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Tulsi Gabbard


Twitter Followers: 1.2M

Quick Facts
Personal Details

Caucuses/Former Committees

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

Former Member, Economic Development Committee, Hawaii State House of Representatives

Former Member, Education Committee, Hawaii State House of Representatives

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

Former Member, Foreign Affairs Committee, United States House of Representatives

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

Former Member, Higher Education Committee, Hawaii State House of Representatives

Former Member, Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific, United States House of Representatives

Former Member, Subcommittee on Diversity and Inclusion, United States House of Representatives

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

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

Former Member, Subcommittee on National Security, International Development and Monetary Policy, United States House of Representatives

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

Former Member, Subcommittee on Seapower and Projection Forces, United States House of Representatives

Former Member, Subcommittee on the Middle East and North Africa, United States House of Representatives

Former Member, Tourism Committee, Hawaii State House of Representatives


  • Attended, Television Production, Leeward Community College
  • Graduated, Officer Candidate School, Fort McClellan
  • BSBA, International Business, Hawaii Pacific University, 2009

Professional Experience

  • Attended, Television Production, Leeward Community College
  • Graduated, Officer Candidate School, Fort McClellan
  • BSBA, International Business, Hawaii Pacific University, 2009
  • Major, Hawaii Army National Guard, 2003-present
  • Legislative Aide, Office of United States Senator Daniel K. Akaka, 2006-2008

Political Experience

  • Attended, Television Production, Leeward Community College
  • Graduated, Officer Candidate School, Fort McClellan
  • BSBA, International Business, Hawaii Pacific University, 2009
  • Major, Hawaii Army National Guard, 2003-present
  • Legislative Aide, Office of United States Senator Daniel K. Akaka, 2006-2008
  • Representative, United States House of Representatives, District 2, 2012-present
  • Candidate, President of the United States, 2020
  • Candidate, United States House of Representatives, District 2, 2018
  • Member, Honolulu City Council, 2010-2012
  • Representative, Hawaii State House of Representatives, District 42, 2002-2004

Former Committees/Caucuses

Former Member, Economic Development Committee, Hawaii State House of Representatives

Former Member, Education Committee, Hawaii State House of Representatives

Former Member, Foreign Affairs Committee, United States House of Representatives

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

Former Member, Higher Education Committee, Hawaii State House of Representatives

Former Member, Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific, United States House of Representatives

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

Former Member, Subcommittee on Seapower and Projection Forces, United States House of Representatives

Former Member, Subcommittee on the Middle East and North Africa, United States House of Representatives

Former Member, Tourism Committee, Hawaii State House of Representatives

Current Legislative Committees

Member, Armed Services

Member, Financial Services

Member, Subcommittee on Diversity and Inclusion

Member, Subcommittee on Intelligence, Emerging Threats & Capabilities

Member, Subcommittee on National Security, International Development and Monetary Policy

Member, Subcommittee on Readiness

Religious, Civic, and other Memberships

  • Attended, Television Production, Leeward Community College
  • Graduated, Officer Candidate School, Fort McClellan
  • BSBA, International Business, Hawaii Pacific University, 2009
  • Major, Hawaii Army National Guard, 2003-present
  • Legislative Aide, Office of United States Senator Daniel K. Akaka, 2006-2008
  • Representative, United States House of Representatives, District 2, 2012-present
  • Candidate, President of the United States, 2020
  • Candidate, United States House of Representatives, District 2, 2018
  • Member, Honolulu City Council, 2010-2012
  • Representative, Hawaii State House of Representatives, District 42, 2002-2004
  • Member, Council on Foreign Affairs, National Guard Association of the United States, 2014-present
  • Vice President/Co-Founder, Healthy Hawaii Coalition, 2002-present
  • Former Member, Alliance for Traditional Marriage
  • Former Vice Chair, Budget Committee, Honolulu City Council
  • Former Chair, Safety, Economic Development and Government Affairs Committee, Honolulu City Council
  • Former Member, Stand Up for America
  • Former Member, Zoning and Public Works Committee, Honolulu City Council
  • Vice Chair, Democratic National Committee, 2013-2016

Other Info

— Awards:

  • Meritorious Service Medal, Operation Iraqi Freedom, 2004

  • Mike

  • Business Owner, Hawaiian Toffee Treasures

Favorite Book:

"The Audacity to Win"

  • "Band of Brothers"
  • "Stones Into Schools"
  • "Team of Rivals"
  • "Three Cups of Tea"
  • Favorite Movie:

    "The Godfather"

  • "Whale Rider"
  • "Soul Surfer"
  • Favorite Musician:

    Jack Johnson, Jason Mraz, Jake Shimabukuro, Black Eyed Peas, Israel Kamakawiwo

    Favorite TV Shows:

    "The West Wing"

  • "24"
  • "Hawaii Five O"
  • "Band of Brothers"
    • Carol

    Gabbard in the news

    July 11, 2019: Gabbard campaigned in Wisconsin, holding a town hall in Milwaukee and speaking at a youth awards banquet at the LULAC annual conference.

    July 10, 2019: Gabbard tweeted that she had more than 97,000 unique donors. The threshold for the third presidential debate is 130,000.

    July 8, 2019: In an interview on New Hampshire Public Radio, Gabbard discussed her meeting with Syrian President Bashar Assad in 2017 and named World War II as an example of justifiable force. She also appeared on CBS News.

    July 4-7, 2019: Gabbard campaigned across New Hampshire.

    July 1, 2019: Vogue featured five of the six women running for president, including Gabbard, in a magazine story about the election.

    Policy Positions



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


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

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

    Campaign Finance

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


    Do you support increasing defense spending?
    - Yes


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

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


    Do you support requiring states to adopt federal education standards?
    - Yes

    Energy & Environment

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

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


    Do you generally support gun-control legislation?
    - Yes

    Health Care

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


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

    2. 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. 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

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


    Do you generally support removing barriers to international trade (for example: tariffs, quotas, etc.)?
    - No


    NBC November Democratic Party Presidential Debate

    November 20, 2019

    ANNOUNCER: The MSNBC-Washington Post Democratic presidential debate, live from Atlanta, Georgia, and the Tyler Perry Studios. Here is Rachel Maddow.


    MADDOW: Hello, and welcome to the MSNBC-Washington Post Democratic candidates debate. At least some of us are very, very happy to be here tonight. I'm Rachel Maddow here in Atlanta, Georgia, tonight with my fellow moderators. Andrea Mitchell is NBC news foreign affairs correspondent and the host of "Andrea Mitchell Reports" on MSNBC. Ashley Parker is White House reporter for the Washington Post. And Kristen Welker is NBC News White House correspondent.

    MITCHELL: We'll be covering a wide range of topics tonight, including national security, race, and climate. Each candidate will have one minute and 15 seconds to answer our questions and 45 seconds if we need to follow up. And we ask the audience to respect the candidates and please don't interrupt.

    MADDOW: There's 10 candidates here tonight. No time to waste. Let's get right to it.

    We're in the middle of the fourth presidential impeachment proceedings in our nation's history. Ambassador Gordon Sondland delivered testimony today in the House impeachment inquiry that buttressed the case that President Trump withheld military aid to Ukraine and a White House meeting with President Zelensky because he wanted the Ukrainian president to announce investigations that would benefit President Trump politically.

    Senator Warren, you have said already that you've seen enough to convict the president and remove him from office. You and four of your colleagues on this stage tonight who are also U.S. senators may soon have to take that vote. Will you try to convince your Republican colleagues in the Senate to vote the same way? And if so, how?

    WARREN: Of course I will. And the obvious answer is to say, first, read the Mueller report, all 442 pages of it, that showed how the president tried to obstruct justice, and when Congress failed to act at that moment, and that the president felt free to break the law again and again and again. And that's what's happened with Ukraine.

    We have to establish the principle: no one is above the law. We have a constitutional responsibility, and we need to meet it.

    But I want to add one more part based on today's testimony, and that is, how did Ambassador Sondland get there? You know, this is not a man who had any qualifications, except one: He wrote a check for a million dollars. And that tells us about what's happening in Washington, the corruption, how money buys its way into Washington.

    You know, I raised this months ago about the whole notion that donors think they're going to get ambassadorships on the other side. And I've taken a pledge. Anyone who wants to give me a big donation, don't ask to be an ambassador, because I'm not going to have that happen.

    I asked everyone who's running for president to join me in that and not a single person has so far. I hope what we saw today during the testimony means lots of people will sign on and say we are not going to give away these ambassador posts to the highest bidder.

    MADDOW: Senator Warren, thank you.

    Senator Klobuchar, you've said that you support the impeachment inquiry but you want to wait for a Senate trial to hear the evidence and make a decision about convicting the president. After the bombshell testimony of Ambassador Sondland today, has that view changed for you?

    KLOBUCHAR: I have made it very clear that this is impeachable conduct and I've called for an impeachment proceeding. I just believe our job as jurors is to look at each count and make a decision.

    But let me make very clear that what this impeachment proceeding about is really our democracy at stake. This is a president that not only with regard to his conduct with Ukraine, but every step of the way puts his own private interests, his own partisan interests, his own political interests in front of our country's interest, and this is wrong.

    This is a pattern with this man. And it goes to everything from how he has betrayed our farmers and our workers to what he has done with foreign affairs, leaving the Kurds for slaughter, sucking up to Vladimir Putin every minute of the day. That is what this guy does.

    And I think it is very, very important that we have a president that's going to put our country first. I was thinking about this when I was at the Carter Presidential Museum. And on the wall are etched the words of Walter Mondale when he looked back at their four years, not perfect. And he said this: We told the truth, we obeyed the law, we kept the peace. We told the truth, we obeyed the law, we kept the peace. That is the minimum that we should expect in a president of the United States.

    MADDOW: Senator, thank you.

    Senator Sanders, I'd like to go to you. Americans are watching these impeachment hearings. At the same time, they're also focused on their more immediate, daily economic and family concerns. How central should the president's conduct uncovered by this impeachment inquiry be to any Democratic nominee's campaign for president? How central would it be to yours?

    SANDERS: Well, Rachel, sadly, we have a president who is not only a pathological liar, he is likely the most corrupt president in the modern history of America. But we cannot simply be consumed by Donald Trump, because if we are, you know what? We're going to lose the election.

    Right now, you've got 87 million people who have no health insurance or are underinsured. We're facing the great existential crisis of our time in terms of climate change. You've got 500,000 people sleeping out on the street and you've got 18 million people paying half of their limited incomes for housing.

    What the American people understand is that the Congress can walk and chew bubblegum at the same time. In other words, we can deal with Trump's corruption, but we also have to stand up for the working families of this country. We also have to stand up to the fact that our political system is corrupt, dominated by a handful of billionaires, and that our economy is rigged with three people owning more wealth than the bottom half of America. We can do it all when we rally the American people in the cause of justice.

    MADDOW: Mayor Buttigieg, let me put the same question to you. How central should the president's conduct uncovered by the impeachment inquiry be to a Democratic nominee's campaign? How central would it be to yours?

    BUTTIGIEG: Well, the constitutional process of impeachment should be beyond politics. And it is not a part of the campaign. But the president's conduct is. The impeachable conduct that we have seen in the abuse of power that we're learning more about in the investigations -- but just to be clear, the president's already confessed to it on television. But that's just part of what we've seen.

    Under normal circumstances, a president would leave office after something that was revealed recently that barely got any attention at all, which was the president had to confess in writing, in court, to illegally diverting charitable contributions that were supposed to go to veterans. We are absolutely going to confront this president for his wrongdoing, but we're also each running to be the president who will lead this country after the Trump presidency comes to an end one way or the other.

    I'm running to be the president for that day the sun comes up and the Trump presidency is behind us, which will be a tender moment in the life of this country. And we are going to have to unify a nation that will be as divided as ever and, while doing it, address big issues that didn't take a vacation for the impeachment process or for the Trump presidency as a whole: a climate approaching the point of no return, the fact we've still got to act on health care, kids learning active shooter drills before they learn to read, and an economy where even when the Dow Jones is looking good, far too many Americans have to fight like hell just to hold on to what they've got.

    MADDOW: Mr. Mayor.

    BUTTIGIEG: Those are the crises that will be awaiting the next president and will be at the heart of our campaign.

    MADDOW: Mr. Mayor, thank you. Andrea?

    MITCHELL: Vice President Biden, you've suggested in your campaign that if you defeat President Trump, Republicans will start working with Democrats again. But right now, Republicans in Congress, including some of whom you've worked with for decades, are demanding investigations not only of you but also of your son. How would you get those same Republicans to work with you?

    BIDEN: Well, look, the next president of the United States is going to have to do two things. Defeat Donald Trump, that's number one. And, number two, going to have to be able make be -- be able to go into states like Georgia and North Carolina and other places and get a Senate majority. That's what I'll do.

    You have to ask yourself up here, who is most likely to be able to win the nomination in the first place, to win the presidency in the first place? And, secondly, who is most likely to increase the number of people who are Democrats in the House and in the Senate?

    And by the way, I learned something about these impeachment trials. I learned, number one, that Donald Trump doesn't want me to be the nominee. That's pretty clear. He held up aid to make sure that -- while at the same time innocent people in the Donbas are getting killed by Russian soldiers.

    Secondly, I found out that Vladimir Putin doesn't want me to be president. So I -- I've learned a lot about these things early on from these hearings that -- that are being held. But the bottom line is, I think we have to ask ourselves the honest question: Who is most likely to do what needs to be done, produce a Democratic majority in the United States Senate, maintain the House, and beat Trump?

    MITCHELL: Senator Harris, your thoughts about that?

    HARRIS: Well, first of all, we have a criminal living in the White House. And there is no question that in 2020 the biggest issue before us, until we get to that tender moment, is justice is on the ballot.

    And what we saw today is Ambassador Sondland by his own words told us that everyone was in the loop. That means it is a criminal enterprise engaged in by the president, from what we heard today, the vice president, the secretary of state, and the chief of staff.

    And so this not only points to the corrupt nature of this administration and the need for these impeachment proceedings to go forward, but it also points to another issue, and back to the question that you asked earlier, which is, what does this mean for the American people?

    Because what it means, when I watch this, is that there are clearly two different set of rules for two different groups of people in America: the powerful people who with their arrogance think they can get away with this and then everybody else.

    Because here's the thing. For those working people who are working two or three jobs, if they don't pay that credit card by the end of the month, they get a penalty. For the people who don't pay their rent, they get evicted. For the people who shoplift, they go to jail. We need the same set of rules for everybody. And part of the reason I'm running for president is to say that we have to bring justice back to America for all people, and not just for some.

    MITCHELL: Thank you, Senator.

    Senator Warren, you have cast yourself as a fighter. If you were elected, though, you would be walking into an existing fight, a country that is already very divided over the Trump presidency, among other things. Do you see that divide as permanent? Or do you need to bring the country together if you become president to achieve your goals?

    WARREN: So I think the way we achieve our goals and bring our country together is we talk about the things that unite us, and that is that we want to build an America that works for the people, not one that just works for rich folks.

    You know, I have proposed a two cent wealth tax. That is a tax for everybody who has more than $50 billion in assets, your first $50 billion is free and clear. But your 50 billionth and first dollar, you've got to pitch in 2 cents. And when you hit a billion dollars, you've got to pinch in a few pennies more.

    Here's the thing. Doing a wealth tax is not about punishing anyone. It's about saying, you built something great in this country? Good for you. But you did it using workers all of us helped pay to educate. You did it using -- you're getting your goods on roads and bridges all of us helped pay for. You did it protected by police and firefighters all of us helped pay the salaries for.

    So when you make it big, when you make it really big, when you make it top one tenth of one percent big, pitch in two cents so everybody else gets a chance to make it.

    And here's the thing. That's something that Democrats care about, independents care about, and Republicans care about, because regardless of party affiliation, people understand across this country, our government is working better and better for the billionaires, for the rich, for the well-connected, and worse and worse for everyone else. We come together when we acknowledge that and say we're going to make real change.

    MITCHELL: Thank you, Senator. Thank you.

    Senator Booker, do you agree with that strategy?

    BOOKER: Well, first of all, I think we all agree that we need to bring in a lot more revenue in this country. We actually have a real problem with the tax rates, tax loopholes, tax cheats. And I don't agree with the wealth tax, the way that Elizabeth Warren puts it, but I agree that we need to raise the estate tax. We need to tax capital gains as ordinary income. Real strategies will increase revenue.

    But here's the challenge. We as Democrats need to fight for a just taxation system. But as I travel around the country, we Democrats also have to talk about how to grow wealth, as well.

    When I stood in church recently and asked folks in a black church how many people here want to be entrepreneurs, half the church raised their hands. If we as a country don't start -- if we as a party don't start talking not just about how to tax wealth, but how to give more people opportunities to create wealth, to grow businesses, to have their American dream -- because, yeah, we need to raise the minimum wage to a living wage, $15 an hour.

    But the people in communities I frequent, they're not -- aspiration for their lives is not just to have those fair wages. They want to have an economy that provides not just equalities in wealth, but they want to have equalities in opportunity. And that's what our party has to be about, as well.

    MITCHELL: Senator Warren, you wanted to respond?

    WARREN: Sure. So let me just tell you what we can do with that two cent wealth tax. Two cents on the top one-tenth of one percent in this country, and we can provide universal child care for every baby in this country ages zero to five. That is transformative.

    We can provide universal pre-K for every 3-year-old and 4-year-old in America. We can stop exploiting the women, largely black and brown women, who do this work. And we can raise the wages of every childcare worker and pre-schoolteacher in America.

    We can put $800 billion new federal dollars into all of our public schools. We can make college tuition-free for every kid. We can put $50 billion into historically black colleges and universities. And we can cancel student loan debt for 95 percent of the folks who've got it. Two cent wealth tax and we can invest in an entire generation's future.

    MITCHELL: All right. Let me let Senator Booker respond.

    WARREN: Sure.

    BOOKER: You know, again, I agree with the need to do all of those things. We're all united in wanting to see universal preschool. And I'll fight for that. We're all united in wanting to fund HBCUs. Heck, I wouldn't be here if it wasn't for two parents that went to HBCUs.

    But the tax the way we're putting it forward right now, the wealth tax, I'm sorry, it's cumbersome. It's been tried by other nations. It's hard to evaluate. We can get the same amount of revenue through just taxation.

    But, again, we as Democrats have got to start talking not just about how we tax from a stage, but how we grow wealth in this country amongst those disadvantaged communities that are not seeing it. Look at VC dollars in this country. Seventy-five percent of them go to three metropolitan areas. There is worth in the inner city. There is value in our rural areas.

    If I am president of the United States, we're going to have a fair, just taxation where millionaires and billionaires pay their fair share, but, dear God, we're going to have pathways to prosperity for more Americans. We're going to see a change in what we see right now. Small businesses, new startups are going down in this country.

    MITCHELL: Thank you, Senator.

    BOOKER: We need to give more new entrepreneurs access to wealth.

    MITCHELL: Senator Warren, briefly, just your last thoughts on this.

    WARREN: So I just -- the idea behind what is fair, today, the 99 percent in America are on track to pay about 7.2 percent of their total wealth in taxes.

    BOOKER: I'm not disagreeing with that.

    WARREN: The top one-tenth of one percent that I want to say pay two cents more, they'll pay 3.2 percent in America. I'm tired of freeloading billionaires. I think it's time that we ask those at the very top to pay more so that every single one of our children gets a real...


    MITCHELL: ... Senator Booker, Senator Warren...

    BOOKER: Everybody's tired of corporations getting away with paying zero taxes.

    MITCHELL: Thank you.

    BOOKER: I'm not disagreeing with that.

    MITCHELL: Thank you very much, Senator Warren. Thank you.

    Mayor Buttigieg, you have said, quote, "I will never allow us to get so wrapped up in the fighting that we start to think fighting is the point." The Republican Party never stopped fighting President Obama in his eight years in office. So what would you do that President Obama didn't do to change that?

    BUTTIGIEG: Well, as President Obama commented recently, we are now in a different reality than we were even 12 years ago. And to me, the extraordinary potential of the moment we're in right now is that there is an American majority that stands ready to tackle big issues that didn't exist in the same way even a few years ago.

    Even on issues where Democrats have been on defense, like immigration and guns, we have a majority to do the right thing, if we can galvanize, not polarize that majority. For example, on health care, the reason I insist on Medicare for all who want it as the strategy to deliver on that goal we share of universal health care is that that is something that as a governing strategy we can unify the American people around, creating a version of Medicare, making it available to anybody who wants it, but without the divisive step of ordering people onto it whether they want to or not.

    And I believe that commanding people to accept that option, whether we wait three years, as Senator Warren has proposed, or whether you do it right out of the gate, is not the right approach to unify the American people around a very, very big transformation that we now have an opportunity to deliver.

    MITCHELL: Thank you, Mr. Mayor.

    Kristen Welker?

    WELKER: Let's talk about Medicare for all. Senator Warren, you are running on Medicare for all. Democrats have been winning elections even in red states with a very different message on health care: protecting Obamacare. Democrats are divided on this issue. What do you say to voters who are worried that your position on Medicare for all could cost you critical votes in the general election?

    WARREN: So I look out and I see tens of millions of Americans who are struggling to pay their medical bills, 37 million people who decided not to have a prescription filled because they just can't afford it, people who didn't take the tests the doctor recommended because they just can't afford it.

    So here is my plan. Let's bring as many people in and get as much help to the American people as we can as fast as we can. On day one as president, I will do -- bring down the cost of prescription drugs on things like insulin and EpiPens. That's going to save tens of millions, hundreds of millions of dollars for people. I'm going to defend the Affordable Care Act from the sabotage of the Trump administration.

    And in the first 100 days, I want to bring in 135 million people into Medicare for all at no cost to them. Everybody under the age of 18, everybody who has a family of four income less than $50,000. I want to lower the age of Medicare to 50 and expand Medicare coverage to include vision and dental and long-term care.

    And then in the third year, when people have had a chance to feel it and taste it and live with it, we're going to vote and we're going to want Medicare for all.

    WELKER: Thank you, Senator.

    Senator Sanders, let me bring you into this conversation and ask you the question...

    SANDERS: Thank you. I wrote the damn bill.


    WELKER: I want to ask you the question this way, Senator Sanders. You described your campaign, including your plans for Medicare for all, as a political revolution.

    SANDERS: Yes.

    WELKER: President Obama explicitly said the country is, quote, "less revolutionary than it is interested in improvement. The average American doesn't think we have to completely tear down the system and remake it," end quote. Is President Obama wrong?

    SANDERS: No, he's right. We don't have to tear down the system, but we do have to do what the American people want. And the American people understand today that the current health care system is not only cruel, it is dysfunctional.

    Now, you tell me how we have a system in which we spend twice as much as do the people of any other country, and yet we've got 87 million uninsured, underinsured. In some cases, we pay 10 times more for prescription drugs as do the people of Canada or other countries. Five hundred thousand people go bankrupt because of medically related issues. They come down with cancer, and that's a reason to go bankrupt?

    Now, some of the people up here think that we should not take on the insurance industry, we should not take on the pharmaceutical industry. But you know what? If you think back to FDR and if you think back to JFK and Harry Truman and Barack Obama, as a matter of fact, people have been talking about health care for all. Well, you know what? I think now is the time.

    And in the first week of my administration, we will introduce Medicare for all. Medicare for all, that means no deductibles, no co-payments, no out-of-pocket expenses. That's where we've got to go.

    WELKER: Thank you, Senator Sanders. Vice President Biden?

    BIDEN: You know, we can do this without charging people -- raising $30 trillion, $40 trillion. The fact is that right now the vast majority of Democrats do not support Medicare for all.

    SANDERS: Not true.

    BIDEN: It couldn't pass the United States Senate right now with Democrats. It couldn't pass the House. Nancy Pelosi is one of those people who doesn't think it makes sense.

    We should build on Obamacare, provide the plan I put forward before anybody in here, adding a Medicare option in that plan, and not make people choose. Allow people to choose, I should say. If you go the route of my two friends on my right and my left, you have to give up your private insurance. A hundred and sixty million people like their private insurance. And if they don't like it, they can buy into a Medicare-like proposal in my plan. Drug prices go down, premiums go down across the board.

    But here's the deal, they get to choose. I trust the American people to make a judgment what they believe is in their interest and not demand of them what the insurance companies -- they want no -- no competition. And my friends say you have to only go Medicare for all.

    WELKER: Vice President Biden, thank you.


    PARKER: Congresswoman Gabbard, you have criticized Hillary Clinton as the, quote, "personification of the rot that has sickened the Democratic Party." What is the rot you see in the Democratic Party?

    GABBARD: That our Democratic Party, unfortunately, is not the party that is of, by, and for the people. It is a party that has been and continues to be influenced by the foreign policy establishment in Washington, represented by Hillary Clinton and others' foreign policy, by the military industrial complex, and other greedy corporate interests.

    I'm running for president to be the Democratic nominee that rebuilds our Democratic Party, takes it out of their hands, and truly puts it in the hands of the people of this country. A party that actually hears the voices of Americans who are struggling all across this country and puts it in the hands of veterans and fellow Americans who are calling for an end to this ongoing Bush-Clinton-Trump foreign policy doctrine of regime change wars, overthrowing dictators in other countries, needlessly sending my brothers and sisters in uniform into harm's way to fight in wars that actually undermine our national security and have cost us thousands of American lives.

    These are wars that have cost us as American taxpayers trillions of dollars since 9/11 alone, dollars that have come out of our pockets, out of our hospitals, out of our schools, out of our infrastructure needs. As president, I will end this foreign policy, end these regime change wars, work to end this new cold war and arms race, and instead invest our hard-earned taxpayer dollars actually into serving the needs of the American people right here at home.

    PARKER: Thank you, Congresswoman.

    Senator Harris, any response?

    HARRIS: Oh, sure.


    I think that it's unfortunate that we have someone on this stage who is attempting to be the Democratic nominee for president of the United States, who during the Obama administration spent four years full time on Fox News criticizing President Obama...

    GABBARD: That's ridiculous, Senator Harris. That's ridiculous.

    HARRIS: ... who has spent full time -- who has spent full time criticizing people on this stage as affiliated with the Democratic Party, when Donald Trump was elected, not even sworn in, buddied up to Steve Bannon to get a meeting with Donald Trump in the Trump Tower, fails to call a war criminal by what he is as a war criminal, and then spends full time during the course of this campaign, again, criticizing the Democratic Party.

    What we need on the stage in November is someone who has the ability to win. And by that, we need someone on that stage who has the ability to go toe-to-toe with Donald Trump and someone who has the ability to rebuild the Obama coalition and bring the party and the nation together. I believe I am that candidate.

    PARKER: Thank you, Senator.


    Congresswoman Gabbard, I'll give you a chance to respond.

    GABBARD: What Senator Harris is doing is unfortunately continuing to traffic in lies and smears and innuendos because she cannot challenge the substance of the argument that I'm making, the leadership and the change that I'm seeking to bring in our foreign policy, which only makes me guess that she will as president continue the status quo, continue the Bush-Clinton-Trump foreign policy of regime change wars, which is deeply destructive.

    This is personal to me because I served in Iraq. I left my seat in the state legislature in Hawaii, volunteered to deploy to Iraq where I served in the medical unit where every single day I saw the terribly high human cost of war. I take very seriously the responsibility that the president has to serve as commander-in-chief, to lead our armed forces, and to make sure always -- no, I'm not going to put party interests first. I will put the interests of the American people above all else.

    PARKER: Thank you, Congresswoman. I want to -- I want to briefly give Senator Harris a final second to respond.

    HARRIS: I believe that what our nation needs right now is a nominee who can speak to all people. I've spent my entire career standing mostly in a courtroom speaking five words: Kamala Harris for the people. And it was about all the people, regardless of their race, regardless of their gender, regardless of where they lived geographically, regardless of the party with which they're registered to vote or the language their grandmother speaks.

    We need someone on this debate stage in November who has the ability to unify the country and to win the election. And I believe, again, I am that candidate.

    PARKER: Thank you, Senator.

    HARRIS: Thank you.

    PARKER: Mr. Steyer, you have denounced the special interests that pour hundreds of millions of dollars into the political process to influence it. But, in fact, you have spent over $300 million of your own money in support of your political goals. How do you respond to critics who see you as the embodiment of a special interest?

    STEYER: What I've done over the last decade is to put together coalitions of ordinary American citizens to take on unchecked corporate power. We have a broken government in Washington, D.C. It's been purchased by corporations. Over the last decade, with the help of the American people, we have taken on and beaten the oil companies, we have taken on and beaten the tobacco companies, we have taken on and beaten utilities, we've taken on and beaten the drug companies.

    I've also built one of the largest grassroots organizations in the United States. Last year, NextGen America did the largest youth voter mobilization in American history, also, in partnership with seven national unions, knocked on 15 million doors in 2016 and 10 million in 2018.

    What I've done is to try to push power down to the America people, to take power away from the corporations who've bought our government. And I'm talking now about structural reform in Washington, D.C.

    Term limits. If you want bold change in the United States, you're going to have to have new and different people in charge. I'm the only person on this stage who will talk about term limits. Vice President Biden won't. Senator Sanders won't. Even Mayor Pete Buttigieg will not talk about term limits and structural change. I would let the American people pass laws themselves through direct democracy. It's time to push the power back to the people and away from D.C.

    PARKER: Thank you, Mr. Steyer. Mr. Steyer, thank you. Senator Klobuchar, a brief response.


    KLOBUCHAR: Well, I just -- I'm someone that doesn't come from money, and I appreciate the work of Mr. Steyer. But right now, we have a system that's not fair, and it's not just fair for money. And so I would do is start a constitutional amendment and pass it to overturn Citizens United. That's what we should do, so that we stop this dark money and outside money from coming into our politics.

    I have led the way on voting. And I can tell you right now, one solution that would make a huge difference in this state would be to allow every kid in the country to register to vote when they turn 18. If we had a system like this, and we did something about gerrymandering, and we stopped the voting purges, and we did something significant about making sure we don't have money in politics from the outside, Stacey Abrams would be governor of this state right now.


    PARKER: Thank you, Senator.

    KLOBUCHAR: And that's what should happen. So while I appreciate his work, I am someone that doesn't come from money. I see my husband out there. My first Senate race, I literally called everyone I knew and I set what is still an all-time Senate record. I raised $17,000 from ex-boyfriends.


    And I'd like to point out, it is not an expanding base.


    KLOBUCHAR: So I don't just think this with my head. I feel it in my heart.

    PARKER: Thank you. Thank you, Senator Klobuchar.

    BUTTIGIEG: Since I was named, I'd like to have time...


    PARKER: Mr. Yang, I want to bring you in. Mr. Yang -- Mr. Yang, you've made a virtue of your outsider status. You've never served in military or in government. What has prepared you to respond to a terrorist attack or a major disaster?

    YANG: Well, first, I just want to stick up for Tom. We have a broken campaign finance system, but Tom has been spending his own money fighting climate change. You can't knock someone for having money and spending it in the right way, my opinion.


    STEYER: Thanks, Andrew.

    YANG: No problem.


    As commander-in-chief, I think we need to be focused on the real threats of the 21st century. And what are those threats? Climate change, artificial intelligence, loose nuclear material, military drones, and non-state actors.

    And if you look up, we're in the process of potentially losing the AI arms race to China right now, because they have more access to more data than we do, and their government is putting billions of dollars to work subsidizing the development of AI in a way that we are not.

    We are 24 years behind on technology. And I can say that with authority, because we got rid of the Office of Technology Assessment in 1995. Think about that timing. I guess they thought they'd invented everything.

    The next commander-in-chief has to be focused on the true threats of tomorrow. And that's what I will bring to the table as commander-in-chief.

    PARKER: Thank you, Mr. Yang.



    MITCHELL: Mayor Buttigieg, let's talk about your record as a candidate. You were elected mayor in a Democratic city receiving just under 11,000 votes. And in your only statewide race, you lost by 25 points. Why should Democrats take the risk of betting on you?

    BUTTIGIEG: Because I have the right experience to take on Donald Trump. I get that it's not traditional establishment Washington experience, but I would argue we need something very different right now.

    In order to defeat this president, we need somebody who can go toe-to-toe who actually comes from the kinds of communities that he's been appealing to. I don't talk a big game about helping the working class while helicoptering between golf courses with my name on them. I don't even golf.


    As a matter of fact, I never thought I'd be on a Forbes magazine list, but they did one of all the candidates by wealth, and I am literally the least wealthy person on this stage.

    I also wore the uniform of this country and know what is at stake in the decisions that are made in the Oval Office and in the Situation Room. And I know how to bring people together to get things done. I know that from the perspective of Washington, what goes on in my city might look small, but frankly, where we live, the infighting on Capitol Hill is what looks small. The usual way of doing business in Washington is what looks small.

    And I believe we need to send somebody in who has a different kind of experience, the experience on the ground, solving problems, working side by side with neighbors on some of the toughest issues that come up in government, recognizing what is required of executive leadership, and bringing that to Washington so that Washington can start looking a little more like our best-run communities in the heartland before the other way around starts to happen.

    MITCHELL: Thank you, Mayor. Thank you, Mayor.

    Senator Klobuchar, you've said this of Mayor Buttigieg, quote, "Of the women on the stage, do I think that we would be standing on that stage if we had the experience he had? No, I don't. Maybe we're held to a different standard." Senator, what did you mean by that?

    KLOBUCHAR: First of all, I've made very clear I think that Pete is qualified to be up on this stage, and I am honored to be standing next to him. But what I said was true. Women are held to a higher standard. Otherwise, we could play a game called name your favorite woman president, which we can't do, because it has all been men.


    And including all vice presidents being men. And I think any working woman out there, any woman that's at home knows exactly what I mean. We have to work harder, and that's a fact.

    But I want to dispel one thing, because for so long why has this been happening? I don't think you have to be the tallest person on this stage to be president. I don't think you have to be the skinniest person. I don't think you have the loudest voice on this stage. I don't think that means that you will be the one that should be president. I think what matters is if you're smart, if you're competent, and if you get things done.

    I am the one that has passed over a hundred bills as the lead Democrat in that gridlock of Washington in Congress on this stage. I think you've got to win. And I am the one, Mr. Vice President, that has been able to win every red and purple congressional district as a lead on a ticket every time. I govern both with my head and my heart. And if you think a woman can't beat Donald Trump, Nancy Pelosi does it every single day.


    MITCHELL: Mr. Vice President, Mr. Vice President, just a quick response?

    BIDEN: I think a woman is qualified to be president, and there's no reason why -- if you think the woman is the most qualified person now, you should vote for them. The reason why I think I should be president and be the nominee is, number one, I have brought people together my entire career. In the United States Senate, I've passed more major legislation than everybody on this stage combined, from the Violence Against Women Act to making sure we have the chemical weapons treaty to dealing with Milosevic, the whole range of things that I've been engaged in my whole career.

    I've done it. I've brought people together. I'm always told by everybody around here things have changed, you can't do that anymore. If we can't -- I thought the question was initially asked of the senator, how do you unify this country? We have to unify this country. I have done it. I have done it repeatedly.

    And lastly, to be commander-in-chief, there's no time for on-the-job training. I've spent more time in the Situation Room, more time abroad, more time than anybody up here. I know every major world leader. They know me, and they know when I speak, if I'm the president of the United States, who we're for, who we're against, and what we'll do, and we'll keep our word.


    MITCHELL: Thank you. Thank you, Mr. Vice President.


    PARKER: Senator Booker, one of the defining characters of the Trump presidency is that the American people hear from him directly all the time about everything, on Twitter and just about everywhere else. Setting aside your views of his tone, is that unfiltered communication something you as president would continue? Is this one of the norms broken by President Trump that needed to change?

    BOOKER: So, look, this president has broken norms, as you've said. He used his platforms to demean, degrade, and divide this country in ways that are repugnant and appalling. But the next president, whoever they are, is going to have to be someone who can heal and bring this nation together, this whole nation.

    So, absolutely, in that office I will do whatever it takes to make sure we bring this country together. But it's not for a Kumbaya moment. We are a nation that achieves great things when we stand together and work together and fight together. So, absolutely.

    When I was mayor of the largest city in my state -- and this is where I agree with Mayor Pete -- mayoral experience is very important. And I happen to be the other Rhodes Scholar mayor on this stage.


    And what I learned there is that you have to be an executive that can heal. In my city, we have racial divides, we have geographic divides that go from wealth to people that are struggling. The success of my city was because we brought us all together and did things that other people said couldn't be done.

    When I am president of the United States, my campaign from the very beginning has not changed. My charge is to see a nation right now which has so much common pain, to channel that back into a sense of common purpose. And I will do whatever it takes, bringing creativity to that office like has never been seen before.

    PARKER: Thank you, Senator.


    MADDOW: Chants of "Lock Her Up" are still heard at President Trump's rallies today. Now some opponents of the president are turning the same slogan against him. They've chanted "Lock Him Up" at a recent World Series game in Washington and at a Veterans Day event in New York and, Senator Sanders, at at least two of your campaign events recently. Senator, should Democrats discourage this? Or are you OK with it?

    SANDERS: Well, I think the people of this country are catching on to the degree that this president thinks he is above the law. And what the American people are saying: Nobody is above the law. And I think what the American people are also saying is, in fact, that if this president did break the law, he should be prosecuted like any other individual who breaks the law.

    But at the end of the day, what we need to do is to bring our people together not just in opposition to Trump. The initial question I think that you wrote -- that somebody raised here was that we are a divided nation. You know what? I kind of reject that.

    I think when you talk about the pain of working families in this country, majority of the American people want to raise the minimum wage to a living wage. When you talk about the climate crisis, the overwhelming majority of the American people know that it is real, they know we have to take on the fossil fuel industry, they know we have to transform our energy system away from fossil fuel to energy sufficiency and sustainable energy.

    Even on issues like guns, the American people are coming together to end the horrific level of gun violence. So I believe, yeah, we've got to deal with Trump, but we also have to have an agenda that brings our people together so that the wealth and income doesn't just go to the people on top but to all of us.

    MADDOW: Vice President Biden, let me ask you to pick up on the issue that Senator Sanders just raised about no one being above the law. When President Ford pardoned President Nixon, he said it was to heal the country. Would you support a potential criminal investigation into President Trump after he leaves office, even if you thought it might further inflame the country's divisions?

    BIDEN: Look, I would not direct my Justice Department like this president does. I'd let them make their independent judgment. I would not dictate who should be prosecuted or who should be exonerated. That's not the role of the president of the United States. It's the attorney general of the United States, not the president's attorney, private attorney.

    And so I would -- whatever was determined by the attorney general I supported, that I appointed, let them make an independent judgment. If that was the judgment that he violated the law and he should be, in fact, criminally prosecuted, then so be it. But I would not direct it.

    And I don't think it's a good idea that we mock -- that we model ourselves after Trump and say lock him up. Look, we have to bring this country together. Let's start talking civilly to people and treating -- you know, the next president starts tweeting should -- anyway.


    Look, it's just -- look, it's about civility. We have to restore the soul of this country. And that's not who we are, that's not who we've been, that's not who we should be. Follow the law, let the Justice Department make the judgment as to whether or not someone should be prosecuted, period.

    MADDOW: Senator Sanders, let me ask you briefly to respond to that, the difference of opinion there with Vice President Biden.

    SANDERS: Well, I think Joe is right. I think that it is the function of the attorney general. But what I am of the opinion is that the American people now do believe, and the more they see these impeachment hearings on television, they do believe that we have a president who thinks he's above the law. We have a president who has engaged in corruption. We have a president who has obstructed justice and, in my view, somebody who's violated the emoluments clause.

    I think Joe is right, that is the function of an independent Department of Justice. But my inclination is that the American people do believe that this president is in violation of the law.

    BIDEN: Can I respond very quickly?

    MADDOW: Briefly, Senator.

    BIDEN: Distinction, should he be impeached and should he be thrown out of office? That's one question. He's very close to -- he's indicted himself. Number two, after he's thrown out of office or after he's defeated, should he be then prosecuted? Should he be prosecuted for a criminal offense while he was president? That's a judgment to be made by an attorney general.

    MADDOW: Mr. Vice President, thank you.


    PARKER: We now focus on an issue facing many Americans, childcare and paid family leave. Here in Georgia, the average price of infant daycare can be as much as $8,500 per child per year. That's more than instate tuition at a four-year public college in Georgia. Mr. Yang, what would you do as president to ease that financial burden?

    YANG: There are only two countries in the world that don't have paid family leave for new moms, the United States of America and Papua New Guinea. That is the entire list. And we need to get off this list as soon as possible.


    I would pass paid family leave as one of the first things we do. I have two kids myself who are four and seven, one of whom is autistic and has special needs, and it's breaking families' backs. We need to start supporting our kids and families from the beginning, because by the time they're showing up to pre-K and kindergarten, in many cases, they're already years behind.

    Studies have shown that two-thirds of our kids' educational outcomes are determined by what's happening to them at home. This is stress levels, number of words read to them as children, type of neighborhood, whether a parent has time to spend with them.

    So we need to have a freedom dividend in place from day one, $1,000 a month for every American adult, which would put in many cases $2,000 a month into families' pockets, so that they can either pay for childcare or if they want stay home with the child. We should not be pushing everyone to leave the home and go to the workforce. Many parents see that tradeoff and say if they leave the home and work, they're going to be spending all the money on childcare anyway. In many cases, it would be better if the parent stays home with the child.

    PARKER: Thank you, Mr. Yang.


    Sticking with this topic, no parent in the United States is federally guaranteed a single day of paid leave when they have a new baby. A number of you on stage tonight have plans to address this. Senator Harris, you're one of the candidates proposing legislation to guarantee up to six months of paid family leave. And Senator Klobuchar, you're one of the candidates proposing up to three months. I want to hear from both of you on this, starting with you, Senator Klobuchar. Why three months?

    KLOBUCHAR: I've looked at this economically, and I want to make sure that we help people. Because as just pointed out, we are way behind the curve, our country is, when it comes to providing paid family leave and childcare. We must do this and we will do this if we have the right person heading up the ticket so we can win big.

    But what I have done with all of my plans is I have shown how I'm going to pay for them meticulously. I think that is really, really important when we have a president in the White House right now one who has told over 10,000 lies.

    So when you look at my website, at, you will see my plans and you're also going to see how I'm going to pay for it. And I think that is so important, because this president is literally increasing the debt, treating our farmers and workers like poker chips in a bankrupt casino, and really putting this country in a worst financial situation every single day.

    So, yes, my plan is three months. I think that's good. I'd love to do more. As I've said before, I'd love to staple free diplomas under people's chairs. I just am not going to go for things -- and this is not -- I'm talking about Senator Harris' plan here, but I'm talking about some of the other ideas that have been out here. I am not going to go for things just because they sound good on a bumper sticker and then throw in a free car.

    I think that we have an obligation -- we have an obligation as a party to be, yes, fiscally responsible, yes, think big, but make sure we have people's backs and are honest with them about what we can pay for. And that is everything from sending rich kids to college for free, which I don't support, to kicking 149 million off their health insurance -- current health insurance in four years.

    PARKER: Thank you, Senator. Thank you.

    KLOBUCHAR: I just think we have to be smart about how we do this.

    PARKER: Thank you, Senator. And, Senator Harris, why six months? And also, how would you pay for that?

    HARRIS: Sure. And, everybody, please visit my website,, for the details on everything I talk about. Six months, so part of how I believe we're going to win this election is, it is going to be because we are focused on the future, we are focused on the challenges that are presented today and not trying to bring back yesterday to solve tomorrow.

    So on paid family leave, it is no longer the case in America that people are having children in their 20s. People are having children in their 30s, often in their 40s, which means that these families and parents are often raising young children and taking care of their parents, which requires a lot of work, from traveling back and forth to a hospital to daycare to all of the activities that are required, much less the health care needs that are required.

    And what we are seeing in America today is the burden principally falls on women to do that work. And many women are having to make a very difficult choice whether they're going to leave a profession for which they have a passion to care for their family, or whether they are going to give up a paycheck that is part of what that family relies on. So six months paid family leave is meant to and is designed to adjust to the reality of women's lives today.

    The reality also is that women are not paid equal for equal work in America. We passed the Equal Pay Act in 1963, but fast forward to the year of our lord 2019, and women are paid 80 cents on the dollar, black women 61 cents, Native American women 58 cents, Latinas 53 cents.

    PARKER: Thank you.

    HARRIS: So my policy is about -- there's a whole collection of the work that I am doing that is focused on women and working women in America and the inequities and, therefore, the injustice that women in America are facing that needs to be resolved and addressed.

    PARKER: Thank you, Senator.


    WELKER: Mr. Steyer, millions of working Americans are finding that housing has become unaffordable, especially in metropolitan areas. It is particularly acute in your home state of California, in places like Los Angeles and San Francisco. Why are you the best person to fix this problem?

    STEYER: When you look at inequality in the United States of America, you have to start with housing. Where you put your head at night determines so many things about your life. It determines where your kids go to school. It determines the air you breathe, where you shop, how long it takes you to get to work.

    What we've seen in California is, as a result of policy, we have millions too few housing units. And that affects everybody in California. It starts with a homeless crisis that goes all through the state, but it also includes skyrocketing rents which affect every single working person in the state of California.

    I understand exactly what needs to be done here, which is we need to change policy and we need to apply resources here to make sure that we build literally millions of new units.

    But the other thing that's going to be true about building these units is, we're going to have to build them in a way that's sustainable, that, in fact, how we build units, where people live has a dramatic impact on climate and on sustainability.

    So we are going to have to direct dollars, we're going to have to change policy and make sure that the localities and municipalities who have worked very hard to make sure that there are no new housing units built in their towns, that they have to change that and we're going to have force it, and then we're going to have to direct federal dollars to make sure that those units are affordable so that working people can live in places and not be spending 50 percent of their income on rent.

    WELKER: Thank you, Mr. Steyer. Thank you, Mr. Steyer. Senator Warren, I see your hand raised.

    WARREN: Yes. Think of it this way. Our housing problem in America is a problem on the supply side, and that means that the federal government stopped building new housing a long time ago, affordable housing.

    Also, private developers, they've gone up to McMansions. They're not building the little two bedroom, one bath house that I grew up in, garage converted to be a bedroom for my three brothers.

    So I've got a plan for 3.2 million new housing units in America. Those are housing units for working families, for the working poor, for the poor poor, for seniors who want to age in place, for people with disabilities, for people who are coming back from being incarcerated. It's about tenants' rights.

    But there's one more piece. Housing is how we build wealth in America. The federal government has subsidized the purchase of housing for decades for white people and has said for black people you're cut out of the deal. That was known as red-lining.

    When I built a housing plan, it's not only a housing plan about building new units. It's a housing plan about addressing what is wrong about government-sponsored discrimination, how we need to address it, and we need to say we're going to reverse it.

    WELKER: Thank you, Senator. Thank you, Senator. Senator Booker?


    BOOKER: I'm so grateful, again, as a mayor who was a mayor during a recession, who was a mayor during a housing crisis, who started my career as a tenants' rights lawyer, these are all good points, but we're not talking about something that is going on all over America, which is gentrification and low-income families being moved further and further out, often compounding racial segregation.

    And so all these things we need to put more federal dollars in it, but we've got to start empowering people. We use our tax code to move wealth up, the mortgage interest deduction. My plan is very simple. If you're a renter who pays more than a third of your income in rent, then you will get a refundable tax credit between the amount you're paying and the area median rent. That empowers people in the same way we empower homeowners.

    And what that does is it actually slashes poverty, 10 million people out. And by the way, for those people who are facing eviction, it is about time that the only people when they show up in rentals court that have a lawyer is not the landlord, it is also low-income families struggling to stay in their homes.

    WELKER: Thank you, Senator.


    MADDOW: We're going to take a quick break, but we'll be right back with these candidates from the MSNBC-Washington Post Democratic candidates debate in Atlanta, Georgia. Stay with us.


    MADDOW: Welcome back to the MSNBC-Washington Post Democratic candidates debate. Let's get right back into it.

    American farmers are struggling under the effects of President Trump's trade war with China. The Trump administration's payments to farmers to offset those losses already have a price tag that is more than double what was spent on the Obama administration's auto bailout.

    Mayor Buttigieg, would you continue those farm subsidies?

    BUTTIGIEG: We shouldn't have to pay farmers to take the edge off of a trade war that shouldn't have been started in the first place. I will support farmers, but not long ago, I was in Boone, Iowa, a guy came up to me, he said I got my Trump bailout check, but I would have rather spent that money on conservation.

    By the way, this isn't even making farmers whole. If you're in soybeans, for example, you're getting killed. And it's not just what this president has done with the trade war. In a lot of parts of the country, the worst thing is these so-called small refinery waivers, which are killing those who are involved in ethanol.

    Look, I don't think this president cares one bit about farmers. He keeps asking them to take one for the team, but more and more I'm talking to people in rural America who see that they're not going to benefit from business as usual under this president.

    I believe that so many of the solutions lie with American farmers, but we have to stand up for them, not just with direct subsidies and support, but with making sure we do something about the consolidation, the monopolies that leave farmers with fewer places to purchase supplies from and fewer places to sell their product to.

    And American farming should be one of the key pillars of how we combat climate change. I believe that the quest for the carbon negative farm could be as big a symbol of dealing with climate change as the electric car in this country. And it's an important part of how we make sure that we get a message out around dealing with climate change that recruits everybody to be part of the solution, including conservative communities where a lot of people have been made to feel that admitting climate science would mean acknowledging they're part of the problem.

    MADDOW: Mr. Mayor, I'm sorry to interrupt, but I need you to answer the question. Would you continue those subsidies or not?

    BUTTIGIEG: Yes, but we won't need them because we're going to fix the trade war.

    MADDOW: Thank you, sir.

    The U.N. recently reported that what was once called climate change is now a climate crisis, with drastic results already being felt. Climate is also an issue important to our audience. We received thousands of questions from our viewers, and many of them were about climate.

    Calista from Minneapolis writes this. Leading the world in resolving the climate crisis will be a multi-decade project, spanning far beyond even a two-term presidency. If you are elected president, how would you ensure that there is secure leadership and bipartisan support to continue this project?

    Congresswoman Gabbard?

    GABBARD: This is an issue that impacts all of us as Americans and people all over the world. This is not a Democrat issue or a Republican issue. This is about the environmental threats that each and every one of us face. These are the kinds of conversations that we're having in our town hall meetings and house parties in different parts of the country where we have Democrats, Republicans, libertarians, and independents coming together, saying, hey, we are all concerned about making sure that we have clean water to drink for our families, that we have clean air to breathe, that we're able to raise our kids in a community that's safe.

    It is the hyper-partisanship in Washington, unfortunately, that has created this gridlock that has stood in the way of the kinds of progress that I would bring about as president, transitioning our country off of fossil fuels and ending the nearly $30 billion in subsidies that we as taxpayers are currently giving to the fossil fuel industry, instead investing in a green renewable energy economy that leads us into the 21st century with good-paying jobs, a sustainable economy, investing in infrastructure, and transitioning our agriculture -- that is a great contributor to the environmental threats we face -- towards an agriculture system that focuses on local and regional production of food, healthy food that will actually feed the health and well-being of our people, leading as a -- as a leader in the world to make the global change necessary to address these threats.

    MADDOW: Thank you. Thank you, Congresswoman. I want to bring in Mr. Steyer on this. You've made climate change a central point of your political career. To this issue of making change -- changes that last, making changes that are permanent, could you address that, sir?

    STEYER: Rachel, I'm the only person on this stage who will say that climate is the number-one priority for me. Vice President Biden won't say it. Senator Warren won't say it. It's a state of emergency, and I would declare a state of emergency on day one. I would use the emergency powers of the presidency.

    I know that we have to do this. I've spent a decade fighting and beating oil companies, stopping pipelines, stopping fossil fuel plants, ensuring clean energy across the country. I know that we have to do this. I also know that we can do this.

    I would make this the number-one priority of my foreign policy, as well. We can do this and create literally millions of good-paying union jobs across this country. I would make sure that my climate policy was led by environmental justice and members of the communities where this society has chosen to put our air and water pollution, which are low-income black and brown communities. And when we ask, how are we going to pull this country together, how about this: We take on the biggest challenge in history, we save the world, and we do it together. Do you think that would pull America together? I do.

    MADDOW: Quickly, Vice President Biden, you were name-checked there. I'd like to give you a chance to respond.

    BIDEN: Yeah, I was. I think it is the existential threat to humanity. It's the number-one issue. And I might add, I don't really need a kind of a lecture from -- from my friend. While I was passing the first climate change bill and that PolitiFact said was a game-changer, while I managed the $90 billion recovery plan, investing more money in infrastructure that related to clean energy than any time we've ever done it, my friend was introducing more coal mines and produced more coal around the world, according to the press, than all of Great Britain produces.

    Now, he's -- I welcome him back into the fold here, and he's been there for a long while. But the idea that we talk about where we started and how we are, let's get this straight. I think it is the existential threat of all time.


    STEYER: Can I respond to that, Rachel?

    MADDOW: Thank you, Mr. Vice President. You may respond, Mr. Steyer.

    STEYER: Look, I came to the conclusion over 10 years ago that climate was the absolute problem of our society and it was the unintended consequence of our whole country being based on fossil fuels. Everybody in this room has lived in an economy based on fossil fuels. And we all have to come to the same conclusion that I came to over a decade ago.

    If we're waiting for Congress to pass one of the bills -- and I know everybody on this stage cares about this. But Congress has never passed an important climate bill ever. This is a problem which continues to get worse. That's why I'm saying it's a state of emergency. That's why I'm saying it's priority one. If it isn't priority one, it's not going to get done.

    And this is something where we absolutely have to address it upfront. We have to make it the most important thing. And we can use it to rebuild and reimagine what the United States is. We can be the moral leaders of the world again, while we clean up our air and water and create millions of good-paying jobs.

    MADDOW: Senator Sanders, I'm going to ask you to jump in here.

    WARREN: I was also named in that.

    SANDERS: Tom, you stated...

    MADDOW: You were.

    SANDERS: You talked about the need to make climate change a national emergency. I've introduced legislation to just do that.

    Now, I disagree with the thrust of the original question, because your question has said, what are we going to do in decades? We don't have decades. What the scientists are telling us, if we don't get our act together within the next eight or nine years, we're talking about cities all over the world, major cities going underwater, we're talking about increased drought, talking about increased extreme weather disturbances.

    The United Nations is telling us that in the years to come there are going to be hundreds of millions of climate refugees causing national security issues all over the world.

    What we have got to do tonight, and I will do as president, is to tell the fossil fuel industry that their short-term profits are not more important than the future of this planet. And by the way, the fossil fuel industry is probably criminally liable, because they have lied and lied and lied when they had the evidence that their carbon products were destroying the planet, and maybe we should think about prosecuting them, as well.

    MADDOW: Thank you, Senator Sanders.



    MITCHELL: President Trump has dramatically changed America's approach to our adversaries by holding summits with Kim Jong Un, getting out of the Iran nuclear deal, and at times embracing Vladimir Putin and other strongmen. So let's talk about what kind of commander-in-chief you would be.

    Senator Harris, North Korea is now threatening to cancel any future summits if President Trump does not make concessions on nuclear weapons. If you were commander-in-chief, would you make concessions to Kim Jong-un in order to keep those talks going?

    HARRIS: With all due deference to the fact that this is presidential debate, Donald Trump got punked. He was -- he has conducted foreign policy since day one born out of a very fragile ego that fails to understand that one of the most important responsibilities of the commander-in-chief is to concern herself with the security of our nation and homeland.


    And to do it in a way that understands that part of the strength of who we are as a nation -- and therefore, an extension of our ability to be secure -- is not only that we have a vibrant military, but that when we walk in any room around the globe, we are respected because we keep to our word, we are consistent, we speak truth, and we are loyal.

    What Donald Trump has done from pulling out of the Paris agreement to pulling out of the Iran nuclear deal to consistently turning a back on people who have stood with us in difficult times, including most recently the Kurds, points out that Donald Trump is the greatest threat to the national security of our nation at this moment.

    MITCHELL: But would you make concessions to North Korea to keep talks...

    HARRIS: Not at this point. There are no concessions to be made. They -- he has traded a photo-op for nothing. He has abandoned the -- by shutting down the operations with South Korea for the last year-and-a-half, so those operations, which should be -- and those exercises, which should be active, because they are in our best national security, the relationship that we have with Japan, he has in every way compromised our ability to have any influence on slowing down or at least having a check and balance on North Korea's nuclear program.

    MITCHELL: Thank you, Senator.

    Mr. Vice President, President Trump inherited the North Korea problem from past presidents, over decades. What would a President Biden do that President Obama didn't do in eight years?

    BIDEN: Well, first of all, I'd go back in making sure we had the alliances we had before since he became president. He has absolutely ostracized us from South Korea. He has given North Korea everything they wanted, creating the legitimacy by having a meeting with Kim Jong-un, who's a thug -- although he points out that I'm a rabid dog who needs to be beaten with a stick, very recently was his comment.

    SANDERS: But other than that, you like him.

    BIDEN: Other than that, I like him.


    And in Japan and Australia, and being a Pacific power, and putting pressure on China in order -- for them to make sure that it is a non -- it is a nuclear-free peninsula. And the way we do that is, we make clear to China, which I have done personally with -- with the president of China, and that is we're going to move up our defenses, we're going to continue to make sure we increase our relationship with South Korea, and if they view that as a threat, it's an easy thing to respond to. They, in fact, can, in fact, put pressure on North Korea.

    But the fact is that we're in a position where he has done this across the world. He's embraced thugs. Look what Putin is doing in Europe. Putin is -- his whole effort is to break up NATO, to increase his power. Look what he's done to -- and so this guy has no idea what he's doing. He has no notion how to go about it. And we need a commander-in-chief who when he stands everybody knows what he or she is talking about.

    MITCHELL: Thank you, Mr. Vice President.

    Two more U.S. soldiers were killed today in Afghanistan tragically in America's longest war. Senator Sanders, you've long said you wanted to bring the troops back home from Afghanistan. Would you cut a deal with the Taliban to end the war, even if it means the collapse of the Afghan government that America has long supported?

    SANDERS: Well, let me just say this. One of the big differences between the vice president and myself is he supported the terrible war in Iraq and I helped lead the opposition against it. And not only that, I voted against the very first Gulf War, as well.

    And I think we need a foreign policy which understands who our enemies are, that we don't have to spend ten -- more than -- more money on the military than the next 10 nations combined.

    But to answer your question, yeah, I think it is time after spending many trillions of dollars on these endless wars, which have resulted in more dislocation and mass migrations and pain in that region, it is time to bring our troops home.

    But unlike Trump, I will not do it through a tweet at 3 o'clock in the morning. I will do it working with the international community. And if it's necessary to negotiate with the Taliban, of course we will do that. But at the end of the day, we have to rethink the entire war on terror, which has caused so much pain and lost so many lives, not only for our own men and women in the armed forces, but for people in that region, as well.

    MITCHELL: Thank you, Senator.


    PARKER: Thank you. Mr. Yang, if you win the 2020 election, what would you say in your first call with Russian President Vladimir Putin?


    YANG: Well, first, I'd say I'm sorry I beat your guy.



    WARREN: It's a sorry, not sorry.

    YANG: Or not sorry.


    And, second, I would say the days of meddling in American elections are over and we will take any undermining of our democratic processes as an act of hostility and aggression. The American people would back me on this. We know that they've found an underbelly and they've been clawing at it, and it's made it so that we can't even trust our own democracy.

    The third thing I would say is that we're going to live up to our international commitments. We're going to recommit to our partnerships and alliances, including NATO. And it was James Mattis that said that the more you invest in diplomats and diplomacy, the less you have to spend on ammunition.

    That has to be the path forward to help build an international consensus not just against Russia, but also to build a coalition that will help us put pressure on China, in terms of their treatment of their ethnic minorities, and what's going on in Hong Kong.

    I want to propose a new world data organization, like a WTO for data, because right now, unfortunately, we're living in a world where data is the new oil and we don't have our arms around it. These are the ways that we'll actually get Russia to the table and make it so they have to join the international community and stop resisting appeals to the world order.

    PARKER: Thank you, Mr. Yang.



    MADDOW: On the issue of China, Senator Booker, China is now using force against demonstrators in Hong Kong where millions have taken to the streets advocating for democratic reforms. Many of the demonstrators are asking the United States for help. If you were president, would the U.S. help their movement, and how?

    BOOKER: Well, first of all, this is president who seems to want to go up against China in a trade war by pulling away from our allies and, in fact, attacking them, as well. We used a national security waiver to put tariffs on Canada. And so at the very time that China is breaking international rules, is practicing unfair practices, stealing technology, forcing technology transfer, and violating human rights, this nation is pulling away from critical allies we would need to show strength against China.

    There's a larger battle going on, on the planet Earth right now between totalitarian, dictatorial countries and free democracies. And we see the scorecard under this president not looking so good, with China actually shifting more towards an authoritarian government, with its leader now getting rid of even his -- getting rid of term limits.

    And so I believe we need a much stronger policy, one that's not led, as President Trump seems to want to do, in a transactional way, but one that's led by American values. So, yes, we will call China out for its human rights violations.

    But not only that, we will stop engaging in things that violate American rights. Because it is a human rights violation when people at our border, children are thrown in cages. It's a human right violations without coming to the United States Congress for an authorization for the use of military force for us to refuel Saudi jets to bomb Yemeni children. It is about time that this country is led by someone who will say the values of freedom and democracy are what we are going to lead with and begin to check China, check Putin, and the other folks that are trying to undermine American values and democratic values around the globe.

    MADDOW: Thank you, Senator. Andrea?

    MITCHELL: Mr. Vice President, the CIA has concluded that the leader of Saudi Arabia directed the murder of U.S.-based journalist Jamal Khashoggi. The State Department also says the Saudi government is responsible for executing nonviolent offenders and for torture. President Trump has not punished senior Saudi leaders. Would you?

    BIDEN: Yes, and I said it at the time. Khashoggi was, in fact, murdered and dismembered, and I believe on the order of the crown prince. And I would make it very clear we were not going to, in fact, sell more weapons to them, we were going to, in fact, make them pay the price and make them, in fact, the pariah that they are. There's very little social redeeming value of the -- in the present government in Saudi Arabia.

    And I would also, as pointed out, I would end -- end subsidies that we have, end the sale of material to the Saudis where they're going in and murdering children, and they're murdering innocent people. And so they have to be held accountable.

    And with regard to China, we should -- look, unless we make it clear that we stand for human rights, we should be going to the United Nations seeking condemnation of China, what they're doing with the million Uighurs that are there, essentially in concentration camps in the west. We should be vocally, vocally speaking out about the violation of the commitment they made to Hong Kong. We have to speak out and speak loudly about violations of human rights.

    MITCHELL: Senator Klobuchar, just to follow up, would you go against the Saudis, even though that would potentially help Iran, their adversaries?

    KLOBUCHAR: We need a new foreign policy in this country, and that means renewing our relationships with our allies. It means rejoining international agreements. And it means reasserting our American values.

    And so when the president did not stand up the way he should have to that killing and that dismemberment of a journalist with an American newspaper, that sent a signal to all dictators across the country that -- across the world that that was OK, and that's wrong.

    And I want to add a few things to what my colleagues have said, first of all, the question about Russia. When we look at international agreements, we must start negotiating back with Russia, which has been a horrible player on the international scene, but the president precipitously got out of the nuclear agreement with Russia and we must start negotiating, even though they were cheating, for the good of this world. And we must also start the negotiations for the New START Treaty.

    And when it comes to China, we need someone that sees the long term, like I do, just like the Chinese do, because we have a president that literally makes decisions based on his next tweet, and they are in it for the long game.

    MITCHELL: Senator Sanders?

    SANDERS: I think I may have been the first person up here to make it clear that Saudi Arabia not only murdered Khashoggi, but this is a brutal dictatorship which does everything it can to crush democracy, treats women as third-class citizens. And when we rethink our American foreign policy, what we have got to know is that Saudi Arabia is not a reliable ally.

    We have got to bring Iran and Saudi Arabia together in a room under American leadership and say we are sick and tired of us spending huge amounts of money and human resources because of your conflicts.

    And by the way, the same thing goes with Israel and the Palestinians. It is no longer good enough for us simply to be pro-Israel. I am pro-Israel. But we must treat the Palestinian people as well with the respect and dignity that they deserve.


    What is going on in Gaza right now, where youth unemployment is 70 percent or 80 percent, is unsustainable. So we need to be rethinking who our allies are around the world, work with the United Nations, and not continue to support brutal dictatorships.

    MITCHELL: Thank you, Senator. Rachel?

    MADDOW: Senator Warren, only about 1 percent of Americans serve in the United States military right now. Should that number be higher?

    WARREN: Yes, I think it should be. You know, all three of my brothers served in the military. One was career military. The other two also served. I think it's an important part of who we are as Americans. And I think the notion of shared service is important.

    It's how we help bring our nation together. It's how people learn to work together from different regions, people who grew up differently. It's also about how families share that sacrifice.

    I remember what it was like when I was a little girl. My brother, my oldest brother, who served five-and-a-half years off and on in combat in Vietnam, what it was like for my mother every day to check the mailbox, had we heard from Don Reed? How is he doing? And if there was a letter, she was brighter than the day. And if there wasn't, she would say, well, maybe tomorrow.

    This is about building for our entire nation. And I believe we should do that. I also believe we should have other service opportunities in this country. So, for example, what I want to do is for our federal lands, I want to bring in 10,000 people who want to be able to serve in our federal lands to be able to help rebuild our national forests and national parks as a way to express both their public service and their commitment to fighting back against climate change. We can do this as a nation.

    MADDOW: Thank you, Senator. In President Trump's first two years in office, the Pentagon budget ballooned. Mayor Buttigieg, would you cut military spending? Or would you keep it on the same upward trajectory?

    BUTTIGIEG: We need to re-prioritize our budget as a whole and our military spending in particular. It's not just how much, although we certainly need to look at the runaway growth in military spending. It's also where.

    Right now, we are spending a fraction of the attention and resources on things like the artificial intelligence research that China is doing right now. If we fall behind on artificial intelligence, the most expensive ships that the United States is building just turned into bigger targets.

    We do not have a 21st century security strategy coming from this president. After all, he's relying on 17th century security technologies, like a moat full of alligators or a big wall.


    There is no concept of strategic planning for how civilian, diplomatic, and military security work needs to take place for the future.

    BOOKER: Can I respond?

    MADDOW: Mayor Buttigieg, thank you.

    WARREN: Could I respond on this?

    WELKER: Coming up, we will have much more from the candidates. We're going to take a quick break, just a moment. Stay with us.


    WELKER: Welcome back, everyone, to the fifth Democratic debate. Let's move now to the issue of race in America. FBI Director Christopher Wray recently told Congress, quote, "The majority of the domestic terrorism cases that we've investigated are motivated by white supremacist violence."

    Congresswoman Gabbard, to you. As president, would you direct the federal government to do something about this problem that it is not currently doing?

    GABBARD: Yes, I would. We have seen for far too long the kind of racial bigotry, divisiveness, and attacks that unfortunately have taken the lives of our fellow Americans. Leadership starts at the top. It's important that we set the record straight and correct the racial injustices that exist in a very institutional way in our country, beginning with things that have to do with our criminal justice system, where predominantly the failed war on drugs that has been continuing to be waged in this country has disproportionately impacted people of color and people in poverty.

    This is something that I'll do as president and commander-in-chief, is to overhaul our criminal justice system, working in a bipartisan way to do things like end the failed war on drugs, end the money bail system, enact the kinds of prison reforms and sentencing reforms that we need to see that will correct the failures of the past.

    The most important thing here is that we recognize that we have to treat each other with respect, all of us as fellow Americans, regardless of race, religion, ethnicity, gender, orientation, and our politics. That kind of leadership starts at the top. As president, I will usher in a 21st century White House that actually represents the interests of all Americans, first and foremost.

    WELKER: Congresswoman Gabbard, thank you for that.

    Mr. Yang, what would you do about the issue of white supremacist violence?

    YANG: Well, first, we have to designate white supremacist terrorism as domestic terrorism so that the Department of Justice can properly measure it.


    I talked to an anti-hate activist named Christian Picciolini who told me about how he was radicalized over a 10-year period. He said he was a lonely 14-year-old and that he was reached out to by a hate group and he wound up joining it for a decade. Now he's out and he's helping convert people out of those hate groups and back into the rest of society.

    But what he told me was that if anyone had reached out to him when he was that hurt, broken 14-year-old boy, he would have gone with them. He said if it had been a coach, I would have gone with him, if it had been a mentor or a teacher, I would have gone with them, but instead it was a hate group.

    So what we have to do is we have to get into the roots of our communities and create paths forward for men in particular who right now are falling through the cracks. And when you look at gun violence in this country, 96 percent-plus of the shooters we're talking about are young boys and young men. We have to as a country start finding ways to turn our boys into healthy, strong young men who do not hate, but instead feel like they have paths forward in today's economy.

    WELKER: Mr. Yang, thank you for that.

    Vice President Biden, the "Me, Too" movement has forced a cultural reckoning around the issue of sexual violence and harassment against women in America. Are there specific actions that you would take early in your administration to address this problem?

    BIDEN: Yes. And by the way, it's one of the reasons -- the first thing I would do is make sure we pass the Violence Against Women Act reauthorization, which I wrote. The fact -- I didn't write the reauthorization. I wrote the original act.

    The fact is that what happens now is that we, in fact, have to fundamentally change the culture, the culture of how women are treated. That's why as vice president -- and when I asked the president, I could start the movement on the college campuses to say it's on us. It's everyone's responsibility.

    We do not spend nearly enough time dealing with -- I was stunned when I did a virtual town meeting that told me 30,000 people were on the call, young people between 15 and 25, and found out I said, what do you need -- what do you need to make you safer on college campuses and on your schools? You know what they said? Get men involved, engage the rest of the community.

    And that's when we started this movement on the college campuses to fundamentally change the culture. No man has a right to raise a hand to a woman in anger, other than in self-defense, and that's -- rarely ever occurs. And so we have to just change the culture, period, and keep punching at it and punching at it and punching at it. It will be a big -- no, I really mean it. It's a gigantic issue. And we have to make it clear from the top, from the president on down, that we will not tolerate it. We will not tolerate this culture.

    WELKER: Mr. Vice President, thank you.

    Senator Harris, this week, you criticized Mayor Pete Buttigieg's outreach to African-American voters. You said, quote, "The Democratic nominee has got to be someone who has the experience of connecting with all of who we are, as the diversity of the American people," end quote. What exactly prompted you to say that, Senator Harris?

    HARRIS: Well, I was asked a question that related to a stock photograph that his campaign published. But, listen, I think that it really speaks to a larger issue, and I'll speak to the larger issue. I believe that the mayor has made apologies for that.

    The larger issue is that for too long I think candidates have taken for granted constituencies that have been the backbone of the Democratic Party and have overlooked those constituencies and have -- you know, they show up when it's, you know, close to election time and show up in a black church and want to get the vote, but just haven't been there before.

    I mean, you know, the -- there are plenty of people who applauded black women for the success of the 2018 election, applauded black women for the election of a senator from Alabama. But, you know, at some point, folks get tired of just saying, oh, you know, thank me for showing up and -- and say, well, show up for me.

    Because when black women...


    When black women are three to four times more likely to die in connection with childbirth in America, when the sons of black women will die because of gun violence more than any other cause of death, when black women make 61 cents on the dollar as compared to all women, who tragically make 80 cents on the dollar, the question has to be, where you been? And what are you going to do? And do you understand who the people are?


    And I'm running for president because I believe that we have to have leadership in this country who has worked with and have the experience of working with all folks. And we've got to re-create the Obama coalition to win. And that means about women, that's people of color, that's our LGBTQ community, that's working people, that's our labor unions. But that is how we are going to win this election, and I intend to win.

    WELKER: Senator Harris, thank you.

    Mayor Buttigieg, your response to that.

    BUTTIGIEG: My response is, I completely agree. And I welcome the challenge of connecting with black voters in America who don't yet know me.

    And before I share what's in my plans, let me talk about what's in my heart and why this is so important. As mayor of a city that is racially diverse and largely low income, for eight years, I have lived and breathed the successes and struggles of a community where far too many people live with the consequences of racial inequity that has built-up over centuries but been compounded by policies and decisions from within living memory.

    I care about this because my faith teaches me that salvation has to do with how I make myself useful to those who have been excluded, marginalized, and cast aside and oppressed in society.

    And I care about this because, while I do not have the experience of ever having been discriminated against because of the color of my skin, I do have the experience of sometimes feeling like a stranger in my own country, turning on the news and seeing my own rights come up for debate, and seeing my rights expanded by a coalition of people like me and people not at all like me, working side by side, shoulder to shoulder, making it possible for me to be standing here. Wearing this wedding ring in a way that couldn't have happened two elections ago lets me know just how deep my obligation is to help those whose rights are on the line every day, even if they are nothing like me in their experience.

    WELKER: Mayor Buttigieg, thank you very much.


    Senator Harris, quick response?

    HARRIS: Look, there's a lot at stake in this election, and I've said it many times, I think justice is on the ballot in 2020. And it's about economic justice. It's about justice for children. It's about justice for our teachers. I could go on down the list.

    And so the issue really is not what is the fight. The issue has to be, how are we going to win? And to win, we have to build a coalition and rebuild the Obama coalition. I keep referring to that because that's the last time we won.

    And the way that that election looked and what that coalition looked like was it was about having a leader who had worked in many communities, knows those communities, and has the ability to bring people together. And everyone is going to have to be judged on their experience and, therefore, ability to bring folks together around our commonalities, of which I believe there are many.

    WELKER: Thank you, Senator.

    Senator Warren, quickly?

    WARREN: So I think it is really important that we actually talk about what we're willing to get in the fight for. And I just want to give one example around this. Senator Harris rightly raised the question of economic justice.

    Let me give a specific example, and that is student loan debt. Right now in America, African-Americans are more likely to borrow money to go to college, borrow more money while they're in college, and have a harder time paying that debt off after they get out. Today in America, a new study came out, 20 years out, whites who borrowed money, 94 percent of them have paid off their student loan debt, 5 percent of African-Americans have paid it off.

    I believe that means everyone on this stage should be embracing student loan debt forgiveness. It will help close the black-white wealth gap. Let's do something tangible and real to make change in this country.

    WELKER: Senator Warren, thank you. Ashley?

    PARKER: Senator Warren, back to you. You've said that the border wall that President Trump has proposed is, quote, "a monument to hate and division." Would you ask taxpayers to pay to take down any part of the wall on the nation's southern border?

    WARREN: If there are parts of the wall that are not useful in our defense, of course we should do it. The real point here is that we need to stop this manmade crisis at the border.

    Trump is the one who has created this crisis, and he has done it in no small part by helping destabilize the governments even further in Central America. He has withdrawn aid. That means that families have to flee for their lives, have to flee for any economic opportunity.

    You know, when I found out that our government was actually taking away children from their families, I went down to the border. I went down there immediately. I was in McAllen, Texas, and I just hope everyone remembers what this looks like. There's like a giant Amazon warehouse filled with cages of women, cages of men, and cages of little girls and little boys.

    I spoke to a woman who was in the cage of nursing mothers, and she told me she'd given a drink to a police officer and that the word had come down from the gangs that she was helping the police. She knew what that meant. She wrapped up her baby and she ran for the border.

    We need to treat the people who come here with dignity and with respect. A great nation does not separate children from their families. We need to live our values at the border every single day.


    PARKER: Thank you, Senator.

    Senator Booker, a quick response.

    BOOKER: Look, I want to be quick on this because I'd like to get back to something I wasn't included in, is...

    WARREN: So would we all.

    BOOKER: Absolutely, if this is not effective, we see people cutting holes in this wall, his wall, the way he brags about it, it's just wrong. We need to have policies that respect dignity, keep us safe and strong.

    I wanted to return back to this issue of black voters. I have a lifetime of experience with black voters; I've been one since I was 18.


    Nobody on this stage should need a focus group to hear from African-American voters. Black voters are pissed off, and they're worried. They're pissed off because the only time our issues seem to be really paid attention to by politicians is when people are looking for their vote. And they're worried because the Democratic Party, we don't want to see people miss this opportunity and lose because we are nominating someone that doesn't -- isn't trusted, doesn't have authentic connection.

    And so that's what's on the ballot. And issues do matter. I have a lot of respect for the vice president. He has sworn me into my office as a hero. This week, I hear him literally say that I don't think we should legalize marijuana. I thought you might have been high when you said it.


    And let me tell you, because -- because marijuana -- marijuana -- marijuana in our country is already legal for privileged people. And it's -- the war on drugs has been a war on black and brown people.


    And so let me just -- let me just say this. With more African-Americans under criminal supervision in America than all the slaves since 1850, do not roll up into communities and not talk directly to issues that are going to relate to the liberation of children, because there are people in Congress right now that admit to smoking marijuana, while there are people -- our kids are in jail right now for those drug crimes.


    And so these are the kind of issues that mean a lot to our community. And if we don't have somebody authentically -- we lost the last election. Let me just give you this data example.

    PARKER: Quickly. Quickly, please.

    BOOKER: We lost in Wisconsin because of a massive diminution -- a lot of reasons, but there was a massive diminution in the African-American vote. We need to have someone that can inspire, as Kamala said, to inspire African-Americans to the polls in record numbers.

    PARKER: Thank you, Senator Booker. Vice President Biden, you can respond to that.

    BIDEN: I'll be very brief. Number one, I think we should decriminalize marijuana, period. And I think everyone -- anyone who has a record should be let out of jail, their records expunged, be completely zeroed out.

    But I do think it makes sense, based on data, that we should study what the long-term effects are for the use of marijuana. That's all it is. Number one, everybody gets out, record expunged.

    Secondly, I'm -- you know, I'm part of that Obama coalition. I come out of a black community, in terms of my support. If you notice, I have more people supporting me in the black community that have announced for me because they know me, they know who I am. Three former chairs of the black caucus, the only African-American woman that's ever been elected to the United States Senate, a whole range of people...

    HARRIS: No, that's not true.

    BOOKER: That's not true.

    HARRIS: The other one is here.


    BIDEN: No, I said the first. I said the first African-American woman. The first African-American woman.


    So my point is -- my point is that one of the reasons I was picked to be vice president was because of my relationship, longstanding relationship with the black community. I was part of that coalition.

    PARKER: Thank you. Kristen?

    WELKER: And we do have to take another quick break, but we are going to hear much more from the candidates when we come right back here in Atlanta, Georgia. Stay with us.


    MADDOW: Welcome back to the MSNBC-Washington Post Democratic candidates debate. Many states, including right here where we are tonight in Georgia, have passed laws that severely limit or outright ban abortion. Right now, Roe v. Wade protects a woman's right to abortion nationwide. But if Roe gets overturned and abortion access disappears in some states, would you intervene as president to try to bring that access back?

    Senator Klobuchar?

    KLOBUCHAR: Well, of course. We should codify Roe v. Wade into law. That is what we should do.


    And this president indicated early on what he was going to do, and he's done it. When he was running for office, he literally said women should go to jail. Then he dialed it back and said doctors should go to jail. So no surprise that we're seeing these kinds of laws in Georgia, in Alabama, where his allies are passing these bills.

    And what we have to remember is that the people are with us. And I predict this will be a big election -- issue in the general election. And I just can't wait to stand across from Donald Trump and say this to him. You know what? The people are with us. Over 70 percent of the people support Roe v. Wade. Over 90 percent of the people support funding for Planned Parenthood and making sure that women can get the health care they need.


    He is off the track on this, and he will hear from the women of America, and this is how we're going to win this election.

    MADDOW: Just this weekend, Louisiana re-elected a Democratic governor, John Bel Edwards. He has signed one of the country's toughest laws restricting abortion. Is there room in the Democratic Party for someone like him, someone who can win in a deep red state but who does not support abortion rights?

    Senator Warren?

    WARREN: Look, I believe that abortion rights are human rights. I believe that they are also economic rights. And protecting the right of a woman to be able to make decisions about her own body is fundamentally what we do and what we stand for as a Democratic Party.

    Understand this. When someone makes abortion illegal in America, rich women will still get abortions. It's just going to fall hard on poor women. It's going to fall hard on girls, women who don't even know that they're pregnant because they have been molested by an uncle. I want to be an America where everybody has a chance.

    And I know it can be a hard decision for people. But here's the thing. When it comes down to that decision, a woman should be able to call on her mother, she should be able to call on her partner, she should be able to call on her priest or her rabbi. But the one entity that should not be in the middle of that decision is the government.


    MADDOW: Senator Warren, I'm going to push you on this a little bit for a specific answer to the question. Governor John Bel Edwards in Louisiana is an anti-abortion governor who has signed abortion restrictions in Louisiana. Is there room for him in the Democratic Party with those politics?

    WARREN: I have made clear what I think the Democratic Party stands for. I'm not here to try to drive anyone out of this party. I'm not here to try to build fences. But I am here to say, this is what I will fight for as president of the United States. The women of America can count on that.

    MADDOW: Senator Warren, thank you. Senator Sanders, I'll give you 30 seconds.

    SANDERS: Let me just -- Amy mentioned that women feel strongly on it. Well, let me just tell you that if there's ever a time in American history where the men of this country must stand with the women, this is the moment.


    And I get very tired, very tired of hearing the hypocrisy from conservatives who say get the government off our backs, we want small government. Well, if you want to get the government out of the backs of the American people, then understand that it is women who control their own bodies, not politicians.

    MADDOW: Senator Sanders, thank you.

    BOOKER: This is a voting issue.

    MADDOW: Senator Booker?

    BOOKER: This is a voting issue. This is a voter suppression issue. Right here in this great state of Georgia, it was the voter suppression, particularly of African-American communities, that prevented us from having a Governor Stacey Abrams right now.


    And that is, when you have undemocratic means, when you suppress people's votes to get elected, those are the very people you're going to come after when you're in office. And this bill, opposed by over 70 percent -- the heartbeat bill here -- opposed by over 70 percent of Georgians, is the result from voter suppression. This gets back to the issue about making sure we are fighting every single day, that whoever is the nominee, they can overcome the attempts to suppress the votes, particularly of low-income and minority voters, and particularly in the black community, like we saw here in Georgia.

    MADDOW: Senator Booker, thank you.

    And to that point, individual states, as you all know, set their own rules for voting and for elections. Depending on where you live, you may be required to show ID or not. You might have a lot of days for early voting or fewer days or none. You might have a polling place in walking distance or you might have to drive or take a bus to the edge of town.

    With that in mind, our next question comes from Jenna in Maryland, who asks, what will you do at the executive level to ensure that every American has equal access to the ballot box?

    Mayor Buttigieg?

    BUTTIGIEG: Well, we need federal leadership to establish voting rights for the 21st century, because this affects every other issue that we care about. Now, the House of Representatives passed a pro-democracy, anti-corruption bill, which is one of many good bills to die in Mitch McConnell's hands in the United States Senate.

    We know that with the White House in the right hands, we can make, for example, Election Day a federal holiday. We can use carrots and sticks to induce states to do the right thing with automatic voter registration, same-day voter registration, making it easier for people to vote and, in particular, recognizing that we cannot allow the kind of racially motivated or partisan voter suppression or gerrymandering that often dictates the outcome of elections before the voting even begins.

    Right now, we have politicians picking out their voters, rather than the other way around. That compounding with what is being done to restrict the right to vote means that our democracy is not worthy of the name.

    KLOBUCHAR: I just -- I want to add this...

    BUTTIGIEG: And while these process issues are not always fashionable, we must act to reform our democracy itself, including when it comes to choosing our presidency...


    MADDOW: Senator Klobuchar...

    BUTTIGIEG: ... like we do in every other election, giving it to the person who got the most votes.

    KLOBUCHAR: I want to point out...


    KLOBUCHAR: I agree with what the mayor has just said, but this is a good example where he has said the right words, but I actually have the experience and of leading 11 of the bills that are in that House-passed bill you just referred to.

    And I think this kind of experience matters. I have been devoted to this from the time that I've got to the Senate. And I think having that experience, knowing how you can get things done, leading the bills to take the social media companies to task, a bipartisan bill to say, yeah, you have to say where these ads come from and how they're paid for, and stop the unbelievable practice where we still have 11 states that don't have backup paper ballots. That is my bipartisan bill. And I am so close to getting it done. And the way I get it done is if I'm president.

    But just like I have won statewide and mayor, I have all appreciation for your good work as a local official, and you did not when you tried, I also have actually done this work. I think experience should matter.

    MADDOW: Mayor Buttigieg, I'll let you respond to that.

    BUTTIGIEG: So, first of all, Washington experience is not the only experience that matters. There's more than 100 years of Washington experience on this stage, and where are we right now as a country?

    I have the experience of bringing people together to get something done. I have the experience of being commanded into a war zone by an American president. I have the experience of knowing what is at stake as the decisions made in those big white buildings come into our lives, our homes, our families, our workplaces, and our marriages. And I would submit that this is the kind of experience we need, not just to go to Washington, but to change it before it is too late.

    MADDOW: Mr. Mayor, thank you. Congresswoman Gabbard, on the original question of voting rights, please.

    GABBARD: Thank you. I mean, voting rights are essential for our democracy. Securing our elections is essential for our democracy. I've introduced legislation called the Securing Americas Elections Act that mandates paper ballots to make sure that every single voter's voice is heard.

    But I want to get back to Pete Buttigieg and his comments about experience. Pete, you'll agree that the service that we both have provided to our country as veterans by itself does not qualify us to serve as commander-in-chief. I think the most recent example of your inexperience in national security and foreign policy came from your recent careless statement about how you as president would be willing to send our troops to Mexico to fight the cartels.

    As commander-in-chief, leader of our armed forces, I bring extensive experience, serving for seven years in Congress, on the Foreign Affairs Committee, on the Armed Services Committee, on the Homeland Security Committee, meeting with leaders of countries around the world, working with military commanders of different commands...

    MADDOW: Congresswoman, thank you.

    GABBARD: ... dealing with high-level national security briefings, understanding what's necessary, the preparation that I've gotten to walk in on day one to serve as commander-in-chief.

    MADDOW: Congresswoman, thank you. Mr. Mayor, I'll allow you to respond.

    BUTTIGIEG: So I've got to respond to that. I know that it's par for the course in Washington to take remarks out of context, but that is outlandish even by the standards of today's politics.

    GABBARD: Are you saying that you didn't say that?

    BUTTIGIEG: I was talking about U.S.-Mexico cooperation. We've been doing security cooperation with Mexico for years, with law enforcement cooperation and a military relationship that could continue to be developed with training relationships, for example. Do you seriously think anybody on this stage is proposing invading Mexico?


    GABBARD: That's not what I said. That's not what I said.

    BUTTIGIEG: I'm talking about building up -- I'm talking about building up alliances. And if your question is about experience, let's also talk about judgment. One of the foreign leaders you mentioned meeting was Bashar al-Assad. I have in my experience, such as it is, whether you think it counts or not since it wasn't accumulated in Washington, enough judgment that I would not have sat down with a murderous dictator like that.


    MADDOW: Congresswoman Gabbard, let me allow you to respond.

    GABBARD: Thank you. You were asked directly whether you would send our troops to Mexico to fight cartels and your answer was yes. The fact-checkers can check this out.


    GABBARD: But your point about judgment is absolutely correct. Our commander-in-chief does need to have good judgment. And what you've just pointed out is that you would lack the courage to meet with both adversaries and friends to ensure the peace and national security of our nation. I take the example of those leaders who have come before us, leaders like JFK, who met with Khrushchev, like Roosevelt, who met with Stalin.

    BUTTIGIEG: Like Donald Trump who met with Kim.

    GABBARD: Like Reagan, who met -- like Reagan, who met and worked with Gorbachev. These issues of national security are incredibly important. I will meet with and do what is necessary to make sure that no more of our brothers and sisters in uniform are needlessly sent into harm's way fighting regime change wars that undermine our national security. I'll bring real leadership and experience to the White House.


    MADDOW: Congresswoman Gabbard...

    BUTTIGIEG: I've got to respond to this. This is a direct...


    MADDOW: Senator Sanders, I'm going to have you respond.

    SANDERS: To your original point, the American people understand that the political system we have today is corrupt. And it is not just voter suppression, which cost the Democratic Party a governorship here in this state, not just denying black people and people of color the right to vote, but we also have a system through Citizens United which allows billionaires to buy elections.

    So what we need to do, simple and straightforward, in every state in this country through the federal government, if you are 18, you have a right to vote, end of discussion.


    We have to overturn Citizens United. We need to move toward public funding of elections.

    MADDOW: On this last point, Mr. Steyer.

    STEYER: I agree exactly with what Bernie said, but I want to talk about how we're going to win in 2020. I don't mean to change the subject, but I think it's sort of important that the Democratic Party not only beat Donald Trump in 2020 but have a sweeping victory across the country. And what that's going to mean is turnout.

    In the United States of America, the Democratic Party keeps talking about trying to persuade a few people who are Republicans to like us, when up to half the people don't vote at all because they think neither party tells the truth, no one deals with my issues, the system is broken, why would we vote?

    But what we've found at NextGen America is that is the start of a conversation about why votes are so important. And if you look at 2018 and flipping the House, what really happened was Democratic voting went up by three-quarters. In the 38 congressional districts where NextGen America was turning out young people, the turnout went up by more than 100 percent, more than double.

    MADDOW: Thank you, Mr. Steyer.

    STEYER: So for us to win, for everybody on this stage, for whoever's the candidate, to have a Senate that's Democratic, for us to have the sweeping victory that we absolutely...

    MADDOW: Mr. Steyer, thank you.

    STEYER: ... are going to have next year, it's a turnout question. We're going to have to tell the truth and we're going to have organize across this country.

    MADDOW: Thank you very much.

    SANDERS: Exactly right. That's exactly right.

    MADDOW: It is time -- at this point, it is well past time, if I'm honest, to start closing statements. And we are going to start tonight with Senator Booker. The floor is yours.

    BOOKER: Thank you, Rachel. It's an honor to be here tonight.

    I have not yet qualified for the December stage and need your help to do that. If you believe in my voice and that I should be up here, please go to Please help.

    I had a closing statement prepared, but I saw in the audience during the break a man named John Lewis. And perhaps it's interesting and important for me to mention why I'm so grateful to him.

    I've been calling in this whole election for our need to fight and fight the right way, by bringing people together to create transformative change, not just beat Donald Trump. That's the floor. We need to go to the ceiling. We need to go to the mountaintop.

    I am literally here on this stage right now because 50 years ago there was a lawyer on a couch who changed his life, changed his mind to get up and start representing families, one of them mine, who were discriminated against. The house I grew up in is because of that lawyer's activity.

    When I asked him why, why he did what he did, he told me that on March 7, 1965, he was watching a movie called "Judgment at Nuremberg" on TV and they interrupted that movie to show a bridge in Alabama called the Edmund Pettus Bridge. And there he saw John Lewis and other marchers who were beaten viciously by Alabama state troopers.

    We all owe a debt that we cannot repay. We all drink deeply from wells of freedom and liberty that we did not dig. This is the moment in America where we need a leader that can inspire us to get up and fight again, that we have truly a moral moment in America, like it was back in 1965.

    If you give me a chance to lead, I will cause what John Lewis says is good trouble. I will challenge us. I will ask more from you than any other president has ever asked before, because we...

    MADDOW: Thank you, Senator.

    BOOKER: ... need to mobilize a new American movement. Keep me on this stage. Keep me on this race. It is time we fight and fight together. Please go to

    MADDOW: Senator Booker, thank you very much.


    MITCHELL: Mr. Steyer, your closing statement.

    STEYER: Last time I was on this stage, I started by saying that everybody here is more patriotic and more competent than the criminal in the White House. And I stand by that statement.

    But I'm different from everybody else on this stage. I know that the government in Washington, D.C., is broken. I know that it's been purchased by corporations. And I've spent a decade putting together coalitions of ordinary American citizens to beat those corporations.

    I'm the only one on this stage who's willing to talk about structural change in Washington itself, term limits, that if we're going to make bold changes, we're going to need new and different people in charge. I'm the only person on this stage who spent decades building an international business. Whoever of us is the Democratic nominee is going to have to face Mr. Trump or the Republican and talk about the economy, talk about growth, understand that we can make Mr. Trump what he is, a fraud and a failure, on the economy, which is his strong point.

    I'm the only person on this stage who will say that climate is my first priority, that it's our biggest challenge, but it's our biggest opportunity to recreate this country.

    If you want to beat Mr. Trump, if you want to break the corporate stranglehold on this government, if you want to pass all of the progressive policies that everyone on this stage wants, I'm the person who can do it.

    MITCHELL: Thank you, Mr. Steyer.

    STEYER: I have spent a decade trusting the American people...


    MITCHELL: Thank -- thank -- thank you, Mr. Steyer.

    STEYER: I'm asking you to trust me.

    MITCHELL: Thank you.


    PARKER: Congresswoman Gabbard, go ahead.

    GABBARD: My personal commitment to you, to all of my fellow Americans, is to treat you with respect and compassion, something that we in Hawaii called aloha. Every single person deserves to be treated with respect, regardless of race, religion, or gender, or even your politics. Inclusion, unity, respect, aloha, these will be the operating principles for my administration.

    Now, Dr. Martin Luther King visited Hawaii first back in 1959, where he expressed his appreciation for what we call the aloha spirit. He said we look to you for inspiration as a bold example for what you have already succeeded in the areas of racial harmony and racial justice, where we are still struggling to achieve in other sections of the country. He later went on to say, as I looked out at the various faces and various colors mingled together like the waters of the sea, I see only one face, the face of the future.

    Working side by side, let's defeat the divisiveness of Donald Trump, come together and usher in a 21st century of racial harmony, of racial justice, peace, inclusion, and true equality, working side by side. Let's make Dr. King's dream our reality.

    PARKER: Thank you, Congresswoman.

    WELKER: Mr. Yang, your turn.

    YANG: I'm here with my wife, Evelyn, tonight. We have two young boys, Christopher and Damian. How many of you all are parents like us here in the room?

    So if you're a parent, you've had this thought. Maybe you've been afraid to express it. And it is this: Our kids are not all right. They're not all right because we're leaving them a future that is far darker than the lives that we have led as their parents.

    We are going through the greatest economic transformation in our country's history, the fourth industrial revolution, and it is pushing more and more of our people to the side. We talk as if Donald Trump is the cause of all of our problems. He is not. He is a symptom. And we need to cure the disease.

    Now, my first move was not to run for president of the United States, because I am not insane.


    My first move was to go to D.C., talk to our leaders and say technology is ripping us apart, immigrants are being scapegoated, our kids are being left behind, and the American dream that my parents came here to find is dying before our eyes. And the people in Washington, D.C., had nothing for this. They don't want to touch it. They don't want to talk about an issue they don't think they have a solution for.

    I'm not running for president because I fantasized about being president. I'm running for president because, like many of you here in this room tonight, I'm a parent and a patriot and I have seen the future that we're leaving for our kids, and it is not something I'm willing to accept.

    We need to create a new way forward for our people. If you want to join us in rewriting the rules of the 21st century economy, go to and make it so that we can look our kids in the eyes and say to them, and believe it: Your country loves you, your country values you, and you will be all right.

    WELKER: Thank you, Mr. Yang.

    MADDOW: Senator Klobuchar?

    KLOBUCHAR: The nation was riveted this week by the testimony in Washington. One of the people we heard from yesterday was Lieutenant Colonel Vindman. And what he said was -- as he spoke to his immigrant father and he said, in this country, you can tell the truth and it's going to be fine. It reminded me of Army counsel years and years ago in the McCarthy hearing, someone from Iowa, actually, Mr. Welch, who said, "Have you no sense of decency, sir?"

    I want us to remember that this election is, yes, an economic check on this president, and I have bold ideas that we can do to go forward as a country to make college more affordable and bring down the costs of health care, yes.

    But this is also a patriotism check, a value check, a decency check. And when you look at the people that turned out in Kentucky and turned out in Virginia, people turned out that didn't vote in 2016, African-Americans are turning out like we didn't see before. But we also -- and they must be with us, and we must get our fired-up Democratic base with us.

    But we also, let's get those independents and moderate Republicans who cannot stomach this guy anymore. This is how we build a coalition, so we don't just beat Donald Trump. We bring the U.S. Senate to some sense. We send Mitch McConnell packing. This is how we win.

    So if you want to join us -- and remember that this won't be for me a personal victory, it will be a national victory, of someone that wins in red districts and suburban, purple districts, and bright blue districts every single time. If you want to join us and if you believe that our work doesn't end on Election Day, but begins on Inauguration Day, join us,

    MADDOW: Senator Klobuchar, thank you.


    MITCHELL: Senator Harris?

    HARRIS: So, we're in a fight. This is a fight for our rule of law, for our democracy, and for our system of justice. And it's a fight we need to win.

    And to fight this fight, I believe we have to have the ability to not only have a nominee who can go toe to toe with Donald Trump -- and I have taken on Jeff Sessions, I've taken on Bill Barr, I have taken on Brett Kavanaugh. I know I have the ability to do that.

    We also need someone who can unify the party and the country and who has the experience of having done that. I've done that work. I believe we need someone who has the ability to speak to all the people regardless of their race, their gender, their party affiliation, where they live geographically or the language their grandmother speaks.

    My entire career has been spent having one client and one client only: the people. I have never represented a corporation. I've never represented a special interest. And in this election, justice and the various injustices people are facing regardless of where they live or their race or gender are very much on the ballot, from economic justice to reproductive justice to health care justice to educational justice.

    And I truly believe that when we overcome these injustices, we will then unlock the potential of the American people and the promise of America, and that's the America I believe in. That's the America I see. And that is why I'm running for president.

    MITCHELL: Thank you, Senator Harris.


    PARKER: Mayor Buttigieg, go ahead.

    BUTTIGIEG: Well, first of all, I want to remark that we're in the city of Atlanta, a city where a great local leader, Maynard Jackson, helped create the black middle class that Atlanta is known by, by ensuring that taxpayer dollars were spent in a way that reflected the need to expand opportunity to those who were excluded.

    And just as local leaders have shown great leadership, we need to use the powers of the presidency on challenges like this, expanding opportunity and expanding a sense of belonging to those who have been excluded in this country.

    I'm not only running to defeat Donald Trump. I am running to prepare for the day that begins when Donald Trump has left office, to launch the era that must come after Trump. That era must be characterized not by exclusion, but by belonging. And so must our campaign.

    I am inviting progressives who have agreed on these issues we've been talking about tonight all along, moderates who are ready to be part of this coalition, and a lot of future former Republicans, who I know are watching this, disgusted by what is happening in their own party and in this country. I want you to know that everybody is welcome in this movement that we're building and everybody is welcome in this future that we must create.

    I hope you go to, join this effort, and help us create a better era for the American people beginning in November 2020.

    PARKER: Thank you.

    WELKER: Senator Sanders?

    SANDERS: Thank you. Let me say a word about myself, unusual as it may seem.


    I am the son of an immigrant, young man of 17 who came to this country without a nickel in his pocket. I have some sense of the immigrant experience. I will stand with the 11 million undocumented immigrants in this country.

    At the age of 21, as a member of a civil rights group at the University of Chicago, I was arrested, spent the night in jail, and I have been committed to the fight against all forms of discrimination -- racial discrimination, sexism, homophobia, xenophobia, and religious bigotry. I will lead an administration that will look like America, will end the divisiveness brought by Trump, and bring us together.

    During this campaign, I am proud to say that I have received more campaign contributions than any candidate at this point in an election in American history, over 4 million contributions, averaging $18 apiece.


    If you want to be part of a movement that is not only going to beat Trump, but transform America, that doesn't have a super PAC, doesn't do fundraisers at wealthy people's homes, please join us at Thank you.


    MADDOW: Senator Warren, the floor is yours.

    WARREN: So, thank you. You know, I've listened to this debate tonight and I hear a lot of really good ideas. But I take a look at the issues we've talked about. We've talked about climate change. We've talked about defense spending. We've talked about private health insurance. We should have talked about gun violence.

    What do these issues have in common? Well, first, they touch people all over this country in their everyday lives. And what is the second thing they have in common? We know what we need to do. We have a lot of good ideas for how to fix it, and the majority of Americans are with us on it, and yet we don't make change. Why not?

    Because of corruption. Because we have a government that works better for big drug companies than it does for people trying to fill a prescription. It works better for a giant defense industry than it does for everyone who worries about the money that goes into arms instead of into our public schools. We have a government that works for those at the top and not for anyone else.

    I have the biggest anti-corruption plan since Watergate. It involves ending lobbying as we know it, blocking the revolving door between industry and Washington, making everyone who runs for federal office put their tax returns online.


    We have to have the courage not to make just individual changes, not to fight for little pieces. We want to make real progress on climate. Then we have to start by attacking the corruption that gives the oil industry and other fossil fuel industries a stranglehold over this country.

    I am so grateful to be here and I am grateful to an America that gave the daughter of a janitor a chance to become a public school teacher, a chance to become a college professor, a chance to become a United States senator...

    MADDOW: Thank you, Senator.

    WARREN: ... and a chance to become candidate for president of the United States. Thank you.


    MITCHELL: Vice President Biden, your closing statement.

    BIDEN: I assume we're only talking about the corruption of the federal government. We weren't talking about Barack Obama and his spotless administration who made so much progress.

    But one thing we haven't talked about here today, we haven't talked -- we talked about everything, but we haven't talked about the one thing I think is most consequential.

    You know, the American people have an enormous opportunity. There's an incredible -- incredible -- I've never been more optimistic about our prospects in my entire career, and I got elected when I was a 29-year-old kid to the United States Senate.

    Folks, we are in a position where we have -- we're the wealthiest nation in the world, our workers are more productive than workers around the world, three times as productive as workers in Asia. We have more great research universities that the people own than all the rest of the world combined. We're in a position where we've led not by the example of our power, but by the power of our example.

    I'm so tired of everybody walking around like woe is me, what are we going to do? Let's remember, this is the United States of America. There has never, ever, ever been a time when we have set our mind to do something we've been unable to do it. Never. Never, never.

    So it's time to remember, get up, let's take back this country and lead the world again. It's within our power to do it. Get up and take it back.


    MADDOW: Vice President Biden, thank you.

    And let me take this opportunity to thank all of the candidates for a spirited and excellent debate. I want to thank all of you, and I want to tell you that on MSNBC tonight, my colleague, Brian Williams, is going to pick up our coverage in just a moment. I also, before we go, want to thank everybody here in the audience. I want to thank the city of Atlanta. And from all of us here at the dais, thank you so much for watching. Good night.

    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'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


    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.


    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.


    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.


    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.


    XXX to the economy.

    (UNKNOWN): May I get in, please?

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


    LACEY: ... free public college...


    (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


    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...


    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.


    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.


    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.


    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.


    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 -


    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.


    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.


    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.


    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.


    BURNETT: Senator Warren, respond, please.



    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.


    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.


    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.


    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.


    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.


    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.


    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...


    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.


    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.


    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


    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.


    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...


    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...


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


    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.


    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.


    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.


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


    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.


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


    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.


    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?


    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.


    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.


    COOPER: Secretary Castro, your response.


    XXX Castro, your response.


    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.


    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.


    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.


    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


    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.


    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.


    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.


    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.


    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...


    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.


    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.


    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...


    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.


    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.


    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.


    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.


    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.


    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...


    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...


    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.


    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.


    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, 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.


    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?


    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.


    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.



    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.


    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.


    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,


    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.


    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.


    LACEY: Your response?

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


    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.


    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.


    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.


    BURNETT: Senator Harris, thank you.


    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?


    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?


    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?


    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.


    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.


    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.


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


    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...


    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.


    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.



    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.


    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,, 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, Join our team. Thank you.

    COOPER: Senator, thank you very much.


    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.


    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 Thank you.


    COOPER: Thank you, Senator. Mr. Yang?

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


    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, 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.


    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.


    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 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.


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


    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.


    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.


    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.


    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.

    Congress Bills
    Gabbard reportedly received endorsements from VoteVets, EMILY's List and the Sierra Club.
    Gabbard reportedly received endorsements from VoteVets, EMILY's List and the Sierra Club.

    What to Expect in 2020: Five Predictions

    Jan. 3, 2020

    Dramatic and unpredictable. There’s no other way to describe the year in politics in 2019.  A year that began with the longest government shutdown in American history and saw the publication of the Mueller report would be defined by a 30-minute summer phone call with Ukraine’s new president. At this time last year, Volodymyr Zelensky wasn’t even registered with Ukraine’s Central Election Commission as a candidate for president. So no one can predict what 2020 holds. And yet businesses, nonprofit organizations and industry leaders still must plan for the future, using the best available information. Here are five trends that could shape the political landscape in 2020 – and help in the planning process. Joe Biden’s 2020 Apology Tour Every politician with a long career must confront the evolution of their political views, and Joe Biden is no different, especially since he’s been on the national stage longer than most. He's already apologized for a long-ago reference to a "partisan lynching," past collaboration with segregationist senators, and an angry confrontation with an 83-year-old Iowa farmer. Watch for the phrase "Biden apologizes" to explode in 2020. On race, LGBT issues, women's rights and a host of other issues, the Joe Biden of the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s is out of step with today's Democratic Party, as are many  Democrats his age. But Biden’s bind is unique. His propensity for embarrassing gaffes, misstatements, and offensive comments makes him an opposition researcher's dream. Take his grilling of Zoe Baird, who was President Clinton’s nominee to serve as the first female attorney general of the United States. Back then, from his perch on the Senate Judiciary Committee, Biden demanded to know "how many hours she was away from her child: when she left at home in the morning and returned at night." At the time, New York Times columnist Anthony Lewis openly questioned Biden's sexist double standard: "Would he have asked that of any male nominee, for any job?" Meanwhile, the Democratic Party has never been more sensitive to strict adherence to politically correct terminology. Every new Biden campaign announcement can be welcomed by a trigger warning from Joe's own unwoke phrasing. The good news for Biden? If he’s able to survive the primary season, none of this will hinder him too much in a general election matchup with President Trump. Quality of life issues, especially homelessness, will rise to the forefront in 2020 Global stock markets added $17 trillion in value over the past year. But that doesn’t alter the fact that many Americans feel their quality of life slipping away. It explains why Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren have gained such traction: Their campaigns are built around income inequality. What progressives call the problem of income disparity, Americans in “fly-over” states consider more sweeping quality-of-life issues. The biggest such issue confronting many Americans is the rise of homelessness. In big cities, especially on the coasts, homelessness is inescapable. It’s going to become more widespread this year, thanks to a recent Supreme Court decision. In December, the nation’s highest court upheld a lower court ruling that established a constitutional right for the homeless to sleep on public property when denied access to shelters. This means that local governments will be almost powerless to confront the problem. Americans already feeling a diminished quality of life will see the outward manifestation of their uneasiness every time they visit a public park or courthouse.   San Francisco’s streets become Trump’s 2020 rallying cry A master of rhetorical imagery, Trump connected with voters in 2016 by vividly describing policy problems and offering a clear visual of his solution. “Build the wall! Lock her up!” Simple slogans attached to a memorable image. In tandem with the increased focus on homelessness, expect the president to shine the spotlight on San Francisco. The City by the Bay has become a haven for petty thieves, drug addicts, and the mentally ill, culminating in disturbing images of an American city once known around the world for its beauty earning a new reputation for streets with outdoor drug markets, discarded heroin needles, human waste on the sidewalk. Trump beta-tested attacks on the liberal bastion in September, when he threatened to use the EPA to stop needles from flowing into the Pacific Ocean. That was before San Francisco voters elected a socialist as district attorney, who campaigned on a platform of ending prosecutions of gang enhancements and public urination. Every new "restorative justice" program launched in San Francisco is an opportunity for Trump to lampoon the left. Democrats lose congressional seats, even in California The media have focused on how their pro-impeachment votes will impact swing-state Democrats or freshman Democrats in districts Trump carried last November. That’s certainly a factor, but so is the basic issue of funding the party’s candidates. Democrats regained the House in 2018 in no small measure because of the efforts of billionaires-turned-presidential-candidates Tom Steyer and Michael Bloomberg. Steyer vowed to spend $120 million in support of Democratic candidates in the 2018 campaign. Not to be outdone, Bloomberg spent more than $112 million to aid swing Democratic campaigns, according to the New York Times. To put those numbers in perspective, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee spent $84 million during the 2018 cycle. Bloomberg and Steyer’s combined spending was nearly three times as much as the party’s official congressional operation. Both Democratic super donors are now preoccupied with their own long-shot presidential campaigns. Without Steyer and Bloomberg underwriting their 2020 congressional campaigns, Democrats are likely to lose ground -- regardless of who is at the top of the ticket. A serious third party candidate enters the presidential race The dynamics of the 2020 presidential race will be too tempting for a serious independent contender to pass up. As Trump runs to the right and Democrats move further to the left, it creates the appearance of a centrist lane to the White House. Former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz briefly flirted with an independent campaign last year but was sidelined by a back injury. Billionaire Mark Cuban is another big-name billionaire with resources and ambitions for the presidency. Or, a former elected official, like former Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura, could see an opportunity to restart their political careers with a presidential bid. A third party or independent candidacy could also emerge from the current Democratic field. Bloomberg, Andrew Yang, or Rep. Tulsi Gabbard could leave the party and perhaps even forge an unorthodox path toward the Oval Office.Source:

    Kamala Harris Goes Down Fighting

    Dec. 3, 2019

    Unbridled ambition and aggression have their place in presidential politics – as the man in the Oval Office reminded the nation in 2016  -- but in the case of California freshman Sen. Kamala Harris, they weren’t enough to overcome the lack of a  clear policy vision. The candidate who threw some of the hardest punches on the debate stage ended her presidential bid after high hopes faded amid a string of underwhelming results. Her quest concluded with an open letter. Her campaign, Harris admitted Tuesday, is broke. “My campaign for president simply doesn’t have the financial resources we need to continue,” she told supporters just 62 days before absentee ballots go out in the California mail. But Harris saved one final jab for self-funding candidates: “I’m not a billionaire. I can’t fund my own campaign. And as the campaign has gone on, it’s become harder and harder to raise the money we need to compete.” This fundraising failure was made all the more frustrating for Harris as she had qualified for the sixth presidential debate later this month in California but opted to let that homefield advantage go to waste. Another bitter pill came hours before the end when news broke that Tom Steyer – one of the billionaires she had in mind -- qualified for the contest that Harris will miss. True to form, however, the former prosecutor promised to remain “very much in this fight.” Harris vowed to fight for teachers and fight against gun violence, fight for abortion rights and fight against racism. But her problem from the beginning was staying on track.   She supported “Medicare for All” before backing away from that health care plan. She embraced her reputation as the tough-on-crime former attorney general of California one moment, then distanced herself from her law enforcement record the next. Most of all, she just fought. “I do not believe you are a racist,” Harris told former Vice President Joe Biden before implying exactly that while scorching him at the Miami debate over his opposition to school busing laws in the 1970s. “I think that it’s unfortunate that we have someone on this stage that is attempting to be the Democratic nominee for president, who during the Obama administration spent four years full time on Fox News criticizing President Obama,” Harris told Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard at the Georgia debate. “I think it's a bit naive,” Harris later said of South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg’s beliefs about race that same night. All three of those candidates weathered her attacks. Each now survives Harris, who never found a consistent message and never gained traction in the polls. This aimlessness bred resentment within her own ranks, indignation manifested in a resignation letter from her state operations director. “Because we have refused to confront our mistakes, foster an environment of critical thinking and honest feedback, or trust the expertise of talented staff,” wrote Kelly Mehlenbacher, “we find ourselves making the same unforced errors over and over." That staffer now works for another one of the billionaire candidates, former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Before the end, the Harris campaign held a conference call with analysts and operatives and donors. She needed a new message. They did not deliver one before “Saturday Night Live” started lampooning her as “America's fun aunt,” or as comedian Maya Rudolph quipped, “a funt.” “The funt is back: America’s fun aunt. I’m also America’s cool aunt,” Rudolph's version of Harris said in a subsequent skit. “… I’m not going to worry about the polling numbers. I’m just going to have fun and see if I can get some viral moments. Mama needs a GIF.” Her campaign made its own GIFs, but when the ride was all over it was evident that the highwater mark of Harris’ campaign was its much ballyhooed launch. She ended on a high note as well, at least to hear her rival candidates – the ones she attacked -- tell it. Buttigieg said he was “grateful for her leadership.” Gabbard passed along “best wishes.” Before praising her intellect and tenacity, Biden admitted that the breaking news of her exit brought him “mixed emotions.” The remaining contenders are now free to pick among the wreckage of her campaign. They won’t find that much. According to the RealClearPolitics polling average, Harris was strongest in South Carolina with 6.3% support and in California with 8.7%. In those states, her demise may provide an opportunity for Biden to solidify his strong support in African American communities. Perhaps most significant, though, every candidate can breathe easier knowing they’re free from the threat of her haymakers. Her fight was not supposed to end this way. She started her campaign on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, telling “Good Morning America,” “I am running for president.” And it was, she said, “a moment in time where I feel a sense of responsibility to stand up and fight for the best of who we are.” But on Monday, she said, “No mas.”Source:

    Democratic Debate Détente in Atlanta

    Nov. 21, 2019

    ATLANTA — William Tecumseh Sherman burned this city to the ground 155 years ago this month, but the candidates gathered here Wednesday night showed little interest in torching one another. Though no one tried singing “Kumbaya” during the fifth debate of the Democratic primary, by unspoken agreement or political chance a sort of détente broke out on stage as the field mostly directed their collective fire toward the current occupant of the Oval Office. Of course, it wasn’t expected to be this way, especially not for Pete Buttigieg. The conventional wisdom was that the mayor of South Bend, Ind., would have a newly drawn target on his back. He now leads in Iowa. He’s competing for first place in New Hampshire. But he was mostly overlooked again by opponents, just as he’s been for much of his candidacy. Sen. Amy Klobuchar was given a chance by the moderators to bloody Buttigieg for lack of experience and for occupying a spot onstage that could have gone to a woman. She demurred. “I've made very clear I think that Pete is qualified to be up on this stage, and I am honored to be standing next to him,” the Minnesotan said before bemoaning the fact that “women are held to a higher standard” and that it is impossible to play “a game called ‘name your favorite woman president.’” Sen. Kamala Harris was also offered an opportunity to go after the mayor after his campaign shared a stock photo of a Kenyan woman to illustrate his plan for helping black Americans. Previously one of the more ruthless contenders in the field, she looked the other way on Wednesday. “I believe,” the California candidate said, “the mayor has made apologies.” Before the debate began, Democratic Chairman Tom Perez promised RealClearPolitics a clash of ideas: “We have a great competition, and that will produce a battle-tested nominee.” The more than two-hour contest hosted by MSNBC and the Washington Post didn’t produce a champion, and what was billed as a possible melee turned into coordinated target practice as aspiring nominees took turns aiming at President Trump. Though each wants to compete against Trump next November, all said he has committed impeachable offenses and should be removed from office early. This may explain why they didn’t pull knives on one another. “There were no conflicts of consequence,” Democratic pollster John Zogby told RCP, “because it would have given ammunition to an incumbent president who has had arguably the worst days of his tenure.” The debate followed on the heels of impeachment hearings that had cable news anchors and commentators atwitter -- in the original sense of that term. A key witness, Gordon Sondland, testified Wednesday that the president improperly leveraged foreign aid to Ukraine for personal political gain, and implicated others in the White House as being in on the plan. It provided an opportunity to cast the president as unfit and was a particularly fat pitch down the middle for former Vice President Joe Biden. “I learned something about these impeachment trials. I learned, number one, that Donald Trump doesn't want me to be the nominee,” he said of Trump’s attempt to get the Ukrainians to shovel dirt on the foreign business dealings of his son, Hunter. “Secondly, I found out that Vladimir Putin doesn't want me to be president.” The target of choice in each of the earlier debates, the national front-runner then turned seamlessly to an argument about his relative electability, all but admitting that impeachment would ultimately fail to remove the president from office. None of his competitors challenged him on this point. They didn’t really challenge him on much throughout the rest of the night, aside from some mild follow-up on one of his trademark gaffes: Biden claimed to have won the endorsement of “the only African American woman who has ever been elected to the United States Senate,” drawing an incredulous reaction from another black female senator standing several feet to his left. Kamala Harris quipped, “Nope, that’s not true,” as he corrected himself, saying he meant to say “first,” not “only.” (The endorsement came from Carol Moseley Braun, who represented Illinois in the 1990s.) Democrats didn’t close ranks and hold their fire on the former vice president because of party loyalty. They had seen previous volleys bounce off him and ricochet back. “In a multi-candidate primary, it’s very difficult to make progress by attacking your opponent,” prominent Democrat Matt Bennett explained to RCP. “You might get a moment, but as [Julian] Castro and others have discovered, it’s just as easy to hurt yourself.” Castro, secretary of Housing and Urban Development under President Obama, rode high for a hot second after obliquely knocking Biden over his age. But criticism followed and there was no polling benefit for Castro, who barely registers 1% in the RCP average and did not qualify for the Atlanta debate. In fact, there were moments of relative friendliness sprinkled throughout the debate. “I think Joe is right,” Sen. Bernie Sanders said of Biden during one early exchange. “I just want to stick up for Tom,” businessman Andrew Yang said in defense of billionaire Tom Steyer during another. But if Democrats think such supportive exchanges will prepare them to enter a thunderdome with Trump, they are likely mistaken. He won’t have anything nice to say about any of them, least of all Biden. Earlier in the day, the Trump campaign tweeted sarcastic “congratulations” when news broke that an Arkansas woman claimed in court that Hunter Biden had fathered her child at a time when he was dating the wife of his deceased brother. While there were some intense flashes — Buttigieg tangling briefly with Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, for instance — Trump-like invective was not part of the discussion. California Rep. Katie Porter, a surrogate for Warren, told RCP after the debate that this civility was the result of an all-female moderating panel. “The moderators did a fabulous job,” she said, “and this is why a woman’s voice at the table matters.” Not only does it lead to better questions, Porter insisted, but it also demonstrated why a woman president is preferable: “They’re going to make a better president. They’re going to govern better.” The co-chair of the Biden campaign didn’t agree. Louisiana Rep. Cedric Richmond said that the relative civility on stage was a reflection of the seriousness of the race. The country is at risk of reelecting “the worst president in the history of the United States,” he told RCP. And so, “people are starting to say, ‘Let’s focus on the issues, and we will for the most part forfeit scoring cheap political points.’” A calm debate didn’t automatically mean substance, however. Richmond wasn’t happy with the format, asserting that “these debates are a clown show” -- contests heavy on boilerplate and light on substance. The night ended in light sparring, at least compared to earlier skirmishes. But this makes sense to Bennett. “These aren’t closing arguments; they are opening statements,” he said less than three months before the Iowa caucuses. “Most voters are just barely beginning to tune in.”Source:



    Mar. 3
    Detroit town hall with Tulsi

    Tue 7:00 PM – 9:00 PM EST

    The Eastern Detroit Detroit, MI

    Mar. 3
    Vote for Tulsi Gabbard in California

    Tue 6:00 AM – 7:00 PM PST


    Mar. 2
    Austin Town Hall with Tulsi

    Mon 7:00 PM – 9:00 PM CST

    Springdale Station Austin, TX