Twelve candidates descended upon Otterbein University in central Ohio on Tuesday night for the fourth (of 12!) Democratic presidential debates. Presented by The New York Times and CNN, the primary debate was the biggest in history. A dozen people, predictably, led to a crowded stage and, at times, intense battles to get speaking time. Polls continue to place former Vice President Joe Biden and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren neck-in-neck and far out in front of the pack—with Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders losing ground after his recent heart attack but far from out of contention.
Eight of Debate Four’s participants have qualified for November’s debate in Georgia, so it’s quite possible that at least one of the candidates on the stage—Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, former HUD Secretary Julián Castro, former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke, and Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard have yet to qualify—won’t get another chance to sell their candidacy to voters.
The candidates were introduced and the rules reviewed, and then we were off to the races, with CNN’s Anderson Cooper digging right into the impeachment inquiry. Noting that all dozen candidates on stage support it, Cooper asked if an impeachment inquiry was worth pursuing with the election looming, where voters could decide. Noting that some things are “bigger than politics,” Warren went back to the Mueller report as she listed White House crimes before saying that it isn’t just about Donald Trump and his crimes—it’s about setting precedent for future presidents.
Sanders was next, and named Trump as the “most corrupt” president in modern history, going back to emoluments as the first, but not only reason to dump Trump. He then called out Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell for his refusal to act.
Biden went one further than Sanders, saying that Trump is the most corrupt president in all of history, and echoing the call for McConnell to take action.
Quoting Maya Angelou, California Sen. Kamala Harris followed Biden with a powerful and passionate listing of Trump’s crimes. She also predicted that his impeachment wouldn’t take long, because as a former prosecutor she “know(s) a confession when (she) sees one.”
New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker was next, and vowed to be fair in an impeachment inquiry, which he considers a “moral” issue rather than a political one.x
At the first #DemDebate back in June, no candidate mentioned the word #impeachment. 111 days (and a few news developments later), impeachment is the first question asked at the 4th Democratic debate in Ohio— Kelly Phares (@kellyfphares) October 16, 2019
Klobuchar followed, noting that impeachment is not a distraction for Democrats, as they can do more than one thing at the same time.
Castro agreed, listing multiple policy points that he and his fellow candidates can manage to balance, before stating that Trump should be removed.
South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg immediately went after Republicans for not supporting the impeachment inquiry, noting that everyone on the stage were competing for a presidency after Trump, encouraging viewers to imagine the sun coming up on a day without him as president.
Gabbard broke from the pack, calling the impeachment inquiry “hyper-partisan,” and promising that Trump will feel “exonerated” if the Senate doesn’t vote to remove him.
Billionaire Tom Steyer took a moment to note that everyone on the stage is a better option than Trump, before owning his years-long “Need to Impeach” movement as proof there’s support for removing the president from office.
Entrepreneur Andrew Yang took a completely different tack, making Ohioans in the room own that Trump took the state by eight points in 2016. If the conditions that led to his election aren’t addressed, Yang said, it won’t matter if Trump is removed from office.
O’Rourke noted that not holding Trump accountable was a disgrace and great disrespect to members of the armed forces.
Cooper turned to Biden next, asking about the non-controversy about his son, Hunter, and his business involvement in Ukranian company Burisma. Biden refused to engage before insisting that the focus must be on Trump. Biden showed a bit of rare ferocity, vowing to beat Trump “like a drum.”
Sanders jumped in at that point, insisting that the focus cannot be on Trump, the focus must be on the suffering of Americans.
New York Times national editor Marc Lacey changed the topic to Medicare For All, despite vocal protests from O’Rourke. First, he challenged Warren on her funding plan for M4A, asking if taxes on the middle class will go up. Warren mentioned the work she’s done on the ground—70,000 selfies!—before being pushed to directly answer the question. She vowed that the wealthy and corporations would see cost increases, not the middle class.
Buttigieg came in hot, insisting that Warren embodies all that Americans hate about Washington in dodging a yes or no question. He then pitched his “Medicare For All Who Want It” plan as the plan that most Americans want. He and Warren—who called his plan “Medicare For All Who Can Afford It”—went back and forth, with Buttigieg getting the last word, and Warren’s mic getting cut off.
Sanders chimed in next, noting that he “wrote the damn bill,” voicing frustration that there’s so much resistance to the concept. He owned tax increases—significantly for the wealthy—but agreed with Warren that those taxes will be lower than current premiums. Warren vowed again that overall costs will go down for hard-working Americans.
Klobuchar piled onto Warren, saying she was creating Republican talking points by bashing Obamacare. Warren noted that while she hasn’t spent her entire career in government, she’s been researching bankruptcies, including those caused by healthcare costs—and noted that two out of three people bankrupted by medical expenses were insured. Klobuchar continued to come after Warren, voicing frustration with the constant healthcare conversation.x
Klobuchar is debating like she has nothing to lose and everything to gain. This will be a great test of whether a strong debate night can drive donations and poll numbers— Chris Jansing (@ChrisJansing) October 16, 2019
Lacey tossed it to Biden as both Senators tried to get words in, and the former Vice President said that everyone’s in the room to talk about Bidencare.
Sanders was done with the conversation at this point, saying that he’s sick of defense of the failed American healthcare system, and it’s now a matter of having “the guts” to stand up to those industries.
Harris got her chance to speak then, noting with disgust that in every debate, there’s been a discussion about healthcare, but not any mention of reproductive healthcare.x
Women are a majority and I donÃ¢Â€Â™t know why we donÃ¢Â€Â™t act like it more— Zerlina Maxwell (@ZerlinaMaxwell) October 16, 2019
CNN’s Erin Burnett abruptly changed the subject to automation then, asking Sanders if he could promise a job to every American threatened by automation. Sanders insisted he would, bringing up the essential changes needed to the American economy, bringing up climate change and education.
Next, Burnett asked Yang about his universal basic income plan, and why it’s better than a federal jobs guarantee. Yang insists that many people don’t want to work for the government, citing his stay-at-home wife. He insisted that a UBI will create a trickle-up surge in the economy.
Booker joked about finally getting a chance to talk, and voiced a “déja vu” moment from 2016, watching his fellow candidates fight with each other over Trumpian talking points. He also noted that it shouldn’t just be on women to bring up reproductive health before he was cut off by Burnett, who promised that was a scheduled topic.
Burnett asked Warren if she believed Ohioans didn’t need to worry about how much automation will decimate the jobs market. She insisted it’s not as big a threat as it’s being presented as, noting that it’s union-busting and shady boardroom antics to blame.
Castro backed Warren, correcting Burnett’s overdramatic framing of Warren’s stance, and noted that Ohioans are already losing jobs under Trump.x
The moderator set Julian Castro up to attack Warren and he was like nope, weÃ¢Â€Â™re tight, not gonna take the bait. Still loving the idea of a Warren-Castro ticket. #DemocraticDebate— Adam Best (@adamcbest) October 16, 2019
Yang jumped in and insisted that automation is a greater threat than she’s acknowledging. Warren responded that Social Security is the UBI we have now, noting that there are possibilities for people like her wife.
Gabbard got a chance to pipe in next, and agreed with Yang about UBI, noting that bad trade deals are a huge root of the problem.x
going forward every time Tulsi Gabbard speaks I'm just going to note that she hasn't signed the Indivisible pledge to support the ultimate nominee— Draculeah Greenberg (@Leahgreenb) October 16, 2019
Lacey then brought up the fall of General Motors, which was once the top employer in Ohio. He asked Booker how he might convince GM to bring production back to the U.S. Booker instead turned to Yang and asked him to support raising the minimum wage to a living wage. He then vowed to strengthen unions—from auto workers to fast food workers—and did not answer the GM question.
O’Rourke was next, noting that he’s been on the picket lines with UAW workers, and understands what they’re fighting for. He then vowed to improve education in the country, and remove cost barriers from higher education.
Burnett then turned to income inequality, asking Sanders if his goal was to tax billionaires out of existence, citing his statement that “billionaires should not exist.” Sanders rattled off several horrible issues facing the middle and poverty classes, and insisted that such inequality should not exist, and said, yes, that is what he believes.
Predictably, Steyer was next, as a billionaire, and asked how he’d close the income gap. Wide-eyed, Steyer vowed to roll back tax cuts for the wealthy, before saying the government has failed when it comes to wages, and that nothing is possible until the power of corporations is shattered.
Biden was on the hot seat next, asked about his hesitation to “demonize” the wealthy. The former VP pushed back, saying that it was ridiculous that people clipping coupons pay higher taxes than a billionaire. He then vowed to raise taxes on the wealthy and reduce them for those who are not wealthy. He then voiced frustration that the debates have a bunch of candidates discussing issues on which they essentially agree.x
Becoming extremely obvious tonight that every single person on this stage, save for Bernie, would rather have Biden as president than Warren— Paul Blest (@pblest) October 16, 2019
Warren then got a chance to explain her progressive tax, noting that it doesn’t kick in until the first dollar after $50 million. When Burnett tried to cut her off, Warren refused to stop talking, asking why her fellow candidates were more worried about the needs of billionaires instead of finding a way to support an entire generation.
Buttigieg spoke up then, claiming to understand what the Midwest thinks when they watch these debates: Nothing changes.
Klobuchar was next, and agreed that she’d consider a progressive income tax before she criticized Warren for saying others on the stage are protecting billionaires. It’s worth noting that Klobuchar continued to call Warren “Elizabeth”; in contrast, Biden corrected himself when he called Sanders “Bernie.” The Minnesota Senator insisted that Warren is dismissive of other people’s ideas.x
Warren: I want puppies to live.Everyone: DID SHE JUST SAY WE ALL NEED TO EAT OUR OWN POOP?!#DemocraticDebate— Hannah Shapiro (@HannahLilNessen) October 16, 2019
Warren responded that taxing income isn’t enough; there needs to be taxes on wealth. Klobuchar repeated that there’s more than one plan to help the American people.
Harris was next, asked if her working families tax credit will better address income inequality than a wealth tax. Harris got a bit lost in an anecdote before insisting that extra money in Americans’ pockets will make a huge difference.
Yang was next, agreeing that there’s a huge wealth grab going on right now, but that Warren’s plans mimic failed economies in other countries.
O’Rourke took his turn, also criticizing Warren as “punitive,” saying she’s determined to divide the country instead of bring them together.x
Warren has been very good at streering every question back to elements of her stump speech. #DemocraticDebate— Julia Ioffe (@juliaioffe) October 16, 2019
Warren expressed confusion about being framed as punitive; she noted that she just wants billionaires to remember how they got where they are before she repeated her idea about her progressive wealth tax.x
Warren reminding people that no rich person got here without the support and hard work of all of us. #DemocraticDebate— Jamira Burley (@JamiraBurley) October 16, 2019
O’Rourke then repeated the need to give working families an income tax credit. Warren replied with the myriad benefits she plans to fund with that wealth tax. O’Rourke continued to ask if there would be a tax credit until Burnett tossed it to Castro.
Castro used the bulk of his time to speak of his struggles during childhood before noting he also believes in a wealth tax, in addition to an inheritance tax.
Booker again reiterated his demand that the candidates stop attacking each other, and reminded them that these attacks were going to be fodder for the Republicans. He then voiced a need to talk about the violence of childhood poverty.x
Ã¢Â€ÂœDonÃ¢Â€Â™t tear each other down, everybody!Ã¢Â€Â -Cory Booker auditioning for a cabinet position #DemocraticDebate— Hari Kondabolu (@harikondabolu) October 16, 2019
And then, on that uplifting note, it was time for our hour-one break.
Cooper opened up hour two by asking Biden if he would send U.S. troops back into Northern Syria. Biden didn’t answer the question, vowing to have strong conversations with Assad and Erdogan. When pressed, Biden vowed air cover before passionately shaming Trump.
Gabbard was asked what she would do differently than Trump. Gabbard called out myriad politicians and media, the New York Times in particular, for enabling regime-change wars. She then challenged Warren to vow to end all regime-change wars.
Warren asserted that she wants the U.S. completely out of the Middle East, before rattling off a list of the countries that Trump is destroying.
Buttigieg then passionately challenged Gabbard directly, saying that Trump’s pullout is the problem, noting that he was against the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, but at this point, American soldiers are now ashamed of the work they’re being asked to do.
Gabbard then confronted Buttigieg, calling him “Mayor Pete,” reframing his words as being pro-war.
Sanders was next to get a direct question, asked by Cooper if Turkey is still a U.S. ally and if it should remain in NATO. Sanders focused on Trump, noting that he says one thing and did another when Erdogan told him to, meaning Trump’s word is worthless.
Buttigieg jumped in, voicing disgust at the failures the U.S. has proven itself to be to its allies. Klobuchar also agreed. Notably, nobody on the stage was willing to take an official stance on whether Turkey should be booted from NATO.
Harris offered simple techniques to convince world allies to trust the U.S. again, while Castro then pointed out the harsh comparison that Trump is effectively letting ISIS go free while keeping children in cages at the border.
Lacey then turned to Booker, asking how he’d check Russian president Vladimir Putin. Calling Trump a “Dumpster fire,” Booker insisted that the U.S. must stop allowing Russia to grow its power, and must call them out for their wrongdoings.
It was Biden’s turn next, and he noted that he’s spent time with both Putin and Erdogan; Erdogan, he claimed, is aware that being expelled from NATO would be very bad for them, and that Putin wants to dismantle NATO. After a cute moment with Sanders, Biden vowed that as horrific as the situation in the Middle East may be, not stopping ISIS there means that they’ll come to the United States next.
O’Rourke was next, asking if he’d publicly reveal knowledge about Putin’s corruption and work with allies to freeze his bank accounts. O’Rourke asserted that he would, and turned it back to Syria and the Kurds, noting that the recent withdrawal will likely lead to another generation of soldiers being sent back there to fight the resurgence of ISIS. He also vowed to support diplomats as president so that they can do the work they need to do.
Steyer got the same question about exposing Putin, and he also asserted that he would, calling Trump a president with “no plans.” He then swerved abruptly to the climate crisis, noting that it cannot be solved by the United States alone. He then noted that Trump’s been “bought by the oil and gas companies.” Boiling down Trump’s foreign policy as “Trust nobody and be untrustworthy,” the billionaire then vowed to be different.x
Nearly 90 minutes without a single question about the climate crisis. ThatÃ¢Â€Â™s completely unacceptable. #DemDebate— Jay Inslee (@JayInslee) October 16, 2019
It was Yang’s turn then, and he noted that he would be willing to call out Putin, but veered oddly near to equating American bad acts with some of Russia’s. Klobuchar dove in and called that a false equivalency, citing Putin as far worse than even Trump. She then pivoted from a discussion of what constitutes meddling into a demand for backup paper ballots in every state.
GUN SAFETY/GUN REFORM
Cooper then pivoted to O’Rourke, asking how he’d enforce a mandatory buyback of assault weapons. After an impassioned recap of visitations with recent gun violence survivors, O’Rourke said he believed his fellow Americans would do the right thing and follow the law. Cooper pushed back, pointing out that O’Rourke’s website vowed to “find” assault weapons owners. O’Rourke brought up taking weapons from open carriers.
Cooper then asked Buttigieg about his dismissing O’Rourke’s buyback being a fight he’s picking to stay relevant. Buttigieg then insisted “we can’t wait” on universal background checks, assault weapons bans, or red flag laws, saying it’s just time to get something done. O’Rourke pointed out that those policy changes aren’t mutually exclusive from buybacks, comparing it to piecemeal healthcare coverage. He noted that it was time to follow the courage and inspiration of the young activists behind March for our Lives, rather than following polling and consultants. Buttigieg fired back that he didn’t “need lessons on courage—political or personal” from“ O’Rourke, and said there should be unification among Democrats—and that the NRA must be blamed for guns.x
After spending the entire night attacking other Ds on everything, Buttigieg declares Ds need to be "united" in taking on the fight for gun control. Turning over a new leaf?— Kerry Eleveld (@kerryeleveld) October 16, 2019
O’Rourke then fired back about Buttigieg’s characterization of his buyback plan as a “shiny object” during last week’s gun safety forum, calling it an insult to gun violence survivors and activists. Buttigieg then insisted that O’Rourke was a distraction from gun reform.
Booker again decried the way that candidates are speaking to each other, before noting that children are being sent to school and being told they are unsafe.
Cooper asked Klobuchar why she’s against a mandatory buyback since she supports a voluntary one. Citing key issues of her gun safety policy, such as closing the Boyfriend Loophole, the Senator expressed fear of “screwing up” our one chance at gun reform.
Warren insisted that it wasn’t one-and-done; there will have to be multiple approaches. She then noted that the filibuster must be overturned as it was the barrier to major reform after Sandy Hook in 2012.
Harris got the mic then, and cited sobering statistics about gun violence, and said “I’m done.” She promised to give Congress 100 days to get a reasonable bill on her desk before she’d take executive action herself.
Biden noted that he was the only one on the stage who took on the NRA and won.
Castro was the only one Cooper asked about the actual deadliest firearm in the nation, the handgun. Castro was the first to say Atatiana Jefferson’s name, but didn’t necessarily answer the question.x
@JulianCastro consistently uses his platform to speak the names of black folks killed by police. Tonight he mentioned the murder of #AtatianaJefferson. Ã¢Â€ÂœPolice violence is also gun violence and we need to address that.Ã¢Â€Â Ã°ÂŸÂ‘ÂÃ°ÂŸÂÂ¾Ã°ÂŸÂ‘ÂÃ°ÂŸÂÂ¾Ã°ÂŸÂ‘ÂÃ°ÂŸÂÂ¾ #DemocraticDebate #DemDebate— Kelly MacÃƒÂas, Ph.D. (@kelmacias) October 16, 2019
THE OPIOID EPIDEMIC
A question from the audience came next, asking how to tackle the opioid epidemic, specifically in rural areas with less resources. Klobuchar was up first, and vowed to force opioid manufacturers to pay for programs.
Steyer got the question next, and vowed again to break up the “corporate stranglehold” on the government, including overturning Citizens United.
Yang was then asked about his plan to decriminalize small possession of opioids; he noted that Ohio once had more active opioid prescriptions than humans, before explaining the importance of addicts knowing that they won’t be arrested if they seek help, as well as destigmatize addiction. He was the first to bring up safe injection sites.
O’Rourke was asked if he agreed with the decriminalization approach and he did. O’Rourke brought up what might have happened if people were prescribed marijuana instead of opioids from day one—to Yang’s enthusiastic agreement.
Lacey then asked Harris if pharmaceutical executives should be sent to jail. Calling them “high level dope dealers,” Harris didn’t hesitate to agree that she would. Citing the billions of dollars earned on the backs of addicts across the country—and the fact that pushing such drugs on the public was done knowingly—she then vowed to end the war on drugs and focus on the execs.
Castro was then asked if he agreed with Harris and he also didn’t hesitate, comparing the pharma executives to the Wall Street profiteers responsible for the last recession.
CANDIDATE AGE AND HEALTH
Burnett then attempted to shift to “candidates’ health,” but Sanders, who joked that he feels fine, wasn’t willing to let opioid companies slide by. Citing the business model as “unfettered capitalism,” Sanders demanded a political revolution that says “enough is enough.”
Burnett then asked Sanders how to reassure voters that he’s healthy enough to handle the stress of the White House at age 78 and having just had a heart attack. He invited everyone to an upcoming rally in Queens before thanking the nation for all their kind words.x
Gotta say, if Bernie's goal was to show he's still a feisty dude despite the heart attack, he cleared that bar with daylight to spare.#DemocraticDebate— Charles P. Pierce (@CharlesPPierce) October 16, 2019
Burnett then turned to Biden, citing former President Jimmy Carter, who recently said he couldn’t have handled the president at age 80. Biden said he knows the job and what has to be done, and will not need on the job training. He then offered to release his health records before the first vote in Iowa, as well as 21 years of tax return.
Burnett then turned to Warren, who will be 71 on Inauguration Day. She asked for her response to polling data that indicate primary voters think a candidate under 70 is needed to beat Trump. Warren vowed to out-organize any candidate before pointing out that age isn’t the only factor in a Democratic win.x
Warren: I will outrun "Trump, Mike Pence, or whoever the Republicans get stuck with.Ã¢Â€Â#DemDebate— Michelangelo Signorile (@MSignorile) October 16, 2019
Burnett then turned to Gabbard, who at 38, is the second-youngest candidate, but would be the youngest president in history if she won. Gabbard thanked her for the question, noting that it’s not fair to ask everyone on stage about their health. Gabbard leaned heavily on her military experience before again trying to steer the conversation, asking Warren how she is qualified to serve as Commander in Chief.
Burnett squashed her attempt and announced the hour-two break.xOctober 16, 2019
Lacey kicked off the final hour by asking Yang about Warren’s vow to break up tech giants. Yang gave credit to the Senator for a proper diagnosis but dissed her plans to combat it as outdated, sliding in a little insult to Microsoft.
Warren firmly vowed not to let monopolies take down the nation, and stood by her anti-trust plans. Steyer agreed with her, but noted that Trump will be running on the strength of the economy. Citing his own business bonafides, Steyer vowed to expose Trump as the failure in business and in politics that he is.
Booker was then asked if he’d break up the big tech companies, and he didn’t hesitate to assert the need for reform, citing anti-trust laws again. Bringing it back around to the age-targeted health question and citing his veganism, Booker noted that the most unhealthy person running for president is Donald Trump.
O’Rourke took the tech giant question again, and rued the power that social media platforms now have. Sanders vowed to appoint an attorney general who would take on such big interests.
Lacey turned to Harris, citing Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s insistence that breaking up tech companies opens the door to more interference since it’s harder for more platforms, than fewer, to work together. (Note, someone onstage snorted.) Harris quickly pivoted towards Warren, asking why she doesn’t support her effort to get Trump kicked off Twitter. Warren responded by saying she doesn’t just want to push him off Twitter, she wants to push him out of the White House. Warren then touched on the importance of turning down big tech donations. Harris again demanded that Warren join the push to get Trump kicked off Twitter, and Warren again focused on big business donations.
It was Klobuchar again, who cited her “life before government” and vowed to break down the extensive consolidation of control in big tech. She also pointed out that there’s a startup slump due to that consolidation.
Castro agreed, noting that Amazon is treating employees terribly while crushing small business. He demanded a stronger stance against monopolies. Yang jumped in, saying the biggest change we can make as users is to take ownership on our data, which is where tech companies make their money.
Burnett then brought up reproductive rights—the first question on the topic in all debates so far‚and asked Harris what her plan would be to combat state-level abortion restrictions. Harris waxed poetic about a woman’s right to choose what she does with her own body. Klobuchar was next, and used her time to debate Trump, noting laws in Alabama that imprison doctors who perform abortions. Booker was next, vowing to create an office of Reproductive Freedom, codifying Roe v. Wade, and repeal the Hyde Amendment.
Gabbard noted that an abortion is one of the hardest choices a person can make, and cited Hillary Clinton’s “safe, legal, and rare” soundbite, before noting that she does support codifying Roe but does want some restrictions.x
Hi tulsi youÃ¢Â€Â™re not allowed to quote Hillary ok thanks bye— Emmy Ruiz (@emmyruiz) October 16, 2019
Biden was asked if he’d pack the Supreme Court to protect reproductive rights, and he declined, noting that doing so would start a ripple effect that dilutes the power of the court. He then vowed to campaign across the nation in states to support privacy and the right to choose.
Buttigieg proposed a 15-member court, so that not every justice is appointed on a partisan basis. He offered other ways to depoliticize SCOTUS, including term limits.x
I genuinely cannot believe that everyone is like "Warren, how are you going to pay for M4A without raising taxes" but absolutely no one is like "Pete, in what Sorkinesque fever dream does your approach to courtpacking work?"— Anthony Smith (@AnthonyBLSmith) October 16, 2019
Castro voiced no desire to pack the court, and proposed other options, also including term limits or appellate rotations. He then vowed to codify Roe and repeal Hyde, and brought up reproductive justice and equality.
Warren said there are various options to protect Roe but touched on the fact that rich women could still get abortions pre-Roe but it’s poor women who are unable to get them now; further, she noted that reproductive health shouldn’t be decided by SCOTUS.
PROGRESSIVE vs MODERATE
Cooper then noted that the differences among the candidates were small when compared to how they differ from Trump. He then forced Biden to compare himself directly to Warren’s and Sanders’ visions for the nation, and the former Vice President leaned hard on his lengthy time in the federal government, saying he’s the only one on the stage who’s actually done anything. After a vague barb at Warren that Cooper demanded he clarify, Biden brought it back to how either Sanders or Warren would fund Medicare for All.
Sanders ran with Biden’s “got anything done” taunt by pointing out the Iraq war and bankruptcy laws as negative things Biden got done. Sanders then stood by Medicare for All, and Biden insisted all that was needed was a public option, noting that the insurance companies are as against Bidencare as they are Medicare for All.
Warren jumped in, citing her creation of the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau, noting that banks have been forced to return over $12 billion to consumers as a result of it. Biden then shouted at her, saying that he was the one who got her the votes to pass the CFPB. Warren then voiced deep gratitude to Barack Obama for advocating for the CFPB—and everyone else who supported it. Biden mumbled that she did a good job.x
Here's Biden yelling at Warren.Then later telling her, You did a hell of a job in your job. Warren deadpans, "Thank you." pic.twitter.com/ztcLurnnd7— Tom Namako (@TomNamako) October 16, 2019
Buttigieg was then asked which vision is right for America, and he insisted it was a false choice. Klobuchar pointed out that none of this matters unless Democrats can win, citing the red districts she’s continuously won. Warren noted that any candidate that doesn’t recognize the fights Americans are fighting isn’t equipped to win those battles.
Cooper asked the Senator why her plan was better for America and Sanders jumped in, saying her plan was what the American people want. O’Rourke then noted his work in improving veterans’ access to mental health.
Cooper then cut him off for the final break.x
Not one single question about the climate crisis. Not one single question about the climate crisis. Not one single question about the climate crisis. This is the existential crisis of our time. Not one single question, and thatÃ¢Â€Â™s completely inexcusable. #DemDebate— Jay Inslee (@JayInslee) October 16, 2019
Cooper came back from the break, using Ellen DeGeneres’ recent controversial hang session with George W. Bush to ask the final question: What friendship have you had that would surprise us. and what impact has it had on you and your beliefs?
Castro was up first, and conceded that he has lots of friendships like that, but avoided specifics. Turning back to DeGeneres, he said it’s fine to be friends with people of different beliefs, but it’s also okay to hold people accountable, public servants in particular.x
Three hours and no questions tonight about climate, housing, or immigration. Climate change is an existential threat. America has a housing crisis. Children are still in cages at our border.But you know, Ellen.#DemocraticDebate— JuliÃƒÂ¡n Castro (@JulianCastro) October 16, 2019
Gabbard cited her friendship with Republican almost-Trump attorney Trey Gowdy before focusing on the need to defeat Trump, and noting that we all must stand together. She also quoted Abraham Lincoln.
Klobuchar cited the late Arizona Sen. John McCain, before saying that it’s not just about changing policy, but by changing the way we treat each other. She then stressed the importance of bringing in moderate Republicans.x
These questions are trash. WeÃ¢Â€Â™re asking about friendship? Really? Ellen and Bush? Reminds me of the notion that individual relationships are the problem and NOT systemic issues like racism, classism, etc. This phrase reminds me of the Ã¢Â€Âœsome of my friends are BlackÃ¢Â€Â. #DemDebates— LaTosha Brown (@MsLaToshaBrown) October 16, 2019
Steyer was next, noting a North Carolina woman fighting for clean water who is “a different race, a different gender.” He then noted his parents’ background, including his father’s role in the Nuremberg trials. He then brought up the un-discussed climate crisis—and his ten-year fight against it.
O’Rourke turned to his past as a small-business owner, before tracking his ascent to the debate stage, noting he was able to reach across the aisle in Congress.
Booker claimed he had too many to list, starting with the Republican governor of New Jersey, and ending with Ted Cruz. He then offered a cheerful takedown of “rugged individualism,” noting that it was working together that makes American excellence possible. He again chided his fellow candidates for picking on each other, and reiterated that he’s voting to return honor to the presidency.x
CNN is asking candidates about Ellen & George W Bush but not a single question about voting rights in 31 debates in 2020/2016— Ari Berman (@AriBerman) October 16, 2019
Yang cited a guy named Fred who is an avid Trump supporter and truck driver who has promised to vote for Yang. He then offered that people working in the manufacturing sector don’t care about political parties, before insisting a forward focus is what is needed.
Harris named Rand Paul, saying that they agree on almost nothing, noting that we all have “much more in common than what separates us.” Harris then shared the story of her mother leaving India at age 19, and always telling her and her sister that they could accomplish anything. That American dream, she said, is why she’s running—to protect it.
Buttigieg brought up the relationships he made in the military, and all their different backgrounds and ideologies. He used that as a springboard for his desire to create a National Service program, so others can have that.x
Watching this debate, the average American would have no idea this is most terrifying moment in our countryÃ¢Â€Â™s history for LGBTQ Americans. #DemocraticDebate— Charlotte ClymerÃ°ÂŸÂÂ³Ã¯Â¸ÂÃ¢Â€ÂÃ°ÂŸÂŒÂˆ (@cmclymer) October 16, 2019
Sanders also cited Sen. McCain, and their time together fighting for veterans, as well as Sen. Mike Lee agreeing with him about getting troops out of Saudi Arabia. He then focused on ending the divisiveness that Trump has elevated and nurtured, and reiterated his faith in a progressive agenda.x
I hope Warren says her most unlikely friend is that marine— molly (@isteintraum) October 16, 2019
Warren noted Charles Fried, a “deeply principled” Republican who was willing to engage with her more liberal views and work on equality and helped her get a job decades ago. She then pointed out that two of her brothers are Republicans, and that they have so much they agree on. She closed by insisting that she knows what’s broken and how to fix it.
Biden was the last to go, and also cited Sen. McCain, noting that he was asked to give his eulogy. He vowed to help “restore the soul of the country.” He called Trump a cheat, demanded that the middle class rebuilt, and then closed by shouting that Americans must “get up” as there is nothing that we cannot do.x
CNN: who is your most unlikely friend?Joe Biden: CORN POP!#DemocraticDebate— bela lugosi's beth (@bourgeoisalien) October 16, 2019
And that, mercifully, was the end.x
Talk times in tonight's Dem debate:Warren 22:47Biden 16:39Klobuchar 13:18Beto 13:09Sanders 13:04Buttigieg 13:01Harris 12:23Booker 11:40Yang 8:32Castro 8:26Gabbard 8:24Steyer 7:13https://t.co/ofehhWifXd— Reid Wilson (@PoliticsReid) October 16, 2019
Phew! How do they do it?
We’ll see you for the next debate on Nov. 20, in Georgia!x
All I know is they better not come into Georgia next month without talking about voting rights. There are millions of voters who are still dealing with the trauma of a stolen election. And I know because IÃ¢Â€Â™m one of them.— Hillary Holley (@HillaryHolley4) October 16, 2019