated the president of the United States and the Republican leadership.

(APPLAUSE)

I am proud -- I am proud that, year after year, I had an "F" rating from the NRA. And as president, I will not be intimidated by the NRA.

MUIR: Senator Sanders, thank you.

HARRIS: May I respond...

RAMOS: We've been hearing a lot about what's been happening here in Texas. Only a few weeks ago, the deadliest massacre of Latinos, Latinos, in modern U.S. history happened in this state, in El Paso. So the fear among Latinos -- and you know this -- is very real.

So let me start with an issue that is causing a lot of division in this country: immigration. Vice President Biden, as a presidential candidate, in 2008, you supported the border wall, saying, "Unlike most Democrats, I voted for 700 miles of fence." This is what you said.

Then you served as vice president in an administration that deported 3 million people, the most ever in U.S. history. Did you do anything to prevent those deportations? I mean, you've been asked this question before and refused to answer, so let me try once again. Are you prepared to say tonight that you and President Obama made a mistake about deportations? Why should Latinos trust you?

BIDEN: What Latinos should look at is -- comparing this president to the president we have is outrageous, number one. We didn't lock people up in cages. We didn't separate families. We didn't do all of those things, number one.

Number two -- number two, by the time -- this is a president who came along with the DACA program. No one had ever done that before. This is the president that sent legislation to the desk saying he wants to find a pathway for the 11 million undocumented in the United States of America. This is a president who's done a great deal. So I'm proud to have served with him.

What I would do as president is several more things, because things have changed. I would, in fact, make sure that there is -- we immediately surge to the border. All those people who are seeking asylum, they deserve to be heard. That's who we are. We're a nation who says, if you want to flee, and you're freeing oppression, you should come.

I would change the order that the president just changed, saying women who were being beaten and abused could no longer claim that as a reason for asylum.

And by the way, retrospectively, you know, the 25th anniversary of the Violence Against Women Act is up. The Republican Congress has not reauthorized it. Let's put pressure on them to pass the Violence Against Women Act. Now (inaudible) back...

RAMOS: Yeah, but you didn't answer the question.

BIDEN: Well, I did answer the question.

RAMOS: No, did you make a mistake with those deportations?

BIDEN: The president did the best thing that was able to be done at the time.

RAMOS: How about you?

BIDEN: I'm the vice president of the United States.

RAMOS: Secretary CASTRO:, would you want to respond to Vice President Biden?

CASTRO: I mean, look...

RAMOS: And let me put this in context, because your party controlled the White House and Congress in 2009 and didn't pass immigration reform, and this broke a promise made by President Barack Obama to Latinos. So why should voters trust Democrats now? I mean, now it is even more difficult, as you know, because you need Republican votes in the Senate. So are you willing, for instance, to give up DACA or give up a path to citizenship or even agree to build a wall in order to legalize 10.5 million undocumented immigrants?

CASTRO: Jorge, thank you very much for that question. And, look, I agree that Barack Obama was very different from Donald Trump. Donald Trump has a dark heart when it comes to immigrants. He built his whole political career so far on scapegoating and fearmongering and otherizing migrants, and that's very different from Barack Obama.

But my problem with Vice President Biden -- and Cory pointed this out last time -- is every time something good about Barack Obama comes up, he says, oh, I was there, I was there, I was there, that's me, too, and then every time somebody questions part of the administration that we were both part of, he says, well, that was the president. I mean, he wants to take credit for Obama's work, but not have to answer to any questions. I mean...

(APPLAUSE)

RAMOS: Vice President Biden, you have -- you have 45 seconds.

CASTRO: Let me just say...

BIDEN: That's not what I said.

CASTRO: Let me just say...

BIDEN: That's not what I said.

CASTRO: Jorge, let me just say that I would -- I was the first candidate in early April to put forward an immigration plan. You know why? Because I'm not afraid of Donald Trump on this issue. I'm not going to back pedal. I'm not going to pretend like I don't have my own vision for immigration.

So we're not going to give up DACA. We're not going to give up protections for anybody. I believe that on January 20, 2021, we're going to have a Democratic president, we're going to throw out Mitch McConnell and John Cornyn and have a Democratic Senate, and a Democratic House, and we're going to pass immigration reform within the first 100 days.

RAMOS: Vice President, 45 seconds.

BIDEN: I did not say I don't -- I stand with Barack Obama all eight years, good, bad and indifferent. That's where I stand. I did not say I did not stand with him.

RAMOS: OK, Senator Warren, hundreds of children have been separated from their parents at the border. And recently, in Mississippi, we saw the largest immigration raid in a decade.

You want ICE, the agency in charge of rounding up undocumented immigrants.

So how would you deal with the millions of immigrants who arrive legally but overstay their visas? And how would you stop hundreds of thousands of Central Americans who want to migrate to the U.S.?

WARREN: Well, I start with a statement of principles, and that is, in this country, immigration does not make us weaker, immigration makes us stronger.

(APPLAUSE)

I want to see us expand legal immigration and create a pathway to citizenship for our DREAMers, but also for their grandparents, and for their cousins, for people who have overstayed student visas, and for people who came here to work in the fields. I want to have a system that is a path to citizenship that is fair and achievable.

Down at the border, we've got to rework this entirely. A system right now that cannot tell the difference in the threat posed by a terrorist, a criminal, and a 12-year-old girl is not a system that is keeping us safer, and it is not serving our values.

(APPLAUSE)

RAMOS: Mr. Yang...

WARREN: We need -- I want to add one more part on this, because I think we have to look at all the pieces. Why do we have a crisis at the border? In no small part because we have withdrawn help from people in Central America who are suffering.

(APPLAUSE)

We need to restore that help. We need to help establish and re-establish the rule of law so that people don't feel like they have to flee for their lives. We have a crisis that Donald Trump has created and hopes to profit from politically. We have to have the courage to stand up and fight back.

(APPLAUSE)

RAMOS: Mr. Yang? It is true that in the last few years we have seen the most severe anti-immigrant measures, from putting kids in cages to limiting asylum for people fleeing gangs and domestic violence. But it is also true about 1 million immigrants enter the U.S. legally every year. So, are you willing to raise the number of legal immigrants from 1 million to 2 million per year? And should there be a merit system, as President Trump wants?

WARREN: So, yes -- oh, I'm sorry. Did you me or...

YANG: It was me.

WARREN: Oh, he said it. OK. Sorry.

YANG: My -- my father grew up on a peanut farm in Asia with no floor and now his son is running for president. That is the immigration story that we have...

(APPLAUSE)

... to be able to share with the American people.

If you look at our history, almost half of Fortune 500 companies were founded by either immigrants or children of immigrants. And rates of business formation are much higher in immigrant communities. We have to say to the American people, immigrants are positive for our economic and social dynamism, and I would return the level of legal immigration to the point it was under the Obama-Biden administration.

I think we have to compete for talent and I am the opposite of Donald Trump in many ways. He says, build a wall. I'm going to say to immigrants, come to America, because if you come here, your son our daughter can run for president. The water is great. And this is where you want to build a company, build a family, and build a life.

This country has been a magnet for human capital for generations. If we lose that, we lose something integral to our continued success. And that is where I would lead as president.

(APPLAUSE)

RAMOS: (SPEAKING SPANISH)

BUTTIGIEG: Gracias.

RAMOS: (INAUDIBLE) Pete, eight out of 10 Latinos in Texas for another mass shooter targeting them. This is according to a new Univision poll. President Trump has called Mexican immigrants rapists and killers, tried to ban Muslims from entering the country separated children from their parents.

He supporters have chanted, build a wall and send her back. Do you think that people who support President Trump and his immigration policies are racist?

BUTTIGIEG: Anyone who supports this is supporting racism.

(APPLAUSE)

(SPEAKING SPANISH)

The only people, though, who actually buy into this president's hateful rhetoric around immigrants are people who don't know any. We have an opportunity to build an American majority around immigration reform. In my community, a group of conservative Republicans rallied around an individual, a beloved local individual who was deported when he went into ICE to try to get his paperwork sorted out, because they never thought it would happen to him.

In some of the most conservative, rural areas of Iowa, I have seen communities that embraced immigration grow. And that's why part of my plan for revitalizing the economies of rural America includes community renewal visas that would allow cities and towns and counties that are hurting not only for jobs but for population to embrace immigration as we have in my city.

You know, the only reason that South Bend is growing right now, after years of shrinking, is immigration. It's one of the reasons we acted, not waiting for Washington, to create city-issued municipal IDs, so that people, regardless of immigration status in our city, had the opportunity to have the benefits of identification.

We have an opportunity to actually get something done. But we cannot allow this continue to be the same debate with the same arguments and the same clever lines often among the same people since the last real reform happened in the 1980s. We have to actually engage the American majority around the opportunities for not just growth in small communities, but our values. Values of welcome, values of faith that all argue for us to manage this humanely and in a way that marries our values with our laws.

RAMOS: (SPEAKING SPANISH)

In an interview eight months ago, you were asked to asked what to do with the so-called "over-stayers," people who come with a visa and then stay. And you said, I don't know. Do you have an answer now?

O'ROURKE: I do. And if you read the rest of that article in The Washington Post, I talked about harmonizing our entry/exit system with Mexico in the same way that we do with Canada. I think that could help us to keep a handle on visa over-stays.

But I think the larger question that we're trying to get at is, how do we rewrite this country's immigration laws in our own image? In the image of Houston, Texas, the most diverse city in the United States of America.

(APPLAUSE)

In the image of El Paso, Texas, one of the safest cities in the United States of America. Safe, not despite the fact that we are a city of immigrants, safe because we are a city of immigrants.

(SPEAKING SPANISH)

(APPLAUSE)

I will lead an effort to make sure that we rewrite our immigration laws in that way. Never cage another child. Make sure that there is accountability and justice for the seven lives lost under our care and our custody, but also face the fact that Democrats and Republicans alike voted to build a wall that has produced thousands of deaths of people trying to cross to join family or to work a job.

That we have been part of deporting people, hundreds of thousands just in the Obama administration alone, who posed no threat to this country, breaking up their families. Democrats have to get off the back foot, we have to lead on this issue, because we know it is right.

Legalize America, begin with those more than 1 million DREAMers, make them U.S. citizens right now in this, their true home country...

(APPLAUSE)

... and extend that to their parents, their sisters and their brothers, and ensure that we have a legal, safe, orderly system to come to this country and add to our greatness here.

RAMOS: Thank you. George.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Jorge, thank you.

We're going to take a quick break. When we come back, national security, foreign policy, homeland security, the impact on American jobs and U.S. troops.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANNOUNCER: Live from Texas Southern University in Houston, the "Democratic Debate."

STEPHANOPOULOS: Welcome back. We want to turn now to national security and the foreign policy issue that has such a direct impact here at home. The U.S. relationship with China, trade, and President Trump's tariffs. We received more than 100 questions from viewers wanting to know how all of you are going to handle these tariffs.

And, Mr. Yang, let me begin with you. Would you repeal the tariffs on your first day in office? And if so, would you risk losing leverage in our trade relationship with China?

YANG: I would not repeal the tariffs on day one, but I would let the Chinese know that we need to hammer out a deal, because right now, the tariffs are pummeling producers and farmers in Iowa who have absolutely nothing to do with the imbalances that we have with China.

A CEO friend of mine was in China recently and he said that he saw pirated U.S. intellectual property on worker workstations to the tune of thousands of dollars per head. And he said, one, how can my workers compete against that? And, two, think about all the lost revenue to American companies.

So, the imbalances are real. But we have to let the Chinese know that we recognize that President Trump has pursued an arbitrary and haphazard trade policy that has had victims on both sides.

So, no to repealing the tariffs immediately, but yes to making sure we come to a deal that addresses the concerns of American companies and American producers.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Mayor Pete, let me take that question -- let me take that question to you, because you've seen President Trump's tweets. He says what's going to happen here is the Chinese are just going to wait him out so that they can get a Democrat who they can take advantage of.

How do you think about China? We've seen President Trump call President Xi both an enemy and a friend.

BUTTIGIEG: Well, the president clearly has no strategy.

You know, when I first got into this race, I remember President Trump scoffed and said he'd like to see me making a deal with Xi Jinping. I'd like to see him making a deal with Xi Jinping.

(LAUGHTER)

Is it just me, or was that supposed to happen in, like, April? It's one more example of a commitment not made. When that happens on the international stage, people take note, not just our competitors, our adversaries, but also our allies take note of the inability of the United States to keep its word or follow through on its plans. And when that happens, there are serious consequences.

We saw it at the G7. The leaders of some of the greatest powers and economies of the world sitting to talk about one of the greatest challenges in the world, climate change, and there was literally an empty chair where American leadership could have been.

The problem is, this is a moment when American leadership is needed more than ever, whether it's in Hong Kong, where those protesters for democracy need to know that they have a friend in the United States, or anywhere around the world where increasingly we see dictators throwing their weight around. The world needs America, but it can't be just any America.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Would you repeal the tariffs?

BUTTIGIEG: I would have a strategy that would include the tariffs as leverage, but it's not about the tariffs. Look, what's going on right now is a president who has reduced the entire China challenge into a question of tariffs, when what we know is that the tariffs are coming down on us more than anybody else and there's a lack of a bigger strategy.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Senator Klobuchar, you've actually supported the tariffs on steel.

KLOBUCHAR: What we've got right now, though, George, it's not a focused tariff on steel. What he has done here, he has assessed these tariffs on our allies. He has put us in the middle of this trade war and he is treating our farmers and our workers like poker chips in one of his bankrupt casinos. And if we are not careful, he is going to bankrupt this country.

One forecast recently says that it has already cost us 300,000 jobs, all right? There is soybeans that are mounting up in bins all over the Midwest, in my state of Minnesota and in Iowa.

So what I think we need to do is to go back to the negotiating table -- that's what I would do. I wouldn't have put all these tariffs in place. And I wouldn't have had a trade policy where on August 1st he announces he's going to have tariffs on $300 billion of goods, on August 13th, he cuts it in half, a week later, he says he's going to reduce taxes, the day after that, he says he's going to do it.

The leaders of the world are watching this, and it undermines our strength as a nation. And, yes, we want fair trade, but we must work with the rest of the world. And he has made a mockery of focused trade policy, which I think means enforcement, like we've done in northern Minnesota, passing bills, getting President Obama to do more on that, so that our workers can benefit, so we are importing, exporting goods and making sure that it's a competitive policy where our goal is that we are making things, inventing things, and exporting to the world. He is defeating that goal.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Secretary Castro, you actually, in one of the previous debates, identified China as the most serious national security threat to our country. I want to pick up on what Senator Klobuchar was saying. She said she would go back to the negotiating table. The question is, what do you do for leverage? Where do you get it?

CASTRO: Well, look, I agree with those who have said that this erratic, haphazard trade war is hurting American families. As Senator Klobuchar said, 300,000 American jobs. It's estimated that it's cost $600 to the average American family. Just a couple of days ago, 60 percent of Americans said that they believe that we're in for a recession next year.

So when I become president, I would immediately begin to negotiate with China to ratchet down that trade war. We have leverage there. I also believe, though, that we need to return to a leader when it comes to things like human rights.

We have millions of Uighurs, for instance, in China that right now are being imprisoned and mistreated.

(APPLAUSE)

And in North Korea, this president is elevating a dictator. We need to stop that. We need to return to ensuring that America leads again on human rights. When it comes to this trade war, I would immediately begin ratcheting that trade war down. We have leverage in that discussion.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Senator Warren, let me bring you in on this conversation. President Obama signed the Trans-Pacific Partnership. In part, it was designed to rein in China, to bring China into some kind of regulation. What do you think he got wrong?

WARREN: So our trade policy in America has been broken for decades, and it has been broken because it works for giant multinational corporations and not for much of anyone else. These are giant corporations that, shoot, if they can save a nickel by moving a job to a foreign country, they'll do it in a heartbeat.

And yet for decades now, who's been whispering in the ears of our trade negotiators? Who has shaped our trade policy? It's been the giant corporations. It's been their lobbyists and their executives.

The way we change our trade policy in America is, first, the procedures. Who sits at the table? I want to negotiate trade with unions at the table. I want to negotiate it with small farmers at the table. I want to negotiate it with environmentalists at the table. I want to negotiate with human rights activists at the table.

And you asked the question about leverage. If I can just respond to that one, the leverage, are you kidding? Everybody wants access to the American market. That means that we have the capacity to say right here in America, you want to come sell goods to American consumers? Then you got to raise your standards. You've got to raise your labor standards. You've got to raise your environmental standards...

(APPLAUSE)

... so our companies can compete on a level playing field. We can use trade not to undermine American workers and not to undermine American farms and not to undermine small businesses in this country. We can use trade to help build a stronger economy.

(APPLAUSE)

STEPHANOPOULOS: Senator Harris, how would your trade policy differ from President Obama's?

HARRIS: Well, first of all, I have no criticism of that more than just looking at where we are now, which is we've got a guy in the White House who has been erratic on trade policy. He conducts trade policy by tweet, frankly born out of his fragile ego. It has resulted in farmers in Iowa with soybeans rotting in bins, looking at bankruptcy.

When we look at this issue, my trade policy, under a Harris administration, is always going to be about saying, we need to export American products, not American jobs. And to do that, we have to have a meaningful trade policy.

I am not a protectionist Democrat. Look, we need to sell our stuff. And that means we need to sell it to people overseas. That means we need trade policies that allow that to happen.

You asked earlier about China. It's a complicated relationship. We have to hold China accountable. They steal our products, including our intellectual property. They dump substandard products into our economy. They need to be held accountable.

We also need to partner with China on climate and the crisis that that presents. We need to partner with China on the issue of North Korea. I am on -- and I think the only person on this stage -- the Senate Intelligence Committee and the Senate Homeland Security Committee. We need a partner on the issue of North Korea.

But the bottom line is this. Donald Trump in office on trade policy, you know, he reminds me of that guy in "The Wizard of Oz," you know, when you pull back the curtain, it's a really small dude?

(LAUGHTER)

STEPHANOPOULOS: OK. I'm not even going to take the bait, Senator Harris. But I am going to take...

HARRIS: Oh, George, it wasn't about you.

STEPHANOPOULOS: I'm going to take this to Senator Sanders right now.

SANDERS: Well, there is a reason -- there is a reason why, in the last 45 years, the average American today, despite an explosion of technology and worker productivity, is not making a penny more than he or she made 45 years ago. And one of the reasons is that, for decades, we have had disastrous trade policies.

I got to say to my good friend, Joe Biden, Joe and I strongly disagree on trade. I helped lead the opposition to NAFTA and PNTR, which cost this country over 4 million good-paying jobs.

(APPLAUSE)

And what happened is people who had those jobs ended up getting other jobs making 50 percent of what they made in manufacturing.

So Trump, obviously, hasn't a clue. Trump thinks that trade policy is a tweet at 3 o'clock in the morning. What we have got to do is develop a trade policy that represents workers, represents the farmers in the Midwest and elsewhere, who are losing billions right now because of Trump's policy, a trade policy which understands that if a company shuts down in America and goes abroad, and then thinks they're going to get online to get a lucrative federal contract, under Bernie Sanders, they got another guess coming.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Vice President Biden, he invoked your name.

BIDEN: Yeah, well, look, we're either going to make policy or China's going to make the rules of the road. We make up 25 percent of the world economy. We need another 25 percent to join us.

And I think Elizabeth -- Senator Warren is correct. At the table has to be labor and at the table have to be environmentalists. The fact of the matter is, China -- the problem isn't the trade deficit, the problem is they're stealing our intellectual property. The problem is they're violating the WTO. They're dumping steel on us. That's a different issue than whether or not they're dumping agricultural products on us.

In addition to that, we're in a position where, if we don't set the rules, we, in fact, are going to find ourselves with China setting the rules. And that's why you need to organize the world to take on China, to stop the corrupt practices that are underway.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Senator Booker, close out this round.

BOOKER: Sure. There's one point we're really missing on the stage right now, which is the fact that Donald Trump's America first policy is actually an America isolated, an America alone policy.

BIDEN: Exactly right.

BOOKER: From trade to battling China to the global crisis of climate change, the challenges in the Middle East, he is pulling us away from our allies, out of the Iran deal, out of the Paris climate accords.

And on trade, he's deciding to take on China, while at the same time taking on tariff battles with all of our allies. You literally have him using a national security waiver to put tariffs on Canada. Now, look, I'm the only person on this stage that finds Trudeau's hair very menacing, but they are not a national security threat.

(LAUGHTER)

We cannot go up against China alone. This is a president that has a better relationship with dictators, like Duterte and Putin, than he does with Merkel and Macron. We are the strongest nation on the planet Earth, and our strength is multiplied and magnified when we stand with our allies in common cause and common purpose. That's how we beat China. That's how we beat climate change on the planet Earth, and that's how American values are the ones that lead on issues of trade and workers' rights.

(APPLAUSE)

STEPHANOPOULOS: David?

MUIR: George, thank you. I want to turn now to our troops overseas and to America's longest war in Afghanistan. U.S. talks with the Taliban are dead, according to the president. Secret talks at Camp David have been canceled before they could happen. Many of you have weighed in on that already, so I want to move past that tonight to what all of you have promised on the campaign trail.

Many of you on this stage have said you'd bring the troops home in your first term. Others have said in your first year. Senator Warren, we all know the presidency is much different from the campaign trail. President Obama wanted to bring the troops home. President Trump promised to bring the troops home. And you have said of Afghanistan, let's help them reach a peace settlement. It is time to bring our troops home, in your words, starting right now. Would you keep that promise to bring the troops home starting right now with no deal with the Taliban?

WARREN: Yes. And I'll tell you why. What we're doing right now in Afghanistan is not helping the safety and security of the United States. It is not helping the safety and security of the world. It is not helping the safety and security of Afghanistan. We need to bring our troops home.

And then we need to make a big shift. We cannot ask our military to keep solving problems that cannot be solved militarily.

(APPLAUSE)

We're not going to bomb our way to a solution in Afghanistan. We need to treat the problem of terrorism as a worldwide problem, and that means we need to be working with all of our allies, our European allies, our Canadian allies, our Asian allies, our allies in Africa and in South America. We need to work together to root out terrorism.

It means using all of our tools. It means economic investment. It means expanding our diplomatic efforts instead of hollowing out the State Department and deliberately making it so we have no eyes and ears in many of these countries. We need a foreign policy that is about our security and about leading on our values.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Senator Warren, a quick follow on that, because top U.S. leaders, military leaders on the ground in Afghanistan told me you can't do it without a deal with the Taliban. You just said you would, you would bring them home. What if they told you that? Would you listen to their advice?

WARREN: I was in Afghanistan with John McCain two years ago this past summer. I think it may have been Senator McCain's last trip before he was sick. And I talked to people -- we did -- we talked to military leaders, American and local leaders, we talked to people on the ground and asked the question, the same one I ask on the Senate Armed Services Committee every time one of the generals comes through: Show me what winning looks like. Tell me what it looks like.

And what you hear is a lot of, "Uh," because no one can describe it. And the reason no one can describe it is because the problems in Afghanistan are not problems that can be solved by a military.

I have three older brothers who all served in the military. I understand firsthand the kind of commitment they have made. They will do anything we ask them to do. But we cannot ask them to solve problems that they alone cannot solve.

We need to work with the rest of the world. We need to use our economic tools. We need to use our diplomatic tools. We need to build with our allies. And we need to make the whole world safer, not keep troops bombing in Afghanistan.

MUIR: Senator Warren, thank you.

(APPLAUSE)

I do want to stay on this, and I want to turn to Mayor BUTTIGIEG:, because you're the only veteran on this stage. You served in Afghanistan. We heard in recent days from General Joseph Dunford, the chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who said in recent days, "I'm not going to use the word withdrawal right now. It's our judgment the Afghans need support to deal with the level of violence." If he's not even using the word withdrawal, would you put your promise to bring troops home in the first year on hold to follow the advice?

BUTTIGIEG: You know, I served under General Dunford, way under General Dunford, in Afghanistan.

(LAUGHTER)

And today, September 12, 2019, means that today you could be 18 years old, old enough to serve, and had not been alive on 9/11. We have got to put an end to endless war.

And the way we do it is see to it that that country will never again be used for an attack against our homeland, and that does not require an open-ended commitment of ground troops.

Let me say something else, because if there's one thing we've learned about Afghanistan, from Afghanistan, it's that the best way not to be caught up in endless war is to avoid starting one in the first place.

(APPLAUSE)

And so when I am president, an authorization for the use of military force will have a built-in three-year sunset. Congress will be required to vote and a president will be required to go to Congress to seek an authorization. Because if our troops can summon the courage to go overseas, the least our members of Congress should be able to do is summon the courage to take a vote on whether they ought to be there.

(APPLAUSE)

By the way, we also have a president right now who seems to treat troops as props, or worse, tools for his own enrichment. We saw what's going on with flights apparently being routed through Scotland just so people can stay at his hotels?

I'll tell you, as a military officer, the very first thing that goes through your mind, the first time you ever make eye contact with somebody that you are responsible for in uniform, is do not let these men and women down. This president is doing exactly that. I will not.

(APPLAUSE)

MUIR: Mayor Buttigieg, thank you.

I want to turn to Vice President Biden, because the concerns about any possible vacuum being created in Afghanistan, if you pulled the U.S. troops out, has been heightened by what we've seen in recent days on the ground in Iraq.

When you were vice president, President Obama turned to you to bring the troops home from Iraq. You have said on the campaign trail, quote, "I made sure the president turned to me and said, Joe, get our combat troops out of Iraq." There was a major drawdown of U.S. troops, and then ISIS seized by some estimates 40 percent of the territory in Iraq. You then had to send thousands of troops back in. Was it wrong to pull out of Iraq that quickly? And did the move actually help ISIS take hold?

BIDEN: No, it wasn't wrong to pull out. But I want to answer your Afghanistan question. I've been in and out of Afghanistan, not with a gun, and I admire my friend for his service. But I've been out of Afghanistan I think more than anybody on this -- and it's an open secret, you reported a long time ago, George, that I was opposed to the surge in Afghanistan.

The whole purpose of going to Afghanistan was to not have a counterinsurgency, meaning that we're going to put that country together. It cannot be put together. Let me say it again. It will not be put together. It's three different countries. Pakistan owns the three counties -- the three provinces in the east. They're not any part of -- the Haqqanis run it. I will go on and on.

But here's the point. The point is that it's a counterterrorism strategy. We can prevent the United States from being the victim of terror coming out of Afghanistan by providing for bases -- insist the Pakistanis provide bases for us to air lift from and to move against what we know.

We don't need those troops there. I would bring them home. And Joe Dunford's a fine guy, but this has been an internal argument we've had for eight years.

With regard to -- with regard to Iraq, the fact of the matter is that, you know, I should have never voted to give Bush the authority to go in and do what he said he was going to do. The AUMF was designed, he said, to go in and get the Security Council to vote 15-0 to allow inspectors to go in to determine whether or not anything was being done with chemical weapons or nuclear weapons. And when that happened, he went ahead and went anyway without any of that proof.

I said something that was not meant the way I said it. I said -- from that point on -- what I was argued against in the beginning, once he started to put the troops in, was that in fact we were doing it the wrong way; there was no plan; we should not be engaged; we didn't have the people with us; we didn't have our -- we didn't have allies with us, et cetera.

And it was later, when we came into office, that Barack turned -- the president turned to me and said, "Joe" -- when they said we've got a plan to get out, he turned to the whole security and said, "Joe will organize this. Get the troops home."

My son spent a year in Iraq, and I understand. It made -- and we were right to get the combat troops out. The big mistake that was made, which we predicted, was that you would not have a circumstance where the Shia and the Kurds would work together to keep ISIS from coming -- from moving in.

MUIR: Mr. Vice President, thank you.

I want to turn to Senator Sanders on this. Because the concern over Afghanistan is very similar to what we saw in Iraq when the troops came out. ISIS filled that vacuum.

What do you make of people out there who are worried that if we pull out U.S. troops too quickly from Afghanistan, it will create safe haven all over again, like the plotters of 9/11?

SANDERS: David, let me answer that, but let me just comment on something that the vice president said.

You talked about the big mistake in Iraq and the surge. The truth is, the big mistake, the huge mistake, and one of the big differences between you and me, I never believed what Cheney and Bush said about Iraq...

(APPLAUSE)

BIDEN: You're right.

SANDERS: I voted against the war in Iraq

(APPLAUSE)

... and helped lead the opposition. And it's sad to say -- I mean, I, kind of, you know, had the feeling that there would be massive destabilization in that area if we went into that war.

As the former chairman of the Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs, I want to pick up on what Pete said. We cannot express our gratitude to all of the men and women who have put their lives on the line to defend them -- defend us, who have responded to the call of duty. But I think, also, I am the only person up here to have voted against all three of Trump's military budgets.

(APPLAUSE)

I don't think we have to spend $750 billion a year on the military when we don't even know who our enemy is.

(APPLAUSE)

I think that what we have got to do is bring this world together -- bring it together on climate change, bring it together in fighting against terrorism. And make it clear that we as a planet, as a global community, will work together to help countries around the world rebuild their struggling economies and do everything that we can to rid the world of terrorism. But dropping bomb on Afghanistan and Iraq was not the way to do it.

MUIR: Senator Sanders, thank you.

(APPLAUSE)

I want to take this to Mr. Yang. You share the stage, as you know, when when we talk about troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, with the vice president, who was in the Situation Room, with senators who were on the Senate Armed Services, the Foreign Relations Committees, with an Afghanistan veteran who is on the stage tonight.

As you share the stage with these candidates, what makes you the most qualified on this stage to be commander in chief?

YANG: I've signed a pledge to end the forever wars. We've been in a state of continuous armed conflict for 18 years, which is not what the American people want. We have to start owning what we can and can't do. We're not very good at rebuilding countries.

And if you want proof, all you have to do is look within our own country of Puerto Rico.

(APPLAUSE)

We've spent trillions of dollars to unclear benefits, lost thousands of lives -- and thank you, Pete, for your service. And the goal has to be to rebuild the relationships that have made America strong for decades.

I would lead our armed forces with restraint and judgment. What the American people want is simply a president who has the right values and point of view and they can trust to make the right decisions when it comes to putting our young men and women into harm's way. And that's what I would do as president.

MUIR: Mr. Yang, thank you.

(APPLAUSE)

Jorge?

RAMOS: Thank you very much.

(SPEAKING IN SPANISH) (ph)

You haven't been asked about Latin America in the previous debates, so let's begin. Senator Sanders, one country where many immigrants are arriving from is Venezuela. A recent U.N. fact-finding mission found that thousands have been disappeared, tortured and killed by government forces in Venezuela.

You admit that Venezuela does not have free elections, but still you refuse to call Nicolas Maduro a dictator -- a dictator. Can you explain why?

And what are the main differences between your kind of socialism and the one being imposed in Venezuela, Cuba and Nicaragua?

SANDERS: Well, first of all, let me be very clear. Anybody who does what Maduro does is a vicious tyrant. What we need now is international and regional cooperation for free elections in Venezuela so that the people of that country can make -- can create their own future.

In terms of democratic socialism, to equate what goes on in Venezuela with what I believe is extremely unfair. I'll tell you what I believe in terms of democratic socialism. I agree with goes on in Canada and in Scandinavia, guaranteeing health care to all people as a human right.

(APPLAUSE)

I believe that the United States should not be the only major country on earth not to provide paid family and medical leave.

(APPLAUSE)

I believe that every worker in this country deserves a living wage and that we expand the trade union movement.

(APPLAUSE)

I happen to believe also that what, to me, democratic socialism means, is we deal with an issue we do not discuss enough, Jorge -- it's not in the media and not in Congress. You've got three people in America owning more wealth than the bottom half of this country. You've got a handful of billionaires controlling what goes on in Wall Street, the insurance companies and in the media.

Maybe, just maybe, what we should be doing is creating an economy...

RAMOS: Thank you.

SANDERS: ... that works for all of us, not 1 percent. That's my understanding of democratic socialism.

(APPLAUSE)

RAMOS: Secretary, you wanted to say a quick response -- 45 seconds?

CASTRO: Sure, thank you, Jorge. I'll call Maduro a dictator, because he is a dictator.

(APPLAUSE)

And what we need to do is to, along with our allies, make sure that the Venezuelan people get the assistance that they need, that we continue to pressure Venezuela so that they'll have free and fair elections, and also, here in the United States, offer temporary protected status, TPS, to Venezuelans.

(APPLAUSE)

That is something that the Trump administration has failed to do. For all of his big talk about supporting the Venezuelan-American community, he has failed. I will not.

I also believe that we need to do things like a 21st century Marshall plan for Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala...

(APPLAUSE)

... so that people can find safety and opportunity at home instead of having to make the dangerous journey to the United States. And under my administration, we're going to put renewed focus on Latin America. It makes sense. They're our neighbors and we have a lot of things in common. It also makes sense that, because we have a country like China that is going around the world to places like Africa and Latin America, making their own relationships, strengthening those, the United States needs to strengthen its partnerships in Latin America immediately.

RAMOS: Thank you, Senator.

CASTRO: And I will

RAMOS: Senator Booker, let me ask you about Brazil. After the recent fires in the Amazon, some experts suggested that eating less meat is one way to help the environment. You are a vegan since 2014. That's obviously a personal choice, but President Trump and Brazil's President Bolsonaro are concerned that climate change regulations could affect economic growth.

So should more Americans, including those here in Texas, and in Iowa...

(LAUGHTER)

... follow your diet?

(LAUGHTER)

BOOKER: Um (ph), you know, first of all, I want to say no. Actually, I want to translate that into Spanish. No.

(LAUGHTER)

(APPLAUSE)

Look, on -- let's just be clear. The factory farming going on that's assaulting this corporate consolidation of the agricultural industry, one of the reasons why I have a bill to put a moratorium on this kind of corporate consolidation is because this factory farming is destroying and hurting our environment. And you see independent family farmers being pushed out of business because of the kind of incentives we are giving that don't line up with our values. That's what I'm calling for.

(APPLAUSE)

But I want to -- I want to switch, because we don't have -- a crowded debate stage, we were talking about Afghanistan and Iraq. It annoys me that we had a conversation about our troops overseas and we didn't say one word about veterans in our country.

(APPLAUSE)

We have a shameful reality in America that we send people off to war and they often come home with invisible wounds, hurts and harms. They're disproportionately homeless. You hear stories about women waiting for months for gynecological care through the VA. It is very important that, as we -- as a country, understand that we are not going to solve every problem with this outrageous increased militarism, that we also make sure that we stand up for the people that stood for us.

We end our national anthem with "home of the brave." It's about time we make this a better home for our bravest.

(LAUGHTER)

Congressman O'Rourke, Hurricane Harvey hit this town two years ago. And not only is the Amazon burning, Greenland is melting at a record pace. The last five years have been the hottest ever recorded. And we have a viewer's question about this.

What meaningful action will you take to reverse the effect of climate change? And can we count on you to follow through if your donors are against it?

O'ROURKE: Yes, we will follow through, regardless of the political consequences or who it offends, because this is the very future of our planet and our ability for our children and grandchildren to be able to survive on it.

We will make sure that we get to net zero greenhouse gas emissions no later than the year 2050. That we are halfway there by 2030. That we mobilize $5 trillion over the next 10 years to do that. That we invest here in Houston, Texas, with pre-disaster mitigation grants to protect those communities that are vulnerable to flooding given the fact that this town has seen three 500-year floods in just five years, you'd like to think you're good for 1,500 years, but you're not. They're coming faster and larger and more devastating than ever.

We're also going to make sure that we free ourselves from a dependence on fossil fuels and embrace renewable wind and solar energy technology, as well as the high-paying, high-skill, high-wage jobs that come along with that. And that we're going to pay farmers for the environmental services they want to provide. Planting cover crops, keeping more land under conservation, using no-till farming, regenerative agriculture can pull carbon out of the air and can drive it and sequester it into the soil.

That's the way that we're going to meet this challenge and we're going to bring everyone into the solution.

RAMOS: Many of you want to comment. Let's see if we can go very fast. Senator Klobuchar?

KLOBUCHAR: Thank you.

This is the existential crisis of our time. It's -- you know that movie "The Day after Tomorrow"? It's today. We have seen a warming in our world like never before. We're seeing flooding in the Midwest, flooding in Houston, fires in the West. And I think having someone leading the ticket from the Midwest will allow us to talk about this in a different way and get it done.

On day one, I will get us back into the international climate change agreement. On day two, I will bring back the clean power rules that President Obama had worked on. On day three, I will bring back the gas mileage standards. You can do all that without Congress, which is good.

On day four, five, and six I will, working with Congress and mayors and business people all over the country, introduce sweeping legislation to get at that 2050 goal. And on day seven, you're supposed to rest, but I won't. This is what we need to do if we're going to get at climate change. We have to take this on as a crisis that's happening right now.

RAMOS: Senator Warren, should American foreign policy be based around the principle of climate change?

WARREN: Yes. We need to work on every front on climate change. It is the threat to every living thing on this planet and we are running out of time. Every time the scientists go back, they say, we have less and less time than we thought we had.

But that means we've got to use all the tools. One of the tools we need to use are our regulatory tools. I have proposed following Governor Inslee, that we, by 2028, cut all carbon emissions from new buildings. By 2030, carbon emissions from cars. And by 2035, all carbon emissions from the manufacture of electricity. That alone, those three, will cut our emissions here in the United States by 70 percent.

We can do this. We also need to help around the world to clean, but understand this one more time. Why doesn't it happen? As long as Washington is paying more attention to money than it is to our future, we can't make the changes we need to make. We have to attack the corruption head-on so that we can save our planet.

(APPLAUSE)

RAMOS: Senator Harris, 45 seconds.

HARRIS: When I think about this issue, it really is through the lens of my baby nieces who are one-and-a-half and three years old. When I look at what is going to be the world if we do nothing, when they turn 20, I am really scared. And when I've been in the United States Senate for now the last two-and-a-half years and I look at our counterparts, the Republicans in the United States Senate, they must be looking at their children and then when they look at the mirror, I don't know what they see, but it's a lack of courage.

And this is an issue that, yes, it represents a existential threat. It is also something that we can do something about. This is a problem that was created by human behaviors. And we can change our behaviors in a way that saves our planet. I've seen it happen in California.

I took on -- as the attorney general of California, I ran the second-largest department of justice in the United States, second only to the United States Department of Justice. I took on the big oil companies and we saw progress. If any of you have been to Los Angeles, 20 years ago, you'll remember, that sky was brown. You go there now, the sky is blue and you know why? Because leaders decided to lead and we took on these big fossil fuel companies.

We have some of the most important and strongest laws in the country and we made a difference. And my point being, I've done it before and I will lead as president on this issue because we have no time, the clock is ticking, but we need courage, and we need courageous leadership. We can get this done.

RAMOS: Mr. Yang?

YANG: So, to follow up on what Elizabeth said, why are we losing to the fossil fuel companies?

WARREN: Yes.

YANG: Why are we losing to the gun lobby and the NRA? And is answer is this, we all know, everyone on this stage knows that our government has been overrun by money and corporate interests. Now, everyone here has a plan to try to curb those corporate interests, but we have to face facts. Money finds a way.

Money will find its way back in. So, what is the answer? The answer is to wash the money out with people-powered money.

(APPLAUSE)

My proposal is that we give every American 100 "Democracy Dollars" that you can only give to candidates and causes that you like. This would wash out the lobbyist cash by a factor of eight to one. That is the only way we will win. And as someone running for president, I'll tell you, there's the people on one side and the money on the other, the only way for us to win is if we bring them together.

(APPLAUSE)

RAMOS: Thank you, Mr. Yang.

Linsey.

DAVIS: I'd like to have an academic discussion now about education.

Mr. Yang, we'll stay with you. Here in Houston, the school district is facing yet another year of spending cuts. Like schools across the country, the system faces many challenges. One of them, thousands of students are leaving traditional public schools and going to charter schools.

You're the most vocal proponent on this stage for charter schools. You have said that Democrats who want to limit them are, quote, "just jumping into bed with teachers unions and doing kids a disservice." Why isn't taxpayer money better spent on fixing traditional public schools?

YANG: Let me be clear, I am pro-good school. I've got a kid, one of my little boys just started public school last week and I was not there because I was running for president.

(LAUGHTER)

So, we need to pay teachers more, because the data clearly shows that a good teacher is worth his or her weight in gold.

(APPLAUSE)

We need to lighten up the emphasis on standardized tests, which do not measure anything fundamental about our character or human worth.

(APPLAUSE)

But here's the big one. The data clearly shows that 65 to 70 percent of our students outcomes are determined outside of the school. We're talking about time spent at home with the parents, words read to them when they're young, stress levels in the house, income, type of neighborhood.

We're putting money into schools, and educators know this, we're saying you're 100 percent responsible for educating your kids but you can only control 30 percent. They all know this. The answer is to put money directly into the families and neighborhoods to give our kids a chance to learn and our teachers a chance to teach.

(APPLAUSE)

DAVIS: Mayor Buttigieg, 45 seconds to respond.

BUTTIGIEG: Step one is appoint a secretary of education who actually believes in public education.

(APPLAUSE)

I believe in public education. And in order to strengthen it, some things are very complex, for preparing for a future where knowledge is at your fingertips, but we have got to teach more to do with critical thinking and social and emotional learning. Some of it is extremely simple, we have just got to pay teachers more. And we have got to lift up the teaching profession.

I always think of a story from South Bend of friends who hosted exchange students from Japan. They had a student one year who wanted to be a teacher. And they kept in touch with her when she went back to Japan and to college. She took the exam to try to become a teacher in a society that really regards teachers and compensates teachers well. And she came up just short.

So, you know what she did? Since she was academically good but couldn't quite make the cut to be a teacher, she had a fall-back plan, she became a doctor. That is how seriously some countries treat the teaching profession. If we want to get the results that we expect for our children, we have to support and compensate the teaching profession. Respect teachers the way we do soldiers and pay them more like the way we do doctors.

(APPLAUSE)

DAVIS: Senator Warren, to use Mr. Yang's term, are you just jumping into bed with teachers unions?

WARREN: You know, I think I'm the only person on this stage who has been a public school teacher.

(APPLAUSE)

I had wanted to be a public school teacher since I was in second grade. And let's be clear in all the ways we talk about this, money for public schools should stay in public schools, not go anywhere else.

(APPLAUSE)

I've already made my commitment. I will -- we will have a secretary of education who has been a public school teacher.

(APPLAUSE)

I think this is ultimately about our values. I have proposed a two-cent wealth tax on the top one-tenth of one percent in this country. That would give us enough money to start with our babies by providing universal child care for every baby age zero to five, universal pre-K for every three-year-old and four-year-old in this country...

DAVIS: Thank you, Senator.

WARREN: ... raise the wages of every childcare worker and preschool teacher in this country, cancel student loan debt for 95 percent of the folks who've got it...

(APPLAUSE)

DAVIS: Thank you, Senator.

WARREN: ... and strengthen our unions. This is how we build an America that reflects our values, not just where the money comes from with the billionaires and corporate executives.

DAVIS: Senator Harris, 45 seconds to respond.

HARRIS: My first grade teacher, Mrs. Frances Wilson (ph), God rest her soul, attended my law school graduation. I think most of us would say that we are not where we are without the teachers who believed in us.

I have offered in this campaign a proposal to deal with this, which will be the first in the nation, federal investment, in closing the teacher pay gap, which is $13,500 a year. Because right now, in our public schools, our teachers, 94 percent of them are coming out of their own pocket to help pay for school supplies. And that is wrong.

I also want to talk about where we are here at TSU, and what it means in terms of HBCUs. I have, as part of my proposal that we will put $2 trillion into investing in our HBCUs for teachers, because...

(APPLAUSE)

Because -- because, one, as a proud graduate of a historically black college and university, I will say -- I will say that it is our HBCUs that disproportionately produce teachers and those who serve in these may professions, but also...

DAVIS: Thank you, Senator.

HARRIS: But this is a critical point, if a black child has a black teacher before the end of third grade, they're 13 percent more likely to go to college.

(APPLAUSE)

If that child has had two black teachers before the end of third grade, they're 32 percent more likely to go to college. So, when we talk about investing in our public education system, it is at the source of so much. When we fix it, that will fix so many other things. We must invest in the potential of our children...

DAVIS: Thank you, Senator.

Senator Sanders, 45 seconds.

HARRIS: ... and I strongly believe you can judge a society based on how it treats its children. And we are failing on this issue.

DAVIS: Thank you, Senator.

(APPLAUSE)

SANDERS: Guess what?

(LAUGHTER)

You're guessing, all right, here's the answer. We are the wealthiest country in the history of the world. And yet, we have the highest child poverty rate of almost any country on earth. We have teachers in this country who are leaving education because they can't work two or three jobs to support themselves.

Which is why, under my legislation, we'll move to see that every teacher in America makings at least $60,000 a year.

(APPLAUSE)

What we will also do is not only have universal pre-K, we will make public colleges and universities and HBCUs debt-free. And what we will always also do, because this is an incredible burden on millions and millions of young people who did nothing wrong except try to get the education they need, we are going to cancel all student debt in this country.

(APPLAUSE)

DAVIS: Thank you, Senator. Thank you, Senator.

SANDERS: And we are going to do that by imposing a tax on Wall Street speculation.

(APPLAUSE)

DAVIS: Thank you, Senator.

Mr. Vice president, I want to come to you and talk to you about inequality in schools and race. In a conversation about how to deal with segregation in schools back in 1975, you told a reporter, "I don't feel responsible for the sins of my father and grandfather, I feel responsible for what the situation is today, for the sins of my own generation, and I'll be damned if I feel responsible to pay for what happened 300 years ago."

You said that some 40 years ago. But as you stand here tonight, what responsibility do you think that Americans need to take to repair the legacy of slavery in our country?

BIDEN: Well, they have to deal with the -- look, there's institutional segregation in this country. And from the time I got involved, I started dealing with that. Red-lining banks, making sure that we are in a position where -- look, you talk about education. I propose that what we take is those very poor schools, the Title I schools, triple the amount of money we spend from 15 to $45 billion a year. Give every single teacher a raise, the equal raise to getting out -- the $60,000 level.

Number two, make sure that we bring in to help the teachers deal with the problems that come from home. The problems that come from home, we need -- we have one school psychologist for every 1,500 kids in America today. It's crazy.

The teachers are -- I'm married to a teacher. My deceased wife is a teacher. They have every problem coming to them. We have -- make sure that every single child does, in fact, have 3-, 4-, and 5-year-olds go to school. School. Not daycare. School. We bring social workers in to homes and parents to help them deal with how to raise their children.

It's not want they don't want to help. They don't -- they don't know quite what to do. Play the radio, make sure the television -- excuse me, make sure you have the record player on at night, the -- the -- make sure that kids hear words. A kid coming from a very poor school -- a very poor background will hear 4 million words fewer spoken by the time they get there.

DAVIS: Thank you, Mr. Vice President.

BIDEN: There's so much we -- no, I'm going to go like the rest of them do, twice over, OK?

(APPLAUSE)

Because here's the deal. The deal is that we've got this a little backwards. And by the way, in Venezuela, we should be allowing people to come here from Venezuela. I know Maduro. I've confronted Maduro.

Number two, you talk about the need to do something in Latin America. I'm the guy that came up with $740 million to see to it those three countries, in fact, changed their system so people don't have to chance to leave. You're all acting like we just discovered this yesterday. Thank you very much.

DAVIS: Thank you very much.

Secretary Castro?

CASTRO: Thank you very much. Well, that's -- that's quite a lot.

BIDEN: (OFF-MIKE)

(LAUGHTER)

CASTRO: But, you know -- I grew up in one of those neighborhoods that folks have talked about and a neighborhood that was grappling with the legacy of segregation. In fact, in two public school districts that were involved in a 1973 Supreme Court case challenging how Texas financed its schools.

And I know that today our schools are segregated because our neighborhoods are segregated. Now, I have an education plan, like a lot of folks up here, that would pay teachers more, that would recruit diverse ranks of teachers, that would invest in our public schools, but I also believe that we have to connect the dots to uplift the quality of life to invest in housing opportunity, to invest in job opportunity, to invest in community schools that offer resources like parents able to go back and get their GED, and health care opportunities, and those things that truly ensure that the entire family can prosper.

Those are the types of things that we need to do, in addition to lifting up our public schools. You asked a second ago about charter schools. Look, it is a myth that charter schools are better than public schools. They're not.

(APPLAUSE)

DAVIS: Thank you, Secretary.

CASTRO: And so while I'm not categorically against charter schools, I would require more transparency and accountability from them than is required right now.

DAVIS: Senator Booker, coming to you now. It was 65 years ago this year that the Supreme Court outlawed racial segregation in public schools. Yet for millions of students of color today, segregation remains a reality.

Nonwhite districts typically receive $2,200 less per student than those in white districts. This means older books, less access to computers, and often worse outcomes. What is your plan to address segregation? And I'm not just talking about the achievement gap, but I'm talking about the opportunity gap in education.

BOOKER: So, I'm hearing a lot of conversations on the stage that -- and the way we talk about communities of color. Look, I live in a black and brown community below the poverty line. I've lived in public housing projects almost for a decade and saw the anguish of parents who are just so deeply frustrated that they don't have a school that serves their genius.

I think I'm the only person on the stage -- even though I had no formal authority as mayor to run a school system -- I stepped up and took responsibility for our schools, and we produced results. A lot of folks here are talking about raising teacher salary. We actually did it in Newark, New Jersey.

And we didn't stop there. Yeah, we closed poor-performing charter schools, but, dagnabbit, we expanded high-performing charter schools. We were a city that said we need to find local solutions that work for our community. The results speak for themselves. We're now the number-one city in America for Beat the Odds schools, from high poverty to high performance.

Strategies like investing in our children work. And I'll tell you this. I am tired of us thinking about these problems isolated, disconnected from other issues.

That's why my friend, Secretary Castro, is 100 percent right. We are in the reality we are right now because, Mr. Vice President, of overtly racist policies, not 400 years ago, just in my lifetime, that were red-lining communities, disinvesting in communities, and more than just that, my kids are not only struggling with racial segregation and housing and the challenges of underfunded schools, but they're also struggling with environmental injustice.

If you've talked to someone who's a parent of a child has had permanent brain damage because of lead, you'll know this is a national problem, because there's over 3,000 jurisdictions in America where children have more than twice the blood lead levels of Flint, Michigan.

DAVIS: Thank you, Senator.

BOOKER: And so if I'm president of the United States, it is a holistic solution to education, from raising teacher salary, fully funded special education, but combatting the issues of poverty, combatting the issues of racial segregation, combatting the issues of a criminal justice system...

DAVIS: Thank you, Senator.

BOOKER: ... that takes parents away from their kids, and dealing with environmental justice as a major pillar of any climate policy.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Thank you, Linsey. One final question coming up. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

STEPHANOPOULOS: And we are now back now for a final round of questions. One question for each candidate. We're going to go in reverse order from the opening statement.

And, candidates, the question is on the quality of resilience. No president can succeed without resilience. Every president confronts crises, defeats, and mistakes. So I want to ask each of you, what's the most significant professional setback you've had to face? How did you recover from it? And what did you learn from it?

Vice President Biden?

BIDEN: I -- I never counted any professional setback like I have as a serious setback. There's things that are important. Things that are unimportant.

PROTESTERS: (OFF-MIKE)

STEPHANOPOULOS: We're going to clear the protesters now. Just one minute.

Senator Biden, we'll start the clock again.

PROTESTERS: (OFF-MIKE)

BIDEN: I'm sorry.

STEPHANOPOULOS: We're sorry. Go ahead.

BIDEN: There's setbacks, and there's setbacks. And I think the most critical setback that can occur to anyone is to lose -- well, my dad had an expression. He said, Joey, it's not a question of succeeding, whether you get knocked down, it's how quickly you get up. And he said, you never explain and never complain. And then he would go on to say that the only obligation that really matters, the most important thing, is family.

And so I was raised to believe that that was the center of everything, family, and could be judged on based how you treatment your family and how you went from there. And I -- it took -- you know, Kierkegaard said faith sees best in the dark. Right after I got elected, my wife and daughter were killed in an automobile accident, and my two sons were badly injured. And I just had been elected, not sworn in. And I lost my faith for a while. I came back.

And then later, when my son Beau came home from Iraq and -- with a terminal disease, and a year later, year-and-a-half later, losing him was like losing part of my soul.

But the fact is that I learned that the way you deal with it is you deal with finding purpose, purpose in what you do. And that's why I hope -- I hope he's proud of me today, because he wanted to make sure I didn't run for president, but I stayed engaged, because when you get hit badly, whether you're losing a job or you're raising a family like my dad, where you have to make that longest walk up the stairs to tell your kid you can't live here anymore, Dad lost his job, you know, we've all been through that, in some form or another.

And it just takes -- it just -- for me, the way I've dealt with it is finding purpose. And my purpose is to do what I've always tried to do and stay engaged in public policy. And -- but there's a lot of people been through a lot worse than I have who get up every single morning, put their feet one foot in front of another, without the help I had. There are real heroes out there. Some real heroes.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Thank you, Mr. Vice President. Senator Warren?

(APPLAUSE)

WARREN: I mentioned earlier, I've known what I wanted to be since second grade. I wanted to be a public school teacher. And I invested early. I used to line my dollies up and teach school. I had a reputation for being tough but fair.

(LAUGHTER)

By the time I graduated from high school, my family didn't have money for a college application, much less to send me off to four years at a university. And my story, like a lot of stories, has a lot of twists and turns. Got a scholarship, and then at 19, I got married, dropped out of school, took a minimum wage job, thought my dream was over.

I got a chance down the road at the University of Houston. And I made it as a special needs teacher. I still remember that first year as a special needs teacher. I could tell you what those babies looked like. I had 4- to 6-year-olds.

But at the end of that first year, I was visibly pregnant. And back in the day, that meant that the principal said to me -- wished me luck and hired someone else for the job.

So, there I am, I'm at home, I got a baby, I can't have a job. What am I going to do? Here's resilience. I said, I'll go to law school. And the consequence was -- I practiced law for about 45 minutes and then went back to my first love, which was teaching.

But it let me get into fights. It gave me new tools. And the reason I'm standing here today is because I got back up, I fought back. I know what's broken. I want to be in the fight to fix it in America. That's why I'm here.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Thank you, Senator.

(APPLAUSE)

Senator Sanders?

SANDERS: Resilience, to me, means growing up in a rent-controlled apartment in Brooklyn, New York, the son of an immigrant who came to this country without a nickel in his pocket.

Professional resilience means to me, George, running for U.S. Senate in Vermont and getting 1 percent of the vote, running for governor and getting 2 percent of the vote, finally becoming mayor of Burlington, Vermont, with a 10-vote margin.

What resilience means to me is that throughout my political career, I have taken on virtually every powerful special interest in this country, whether it is Wall Street, whether it is the insurance industry, whether it is the pharmaceutical industry whose corruption and greed is killing people today, whether it is a military industrial complex or a prison industrial complex.

And I feel confident that given a lifelong record of taking on powerful special interests, of standing up for the working families of this country, that I will be able to take on the greed and corruption of the corporate elite and create a government and an economy that work for all of us, not just the 1 percent.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Thank you, Senator Sanders.

Senator Harris?

HARRIS: You know, every office I've run for, whether it be district attorney or attorney general, I was told each time, it can't be done. They said nobody like you has done it before, nobody's ready for you. When I ran for D.A., I won and became the first black woman elected D.A. in a state of 40 million people, in San Francisco.

When I ran for attorney general of California, I was elected -- because I didn't listen. And I was the only black elected -- woman black elected attorney general in the state -- in the country.

And each time, people would say, it's not your time, it's not your turn, it's going to be too difficult, they're not ready for you, and I didn't listen. And a part of it probably comes from the fact that I was raised by a mother who said many things that were life lessons for me, including don't you let anybody ever tell you who you are. You tell them who you are.

(APPLAUSE)

And when I look around the town halls that we do in this race for president of the United States, and I look at the -- the meetings that we do and the community meetings, and I see these little girls and boys, sometimes even brought by their fathers, and they bring them to me and I talk to them during these events, and they smile and they're full of joy, and their fathers tell them, see, don't you ever listen and let anybody ever tell you what you can or cannot be. You have to believe in what can be unburdened by what has been.

(APPLAUSE)

STEPHANOPOULOS: Senator Harris, thank you very much.

Mayor Buttigieg?

BUTTIGIEG: You know, as a military officer serving under "don't ask/don't tell," and as an elected official in the state of Indiana when Mike Pence was governor, at a certain point, when it came to professional setbacks, I had to wonder whether just acknowledging who I was, was going to be the ultimate career-ending professional setback.

I came back from the deployment and realized that you only get to live one life. And I was not interested in not knowing what it was like to be in love any longer, so I just came out. I had no idea what kind of professional setback it would be, especially because inconveniently it was an election year in my socially conservative community.

What happened was that, when I trusted voters to judge me based on the job that I did for them, they decided to trust me and re-elected me with 80 percent of the vote. And what I learned was that trust can be reciprocated and that part of how you can win and deserve to win is to know what's worth more to you than winning.

And I think that's what we need in the presidency right now. We have to know what we are about. And this election is not about any of us up here. It is not about this president, even though it's hard to talk of anything else some days.

It's about the people who trust us with their lives, a kid wondering if we're actually going to make their schools safe when they've learned active shooter drills before they've learned to read, a generation wondering we will actually get the job done on climate change. And if we hold to that, then it doesn't matter what happens to each of us professionally. Together, we will win a better era for our country.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Mayor Buttigieg, thank you.

(APPLAUSE)

Mr. Yang?

YANG: I was an unhappy lawyer for five whole months and I left to start a business. And I'm going to share with you all one of the secrets to entrepreneurship. If you want to start something, tell everyone you know you're going to do it. And then you don't have a choice. You put your heart and soul into that. And even though I did that, my company flopped, had its mini-rise and maximum fall.

I lost investors, hundreds of thousands of dollars, still owed $100,000 in school debt. My parents still told people I was a lawyer. It was a little easier.

So I remember lying on my floor looking up wondering, how did it come to this? Eventually, I picked myself back up. I kept working in small growth companies for another 10 years and eventually had some success.

Then after I did have some success, I still remembered how hard it was, how isolating it was, how it feels like your friends no longer want to spend time with you. And so I spent seven years starting and running a nonprofit that helped train young entrepreneurs around the country, including Sean Nguyen (ph), who's here in the audience tonight, who left his gilded Wall Street job to become a food entrepreneur in San Antonio. Sean, I hope I made the process a little bit easier for you than it was for me.

But the goal of my campaign is to make this an economy that allows us to live our human values and aspirations.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Thank you. Thank you, Mr. Yang.

(APPLAUSE)

Senator Booker?

BOOKER: So my biggest professional setback is embarrassing because a lot of folks know about it. I, with a bunch of tenant leaders in Newark, New Jersey, in 2002 took on the political machine and, boy, did they fight back. I had tires on my car slashed. Our campaign offices were broken into. My phones were tapped. It became a spectacle. And we lost that election.

And here's a bit of advice to everybody. If you're going to have a spectacular failure, have a documentary team there to capture it, because it made for an Oscar-nominated documentary called "Street Fight." But then, unfortunately, another setback. It lost in the Oscars to a movie called "March of the Dagnab Penguins," for crying out loud.

(LAUGHTER)

The people in my community, living in the projects, told me, don't give up on the people and the people won't give up on you. Create bigger and bolder coalitions, and you're going to win. And you know what? We came back four years later and won the largest lopsided victory in our city's history.

But more than that, the lesson was there. We didn't give up. We were taking on America's toughest problems, from crime to poverty, and we transformed our city, creating tens of thousands of new jobs, the biggest economic expansion in our city, and as I said before, turned around our school system.

There's more work to do, but I haven't given up on the people. I still live in that community. But this is a big lesson. My staff and my friends and my community told me, if you want to go fast, you may have won the mayor's race, but that's not what life is about. There's an old African saying that says, if you want to go fast, go alone. But if you want to go far, go together.

The lesson I learned of resilience is to trust people, because the power of the people is always greater than the people in power. And the test of America right now is not a referendum on Donald Trump, it's a referendum on us and who we are and who we're going to be together. We need to use this moment in history to unite in common cause and common purpose, and then there's nothing we can't do together as a nation.

(APPLAUSE)

STEPHANOPOULOS: Senator Booker, thank you.

Congressman O'Rourke?

O'ROURKE: Thank you, George. Everything that I've learned about resilience I've learned from my hometown of El Paso, Texas. In the face of this act of terror that was directed at our community, in large part by the president of the United States, that killed 22 people and injured many more, we were not defeated by that, nor were we defined by that.

The very thing that drew that killer to us is the very thing that helps us set the example for the rest of this country. We don't see our differences as disqualifying or dangerous. We see them as foundational to our success, to our strength, and to our security, and to our safety.

Yesterday, I was visiting with one of those victims. He's the head coach of the Fusion. This is a girls soccer team of 10- and 11-year-old girls. His name is Luis. He was shot in the legs multiple times. He was shot in the side multiple times. He's still healing from his wounds in the hospital, but from his hospital bed, he's still trying to coach the Fusion girls soccer team.

Memo, his co-coach, is still fighting for his life right now at Del Sol Hospital. Those two men, Jessica and Marcella (ph), their wives, they exemplify resilience to me. And when we end this scourge of gun violence in this country, when we finally confront the racism that exists in America, when we're defined not by our fears, but instead by our aspirations and our ambitions, it will be, in large part, I think, thanks to the example that El Paso has set.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Congressman, thank you.

Senator Klobuchar?

(APPLAUSE)

KLOBUCHAR: Thank you. My challenges and resilience have brought me up here. I grew up with a dad who struggled with alcoholism his whole life. And after his third DWI, he had a choice between jail and treatment. He chose treatment, with his faith, with his friends, with our family. And in his words, he was pursued by grace. And that made me interested in public service, because I feel like everyone should have that same right, to be pursued by grace.

I then got married. My husband's out there somewhere, hopefully smiling, and our daughter. When our daughter was born, I had this expectation, we're going to have this perfect, perfect birth, and she was really sick, and she couldn't swallow. And she was in and out of hospitals for a year-and-a-half.

But when she was born, they had a rule in place that you got kicked out of the hospital in 24 hours. She was in intensive care, and I was kicked out. And I thought, this could never happen to any other mom again.

So I went to the legislature, our state legislator, not an elected official, a mom, and I advocated for one of the first laws in the country guaranteeing new moms and their babies a 48-hour hospital stay. And when they tried to delay the implementation of that law, I brought six pregnant friends to the conference committee so they outnumbered the lobbyists 2 to 1. And when they said, when should it take place, they all raised their hands and said now.

That is what motivated me to go into public service. And when I got to that gridlock of Washington, D.C., I got to work and pass over 100 bills, and I know a lot of my friends here from the left, but remember, I am from the middle of the country. And I believe, if we're going to get things done, that we have to have someone leading the ticket with grit, someone who's going to not just change the policies, but change the tone in the country, and someone who believes in America and believes it from their heart because of where they came from, that everyone should have that same opportunity.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Senator, thank you.

Secretary Castro?

CASTRO: And thank you, George, to Jorge, to Linsey, and to David, and to all of y'all for tuning in tonight. In many ways, I shouldn't be here on this stage. You know, Castro is my mother's name and was my grandmother's name before her. I grew up in a single-parent household on the west side of San Antonio, going to the public schools. Eventually, my brother, Joaquin, and I became the first in our family to become professionals.

And when I got home, I took a job at the biggest law firm in town. I was making $100,000 a year in the year 2000. A few months later, I got elected to the San Antonio City Council. And the city council at the time was only paying $1,040 a year, so everybody had another job. And my job was at the law firm.

Well, a few months after I got elected, the law firm got a client and the client wanted those of us on the city council to vote for a land deal. The land deal was that they wanted to build a golf course over our water supply, because we relied on an underground aquifer. I didn't think the environmental protection plan was strong enough, so I wanted to vote against it and my constituents wanted me to vote against it.

But under the ethics rules for lawyers in Texas -- because believe it or not, lawyers have ethics rules -- you can't just go against the interest of a client. So I was stuck.

On the one hand, I wanted to do the right thing. On the other hand, my livelihood, my student loans, my new house payment, my car payment, depended on me shutting up, being conflicted out.

So, one day, I walked into my law firm and I quit my job. And then I went and I voted against that land deal on the city council.

(APPLAUSE)

And, you know, it was the first test that I had, and I think back to that, because oftentimes we think of politics and you think of politics as dirty or corrupting. I wondered, before I went in it, whether it was change who I was. And I was proud that when that first test came that I stood up for the people that I was there to represent, and not for big special interests.

There's nobody that gets tested more in a position of public trust than the president of the United States. This president has failed that test. But I want you to know that if you elect me president, I won't. I won't serve anybody except you and your family. And together, we can create an American that's better than ever. Thank you very much.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Thank you, Secretary Castro. Thank you to all of our candidates. It was a great debate. I think we learned a lot tonight thanks to you. Thanks to Texas Southern University for hosting us tonight. It was a great crowd, as well, tonight, thanks to you.

(APPLAUSE)

Thanks to everyone at home. The debate is over. Our coverage continues with Tom Llamas.

[END]


CNN Democratic Party Presidential Debate Day 1

July 30, 2019

BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT

TAPPER: Live from Detroit, it's the Democratic presidential debate.

BASH: The stage is set. The candidates are waiting in the wings.

LEMON: And this audience is eager to hear what they have to say.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ANNOUNCER: Right now, the road to the White House drives through Detroit. The Democrats are in Michigan for a premiere two-night event, a defining moment that will determine who gets left behind and who takes on President Trump.

WARREN: This is our chance.

SANDERS: There is no middle ground.

BUTTIGIEG: Don't let anybody tell you that freedom is a conservative value. It is an American value.

ANNOUNCER: Tonight, a fight for the heart of the party. Senator Bernie Sanders, determined to seize his second chance at the nomination.

SANDERS: It is a question of getting our priorities right.

ANNOUNCER: Going head-to-head with Senator Elizabeth warren, long- time friends fighting for the same cause and the same voters.

WARREN: We should dream big, fight hard, and win.

ANNOUNCER: The progressives at center stage defending their ideals against a crowd of more moderate challengers. Mayor Pete Buttigieg and former Texas Congressman Beto O'Rourke look to translate fresh fame into national support.

O'ROURKE: I'm running to serve you as the next president of the United States of America.

ANNOUNCER: Four candidates will put their heartland values on display. Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar.

KLOBUCHAR: Let's get to work and win this election.

ANNOUNCER: Former Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper.

HICKENLOOPER: I'm an optimist.

ANNOUNCER: Ohio Congressman Tim Ryan.

RYAN: It's time for us to unify this country.

ANNOUNCER: And Montana Governor Steve Bullock in his first presidential debate.

BULLOCK: We're here to make sure that Donald Trump is a one-term president.

ANNOUNCER: It's a critical test for former Congressman John Delaney.

DELANEY: We can do it.

ANNOUNCER: And Washington outsider Marianne Williamson.

WILLIAMSON: This time we will win with love.

ANNOUNCER: Now the stage is set for the biggest presidential field in history to campaign for change in a state they want to take back from Trump.

BUTTIGIEG: There is no such thing as a permanently red state.

O'ROURKE: This democracy must come together. We must repair it.

SANDERS: There is nothing that will stop us.

WARREN: Democracy is not for sale.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(APPLAUSE)

TAPPER: Good evening from the historic Fox Theater in downtown Detroit, Michigan. This is the CNN Democratic presidential debate. Welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world watching us on CNN, CNN International, CNN en Espanol, CNN.com, and listening on SiriusXM and the Westwood One Radio Network.

And a special welcome to the U.S. military members, diplomatic corps, and their families serving overseas and watching on the American Forces Network.

I'm Jake Tapper, anchor of "The Lead" and "State of the Union," along with CNN's chief political correspondent Dana Bash, and Don Lemon, anchor of "CNN Tonight."

BASH: We are looking forward to moderating one of the largest gatherings of Democratic presidential candidates. In back-to-back debates, 20 candidates were divided in two groups by random draw earlier this month. The second group of 10 will appear on the stage at this time tomorrow night. The first 10 will make their entrance right now.

LEMON: So please welcome, from Vermont, Senator Bernie Sanders.

(APPLAUSE)

From Massachusetts, Senator Elizabeth Warren.

(APPLAUSE)

From South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg.

(APPLAUSE)

From Texas, former Congressman Beto O'Rourke.

(APPLAUSE)

From Minnesota, Senator Amy Klobuchar.

(APPLAUSE)

From Colorado, former Governor John Hickenlooper.

(APPLAUSE)

From Ohio, Congressman Tim Ryan.

(APPLAUSE)

From Maryland, former Congressman John Delaney.

(APPLAUSE)

From Texas, author Marianne Williamson.

(APPLAUSE)

From Montana, Governor Steve Bullock.

(APPLAUSE)

Ladies and gentlemen, the Democratic candidates for president of the United States.

(APPLAUSE)

BASH: We are looking forward to moderating one of the largest gatherings of Democratic presidential candidates. In back-to-back debates, 20 candidates were divided in two groups by random draw earlier this month. The second group of 10 will appear on the stage at this time tomorrow night. The first 10 will make their entrance right now.

LEMON: So please welcome, from Vermont, Senator Bernie Sanders.

(APPLAUSE)

From Massachusetts, Senator Elizabeth Warren.

(APPLAUSE)

From South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg.

(APPLAUSE)

From Texas, former Congressman Beto O'Rourke.

(APPLAUSE)

From Minnesota, Senator Amy Klobuchar.

(APPLAUSE)

From Colorado, former Governor John Hickenlooper.

(APPLAUSE)

From Ohio, Congressman Tim Ryan.

(APPLAUSE)

From Maryland, former Congressman John Delaney.

(APPLAUSE)

From Texas, author Marianne Williamson.

(APPLAUSE)

From Montana, Governor Steve Bullock.

(APPLAUSE)

Ladies and gentlemen, the Democratic candidates for president of the United States.

(APPLAUSE)

(APPLAUSE)

TAPPER: Now please rise for the presentation of colors from the James Europe VFW Post 2233 and District Four Honor Guard. And please remain standing for our national anthem, performed by Detroit's own Pastor Marvin Winans and the Perfecting Church Choir.

CHOIR: (SINGS THE NATIONAL ANTHEM)

LEMON: The stage is set. The debate will begin right after this short break.

(APPLAUSE)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(APPLAUSE)

TAPPER: Welcome back to the CNN Democratic presidential debate candidates. We're about to begin opening statements. But first, a review of the ground rules that your campaigns agreed to earlier this month to ensure a fair debate. As moderators, we will attempt to guide the discussion.

You will each receive one minute to answer questions, 30 seconds for responses and rebuttals and 15 additional seconds if a moderator asks for a clarification. The timing lights will remind you of these limits. Please respect that and please refrain from interrupting your fellow candidates during their allotted time. A candidate infringing on another candidate's time will have his or her time reduced.

We also want to ask our audience inside the historic Fox Theater to remain silent when the candidates are actively debating. The candidates need to be able to hear the questions and hear one another.

BASH: Time, now, for opening statements. You'll each receive one minute.

Governor Steve Bullock, please begin.

BULLOCK: Thanks, Dana,

I come from a state where a lot of people voted for Donald Trump. Let's not kid ourselves. He will be hard to beat. Yet watching that last debate, folks seemed more concerned about scoring points or outdoing each other with wish-list economics, than making sure Americans know we hear their voices and will help their lives.

Look, I'm a pro-choice, pro-union, populist Democrat who won three elections in a red state. Not by compromising our values, but by getting stuff done. That's how we win back the places we lost: showing up, listening, focusing on the challenges of everyday Americans. That farmer getting hit right now by Trump's trade wars, that teacher

working a second job, just to afford her insulin. They can't wait for a revolution. Their problems are in the here and now.

I'm a progressive, emphasis on progress, and I'm running for president to get stuff done for all those Americans Washington has left behind.

BASH: Marianne Williamson?

WILLIAMSON: Thank you.

In 1776 our founders brought forth on this planet an extraordinary new possibility. It was the idea that people, no matter who they were, would simply have the possibility of thriving. We have not ever totally actualized this ideal. But at the times when we have done best, we have tried. And when forces have opposed them, generations of Americans have risen up and pushed back against those forces.

We did that with abolition and with women's suffrage and with civil rights. And now it is time for a generation of Americans to rise up again, for an amoral economic system has turned short-term profits for huge multi-national corporations into a false god. And this new false god takes precedence over the safety and the health and the well-being of we the American people and the people of the world and the planet on which we live.

Conventional politics will not solve this problem because conventional politics is part of the problem. We the American people must rise up and do what we do best and create a new possibility, say no to what we don't want and yes to what we know can be true.

I'm Marianne Williamson, and that's why I'm running for president.

BASH: Congressman John Delaney?

DELANEY: Folks, we have a choice. We can go down the road that Senator Sanders and Senator Warren want to take us, which is with bad policies like Medicare for all, free everything and impossible promises that will turn off independent voters and get Trump re-elected. That's what happened with McGovern. That's what happened with Mondale. That's what happened with Dukakis. Or we can nominate someone with new ideas to create universal health care for every American with choice, someone who wants to unify our country and grow the economy and create jobs everywhere. And then we win the White House.

I'm the product of the American dream. I believe in it. I'm the grandson of immigrants, the son of a construction worker. My wife April and I have four amazing daughters. I was the youngest CEO in the history of the New York Stock Exchange, created thousands of jobs and then served in Congress. That's the type of background -- and my platform is about real solutions, not impossible promises, that can beat Trump and govern. Thank you. BASH: Congressman Tim Ryan?

RYAN: America is great, but not everyone can access America's greatness. The systems that were built to lift us up are now suffocating the American people. The economic system that used to create $30, $40, $50 an hour jobs that you can have a good, solid middle-class living now force us to have two or three jobs just to get by.

Most families, when they go to sit at the kitchen table to do their bills, they get a pit in the middle of their stomach. We deserve better. And the political system is broken, too, because the entire conversation is about left or right, where are you at on the political system? And I'm here to say this isn't about left or right. This is about new and better. And it's not about reforming old systems. It's about building new systems.

And tonight, I will offer solutions that are bold, that are realistic and that are a clean break from the past.

BASH: Governor John Hickenlooper?

HICKENLOOPER: Last year Democrats flipped 40 Republican seats in the House, and not one of those 40 Democrats supported the policies of our front-runners at center stage.

Now, I share their progressive values, but I'm a little more pragmatic. I was out of work for two whole years until I started what became the largest brew pub in America. And I learned the small -- small business lessons of how to provide service and teamwork and became a top mayor, and as governor of Colorado created the number one economy in the country.

We also expanded health care and reproductive rights. We attacked climate change head-on. We beat the NRA. We did not build massive government expansions.

Now, some will promise a bill tonight or a plan for tonight. What we focused on was making sure that we got people together to get things done, to provide solutions to problems, to make sure that we -- that we worked together and created jobs. That's how we're going to beat Donald Trump. That's how we're going to win Michigan and the country.

BASH: Senator Amy Klobuchar?

KLOBUCHAR: Let's get real. Tonight we debate, but ultimately, we have to beat Donald Trump. My background, it's a little different than his. I stand before you today as a granddaughter of an iron ore miner, as a daughter of a union teacher and a newspaper man, as the first woman elected to the U.S. Senate from the state of Minnesota and a candidate for president of the United States.

That's because we come from a country of shared dreams, and I have had it with the racist attacks. I have had it with a president that says one thing on TV that has your back and then you get home and you see those charges for prescription drugs and cable and college. You're going to hear a lot of promises up here, but I'm going to tell

you this. Yes, I have bold ideas, but they are grounded in reality. And, yes, I will make some simple promises. I can win this. I'm from the Midwest. And I have won every race, every place, every time. And I will govern with integrity, the integrity worthy of the extraordinary people of this nation.

BASH: Congressman Beto O'Rourke?

O'ROURKE: I'm running for president because I believe that America discovers its greatness at its moments of greatest need. This moment will define us forever, and I believe that in this test America will be redeemed.

In the face of cruelty and fear from a lawless president, we will choose to be the nation that stands up for the human rights of everyone, for the rule of law for everyone, and a democracy that serves everyone. Whatever our differences, we know that, before we are anything else, we are Americans first, and we will ensure that each one of us is well enough and educated enough and paid enough to realize our full potential.

We will meet these challenges here at home, and we will lead the world in those that we face abroad, successfully confronting endless war and climate change. At this moment of truth, let us pursue our national promise and make a more perfect union of everyone, by everyone, and for everyone.

BASH: Mayor Pete Buttigieg?

BUTTIGIEG: I'm running for president because our country is running out of time. It is even bigger than the emergency of the Trump presidency. Ask yourself how somebody like Donald Trump ever gets within cheating distance of the Oval Office in the first place.

It doesn't happen unless America is already in a crisis -- an economy that's not working for everyone, endless war, climate change. We have lived this in my industrial Midwestern hometown. My generation has lived this as long as we have been alive.

And it's only accelerating. Science tells us we have 12 years before we reach the horizon of catastrophe when it comes to our climate. By 2030, the average house in this country will cost half a million bucks and a women's right to choose may not even exist.

We are not going to be able to meet this moment by recycling the same arguments, policies, and politicians that have dominated Washington for as long as I have been alive. We've got to summon the courage to walk away from the past and do something different. This is our shot. That is why I'm running for president.

BASH: Senator Elizabeth Warren?

WARREN: Donald Trump disgraces the office of president every single day. And anyone on this stage tonight or tomorrow night would be a far better president. I promise, no matter who our candidate is, I will work my heart out to beat Donald Trump and to elect a Democratic Congress.

But our problems didn't start with Donald Trump. Donald Trump is part of a corrupt, rigged system that has helped the wealthy and the well- connected and kicked dirt in the faces of everyone else.

We're not going to solve the urgent problems that we face with small ideas and spinelessness. We're going to solve them by being the Democratic Party of big structural change. We need to be the party that fights for our democracy and our economy to work for everyone.

You know, I know what's broken in this country, I know how to fix it, and I will fight to make it happen.

BASH: Senator Bernie Sanders?

SANDERS: Tonight in America, as we speak, 87 million Americans are uninsured or underinsured, but the health care industry made $100 billion in profits last year.

Tonight, as we speak, right now, 500,000 Americans are sleeping out on the street, and yet companies like Amazon that made billions in profits did not pay one nickel in federal income tax.

Tonight, half of the American people are living paycheck to paycheck, and yet 49 percent of all new income goes to the top 1 percent.

SANDERS: Tonight, the fossil fuel industry continues to receive hundreds of billions of dollars in subsidies and tax breaks while they destroy this planet. We have got to take on Trump's racism, his sexism, xenophobia and come together in an unprecedented grassroots movement, to not only defeat Trump but to transform our economy and our government.

TAPPER: Thank you, Senator Sanders.

Let's start the debate with the number-one issue for Democratic voters, health care. And Senator Sanders, let's start with you. You support Medicare for all, which would eventually take private health insurance away from more than 150 million Americans, in exchange for government-sponsored health care for everyone.

Congressman Delaney just referred to it as bad policy. And previously, he has called the idea "political suicide that will just get President Trump re-elected." What do you say to Congressman Delaney?

SANDERS: You're wrong.

(LAUGHTER)

(APPLAUSE)

Right now, we have a dysfunctional health care system: 87 million uninsured or underinsured, $500,000 -- 500,000 Americans every year, going bankrupt because of medical bills, 30,000 people dying while the health care industry makes tens of billions of dollars in profit. Five minutes away from me and John is a country, it's called Canada.

They guarantee health care to every man, woman and child as a human right. They spend half of what we spend. And by the way, when you end up in a hospital in Canada, you come out with no bill at all. Health care is a human right, not a privilege. I believe that, I will fight for that.

(APPLAUSE)

TAPPER: Thank you, Senator Sanders.

Congressman Delaney?

DELANEY: Well, I'm right about this. We can create a universal health care system to give everyone basic health care for free, and I have a proposal to do it. But we don't have to go around and be the party of subtraction, and telling half the country, who has private health insurance, that their health insurance is illegal.

My dad, the union electrician, loved the health care he got from the IBEW. He would never want someone to take that away. Half of Medicare beneficiaries now have Medicare Advantage, which is private insurance, or supplemental plans. It's also bad policy. It'll underfund the industry, many hospitals will close...

TAPPER: Thank you, Congressman.

DELANEY: ... and it's bad policy.

TAPPER: Senator Sanders, I want to -- I...

WARREN (?): My name was also mentioned in this.

TAPPER: We're going to come to you in one second, but let me go to Senator Sanders right now.

Senator Sanders?

SANDERS: The fact of the matter is, tens of millions of people lose their health insurance every single year when they change jobs or their employer changes that insurance. If you want stability in the health care system, if you want a system which gives you freedom of choice with regard to a doctor or a hospital, which is a system which will not bankrupt you, the answer is to get rid of the profiteering of the drug companies...

TAPPER: Thank you, Senator.

SANDERS: ... and the insurance companies, move to Medicare for all.

(CROSSTALK)

TAPPER: Congressman Delaney?

DELANEY: But now he's talking about a different issue. What I'm talking about is really simple. We should deal with the tragedy of the (ph) uninsured and give everyone health care as a right. But why do we got to be the party of taking something away from people?

WARREN: No. No one is the party...

(CROSSTALK)

TAPPER: Hold on one second, Senator.

DELANEY: That's what they're running on. They're running on...

WARREN: No.

DELANEY: ... telling half the country that your health insurance is illegal. It says it right in the bill.

TAPPER: All right, thank you.

DELANEY: We don't have to do that. We can give everyone health care...

TAPPER (?): OK.

DELANEY: ... and allow people to have choice. That's the American way.

TAPPER: Thank you, Congressman.

Senator Warren?

WARREN: So, look. Let's -- let's be clear about this. We are the Democrats. We are not about trying to take away health care from anyone. That's what the Republicans are trying to do.

(APPLAUSE)

And we should stop using Republican talking points in order to talk with each other about how to best provide that health care.

Now, I want to have a chance to tell the story about my friend Ady Barkan. Ady is 35 years old. He has a wife, Rachael, he has a cute little boy named Carl. He also has ALS and it's killing him. Ady has health insurance, good health insurance...

TAPPER: Senator?

WARREN: ... and it's not nearly enough.

TAPPER: Senator? I want to -- I'm coming right...

WARREN: No, this is important.

TAPPER: ... I'm staying with you, I'm staying with you. But you exceeded your time. So let me just stay with you on Medicare for all.

WARREN: All right.

TAPPER: At the last debate, you said you're, quote, "with Bernie on Medicare for all." Now, Senator Sanders has said that people in the middle class will pay more in taxes to help pay for Medicare for all, though that will be offset by the elimination of insurance premiums and other costs. Are you also, quote, "with Bernie" on Medicare for all when it comes to raising taxes on middle-class Americans to pay for it?

WARREN: So giant corporations and billionaires are going to pay more. Middle-class families are going to pay less out of pocket for their health care. And I'd like to finish talking about Ady, the guy who has ALS...

(CROSSTALK)

WARREN: This isn't funny. This is somebody who has health insurance and is dying. And every month, he has about $9,000 in medical bills that his insurance company won't cover. His wife, Rachael, is on the phone for hours and hours and hours, begging the insurance company, "Please cover what the doctors say he needs."

He talks about what it's like to go online with thousands of other people to beg friends, family, and strangers for money so he can cover his medical expenses.

The basic profit model of an insurance company is taking as much money as you can in premiums and pay out as little as possible in health care coverage. That is not working for Americans...

TAPPER: Thank you.

WARREN: ... across this country...

TAPPER: Thank you, Senator.

WARREN: Medicare for All will fix that, and that's why I'll fight for it.

TAPPER: Thank you, Senator. Just a point of clarification...

(APPLAUSE)

... in 15 extra seconds, would you raise taxes on the middle class to pay for Medicare for All, offset, obviously, by the elimination of insurance premiums, yes or no?

WARREN: Costs will go up for billionaires and go up for corporations. For middle-class families, costs -- total costs -- will go down.

(CROSSTALK)

TAPPER: Governor Bullock, I want to bring you in. You do not support Medicare for All. How do you respond to Senator Warren?

BULLOCK: No, health care is so personal to all of us. Never forget when my 12-year-old son had a heart attack within 24 hours of his life. Had to be life-flighted to Salt Lake City. But because we had good insurance, he's here with me tonight. At the end of the day, I'm not going to support any plan that rips

away quality health care from individuals. This is an example of wish list economics. It used to be just Republicans who wanted to repeal and replace. Now many Democrats do, as well. We can get there with a public option, negotiating drug prices, ending...

TAPPER: Thank you, Governor Bullock.

I want to bring in Mayor Buttigieg. On the topic of whether or not the middle class should pay higher taxes in exchange for guaranteed health care and the elimination of insurance premiums, how do you respond, Mayor?

BUTTIGIEG: So we don't have to stand up here speculating about whether the public option will be better or a Medicare for All environment will be better than the corporate options. We can put it to the test.

That's the concept of my Medicare for All Who Want It proposal. That way, if people like me are right that the public alternative is going to be not only more comprehensive, but more affordable than any of the corporate options around there, we'll see Americans walk away from the corporate options into that Medicare option, and it will become Medicare for All without us having to kick anybody off their insurance.

(CROSSTALK)

TAPPER: Just 15 seconds on the clarification. You are willing to raise taxes on middle-class Americans in order to have universal coverage with the disappearance of insurance premiums, yes or no?

BUTTIGIEG: I think you can buy into it. That's the idea of Medicare for All Who Want It. Look, this is a distinction without a difference, whether you're paying the same money in the form of taxes or premiums. Look, in this country, if you have health coverage -- if you don't have health coverage, you're paying too much for care, and if you do have health coverage, you're paying too much for care.

TAPPER: Thank you, Mayor Buttigieg. I want to bring in Congressman O'Rourke on the topic of whether the middle class should pay higher taxes in exchange for universal coverage and the elimination of insurance premiums. What's your response?

O'ROURKE: The answer is no. The middle class will not pay more in taxes in order to ensure that every American is guaranteed world-class health care. I think we're being offered a false choice, some who want to improve the Affordable Care Act at the margins, others who want a Medicare for All program that will force people off of private insurance, I have a better path.

Medicare for America. Everyone who is uninsured is enrolled in Medicare tomorrow. Those who are insufficiently insured are enrolled...

TAPPER: Congressman...

O'ROURKE: ... in Medicare...

TAPPER: Just a 15 seconds...

O'ROURKE: And those who have employer-sponsored insurance...

TAPPER: Who is offering -- who is offering a false choice here?

O'ROURKE: Jake, this is important.

TAPPER: Who's offering a false choice here?

O'ROURKE: You have some. Governor Bullock, who's said that we will improve the Affordable Care Act at the margins with a public option. You have others to my right who are talking about taking away people's choice for the private insurance they have or members of unions. I was listening to Dee Taylor (ph) in Nevada...

TAPPER: Thank you, Congressman. Governor Bullock...

(CROSSTALK)

TAPPER: ... he just said you're offering a false choice, sir.

BULLOCK: Congressman, not at all. You know, it took us decades and false starts to get the Affordable Care Act. So let's actually build on it. A public option, allowing anyone to buy in.

You know, we pay more for prescription drugs than any place actually in the world. We got nothing to show for it. Negotiate prescription drug prices. End surprise medical billing. That's the way that we can get there without disrupting the lives of 160 million people that like their employer-sponsored health insurance.

TAPPER: Congressman O'Rourke, you can respond. Congressman O'Rourke, you can respond.

O'ROURKE: Every estimate that I've seen of expanding ACA even through a public option still leaves millions of people uninsured and also means that people are not guaranteed the health care that they need, as the example that Senator Warren showed us.

Our plan ensures that everyone is enrolled in Medicare or can keep their employer-sponsored insurance. When we listen to the American people -- and this is what they want us to do -- they want everyone covered, but they want to be able to maintain choice...

TAPPER: Thank you, Congressman.

O'ROURKE: ... and our plan does that.

TAPPER: Thank you, Congressman. I want to bring in Senator Klobuchar.

Senator Warren at the beginning of the night said that Democrats cannot bring -- cannot win the White House with small ideas and spinelessness. In the last debate, she said the politicians who are not supporting Medicare for All simply lack the will to fight for it. You do not support Medicare for All. Is Senator Warren correct? Do you just not lack the will to fight for it?

KLOBUCHAR: That is incorrect. I just have a better way to do this. And in one of my first debates, Jake, I was called a street fighter from the iron range by my opponent. And when she said it, I said thank you.

So this is what I think we need to get done. We need the public option. That's what Barack Obama wanted, and it would bring health care costs down for everyone.

And by the way, I just don't buy this. I've heard some of these candidates say that it's somehow not moral if you -- not moral to not have that public option. Well, Senator Sanders was actually on a public option bill last year, and that was, Bernie, the Medicaid public option bill that Senator Schatz introduced.

Clearly, this is the easiest way to move forward quickly, and I want to get things done. People can't wait. I've got my friend, Nicole, out there whose son was actually died trying to ration his insulin as a restaurant manager. And he died because he didn't have enough money to pay for it.

TAPPER: Senator...

SANDERS: Jake.

KLOBUCHAR: And Bernie and I have worked on pharmaceutical issues together.

TAPPER: Thank you, Senator.

KLOBUCHAR: We can get less expensive drugs.

TAPPER: Senator Sanders -- I'm going to go to Senator Sanders, then Senator Warren, because you both were mentioned. Senator Sanders?

SANDERS: As the author -- as the author of the Medicare bill, let me clear up one thing. As people talk about having insurance, there are millions of people who have insurance, they can't go to the doctor, and when they come out of the hospital, they go bankrupt. All right?

(APPLAUSE)

What I am talking about and others up here are talking about is no deductibles and no co-payments. And, Jake, your question is a Republican talking point. At the end of the day...

(APPLAUSE)

And by the way -- and by the way -- by the way -- the health care industry will be advertising tonight on this program.

(APPLAUSE)

TAPPER: Thank you, Senator. Senator Warren, it's your turn.

SANDERS: Oh, can I complete that, please? TAPPER: Your time is up. Thirty seconds.

SANDERS: They will be advertising tonight with that talking point.

TAPPER: Senator Warren?

WARREN: So we have to think of this in terms of the big frame. What's the problem in Washington? It works great for the wealthy. It works great for those who can hire armies of lobbyists and lawyers. And it keeps working great for the insurance companies and the drug companies.

What it's going to take is real courage to fight back against them. These insurance companies do not have a God-given right to make $23 billion in profits and suck it out of our health care system.

(APPLAUSE)

TAPPER: Thank you, Senator.

WARREN: They do not have a God-given right...

TAPPER: Thank you, Senator.

(APPLAUSE)

KLOBUCHAR: On page eight of the bill it says...

WARREN: ... to put...

(CROSSTALK)

TAPPER: I want to let Congressman Delaney in.

(CROSSTALK)

TAPPER: Thank you, Senator. If we could all just stick to the rules of the time, that would be great. Congressman Delaney?

DELANEY: So I was -- I'm the only one on this stage who actually has experience in the health care business. And with all due respect, I don't think my colleagues understand the business. We have the public option, which is great.

SANDERS: It's not a business!

(APPLAUSE)

DELANEY: The public option is great, but it doesn't go far enough. It doesn't go far enough. I'm proposing universal health care, where everyone gets health care as a basic human right for free, but they have choices. My plan, BetterCare, is fully paid for without raising middle class tax options. So when we think about this debate...

TAPPER: Thank you, Congressman.

DELANEY: There's Medicare for All, which is extreme...

TAPPER: Thank you, Congressman.

DELANEY: I was interrupted.

(CROSSTALK)

TAPPER: I want to bring in -- I want to bring in Governor Hickenlooper. Governor Hickenlooper, I'd like to hear what you say about Senator Warren's suggestion that those people on the stage who are not in favor of Medicare for All lack the political will to fight for it.

HICKENLOOPER: Well, obviously, I disagree with that as much as I respect both of the senators to my right. You know, it comes down to that question of Americans being used to being able to make choices, to have the right to make a decision. And I think proposing a public option that allows some form of Medicare that maybe is a combination of Medicare Advantage and Medicare, but people choose it, and if enough people choose it, it expands, the quality improves, the cost comes down, more people choose it, eventually, in 15 years, you could get there, but it would be an evolution, not a revolution.

TAPPER: Thank you, Governor. Senator Warren?

WARREN: You know...

(UNKNOWN): Jake?

WARREN: ... we have tried this experiment with the insurance companies. And what they've done is they've sucked billions of dollars out of our health care system. And they force people to have to fight to try to get the health care coverage that their doctors and nurses say that they need.

Why does everybody -- why does every doctor, why does every hospital have to fill out so many complicated forms? It's because it gives insurance companies a chance to say no and to push that cost back on the patients.

(APPLAUSE)

TAPPER: Thank you, Senator Warren.

WARREN: That's what we have to fight.

TAPPER: I want to bring in Marianne Williamson. Ms. Williamson, how do you respond to the criticism from Senator Warren that you're not willing to fight for Medicare for All?

WILLIAMSON: I don't know if Senator Warren said that about me specifically. I admire very much what Senator Warren has said and what Bernie has said.

But I have to say, I have -- I'm normally way over there with Bernie and Elizabeth on this one. I hear the others. And I have some concern about that, as well. And I do have concern about what the Republicans would say. And that's not just a Republican talking point. I do have concern that it will be difficult. I have concern that it will make it harder to win, and I have a concern that it'll make it harder to govern. Because if that's our big fight, then --

TAPPER: Thank you Ms. Williamson.

WILLIAMSON: The Republicans will so shut us down on everything else.

TAPPER: I want to bring in Mayor Buttigieg -- Mayor Buttigieg, your response?

BUTTIGIEG: It is time to stop worrying about what the Republicans will say. Look, if --

(APPLAUSE)

If it's true that if we embrace a far-left agenda they're going to say we're a bunch of crazy socialists. If we embrace a conservative agenda, you know what they're going to do? They're going to say we're a bunch of crazy socialists.

So let's just stand up for the right policy, go out there and defend it. That's the policy I'm putting forward, not because I think it's the right triangulation between Republicans here and Democrats there -- because I think it's the right answer for people like my mother-in- law who is here -- whose life was saved by the ACA, but who is still far too vulnerable to the fact that the insurance industry does not care about her --

TAPPER: Thank you Mayor Buttigieg, Senator Sanders your response?

SANDERS: Let's be clear what this debate is about. Nobody can defend the dysfunctionality of the current system. What we are taking on is the fact that over the last 20 years the drug companies and the insurance companies have spent $4.5 billion of your health insurance money on lobbying and campaign contributions.

That is why when I went to Canada the other day, people paid one-tenth the price in Canada for insulin that they're paying in the United States --

TAPPER: Thank you Senator. I want to bring in Congressman Tim Ryan, Congressman Ryan your response?

RYAN: So here we are in Detroit, home of the United Auto workers. We have all our union friends here tonight. This plan that's being offered by Senator Warren and Senator Sanders will tell those Union members who gave away wages in order to get good healthcare that they're going to lose their healthcare because Washington's going to come in and tell them they got a better plan.

This is the left and right thing -- new and better is this, move Medicare down to 50. Allow people to buy-in, Kaiser Permanente said that if they -- those 60 million people do that, they will see --

TAPPER: Thank you Congressman.

RYAN: A 40 percent reduction --

TAPPER: Thank you Congressman.

RYAN: In their healthcare cost, let businesses buy-in, Jake --

TAPPER: Thank you Congressman. So Senator, let's talk about that. If Medicare for all is enacted, there are more than 600,000 union members here in Michigan who would be forced to give up their private healthcare plans.

Now, I understand that it would provide universal coverage -- but, can you guarantee those union members that the benefits under Medicare for all will be as good as the benefits that they're representatives -- their union reps fought hard to negotiate?

SANDERS: Well two things, they will be better because Medicare for all is comprehensive -- it covers all healthcare needs. For senior citizens it will finally include dental care, hearing aids and eyeglasses.

RYAN: But you don't know that -- you don't know that, Bernie.

SANDERS: Second of all --

TAPPER: I'll come to you in a second, Congressman.

SANDERS: I do know it, I wrote the damn bill. And second of all, second of all -- many of our union brothers and sisters, nobody more pro-union than me up here, are now paying high deductibles and copayments when we do Medicare for all, instead of having the company putting money in to healthcare, they can get decent wage increases, which they're not getting today.

TAPPER: I want to bring in Congressman Ryan to respond to what Senator Sanders just said.

RYAN: I mean, Senator Sanders does not know all of the union contracts in the United States. I'm trying to explain that these union members are losing their jobs, their wages have been stagnant, the world is crumbling around them -- the only thing they have is possibly really good healthcare.

And the Democratic message is going to be, we're going to go in and the only thing you have left we're going to take it and we're going to do better. I do not think that's a recipe for success for us, it's bad policy and it's certainly bad politics.

TAPPER: Congressman Delaney.

DELANEY: So the bill that Senator Sanders drafted, by definition will lower quality in healthcare, because it says specifically that the rates will be the same as current Medicare rates. And the data is clear, Medicare does not cover the cost of healthcare, it covers 80 percent of the costs of healthcare in this country. And private insurance covers 120 percent, so if you start underpaying

all the healthcare providers, you're going to create a two tier market where wealthy people buy their healthcare with cash, and the people who are forced -- like my dad, the union electrician --

TAPPER: Thank you Congressman.

DELANEY: Will have that healthcare plan taken away from him --

TAPPER: Thank you Congressman --

DELANEY: They will be forced into an underfunded system.

TAPPER: I want to give Senator Sanders -- I want to give Senator Sanders a chance to respond.

SANDERS: On the Medicare for all, the hospitals will save substantial sums of money because they're not going to be spending a fortune doing billing and the other bureaucratic things that they have to do today.

Second of all --

DELANEY: I've done the math, it doesn't add up.

SANDERS: Maybe you did that and made money off of healthcare, but our job is to run a nonprofit healthcare system. Furthermore -- furthermore, when we say $500 billion a year by ending all of the incredible complexities that are driving every American crazy trying to deal with the health insurance companies --

TAPPER: Thank you Senator.

SANDERS: Hospitals will be better off than they are today.

TAPPER: Congressman Delaney, I want to let you have a chance to respond.

DELANEY: Listen, his math is wrong. That's all I'm saying -- that his math is wrong, it's been well-documented that if all the bills were paid at Medicare rate, which is specifically -- I think it's in section 1,200 of their bill, then many hospitals in this country would close.

I've been going around rural America, and I ask rural hospital administrators one question, "If all your bills were paid at the Medicare rate last year, what would happen?"

And they all look at me and say, "We would close."

But the question is, why do we have to be so extreme? Why can't we just give everyone health care as a right, and allow them to have choice?

BASH: Thank you, Congressman.

DELANEY: I'm starting to think this is not about health care...

BASH: Thank you, Congressman...

DELANEY: This is an anti-private-sector...

BASH: Thank you Congressman. We're going to move on.

DELANEY: ... strategy.

BASH: We're going to move on to the issue of immigration now. There is...

(APPLAUSE)

... widespread agreement on this stage on the need for immigration reform, a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, including dreamers. But there are some areas of disagreement.

Mayor Buttigieg, you're in favor of getting rid of the law that makes it a crime to come across the U.S. border illegally. Why won't that just encourage more illegal immigration?

BUTTIGIEG: When I am president, illegally crossing the border will still be illegal. We can argue over the finer points of which parts of this ought to be handled by civil law and which parts ought to be handled by criminal law. But we've got a crisis on our hands. And it's not just a crisis of immigration; it's a crisis of cruelty and incompetence that has created a humanitarian disaster on our southern border. It is a stain on the United States of America.

Americans want comprehensive immigration reform. And frankly, we've been talking about the same framework for my entire adult lifetime, protections for DREAMers; making sure that -- that we have a pathway to citizenship for the undocumented; cleaning up lawful immigration.

We know what to do. We know that border security can be part of that package and we can still be a nation of laws. The problem is we haven't had the will to get it done in Washington. And now we have a president who could fix it in a month, because there is that bipartisan agreement, but he needs it to be a crisis rather than an achievement. That will end on my watch.

BASH: But just a point of clarification, you did raise your hand in the last debate. You do want to decriminalize crossing the border illegally?

BUTTIGIEG: So in my view, if fraud is involved, then that's suitable for the criminal statute. If not, then it should be handled under civil law. But these show of hands are exactly what is wrong with the way that this race is being covered.

BASH: Well, we're not -- we're not doing that here.

BUTTIGIEG: And we appreciate that.

BASH: Congressman -- thank you. Congressman... (APPLAUSE)

... O'Rourke, you live near the U.S.-Mexico border in El Paso. You disagree with Mayor Buttigieg on decriminalizing the border crossings. Please respond.

O'ROURKE: I do, because, in my administration, after we have waived citizenship fees for green card holders, more than 9 million of our fellow Americans; freed DREAMers from any fear of deportation; and stopped criminally prosecuting families and children for seeking asylum and refuge; end for-profit detention in this country; and then assist...

(APPLAUSE)

... those countries in Central America so that no family ever has to make that 2,000-mile journey, than I expect that people who come here follow our laws, and we reserve the right to criminally prosecute them if they do not.

BASH: Thank you, Congressman.

Senator Warren, you say the provision making illegal border crossings a crime is totally unnecessary. Please respond.

WARREN: So the problem is that, right now, the criminalization statute is what gives Donald Trump the ability to take children away from their parents. It's what gives him the ability to lock up people at our borders.

We need to continue to have border security, and we can do that, but what we can't do is not live our values. I've been down to the border. I have seen the mothers. I have seen the cages of babies. We must be a country that every day lives our values. And that means we cannot...

BASH: Thank you, Senator Warren.

WARREN: ... make it a crime...

BASH: Just to clarify...

WARREN: ... when someone...

BASH: Thank you, Senator. Just to clarify, would you decriminalize...

WARREN: Yes.

BASH: ... illegal border crossings?

WARREN: The point is not about criminalization. That has given Donald Trump the tool to break families apart.

BASH: Thank you, Senator.

WARREN: We need...

BASH: Governor Hickenlooper, your response?

HICKENLOOPER: I agree that we need secure borders. There's no question about that. And the frustration with what's going on in Washington is they're kicking the ball back and forth. Secure the borders, make sure whatever law we have doesn't allow children to be snatched from their parents and put in cages. How hard can that be?

We've got -- I don't know -- on the two debate nights, we've got 170 years of Washington experience. Somehow it seems like that should be fairly fixable.

WARREN: Well, and one way to fix it is to decriminalize. That's the whole point. What we're...

(APPLAUSE)

... looking for here is a way to take away the tool that Donald Trump has used...

BASH: Thank you, Senator Warren.

WARREN: ... to break up families.

BASH: Thank you, Senator Warren. Senator Klobuchar, your response?

KLOBUCHAR: I would say there is the will to change this in Congress. What's missing is the right person in the White House. I believe that immigrants don't diminish America; they are America. And if you want to do something...

(APPLAUSE)

... about border security, you first of all change the rules so people can seek asylum in those Northern Triangle countries.

Then, you pass the bill. And what the bill will do is, it will greatly reduce the deficit and give us some money for border security and for border processing the cases. And most of all, it will allow for a path to citizenship.

Because this is not just about the border...

BASH: Thank you.

KLOBUCHAR: ... Donald Trump wants to use these people as political pawns, when we have people...

BASH: Thank you, Senator Klobuchar.

KLOBUCHAR: ... all over our country that simply want to work...

BASH: Thank you.

KLOBUCHAR: ... and obey the law.

BASH: Senator Sanders, you want to provide undocumented immigrants free health care and free college. Why won't this drive even more people to come to the U.S. illegally?

SANDERS: Because we'll have strong border protections. But the main point I want to make is that what Trump is doing through his racism and his xenophobia, is demonizing a group of people. And as president, I will end that demonization.

If a mother and a child walk thousands of miles on a dangerous path, in my view, they are not criminals.

(APPLAUSE)

They are people fleeing violence. And I think the main thing that we've got to do -- among many others, and Beto made this point -- we've got to ask ourselves, "Why are people walking 2,000 miles to a strange country where they don't know the language?"

So what we will do, the first week we are in the White House, is bring the entire hemisphere together to talk about how we rebuild Honduras...

BASH: Thank...

SANDERS: ... Guatemala and El Salvador so people do not have to flee their own countries.

BASH: Thank you, Senator.

Governor Bullock, about two-thirds of Democratic voters and many of your rivals here for the nomination, support giving health insurance to undocumented immigrants. You haven't gone that far. Why not?

BULLOCK: Look, I think this is the part of the discussion that shows how often these debates are detached from people's lives. We've got 100,000 people showing up at the border right now. If we decriminalize entry, if we give health care to everyone, we'll have multiples of that. Don't take my word, that was President Obama's Homeland Security secretary that said that.

The biggest problem right now that we have with immigration, it's Donald Trump. He's using immigration to not only rip apart families, but rip apart this country. We can actually get to the point where we have safe borders, where we have a path to citizenship, where we have opportunities for Dreamers.

And you don't have to decriminalize everything. What you have to do is have a president in there with the judgment and the decency to treat someone that comes to the border like one of our own.

WARREN: You know, I just wanted (ph) to...

BASH: Senator...

WARREN: ... add on this...

BASH: ... he just said your plan in unrealistic. How do you respond? WARREN: You know, I think that what we have to do, is we have to be an

America that is clear about what we want to do with immigration. We need to expand legal immigration. We need to create a path for citizenship, not just for Dreamers but for grandmas and for people who have been working here in the farms and for students who have overstayed their visas...

(APPLAUSE)

... we need to fix the crisis at the border. And a big part of how we do that, is we do not play into Donald Trump's hands.

BULLOCK: But...

WARREN: He wants to stir up the crisis at the border because that's his overall message. It's -- if there's anything wrong in your life, blame them.

BASH: Thank you, Senator Warren.

Governor Bullock, your response?

BULLOCK: But you are playing into Donald Trump's hands. The challenge isn't that it's a criminal offense to cross the border. The challenge is that Donald Trump is president, and using this to rip families apart.

A sane immigration system needs a sane leader. And we can do that without decriminalizing and providing health care for everyone.

And it's not me saying that, that's Obama's Homeland Security secretary...

WARREN: No.

BULLOCK: ... that said you'll cause further problems at the border, not making it better.

WARREN: What -- what you're saying is ignore the law. Laws matter. And it matters if we say our law is that we will lock people up who come here, seeking refuge, who come here, seeking asylum, that is not a crime. And as Americans, what we need to do is have a sane system that keeps us safe at the border, but does not criminalize the activity...

BASH: Thank you, Senator Warren.

WARREN: ... of a mother fleeing here for safety.

(CROSSTALK)

BULLOCK: Dana, I must correct (ph) the (ph) record (ph)

BASH: Congressman Ryan, are Senator Sanders' proposals going to incentivize undocumented immigrants to come into this country illegally? RYAN: Yes. And right now, if you want to come into the country, you should at least ring the doorbell. We have asylum laws. I saw the kids up in Grand Rapids, not far from here. It is shameful what's happening. But Donald Trump is doing it.

And even if you decriminalize, which we should not do, you still have statutory authority. The president could still use his authority to separate families. So we've got to get rid of Donald Trump. But you don't decriminalize people just walking into the United States. If they're seeking asylum, of course, we want to welcome them. We're a strong enough country to be able to welcome them.

And as far as the healthcare goes, undocumented people can buy healthcare too. I mean everyone else in America is paying for their healthcare. I think - I don't think it's a stretch for us to ask undocumented people in the country to also pay for healthcare.

BASH: Senator Sanders, your response?

SANDERS: Well, I have two things. A sane immigration policy moves the comprehensive immigration reform. It moves to a humane border policy, and which, by the way, we have enough administrative judges, so that we don't have incredible backlogs that we have right now.

But to your answer your question, I happen to believe that when I talk about healthcare as a human right that applies to all people in this country, and under a Medicare for All single payer system, we could afford to do that.

(APPLAUSE)

BASH: Senator Sanders, thank you. And Ms. Williamson, your response?

WILLIAMSON: Everything that we're talking about here tonight is what's wrong with American politics, and the Democratic Party needs to understand that we should be the party that talks, not just about symptoms, but also about causes. When it - when we're talking about healthcare, we need to talk about more than just the healthcare plan.

We need to realize, we have a sickness care rather than a healthcare system. We need to be the party talking about why so many of our chemical policies and our food policies and our agricultural policies and our environment policies and even our economic policies are leading to people sick to begin with.

LEMON: Thank you --

WILLIAMSON: That's what the democratic -- but I want to say more --

LEMON: Thank you, Ms. Williamson.

WILLIAMSON: -- about. OK.

LEMON: Thank you, Ms. Williamson.

WILLIAMSON: I hope you'll come back to me this time (ph). LEMON: Go ahead. Thank you, Ms. Williamson. Let's turn now to the issue of gun violence. There were three large-scale shootings this past week in America, at a park in Brooklyn, on the streets on Philadelphia and one that left three dead and 12 injured at a food festival in Gilroy, California. Governor - excuse me, Mayor Buttigieg, other than offering words of comfort, what're you specially going to do to stop this epidemic of gun violence?

BUTTIGIEG: Well, this epidemic of gun violence has hit my community too, far too many times. It's the worst part of being there, getting the phone call, consoling, grieving parents. And we have a mass shooting's worth of killings everyday in this country. What we're doing hasn't worked because we haven't had a system in Washington capable of delivering what the American people have told us they want.

Eighty, 90 percent of Republicans want universal background checks, not to mention the common sense solutions like red flag laws that disarmed domestic abusers and flag mental health risks and an end to assault weapons, things like what I carried overseas in uniform, that have no business in American neighbors in peace time (ph), let alone anywhere near a school.

I was at an event a few days ago, and a 13-year-old asked me what we're going to do about school safety, and then began shaking and then began crying. And we can talk about these policies, but we already know the policies. I only thing I could think of, looking into the eyes of this child, is we're supposed to be dealing with this so you don't have to. High school is hard enough, without having to worry about whether you're going to get shot.

LEMON: Thank you.

BUTTIGIEG: And when 90 percent of Americans want something to happen --

LEMON: Thank you, Mayor.

BUTTIGIEG: -- and Washington --

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: Thank you, Mayor. Thank you, Mayor. Governor Hickenlooper, your response please?

KLOBUCHAR: I disagree - I disagree with his diagnosis of the problem.

LEMON: Please standby, Senator.

KLOBUCHAR: OK.

LEMON: Please stick to the rules. We'll get to you - we'll come to you in a just a minute. Governor Hickenlooper, please respond.

HICKENLOOPER: Well, this is the fundamental nonsense of government, another thing - another place where, despite our best efforts, we can't seem to make any progress. You know, when I went to the - to the movie theater in Aurora in 2012, and saw that footage of what happened at that crime scene, I'll never forget it.

And we decided, you know, that we were going to go out and take on the NRA, and we passed as a purple state. We passed universal background checks. We limited magazine capacity. We did the basic work that for whatever reason doesn't seem to be able to get done in Washington.

LEMON: Thank you, Governor. Senator Klobuchar, please respond.

KLOBUCHAR: Yes, this isn't just about a system, or it's not just about words. This is about the NRA. I sat across from the president of the United States after Parkland, because I've been a leader on these issues and have the will to close to a boyfriend loophole.

And I watched and wrote down when, nine times, he said he wanted universal background checks. The next day, he goes and he meets with the NRA, and he folds. As your president, I will not fold. I will make sure that we get universal background checks passed, the assault weapon ban (ph), that we do something about magazines, and that we understand when 6 little - little 6-year-old boy died, Stephen Romero, when his dad said he's only 6 years old, all I can -

LEMON: Thank you, Senator.

KLOBUCHAR: - say is he's 6 years old.

LEMON: Mayor Buttigieg, please respond.

KLOBUCHAR: We have to remember that.

BUTTIGIEG: This is the exact same conversation we've been having since - since I was in high school. I was a junior when the Columbine shooting happened. I was part of the first generation that saw routine school shootings. We have now produced the second school shooting generation in this country. We better not allow there to be a third. Something is broken if it is even possible for the same debate around the same solutions that we all know are the right thing to do. They won't prevent every incident. They won't save every life. But we know what to do, and it has not happened.

(APPLAUSE)

LEMON: Thank you, Mayor. Senator Klobuchar, please respond.

KLOBUCHAR: Yes. What is broken is a political system that allows the NRA and other large, big money to come in and make things not happen when the majority of people are for. The people are with us now.

After Parkland, those students just didn't march. They talked to their dads and their grandpas and the hunters in their family, and they said there must be a better way. Then we elected people in the House of Representatives. And guess what? It changed, and they passed universal background checks. And now that bill is sitting on Mitch McConnell's doorstep because of the money and the power of the NRA. As president, I will take them on.

LEMON: Thank you, Senator. KLOBUCHAR: This is not about systems and words.

LEMON: Thank you, Senator Klobuchar.

(APPLAUSE)

Governor Bullock, how can Democrats trust you to be the leader on this fight for gun safety when you only changed your position to call for an assault weapons ban last summer?

BULLOCK: You know, like 40 percent of American households, I'm a gun- owner. I hunt. Like far too many people in America, I've been personally impacted by gun violence. Had an 11-year-old nephew, Jeremy, shot and killed on a playground.

We need to start looking at this as a public health issue, not a political issue. I agree with Senator Klobuchar. It is the NRA. And it's not just gun violence. It's when we talked about climate, when we talk about prescription drug costs, Washington, D.C., is captured by dark money, the Koch brothers, and others.

That's been the fight of my career. Kicking the Koch brothers out of Montana, taking the first case after Citizens United up to the Supreme Court, making it so that elections are about people. That's the way we're actually going to make a change on this, Don, is by changing that system. And most of the things that folks are talking about on this stage we're not going to address until we kick dark money and the post-Citizens United corporate spending out of these elections.

LEMON: Congressman O'Rourke, your response?

O'ROURKE: How else can we explain that we lose nearly 40,000 people in this country to gun violence, a number that no other country comes even close to, that we know what all the solutions are, and yet nothing has changed? It is because, in this country, money buys influence, access, and, increasingly, outcomes.

The Centers for Disease Control prevented from actually studying the issue in the first place. As president, we will make sure that we ban political action committee contributions to any member of Congress or any candidate for federal office. We will listen to people, not PACs, people, not corporations, people, not special interests.

(APPLAUSE)

LEMON: Congressman, thank you very much.

Senator Sanders, you said this in 2013, just months after the Sandy Hook massacre, and I quote here: "If you pass the strongest gun control legislation tomorrow, I don't think it will have a profound effect on the tragedies we have seen." Do you still agree with that statement today?

SANDERS: I think we have got to do -- I think what I meant is what President Obama said, in that nobody up here is going to tell you that we have a magical solution to the crisis. Now, I come from one of the most rural states in America. I have a D-

minus voting record from the NRA. And as president I suspect it will be an F record. What I believe we have got to do is have the guts to finally take on the NRA.

You asked me about my record. Back in 1988, coming from a state that had no gun control, I called for the ban of the sale and distribution of assault weapons. I lost that election. I will do everything I can not only to take on the NRA, but to expand and create universal background checks, do away with the strawman provision, do away with the gun show loophole, and do away with the loopholes that now exist for gun manufacturers who are selling large amounts of weapons into communities that are going to gangs.

LEMON: Yeah. Mayor Buttigieg, your response.

BUTTIGIEG: Still the conversation that we've been having for the last 20 years. Of course we need to get money out of politics. But when I propose the actual structural democratic reforms that might make a difference, end the Electoral College, amend the Constitution, if necessary, to clear up Citizens United, have D.C. actually be a state, and depoliticize the Supreme Court with structural reform, people look at me funny, as if this country were incapable of structural reform.

Does anybody really think we're going to overtake Citizens United without constitutional action? This is a country that once changed its Constitution so you couldn't drink and then changed it back because we changed our minds about that.

LEMON: Thank you. Thank you, Mayor.

BUTTIGIEG: And you're telling me we can't reform our democracy in our time?

LEMON: Thank you, Mayor.

BUTTIGIEG: We have to or we'll be having the same argument 20 years from now.

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: Please respond, Governor Bullock.

BULLOCK: You can make changes. Even in Montana, with a two-thirds Republican legislature, we passed a law that said, if you're going to spend money in our elections, I don't care if you call yourselves Americans for America for America, you're going to have to disclose every one of those dollars in the last 90 days.

I'll never forget running for re-election in 2016. Even we stopped the Koch brothers from spending it that time. If we can kick the Koch brothers out of Montana, we can do it in D.C., we can do it everywhere.

And we're also taking steps, additional steps that we've taken -- I passed an executive order. If you're even going to contract with the state...

LEMON: Governor Bullock, thank you very much.

WARREN: I'd like to have a chance on this.

LEMON: Ms. Williamson, how do you respond to this issue of gun safety?

WILLIAMSON: The issue of gun safety, of course, is that the NRA has us in a chokehold, but so do the pharmaceutical companies, so do the health insurance companies, so do the fossil fuel companies, and so do the defense contractors, and none of this will change until we either pass a constitutional amendment or pass legislation that establishes public funding for federal campaigns.

But for politicians, including my fellow candidates, who themselves have taken tens of thousands -- and in some cases, hundreds of thousands -- of dollars from these same corporate donors to think that they now have the moral authority to say we're going to take them on, I don't think the Democratic Party should be surprised that so many Americans believe yada, yada, yada.

(APPLAUSE)

It is time for us to start over with people who have not taken donations from any of those corporations and can say with real moral authority: That is over. We are going to establish public funding for federal campaigns. That's what we need to stand up to.

We need to have a constitutional amendment. We need to have -- we need to have legislation to do it.

LEMON: Thank you.

WILLIAMSON: And until we do it, it's just the same old, same old.

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: Thank you. Thank you, Ms. Williamson. The debate will be right back right after this short break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

TAPPER: Good evening from the historic Fox Theater in downtown Detroit, Michigan. This is the CNN Democratic presidential debate. Welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world watching us on CNN, CNN International, CNN en Espanol, CNN.com, and listening on SiriusXM and the Westwood One Radio Network.

And a special welcome to the U.S. military members, diplomatic corps, and their families serving overseas and watching on the American Forces Network.

I'm Jack Tapper, anchor of "The Lead" and "State of the Union," along with CNN's chief political correspondent Dana Bash, and Don Lemon, anchor of "CNN Tonight."

BASH: We are looking forward to moderating one of the largest gatherings of Democratic presidential candidates. In back-to-back debates, 20 candidates were divided in two groups by random draw earlier this month. The second group of 10 will appear on the stage at this time tomorrow night. The first 10 will make their entrance right now.

LEMON: So please welcome, from Vermont, Senator Bernie Sanders.

(APPLAUSE)

From Massachusetts, Senator Elizabeth Warren.

(APPLAUSE)

From South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg.

(APPLAUSE)

From Texas, former Congressman Beto O'Rourke.

(APPLAUSE)

From Minnesota, Senator Amy Klobuchar.

(APPLAUSE)

From Colorado, former Governor John Hickenlooper.

(APPLAUSE)

From Ohio, Congressman c.

(APPLAUSE)

From Maryland, former Congressman John Delaney.

(APPLAUSE)

From Texas, author Marianne Williamson.

(APPLAUSE)

From Montana, Governor Steve Bullock.

(APPLAUSE)

Ladies and gentlemen, the Democratic candidates for president of the United States.

(APPLAUSE)

(APPLAUSE)

TAPPER: Now please rise for the presentation of colors from the James Europe VFW Post 2233 and District Four Honor Guard. And please remain standing for our national anthem, performed by Detroit's own Pastor Marvin Winans and the Perfecting Church Choir.

CHOIR: (SINGS THE NATIONAL ANTHEM)

LEMON: The stage is set. The debate will begin right after this short break.

(APPLAUSE)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(APPLAUSE)

TAPPER: Welcome back to the CNN Democratic presidential debate candidates. We're about to begin opening statements. But first, a review of the ground rules that your campaigns agreed to earlier this month to ensure a fair debate. As moderators, we will attempt to guide the discussion.

You will each receive one minute to answer questions, 30 seconds for responses and rebuttals and 15 additional seconds if a moderator asks for a clarification. The timing lights will remind you of these limits. Please respect that and please refrain from interrupting your fellow candidates during their allotted time. A candidate infringing on another candidate's time will have his or her time reduced.

We also want to ask our audience inside the historic Fox Theater to remain silent when the candidates are actively debating. The candidates need to be able to hear the questions and hear one another.

BASH: Time, now, for opening statements. You'll each receive one minute.

Governor Steve Bullock, please begin.

BULLOCK: Thanks, Dana,

I come from a state where a lot of people voted for Donald Trump. Let's not kid ourselves. He will be hard to beat. Yet watching that last debate, folks seemed more concerned about scoring points or outdoing each other with wish-list economics, than making sure Americans know we hear their voices and will help their lives.

Look, I'm a pro-choice, pro-union, populist Democrat who won three elections in a red state. Not by compromising our values, but by getting stuff done. That's how we win back the places we lost: showing up, listening, focusing on the challenges of everyday Americans.

That farmer getting hit right now by Trump's trade wars, that teacher working a second job, just to afford her insulin. They can't wait for a revolution. Their problems are in the here and now.

I'm a progressive, emphasis on progress, and I'm running for president to get stuff done for all those Americans Washington has left behind. BASH: Marianne Williamson?

WILLIAMSON: Thank you.

In 1776 our founders brought forth on this planet an extraordinary new possibility. It was the idea that people, no matter who they were, would simply have the possibility of thriving. We have not ever totally actualized this ideal. But at the times when we have done best, we have tried. And when forces have opposed them, generations of Americans have risen up and pushed back against those forces.

We did that with abolition and with women's suffrage and with civil rights. And now it is time for a generation of Americans to rise up again, for an amoral economic system has turned short-term profits for huge multi-national corporations into a false god. And this new false god takes precedence over the safety and the health and the well-being of we the American people and the people of the world and the planet on which we live.

Conventional politics will not solve this problem because conventional politics is part of the problem. We the American people must rise up and do what we do best and create a new possibility, say no to what we don't want and yes to what we know can be true.

I'm Marianne Williamson, and that's why I'm running for president.

BASH: Congressman John Delaney?

DELANEY: Folks, we have a choice. We can go down the road that Senator Sanders and Senator Warren want to take us, which is with bad policies like Medicare for all, free everything and impossible promises that will turn off independent voters and get Trump re-elected. That's what happened with McGovern. That's what happened with Mondale. That's what happened with Dukakis. Or we can nominate someone with new ideas to create universal health care for every American with choice, someone who wants to unify our country and grow the economy and create jobs everywhere. And then we win the White House.

I'm the product of the American dream. I believe in it. I'm the grandson of immigrants, the son of a construction worker. My wife April and I have four amazing daughters. I was the youngest CEO in the history of the New York Stock Exchange, created thousands of jobs and then served in Congress. That's the type of background -- and my platform is about real solutions, not impossible promises, that can beat Trump and govern. Thank you.

BASH: Congressman Tim Ryan?

RYAN: America is great, but not everyone can access America's greatness. The systems that were built to lift us up are now suffocating the American people. The economic system that used to create $30, $40, $50 an hour jobs that you can have a good, solid middle-class living now force us to have two or three jobs just to get by.

Most families, when they go to sit at the kitchen table to do their bills, they get a pit in the middle of their stomach. We deserve better. And the political system is broken, too, because the entire conversation is about left or right, where are you at on the political system? And I'm here to say this isn't about left or right. This is about new and better. And it's not about reforming old systems. It's about building new systems.

And tonight, I will offer solutions that are bold, that are realistic and that are a clean break from the past.

BASH: Governor John Hickenlooper?

HICKENLOOPER: Last year Democrats flipped 40 Republican seats in the House, and not one of those 40 Democrats supported the policies of our front-runners at center stage.

Now, I share their progressive values, but I'm a little more pragmatic. I was out of work for two whole years until I started what became the largest brew pub in America. And I learned the small -- small business lessons of how to provide service and teamwork and became a top mayor, and as governor of Colorado created the number one economy in the country.

We also expanded health care and reproductive rights. We attacked climate change head-on. We beat the NRA. We did not build massive government expansions.

Now, some will promise a bill tonight or a plan for tonight. What we focused on was making sure that we got people together to get things done, to provide solutions to problems, to make sure that we -- that we worked together and created jobs. That's how we're going to beat Donald Trump. That's how we're going to win Michigan and the country.

BASH: Senator Amy Klobuchar?

KLOBUCHAR: Let's get real. Tonight we debate, but ultimately, we have to beat Donald Trump. My background, it's a little different than his. I stand before you today as a granddaughter of an iron ore miner, as a daughter of a union teacher and a newspaper man, as the first woman elected to the U.S. Senate from the state of Minnesota and a candidate for president of the United States.

That's because we come from a country of shared dreams, and I have had it with the racist attacks. I have had it with a president that says one thing on TV that has your back and then you get home and you see those charges for prescription drugs and cable and college.

You're going to hear a lot of promises up here, but I'm going to tell you this. Yes, I have bold ideas, but they are grounded in reality. And, yes, I will make some simple promises. I can win this. I'm from the Midwest. And I have won every race, every place, every time. And I will govern with integrity, the integrity worthy of the extraordinary people of this nation.

BASH: Congressman Beto O'Rourke?

O'ROURKE: I'm running for president because I believe that America discovers its greatness at its moments of greatest need. This moment will define us forever, and I believe that in this test America will be redeemed.

In the face of cruelty and fear from a lawless president, we will choose to be the nation that stands up for the human rights of everyone, for the rule of law for everyone, and a democracy that serves everyone. Whatever our differences, we know that, before we are anything else, we are Americans first, and we will ensure that each one of us is well enough and educated enough and paid enough to realize our full potential.

We will meet these challenges here at home, and we will lead the world in those that we face abroad, successfully confronting endless war and climate change. At this moment of truth, let us pursue our national promise and make a more perfect union of everyone, by everyone, and for everyone.

BASH: Mayor Pete Buttigieg?

BUTTIGIEG: I'm running for president because our country is running out of time. It is even bigger than the emergency of the Trump presidency. Ask yourself how somebody like Donald Trump ever gets within cheating distance of the Oval Office in the first place.

It doesn't happen unless America is already in a crisis -- an economy that's not working for everyone, endless war, climate change. We have lived this in my industrial Midwestern hometown. My generation has lived this as long as we have been alive.

And it's only accelerating. Science tells us we have 12 years before we reach the horizon of catastrophe when it comes to our climate. By 2030, the average house in this country will cost half a million bucks and a women's right to choose may not even exist.

We are not going to be able to meet this moment by recycling the same arguments, policies, and politicians that have dominated Washington for as long as I have been alive. We've got to summon the courage to walk away from the past and do something different. This is our shot. That is why I'm running for president.

BASH: Senator Elizabeth Warren?

WARREN: Donald Trump disgraces the office of president every single day. And anyone on this stage tonight or tomorrow night would be a far better president. I promise, no matter who our candidate is, I will work my heart out to beat Donald Trump and to elect a Democratic Congress.

But our problems didn't start with Donald Trump. Donald Trump is part of a corrupt, rigged system that has helped the wealthy and the well- connected and kicked dirt in the faces of everyone else.

We're not going to solve the urgent problems that we face with small ideas and spinelessness. We're going to solve them by being the Democratic Party of big structural change. We need to be the party that fights for our democracy and our economy to work for everyone. You know, I know what's broken in this country, I know how to fix it,

and I will fight to make it happen.

BASH: Senator Bernie Sanders?

SANDERS: Tonight in America, as we speak, 87 million Americans are uninsured or underinsured, but the health care industry made $100 billion in profits last year.

Tonight, as we speak, right now, 500,000 Americans are sleeping out on the street, and yet companies like Amazon that made billions in profits did not pay one nickel in federal income tax.

Tonight, half of the American people are living paycheck to paycheck, and yet 49 percent of all new income goes to the top 1 percent.

SANDERS: Tonight, the fossil fuel industry continues to receive hundreds of billions of dollars in subsidies and tax breaks while they destroy this planet. We have got to take on Trump's racism, his sexism, xenophobia and come together in an unprecedented grassroots movement, to not only defeat Trump but to transform our economy and our government.

TAPPER: Thank you, Senator Sanders.

Let's start the debate with the number-one issue for Democratic voters, health care. And Senator Sanders, let's start with you. You support Medicare for all, which would eventually take private health insurance away from more than 150 million Americans, in exchange for government-sponsored health care for everyone.

Congressman Delaney just referred to it as bad policy. And previously, he has called the idea "political suicide that will just get President Trump re-elected." What do you say to Congressman Delaney?

SANDERS: You're wrong.

(LAUGHTER)

(APPLAUSE)

Right now, we have a dysfunctional health care system: 87 million uninsured or underinsured, $500,000 -- 500,000 Americans every year, going bankrupt because of medical bills, 30,000 people dying while the health care industry makes tens of billions of dollars in profit.

Five minutes away from me and John is a country, it's called Canada. They guarantee health care to every man, woman and child as a human right. They spend half of what we spend. And by the way, when you end up in a hospital in Canada, you come out with no bill at all. Health care is a human right, not a privilege. I believe that, I will fight for that.

(APPLAUSE)

TAPPER: Thank you, Senator Sanders. Congressman Delaney?

DELANEY: Well, I'm right about this. We can create a universal health care system to give everyone basic health care for free, and I have a proposal to do it. But we don't have to go around and be the party of subtraction, and telling half the country, who has private health insurance, that their health insurance is illegal.

My dad, the union electrician, loved the health care he got from the IBEW. He would never want someone to take that away. Half of Medicare beneficiaries now have Medicare Advantage, which is private insurance, or supplemental plans. It's also bad policy. It'll underfund the industry, many hospitals will close...

TAPPER: Thank you, Congressman.

DELANEY: ... and it's bad policy.

TAPPER: Senator Sanders, I want to -- I...

WARREN (?): My name was also mentioned in this.

TAPPER: We're going to come to you in one second, but let me go to Senator Sanders right now.

Senator Sanders?

SANDERS: The fact of the matter is, tens of millions of people lose their health insurance every single year when they change jobs or their employer changes that insurance. If you want stability in the health care system, if you want a system which gives you freedom of choice with regard to a doctor or a hospital, which is a system which will not bankrupt you, the answer is to get rid of the profiteering of the drug companies...

TAPPER: Thank you, Senator.

SANDERS: ... and the insurance companies, move to Medicare for all.

(CROSSTALK)

TAPPER: Congressman Delaney?

DELANEY: But now he's talking about a different issue. What I'm talking about is really simple. We should deal with the tragedy of the (ph) uninsured and give everyone health care as a right. But why do we got to be the party of taking something away from people?

WARREN: No. No one is the party...

(CROSSTALK)

TAPPER: Hold on one second, Senator.

DELANEY: That's what they're running on. They're running on...

WARREN: No.

DELANEY: ... telling half the country that your health insurance is illegal. It says it right in the bill.

TAPPER: All right, thank you.

DELANEY: We don't have to do that. We can give everyone health care...

TAPPER (?): OK.

DELANEY: ... and allow people to have choice. That's the American way.

TAPPER: Thank you, Congressman.

Senator Warren?

WARREN: So, look. Let's -- let's be clear about this. We are the Democrats. We are not about trying to take away health care from anyone. That's what the Republicans are trying to do.

(APPLAUSE)

And we should stop using Republican talking points in order to talk with each other about how to best provide that health care.

Now, I want to have a chance to tell the story about my friend Ady Barkan. Ady is 35 years old. He has a wife, Rachael, he has a cute little boy named Carl. He also has ALS and it's killing him. Ady has health insurance, good health insurance...

TAPPER: Senator?

WARREN: ... and it's not nearly enough.

TAPPER: Senator? I want to -- I'm coming right...

WARREN: No, this is important.

TAPPER: ... I'm staying with you, I'm staying with you. But you exceeded your time. So let me just stay with you on Medicare for all.

WARREN: All right.

TAPPER: At the last debate, you said you're, quote, "with Bernie on Medicare for all." Now, Senator Sanders has said that people in the middle class will pay more in taxes to help pay for Medicare for all, though that will be offset by the elimination of insurance premiums and other costs. Are you also, quote, "with Bernie" on Medicare for all when it comes to raising taxes on middle-class Americans to pay for it?

WARREN: So giant corporations and billionaires are going to pay more. Middle-class families are going to pay less out of pocket for their health care. And I'd like to finish talking about Ady, the guy who has ALS...

(CROSSTALK)

WARREN: This isn't funny. This is somebody who has health insurance and is dying. And every month, he has about $9,000 in medical bills that his insurance company won't cover. His wife, Rachael, is on the phone for hours and hours and hours, begging the insurance company, "Please cover what the doctors say he needs."

He talks about what it's like to go online with thousands of other people to beg friends, family, and strangers for money so he can cover his medical expenses.

The basic profit model of an insurance company is taking as much money as you can in premiums and pay out as little as possible in health care coverage. That is not working for Americans...

TAPPER: Thank you.

WARREN: ... across this country...

TAPPER: Thank you, Senator.

WARREN: Medicare for All will fix that, and that's why I'll fight for it.

TAPPER: Thank you, Senator. Just a point of clarification...

(APPLAUSE)

... in 15 extra seconds, would you raise taxes on the middle class to pay for Medicare for All, offset, obviously, by the elimination of insurance premiums, yes or no?

WARREN: Costs will go up for billionaires and go up for corporations. For middle-class families, costs -- total costs -- will go down.

(CROSSTALK)

TAPPER: Governor Bullock, I want to bring you in. You do not support Medicare for All. How do you respond to Senator Warren?

BULLOCK: No, health care is so personal to all of us. Never forget when my 12-year-old son had a heart attack within 24 hours of his life. Had to be life-flighted to Salt Lake City. But because we had good insurance, he's here with me tonight.

At the end of the day, I'm not going to support any plan that rips away quality health care from individuals. This is an example of wish list economics. It used to be just Republicans who wanted to repeal and replace. Now many Democrats do, as well. We can get there with a public option, negotiating drug prices, ending...

TAPPER: Thank you, Governor Bullock.

I want to bring in Mayor Buttigieg. On the topic of whether or not the middle class should pay higher taxes in exchange for guaranteed health care and the elimination of insurance premiums, how do you respond, Mayor?

BUTTIGIEG: So we don't have to stand up here speculating about whether the public option will be better or a Medicare for All environment will be better than the corporate options. We can put it to the test.

That's the concept of my Medicare for All Who Want It proposal. That way, if people like me are right that the public alternative is going to be not only more comprehensive, but more affordable than any of the corporate options around there, we'll see Americans walk away from the corporate options into that Medicare option, and it will become Medicare for All without us having to kick anybody off their insurance.

(CROSSTALK)

TAPPER: Just 15 seconds on the clarification. You are willing to raise taxes on middle-class Americans in order to have universal coverage with the disappearance of insurance premiums, yes or no?

BUTTIGIEG: I think you can buy into it. That's the idea of Medicare for All Who Want It. Look, this is a distinction without a difference, whether you're paying the same money in the form of taxes or premiums. Look, in this country, if you have health coverage -- if you don't have health coverage, you're paying too much for care, and if you do have health coverage, you're paying too much for care.

TAPPER: Thank you, Mayor Buttigieg. I want to bring in Congressman O'Rourke on the topic of whether the middle class should pay higher taxes in exchange for universal coverage and the elimination of insurance premiums. What's your response?

O'ROURKE: The answer is no. The middle class will not pay more in taxes in order to ensure that every American is guaranteed world-class health care. I think we're being offered a false choice, some who want to improve the Affordable Care Act at the margins, others who want a Medicare for All program that will force people off of private insurance, I have a better path.

Medicare for America. Everyone who is uninsured is enrolled in Medicare tomorrow. Those who are insufficiently insured are enrolled...

TAPPER: Congressman...

O'ROURKE: ... in Medicare...

TAPPER: Just a 15 seconds...

O'ROURKE: And those who have employer-sponsored insurance...

TAPPER: Who is offering -- who is offering a false choice here?

O'ROURKE: Jake, this is important.

TAPPER: Who's offering a false choice here? O'ROURKE: You have some. Governor Bullock, who's said that we will

improve the Affordable Care Act at the margins with a public option. You have others to my right who are talking about taking away people's choice for the private insurance they have or members of unions. I was listening to Dee Taylor (ph) in Nevada...

TAPPER: Thank you, Congressman. Governor Bullock...

(CROSSTALK)

TAPPER: ... he just said you're offering a false choice, sir.

BULLOCK: Congressman, not at all. You know, it took us decades and false starts to get the Affordable Care Act. So let's actually build on it. A public option, allowing anyone to buy in.

You know, we pay more for prescription drugs than any place actually in the world. We got nothing to show for it. Negotiate prescription drug prices. End surprise medical billing. That's the way that we can get there without disrupting the lives of 160 million people that like their employer-sponsored health insurance.

TAPPER: Congressman O'Rourke, you can respond. Congressman O'Rourke, you can respond.

O'ROURKE: Every estimate that I've seen of expanding ACA even through a public option still leaves millions of people uninsured and also means that people are not guaranteed the health care that they need, as the example that Senator Warren showed us.

Our plan ensures that everyone is enrolled in Medicare or can keep their employer-sponsored insurance. When we listen to the American people -- and this is what they want us to do -- they want everyone covered, but they want to be able to maintain choice...

TAPPER: Thank you, Congressman.

O'ROURKE: ... and our plan does that.

TAPPER: Thank you, Congressman. I want to bring in Senator Klobuchar.

Senator Warren at the beginning of the night said that Democrats cannot bring -- cannot win the White House with small ideas and spinelessness. In the last debate, she said the politicians who are not supporting Medicare for All simply lack the will to fight for it. You do not support Medicare for All. Is Senator Warren correct? Do you just not lack the will to fight for it?

KLOBUCHAR: That is incorrect. I just have a better way to do this. And in one of my first debates, Jake, I was called a street fighter from the iron range by my opponent. And when she said it, I said thank you.

So this is what I think we need to get done. We need the public option. That's what Barack Obama wanted, and it would bring health care costs down for everyone. And by the way, I just don't buy this. I've heard some of these

candidates say that it's somehow not moral if you -- not moral to not have that public option. Well, Senator Sanders was actually on a public option bill last year, and that was, Bernie, the Medicaid public option bill that Senator Schatz introduced.

Clearly, this is the easiest way to move forward quickly, and I want to get things done. People can't wait. I've got my friend, Nicole, out there whose son was actually died trying to ration his insulin as a restaurant manager. And he died because he didn't have enough money to pay for it.

TAPPER: Senator...

SANDERS: Jake.

KLOBUCHAR: And Bernie and I have worked on pharmaceutical issues together.

TAPPER: Thank you, Senator.

KLOBUCHAR: We can get less expensive drugs.

TAPPER: Senator Sanders -- I'm going to go to Senator Sanders, then Senator Warren, because you both were mentioned. Senator Sanders?

SANDERS: As the author -- as the author of the Medicare bill, let me clear up one thing. As people talk about having insurance, there are millions of people who have insurance, they can't go to the doctor, and when they come out of the hospital, they go bankrupt. All right?

(APPLAUSE)

What I am talking about and others up here are talking about is no deductibles and no co-payments. And, Jake, your question is a Republican talking point. At the end of the day...

(APPLAUSE)

And by the way -- and by the way -- by the way -- the health care industry will be advertising tonight on this program.

(APPLAUSE)

TAPPER: Thank you, Senator. Senator Warren, it's your turn.

SANDERS: Oh, can I complete that, please?

TAPPER: Your time is up. Thirty seconds.

SANDERS: They will be advertising tonight with that talking point.

TAPPER: Senator Warren?

WARREN: So we have to think of this in terms of the big frame. What's the problem in Washington? It works great for the wealthy. It works great for those who can hire armies of lobbyists and lawyers. And it keeps working great for the insurance companies and the drug companies.

What it's going to take is real courage to fight back against them. These insurance companies do not have a God-given right to make $23 billion in profits and suck it out of our health care system.

(APPLAUSE)

TAPPER: Thank you, Senator.

WARREN: They do not have a God-given right...

TAPPER: Thank you, Senator.

(APPLAUSE)

KLOBUCHAR: On page eight of the bill it says...

WARREN: ... to put...

(CROSSTALK)

TAPPER: I want to let Congressman Delaney in.

(CROSSTALK)

TAPPER: Thank you, Senator. If we could all just stick to the rules of the time, that would be great. Congressman Delaney?

DELANEY: So I was -- I'm the only one on this stage who actually has experience in the health care business. And with all due respect, I don't think my colleagues understand the business. We have the public option, which is great.

SANDERS: It's not a business!

(APPLAUSE)

DELANEY: The public option is great, but it doesn't go far enough. It doesn't go far enough. I'm proposing universal health care, where everyone gets health care as a basic human right for free, but they have choices. My plan, BetterCare, is fully paid for without raising middle class tax options. So when we think about this debate...

TAPPER: Thank you, Congressman.

DELANEY: There's Medicare for All, which is extreme...

TAPPER: Thank you, Congressman.

DELANEY: I was interrupted.

(CROSSTALK)

TAPPER: I want to bring in -- I want to bring in Governor Hickenlooper. Governor Hickenlooper, I'd like to hear what you say about Senator Warren's suggestion that those people on the stage who are not in favor of Medicare for All lack the political will to fight for it.

HICKENLOOPER: Well, obviously, I disagree with that as much as I respect both of the senators to my right. You know, it comes down to that question of Americans being used to being able to make choices, to have the right to make a decision. And I think proposing a public option that allows some form of Medicare that maybe is a combination of Medicare Advantage and Medicare, but people choose it, and if enough people choose it, it expands, the quality improves, the cost comes down, more people choose it, eventually, in 15 years, you could get there, but it would be an evolution, not a revolution.

TAPPER: Thank you, Governor. Senator Warren?

WARREN: You know...

(UNKNOWN): Jake?

WARREN: ... we have tried this experiment with the insurance companies. And what they've done is they've sucked billions of dollars out of our health care system. And they force people to have to fight to try to get the health care coverage that their doctors and nurses say that they need.

Why does everybody -- why does every doctor, why does every hospital have to fill out so many complicated forms? It's because it gives insurance companies a chance to say no and to push that cost back on the patients.

(APPLAUSE)

TAPPER: Thank you, Senator Warren.

WARREN: That's what we have to fight.

TAPPER: I want to bring in Marianne Williamson. Ms. Williamson, how do you respond to the criticism from Senator Warren that you're not willing to fight for Medicare for All?

WILLIAMSON: I don't know if Senator Warren said that about me specifically. I admire very much what Senator Warren has said and what Bernie has said.

But I have to say, I have -- I'm normally way over there with Bernie and Elizabeth on this one. I hear the others. And I have some concern about that, as well. And I do have concern about what the Republicans would say. And that's not just a Republican talking point. I do have concern that it will be difficult. I have concern that it will make it harder to win, and I have a concern that it'll make it harder to govern. Because if that's our big fight, then --

TAPPER: Thank you Ms. Williamson.

WILLIAMSON: The Republicans will so shut us down on everything else. TAPPER: I want to bring in Mayor Buttigieg -- Mayor Buttigieg, your

response?

BUTTIGIEG: It is time to stop worrying about what the Republicans will say. Look, if --

(APPLAUSE)

If it's true that if we embrace a far-left agenda they're going to say we're a bunch of crazy socialists. If we embrace a conservative agenda, you know what they're going to do? They're going to say we're a bunch of crazy socialists.

So let's just stand up for the right policy, go out there and defend it. That's the policy I'm putting forward, not because I think it's the right triangulation between Republicans here and Democrats there -- because I think it's the right answer for people like my mother-in- law who is here -- whose life was saved by the ACA, but who is still far too vulnerable to the fact that the insurance industry does not care about her --

TAPPER: Thank you Mayor Buttigieg, Senator Sanders your response?

SANDERS: Let's be clear what this debate is about. Nobody can defend the dysfunctionality of the current system. What we are taking on is the fact that over the last 20 years the drug companies and the insurance companies have spent $4.5 billion of your health insurance money on lobbying and campaign contributions.

That is why when I went to Canada the other day, people paid one-tenth the price in Canada for insulin that they're paying in the United States --

TAPPER: Thank you Senator. I want to bring in Congressman Tim Ryan, Congressman Ryan your response?

RYAN: So here we are in Detroit, home of the United Auto workers. We have all our union friends here tonight. This plan that's being offered by Senator Warren and Senator Sanders will tell those Union members who gave away wages in order to get good healthcare that they're going to lose their healthcare because Washington's going to come in and tell them they got a better plan.

This is the left and right thing -- new and better is this, move Medicare down to 50. Allow people to buy-in, Kaiser Permanente said that if they -- those 60 million people do that, they will see --

TAPPER: Thank you Congressman.

RYAN: A 40 percent reduction --

TAPPER: Thank you Congressman.

RYAN: In their healthcare cost, let businesses buy-in, Jake --

TAPPER: Thank you Congressman. So Senator, let's talk about that. If Medicare for all is enacted, there are more than 600,000 union members here in Michigan who would be forced to give up their private healthcare plans.

Now, I understand that it would provide universal coverage -- but, can you guarantee those union members that the benefits under Medicare for all will be as good as the benefits that they're representatives -- their union reps fought hard to negotiate?

SANDERS: Well two things, they will be better because Medicare for all is comprehensive -- it covers all healthcare needs. For senior citizens it will finally include dental care, hearing aids and eyeglasses.

RYAN: But you don't know that -- you don't know that, Bernie.

SANDERS: Second of all --

TAPPER: I'll come to you in a second, Congressman.

SANDERS: I do know it, I wrote the damn bill. And second of all, second of all -- many of our union brothers and sisters, nobody more pro-union than me up here, are now paying high deductibles and copayments when we do Medicare for all, instead of having the company putting money in to healthcare, they can get decent wage increases, which they're not getting today.

TAPPER: I want to bring in Congressman Ryan to respond to what Senator Sanders just said.

RYAN: I mean, Senator Sanders does not know all of the union contracts in the United States. I'm trying to explain that these union members are losing their jobs, their wages have been stagnant, the world is crumbling around them -- the only thing they have is possibly really good healthcare.

And the Democratic message is going to be, we're going to go in and the only thing you have left we're going to take it and we're going to do better. I do not think that's a recipe for success for us, it's bad policy and it's certainly bad politics.

TAPPER: Congressman Delaney.

DELANEY: So the bill that Senator Sanders drafted, by definition will lower quality in healthcare, because it says specifically that the rates will be the same as current Medicare rates. And the data is clear, Medicare does not cover the cost of healthcare, it covers 80 percent of the costs of healthcare in this country.

And private insurance covers 120 percent, so if you start underpaying all the healthcare providers, you're going to create a two tier market where wealthy people buy their healthcare with cash, and the people who are forced -- like my dad, the union electrician --

TAPPER: Thank you Congressman.

DELANEY: Will have that healthcare plan taken away from him -- TAPPER: Thank you Congressman --

DELANEY: They will be forced into an underfunded system.

TAPPER: I want to give Senator Sanders -- I want to give Senator Sanders a chance to respond.

SANDERS: On the Medicare for all, the hospitals will save substantial sums of money because they're not going to be spending a fortune doing billing and the other bureaucratic things that they have to do today.

Second of all --

DELANEY: I've done the math, it doesn't add up.

SANDERS: Maybe you did that and made money off of healthcare, but our job is to run a nonprofit healthcare system. Furthermore -- furthermore, when we say $500 billion a year by ending all of the incredible complexities that are driving every American crazy trying to deal with the health insurance companies --

TAPPER: Thank you Senator.

SANDERS: Hospitals will be better off than they are today.

TAPPER: Congressman Delaney, I want to let you have a chance to respond.

DELANEY: Listen, his math is wrong. That's all I'm saying -- that his math is wrong, it's been well-documented that if all the bills were paid at Medicare rate, which is specifically -- I think it's in section 1,200 of their bill, then many hospitals in this country would close.

I've been going around rural America, and I ask rural hospital administrators one question, "If all your bills were paid at the Medicare rate last year, what would happen?"

And they all look at me and say, "We would close."

But the question is, why do we have to be so extreme? Why can't we just give everyone health care as a right, and allow them to have choice?

BASH: Thank you, Congressman.

DELANEY: I'm starting to think this is not about health care...

BASH: Thank you, Congressman...

DELANEY: This is an anti-private-sector...

BASH: Thank you Congressman. We're going to move on.

DELANEY: ... strategy.

BASH: We're going to move on to the issue of immigration now. There is...

(APPLAUSE)

... widespread agreement on this stage on the need for immigration reform, a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, including dreamers. But there are some areas of disagreement.

Mayor Buttigieg, you're in favor of getting rid of the law that makes it a crime to come across the U.S. border illegally. Why won't that just encourage more illegal immigration?

BUTTIGIEG: When I am president, illegally crossing the border will still be illegal. We can argue over the finer points of which parts of this ought to be handled by civil law and which parts ought to be handled by criminal law. But we've got a crisis on our hands. And it's not just a crisis of immigration; it's a crisis of cruelty and incompetence that has created a humanitarian disaster on our southern border. It is a stain on the United States of America.

Americans want comprehensive immigration reform. And frankly, we've been talking about the same framework for my entire adult lifetime, protections for DREAMers; making sure that -- that we have a pathway to citizenship for the undocumented; cleaning up lawful immigration.

We know what to do. We know that border security can be part of that package and we can still be a nation of laws. The problem is we haven't had the will to get it done in Washington. And now we have a president who could fix it in a month, because there is that bipartisan agreement, but he needs it to be a crisis rather than an achievement. That will end on my watch.

BASH: But just a point of clarification, you did raise your hand in the last debate. You do want to decriminalize crossing the border illegally?

BUTTIGIEG: So in my view, if fraud is involved, then that's suitable for the criminal statute. If not, then it should be handled under civil law. But these show of hands are exactly what is wrong with the way that this race is being covered.

BASH: Well, we're not -- we're not doing that here.

BUTTIGIEG: And we appreciate that.

BASH: Congressman -- thank you. Congressman...

(APPLAUSE)

... O'Rourke, you live near the U.S.-Mexico border in El Paso. You disagree with Mayor Buttigieg on decriminalizing the border crossings. Please respond.

O'ROURKE: I do, because, in my administration, after we have waived citizenship fees for green card holders, more than 9 million of our fellow Americans; freed DREAMers from any fear of deportation; and stopped criminally prosecuting families and children for seeking asylum and refuge; end for-profit detention in this country; and then assist...

(APPLAUSE)

... those countries in Central America so that no family ever has to make that 2,000-mile journey, than I expect that people who come here follow our laws, and we reserve the right to criminally prosecute them if they do not.

BASH: Thank you, Congressman.

Senator Warren, you say the provision making illegal border crossings a crime is totally unnecessary. Please respond.

WARREN: So the problem is that, right now, the criminalization statute is what gives Donald Trump the ability to take children away from their parents. It's what gives him the ability to lock up people at our borders.

We need to continue to have border security, and we can do that, but what we can't do is not live our values. I've been down to the border. I have seen the mothers. I have seen the cages of babies. We must be a country that every day lives our values. And that means we cannot...

BASH: Thank you, Senator Warren.

WARREN: ... make it a crime...

BASH: Just to clarify...

WARREN: ... when someone...

BASH: Thank you, Senator. Just to clarify, would you decriminalize...

WARREN: Yes.

BASH: ... illegal border crossings?

WARREN: The point is not about criminalization. That has given Donald Trump the tool to break families apart.

BASH: Thank you, Senator.

WARREN: We need...

BASH: Governor Hickenlooper, your response?

HICKENLOOPER: I agree that we need secure borders. There's no question about that. And the frustration with what's going on in Washington is they're kicking the ball back and forth. Secure the borders, make sure whatever law we have doesn't allow children to be snatched from their parents and put in cages. How hard can that be?

We've got -- I don't know -- on the two debate nights, we've got 170 years of Washington experience. Somehow it seems like that should be fairly fixable.

WARREN: Well, and one way to fix it is to decriminalize. That's the whole point. What we're...

(APPLAUSE)

... looking for here is a way to take away the tool that Donald Trump has used...

BASH: Thank you, Senator Warren.

WARREN: ... to break up families.

BASH: Thank you, Senator Warren. Senator Klobuchar, your response?

KLOBUCHAR: I would say there is the will to change this in Congress. What's missing is the right person in the White House. I believe that immigrants don't diminish America; they are America. And if you want to do something...

(APPLAUSE)

... about border security, you first of all change the rules so people can seek asylum in those Northern Triangle countries.

Then, you pass the bill. And what the bill will do is, it will greatly reduce the deficit and give us some money for border security and for border processing the cases. And most of all, it will allow for a path to citizenship.

Because this is not just about the border...

BASH: Thank you.

KLOBUCHAR: ... Donald Trump wants to use these people as political pawns, when we have people...

BASH: Thank you, Senator Klobuchar.

KLOBUCHAR: ... all over our country that simply want to work...

BASH: Thank you.

KLOBUCHAR: ... and obey the law.

BASH: Senator Sanders, you want to provide undocumented immigrants free health care and free college. Why won't this drive even more people to come to the U.S. illegally?

SANDERS: Because we'll have strong border protections. But the main point I want to make is that what Trump is doing through his racism and his xenophobia, is demonizing a group of people. And as president, I will end that demonization.

If a mother and a child walk thousands of miles on a dangerous path, in my view, they are not criminals.

(APPLAUSE) They are people fleeing violence. And I think the main thing that we've got to do -- among many others, and Beto made this point -- we've got to ask ourselves, "Why are people walking 2,000 miles to a strange country where they don't know the language?"

So what we will do, the first week we are in the White House, is bring the entire hemisphere together to talk about how we rebuild Honduras...

BASH: Thank...

SANDERS: ... Guatemala and El Salvador so people do not have to flee their own countries.

BASH: Thank you, Senator.

Governor Bullock, about two-thirds of Democratic voters and many of your rivals here for the nomination, support giving health insurance to undocumented immigrants. You haven't gone that far. Why not?

BULLOCK: Look, I think this is the part of the discussion that shows how often these debates are detached from people's lives. We've got 100,000 people showing up at the border right now. If we decriminalize entry, if we give health care to everyone, we'll have multiples of that. Don't take my word, that was President Obama's Homeland Security secretary that said that.

The biggest problem right now that we have with immigration, it's Donald Trump. He's using immigration to not only rip apart families, but rip apart this country. We can actually get to the point where we have safe borders, where we have a path to citizenship, where we have opportunities for Dreamers.

And you don't have to decriminalize everything. What you have to do is have a president in there with the judgment and the decency to treat someone that comes to the border like one of our own.

WARREN: You know, I just wanted (ph) to...

BASH: Senator...

WARREN: ... add on this...

BASH: ... he just said your plan in unrealistic. How do you respond?

WARREN: You know, I think that what we have to do, is we have to be an America that is clear about what we want to do with immigration. We need to expand legal immigration. We need to create a path for citizenship, not just for Dreamers but for grandmas and for people who have been working here in the farms and for students who have overstayed their visas...

(APPLAUSE)

... we need to fix the crisis at the border. And a big part of how we do that, is we do not play into Donald Trump's hands. BULLOCK: But...

WARREN: He wants to stir up the crisis at the border because that's his overall message. It's -- if there's anything wrong in your life, blame them.

BASH: Thank you, Senator Warren.

Governor Bullock, your response?

BULLOCK: But you are playing into Donald Trump's hands. The challenge isn't that it's a criminal offense to cross the border. The challenge is that Donald Trump is president, and using this to rip families apart.

A sane immigration system needs a sane leader. And we can do that without decriminalizing and providing health care for everyone.

And it's not me saying that, that's Obama's Homeland Security secretary...

WARREN: No.

BULLOCK: ... that said you'll cause further problems at the border, not making it better.

WARREN: What -- what you're saying is ignore the law. Laws matter. And it matters if we say our law is that we will lock people up who come here, seeking refuge, who come here, seeking asylum, that is not a crime. And as Americans, what we need to do is have a sane system that keeps us safe at the border, but does not criminalize the activity...

BASH: Thank you, Senator Warren.

WARREN: ... of a mother fleeing here for safety.

(CROSSTALK)

BULLOCK: Dana, I must correct (ph) the (ph) record (ph)

BASH: Congressman Ryan, are Senator Sanders' proposals going to incentivize undocumented immigrants to come into this country illegally?

RYAN: Yes. And right now, if you want to come into the country, you should at least ring the doorbell. We have asylum laws. I saw the kids up in Grand Rapids, not far from here. It is shameful what's happening. But Donald Trump is doing it.

And even if you decriminalize, which we should not do, you still have statutory authority. The president could still use his authority to separate families. So we've got to get rid of Donald Trump. But you don't decriminalize people just walking into the United States. If they're seeking asylum, of course, we want to welcome them. We're a strong enough country to be able to welcome them. And as far as the healthcare goes, undocumented people can buy

healthcare too. I mean everyone else in America is paying for their healthcare. I think - I don't think it's a stretch for us to ask undocumented people in the country to also pay for healthcare.

BASH: Senator Sanders, your response?

SANDERS: Well, I have two things. A sane immigration policy moves the comprehensive immigration reform. It moves to a humane border policy, and which, by the way, we have enough administrative judges, so that we don't have incredible backlogs that we have right now.

But to your answer your question, I happen to believe that when I talk about healthcare as a human right that applies to all people in this country, and under a Medicare for All single payer system, we could afford to do that.

(APPLAUSE)

BASH: Senator Sanders, thank you. And Ms. Williamson, your response?

WILLIAMSON: Everything that we're talking about here tonight is what's wrong with American politics, and the Democratic Party needs to understand that we should be the party that talks, not just about symptoms, but also about causes. When it - when we're talking about healthcare, we need to talk about more than just the healthcare plan.

We need to realize, we have a sickness care rather than a healthcare system. We need to be the party talking about why so many of our chemical policies and our food policies and our agricultural policies and our environment policies and even our economic policies are leading to people sick to begin with.

LEMON: Thank you --

WILLIAMSON: That's what the democratic -- but I want to say more --

LEMON: Thank you, Ms. Williamson.

WILLIAMSON: -- about. OK.

LEMON: Thank you, Ms. Williamson.

WILLIAMSON: I hope you'll come back to me this time (ph).

LEMON: Go ahead. Thank you, Ms. Williamson. Let's turn now to the issue of gun violence. There were three large-scale shootings this past week in America, at a park in Brooklyn, on the streets on Philadelphia and one that left three dead and 12 injured at a food festival in Gilroy, California. Governor - excuse me, Mayor Buttigieg, other than offering words of comfort, what're you specially going to do to stop this epidemic of gun violence?

BUTTIGIEG: Well, this epidemic of gun violence has hit my community too, far too many times. It's the worst part of being there, getting the phone call, consoling, grieving parents. And we have a mass shooting's worth of killings everyday in this country. What we're doing hasn't worked because we haven't had a system in Washington capable of delivering what the American people have told us they want.

Eighty, 90 percent of Republicans want universal background checks, not to mention the common sense solutions like red flag laws that disarmed domestic abusers and flag mental health risks and an end to assault weapons, things like what I carried overseas in uniform, that have no business in American neighbors in peace time (ph), let alone anywhere near a school.

I was at an event a few days ago, and a 13-year-old asked me what we're going to do about school safety, and then began shaking and then began crying. And we can talk about these policies, but we already know the policies. I only thing I could think of, looking into the eyes of this child, is we're supposed to be dealing with this so you don't have to. High school is hard enough, without having to worry about whether you're going to get shot.

LEMON: Thank you.

BUTTIGIEG: And when 90 percent of Americans want something to happen --

LEMON: Thank you, Mayor.

BUTTIGIEG: -- and Washington --

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: Thank you, Mayor. Thank you, Mayor. Governor Hickenlooper, your response please?

KLOBUCHAR: I disagree - I disagree with his diagnosis of the problem.

LEMON: Please standby, Senator.

KLOBUCHAR: OK.

LEMON: Please stick to the rules. We'll get to you - we'll come to you in a just a minute. Governor Hickenlooper, please respond.

HICKENLOOPER: Well, this is the fundamental nonsense of government, another thing - another place where, despite our best efforts, we can't seem to make any progress. You know, when I went to the - to the movie theater in Aurora in 2012, and saw that footage of what happened at that crime scene, I'll never forget it.

And we decided, you know, that we were going to go out and take on the NRA, and we passed as a purple state. We passed universal background checks. We limited magazine capacity. We did the basic work that for whatever reason doesn't seem to be able to get done in Washington.

LEMON: Thank you, Governor. Senator Klobuchar, please respond.

KLOBUCHAR: Yes, this isn't just about a system, or it's not just about words. This is about the NRA. I sat across from the president of the United States after Parkland, because I've been a leader on these issues and have the will to close to a boyfriend loophole.

And I watched and wrote down when, nine times, he said he wanted universal background checks. The next day, he goes and he meets with the NRA, and he folds. As your president, I will not fold. I will make sure that we get universal background checks passed, the assault weapon ban (ph), that we do something about magazines, and that we understand when 6 little - little 6-year-old boy died, Stephen Romero, when his dad said he's only 6 years old, all I can -

LEMON: Thank you, Senator.

KLOBUCHAR: - say is he's 6 years old.

LEMON: Mayor Buttigieg, please respond.

KLOBUCHAR: We have to remember that.

BUTTIGIEG: This is the exact same conversation we've been having since - since I was in high school. I was a junior when the Columbine shooting happened. I was part of the first generation that saw routine school shootings. We have now produced the second school shooting generation in this country. We better not allow there to be a third. Something is broken if it is even possible for the same debate around the same solutions that we all know are the right thing to do. They won't prevent every incident. They won't save every life. But we know what to do, and it has not happened.

(APPLAUSE)

LEMON: Thank you, Mayor. Senator Klobuchar, please respond.

KLOBUCHAR: Yes. What is broken is a political system that allows the NRA and other large, big money to come in and make things not happen when the majority of people are for. The people are with us now.

After Parkland, those students just didn't march. They talked to their dads and their grandpas and the hunters in their family, and they said there must be a better way. Then we elected people in the House of Representatives. And guess what? It changed, and they passed universal background checks. And now that bill is sitting on Mitch McConnell's doorstep because of the money and the power of the NRA. As president, I will take them on.

LEMON: Thank you, Senator.

KLOBUCHAR: This is not about systems and words.

LEMON: Thank you, Senator Klobuchar.

(APPLAUSE)

Governor Bullock, how can Democrats trust you to be the leader on this fight for gun safety when you only changed your position to call for an assault weapons ban last summer?

BULLOCK: You know, like 40 percent of American households, I'm a gun- owner. I hunt. Like far too many people in America, I've been personally impacted by gun violence. Had an 11-year-old nephew, Jeremy, shot and killed on a playground.

We need to start looking at this as a public health issue, not a political issue. I agree with Senator Klobuchar. It is the NRA. And it's not just gun violence. It's when we talked about climate, when we talk about prescription drug costs, Washington, D.C., is captured by dark money, the Koch brothers, and others.

That's been the fight of my career. Kicking the Koch brothers out of Montana, taking the first case after Citizens United up to the Supreme Court, making it so that elections are about people. That's the way we're actually going to make a change on this, Don, is by changing that system. And most of the things that folks are talking about on this stage we're not going to address until we kick dark money and the post-Citizens United corporate spending out of these elections.

LEMON: Congressman O'Rourke, your response?

O'ROURKE: How else can we explain that we lose nearly 40,000 people in this country to gun violence, a number that no other country comes even close to, that we know what all the solutions are, and yet nothing has changed? It is because, in this country, money buys influence, access, and, increasingly, outcomes.

The Centers for Disease Control prevented from actually studying the issue in the first place. As president, we will make sure that we ban political action committee contributions to any member of Congress or any candidate for federal office. We will listen to people, not PACs, people, not corporations, people, not special interests.

(APPLAUSE)

LEMON: Congressman, thank you very much.

Senator Sanders, you said this in 2013, just months after the Sandy Hook massacre, and I quote here: "If you pass the strongest gun control legislation tomorrow, I don't think it will have a profound effect on the tragedies we have seen." Do you still agree with that statement today?

SANDERS: I think we have got to do -- I think what I meant is what President Obama said, in that nobody up here is going to tell you that we have a magical solution to the crisis.

Now, I come from one of the most rural states in America. I have a D- minus voting record from the NRA. And as president I suspect it will be an F record. What I believe we have got to do is have the guts to finally take on the NRA.

You asked me about my record. Back in 1988, coming from a state that had no gun control, I called for the ban of the sale and distribution of assault weapons. I lost that election. I will do everything I can not only to take on the NRA, but to expand and create universal background checks, do away with the strawman provision, do away with the gun show loophole, and do away with the loopholes that now exist for gun manufacturers who are selling large amounts of weapons into communities that are going to gangs.

LEMON: Yeah. Mayor Buttigieg, your response.

BUTTIGIEG: Still the conversation that we've been having for the last 20 years. Of course we need to get money out of politics. But when I propose the actual structural democratic reforms that might make a difference, end the Electoral College, amend the Constitution, if necessary, to clear up Citizens United, have D.C. actually be a state, and depoliticize the Supreme Court with structural reform, people look at me funny, as if this country were incapable of structural reform.

Does anybody really think we're going to overtake Citizens United without constitutional action? This is a country that once changed its Constitution so you couldn't drink and then changed it back because we changed our minds about that.

LEMON: Thank you. Thank you, Mayor.

BUTTIGIEG: And you're telling me we can't reform our democracy in our time?

LEMON: Thank you, Mayor.

BUTTIGIEG: We have to or we'll be having the same argument 20 years from now.

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: Please respond, Governor Bullock.

BULLOCK: You can make changes. Even in Montana, with a two-thirds Republican legislature, we passed a law that said, if you're going to spend money in our elections, I don't care if you call yourselves Americans for America for America, you're going to have to disclose every one of those dollars in the last 90 days.

I'll never forget running for re-election in 2016. Even we stopped the Koch brothers from spending it that time. If we can kick the Koch brothers out of Montana, we can do it in D.C., we can do it everywhere.

And we're also taking steps, additional steps that we've taken -- I passed an executive order. If you're even going to contract with the state...

LEMON: Governor Bullock, thank you very much.

WARREN: I'd like to have a chance on this.

LEMON: Ms. Williamson, how do you respond to this issue of gun safety?

WILLIAMSON: The issue of gun safety, of course, is that the NRA has us in a chokehold, but so do the pharmaceutical companies, so do the health insurance companies, so do the fossil fuel companies, and so do the defense contractors, and none of this will change until we either pass a constitutional amendment or pass legislation that establishes public funding for federal campaigns.

But for politicians, including my fellow candidates, who themselves have taken tens of thousands -- and in some cases, hundreds of thousands -- of dollars from these same corporate donors to think that they now have the moral authority to say we're going to take them on, I don't think the Democratic Party should be surprised that so many Americans believe yada, yada, yada.

(APPLAUSE)

It is time for us to start over with people who have not taken donations from any of those corporations and can say with real moral authority: That is over. We are going to establish public funding for federal campaigns. That's what we need to stand up to.

We need to have a constitutional amendment. We need to have -- we need to have legislation to do it.

LEMON: Thank you.

WILLIAMSON: And until we do it, it's just the same old, same old.

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: Thank you. Thank you, Ms. Williamson. The debate will be right back right after this short break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

TAPPER: Presidential Debate, we are live from Detroit, Michigan. In poll after poll Democratic voters say that they want a candidate who can beat President Trump, more than they want a candidate who agrees with them on major issues.

Governor Hickenlooper, you ran a Facebook ad that warned "socialism is not the answer." The ad also said, "don't let extremes give Trump four more years," are you saying that Senator Sanders is too extreme to beat President Trump?

HICKENLOOPER: I'm saying the policies of -- this notion that you're going to take private insurance away from 180 million Americans who, many of them don't want to give -- many of them do want to get rid of it, but some don't -- many don't.

Or you're going to -- the Green New Deal make sure that every American's guaranteed a government job if they want, that is a disaster at the ballot box, you might as well FedEx the election to Donald Trump.

I think we've got to focus on where Donald Trump is failing, you know, the world malpractice, and this is interesting -- I always thought it was doctors or lawyers, it's -- you know negligent, improper, illegal professional activity for doctors, lawyers or public officials, Google it, check it out.

Donald Trump is malpractice personified, we've got to point that out. Why is it soybean farmers in Iowa need 10 good years to get back to where they were 2 years ago? Where's the small manufacturing jobs that are supposed to come back?

Why are we lurching from one international crisis to another? All things that he promised American voters, we've got to focus on that -- and the economy, and jobs, and training, so that we can promise a future for America that everybody wants to invest it.

TAPPER: Thank you Governor. Senator Sanders you are a proud Democratic-Socialist, how do you respond to Governor Hickenlooper?

SANDERS: Well the truth is that every credible poll that I have seen has me beating Donald Trump -- including the battleground states of Michigan, where I won the Democratic primary -- Wisconsin where I won the Democratic primary, and Pennsylvania.

And the reason we are going to defeat Trump, and beat him badly is that he is a fraud and a phony and we're going to expose him for what he is. The American people want to have a minimum wage which is a living wage, $15 an hour. I've helped lead that effort.

The American people want to pay reasonable prices for prescription drugs, not the highest prices in the world --

TAPPER: Thank you, Senator.

SANDERS: I've helped lead the effort for that as well.

TAPPER: Thank you Senator. Governor Hickenlooper, I want to bring you back to respond?

HICKENLOOPER: So again, I think if we're going to force Americans to make these radical changes, they're not going to go along -- throw your hands up --

SANDERS: All right (ph) --

HICKENLOOPER: Oh-ho, I can do it. But you haven't (ph) implemented the plans, us governors and mayors are the ones, we have to pick up all the pieces when suddenly the government's supposed to take over all these responsibilities, and there's no preparation, the details aren't worked (ph). You can't just spring a plan on the world and expect it to succeed --

SANDERS: John --

TAPPER: Senator Sanders?

SANDERS: John, I was a mayor and I helped transform my city -- I have some practical experience. Second of all, interestingly enough today is the anniversary of Medicare -- 54 years ago under Linda Johnson of the Democratic Congress they started a new program after one year 19 million elderly people in it.

Please don't tell me that in a four year period we cannot go from 65 down to 55, to 45, to 35 -- this is not radical. This is what virtually every other country on Earth runs (ph) --

TAPPER: Thank you Senator.

SANDERS: We are the odd dog out (ph).

TAPPER: I want to bring in -- I want to bring in Congressman Ryan. You're from the state of Ohio, it's a state that voted twice for Obama and then went to President Trump in 2016, please respond to Senator Sanders.

RYAN: Well I would just say Hillary Clinton was winning in the polls too, to take a snapshot in the polls today and apply it 16 months from now or whenever it is, I don't think is accurate.

Now in this discussion already tonight we've talked about taking private health insurance away from union members in the industrial Midwest, we've talked about decriminalizing the border, and we've talked about giving free healthcare to undocumented workers when so many Americans are struggling to pay for their healthcare.

I quite frankly don't think that that is an agenda that we can move forward on and win. We've got to talk about the working class issues, the people that take a shower after work, who haven't had a raise in 30 years --

TAPPER: Thank you -- thank you Congressman --

RYAN: If we focus on that, we'll win the election.

TAPPER: Thank you Congressman, I want to bring Congressman O'Rourke, your response, sir?

O'ROURKE: Bernie was talking about some of the battleground states in which we compete -- there is a new battleground state, Texas and it has 38 electoral college votes. And the way that we put it in play was by going to each one of those 254 counties. No matter how red or rural, we did not write you off. No matter how blue, or urban -- we did not take you for granted.

And we didn't trim our sails, either. We had the courage of our convictions, talking about universal health care, comprehensive immigration reform, and confronting the challenge of climate before it is too late. We brought everyone in...

TAPPER: Thank you.

O'ROURKE: ... and now we have a chance to beat Donald Trump with Texas.

TAPPER: Thank you, Congressman. I want to bring in Governor Bullock. We're talking about whether Democrats are moving too far to the left to win the White House. President Trump won your home state of Montana by 20 points. How do you respond, sir? BULLOCK: Yeah, as the only one of the field of 37 that actually won a Trump state -- 25 percent to 30 percent of my voters voted for Donald Trump -- I know that we do have to win back some of those places we lost and get those Trump voters back if we're ever going to win.

But this isn't just a choice between the left and the center. It's not a choice just between sort of these wish list economics or thinking that we have to sacrifice our values to actually win. What folks want is a fair shot. The way I won, the way we can win is to actually focus on the economy and the democracy aren't working for most people.

TAPPER: Thank you, Governor.

BULLOCK: That's how I win. That's how we can take back the office.

TAPPER: Thank you, Governor. Senator Warren, you make it a point to say that you're a capitalist. Is that your way of convincing voters that you might be a safer choice than Senator Sanders?

WARREN: No. It is my way of talking about I know how to fight and I know how to win. I took on giant banks, and I beat them. I took on Wall Street, and CEOs, and their lobbyists, and their lawyers, and I beat them. I took on a popular Republican incumbent senator, and I beat him.

I remember when people said Barack Obama couldn't get elected. Shoot, I remember when people said Donald Trump couldn't get elected. But here's where we are.

I get it. There is a lot at stake, and people are scared. But we can't choose a candidate we don't believe in just because we're too scared to do anything else. And we can't ask other people to vote for a candidate we don't believe in.

Democrats win when we figure out what is right and we get out there and fight for it. I am not afraid. And for Democrats to win, you can't be afraid, either.

(APPLAUSE)

TAPPER: Congressman Delaney, your response?

DELANEY: So -- so I think Democrats win when we run on real solutions, not impossible promises, when we run on things that are workable, not fairy tale economics.

Look at the story of Detroit, this amazing city that we're in. This city is turning around because the government and the private sector are working well together. That has to be our model going forward. We need to encourage collaboration between the government, the private sector, and the nonprofit sector, and focus on those kitchen table, pocketbook issues that matter to hard-working Americans: building infrastructure, creating jobs, improving their pay...

TAPPER: Thank you, Congressman.

DELANEY: ... creating universal health care, and lowering drug prices.

TAPPER: Thank you, Congressman. Senator Warren?

DELANEY: We can do it.

WARREN: You know, I don't understand why anybody goes to all the trouble of running for president of the United States just to talk about what we really can't do and shouldn't fight for.

(APPLAUSE)

I don't get it.

(APPLAUSE)

Our biggest problem in Washington is corruption. It is giant corporations that have taken our government and that are holding it by the throat. And we need to have the courage to fight back against that. And until we're ready to do that, it's just more of the same.

Well, I'm ready to get in this fight. I'm ready to win this fight.

(APPLAUSE)

TAPPER: Thank you, Senator. Congressman Delaney?

DELANEY: When we created Social Security, we didn't say pensions were illegal, right? We can have big ideas to transform the lives. I mean, I started two companies and took them public before I was 40. I'm as big of a dreamer and an entrepreneur as anyone.

But I also believe we need to have solutions that are workable. Can you imagine if we tried to start Social Security now but said private pensions are illegal? That's the equivalent of what Senator Sanders and Senator Warren are proposing with health care. That's not a big idea. That's an idea that's dead on arrival. That will never happen. So why don't we actually talk about things, big ideas that we can get done? The stakes are too high.

TAPPER: Thank you, Congressman. Senator Warren?

WARREN: So, look, he talks...

SANDERS: He just mentioned my name.

TAPPER: We'll come to you right after that.

TAPPER: Senator Warren?

WARREN: He talks about solutions that are workable. We have tried the solution of Medicare, Medicaid, and private insurance. And what have the private insurance companies done? They've sucked billions of dollars out of our health care system. They've made everybody fill out dozens and dozens of forms. Why? Not because they're trying to track your health care. They just want one more excuse to say no. Insurance companies do not have a God-given right to suck money out of our health care system.

TAPPER: Thank you, Senator.

WARREN: And 2020 is our chance to stop it.

TAPPER: Thank you, Senator. Senator Sanders?

SANDERS: Detroit was mentioned. And I'm delighted that Detroit is rebounding. But let us understand, Detroit was nearly destroyed because of awful trade policy which allowed corporations to throw workers in this community out on the streets as they moved to low-wage countries.

To win this election, and to defeat Donald Trump -- which, by the way, in my view, is not going to be easy -- we need to have a campaign of energy and excitement and of vision. We need to bring millions of young people into the political process in a way that we have never seen by, among other things, making public colleges...

TAPPER: Thank you, Senator.

SANDERS: ... and universities tuition-free and canceling student debt.

(APPLAUSE)

TAPPER: Thank you, Senator. Thank you, Senator.

(APPLAUSE)

I want to bring in -- I want to bring in Senator Klobuchar. At the beginning of the night, you said you're going to hear a lot of promises on the stage. And previously you have said, when asked about your primary opponents, quote, "A lot of people are making promises, and I'm not going to make promises just to get elected." Who on this stage is making promises just to get elected?

KLOBUCHAR: Everyone wants to get elected. But my point is this: I think when we have a guy in the White House that has now told over 10,000 lies, that we'd better be very straightforward with the American people.

And, no, do I think that we are going to end up voting for a plan that kicks half of America off of their current insurance in four years? No, I don't think we're going to do that. I think there is a better way to get what we all want to see, which is lower costs for health care.

Do I think that we're going to vote to give free college to the wealthiest kids? No, I don't think we're going to do that. So that's what I'm talking about.

But what I don't like about this argument right now, what I don't like about it at all, is that we are more worried about winning an argument than winning an election.

(APPLAUSE)

And I think how we win an election is to bring everyone with us. And, yes, I have won in a state every single time statewide. I have won those congressional districts that Donald Trump won by over 20 points. He just targeted Minnesota last week. And I have done it by getting out there and talking to people, by knowing rural issues and farm issues...

TAPPER: Thank you, Senator Klobuchar.

KLOBUCHAR: ... and bringing metro people with me in the state that had the highest voter turnout in the country.

TAPPER: Thank you, Senator Klobuchar. Thank you, Senator.

KLOBUCHAR: That's what we want.

TAPPER: I want to bring in Congressman O'Rourke. Congressman O'Rourke, please respond.

O'ROURKE: You know, I think a big part of leadership and showing our commitment to the American people is delivering on our commitments. As a member of Congress, when I learned that the El Paso V.A. had the worst wait times for mental health care in the country, meaning that care delayed functionally became care denied, and was related to the suicide epidemic, we made it our priority and we turned around the V.A. in El Paso.

We took that lesson nationally and I worked with Republican and Democratic colleagues to expand medical health care to veterans, and we got it signed into law by the one person with whom I agree on almost nothing -- Donald Trump -- to show that, at the end of the day, we will put the American people first...

BASH: Thank you.

O'ROURKE: ... before party, before any other concern.

BASH: Thank you, Congressman O'Rourke.

We've been asking voters to weigh in on what they'd most like to hear Democrats debate. Among the topics they told us they're most interested in, the climate crisis.

Congressman Delaney, I'll start with you. You say the Green New Deal is about as realistic as Trump saying Mexico is going to pay for the wall. But scientists say we need essentially to eliminate fossil fuel pollution by 2050 to avoid the most catastrophic consequences. Why isn't this sweeping plan to fight the climate crisis realistic?

DELANEY: Well, first of all, because it ties its progress to other things that are completely unrelated to climate, like universal health care, guaranteed government jobs, and universal basic income. So that only makes it harder to do.

My plan, which gets us to net zero by 2050, which we absolutely have to do for our kids and our grandkids, will get us there. I put a price on carbon, take all the money, give it back to the American people in a dividend. That was introduced by me on a bipartisan basis. It's the only significant bipartisan climate bill in the Congress. I'm going to increase the Department of Energy research budget by

fivefold, because we fundamentally have to innovate our way out of this problem. I'm going to create a market for something called direct air capture, which are machines that actually take carbon out of the atmosphere, because I don't think we'll get to net zero by 2050 unless we have those things. I'm going to increase investment in renewables and I'm going to create something called the Climate Corps.

That is a plan that's realistic. It's a bet on the U.S. private innovation economy and creates the incentives to get us to net zero by 2050 for our kids.

BASH: Thank you. Thank you, Congressman. Senator Warren, you're a cosponsor of the Green New Deal. Your response to Congressman Delaney?

WARREN: So, climate crisis is the existential crisis for our world. It puts every living thing on this planet at risk. I have a plan for a green industrial policy that takes advantage of the fact that we do what we do best, and that is innovate and create.

So I've proposed putting $2 trillion in so we do the research. We then say anyone in the world can use it, so long as you build it right here in America. That will produce about 1.2 million manufacturing jobs right here in Michigan, right here in Ohio, right here in the industrial Midwest.

And the second thing we will do is we will then sell those products all around the world. Right now, for every $1 the United States...

BASH: Thank you.

WARREN: ... spends trying to market around the world...

BASH: Thank you, Senator Warren.

WARREN: ... China is spending $100.

BASH: Thank you, Senator Warren.

Governor Hickenlooper, you take issue with the green new deal (ph). Please respond.

HICKENLOOPER: Well, I think the guarantee for a public job for everyone who wants one is a classic part of the problem. It's a distraction.

I share the urgency of everyone up here. We have to recognize -- I mean, everyone's got good ideas. What we do in this country is no better than just a best practice, right? It's what we do here is a best practice and a template, but it's got to be done all over the world.

So we've got to be building bridges right now with people like China, who were cheating on international agreements and stealing intellectual property. We need to work on that, but not with a tariff system. We need every country working together if we're going to really deal with climate change in a realistic way.

BASH: Thank you. Senator Warren, your response?

WARREN: Look, I put a real policy on the table to create 1.2 million new jobs in green manufacturing. There's going to be a $23 trillion worldwide market for this. This could revitalize huge cities across this country. And no one wants to talk about it. What you want to do instead is find the Republican talking point of a made-up piece of some other part and say, "Oh, we don't really have to do anything."

That's the problem we've got in Washington right now.

(APPLAUSE)

It continues to be a Washington that works great for oil companies, just not for people worried about climate change.

BASH: Thank you, Senator Warren. Congressman Ryan, we are here in Michigan, where there are about 180,000 workers in auto manufacturing. Your state of Ohio has around 96,000 workers in that industry.

Senator Sanders is co-sponsoring a bill that would eliminate new gas- powered car sales by 2040. Given the number of auto manufacturing workers in your state, how concerned are you about Senator Sanders' plan?

RYAN: Well, if we get our act together, we won't have to worry about it. I -- my plan is to create a chief manufacturing officer so we could actually start making things in the United States again, that would pull the government, the Department of Energy, Department of Transportation, work with the private sector, work with investors, emerging tech companies, to dominate the electric vehicle market.

China dominates it now, 50 percent to 60 percent. I want us to dominate the battery market, make those here in the United States and cut the workers in on the deal. The charging stations, solar panels, same thing; China dominates 60 percent of the solar panel market.

So this person will work in the White House, report directly to me, and we're going to start making things again.

But you cannot get there on climate unless we talk about agriculture. We need to convert our industrial agriculture system over to a sustainable and regenerative agriculture system...

KLOBUCHAR (?): I agree.

RYAN: ... that actually sequesters carbon...

(APPLAUSE)

... into the soil. And you can go ask -- you can go ask Gabe Brown and Allen Williams, who actually make money off of regenerative agriculture. So we can move away...

(APPLAUSE) ... from all the subsidies that we're giving the farmers. They haven't made a profit in five years. And we could start getting good food into our schools and into our communities. And that's going to drive health care down. That's another part of the health care conversation...

BASH: Thank you.

RYAN: ... that we didn't even have. How do we start talking about health...

BASH: Thank you, Congressman Ryan.

RYAN: ... instead of just disease care?

BASH: Thank you. Senator Sanders, your response?

(APPLAUSE)

SANDERS: I get a little bit tired of Democrats afraid of big ideas. Republicans are not afraid of big ideas. They could give $1 trillion in tax breaks to billionaires and profitable corporations. They could bail out the crooks on Wall Street. So please don't tell me that we cannot take on the fossil fuel industry. And nothing happens unless we do that.

(APPLAUSE)

Here is the bottom line. We've got to ask ourselves a simple question, "What do you do with an industry that knowingly, for billions of dollars in short-term profits, is destroying this planet?" I say that is criminal activity that cannot be allowed to continue.

BASH: Thank you, Senator Sanders.

(APPLAUSE)

Congressman, your response?

RYAN: Well, I would just say -- I didn't say we couldn't get there until 2040, Bernie. You don't have to yell. I mean, all I'm saying is...

(LAUGHTER)

All I'm saying is we have to invent our way out of this thing. And if we're waiting for 2040 for a ban to come in on gasoline vehicles, we're screwed. So we better get busy now. And that's why I'm saying get a chief manufacturing officer, align the environmental incentives with the financial incentives, and make sure that people can actually make money off of the new technologies that are moving forward.

And then here's what I'll do as president...

BASH: Thank you, Congressman.

RYAN: ... cut the worker in on the deal. Make sure these are union jobs. And I will double union membership to make sure these new jobs pay what the old fossil fuel jobs pay.

BASH: Senator Sanders, your response?

SANDERS: On this issue, my friends, there is no choice. We have got to be super aggressive if we love our children and if we want to leave them a planet that is healthy and is habitable, so I don't disagree with Tim. What that means is we got to, A, take on the fossil fuel industry, B, it means we have to transform our energy system away from fossil fuel to energy efficiency and sustainable energy, at a hell of a lot (ph) of good union jobs, as we do that. We got to transform our transportation ...

BASH: Thank you, Senator ...

SANDERS: ... system, and we have to lead the world ...

BASH: Thank you, Senator Sanders.

SANDERS: ... because this is not just an American issue.

BASH: Governor Bullock, your response?

BULLOCK: You know, all of us agree that we have address climate change. No one on this stage is talking about it. The Republicans won't even acknowledge that climate change is real, Dana, and that's because of the corrupting influence and money. That has been the fight of my career.

And second of which, as we transition to this clean energy economy, you've got to recognize, there are folks that have spent their whole life powering our country, and far too often, Democrats sound like they're part of the problem. We got to make sure to aid in those transition as we get to a carbon neutral world, which I think we can do by 2020.

BASH: Thank you, Governor. Just to clarify, who is part of the problem?

BULLOCK: Who - oh, no, I - I think Democrats often, when they're saying, oh, these fossil fuel industries, these workers, those coal miner workers. Look, the world's changing. We got to make a change, but I think Democrats often sound like the people that, as Congressman Ryan would say, shower at the end of the day, that they're part of the problem. And far too many communities are being left behind, as we make this transition.

BASH: Thank you.

BULLOCK: Look, we're having this discussion, and we can talk about competing plans (ph) ...

BASH: Thank you, Governor. I want to give Senator Sanders a chance to respond.

SANDERS: Look, Steve, there ain't nobody in the Congress who's more strongly pro-worker than I am. So when I talk about taking on the fossil fuel industry, what I am also talking about is a just transition. All right. We can create what the Green New Deal is about. It's a bold idea. We can create millions of good-paying jobs. We can rebuild communities in rural America that have been devastated. So we are not anti-worker. We are going to provide and make sure that those workers have a transition, new jobs, healthcare and education.

BASH: Thank you, Senator.

BULLOCK: And look ...

BASH: Governor Bullock, your response?

BULLOCK: And look, Bernie, I was a union side labor lawyer. I fought day after day, and I know - but we've set this is a false choice far too often. Are we going to actually address climate change? Fire seasons are 80 days longer in the west now. Or are we going to give people a better shot at a better life?

You can do both, but let's actually have the scientists drive this. Let's not just talk about plans that are written for press releases that will go nowhere else if we can't get a Republican to acknowledge ...

BASH: Thank you, Governor.

BULLOCK: ... that the climate's changing.

BASH: Congressman O'Rourke, your response?

O'ROURKE: I've listen to the sciences on this, and they're very clear. We don't have more than 10 years to get this right, and we won't meet that challenge with half-steps or half-measures or only half the country. We've got to bring everyone in. The people of Detroit and those that I listened to in Flint last week, they want the challenge. They want those jobs. They want to create the future for this country and the world.

Those community college students that I met in Tucumcari, New Mexico understand that wind and solar jobs are the fastest-growing jobs in the country. And those farmers in Iowa say pay me for the environmental services of planting cover crops and keeping more land in conservation easements. That's how we meet the challenge. We do it with everyone in this country. We bring everyone in to the solution.

BASH: Thank you, Congressman. Mayor Buttigieg, your response?

BUTTIGIEG: We have all put out highly similar visions on climate. It is all theoretical. We will deal with climate, if and only if we win the presidency, if and only if we beat Donald Trump. Nominate me, and you get to see the president of the United States stand next to an American war veteran and explain why he chose to pretend to be disabled when it was chance to serve.

Nominate me, and we will have a different conversation with American voters about why the president of the United States thinks you're a sucker, when the problem in your life is your paycheck is not going up nearly as fast as the cost of housing or the cost of education ...

BASH: Thank you.

BUTTIGIEG: ... or the cost of prescription drugs. And he has done nothing about it except ...

BASH: Thank you, Mayor Buttigieg.

BUTTIGIEG: ... the tax cuts for the corporations.

BASH: Hi, Senator Klobuchar. I want to ask you about something that CNN heard from a Michigan Democratic primary voter, but we're reaching out and getting their questions.

Kimber (ph) from Birmingham, Michigan has this question, "what is your plan to address infrastructure, including the water issue so another Flint, Michigan does not happen again?"

KLOBUCHAR: Thank you Dana, and I was just in Flint. And they are still drinking bottled water in that town and that is outrageous. So my plan, and I am the first one that came out with an infrastructure plan and I did that because this is a bread and butter issue. It's a bread and butter issue for people that are caught in traffic jams.

I think the Governor here in Michigan smartly ran on the slogan, "fix the damn roads," and it is an issue for union jobs. And so I think what we need to do is not have a president that's promised he was going to do that on election night, if anyone remembers. And then he hasn't followed through -- he has done nothing, he blew up a meeting at the White House.

I would put $1 trillion in to this, and I would pay for it by first of all changing the capital gains rate by doing something when it comes to that regressive tax bill that left everyone behind, but really made his Mar-a-Lago friends richer as he promised.

And I would take that money and put it in to rural broadband and green infrastructure so you won't have what you just saw in Detroit with the Jefferson Chalmers neighborhood, the African neighborhood -- that was African-American neighborhood that was most-hit when you had those recent rainstorms.

And I truly believe that if we're going to move on infrastructure --

BASH: Thank you --

KLOBUCHAR: And climate change, you need a voice from the Heartlands.

BASH: Is this -- thank you Senator Klobuchar, Ms. Williamson, what's your response on the Flint water crisis?

WILLIAMSON: My response on the Flint water crisis is that Flint is just the tip of the iceberg. I was recently in Denmark, South Carolina where it is -- there is a lot of talk about it being the next Flint.

We have an administration that has gutted the Clean Water Act. We have communities, particularly communities of color and disadvantaged communities all over this country who are suffering from environmental injustice.

I assure you, I lived Grosse Pointe -- what happened in Flint would not have happened in Grosse Pointe. This is part of the dark underbelly of American society. The racism, the bigotry, and the entire conversation that we're having here tonight -- if you think any of this wonkiness is going to deal with this dark psychic (ph) force of the collectivized hatred that this president is bringing up in this country, then I'm afraid that the Democrats are going to see some very dark days.

We need to say it like it is, it's bigger than Flint -- it's all over this country, it's particularly people of color -- it's particularly people who do not have the money to fight back. And if the Democrats don't start saying it, then why would those people feel that they're there for us and if those people don't feel it, they won't vote for us, and Donald Trump will win.

LEMON: Thank you very much Ms. Williamson.

WILLIAMSON: Thank you.

LEMON: We want to turn now to the issue of race in America. Congressman O'Rourke, President Trump is pursuing a reelection strategy based in part, on racial division. How do you convince primary voters that you'd be the best nominee to take on President Trump and heal the racial divide in America?

O'ROURKE: We'll call his racism out for what it is, and also talk about its consequences. It doesn't just offend our sensibilities to hear him say "send her back," about a member of Congress, because she's a woman color, because she's a Muslim-American doesn't just offend our sensibilities when he calls Mexican immigrants "rapists and criminals," or seeks to ban all Muslims from the shores of a country that's comprised of people from the world over, from every tradition of faith.

It is also changing this country. Hate crimes are in the rise -- every single one of the last three years, on the day that he signed his executive order attempting to ban Muslim travel, the mosque in Victoria, Texas was burned to the ground.

So we must not only stand up against Donald Trump and defeat him in this next election, but we must also ensure that we don't just tolerate or respect our differences, but we embrace them. That's what we've learned in El Passo, Texas -- my hometown. One of the safest cities in the United States of America, not despite, but because it's a city of immigrants and asylum seekers, and refugees.

We will show that our diversity --

LEMON: Thank you.

O'ROURKE Is our strength in my administration. LEMON: Congressman O'Rourke, thank you very much. Governor

Hickenlooper, why are you the best nominee to heal the racial divide in America, please respond.

HICKENLOOPER: Well the core value behind this entire country's history is working towards a more perfect union, that all people are created equal. And we've fallen far away from that. I think the job is incumbent on any one of us to make the convincing case that we can deliver an urban agenda that represents progress in schools.

In Colorado when I was Mayor we got universal pre-K for every kid in the urban city. We did major police reform 10 years before Ferguson -- why is it now that five years after Ferguson we still don't have anything?

How do we get affordable housing? We created a scholarship fund for every kid -- you've got to deliver a vision like that for the whole country.

LEMON: Thank you Governor. Senator Warren, I'm coming to you now. Last week the FBI Director Christopher Wray said that the majority of domestic terrorism cases this year have been motivated by white supremacy. In fact, the alleged shooter in this weekend's attack in Gilroy, California referenced a well-known white supremacist book on social media. How are you going to combat the rise of white supremacy?

WARREN: We need to call out white supremacy for what it is: domestic terrorism. And it poses a threat to the United States of America.

(APPLAUSE)

We live in a country now where the president is advancing environmental racism, economic racism, criminal justice racism, health care racism. The way we do better is to fight back and show something better.

So I have a plan, for example, on education that says we have to build a better education system for all our kids, but we've got to acknowledge what's happened on race. So my plan has universal, tuition-free college for all of our kids, but also increases the Pell Grants and levels the playing field by putting $50 billion into historically black colleges and universities.

(APPLAUSE)

It cancels student loan debt for 95 percent of the kids with student loan debt and helps close the black-white wealth gap in America.

(APPLAUSE)

LEMON: Thank you, Senator, very much.

Mayor Buttigieg, you have been criticized for your handling of racial issues in your home city of South Bend, from diversity in the police force to housing policy. Given your record, how can you convince African-Americans that you should be the Democratic nominee? BUTTIGIEG: As an urban mayor serving a diverse community, the racial

divide lives within me. I'm not saying that I became mayor and racism or crime or poverty ended on my watch.

But in our city, we have come together repeatedly to tackle challenges, like the fact that far too many people were not getting the help they needed in their housing and so we directed it to a historically underinvested African-American neighborhood.

Right now, in the wake of a police-involved shooting, our community is moving from hurting to healing by making sure that the community can participate in things like revising the use of force policy and making sure there are community voices on the board of safety that handles police matters.

I've proposed a Douglass plan to tackle this issue nationally, because mayors have hit the limits of what you can do unless there is national action.

Systemic racism has touched every part of American life, from housing to health to homeownership. If you walk into an emergency room and you are black, your reports of pain will be taken less seriously. If you apply for a job and you are black, you are less likely to be called just because of the name on the resume.

It's why I've proposed that we do everything from investing in historically red-lined neighborhoods...

LEMON: Mayor...

BUTTIGIEG: ... to build black wealth in homeownership...

LEMON: Thank you, Mayor.

BUTTIGIEG: ... to supporting entrepreneurship for black Americans.

LEMON: Thank you very much.

(APPLAUSE)

Senator Klobuchar, what do you say to those Trump voters who prioritize the economy over the president's bigotry?

KLOBUCHAR: Well, first of all, there are people that voted for Donald Trump before that aren't racist; they just wanted a better shake in the economy. And so I would appeal to them.

But I don't think anyone can justify what this president is doing. Little kids literally woke up this weekend, turned on the TV, and saw their president calling their city, the town of Baltimore, nothing more than a home for rats. And I can tell you, as your president, that will stop.

The second thing I would say is that economic opportunity means economic opportunity for everyone in this country. I know that because I have lived it. And that means when we put out there better childcare and better education, and we pay teachers more, and we make sure there's a decent retirement system in place, yes, we help the African- American community and we must, because they have been the ones that have been most hurt by what we've seen in the last decades, but we help everyone.

So what I say to the people in my rural parts of my state, just like I say to them in the city and bring them together, is that economic opportunity must be there for everyone.

LEMON: Senator Klobuchar, thank you very much.

Congressman O'Rourke, please respond.

O'ROURKE: I want to acknowledge something that we're all touching on, which is the very foundation of this country, the wealth that we have built, the way we became the greatest country on the face of the planet was literally on the backs of those who were kidnapped and brought here by force.

(APPLAUSE)

The legacy of slavery and segregation and Jim Crow and suppression is alive and well in every aspect of the economy and in the country.

Today, as president, I will sign into law a new Voting Rights Act. I will focus on education, address health care disparities, but I will also sign into law Sheila Jackson Lee's reparations bill so that we can have the national conversation we've waited too long in this country to have.

(APPLAUSE)

LEMON: Thank you, Congressman O'Rourke. Speaking of reparations, Ms. Williamson, many of your opponents support a commission to study the issue of reparations for slavery. But you are calling for up to $500 billion in financial assistance. What makes you qualified to determine how much is owed in reparations?

WILLIAMSON: Well, first of all, it's not $500 billion in financial assistance. It's $500 billion, $200 billion to $500 billion payment of a debt that is owed. That is what reparations is.

(APPLAUSE)

We need some deep truth-telling when it comes. We don't need another commission to look at evidence. I appreciate what Congressman O'Rourke has said. It is time for us to simply realize that this country will not heal.

All that a country is, is a collection of people. People heal when there's some deep truth-telling. We need to recognize that when it comes to the economic gap between blacks and whites in America, it does come from a great injustice that has never been dealt with.

(APPLAUSE) That great injustice has had to do with the fact that there was 250 years of slavery followed by another hundred years of domestic terrorism.

What makes me qualified to say $200 billion to $500 billion? I'll tell you what makes me qualified. If you did the math of the 40 acres and a mule, given that there was 4 million to 5 million slaves at the end of the Civil War, four to five -- and they were all promised 40 acres and a mule for every family of four, if you did the math today, it would be trillions of dollars. And I believe that anything less than $100 billion is an insult.

And I believe that $200 billion to $500 billion is politically feasible today, because so many Americans realize there is an injustice that continues to form a toxicity underneath the surface, an emotional turbulence that only reparations will heal.

LEMON: Thank you very much.

(APPLAUSE)

Senator Sanders -- Senator Sanders, you don't think cash payments are the best way to address this issue, but according to a new Gallup poll, 73 percent of African-Americans are in favor of cash payments to black Americans who are descendants of slaves. How do you respond to them?

SANDERS: Well, I respond to that by saying that I am supportive of Jim Clyburn's legislation, which is called 10-20-30. And what that understands is that as a result of slavery, and segregation, and the institutional racism we see now in health care, in education, in financial services, we are going to have to focus big time on rebuilding distressed communities in America, including African- American communities.

In terms of education, I also have a plan. It's called the Thurgood Marshall Plan. And it would focus on ending the growth of segregated schools in America. It would triple funding for Title I schools. It would make sure that teachers in this country earned at least $60,000 a year.

(APPLAUSE)

LEMON: Senator Sanders, thank you very much. The debate continues right after this short break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(APPLAUSE)

LEMON: Welcome back to the CNN Democratic presidential debate, live from Detroit.

Let's turn now to the economy.

Congressman Ryan, President Trump's tariffs have boosted the U.S. steel industry but hurt auto manufacturers like those here in Michigan, which could drive up the cost of cars. As president, would you continue President Trump's steel tariffs?

RYAN: Look, I think President Trump was onto something when he talked about China. China has been abusing the economic system for a long time. They steal intellectual property. They subsidize goods coming into this country. They've displaced steel workers, auto workers, across the board, eroded our manufacturing. And we basically transferred our wealth of our middle class either up to the top 1 percent or to China for them to build their military.

So I think we need some targeted response against China. But you know how you beat China? You out-compete 'em. And that's why I'd put a chief manufacturing officer in place to make sure that we rebuild the manufacturing base.

We've got to fill these factories that -- in Detroit, in Youngstown, that used to make cars and steel. We've got to fill them with workers who are making electric vehicles, batteries, charging stations, make sure they're making solar panels.

As I said earlier, China dominates 60 percent of the solar panel market. They dominate 50 percent to 60 percent of the electric vehicle market. We're going to make 10 million electric vehicle somewhere in the world in the next 10 years. I want them made in the United States. That's why I have a chief manufacturing officer that will sit in the White House and help drive this agenda.

LEMON: Congressman, thank you. Just as a point of clarification, as president, would you consider President Trump's steel tariffs, yes or no?

RYAN: Well, I would have to re-evaluate. I think some of them are effective. But he's bungled the whole thing, obviously. He has -- see, here's the problem with President Trump. He has a tactical move -- one of many -- he has a tactical move. What's the grand strategy for the United States? China has 100-year plan, a 50-year plan, a 30-year plan, a 20-year plan. We live in a 24-hour news cycle. That spells disaster for our economy and disaster for our global politics.

LEMON: Thank you, Congressman. Congressman Delaney, your response?

(APPLAUSE)

DELANEY: So, listen. This is what I don't understand. President Trump wants to build physical walls and beats up on immigrants. Most of the folks running for president want to build economic walls to free trade and beat up on President Obama. I'm the only one running for president who actually supports the Trans-Pacific Partnership. President Obama was right about that. We should be getting back in that.

Senator Warren just issued a trade plan...

WARREN: You bet (ph) I did.

DELANEY: ... that would prevent the United States from trading with its allies. We can't go and -- we can't isolate ourselves from the world. We have to engage...

LEMON: Thank you.

DELANEY: ... with fair, rules-based trade.

LEMON: Thank you, Congressman Delaney. Senator Warren, please respond.

WARREN: You know, for decades, we have had a trade policy that has been written by giant multi-national corporations to help giant multi- national corporations. They have no loyalty to America. They have no patriotism. If they can save a nickel by moving a job to Mexico, they'll do it in a heartbeat. If they can continue a polluting plant by moving it to Vietnam, they'll do it in a heartbeat.

I have put out a new comprehensive plan that says we're not going to do it that way. We're going to negotiate our deals with unions at the table, with small businesses at the table, with small farmers at the table, with environmentalists at the table, with human rights activists at the table. And then, we're going to use the fact that everybody in the world wants to get to America's markets. They want to sell to you...

DELANEY: That was the TPP.

WARREN: I'll finish.

LEMON: Congressman Delaney...

WARREN: ... is everyone wants to get to America's markets.

LEMON: Thank you, Senator.

WARREN: No. So the question is...

LEMON: Senator, thank you. Please abide by the rules.

WARREN: ... how we need to raise our standards.

LEMON: Congressman Delaney, it's your turn. Thank you, Senator. Congressman Delaney?

DELANEY: So that was the Trans-Pacific Partnership. I think President Obama was right. He did include environmental standards. He did include labor standards. We would be in an entirely different position with China if we had entered the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

We can't isolate ourselves from the world. We can't isolate ourselves from Asia. Senator Warren's plan, basically, that she put out, we would not be able to trade with the United Kingdom.

WARREN: No, what this is about...

DELANEY: We would not be able to trade with the E.U. It is so extreme that it will isolate...

LEMON: Thank you, Congressman Delaney. Thank you, Congressman. DELANEY: ... the American economy from the world.

LEMON: Senator? Senator Warren. Senator Warren.

SANDERS: I was...

WARREN: I think he said...

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: Senator Sanders, please let Senator Warren respond.

SANDERS: Oh, I'm sorry.

(LAUGHTER)

WARREN: What the congressman is describing as extreme is having deals that are negotiated by American workers for American workers. American workers want those jobs, and we can build the trade deals that do it.

People want access to our markets all around the world. Then the answer is, let's make them raise their standards. Make them pay workers more. Let their workers unionize. Raise their environmental standards before they come to us and say they want to be able to sell their products.

Right now, the whole game is working for the big multinationals. It's just not working for the people here in the United States, and we can change that.

LEMON: Senator, thank you very much. Congressman O'Rourke, your response?

(APPLAUSE)

O'ROURKE: You know, the question was about tariffs. And they're a huge mistake. They constitute the largest tax increase on the American consumer, hitting the middle class and the working poor especially hard, and farmers in Iowa and across the country are bearing the brunt of the consequences.

When have we ever gone to war, including a trade war, without allies and friends and partners? As president, we will hold China accountable, but we will bring our allies and friends, like the European Union, to bear, and we'll also negotiate trade deals that favor farmers and American workers and protect human rights and the environment and labor, not just here in the United States...

LEMON: Congressman O'Rourke, thank you so much. Senator Sanders, please respond to Congressman O'Rourke.

WARREN: I'd like to respond to this.

SANDERS: Yeah, OK. You're looking, I believe, at the only member of Congress who not only voted against these disastrous trade agreements, NAFTA, PNTR with China, which cost us over 4 million jobs, but also helped lead the effort against these agreements.

Now, Elizabeth is absolutely right. If anybody here thinks that corporate America gives one damn about the average American worker, you're mistaken. If they can save five cents by going to China, Mexico, or Vietnam, or anyplace else, that's exactly what they will do.

As president, let me tell you what I will do. These guys line up at the federal trough. They want military contracts. They want all kinds of contracts. Well, under my administration, you ain't going to get those contracts if you're throwing American workers out on the street.

LEMON: Senator Sanders, thank you very much. Governor Hickenlooper, your response?

WARREN: I'd like a chance to respond.

HICKENLOOPER: So -- so I think -- again, I think Congressman Delaney has got a point here. And there is a way of looking at trade that is therapeutic.

The bottom line is, you talk to any economist, there is not a single example in history where a trade war had a winner. Trade wars are for losers. And the bottom line is we've got to recognize, let's negotiate a better trade deal. But you're not going to win against China in a trade war when they've got 25 percent of our total debt.

And step back and look it. Here's Trump gives a giant tax cut and at the same time -- so we're paying in tariffs about $800 to $1,200 per household and then we give this incredible tax cut to the rich. Essentially what's happening is now he's transferred that tax obligation onto the middle class. That's what's outrageous. But tariffs are not the solution.

LEMON: Governor, thank you. Senator Warren?

WARREN: Anyone who thinks that these trade deals are mostly about tariffs just doesn't understand what's going on. Look at the new NAFTA 2.0. What's the central feature? It's to help pharmaceutical companies get longer periods of exclusivity so they can charge Canadians, Americans, and Mexicans more money and make more profits.

That's what trade deals have become. They have become a way for giant multinationals to change the regulatory environment so they can suck more profits out for themselves and to leave the American people behind. We have to have the courage to fight back against that corruption.

LEMON: Senator, thank you. Governor Bullock, your response?

BULLOCK: You know, a farmer in Rippy (ph) said to me, every time that Trump tweets, we lose hundreds of thousands of dollars. If Montana had to eat all the wheat that we produce, every Montanan would have to eat 40 loaves of bread a day.

But by the same token, what we have is -- I actually agree with Senator Warren on this in part. Corporations can move capital easy. Workers can't move. So going forward, we need to make sure that our trade deals actually are protecting -- thinking about the workers. They can't be the stepchild. But the way to do it, with this blunt instrument of tariffs that the president is doing, that's not how we get a fair deal for farmers anywhere or the manufacturers here in Detroit.

LEMON: Governor, thank you very much.

(CROSSTALK)

Mayor -- standby, please. Standby, please. Please abide by the rules. Mayor Buttigieg, on Thursday of this week, a GM plant in Michigan will stop production, the latest auto plant to cease operations in the industrial Midwest. This comes as part of the company's modernization plans, which will eventually result in 6,000 hourly workers losing their jobs or being reassigned to other plants.

What is your plan for retraining workers whose jobs are at risk?

BUTTIGIEG: Well, this happened in my community 20 years before I was born. And when I was growing up, we were still picking up the pieces. Empty factories, empty houses, poverty. I know exactly what happens to a community when these closures take place. And there will be more.

It's why we actually need to put the interests of workers first. Of course we need to do retraining. We're doing it now in South Bend. We should continue to do it. But this is so much bigger than a trade fight. This is about a moment when the economy is changing before our eyes.

There are people in the gig economy who go through more jobs in a week than my parents went through in their lifetime. It's why I've proposed that we allow gig workers to unionize, because a gig is a job and a worker is a worker.

(APPLAUSE)

LEMON: Thank you, Mayor.

BUTTIGIEG: We have to respond to all of these changes. And, you know, in addition to confronting tech, in addition to supporting workers by double unionization, as I propose to do, some of this is low-tech, too, like the minimum wage is just too low. And so-called conservative Christian senators right now in the Senate are blocking a bill to raise the minimum wage, when scripture says that whoever oppresses the poor taunts their maker.

(APPLAUSE)

LEMON: Mayor, thank you very much.

Congressman Delaney, I'm coming to you now. Your estimated net worth is more than $65 million. That would make you subject to Senator Warren's proposed wealth tax on the assets of the richest 75,000 homes, households, or so, in the United States. Do you think Senator Warren's wealth tax is a fair way to fund child care and education?

DELANEY: I think wealthy Americans have to pay more. Listen, I grew up in a blue-collar family. First in my family to go to college. Became a successful entrepreneur. Created thousands of jobs. Supported thousands of entrepreneurs all around this country. And I've done well financially. I think I should pay more in tax. I think wealthy Americans should pay more in tax. But we have to have a real solution.

The real solution is to raise the capital gains rates. There is no reason why people who invest for a living should pay less than people who work for a living. That's ridiculous. It's the biggest loophole in our tax code.

(APPLAUSE)

We act like wealthy individuals are endangered species and if we don't raise -- if we raise their taxes, they won't invest. That's crazy. That's how we get more revenues from wealthy individuals, we roll back the Trump tax cuts to wealthy individuals.

I think the wealth tax will be fought in court forever. It's arguably unconstitutional. And the countries that have had it have largely abandoned it because it's impossible to implement. But here again, real solutions, not impossible promises.

LEMON: Congressman, thank you very much.

DELANEY: Raise the capital gains tax. Roll back the taxes on wealthy Americans.

LEMON: Thank you, Congressman.

DELANEY: That we can do in our first few months as president.

LEMON: Senator Warren, please respond.

WARREN: So I have proposed a wealth tax. It's now time to do that. It's time to tax the top one tenth of one percent of fortunes in this country. Your first $50 million, you can keep free and clear. But your 50 millionth and first dollar, you got to pitch in two cents. Two cents.

What can America do with two cents? We can provide universal childcare from zero to five. We can provide universal pre-K for every 3-year-old and 4-year-old. We can raise the wages of every childcare worker and preschool teacher in this country. We can provide universal tuition- free college. We can expand Pell. We can put $50 billion into our historically black colleges and universities. And we can cancel student loan debt for 95 percent of the people who have it and start to close the wealth gap in America.

It tells you how badly broken this economy is...

LEMON: Senator, thank you very much. Congressman Delaney...

WARREN: ... that two cents from the wealthiest in this country... LEMON: Thank you, Senator.

WARREN: ... would let us invest in the rest of America.

LEMON: Senator, please. Congressman, please respond.

(APPLAUSE)

DELANEY: This is not about whether wealthy -- this is not about whether wealthy Americans should pay more. I think we're all in agreement on that. It's a question of, do you have a real solution to make it happen?

We can raise the capital gains rate to match the ordinary income. You know the last president to do that was actually Ronald Reagan. We can do that in our first year. I've called for that to be done (inaudible). I've called for the expansion of universal pre-K so that every American has pre-K. And I do it through a -- through an additional tax on high net worth individuals.

BASH: Thank you.

But we don't need to come up with new taxes that are arguably unconstitutional...

BASH: Thank you, Congressman Delaney.

DELANEY: ... will be fought in court for years.

BASH: Thank you, Congressman. I want to turn to the issue of student debt.

WARREN: This is...

(CROSSTALK)

SANDERS: Can I just respond to that?

BASH: I'm going to turn to the issue of student debt now. Mayor Buttigieg, you've talked about how you and your husband are...

(APPLAUSE)

... paying down six figures of student loan debt. Under Senator Sanders' proposal to cancel all student loan debt, yours would immediately be wiped away. Why wouldn't you support that?

BUTTIGIEG: That would be great for us. And then the next day, there would be a student loan program and people would be out taking student loans wondering they weren't -- why they weren't lucky enough in timing to get theirs wiped away completely, too.

We can have debt-free college for low and middle-income students by expanding Pell Grants and compelling states to pick up more of the burden. And on the back end, for those of us who do have a lot of debt, we can make it more affordable and we can expand a public service loan forgiveness program, which is an excellent program that is almost impossible to actually get access to right now.

We can take these steps and have an approach that is actually fair. If we want to start wiping away student debt, here's where I would start. I would start with the for-profit colleges that took advantage of people, especially veterans, by the way. The moment I redeployed, my Facebook add feed started filling with ads from these for-profit colleges. Under President Obama, they were held accountable for whether they delivered results. President Trump, under a secretary of education who regrettably is from this state, did away with those rules. There's no accountability.

On my watch, those colleges that turned the Department of Education into a predatory lender, that's where we would begin when it came to getting rid of loans.

BASH: Thank you, Mayor Buttigieg.

Senator Sanders, you want to forgive all student loan debt. Your response?

SANDERS: Matter of fact, I do. But before I get into that, the major issue that we don't talk about in Congress; you don't talk about in the media, is the massive level of income and wealth inequality in America.

You've got three people who own more wealth than the bottom 90 percent. You have a top 1 percent that owns more wealth than the bottom 92 percent. Forty-nine percent of all new (ph) income goes to the top 1 percent. Companies like Amazon and billionaires out there do not pay one nickel in federal income tax. And we've got 500,000 people sleeping out on the street.

What we need is a political revolution that tells these billionaires and corporate America that they are Americans; they'll participate in our society, but they have got to start paying their fair share of taxes, period.

(APPLAUSE)

BASH: Thank you, Senator Sanders. Ms. Williamson?

WILLIAMSON: I'd like to respond.

BASH: You are proposing to make college free for all qualified students. Should the government pay for children from wealthier families to go to college?

WILLIAMSON: I think that all domestic and international policy should be based on the idea that anything we do to help people thrive is a stimulation to our economy. That's how you stimulate your economy. So if a few people take advantage, but there are four or five people who were going to take the money that they then have in the bank -- when you look at this $1.5 trillion college debt -- this is why I agree with Bernie, or I would be -- OK, why don't we swap it? We had a $2 trillion tax cut, where 83 cents of every dollar goes to the very, very richest among us, that does not stimulate the economy. If we get rid of this college debt, think of all the young people who

will have the discretionary spending; they'll be able to start their business. The best thing you could do to stimulate the U.S. economy is to get rid of this debt.

(APPLAUSE)

This is not just about a plan to to do it. It's about a philosophy of governing. And I've heard some people here tonight, I almost wonder why you're Democrats. You seem to think there's something wrong about using...

(APPLAUSE)

... about using the instruments of government to help people. That is what government should do. It should -- all policies should help people thrive. That is how we will have peace...

BASH: Thank you.

WILLIAMSON: ... and that is how we will have prosperity.

BASH: Thank you, Ms. Williamson. Congressman O'Rourke, you don't support free four-year college. Your response to Ms. Williamson?

O'ROURKE: I support free two-year college, earn that associate's degree, realize your full potential, debt-free four-year college. But unlike some of the other candidates on the stage, that's not just for tuition. That is room and books and board, the full cost of being able to better yourself so that you can better this country, and then for that schoolteacher who, in many places like Texas, is working a second or a third job, full forgiveness for her outstanding student loan debt, forgiveness for that person willing to work at the V.A. and serve our former service members.

And we do not do that at the expense of unions. We elevate them as well and make it easier to join an apprenticeship to learn a skill or a trade that you can command for the rest of your life.

BASH: Thank you. Thank you, Congressman. Senator Klobuchar, your response?

(APPLAUSE)

KLOBUCHAR: I want to make it easier for kids to go to college. And I think we do it by focusing our resources on the people that need it most. And my problem with some of these plans is they literally would pay for wealthy kids, for Wall Street kids to go to college. There's no difference. It says everyone is free.

I don't think that makes sense. And I'm very concerned if we do things like that, the debt we're going to pass on to the next generation and the next generation. So what I would do about student loan debt is that I would allow people to refinance it at a better rate and I would make sure that we improve those student loan repayment programs for our teachers and expand them so that you literally -- over 5, 10 years -- can get it paid for if you go into occupations where we don't have enough workers.

I think we need to mesh what we were just talking about with the economy with our education policy.

TAPPER: Thank you, Senator. Thank you, Senator. I want to turn to foreign policy now.

Senator Sanders, President Trump has argued that the United States cannot continue to be the, quote, "policeman of the world." You said the exact same thing on a debate stage in 2016. If voters are hearing the same message from you and President Trump on the issue of military intervention, how should they expect that you will be any different from him?

SANDERS: Trump is a pathological liar. I tell the truth.

(APPLAUSE)

We have been in Afghanistan I think 18 years, in Iraq 16 or 17 years. We have spent $5 trillion on the war on terror. And there are probably more terrorists out there now than before it began. We're going to spend -- the Congress passed -- and I will not vote for -- a $715 billion military budget, more than the 10 next countries combined.

What we need is a foreign policy that focuses on diplomacy, ending conflicts by people sitting at a table, not by killing each other. As president of the United States, I will go to the United Nations and not denigrate it, not attack the U.N., but bring countries together in the Middle East and all over the world to come to terms with their differences and solve those problems peacefully.

TAPPER: Thank you, Senator.

SANDERS: The United States cannot be the policeman of the world.

TAPPER: Thank you, Senator. Governor Hickenlooper, how do you respond to Senator Sanders' vision for America's role in the world?

HICKENLOOPER: Well, we share the recognition of the incredible costs. People don't realize that half the soldiers that fought in Iraq and Afghanistan were National Guard. And so I went and sent them off on their deployments, big, you know, noisy hangers, but I also mourned with their families when they didn't come back.

We are able now to -- I call it constant engagement. But we should have an international diplomatic approach where we're talking to everybody, because if we're going to deal with climate change and cyber security and nuclear proliferation, we've got to be talking to everybody. And tariff wars don't work.

TAPPER: Thank you, Governor.

HICKENLOOPER: They're for losers.

TAPPER: Thank you, Governor. I want to go to Congressman Ryan and I want to turn to the subject of

North Korea, which just hours ago launched two short-range ballistic missiles for the second time in less than a week. Congressman, you've said that you would not meet with North Korea dictator Kim Jong-un unless you were at least close to a deal. Now, Senator Klobuchar says that she would, quote, "always be willing to meet with leaders to discuss policies." Is that view wrong?

RYAN: Yeah, I think so. I love Amy Klobuchar, but I think she's wrong on this one. I don't think presidents of the United States meet with dictators.

We saw what just happened with President Trump. He goes to the demilitarized zone with the leader of North Korea, gives him a huge photo op, gives him global credibility, because the most powerful person in the world is sitting there meeting with him, and weeks later, he's lobbing more missiles. That doesn't make any sense.

We've got to demilitarize our foreign policy. We've got to make sure that we are engaging these countries all the time. This is very difficult work. I've been in Congress 17 years. I've sat on the Defense Appropriations Committee. I've sat on the Armed Services Committee. This is long, tedious work, much of it done outside of the eye of the TV camera.

And as president, you've got to monitor that and be very disciplined every day. Don't go give a dictator a huge win. Sit down and do your job.

And the same thing with what's happening in Central America. He's cutting the State Department budget, Nicaragua, Guatemala, El Salvador, where the migrants are coming from.

TAPPER: Thank you, Congressman.

RYAN: Go fix the problem at its source and use diplomacy to do it.

TAPPER: Senator Klobuchar, your response?

KLOBUCHAR: I think we agree. I just think you have to leave open the possibility of meeting with anyone at any place. What I don't like is how this president has handled it. You've heard of the Truman doctrine, the Monroe doctrine. He's done the go-it-alone doctrine with the rest of the world.

He's taking us out of the climate change agreement, out of the Iran nuclear agreement, out of the Russian nuclear agreement, and I don't agree with that.

And when he was just with Vladimir Putin at the G20, when he was asked about invading our democracy, he made a joke. Hundreds of thousands of Americans have lost their lives on the battlefield to protect our democracy and our right to vote.

TAPPER: Thank you.

KLOBUCHAR: Four little girls in Birmingham, Alabama, lost their life in a church at the height of the civil rights amendment.

TAPPER: Thank you, Senator.

KLOBUCHAR: So I do believe you meet with people, but you'd better have an agenda...

TAPPER: Thank you, Senator.

KLOBUCHAR: ... and you better put our interests of our country first, not the Russians'.

TAPPER: Thank you, Senator Klobuchar.

Mayor Buttigieg, you served in Afghanistan where just yesterday two U.S. servicemembers were killed. There are currently about 14,000 U.S. servicemembers in Afghanistan. You've said, quote, "One thing everybody can agree on is that we're getting out of Afghanistan." Will you withdraw all U.S. servicemembers by the end of your first year in office?

BUTTIGIEG: We will withdraw. We have to.

TAPPER: In your first year?

BUTTIGIEG: Yes. Look, around the world, we will do whatever it takes to keep America safe. But I thought I was one of the last troops leaving Afghanistan when I thought I was turning out the lights years ago.

Every time I see news about somebody being killed in Afghanistan, I think about what it was like to hear an explosion over there and wonder whether it was somebody that I served with, somebody that I knew, a friend, roommate, colleague.

We're pretty close to the day when we will wake up to the news of a casualty in Afghanistan who was not born on 9/11.

I was sent into that war by a congressional authorization, as well as a president. And we need to talk not only about the need for a president committed to ending endless war, but the fact that Congress has been asleep at the switch.

And on my watch, I will propose that any authorization for the use of military force have a three-year sunset and have to be renewed, because if men and women in the military have the courage to go serve, members of Congress ought to have to summon the courage to vote on whether they ought to be there.

TAPPER: Thank you, Mayor. Thank you, Mayor.

(APPLAUSE)

I want to bring in Congressman O'Rourke. Congressman O'Rourke, responding -- returning, rather, to the question of whether you would withdraw all U.S. servicemembers from Afghanistan during your first year in office as president, how do you respond, sir? O'ROURKE: I would in my first term in office. Agree that there is nothing about perpetuating this war, already in its 18th year, that will make it any better. We've satisfied the reasons for our involvement in Afghanistan in the first place. And it's time to bring those servicemembers back home from Afghanistan, but also from Iraq, also from Yemen, and Somalia, and Libya, and Syria.

There is no reason for us to be at war all over the world tonight. As president, I will end those wars, and we will not start new wars. We will not send more U.S. servicemembers overseas to sacrifice their lives and to take the lives of others in our name. We can resolve these challenges peacefully and diplomatically.

TAPPER: Thank you, Congressman. Thank you, Congressman.

Governor Hickenlooper, you disagree. You've said that you're open to keeping some servicemembers in Afghanistan beyond your first term.

HICKENLOOPER: I look at it as a...

TAPPER: Please respond.

HICKENLOOPER: ... humanitarian issue. And with all due respect, you're looking at the condition of women...

WILLIAMSON: Thank you.

HICKENLOOPER: ... if we completely pull our troops out of there, you're going to see a humanitarian disaster that will startle and frighten every man, woman, and child in this country. And I don't think -- I mean, we have troops in over 400 different locations around the world. Most of them are small, they're peacekeeping, they're not greatly at risk.

We're going to have to be in Afghanistan. Look at the progress that's (ph) happened in that country. We're going to turn our backs and walk away from people that have risked their lives to help us and build a different future for Afghanistan and that part of the world?

TAPPER: Thank you, Governor. Thank you, Governor.

Senator Warren, you want to make it U.S. policy that the U.S. will never use a nuclear weapon unless another country uses one first. Now, President Obama reportedly considered that policy, but ultimately decided against it. Why should the U.S. tie its own hands with that policy?

WARREN: Because it makes the world safer. The United States is not going to use nuclear weapons preemptively, and we need to say so to the entire world. It reduces the likelihood that someone miscalculates, someone misunderstands.

Our first responsibility is to keep ourselves safe. And what's happening right now with Donald Trump is they keep expanding the different ways that we have nuclear weapons, the different ways that they could be used puts us all at risk. You know, we talk about what's happening around the world. I have

three older brothers who served in the military. I see that they would do anything. Our military is the best on Earth. But we should not be asking our military to take on jobs that do not have a military solution. We need to use our diplomatic tools, our economic tools, and if we're going to send someone into war, we better have a plan for how we're going to get them out on the other end.

TAPPER: Thank you, Senator.

Governor Bullock, your response to Senator Warren's proposal to the U.S. never use a nuclear weapon first?

BULLOCK: I wouldn't want to take that off the table. I think America's strength -- we have to be able to say that. Look, never, I hope, certainly in my term or anyone else, would we really even get close to pulling that trigger.

But by the same token, America's strength -- and, look, this president has made America first as America alone. Our allies no longer trust us. Our adversaries are with us. But going from the position of strength, we should be negotiating down so there aren't nuclear weapons. But drawing those lines in the sand, at this point I wouldn't do.

LEMON: Thank you, Governor. Senator Warren. your response?

WARREN: Look, we don't expand trust around the world by saying, "You know, we might be the first ones to use a nuclear weapon." That puts the entire world at risk and puts us at risk, right in the middle of this. At a time when Donald Trump is pulling out of our nuclear negotiations, expanding the opportunities for nuclear proliferation around the world, has pulled us out of the deal in Iran, and Iran is now working on its nuclear weapon, the world gets closer and closer to nuclear warfare.

BULLOCK: Senator, that...

WARREN: We have to have an announced policy that is one the entire world can live with. We need to make that clear. We will respond if someone else does, but not first.

LEMON: Governor Bullock, please respond.

BULLOCK: Part, I agree with. But by the same token, like, we need to get back to nuclear proliferation.

WARREN: Why?

BULLOCK: But when you have folks -- de-proliferation, reducing it. But at the same time, when you actually have Korea; when you have others, I don't want to turn around and say, "Well, Detroit has to be gone before we would ever use that." When so many crazy folks are getting closer to having a nuclear weapon, I don't want them to think I could strike this country and I and we as the United States of America wouldn't do a thing. Part of the strength really is the ability to deter.

LEMON: Governor Bullock...

WARREN: So...

LEMON: Governor, thank you very much.

Moving on now...

SANDERS: Could I add something to that...

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: Senator, please -- moving on now. As you know, to serve as president of the United States -- all of you know this -- you have to be at least 35 years old.

So Mayor Buttigieg, you just qualified. You're 37, the youngest candidate in this field. Standing next to you is the oldest candidate, Bernie Sanders, at age 77. Should voters take into consideration age when choosing a presidential candidate?

BUTTIGIEG: I don't care how old you are. I care about your vision. But I do think it matters that we have a new generation of leaders stepping up around the world, leaders like the...

(APPLAUSE)

I actually think it's good that the prime minister of New Zealand's gotten a lot of attention in Democratic debates. She's masterful. She is younger than I would be when I take office.

This is the kind of trend America might be leading, instead of following, but only if it's actually backed by the right vision. And we can have great presidents at any age. What I will say is we need the kind of vision that's going to win. We cannot have a vision that amounts to back to normal. Because the only reason we got this president is that normal didn't work. We have to be ready to take on this president and, by the way, something that hasn't been talked about as much tonight, take on his enablers in Congress.

You know, when...

(APPLAUSE)

... when David Duke -- when David Duke ran for Congress -- ran for governor, the Republican Party, 20 years ago, ran away from him. Today they are supporting naked racism in the White House, or at best silent about it. And if you are watching this at home and you are a Republican member of Congress, consider the fact that, when the sun sets on your career and they are writing your story, of all the good and bad things you did in your life, the thing you will be remembered for is whether, in this moment, with this president, you found the courage to stand up to him or you continued to put party over country.

(APPLAUSE)

LEMON: Thank you, Mayor.

Senator Sanders, as the senior statesman of the group, please respond to Mayor Buttigieg.

SANDERS: Well, Pete is right. It's a question of vision. That's what it is, whether you're young, whether you're old, whether you're in between. And my vision, among other things, says that if we're going to fight for health care, we don't take money from the drug companies or the insurance companies.

And I have asked all of the candidates who are running to say they will not accept money from those entities who, in my view, are going to war against the American people in terms of health care. That's a new vision.

A new vision says that we must cancel completely student debt because the younger generation in this country today, for the first time in modern American history, will have a lower standard of living than their parents.

LEMON: Thank you, Senator Sanders.

WARREN: I'd like to respond on that, too.

LEMON: The debate continues right after this -- please.

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: Thank you. The debate continues right after this short break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

TAPPER: Welcome back to the CNN Democratic presidential debates. We have covered a lot of ground tonight. Now it is time for closing statements. You will each receive one minute.

Governor Bullock, we're going to begin with you.

BULLOCK: Thanks, Jake.

I was raised in a single-parent household, at times paycheck to paycheck. Only knew there was a governor's house in town because I delivered newspapers to it, so I've made it about four blocks in life. Worked my way through college, paid my way through law school.

But, you know, I had a chance to actually go from delivering newspapers to the governor's house as a kid to now raising our three kids in it. We got to recognize for far too many people now in America that shot no longer exists. And for far too many in this country, it never has.

I'm running for president to beat Donald Trump, win back the places we lost, and make sure that Americans know that where Washington has left them behind in the economy, in the political system, I'll be there. This isn't a choice just between center and left or about -- we don't

have to choose between what we don't want and what we can't afford. Folks want a different way. They want to believe the economy and our democracy can work for us. That's why I'm running for president.

TAPPER: Thank you. Ms. Williamson?

WILLIAMSON: Yes, our problem is not just that we need to defeat Donald Trump. We need a plan to solve institutionalized hatred, collectivized hatred, and white nationalism.

And in order to do that, we need more than political insider game and wonkiness and intellectual argument. Those things will not defeat Donald Trump. We need some radical truth-telling, not just to talk about health care, but talk about why are we so sick all the time. We need to have a serious conversation about race and what is truly owed.

Even on the subject of foreign policy, it's all about symptoms and not about cause. We need to talk about the fact that the United States has sacrificed our moral leadership. The fact that countries see us, not only domestically but internationally, with policies that simply support our corporate overlords. The fact that our national defense agenda is driven more by short-term profits for defense contractors than by genuine peace-building.

There's some corruption that is so deep, ladies and gentlemen. And until the Democratic Party is ready to speak to the deeper corruption, knowing that we ourselves sometimes because of our own corporate donations have participated, than I'm afraid those who vote for Trump will continue to vote for Trump and those who might not like Donald Trump will continue to stay home.

I want a politics that goes much deeper. I want a politics that speaks to the heart, because the only way to fight -- you keep talking about how we're going to fight Donald Trump. You can't fight dog whistles. You have to override them.

And the only way you can override them is with new voices, voices of energy that only come from the fact that America has been willing to live up to our own mistakes, atone for our mistakes, make amends for our own mistakes, love each other, love our democracy, love future generations, something emotional and psychological that will not be -- be emerging from anything on this stage. It will emerge from something I'm the one who's qualified to bring forth.

TAPPER: Congressman Delaney?

DELANEY: Thank you, Jake.

John F. Kennedy famously said we should not seek the Republican answer, we should not seek the Democratic answer, we should seek the right answer. He was right when he said it and he's right today, as well.

Donald Trump is the symptom of a disease. And the disease is divisiveness. And I'm the only one on the stage talking about curing that disease, which -- with big ideas like national service, by focusing on actually solving problems.

If we work together, we can fix health care and build infrastructure. We can invest in not just technology, but people and entrepreneurs, whether they be in Storm Lake, Iowa, or Detroit, Michigan, or Baltimore, Maryland. We can fight climate change and reimagine our education system. But we have to do it with real solutions, not impossible promises.

Isn't it time we had a president who was a leader in both the private sector and in government, to lead us into the future? I promise, as president, I will restore vision, unity, and leadership, and decency to this country. And that's why I'm running for president.

Thank you.

TAPPER: Congressman Ryan?

RYAN: So in a few minutes, all of the pundits are going to be looking at this debate and saying, well, who captured the left lane and who captured the center lane and who captured the moderate lane?

I hope tonight at some level I captured your imagination, your imagination about what this country could be like if we united, if we put together real policy that weren't left or right, but new and better. That's how we win the future. It's new and better.

A new and better economy, a new and better education system, a new and better health care system that focuses on prevention, an education system that focuses on the trauma of our kids.

There's not going to be a savior. Not going to be a superstar that's going to fix all this. It's going to be you and me. It's going to be us. That's how we fix this country, you and I coming together to do big things, to imagine the new country that we want by coming together, not left or right. New and better.

TAPPER: Governor Hickenlooper?

HICKENLOOPER: Thank you. And what a night. I've loved it.

I'd like to ask every American to imagine that you are facing life- threatening surgery tomorrow. Would you choose a doctor who had a track record of proven success, who'd actually done the work, or someone who had just talked about it? That's the question we're facing in this primary.

I've actually got a track record as small-business owner, as a mayor, and as a governor. We expanded health care in Colorado. We got near universal coverage. We fought climate change directly. We beat the NRA. And for the last three years, we've been the number-one economy in the country. We can wrap all that out.

I'm as progressive as anybody up on this stage, but I'm also pragmatic. And I've done the things that most of these other people are just talking about. And I know I can get results. And I can lead the people of this country towards a stronger, a healthier, and a more secure future, and defeat Donald Trump and return this country to its glory.

Thank you.

TAPPER: Senator Klobuchar?

KLOBUCHAR: Well, thank you, Detroit. To win, we have to listen to people. And out there today is Casey Jo's mom. Casey Jo was a champion high school swimmer from a small town. She got sick, went to the emergency room, and got hooked on opioids. The last thing that she said to her mom was, "Mama, it's not my fault." And she died.

A lot of Americans say the same thing every day. And that is what I will stand up for and what I will stand up against are companies like those pharma companies that got her hooked on those opioids and didn't tell the doctors or the patients what was going to happen.

We need someone that has people's back. We also need someone that can win. And I have won in these red districts. I win in the Midwest. I can win in states like Wisconsin and Michigan and Iowa.

I also will do my job without fear or favor, just like I did as a prosecutor, and get through the gridlock like I've done as a senator, where I've passed over 100 bills where I've been the lead Democrat.

And last, yes, I will govern with integrity. We have a president where people turn off their TV when they see him. Not me. I will make you proud as your president.

TAPPER: Congressman O'Rourke?

O'ROURKE: We are as divided and polarized as a country as we have ever been. And right now we have a president who uses fear to try to drive us further apart. To meet this challenge, we have to have hope in one another and a faith in a future of the country that includes everyone.

My whole life, I've been including people in the success of this country, starting a small business with high-value, high-wage, high- skilled jobs in the third poorest urban county in America, serving on City Council and holding town hall meetings every single week to remind myself who it is that I serve at the end of the day, and in Congress, being in the minority but working with Democrats and Republicans alike to deliver for my constituents and this country.

And then in Texas, this last year, traveling to every county, not writing anybody off, not taking anyone for granted, and at the end of the day, winning more votes than any Democrat had in the history of the state, winning independents for the first time in decades, and winning nearly half-a-million Republicans, and those 38 Electoral College votes in Texas are now in play and I can win them.

That is how we defeat Donald Trump in November of 2020 and how we bring this divided country together again in January of 2021. Thank you.

(APPLAUSE)

TAPPER: Mayor Buttigieg?

BULLOCK: There's good news and bad news. I'm going to start with the bad news. Our country is in trouble. GDP is going up and life expectancy is going down. Think about what that means. And it's only getting tougher.

By 2030, we will have passed the point of no return on climate, there are going to be 130 million more guns on our streets. I'll be in my forties then. If you have kids, think about how old they will be then.

But here's the good news: It's not too late. We can tell our kids that before we ran out of time, just before we ran out of time, in 2020, we did what it took to deliver a climate that we didn't have to wonder if it could support us, to deliver a society where race has no bearing on your health or your wealth or your relationship with law enforcement, that we did what it took to deliver an economy where a rising tide actually does lift all boats.

We can do this, if and only if we are ready to walk away from what hasn't worked with bold action and win, not only defeat this president, but defeat his congressional allies with a defeat so big that it reunites the Republican Party with its conscience as well as bringing Democrats to office.

Join me, and let's make it happen.

(APPLAUSE)

TAPPER: Senator Warren?

WARREN: From the time I was 7 years old, I had a dream. I wanted to be a public schoolteacher. But my daddy ended up as janitor. And by the time I graduated from high school, my family didn't have the money to send me off to college. My big chance was what was then a commuter college that cost $50 a semester.

For me, what this election is all about is opportunity. Every budget, every policy that we talk about is about who's going to get opportunity. Is it going to go to the billionaires? Or is it going to go to our kids?

Right now, for decades, we have had a government that has been on the side of the rich and the powerful. It has been on the side of the wealthy. And that means it has not been on the side of everyone else, not on the side of people living on our Native American reservations, people living in inner cities, people living in small farms, and small communities across this country.

How do we beat it? We beat it by being the party of big, structural change. Give people a reason to show up and vote. And we beat it by building a grassroots movement across this country, not showing up behind closed doors with millionaires, but actually building it person by person across this country, with small-dollar donations, with volunteers, with people who show up and say, "I have a stake in this democracy."

I will not only beat Donald Trump in 2020, I'll start to make real change come 2021.

(APPLAUSE)

TAPPER: Senator Sanders?

SANDERS: As somebody who grew up in family that lived in a rent- controlled apartment in Brooklyn, New York, and lived paycheck to paycheck, I'm running for president not just to defeat the most dangerous president in the history of this country, a guy who's a racist and a sexist and a homophobe. I'm running to transform this country and to stand with the working class of America, which for the last 45 years has been decimated.

Two days ago, I had a remarkable experience which should tell you everything you need to know about what's going on in America. I took 15 people with diabetes from Detroit a few miles into Canada, and we bought insulin for one-tenth the price being charged by the crooks who run the pharmaceutical industry in America today.

(APPLAUSE)

But it's not just the price-fixing and the corruption and the greed of the pharmaceutical industry. It's what's going on in the fossil fuel industry. It's what's going on in Wall Street. It's what's going on with the prison industrial complex.

(APPLAUSE)

We need a mass political movement. Please go to berniesanders.com. Become one of our million volunteers. Stand up and take on the greed and corruption of the ruling class of this country. Let's create a government and an economy that works for all of us, not just the 1 percent.

(APPLAUSE)

TAPPER: Candidates, thank you so much. That completes tonight's debate. Join us tomorrow night at 8:00 p.m. Eastern time for round two, 10 more Democratic candidates for president, right back here in Detroit.

Now stay tuned for special coverage of tonight's debate with Anderson Cooper and Chris Cuomo. That begins right now.

BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT


Congress Bills
Elections

2020

Presidency

An election for president of the United States will be held on November 3, 2020. On March 14, 2019, O'Rourke announced that he was running for president. O'Rourke announced he was ending his campaign on November 1, 2019.

2018

General election
General election for U.S. Senate Texas

Incumbent Ted Cruz defeated Beto O'Rourke and Neal Dikeman in the general election for U.S. Senate Texas on November 6, 2018.

Ted Cruz (R)
50.9%
4,260,553 Votes

Beto O'Rourke (D)
48.3%
4,045,632 Votes

Neal Dikeman (L)
0.8%
65,470 Votes

Total votes: 8,371,655

Democratic election
Democratic primary for U.S. Senate Texas

Beto O'Rourke defeated Sema Hernandez and Edward Kimbrough in the Democratic primary for U.S. Senate Texas on March 6, 2018.

Beto O'Rourke
61.8%
640,769 Votes

Sema Hernandez
23.7%
245,847 Votes

Silhouette Placeholder Image.png

Edward Kimbrough
14.5%
149,851 Votes

Total votes: 1,036,467

Republican election
Republican primary for U.S. Senate Texas

Incumbent Ted Cruz defeated Mary Miller, Bruce Jacobson Jr., Stefano de Stefano, and Geraldine Sam in the Republican primary for U.S. Senate Texas on March 6, 2018.

Ted Cruz
85.3%
1,315,146 Votes

Mary Miller
6.1%
94,274 Votes

Bruce Jacobson Jr.
4.2%
64,452 Votes

Stefano de Stefano
2.9%
44,251 Votes

Silhouette Placeholder Image.png

Geraldine Sam
1.5%
22,767 Votes

Total votes: 1,540,890


2016

rated this race as safely Democratic. Incumbent Beto O'Rourke (D) defeated Jaime Perez (L) and Mary Gourdoux (G) in the general election on November 8, 2016. O'Rourke defeated Ben Mendoza in the Democratic primary on March 1, 2016. No Republicans filed to run in the race.

U.S. House, Texas District 16 General Election, 2016

Party Candidate Vote % Votes
Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngBeto O'Rourke Incumbent 85.7% 150,228
Libertarian Jaime Perez 10% 17,491
Green Mary Gourdoux 4.3% 7,510
Total Votes 175,229
Source: Texas Secretary of State

U.S. House, Texas District 16 Democratic Primary, 2016

Candidate Vote % Votes
Green check mark transparent.pngBeto O'Rourke Incumbent 85.6% 40,051
Ben Mendoza 14.4% 6,749
Total Votes 46,800
Source: Texas Secretary of State

2014

O'Rourke won re-election to the U.S. House in 2014. He won the Democratic nomination in the primary election on March 4, 2014, with no opposition. He defeated Corey Roen (R) and Jaime Perez (L) in the general election on November 4, 2014.

U.S. House, Texas District 16 General Election, 2014

Party Candidate Vote % Votes
Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngBeto O'Rourke Incumbent 67.5% 49,338
Republican Corey Roen 29.2% 21,324
Libertarian Jaime Perez 3.3% 2,443
Total Votes 73,105
Source: Texas Secretary of State

2012

O'Rourke won the 2012 election for the U.S. House, representing Texas' 16th District. He defeated incumbent Silvestre Reyes and challengers Jerome Tilghman, Ben Mendoza, and Paul Johnson, Jr. in the Democratic primary on May 29, 2012. He then defeated Barbara Carrasco (R) and Junart Sodoy (L) in the general election on November 6, 2012.

U.S. House, Texas District 16 General Election, 2012

Party Candidate Vote % Votes
Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngBeto O'Rourke 65.4% 101,403
Republican Barbara Carrasco 32.9% 51,043
Libertarian Junart Sodoy 1.7% 2,559
Total Votes 155,005
Source: Texas Secretary of State

U.S. House, Texas District 16 Democratic Primary, 2012

Candidate Vote % Votes
Green check mark transparent.pngBeto O'Rourke 50.5% 23,261
Silvestre Reyes Incumbent 44.3% 20,440
Jerome Tilghman 2.8% 1,270
Ben Mendoza 1.5% 701
Paul Johnson, Jr. 0.9% 419
Total Votes 46,091
Speeches
Articles

Beto O'Rourke Ends 2020 Presidential Bid

Nov. 2, 2019

WASHINGTON (AP) — Beto O’Rourke, the former Texas congressman, announced Friday that he was ending his Democratic presidential campaign, which failed to recapture the enthusiasm, interest and fundraising prowess of his 2018 Senate bid. Addressing supporters in Iowa, O’Rourke said he made the decision “reluctantly” and vowed to stay active in the fight to defeat President Donald Trump. “I will be part of this and so will you,” he said. O’Rourke was urged to run for president by many Democrats, including supporters of former President Barack Obama, who were energized by his narrow Senate loss last year in Texas, a reliably Republican state. He raised a record $80 million from donors across the country, visited every county in Texas and used social media and livestreaming video to engage directly with voters. He ultimately lost to incumbent Republican Sen. Ted Cruz by 3 percentage points. But O’Rourke, 47, struggled to replicate that model in the presidential primary, and both his polling and his fundraising dwindled significantly in recent months. “We have to clearly see, at this point, that we did not have the means to pursue this campaign successfully and that my service will not be as a candidate, nor as a nominee of this party for the presidency,” O’Rourke said. O’Rourke’s decision comes as the Democratic primary enters a critical stretch. With three months until the kickoff Iowa caucuses, polls consistently show a trio of candidates leading the way: former Vice President Joe Biden, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, with Pete Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, showing strength in Iowa, as well. Lower polling candidates face difficult questions about whether they have the money to sustain a campaign through the first primary contests. Earlier this week, Kamala Harris, another candidate who entered the race to much fanfare, announced she was downscaling her campaign, laying off some staffers and reorienting almost exclusively to focus on Iowa. O’Rourke entered the race as the feel-good, dynamic candidate who had the ability to appeal to both Republicans and Democrats and work across the aisle in Washington. But he immediately faced criticism that he had a sense of entitlement, particularly after the release of a Vanity Fair interview on the eve of his campaign launch in which he appeared to say he was “born” to be in presidential politics. After quickly pulling in $9.4 million during his first two weeks in the race, O’Rourke’s financial situation deteriorated. By the end of June, he was spending more than his campaign was taking in. By the end of September, he had just $3.2 million cash on hand while spending double that over the previous three months, campaign finance records show. Perhaps more significantly, the small-dollar contributions that fueled his Senate bid and the early days of his presidential campaign slowed to a $1.9 million trickle. The former congressman also struggled to articulate a consistent vision and messaging as a presidential candidate. He spent several weeks trying to build his campaign around climate change, calling global warming the greatest existential threat the country had ever faced. But as the excitement over his candidacy began to fade, O’Rourke was forced to stage a “reintroduction” of his campaign to reinvigorate it. After a gunman opened fire at a Walmart in his hometown of El Paso, killing 22 people, O’Rourke more heavily embraced gun control, saying he would take assault weapons away from existing owners. As O’Rourke’s standing in the presidential primary plummeted, some Democrats urged him to return to Texas for another Senate run. He has repeatedly denied having any interest in that race. O’Rourke’s decision came hours before he was supposed to join other Democratic contenders at a party dinner in Iowa. Campaign volunteers were still collecting voter information and handing out “Beto” stickers” outside the event amid a steady rain as the candidate announced he was dropping out. O’Rourke did not endorse another Democrat for the nomination, saying the country will be well served by any of the other candidates, “and I’m going to be proud to support whoever that nominee is.” Trump quickly weighed in on O’Rourke’s exit, saying in a tweet: “Oh no, Beto just dropped out of race for President despite him saying he was ‘born for this.’ I don’t think so!” ___ Associated Press writer Brian Slodysko contributed to this report from Washington. Weissert reported from Des Moines, Iowa.Source: https://www.realclearpolitics.com/

Why Low-Polling 2020 Democrats Still Have a Chance

Nov. 1, 2019

If we use “qualified for at least one debate” to define “serious candidate for a party’s nomination,” then the race in the Democratic presidential primary winnowed down to 16 when Rep. Tim Ryan ended his campaign last week.  To put this in perspective, the oversized Republican field of 2016 reached its maximum at 16 candidates.  One might question whether it is fair to consider John Delaney a major candidate simply because he qualified for a debate, but we are also considering Jim Gilmore a major candidate for Republicans in 2016 under our definition. This has led some to call for more aggressive winnowing of the Democratic field.  Take this Slate article, which urges multiple candidates to drop out since they have almost no chance of becoming the nominee, including reasonably strong candidates such as Pete Buttigieg, Amy Klobuchar and Cory Booker. The Democratic Party itself seemingly agrees, having substantially raised the polling and fundraising requirements to qualify for the December debate. This discussion is getting ahead of things.  Here is why: 1. We don’t know a lot about how primaries work, much less mega-primaries. Since the presidential nomination process was turned over fully to the voters in 1972, we’ve had a total of 24 presidential primary campaigns. Several of these were effectively uncontested – the 1984 Republican race, the 1996 Democratic race, the 2004 Republican race and the 2012 Democratic race -- lowering the number of cases to 20.  Still more saw only weak opposition arise, such as the 1972 Republican race.  Even with the remaining primaries, we don’t see much that resembles the current contest.  Consider the Democratic side. In 2016, at the peak, six major candidates (and that is being generous to Jim Webb, Lincoln Chafee and Lawrence Lessig) ran for president. In 2008 it was eight.  The 2004 primaries saw 10 candidates run, while 2000 was a two-man race.  In 1992, Democrats had a six-candidate field, 1988 saw 11, and 1984 had eight.  On the Republican side, it is a similar story. How does this history translate to the current “mega-field”? We don’t know, because we only have one other such field in recent times: the Republican’ in 2016.  We really can’t base much off of this. A careful analyst must also consider that the factors driving these large fields – the rise of online fundraising and super PACs, the availability of the Internet to bypass media and party gatekeepers, and so forth – also should alter our definitions of “viability.”  Put differently, the old adage that there are three tickets out of Iowa and two out of New Hampshire may no longer hold true. Think of it this way: In the 1996 Iowa Republican caucuses, eighth place was Morry Taylor (you will be forgiven if you have to Google him).  In 2016 it was John Kasich, who eventually finished in third place in the delegate count. 2. Undecideds and “the one percent” matter. A lot. One other side effect of the large field is that an unusually large number of votes are being held by the “undecided” category, and by “one-percenters,” my term for candidates that have only minuscule support. To see what I mean, consider the national RCP average. “Undecided” along with candidates receiving 2% of the vote or less currently account for about 20% of the total.  This means that about 20% of the field is either given over to candidates who really are long shots for the nomination (but see below) or are undecided.  It’s not an exaggeration to say that undecided is currently in third place. We see similar effects in the early primary states. Undecideds/minor candidates total 19% of respondents in Iowa (good for second place) and are leading Nevada with 27%. In South Carolina 18% of voters are undecided or for minor candidates (second place).  Only in New Hampshire does a relatively large segment of the electorate seem to have settled on a major candidate; still, the 9% total for undecideds/minor candidates is still good enough for fourth place. The field will continue to winnow, and those voters will go somewhere.  Joe Sestak’s 0.5% and Beto O’Rourke’s 1% average may seem inconsequential, but combined they could be the difference between Tulsi Gabbard finishing in eighth place and fifth. 3. There isn’t much separating top from bottom here. One of the problems that Republicans had in 2016 was that the incentives for candidates to drop out simply weren’t there, and this was a direct consequence of the size of the field.  Most of the 2020 minor candidates have been involved in races where they have come from behind or had a substantial surge in the polls.  Right now none of them are more than three points out of fifth place in Iowa, none is more than nine points out of fourth place in New Hampshire, none is more than five points out of fourth place in Nevada, and none is more than seven points out of fourth place in South Carolina. To be clear, I’m saying that finishing fifth, fourth, fourth and fourth would get a candidate the nomination.  But because the Democratic race is sequential, scoring at this level in a few early races probably extends a candidate’s lifespan, and all of these candidates are within striking distance of such a showing. Moreover, since the eighth- and ninth-place candidates will likely be dropping out, that will free up a significant number of voters.  Again, where those voters go is sort of up for grabs; it seems like they should gravitate to the major candidates, but their status as voters for minor candidates suggests that there are things about the major candidates they already dislike. 4. Big things happen late in the primary season. If you’re tuned in enough to be reading this, the 2020 presidential election probably already seems interminable.  For most voters, however, it is only getting started.  This means that lots of minds will be changed, and big movements for candidates can occur.  At this point in 2015, Donald Trump’s main challenger in the polling was Ben Carson, who would actually eclipse Trump briefly in the national polls in early November. Ted Cruz and John Kasich, who would be the last two candidates standing, were in fourth and ninth place, respectively.  In 2011, on the Republican side, we had just witnessed Rick Perry’s poll collapse, and we were in the midst of Herman Cain’s rise.  Newt Gingrich was at 9% in the polls; by mid-December he would have a 13-point lead and have around a third of the Republican electorate in his camp. Rick Santorum was at 2% in the polls, and would not begin his surge until January. What about 2007? The Republican poll leaders were Rudy Giuliani and Fred Thompson, neither of whom would win a primary. Eventual nominee John McCain was in third place with about 15% of the vote, while Mike Huckabee was at just 7%. In Iowa, which Huckabee would eventually win, the former Arkansas governor was only just starting his surge; at the beginning of the month he was in fifth place. Barack Obama trailed Hillary Clinton by over 20 points nationally at this point in 2007. In 2003, the race looked like a two-man race between Dick Gephardt and Howard Dean.  Eventual nominee John Kerry was in third place, albeit with only 9% of the vote. To be sure, none of these candidates were at 2% of the vote.  But none of these candidates were in 16-person fields either.  It is perfectly reasonable for candidates to wait and see if they can catch fire; someone usually does at this point in the primaries. 5. Joe Biden is the X-factor.  Looming above all of this is the figure of Joe Biden.  Biden’s vote share has been remarkably stable, but he’s slipping into second place in the early states and is toying with third place in New Hampshire.  If this turns into a panic among “establishment” Democratic donors, his candidacy could collapse rather quickly.  That would be a lot of votes, in addition to “undecided” and “one/two-percenters” potentially up for grabs.  Against this backdrop, it is understandable why candidates like Klobuchar stick around, at least for now. Source: https://www.realclearpolitics.com/

Trump in Dallas: I'm Not Losing Texas

Oct. 18, 2019

In a week when Republican anger over President Trump’s foreign policy managed to supplant the Democrats’ impeachment push in top news headlines, Trump sought refuge in a state that looks and feels just about as different as can be from Washington. D.C. Trump made the 12th visit to Texas of his presidency, basking Thursday night in the adulation of sign-waving supporters who formed a sea of red “Make America Great Again” hats sprinkled with white “Trump 2020” ten-gallons.   “I’m thrilled to be here deep in the heart of Texas,” the president told the roaring, 20,000-strong crowd at the American Airlines Center in Dallas. “There has never been a better time to be a proud Texan.” He was likely referring to the Lone Star State’s strong economy, which has grown even more robust during his presidency with the creation of close to 800,000 new jobs, including 70,000 in the manufacturing sector since the end of 2016. “That compares to 55,000 manufacturing jobs lost under President Obama,” said Trump Campaign Manager Brad Parscale. “And with his dedication to supporting and expanding the energy industry, President Trump will help grow the Texas economy even more after he’s reelected.” But Trump’s “no better time” assertion rings a little hollow when it comes to Texas Republicans. The once crimson state is tinging purple as its Hispanic population grows and new residents pour in from California and other more liberal-leaning states. In 2018, the same year Beto O’Rourke came close to defeating Sen. Ted Cruz, Democrats made big gains across the board, flipping two House seats, two Texas state Senate seats and 12 Texas House seats, even in some traditionally conservative bastions. The GOP leader of the Texas House of Representatives is now engulfed in his own scandal for a caught-on-tape moment saying Trump is “killing us” in suburban districts. The same recording had Speaker Dennis Bonnen granting a longtime request from the head of a conservative group to gain media credentials in exchange for the leader’s help in defeating 10 moderate House Republican incumbents. Earlier this year, the Democratic National Committee started branding Texas a battleground state, and several recent polls have shown Democratic presidential candidates defeating Trump there. A Quinnipiac poll released last month found 48% of Texas voters said they definitely wouldn’t vote for his reelection. After the 2016 polling disasters, it’s hard to draw firm conclusions from any such surveys, and Republican operatives are quick to call 2018 a flash in the pan that follows the historic pattern of the incumbent president’s party losing big in the midterms, even for those presidents who went on to soundly win second terms. “Donald Trump isn’t going to lose Texas,” the president said to thunderous applause at the Dallas rally. Moreover, Republicans point out, Texas Democrats made those gains before national Democrats and the 2020 presidential contenders make a hard-left turn, leading an impeachment investigation against Trump and making “Medicare for All” the new party orthodoxy, along with expansive Green New Deal programs banning fossil fuels. While Joe Biden could move back toward the center in a general election matchup against the president -- if he stops his campaign’s steady slide -- Elizabeth Warren, the new Democratic front-runner, is leaving no room to do so. It’s a dynamic Trump drove home in his Dallas rally remarks.  “The more America achieves, the more hateful and enraged these crazy Democrats become,” he  said to boos from the crowd. “At stake is the survival of American democracy,” he added. “They are destroying this country, but we will never let that happen.” Trump laced into O’Rourke, who was holding a nearby rally of his own, as a prime example. The former congressman has pledged to “go after” Americans’ guns and this week proposed a mandatory buy-back of assault rifles and also promised to try to revoke the tax-exempt status of churches and other religious institutions that oppose same-sex marriage. “Beto, in a few short weeks, got rid of guns and got rid of religion,” Trump said. “Those are not two good things in Texas to get rid of.” Still, the Republican Party and the Trump campaign are leaving nothing to chance. Trump’s repeat visits to Texas – Thursday marked his third rally there this year — obviously means less time he can spend in the true battlegrounds of Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. Trump, however, is trying to avoid the stigma of being the first Republican to lose Texas in a presidential contest since the state went for Jimmy Carter in 1976. GOP officials say Democrats, especially after going through a bruising and expensive primary process, won’t be able to compete with their party’s hard-wired ground game. It’s the third straight election cycle in which the Republican National Committee has had paid staff in Texas, and the current staff covers all 254 counties in the state, RNC officials said. “As Democrats in 2016 can attest, we’ve seen what happens when a party takes states, and its voters, for granted,” RNC Press Secretary Blair Ellis told RealClearPolitics. “That’s exactly why the president and the RNC have been investing in states like Texas for several cycles and we continue to place such an emphasis on growing our infrastructure, organizing in communities and training.” Democrats have played up Trump’s tough stance on immigration and divisive rhetoric as a reason he’s turning off the growing Hispanic vote in Texas and promise to drive that message home throughout the state. O’Rourke on Thursday once again tried to tie one of Trump’s earlier Texas rallies to the mass shooting at a Walmart in El Paso. “We know that in those communities that have hosted a rally by Donald Trump, we’ve seen hate crimes on the rise more than 200%,” O’Rourke said. “In fact, in El Paso, Texas, preceding that massacre and that act of terror in Texas, there was a Donald Trump rally in February.” O’Rourke also criticized the administration’s family separation and other immigration policies, which he said have created fear. “We cannot sit idly by and in our silence be complicit in the violence and the terror and racism that exists in this country at unprecedented levels in our lifetime,” O’Rourke said. “So we stand together and we stand against fear.” Republicans, however, argue that Hispanics, who largely oppose abortion, value their faith and hold other traditional values, are not monolithic in their voting. RNC data shows there are roughly 1 million Hispanics in the state that are more open to voting for Trump than there were in 2016. It also doesn’t hurt, GOP officials argue, that Hispanic unemployment has reached historic lows under Trump and Hispanic-owned businesses across the country are growing rapidly -- more than twice the rate of all businesses since 2016. At the end of Trump’s Thursday’s rally, Sen. John Cornyn, who is in the campaign fight of his lifetime, urged the president and fellow Republicans to remain vigilant about stemming any blue tide rising in Texas. Before Trump spoke, Cornyn told the audience that Texas Democrats are preparing a strong ground game of their own. “If they take Texas, they will take the White House,” he warned the crowd.Source: https://www.realclearpolitics.com/