Sep 12, 2019

September Houston Democratic Debate Transcript – Third Debate

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RevBlogTranscriptsBernie Sanders TranscriptsSeptember Houston Democratic Debate Transcript – Third Debate

The Democratic field has been narrowed and Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, Cory Booker, Amy Klobuchar, Pete Buttigieg, Beto O’Rourke, Andrew Yang and Julián Castro took the stage on Thursday, September 12, 2019 for the third round of Democratic Debates. Read the full transcript here at

Part 1: Gun Control, Healthcare, Criminal Justice

George S.: (00:00)
Set. The field has been narrowed. For one night only, the top 10 candidates are here. Our Democratic primary debate starts right now.

Joe Biden: (00:11)
I will be a president for every American.

E. Warren: (00:14)
This is our moment.

Bernie Sanders: (00:16)
We are in a struggle for the future of this country.

Kamala Harris: (00:21)
We fight for our country. That’s the nature of who we are.

Pete Buttigieg: (00:25)
Right now, we can act.

Andrew Yang: (00:28)
We’re in the midst of the greatest economic transformation.

Cory Booker: (00:31)
We have overcome worse times and darker moments than this.

Beto O’Rourke: (00:35)
We will make the most of this moment that we have here together.

Amy Klobuchar: (00:38)
We are on a march together.

Julian Castro: (00:42)
We’re going to win by being bold. We’re going to win by being fearless.

Voiceover: (00:46)
Live from Texas Southern University in Houston, Texas. Here now, chief anchor George Stephanopoulos.

George S.: (00:53)
Good evening, and welcome to Houston. We are live from Texas Southern University for tonight’s Democratic debate. The top 10 candidates are here. It’s going to start right now, and on the stage, you see them. They have all met the criteria set by the Democratic National Committee. At least 10 others have not met the threshold, so for the first time in this primary, a single debate in a single night, with all the top candidates facing off. It is a critical test for candidates, and their campaigns, at a critical time for our country. They’re going to lay out their vision for the country, their records, their differences with President Trump, and each other. We’re going to do our best to bring you a lively, informative, and civil debate. I’m joined here tonight by my ABC colleague, World News Tonight anchor David Muir, our national correspondent, Linsey Davis, and Jorge Ramos from our partner network, Univision. Jorge?

Jorge Ramos: (01:42)
George, thank you very much. We appreciate the opportunity to welcome Latinos across the country, and to ask about Latinx issues during these challenging times. [Spanish 00:01: 52]. Let me just give you a little translation here. I’m telling Latinos that despite the fact that we are facing difficult times, this is our country, too. Linsey.

Voiceover: (02:15)
We are delighted to be on the beautiful campus of Texas Southern University, one of the largest historically black colleges and universities in the country. Here in the Health and Physical Education Building tonight, we are joined by a live audience of 3,500 people, most invited by the Democratic National Committee, and of course, some of the brightest minds of the student body here at TSU. Go, Tigers.

David Muir: (02:42)
We can feel the energy in the room, can’t we, Linsey? The rules of this debate are very basic tonight, and have been agreed to by all the campaigns in advance. Candidates will have one minute, fifteen seconds to answer a direct question, and forty five seconds for a rebuttal or response, as directed by one of the moderators. Candidates will each see green and yellow lights, there. You see them right there, indicating how much time they have remaining. When time is up, the light will turn red. Candidates who interrupt will be subject to having their time reduced later on. This is democracy, the great American experiment, and the candidates are here tonight to make their case.

George S.: (03:14)
The podium place is based on their current standings in nationally recognized polls, with the leading candidates in the center. All candidates have been told they can have one minute to make an opening statement. We’re going to begin in reverse polling order with Secretary Julian Castro.

Julian Castro: (03:33)
Good evening. [Spanish 00:03:35]. Welcome to Texas. It’s great to be here at TSU, home of the Tigers. You know, on January 20th, 2021, at 12:01 PM, we’re going to have a Democratic president, a Democratic House, and a Democratic Senate. There will be life after Donald Trump. The truth is that our problems didn’t start just with Donald Trump, and we won’t solve them by embracing old ideas. We need a bold vision. Universal pre-K and universal health care. Unleashing millions of new jobs in the clean energy economy. A tax system that rewards people who have to work for a living.

Julian Castro: (04:20)
First, we have to win, and that means exciting a young, diverse coalition of Americans who are ready for a bold future. That’s what Kennedy did. It’s what Carter did. It’s what Clinton did. It’s what Barack Obama did, and it’s what I can do in this race. Get back Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania. Florida, Georgia, and Arizona, and finally turn Texas blue, and say goodbye to Donald Trump.

George S.: (04:50)
Senator Klobuchar.

Amy Klobuchar: (04:52)
Good evening, Texas Southern. I believe that what unites us up here, the ten of us, is much stronger than what divides us, and I think that’s true of our country, too. Now, I may not be the loudest person up here, but I think we’ve already got that in the White House. Houston, we have a problem. We have a guy there that is literally running our country like a game show. He would rather lie than lead. I think we need something different. I am someone that tells the truth. I don’t make promises that I can’t keep. I have people’s back, and I believe that to win, you bring people with you, and that is how you govern, as well. You’re going to hear a lot of ideas up here. Some will be great, but if you see that some of them seem a little off track, I’ve got a better way. If you feel stuck in the middle of the extremes in our politics, and you are tired of the noise and the nonsense, you’ve got a home with me. Because I don’t want to be the president for half of America. I want to be the president for all of America.

George S.: (06:10)
Congressman Beto O’Rourke.

Beto O’Rourke: (06:12)
It’s an honor to be on this debate stage. It is wonderful to be back in Texas, in Houston, back here at TSU. On August 3rd in El Paso, Texas, two things became crystal clear for me, and I think produced a turning point for this country. The first is just how dangerous Donald Trump is. The cost and the consequence of his presidency. Racism and violence that had long had been a part of America was welcomed out into the open and directed to my hometown of El Paso, Texas. Where 22 people were killed, dozens more grievously injured, by a man carrying a weapon he should never have been able to buy in the first place. Inspired to kill by our president.

Beto O’Rourke: (06:58)
The second is how insufficient our politics is to meet the threat that we have right now. The bitterness, the pettiness, the smallness of the moment, the incentives to attack one another, and try to make differences without distinctions. Mountains out of molehills. We have to be bigger. We have to see clearly. We have to speak honestly, and we have to act decisively. That’s what I want to do for you as President of the United States. Thank you.

George S.: (07:26)
Senator Cory Booker.

Cory Booker: (07:29)
It was over twenty years ago that I was a law student, and moved to inner city Newark, New Jersey, to serve as a tenants’ rights lawyer, to try to address the challenges in my community. I was sobered by them. The gun violence, the substandard housing, but it was my greatest mentor, a woman named Ms. Virginia Jones, who challenged me. She said, “Boy, if all you see in this neighborhood is problems, that’s all there’s ever going to be, but if you’re stubborn, and defiant, and can put forth a vision that can unify people, then we can make transformative change.” She was a church woman that said, “Without vision, the people will perish.”

Cory Booker: (08:04)
Well, that’s exactly what we did. We created extraordinary unity in our community, and we did things that other people thought were impossible. That’s the story of America. At our best, we unify. We find common cause and common purpose. The differences amongst us Democrats on the stage are not as great as the urgency for us to unite as a party. Not just to beat Donald Trump, but to unite America in common cause and common purpose. That’s why I’m running for president, and that’s how I will lead this nation.

George S.: (08:41)
Entrepreneur Andrew Yang.

Andrew Yang: (08:45)
In America today, everything revolves around the almighty dollar. Our schools, our hospitals, our media, even our government. It’s why we don’t trust our institutions anymore. We have to get our country working for us again, instead of the other way around. We have to see ourselves as the owners and shareholders of this democracy, rather than inputs into a giant machine.

Andrew Yang: (09:08)
When you donate money to a presidential campaign, what happens? The politician spends the money on TV ads and consultants, and you hope it works out. It’s time to trust ourselves more than our politicians. That’s why I’m going to do something unprecedented tonight. My campaign will now give a freedom dividend of $1,000 a month for an entire year to 10 American families. Someone watching this at home right now. If you believe that you can solve your own problems better than any politician, go to and tell us how $1,000 a month will help you do just that. This is how we will get our country working for us again, the American people.

George S.: (09:50)
Mayor Pete Buttigieg.

Voiceover: (09:50)
That’s good.

Pete Buttigieg: (10:00)
It’s original. I’ll give you that. The American people are divided and doubtful at the very moment we need to rise to some of the greatest challenges we’ve ever seen. As a mayor of an industrial city coming back from the brink, as a veteran of the war in Afghanistan, I know what’s at stake in our national leadership. We keep sending politicians to Washington, asking them to fight for us, but then when they get there, they seem more interested in the part about fighting than the part about us. Good politics is supposed to be not about the day to day fights of the politicians, but about the day to day lives of Americans.

Pete Buttigieg: (10:39)
We just marked the anniversary of 9-11. All day today, I’ve been thinking about September 12th. The way it felt when, for a moment, we came together as a country. Imagine if we had been able to sustain that unity. Imagine what would be possible right now with ideas that are bold enough to meet the challenges of our time, but big enough, as well, that they could unify the American people. That’s what presidential leadership can do. That’s what the Presidency is for, and that is why I’m asking for your vote.

George S.: (11:12)
Senator Kamala Harris.

Kamala Harris: (11:14)
Thank you. It’s great to be back at TSU. I plan on spending tonight talking with you about my plans to address the problems that keep you up at night. First, I have a few words for Donald Trump, who we all know is watching. President Trump, you spent the last two and a half years full time trying to sow hate and division among us, and that is why we’ve gotten nothing done. You have used hate, intimidation, fear, and over 12,000 lies as a way to distract from your failed policies and your broken promises. The only reason you’ve not been indicted is because there was a memo in the Department of Justice that says the sitting president cannot be charged with a crime. Here’s what you don’t get. What you don’t get is that the American people are so much better than this. We know that the vast majority of us have so much more in common than what separates us, regardless of our race, where we live, or the party with which we’re registered to vote. I plan on focusing on our common issues, our common hopes and desires, and in that way, unifying our country, winning this election, and turning the page for America. Now President Trump, you can go back to watching Fox News.

George S.: (12:41)
Senator Bernie Sanders. Senator Sanders.

Bernie Sanders: (12:54)
Let me be blunt and tell you what you don’t hear much about in Congress, or in the media, and that is it goes without saying that we must and will defeat Trump, the most dangerous president in the history of this country. We must do more. We must do more. We have got to recognize that this country is moving into an oligarchic form of society, where a handful of billionaires control the economic and political life of this country. As president, I am prepared to take them on. Yes, we will raise the minimum wage to a living wage. Yes, we will finally make sure that every American has healthcare as a human right, not a privilege. Yes, we will address the catastrophic crisis of climate change, and transform our energy system away from fossil fuel.

George S.: (14:08)
Senator Elizabeth Warren.

E. Warren: (14:10)
I was born and raised in Oklahoma, but I’m sure glad to be in Texas tonight. All three of my brothers served in military bases here in Texas. That was their ticket to the middle class. Me, I got my big opportunity about a half a mile down the road from here, at the University of Houston, back when it cost $ 50 a semester. For a price that I could pay for on a part time waitressing job, I got to finish my four year degree, and I became a special needs teacher. After law school, my first big job was back here in Houston. By then, I had two little kids, and when childcare nearly brought me down, my Aunt [Bea 00:14:53] moved in and saved us all. The paths to America’s middle class have gotten a lot smaller and a lot narrower. Today, service members are preyed upon by predatory lenders. Students are crushed by debt and families cannot afford childcare. I know what’s broken. I know how to fix it, and I’m going to lead the fight to get it done.

George S.: (15:23)
Vice President Joe Biden.

Joe Biden: (15:25)
You know, when President Kennedy announced the moon shot, he used a phrase that sticks with me my whole life. He said, “We’re doing it because we refused to postpone.” Well, I refuse to postpone one more minute spending billions of dollars on curing cancer, Alzheimer’s, and other diseases, which if we invest in them, we can find cures. I refuse to postpone giving every single child in America, no matter their zip code, pre-K all the way through high school and beyond. I refuse to postpone any longer taking on climate change, and leading the world in taking on climate change. Look, this is the United States of America. There has never been a single, solitary time when we’ve set our mind to something that we’ve not been able to do it. We’re walking around with our heads down, like, “Woe is me.” We’re the best equipped nation in the world to take this on. It’s no longer time to postpone. We should get moving. There’s enormous, enormous opportunities once we get rid of Donald Trump.

George S.: (16:31)
Candidates, thank you. Several of you said you are more united than divided, and that is certainly true. All of you agree on one big thing, the goal of defeating President Trump, driving the country in a new direction. Out on the campaign trail, you have outlined big differences over how far to go, and how fast to go. Vice President Biden, the differences between you and the senators on either side of you tonight strike at the heart of this primary debate. Both Senators Warren and Sanders want to replace Obamacare with Medicare for all. You want to build on Obamacare, and not scrap it. They proposed spending far more than you to combat climate change and tackle student loan debt, and they would raise more in taxes than you to pay for their programs. Are Senators Warren and Sanders pushing too far beyond where Democrats want to go, and where the country needs to go?

Joe Biden: (17:18)
That’ll be for the voters to decide that question. Let me tell you what I think. I think we should have a debate on health care. I know that the senator says she’s for Bernie. Well, I’m for Barack. I think the Obamacare worked. I think the way in which we add to it, replace everything that’s been cut, add a public option. Guarantee that everyone will be able to have affordable insurance, number one.

Joe Biden: (17:42)
Number two, I think we should be in a position of taking a look at what costs are. My plan for health care costs a lot of money. It costs $740 billion. It doesn’t cost $30 trillion. $3.4 trillion a year, it turns out, is twice what the entire federal budget is. That’s before it exists now, without interest on the debt. How are we going to pay for it? I want to hear tonight how that’s happened.

Joe Biden: (18:08)
As far as my distinguished friend, the senator on my left, has not indicated how she pays for it. The senator has in fact come forward and said how he’s going to pay for it, but it gets him about halfway there. There’s a lot of other things that need to be done. I have a bold plan to deal with making sure we triple the money for at risk schools, that are title one schools, from $15 to $45 billion a year. I go down the line, and each of the things we’re talking about, I lay out how I can pay for it, how I can get it done, and why it’s better.

George S.: (18:41)
Senator Warren, let me take that to you, particularly on what Senator Biden was saying there about healthcare. He’s actually praised Bernie Sanders for being candid about his healthcare plan. Says that Senator Sanders has been candid about the fact that middle class taxes are going to go up, and most of private insurance is going to be eliminated. Will you make that same admission?

E. Warren: (19:00)
Let’s be clear about healthcare, and let’s actually start where Vice President did. We all owe a huge debt to President Obama, who fundamentally transformed healthcare in America, and committed this country to healthcare for every human being. Now the question is, how best can we improve on it? I believe the best way we can do that is we make sure that everybody gets covered by healthcare at the lowest possible cost. How do we pay for it? We pay for it. Those at the very top, the richest individuals, and the biggest corporations, are going to pay more, and middle class families are going to pay less. That’s how this is going to work.

George S.: (19:46)
Direct question. You said middle class families are going to pay less, but will middle class taxes go up to pay for the program? I know you believe that the deductibles and the premiums will go down. Will middle class taxes go up? Will private insurance be eliminated?

E. Warren: (19:59)
Look, what families have to deal with is cost. Total cost. That’s what they have to deal with. Understand. Families are paying for their health care today. Families pay every time an insurance company says, “Sorry, you can’t see that specialist.” Every time an insurance company says, “Sorry, that doctor is out of network. Sorry. We are not covering that prescription.” Families are paying every time they don’t get a prescription filled because they can’t pay for it. They don’t have a lump checked out because they can’t afford the copay. What we’re talking about here is what’s going to happen in families’ pockets. What’s going to happen in their budgets. The answer is, on Medicare for all, costs are going to go up for wealthier individuals, and costs are going to go up for giant corporations, but for hardworking families across this country, costs are going to go down. That’s how it should work under Medicare for all in our health care.

George S.: (20:57)
Senator Sanders, you were invoked by the vice president, also. Take on that question about taxes.

Bernie Sanders: (21:02)
Joe said that Medicare for all would cost over $30 trillion. That’s right, Joe. Status quo over 10 years will be $50 trillion. Every study done shows that Medicare for all is the most cost effective approach to providing healthcare to every man, woman, and child in this country. I, who wrote the damn bill, if I may say so, intend to eliminate all out of pocket expenses. All deductibles. All copayments. Nobody in America will pay more than $200 a year for prescription drugs, because we’re going to stand up to the greed, and corruption, and price fixing of the pharmaceutical industry. We need a health care system that guarantees health care to all people as every other major country does, not a system which provides $100 billion a year in profit for the drug companies and the insurance companies. To tell you how absurd the system is, tonight on ABC, the healthcare industry will be advertising, telling you how bad Medicare for all is, because they want to protect their profits. That is absurd.

George S.: (22:30)
Vice President Biden, you were invoked.

Amy Klobuchar: (22:32)
If I could respond, George.

George S.: (22:33)
You get a response, then we’re going to broaden out the discussion.

Joe Biden: (22:35)
Okay. Number one, my healthcare plan does significantly cut the cost. The largest out of pocket payment you’ll pay is $1,000. You’ll be able to get into a… Anyone who can’t afford it gets automatically enrolled in the Medicare type option we have, et cetera, but guess what? Of the 160 million people who liked their health care now, they can keep it. If they don’t like it, they can leave. Number one.

Joe Biden: (22:58)
Number two. The fact of the matter is, we’re in a situation where, if you noticed, he hadn’t answered the question. This is about candor, honesty, big ideas. Let’s have a big idea. The tax of 2% the senator’s talking about? That raises about $3 billion. Guess what? That leaves you about $28 billion short. The senator said before, it’s going to cost you in your pay. There will be a deductible in your paycheck. The middle class person, someone making 60 grand for three kids, they’re going to end up paying $5,000 more. They’re going to end up paying 4% more on their income tax. That’s a reality. Now, it’s not a bad idea, if you like it. I don’t like it.

George S.: (23:34)
Okay, now I want everybody to keep to the time, but you did invoke both senators. I have to get responses from them, then we will broaden out. Senator Warren, you go first.

E. Warren: (23:41)
Let’s be clear. I’ve actually never met anybody who likes their health insurance company. I’ve met people who like their doctors. I’ve met people who like their nurses. I’ve met people who like their pharmacists. I met people who like their physical therapists. What they want is access to health care, and we just need to be clear about what Medicare for all is all about. Instead of paying premiums into insurance companies, and then having insurance companies build their profits by saying no to coverage, we’re going to do this by saying everyone is covered by Medicare for all. Every healthcare provider is covered. The only question here, in terms of difference, is where to send the bill.

George S.: (24:26)
Senator Sanders.

Bernie Sanders: (24:28)
Let us be clear, Joe. In the United States of America, we are spending twice as much per capita on health care as the Canadians, or any other major country on earth.

Joe Biden: (24:40)
This is America.

Bernie Sanders: (24:41)
Yeah, but Americans don’t want to pay twice as much as other countries, and they guarantee health care to all people. Under my Medicare for all proposal, when you don’t pay out of pocket, and you don’t pay premiums… Maybe you have run into people who love their premiums. I haven’t. What people want is cost effective health care. Medicare for all will save the average American substantial sums of money on his or her health care bill.

George S.: (25:12)
Senator Klobuchar, you said in your opening statement you want to represent the people stuck in the middle of the extremes. Who represents the extreme on this stage?

Amy Klobuchar: (25:20)
I think you know that I don’t agree with some of these proposals up here, George. I’m talking about…

George S.: (25:27)
Which ones?

Amy Klobuchar: (25:27)
If I could respond to some of the proposals, but from my friends. First of all, Senator Sanders and I have worked valiantly to bring down the cost of pharmaceuticals. That was a Klobuchar Sanders amendment, to allow for drugs to come in from less expensive countries like Canada. We have worked to bring down the costs by fighting to allow 43 million seniors, that’s a bill I lead, to negotiate for better prices under Medicare. I figure that’s a lot of seniors, and they should be allowed to get a better price.

Amy Klobuchar: (25:56)
When it comes to our health care, and when it comes to our premiums, I go with the doctor’s creed, which is do no harm. While Bernie wrote the bill, I read the bill. On page eight, on page eight of the bill, it says that we will no longer have private insurance as we know it. That means that 149 million Americans will no longer be able to have their current insurance. That’s in four years. I don’t think that’s a bold idea. I think it’s a bad idea. What I favor is something that what Barack Obama wanted to do from the very beginning, and that is a public option. A nonprofit choice that will bring down the cost of insurance, cover 12 million more people, and bring down the prices for 13 million more people. That is a bold idea.

George S.: (26:49)
Senator Warren. Page eight of the bill, she says. 149 people will lose their health insurance.

E. Warren: (26:55)
I’m sorry.

George S.: (26:56)
She said page eight of the bill, 149 people will lose their health insurance.

Amy Klobuchar: (27:00)
Current health insurance.

Joe Biden: (27:01)
149 million.

George S.: (27:02)
Million. Excuse me.

E. Warren: (27:04)
Let’s be clear about this. People will have access to all of their doctors, all of their nurses, their community hospitals, their rural hospitals. Doctors won’t have to hire people to fill out crazy forms. They won’t have to spend time on the phone arguing with insurance companies. People who have sick family members won’t have to get into these battles. What this is about is making sure that we have the most efficient way possible to pay for health care for everyone in this country. Insurance companies last year sucked $23 billion in profits out of the system. How did they make that money? Every one of those $23 billion was made by an insurance company saying no to your healthcare company.

George S.: (27:56)
Mayor Buttigieg.

Pete Buttigieg: (27:57)
The problem, Senator Sanders, with that damn bill that you wrote, and that Senator Warren backed…

Pete Buttigieg: (28:03)
… with that damn bill that you wrote, and that Senator Warren backs, is that it doesn’t trust the American people. I trust you to choose what makes the most sense for you. Not “My way or the highway”. Now look, I think we do have to go far beyond tinkering with the ACA. I propose Medicare for all who want it. We take a version of Medicare, we make it available for the American people, and if we’re right as progressives that that public alternative is better, then the American people will figure that out for themselves. I trust the American people to make the right choice for them, whey don’t you?

George S.: (28:35)
Senator Sanders, 45 seconds.

Bernie Sanders: (28:39)
George, you talked about, was it 150 million people on private insurance? 50 million of those people lose their private insurance every year when they quit their jobs, or they go unemployed, or their employer changes their insurance policy. Medicare for All is comprehensive healthcare, covers all basic needs, including home healthcare. It allows you to go to any doctor you want, which many private insurance company programs do not. So if you want comprehensive healthcare, freedom of choice regarding doctor or hospital, no more than 200 dollars a year for prescription drugs, taking on the drug companies and the insurance companies, moving to Medicare for All is a way to go.

George S.: (29:31)
Senator Harris, you started out co-sponsoring Senator Sander’s bill, you now say you’re uncomfortable with it. Why?

Kamala Harris: (29:37)
I want to give credit first to Barrack Obama for really bringing us this far. We would not be here if he hadn’t the courage, the talent, or the will to see us this far. I want to give credit to Bernie. Take credit, Bernie. You brought us this far in Medicare for All. I support Medicare for All, I always have, but I wanted to make the plan better, which I did. Which is about offering people choice, not taking that from them. So under my Medicare for All plan people have the choice of a private plan or a public plan, because that’s what people want, and I agree we shouldn’t take choice from people. But here’s the thing, everybody on this stage I do believe is well-intentioned and wants that all Americans have coverage and recognizes that right now 30 million Americans don’t have coverage. But at least five people have talked, some repeatedly on this subject, and not once have we talked about Donald Trump.

Kamala Harris: (30:33)
So let’s talk about the fact that Donald Trump came into office and spent almost the entire first year of his term trying to get rid of the Affordable Care Act. We all fought against it, and then the late great John McCain, at that moment at about 2:00 in the morning, killed his attempt to take healthcare from millions of people in this country. Fast-forward to today, and what is happening? Donald Trump’s Department of Justice is trying to get rid of the Affordable Care Act. Donald Trump’s administration is trying to get rid of the ban that we placed on denying people who have preexisting conditions coverage. Donald Trump is trying to say that our kids up to the age of 26 can no longer be on our plans, and frankly I think this discussion have given the American public a headache. What they want to know is that they’re going to have healthcare and cost will not be a barrier to getting it. But let’s focus on the end goal. If we don’t get Donald Trump out of office he’s going to get rid of all of it.

Joe Biden: (31:41)
15 seconds?

George S.: (31:43)
Let me get to Congressman O’Rourke and then … Go ahead, Mr. Vice President.

Joe Biden: (31:46)
15 seconds. Look, everybody says we want an option. The option I’m proposing is a Medicare for All in a Medicare for choice. If you want Medicare, if you lose the job from your employer, you automatically can buy into this. You don’t have no preexisting condition can stop you from buying in. You get covered. Period. And if you notice, nobody’s yet said how much it’s going to cost the taxpayer. I hear this large savings. My friend from Vermont thinks that employer’s going to give you back if negotiate his union all these years, got to cut wages because you’ve got insurance. They’re going to give back that money to the employee?

Bernie Sanders: (32:26)
As a matter of fact they will with our bill.

Joe Biden: (32:27)
Well, let me tell you something, for a socialist you got a lot more confidence in corporate America than I do.

Bernie Sanders: (32:33)
One minute, George?

George S.: (32:36)
Go ahead.

Bernie Sanders: (32:37)
All right. Two points. You got to defend the fact that today, not only do we 87 million people uninsured and underinsured, you got to defend the fact that 500000 Americans are going bankrupt. You know why they’re going bankrupt? Because they suffered a terrible disease. Cancer or heart disease. Under my legislation people will not go into financial ruin because they suffered with a diagnosis of cancer, and our program is the only one that does that.

Joe Biden: (33:13)
I know a lot about cancer. Let me tell you something. It’s personal to me. Let me tell you something. Every single person who is diagnosed with cancer or any other disease can automatically become part of this plan. They will not go bankrupt because of that. They will not go bankrupt because of that. They can join immediately, and we’re talking four, six, eight, 10 years, depending on you talk about, before we get to Medicare for All. Come on. I’ve been there. You’ve been there. You know what it’s like. People need help now, hope now, and do something now.

George S.: (33:45)
Congressman O’Rourke.

Beto O’Rourke: (33:46)
Yeah. Thank you. Listen, I’m grateful that we all agree about the urgency of this challenge, and the fact that Donald Trump is undermining the limited protections that we have right now. But I also think we’re being offered a false choice between those who propose an all-or-nothing gambit, forcing 10s of millions off of insurance that they like, that works for them, to force them onto Medicare, and others who want to, as the Vice President does, incrementally improve what we have, which will still leave many, maybe millions, uninsured and uncared for in a state like Texas where the largest provider of mental healthcare services is the county jail system. We’ve got to do better. In my proposal, Medicare for America, say everyone who’s uninsured will be enrolled in Medicare. Everyone who’s insufficiently insured, cannot afford it, can move over to Medicare, and those like members of unions, who fought for the healthcare plans that work for them and their families, are able to keep them. That is the best possible path forward.

Joe Biden: (34:46)
This is the [crosstalk 00:34:46] plan.

George S.: (34:47)
Healthcare is the top issue for everyone in the country. I want to make sure everyone gets one minute to respond. So, Senator Secretary Castro, Andrew Yang, and then Senator Booker, you will get a minute.

Julian Castro: (34:56)
Thank you. I also want to recognize the work that Bernie has done on this, and of course we owe a debt of gratitude to President Barrack Obama. Of course, I also worked for President Obama, Vice President Biden, and I know that the problem with your plan is that it leaves 10 million people uncovered. Now, on the last debate stage in Detroit you said that wasn’t true when Senator Harris brought that up. There was a fact check of that and they said that was true. I grew up with a grandmother who had Type Two diabetes and I watched her condition get worse and worse, but that whole time she had Medicare. I want every single American family to have a strong Medicare plan available.

Julian Castro: (35:34)
If they choose to hold onto strong solid private health insurance, I believe they should be able to do that, but the difference between what I support and what you support, Vice President Biden, is that you require them to opt in, and I would not require them to opt in, they would automatically be enrolled. They wouldn’t have to buy in. That’s a big difference, because Barrack Obama’s vision was not to leave 10 million people uncovered. He wanted every single person in this country covered. My plan would do that. Your plan would not.

Joe Biden: (36:01)
They do not have to buy in. They do not have to buy in.

Julian Castro: (36:04)
You just said that. You just said that two minutes ago. You just said two minutes ago that they would have to buy in.

Joe Biden: (36:10)
They do not have to buy in if they can’t afford it.

Julian Castro: (36:10)
You said they would have to buy in.

Joe Biden: (36:12)
Your grandmother would not have to buy in. If she qualified for Medicaid, she’d automatically be in for it.

Julian Castro: (36:13)
Are you forgetting what you said two minutes ago? Are you forgetting already what you said just two minutes ago? I can’t believe that you said two minute ago that they had to buy in, and now you’re saying they don’t have to buy in. You’re forgetting that.

Joe Biden: (36:28)
I said anyone, like your grandmother, who has no money, you’re automatically enrolled.

Julian Castro: (36:31)
We need a healthcare system that automatically enrolls people regardless of whether they choose to opt in or not. If you lose your job for instance, his healthcare plan would not automatically enroll you, you would have to opt in. My healthcare plan would. That’s a big difference. I’m fulfilling the legacy of Barack Obama and you’re not.

Joe Biden: (36:51)
That’ll be a surprise to him.

George S.: (36:53)
Andrew Yang.

Andrew Yang: (36:58)
Come on, guys. Come on.

Pete Buttigieg: (36:58)
This is why presidential debates are becoming unwatchable, because this reminds everybody of what they cannot stand about Washington, scoring points against each other, poking at each other, and telling each other that “Your plan, my plan”. Look, we all-

Julian Castro: (37:12)
Yeah, that’s called the Democratic Primary Election. That’s called an election. That’s an election. This is what we’re here for, it’s an election.

Amy Klobuchar: (37:20)
Yeah, but a house divided cannot stand, and that is not how we’re going to win this election.

George S.: (37:22)
Andrew Yang.

Andrew Yang: (37:22)
Look, everyone, we know we’re on the same team here. We know we’re on the same team. We all have a better vision for healthcare than our current president, and I believe we’re talking about this the wrong way. As someone who has a business, I know that our current healthcare system makes it harder to hire people, it makes it harder to give them benefits and treat them as full-time employees. You instead pretend they’re contractors. It’s harder to change jobs. It’s certainly harder to start a business. The pitch we have to make to the American people is we will get the healthcare weight off of your backs and then unleash the hopes and dreams of the American people.

Andrew Yang: (37:58)
Now, I am Asian, so I know a lot of doctors, and they tell me that they spend a lot of time on paperwork, avoiding being sued, and navigating the insurance bureaucracy. We have to change the incentives so instead of revenue and activity people are focused on our health in the healthcare system, and the Cleveland Clinic where they’re paid not based upon how many procedures they prescribe, shocker, they prescribe fewer procedures, and patient health stays the same or improves. That is the pitch to the American people.

George S.: (38:27)
Senator Booker, close out this discussion.

Cory Booker: (38:29)
Thank you very much. Look, there are a lot of people watching at home right now, listening to us, that are afraid because they are in crisis. They don’t have health insurance, or health insurance doesn’t go far enough, they can’t afford their prescription drugs. Look, I’m clear on what I believe. I believe in Medicare for All. I believe it’s the best way to rationalize the system, but dear god, I know that every one of my colleagues on this stage is in favor of universal health coverage, and comes at this with the best of intentions. I’ll tell you, there is an urgency right now in this nation. Everybody feels it. As a person who has an ideal, I know we cannot sacrifice progress on the alter of purity, because people in my community, they need help right now.

Cory Booker: (39:12)
They have high blood pressure right now. They have unaffordable insulin right now. And this must be a moment where we as Democrats can begin to show that we cannot only stake and stand our ground, but find common ground, because we’ve got one shot to make Donald Trump a one- term president, and we cannot lose it by the way we talk about each other, or demonize and degrade each other. We can walk and chew gum at the same time. If I am the leader I will work towards the ideal of health insurance, health coverage being a right for all Americans, but every single day I’ll join with other Democrats to make progress happen in our nation for the people that are struggling and suffering today.

George S.: (39:54)
Candidates, thank you. Lindsey Davis.

Voiceover: (39:56)
Thanks, George. Since we’re here at an HBCU, I’d like to start with young black voters. Several recent polls indicate their number one concern is racism. This campus, this state, and this nation are still raw from that racially motivated attack on Latinos in El Paso. Now, we know that the racial divide started long before President Trump and President Obama, but each of you on this stage has said that President Trump has made that divide worse. Congressman O’Rourke, coming to you first. Why are you the most qualified candidate to address this divide?

Beto O’Rourke: (40:34)
I called this out in no uncertain terms on August 3rd and every day since then, and I was talking about it long before then as well. Racism in America is endemic, it is foundational. We can mark the creation of this country not at the 4th of July 1776, but August 20th 1619, when the first kidnapped African was brought to this country against his will and in bondage and as a slave build the greatness, the success, and the wealth that neither he nor his descendants would ever be able to fully participate in and enjoy. We have to be able to answer this challenge, and it is found in our education system where in Texas a five year old child in kindergarten is five times as likely to be disciplined or suspended, or expelled, based on the color of their skin.

Beto O’Rourke: (41:24)
In our healthcare system where there is a maternal mortality crisis three times as deadly for women of color, or the fact that there’s 10 times the wealth in white America than there is in black America. I’m going to follow Sheila Jackson Lee’s lead and sign into law a reparations bill that will allow us to address this at its foundations. But we will also call out the fact that we have a white supremacist in the White House, and he poses a mortal threat to people of color all across this country.

Voiceover: (41:53)
Secretary Castro, 45 seconds to explain.

Julian Castro: (41:58)
I want to commend Beto for how well he has spoken to the passion and the frustration and the sadness after what happened in his hometown of El Paso. He’s done a great job with that. Look, a few weeks ago a shooter drove 10 hours, inspired by this president, to kill people who look like me and people who look like my family. White supremacy is a growing threat to this country, and we have to root it out. I’m proud that I put forward a plan to disarm hate. I’m also proud that I was the first to put forward a police reform plan, because we’re not going have anymore Laquan McDonalds, or Eric Garners, or Michael Browns, or Pamela Turners, or Walter Scotts, or Sandra Bland here from the Houston area. We need to root out racism, and I believe that we can do that, because that doesn’t represent the vast majority of Americans who do have a good heart. They also need a leader to match that, and I will be a president that matches that.

Voiceover: (42:58)
Senator Booker, you have said, quote, “The real question isn’t who is or isn’t a racist, it’s who’s going to do something about it”. Senator, what do you plan to do about it?

Cory Booker: (43:07)
Well, first and foremost, I want to hit that point, because we know Donald Trump’s a racist, but there is no red badge of courage for calling him that. Racism exists, the question isn’t “Who isn’t a racist”, it’s “Who is and isn’t doing something about racism?” And this is not just an issue that started yesterday. It’s not just an issue that we hear a president that can’t condemn white supremacy. We have systemic racism that is eroding our nation, from healthcare to the criminal justice system. And it’s nice to go all the way back to slavey, but dear god, we have a criminal justice system that is so racially biased we have more African-Americans under criminal supervision today that all the slaves in 1850.

Cory Booker: (43:51)
We have to come at this issue attacking systemic racism, having the courage to call it out and having a plan to do something about it. If I am President of the United States, we will create an office in the White House to deal with the problem of white supremacy and hate crimes, and we will make sure that systemic racism is dealt with in substantive plans from criminal justice reform to the disparities in healthcare, to even one that we don’t talk about enough, which is the racism that we see in environmental injustice in communities of color all around this country.

Voiceover: (44:26)
Mayor Buttigieg. You’ve been struggling with issues around race in your own community. You’ve also said that anyone who votes to reelect President Trump is at best looking the other way on racism. Does that sort of talk alienate voters and potentially deepen divisions in our country?

Pete Buttigieg: (44:43)
I believe what’s deepened divisions in the country is the conduct of this president, and we have a change all of that. Look, systemic racism preceded this president, and even when we defeat him it will be with us. That’s why we need a systemic approach to dismantle it. It’s not enough to just take a racist policy, replace it with a neutral one and expect things will just get better on their own. Harms’ compound in the same way that a dollar saved compound, so does a dollar stolen, and we know that the generational theft of the descendants of slaves is part of why everything from housing to education to health to employment basically puts in two different countries. I have proposed the most comprehensive vision to tackle systemic racism in every one of these areas.

Pete Buttigieg: (45:29)
Marshaling as many resources as went into the Marshal Plan that rebuilt Europe, but this time a Douglas Plan that we invest right here at home, to make sure that we’re not only dealing with things like the over-incarceration of black Americans, but also black solutions. Entrepreneurship, raising to 25% the target for the federal government to do business with minority-owned businesses. Investing in HPCUs that are training and educating the next generation of entrepreneurs. We can and must do that, but that means transcending this framework that pits us against each other, that pits a single black mother of three against a displaced autoworker, because where I come from a lot of times that displaced autoworker is a single black mother of three. We’ve got to say that and bring people together.

Voiceover: (46:13)
Also a concern for people of color is criminal justice reform. Senator Harris, you released your plan for that just this week, and it does contradict some of your prior positions. Among them, you used to oppose the legalization of marijuana, now you don’t. You used to oppose outside investigations of police shootings, now you don’t. You’ve said that you’ve changed on these and other things, because you were, quote, “Swimming against the current and thankfully the currents have changed”, but when you had the power, why didn’t you try to affect change then?

Kamala Harris: (46:49)
I’m glad you asked me this question, and there have been many distortions of my record. Let me be very clear. I made a decision to become a prosecutor for two reasons, one, I’ve always wanted to protect people and keep them safe, and second, I was born knowing about how this criminal justice system in America has worked in a way that has been informed by racial bias, and I could tell you extensively about the experiences I and my family members have personally had. But I made a decision that if I was going to have the ability to reform the system, I would try to do it from the inside. So I took on the position that allowed me, without asking permission, to create one of the first in the nation initiatives that was a model and became a national model around people who are arrested for drugs and getting them jobs. I created one of the first in the nation requirements that a state law enforcement agency would have to wear cameras and keep them on full-time.

Kamala Harris: (47:49)
I created one of the first in the nation training for police officers on the issue of racial bias and the need to reform the system. Was I able to get enough done? Absolutely not, but my plan has been described by activists as being a bold and comprehensive plan that is about ending mass incarceration, about taking the profit out of the criminal justice system. I plan on shutting down for-profit prisons on day one. It will be about what we need to do to hold law enforcement, including prosecutors, accountable, and finally, my plan is about making sure that in America’s criminal justice system we de-incarcerate woman and children, that we end solitary confinement, and that we work on keeping families intact. And as President of the United States, knowing the system from the inside, I will have the ability to be an effective leader and get this job complete.

Voiceover: (48:44)
Thank you, Senator Harris. Senator Klobuchar, during your eight years as a prosecutor in Minnesota there were dozens of incidents where black men were killed by police. Critics say that too often you sided with police in these cases. The ACLU’s legal director in Minnesota has said that you showed no interest in racial justice. Do you wish now that you had done more?

Amy Klobuchar: (49:06)
That’s not my record. We are here at a historically black college, and I think of an alum of that college, Barbara Jordan, and something she once said. She said “What the people want is simple. They want a country as good as it’s promise”, and that same can be said of the criminal justice system. So when I was there, the way we handled these police shootings, I actually took a stand make sure outside investigators handled them. I took on our major police chief in Minneapolis, but in the prosecutor’s office they were handled with a grand jury. That’s how they were all handled across our state. I now believe it is better for accountability if the prosecutor handles them and makes those decisions herself. That aside, I am proud of the work our staff did, 400 people in our office. The cases that came to us, the African-American community that came to us, they said there was no justice for their little kids. There was a kid named Byron Philips that was shot on his front porch. No one had bothered to figure out who did it.

Amy Klobuchar: (50:09)
When I came into that office, we worked with the community groups, we put up billboards, we found the shooter and we put him in jail. We did the same for the killer of a little girl named Taisha Edwards who was doing her homework at her kitchen table and was shot through the window. What changes did we make? Go after white collar crimes in a big way. Diversify the office in a big way. Work with the Innocence Project to make sure we do much better with eyewitness ID, and as a senator and as your President I will make sure that we don’t just do the First Step Act when it comes to criminal sentencing, that we move to the Second Step Act, which means the 90% of people that are incarcerated in local and state jails, let’s reduce those sentences for non-violent offenders and let’s get them jobs and let them vote when they get out of prison.

Voiceover: (50:55)
Thank you, Senator Klobuchar. You all believe that the War On Drugs has put too many Americans behind bars. Vice President Biden, you have a plan to release many non-violent drug offenders from prison. Senator Booker says that your plan is not ambitious enough. Your response?

Joe Biden: (51:10)
Well, first of all, let me say that when I came back from law school I had a job with a big time law firm. I left and became a public defender because my state was under siege. When Dr. King was assassinated we were occupied by the National Guard for 10 months. I’ve been involved from the beginning. As a young councilman I introduced legislation to try to keep them putting a sewer plant in a poor neighborhood. I made sure that we dealt with redlining. Banks should have to lend where they operate, etc. The fact of the matter is that what’s happened is that we’re in a situation now where there are so many people who are in jail and shouldn’t be in jail. The whole means by which this should change is the whole model has to change. We should be talking about rehabilitation. Nobody should be in jail for a non-violent crime. When we were in the White House we released 36000 people from the federal prison system. Nobody should be in jail for a drug problem.

Joe Biden: (52:05)
They should be going directly to a rehabilitation. We build more rehabilitation centers, not prisons. I’m the guy that put in the drug courts to divert people from the criminal justice system. So we have to change the whole way we look at this, and we put people in prison, we have to equip them when they get out. Nobody who got in prison for marijuana for example immediately upon being released they shouldn’t be in there for a misdemeanor. That should be a misdemeanor, they should be out and their record should be expunged. Every single right should be returned. When you finish your term in prison you should be able to not only vote, but have access to Pell Grants, have access to be able to get housing, have access to be able to move along the way. I’ve laid out a detailed plan along those lines, and the fact is we’ve learned so much more about-

Voiceover: (52:50)
Thank you, Mr. Vice President.

Joe Biden: (52:51)
Thank you.

Voiceover: (52:52)
Senator Booker, 45 seconds to respond.

Cory Booker: (52:55)
Our criminal justice system is so savagely broken. There’s no difference in American between blacks, whites, and Latinos for using drugs or dealing drugs, but if you’re African-American you’re almost four times more likely to be arrested and incarcerated, destroying your lives. And so much of this comes down to privilege. We have a criminal justice system that Bryan Stevenson says “Treats you better if you’re rich and guilty than if you’re poor and innocent”. So I have challenged this whole field. We can specifically and demonstratively now show that there are 17000 people unjustly incarcerated in America, and all of us should come forward and say “When I am President of the United States we will release them”, and let me be specific. I joined together and led in the United States Senate the only major bipartisan bill to pass onto this president for criminal justice reform, that has already led to 1000s of people coming out of jail.

Cory Booker: (53:44)
If 87 members of the United States Senate says that these sentences are way too long and we changed it, but we didn’t make it retractive, we could literally point to the people that are in jail unjustly right now. Everyone on this stage should say that we are going to give clemency to these 17000 people, and I challenge you, don’t just say big statements, back it up with details of the people in prison right now looking for one of the most sacrosanct ideals of this nation, which is liberty and freedom. We need to reform this system and we must do it now. Every day we wait is too long.

Voiceover: (54:20)
Thank you, Senator Booker. David.

David Muir: (54:21)
Thank you, Lindsey. I want to turn to the deadly mass shootings here in this country, and of course we are all mindful tonight of where we stand. We are here in Texas tonight where 29 people have lost their lives in just the last month along. El Paso, which we’ve discussed, and Odessa, and I know there are survivors from El Paso right here in the hall tonight. Vice President Biden, I do want to direct this to you because we all remember Sandy Hook. 26 people died in that school, 20 of them children. Those first graders would be in eighth grade today. At the time there was a groundswell in this country to get something done. President Obama asked you to lead the push for gun control. You have often pointed to your ability to reach across the aisle to get things done, but four months after Sandy Hook a measure to require expanded background checks died on the senate floor. If you couldn’t get it done after Sandy Hook, why should voters give you another chance?

Joe Biden: (55:12)
Because I’ve got it done before. I’m the only one up here who’s ever beat the NRA. Only one to ever beat the NRA nationally. I’m the guy that brought the Brady Bill into focus and became law. So that’s number one. Number two, after Sandy Hook a number of things happened. It’s went from a cause to a movement. Look what’s happened now. Mothers, the organization, Mothers Against Gun Violence. We’ve seen what’s happened again. Now we have all these young people marching on Washington, making sure that things are going to change. There has been a sea change. Those proposals I put forward for the president had over 50% of members of the NRA supporting them, and overwhelmingly the rest of the people supporting them. Now the numbers are much higher, because they realize what I’ve been saying, and we’ve all been saying, is correct. Over 90% of the American people think we have to get assault weapons …

Joe Biden: (56:03)
Correct. Over 90% of the American people think we have to get assault weapons off the street, period. And we have to get buybacks and get them out of their basements. So the point is things have changed and things have changed a lot and now what’s happening is, and by the way, the way Beto handled, excuse me for saying Beto congressman.

Beto O’Rourke: (56:19)
That’s all right. That sounds good.

Joe Biden: (56:22)
The way he handled what happened in his home town is meaningful. The look in the eyes of those people to see those kids, to understand those parents, to understand the heartache, we are ready to do this.

David Muir: (56:34)
Mr vice president. Thank you. You did bring up assault weapons here and many of you on this stage have talked about executive orders. Senator Harris you have said that you would take executive action on guns within your first 100 days including banning imports of AR15 assault weapons.

Kamala Harris: (56:54)
That’s right.

David Muir: (56:54)
President Obama after Sandy Hook, more than 23 executive actions and yet here we are today. In recent days, former vice president Biden has said about executive orders. Some really talented people are seeking the nomination. They said, “I’m going to issue an executive order.” Biden saying there’s no constitutional authority to issue that executive order when they say, I’m going to eliminate assault weapons, saying you can’t do it by executive order any more than Trump can do things. When he says he can do it by executive order, does the vice president have a point there?

Joe Biden: (57:22)
Some things you can, many things you can’t.

David Muir: (57:25)
Let’s let the Senator answer.

Kamala Harris: (57:26)
I mean I would just say, “Hey Joe instead of saying that we can’t let say yes we can.”

Joe Biden: (57:33)
That’s not constitutional. We got a constitution.

Kamala Harris: (57:38)
Yes we can. Because I’ll tell you something. The way that I think about this is I’ve seen more autopsy photographs than I care to tell you. I have attended more police officer funerals than I care to tell you. I have hugged more mothers of homicide victims than I care to tell you. And the idea that we would wait for this congress, which has just done nothing to act is just… It is overlooking the fact that every day in America our babies are going to school to have drills. Elementary, middle and high school students where they are learning about how they have to hide in a closet or crouch in a corner if there is a mass shooter roaming the hallways of their school.

Kamala Harris: (58:32)
I was talking about this at one of my town halls and this child was eight years old probably, came up to me. It was like it was a secret between the two of us and he tugged on my jacket and he said, “I had to have one of those drills.” It is traumatizing our children, El Paso and Beto God love you for standing so courageously in the midst of that tragedy. People asked me in El Paso, they said, because I have a long standing record on this issue. They said, “Well, do you think Trump is responsible for what happened?” And I said, “Well, look. I mean, obviously he didn’t pull the trigger, but he’s certainly been tweeting out the ammunition.”

David Muir: (59:15)
Senator Harris, thank you. Vice president Biden, do you still stand by what you said on executive order?

Joe Biden: (59:17)
What I said was speak to constitutional scholars. If in fact we could say, “By the way, you can’t own the following weapons period. It cannot be sold anymore.” Check with constitutional scholars.

David Muir: (59:31)
Mr vice president, thank you. Congressman O’Rourke.

Kamala Harris: (59:33)
Could I tell you what you could do to respond today?

David Muir: (59:35)
I’m going to work down the row here, but I do want to come to congressman O’Rourke because I know this is personal to you. El Paso is your hometown. Some on this stage have suggested a voluntary buyback for guns in this country. You’ve gone further, you said, “Americans who owned AR15s and AK47 will have to sell them to the government. All of them.” You know the critics call this confiscation. Are you proposing taking away their guns and how would this work?

Beto O’Rourke: (59:59)
I am. If it’s a weapon that was designed to kill people on a battlefield. If the high impact, high velocity round when it hits your body, shreds everything inside of your body because it was designed to do that. So that you would bleed to death on a battlefield and not be able to get up and kill one of our soldiers. When we see that being used against children and in Odessa, I met the mother of a 15 year old girl who was shot by an AR15 and that mother watched her bleed to death over the course of an hour. Because so many other people were shot by that AR15 in Odessa and Midland, there weren’t enough ambulances to get to them in time. Yes. We’re going to take your AR15, your AK47. We’re not going to allow it to be used against our fellow Americans anymore.

David Muir: (01:00:50)
Thank you congressman.

Beto O’Rourke: (01:00:52)
And I want to say this, I’m listening to the people of this country. The day after I proposed doing that, I went to a gun show in Conway, Arkansas to meet with those who are selling AR15s and AK47s and those who are buying those weapons. And you might be surprised there was some common ground there. Folks who said, “I would willingly give that up, cut it to pieces. I don’t need this weapon to hunt, to defend myself. It is a weapon of war.” So let’s do the right thing but let’s bring everyone in America into the conversation. Republicans, Democrats, gun owners and non gun owners alike.

David Muir: (01:01:26)
Congressman thank you. I want to bring in Senator Klobuchar on this because you’ve often talked about your uncle and the proud hunters back home in Minnesota. So I wanted to get your response to congressman O’Rourke tonight. Where do you stand on mandatory gun buybacks?

Amy Klobuchar: (01:01:39)
I so appreciate what the congressman’s been doing and I want to remind people here that what unites us is so much bigger than what divides us. Everyone up here favors an assault weapon pan. Everyone up here favors magazine limitations, which by the way would have made a huge difference if that was in place in El Paso, in that store where all those ordinary people showed such extraordinary courage and certainly in Dayton, Ohio, where in 30 seconds one man guns down innocent people. The cops got there in one minute and it still wasn’t enough to save those people. That’s what unites us.

Amy Klobuchar: (01:02:14)
You know what else unites us? And I’ll tell you this, what unites us is that right now on Mitch McConnell’s desk are three bills, universal background checks, closing the Charleston loophole and passing my bill to make sure that domestic abusers don’t get AK47.

David Muir: (01:02:32)
Senator Klobuchar.

Amy Klobuchar: (01:02:33)
It’s time to get something done. And I personally think we should start with the voluntary buyback program. That’s what I think David. But I want to finish this because if you want action now, we got to send a message to Mitch McConnell. We can’t wait until one of us gets in the White House. We have to pass those bills right now to get this done.

David Muir: (01:02:55)
Senator Klobuchar.

Amy Klobuchar: (01:02:57)
Because we cannot spare another innocent life.

David Muir: (01:02:58)
Thank you. I want to turn to Senator Booker because you have said just this week about guns and about the candidates on this stage that the differences do matter. Those were your words. You have argued if you need a license to drive a car in this country, you should have a license to buy a gun. Gun owners would not only have to pass a background check, they would have to obtain a federal license to buy a gun. This would require, as you know, congress to pass legislation. If Democrats can’t get universal background checks, how would you get this done? And can you name one Republican colleague of yours in the Senate right now who would be on board with this idea?

Cory Booker: (01:03:32)
So background checks and gun licensing, these are agreed to by overwhelmingly the majority of Americans, 83% of Americans agree with licensing. This is the issue. Look, I grew up in the suburbs. It was about 20 years ago that I came out of my home when I moved to inner city New Jersey, and witnessed the aftermath of a shooting. It’s one of the reasons why shooting after shooting in neighborhoods like mine for decades, this has been a crisis for me. It’s why I was the first person to come out for gun licensing. And I’m happy that people like Beto O’Rourke are showing such courage now and coming forward and also now supporting licensing, but this is what I’m sorry about. I’m sorry that it had to take issues coming to my neighborhood or personally affecting Beto to suddenly make us demand change. This is a crisis of empathy in our nation.

Cory Booker: (01:04:25)
We are never going to solve this crisis if we have to wait for it to personally affect us or our neighborhood, our community before we demand action. You want to know how we get this done? We get this done by having a more courageous empathy where people don’t wait for this hell to visit upon their communities. They stand up and understand the truth of what King said, that injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. I will lead change on this issue because I have seen what the carnage creates in communities like mine. Because we forget national shootings, these mass shootings or tragedies, but the majority of the homicide victims come from neighborhoods like mine. Nobody has ascended to the White House that will bring more personal passion on this issue. I will fight this and bring a fight to the NRA and the corporate gun lobby like they have never seen before.

David Muir: (01:05:19)
Senator Booker. Thank you. A quick follow up though, because Americans watching tonight know the reality of Congress in Washington. I asked you how the Republican colleague in the Senate who would be on board with this idea to get this done.

Cory Booker: (01:05:31)
If that was the attitude when Strom Thurmond had the longest filibuster ever on civil rights. If it was this idea that we can’t get it done because of the situation in the Senate, I’m looking to lead a movement. The number one reason why governments are formed is to protect the citizenry. Think about this. We have had more people die due to gun violence in my lifetime than every single war in this country combined from the revolutionary war till now. This is not a side issue to me, it is a central issue to me. That is the kind of fight because the majority of homicide victims, we have a mass shooting every single day in communities like mine.

Cory Booker: (01:06:07)
We must awaken a more courageous empathy in this country, so we stand together and fight together and overwhelm those Republicans who are not even representing their constituency. Because the majority of Americans, the majority of gun owners agree with me, not the corporate gun lobby. It is time for a movement on this issue and I will lead it.

David Muir: (01:06:26)
Senator Booker, thank you. Senator Warren, I want to come to you next because you have actually said in recent days that there are things you can get done with Republicans in the Senate. What can you get done on gun control?

E. Warren: (01:06:37)
So let’s start by framing the problem the right way. We have a gun violence problem in this country. The mass shootings are terrible, but they get all the headlines. Children die every day on streets, in neighborhoods, on playgrounds. People die from violence, from suicide and domestic abuse. We have a gun violence problem in this country and we agree on many steps we could take to fix it. My view on this is it’s not going to be won and done on this. We’re going to do it and we’re going to have to do it again and we’re going to have to come back some more until we cut the number of gun deaths in this country significantly. But here’s the deal. The question we need to ask is when we’ve got this much support across the country, 90% of Americans want to see us do…

E. Warren: (01:07:29)
I like registration… Want to see us do background checks, want to get assault weapons off the streets. Why doesn’t it happen? And the answer is corruption, pure and simple. We have a congress that is beholden to the gun industry and unless we’re willing to address that head on and roll back the filibuster, we’re not going to get anything done on guns. I was in the United States Senate when 54 senators said, let’s do background checks, let’s get rid of assault weapons and with 54 senators, it failed because of the filibuster. Until we attack the systemic problems. We can’t get done reform in this country. We’ve got to go straight against the industry and we’ve got to change congress so it doesn’t just work for the wealthy and well conducted. So it works for the people.

David Muir: (01:08:27)
Senator Warren, thank you. You bring up eliminating the filibuster, which means you would need simply a simple majority in a Republican Senate to get something done. I want to turn to Senator Sanders on this because you’ve said before of this, if Donald Trump supports ending the filibuster, which he’s talked about himself, you should be nervous. Would you support ending the filibuster?

Bernie Sanders: (01:08:46)
No, but what I would support absolutely is passing major legislation, the gun legislation the people here are talking about. Medicare for all, climate change legislation that saves the planet. I will not wait for 60 votes to make that happen. And you could do it in a variety of ways. You could do that through budget reconciliation law. You have a vice president who will in fact tell the senate what is appropriate and what is not, what is an order and what is not.

Bernie Sanders: (01:09:19)
But I want to get back to a point that Elizabeth made and that in fact, in terms of gun issues, picking up on Corey and Beto and everybody else, what we are looking at is a corrupt political system. And that means whether it is the drug companies or the insurance companies or the fossil fuel industry determining what’s happening in Washington or in this case you got an NRA which has intimidated the president of the United States and the Republican leadership. I am proud that year after year I had an F rating from the NRA and as president, I will not be intimidated by the NRA.

David Muir: (01:10:05)
Senator Sanders, thank you.

Kamala Harris: (01:10:06)
Can I respond?

Jorge Ramos: (01:10:11)
We’ve been hearing a lot about what’s been happening here in Texas only a few weeks ago. The deadliest massacre of Latinos in modern US history happening in the States in El Paso. So the if you’re among Latinos, and you know this is very real. So let me start with an issue that is causing a lot of division in this country, immigration. Vice president Biden as a presidential candidate in 2008 you supported the border wall saying, “Unlike most Democrats, I voted for 700 miles of fence.” This is what you said. Then you served as vice president in an administration that deported 3 million people, the most ever in US history. Did you do anything to prevent those deportations? I mean, you’ve been asked this question before and refused to answer, so let me try once again. Are you prepared to say tonight that you and president Obama made a mistake about deportations? Why should Latinos trust you?

Joe Biden: (01:11:10)
What Latinos should look at is comparing this president to the president we have is outrageous. Number one, we didn’t lock people up in cages. We didn’t separate families. We didn’t do all of those things, number one. Number two, this is the president who came along with the DACA program, no one had ever done that before, the president sent legislation to desk saying he wants to find a pathway for the 11 million undocumented in the United States of America. This is the president has done a great deal, so I’m proud to have served with him. What I would do as president is several more things because things have changed.

Joe Biden: (01:11:47)
I would in fact make sure that we immediately surge to the border. All those people are seeking asylum, they deserve to be heard. That’s who we are. We’re a nation that says if you want to flee and you’re fleeing oppression, you should come. I would change the order that the president just changed saying women who were being beaten and abused could no longer claim that as a reason for asylum. And by the way, retrospectively, you know the 25th anniversary of the violence against women act is up. The Republican Congress has not reauthorized it. Let’s put pressure on them to pass the violence against women act now.

Jorge Ramos: (01:12:22)
You didn’t answer the question. No. Did you make a mistake with those deportations?

Joe Biden: (01:12:26)
The president did the best thing that was able to be done at the time.

Jorge Ramos: (01:12:30)
How about you?

Joe Biden: (01:12:31)
I’m the vice president of the United States.

Jorge Ramos: (01:12:34)
Secretary Castro, would you want to respond to Biden? And let me put this in context because your party controlled the White House and Congress in 2009 and didn’t pass immigration reform. And just broke a promise made by president Barack Obama to Latinos. So why should voters trust Democrats now? I mean now it is even more difficult as you know, because you need Republican votes in the Senate. So are you willing, for instance, to give up DACA or give up a path to citizenship or even agree to build a wall in order to legalize 10.5 million undocumented immigrants?

Julian Castro: (01:13:06)
Jorge, thank you very much for that question. And you look, I agree that Barack Obama was very different from Donald Trump. Donald Trump has a dark heart when it comes to immigrants. He built his whole political career so far on scapegoating and fear-mongering and otherizing migrants, and that’s very different for Barack Obama. But my problem with vice president Biden and Corey pointed this out last time, is every time something good about Barack Obama comes up, he says, “I was there. That’s me too.” And then every time somebody questions part of the administration that we were both part of, he says, “Well, that was the president.” I mean, he wants to take credit for Obama’s work, but not have to answer to any questions.

Jorge Ramos: (01:13:48)
Vice president Biden, you have…

Julian Castro: (01:13:49)
I don’t get that.

Jorge Ramos: (01:13:49)
You have 45 seconds.

Julian Castro: (01:13:53)
Let me just say-

Joe Biden: (01:13:54)
That’s not what I said. That’s not what I said.

Julian Castro: (01:13:55)
I was the first candidate in early April to put forward an immigration plan. You know why? Because I’m not afraid of Donald Trump on this issue. I’m not going to back pedal. I’m not going to pretend like I don’t have my own vision for immigration. So we’re not going to give up DACA. We’re not going to give up protections for anybody. I believe that on January 20th, 2021 we’re going to have a democratic president. We’re going to throw out Mitch McConnell and John Cornyn and have a democratic Senate and a democratic house, and we’re going to pass immigration reform within the first hundred days.

Jorge Ramos: (01:14:25)
Vice president, 45 seconds.

Joe Biden: (01:14:30)
I did not say don’t stand… I stand with Barack Obama all eight years. Good, bad, and indifferent. That’s where I stand. I did not say I did not stand with him.

Jorge Ramos: (01:14:41)
Okay. Senator Warren, hundreds of children have been separated from their parents at the border and recently in Mississippi we saw the largest immigration rate in a decade. You want to replace ICE, the agency in charge of rounding up undocumented immigrants. So how would you deal with the millions of immigrants who arrived legally, but overstayed their visas? And how would you stop hundreds of thousands of central Americans who want to migrate to the US?

E. Warren: (01:15:06)
Well, I start with a statement of principles and that is in this country, immigration does not make us weaker, immigration makes us stronger. I want to see us expand legal immigration and create a pathway to citizenship for our dreamers, but also for their grandparents and for their cousins, for people who’s overstayed student visas, and for people who came here to work in the fields. I want to have a system that is a path to citizenship that is fair and achievable. Down at the border, we’ve got to rework this entirely. A system right now that cannot tell the difference in the threat posed by a terrorist, a criminal and a 12 year old girl is not a system that is keeping us safer and it is not serving our values.

Jorge Ramos: (01:16:02)
Mr. Yang.

E. Warren: (01:16:05)
I want to add one more part on this because I think we have to look at all the pieces. Why do we have a crisis at the border? In no small part because we have withdrawn help from people in Central America who are suffering. We need to restore that help, we need to help establish and reestablish the rule of law so that people don’t feel like they have to flee for their lives. We have a crisis that Donald Trump has created and hopes to profit from politically. We have to have the courage to stand up and fight back.

Jorge Ramos: (01:16:37)
Mr. Yang, it is true that in the last few years we have seen the most severe anti-immigrant measures from putting kids in cages to limiting and asylum for people fleeing gangs and domestic violence. But it is also true that about 1 million immigrants enter the US legally every year. So are you willing to raise the number of legal immigrants from 1 million to 2 million per year? And should there be a merit system as president Trump wants?

E. Warren: (01:17:04)
Did you ask me?

Jorge Ramos: (01:17:04)
Mr. Yang.

E. Warren: (01:17:04)
He said it, okay. Sorry.

Andrew Yang: (01:17:08)
My father grew up on a peanut farm in Asia with no floor and now his son is running for president. That is the immigration story that we have to be able to share it with the American people. If you look at our history, almost half of Fortune 500 companies were founded by either immigrants or children of immigrants and rates of business formation are much higher in immigrant communities. We have to say to the American people, immigrants are positive for economic and social dynamism. And I would return the level of legal immigration to the point it was under the Obama, Biden administration.

Andrew Yang: (01:17:42)
I think we have to compete for talent and I am the opposite of Donald Trump in many ways. He says, “Build a wall.” I’m going to say to immigrants, “Come to America, because if you come here, your son or daughter can run for president. The water’s great and this is where you want to build a company, build a family, and build a life.” This country has been a magnet for human capital for generations. If we lose that, we lose something integral to our continued success and that is where I would lead as president.

Jorge Ramos: (01:18:10)
Pete, eight out of 10 Latinos in Texas in another mass shooting targeting them. This is according to a new television post. President Trump has called Mexican immigrants, rapists and killers, tried to ban Muslims from entering the country and separated children from their parents. His supporters kept chanting, build a wall and send her back. Do you think that people who support president Trump and his immigration policies are racist?

Pete Buttigieg: (01:18:39)
Anyone who supports this is supporting racism. [foreign language 00:22:43]. The only people though who actually buy into this president’s hateful rhetoric around immigrants are people who don’t know any. We have an opportunity to build an American majority around immigration reform. In my community, a group of conservative Republicans rallied around an individual, a beloved local individual who was deported when he went in to ICE to try to get his paperwork sorted out because they never thought it would happen to him. In some of the most conservative rural areas of Iowa, I have seen communities that embraced immigration grow. And it’s why part of my plan for revitalizing the economies of rural America, includes community renewal visas that would allow cities and towns and counties that are hurting not only for jobs, but for population to embrace immigration as we have in my city.

Pete Buttigieg: (01:19:34)
The only reason that South Bend is growing right now after years of shrinking is immigration. It’s one of the reasons we acted, not waiting for Washington to create city issued municipal IDs. So that people regardless of immigration status in our city, had the opportunity to have the benefits of identification. We have an opportunity to actually get something done.

Jorge Ramos: (01:19:55)
Thank you.

Pete Buttigieg: (01:19:55)
But we cannot allow this to continue to be the same debate with the same arguments and the same clever lines, often among the same people since the last real reform happened in the 1980s. We have to actually engage the American majority around the opportunities for not just growth in small communities, but our values. Values of welcome, values of faith that all argue for us to manage this humanely and in a way that marries our values with our laws.

Jorge Ramos: (01:20:23)
Congress Beto O’Rourke [foreign language 01:20:24] in an interview eight months ago, you were asked what to do with a so-called overstay, people who come with a visa and then stay and you said, “I don’t know.” Do you have an answer now?

Beto O’Rourke: (01:20:36)
I do, and if you read the rest of that article in the Washington Post, I talked about harmonizing our entry exit system with Mexico in the same way that we do with Canada. I think that could help us to keep a handle on visa overstays but I think the larger question that we’re trying to get at is how do we rewrite this country’s immigration laws in our own image? In the image of Houston, Texas, the most diverse city in the United States of America. In the image of El Paso, Texas, one of the safest cities in the United States of America. Safe not despite the fact that we are a city of immigrants, safe because we are a city of immigrants. [foreign language 00:25:12].

Beto O’Rourke: (01:21:21)
I will lead an effort to make sure that we rewrite our immigration laws in that way, never cage another child. Make sure that there is accountability and justice for the seven lives lost under our care and our custody. But also face the fact that Democrats and Republicans alike voted to build a wall that has produced thousands of deaths of people trying to cross to join family or to work a job. That we have been part of deporting people hundreds of thousands just in the Obama administration alone who pose no threat to this country, breaking up their families. Democrats have to get off the back foot, we have to lead on this issue because we know it is right. Legalize America, begin with those more than 1 million dreamers. Make them US citizens right now in this, their true home country, and extend that to their parents, their sisters and their brothers, and ensure that we have a legal, safe, orderly system to come to this country and add to our greatness here.

Jorge Ramos: (01:22:16)
Thank you, George.

George S.: (01:22:17)
Jorge, thank you. We’re going to take a quick break when we come back, national security, foreign policy, the impact on American jobs and US troops.


Part 2: National Security, International Relations, Education

Speaker 1: (00:00)
Texas Southern University in Houston, the Democratic Debate.

George S: (00:05)
Welcome back. We want to turn now to national security and the foreign policy issue that has such a direct impact here at home, the US relationship with China, trade and president Trump’s tariffs. We received more than a hundred questions from viewers wanting to know how all of you are going to handle these tariffs, and Mr. Yang, let me begin with you. Would you repeal the tariffs on your first day in office. and if so, would you risk losing leverage in our trade relationship with China?

Andrew Yang: (00:32)
I would not repeal the tariffs on day one, but I would let the Chinese know that we need to hammer out a deal. Because right now the tariffs are pummeling producers and farmers in Iowa who have absolutely nothing to do with the imbalances that we have with China.

Andrew Yang: (00:46)
A CEO friend of mine was in China recently and he said that he saw pirated US intellectual property on worker workstations to the tune of thousands of dollars per head. And he said, “One, how can my workers compete against that? And two, think about all the lost revenue to American companies.” So the imbalances are real, but we have to let the Chinese know that we recognize that president Trump has pursued an arbitrary and haphazard trade policy that has had victims on both sides. So no to repealing the tariffs immediately, but yes, to making sure we come to a deal that addresses the concerns of American companies and American producers.

George S: (01:25)
Mayor Pete, let me take that question to you, because you’ve seen president Trump’s tweets. He says what’s going to happen here is the Chinese are just going to wait him out so they can get a Democrat who they can take advantage of. How do you think about China? We’ve seen president Trump called president Xi both an enemy and a friend.

Pete Buttigieg: (01:42)
Well, the president clearly has no strategy. You know, when I first got into this race, I remember president Trump scoffed and said he’d like to see me making a deal with Xi Jinping. I’d like to see him making a deal with Xi Jinping.

Pete Buttigieg: (01:55)
Is it just me or was that supposed to happen in like April? It’s one more example of a commitment not made. When that happens on the international stage, people take note, not just our competitors, our adversaries, but also our allies. Take note of the inability of the United States to keep its word or follow through on its plans. And when that happens, there are serious consequences.

Pete Buttigieg: (02:19)
We saw it at the G7, the leaders of some of the greatest powers and economies of the world sitting to talk about one of the greatest challenges in the world, climate change, and there was literally an empty chair where American leadership could have been. The problem is this is a moment when American leadership is needed more than ever, whether it’s in Hong Kong where those protestors for democracy need to know that they have a friend in the United States or anywhere around the world where increasingly we see dictators throwing their weight around. The world needs America, but it can’t be just any America. [crosstalk 00:02:52].

George S: (02:52)
Would you repeal the tariffs?

Pete Buttigieg: (02:53)
I would have a strategy that would include the tariffs as leverage, but it’s not about the tariffs. Look what’s going on right now is a president who has reduced the entire China challenge into a question of of tariffs, when what we know is that the tariffs are coming down on us more than anybody else, and there’s a lack of a bigger strategy.

George S: (03:12)
Senator Klobuchar, you’ve actually supported the tariffs on steel?

Sen Klobuchar: (03:17)
What we’ve got right now though, George, it’s not a focus tariff on steel. What he has done here, he has assessed these tariffs on our allies. He has put us in the middle of this trade war and he is treating our farmers and our workers like poker chips in one of his bankrupt casinos. And if we are not careful, he is going to bankrupt this country.

Sen Klobuchar: (03:37)
One forecast recently says that it has already cost us 300,000 jobs. All right? There is soybeans that are mounting up in bins all over the Midwest in my state of Minnesota and in Iowa. So what I think we need to do is to go back to the negotiating table. That’s what I would do. I wouldn’t have put all these tariffs in place and I wouldn’t have had a trade policy where on August 1st he announces he’s going to have tariffs on $300 billion of goods, on August 13th he cuts it in half, a week later he says he’s going to reduce taxes. The day after that he says he’s not going to do it.

Sen Klobuchar: (04:11)
The leaders of the world are watching this and it undermines our strength as a nation. And yes, we want fair trade, but we must work with the rest of the world and he has made a mockery of focused trade policy, which I think means enforcement like we’ve done in Northern Minnesota, passing bills, getting president Obama to do more on that so that our workers can benefit. So we are importing, exporting goods and making sure that it is a competitive policy where our goal is that we are making things, inventing things and exporting to the world. He is defeating that goal.

George S: (04:49)
Secretary Castro, you actually in one of the previous debates identified China as the most serious national security threat to our country. I want to pick up on what Senator Klobuchar was saying that she had said she’d go back to the negotiating table. The question is, what do you do for leverage? Where do you get it?

Sec. Castro: (05:02)
Well, look, I agree with those who have said that this erratic, haphazard trade war is hurting American families. As Senator Klobuchar said, 300,000 American jobs. It’s estimated that it’s cost $600 to the average American family. Just a couple of days ago 60% of Americans said that they believe that we’re in for a recession next year.

Sec. Castro: (05:23)
So when I become president, I would immediately begin to negotiate with China to ratchet down that trade war. We have leverage there. I also believe though, that we need to return to a leader when it comes to things like human rights. We have millions of Uyghurs for instance, in China, that right now are being imprisoned and mistreated. And in North Korea, this president is elevating a dictator. We need to stop that, we need to return to ensuring that America leads again on human rights.

Sec. Castro: (05:56)
When it comes to this trade war, I would immediately begin ratcheting that trade war down. We have leverage in that discussion.

George S: (06:02)
Senator Warren, let me bring you in on this conversation. President Obama signed the transpacific partnership In part, it was designed to reign in China, to bring China in to some kind of regulation. What do you think he got wrong?

E. Warren: (06:14)
So our trade policy in America has been broken for decades and it has been broken because it works for giant multinational corporations and not for much of anyone else. These are giant corporations that, shoot, if they can save a nickel by moving a job to a foreign country, they’ll do it in a heartbeat. And yet, for decades now, who’s been whispering in the ears of our trade negotiators, who has shaped our trade policy? It’s been the giant corporations. It’s been their lobbyists and their executives.

E. Warren: (06:50)
The way we change our trade policy in America is first, the procedures, who sits at the table. I want to negotiate trade with unions at the table. I want to negotiate it with small farmers at the table. I want to negotiate with environmentalists at the table. I want to negotiate with human rights activists at the table.

E. Warren: (07:10)
And you ask the question about leverage, if I can just respond to that one. The leverage, are you kidding? Everybody wants access to the American market. That means that we have the capacity to say right here in America, “You want to come sell goods to American consumers? Then you’ve got to raise your standards. You’ve got to raise your labor standards and you’ve got to raise your environmental standards so our companies can compete on a level playing field.” We can use trade not to undermine American workers and not to undermine American farms and not to undermine small businesses in this country. We can use trade to help build a stronger economy.

George S: (07:54)
Senator Harris, how would your trade policy different from president Obama’s?

Kamala Harris: (07:59)
Well, first of all, I have no criticism of that more than just looking at where we are now, which is that we’ve got a guy in The White House who has been erratic on trade policy. He conducts trade policy by tweet, frankly born out of his fragile ego. It has resulted in farmers in Iowa with soy beans rotting in bins looking at bankruptcy. When we look at this issue, my trade policy under a Harris administration is always going to be about saying, “We need to export American products, not American jobs.” And to do that we have to have a meaningful trade policy. I am not a protectionist Democrat. Look, we need to sell our stuff, and that means we need to sell it to people overseas. That means we need trade policies that allow that to happen.

Kamala Harris: (08:43)
You asked earlier about China, it’s a complicated relationship. We have to hold China accountable. They steal our products, including our intellectual property. They dump substandard products into our economy. They need to be held accountable.

Kamala Harris: (08:56)
We also need to partner with China on climate and the crisis that that presents. We need to partner with China on the issue of North Korea. I am on, and I think the only person on this stage, the Senate Intelligence Committee and the Senate Homeland security committee. We need a partner on the issue of North Korea. But the bottom line is this, Donald Trump in office on trade policy, you know, he reminds me of that guy in the Wizard of Oz, you know, when you pull back the curtain it’s a really small dude.

Speaker 1: (09:29)
Okay. I’m not even going to take the bait Senator Harris, but I am going to take this to [crosstalk 00:09:39] take this to Senator Sanders right now [crosstalk 00:09:40]

Bernie Sanders: (09:42)
There is a reason why in the last 45 years, the average American today, despite an explosion of technology and work or productivity, is not making a penny more than he or she made 45 years ago. And one of the reasons is that for decades we have had disastrous trade policies.

Bernie Sanders: (10:06)
And I got to say to my good friend Joe Biden, Joe and I strongly disagree on trade. I helped lead the opposition to NAFTA and PNTR, which cost this country over four million good paying jobs. And what happened is people who had those jobs ended up getting other jobs making 50% of what they made in manufacturing.

Bernie Sanders: (10:36)
So Trump obviously hasn’t a clue. Trump thinks that trade policy is a tweet at three o’clock in the morning. What we have got to do is develop a trade policy that represents workers, represents the farmers in the Midwest and elsewhere. We’re losing billions right now because of Trump’s policy. A trade policy which understands that if a company shuts down in America and goes abroad and then thinks they’re going to get online to get a lucrative federal contract, under Bernie Sanders, they got another guess coming.

George S: (11:19)
Vice president Biden, he invoked your name.

Joe Biden: (11:21)
Yeah, well look, we’re either going to make the policy or China’s going to make the rules of the road. We make up 25% of the world economy. We need another 25% to join us, and I think Senator Warren is correct. At the table has to be labor, and at the table have to be environmentalists.

Joe Biden: (11:42)
The fact of the matter is, China, the problem isn’t the trade deficit. The problem is they’re stealing our intellectual property. The problem is they’re violating the WTO. They’re dumping steel on us. That’s a different issue than whether or not they’re dumping agricultural products on us.

Joe Biden: (11:58)
In addition to that, we’re in a position where if we don’t set the rules, we in fact are going to find ourselves with China setting the rules. And that’s why you need to organize the world to take on China to stop the corrupt practices that are underway.

George S: (12:13)
Senator Booker, close out this round.

Cory Booker: (12:14)

Cory Booker: (12:15)
There’s one point we’re really missing on this stage right now, which is the fact that Donald Trump’s America First policy is actually an America isolated, an America alone policy. [crosstalk 00:12:26].

Cory Booker: (12:26)
From trade, to battling China, to the global crisis of climate change, the challenges in the Middle East. He is pulling us away from our allies, out of the Iran deal, out of the Paris climate accords. And on trade he’s deciding to take on China while at the same time taking on tariff battles with all of our allies.

Cory Booker: (12:47)
You literally have him using a national security waiver to put tariffs on Canada. Now look, I’m the only person on the stage that finds Trudeau’s hair very menacing, but they are not a national security threat. We cannot go up against China alone. This is a president that has a better relationship with dictators like Duterte and Putin than he does with Merkel and Macron.

Cory Booker: (13:11)
We are the strongest nation on the planet earth and our strength is multiplied and magnified when we stand with our allies in common cause and common purpose. That’s how we beat China, that’s how we beat climate change on the planet earth and that’s how American values are the ones that lead on issues of trade and workers’ rights.

George S: (13:30)

David : (13:30)
George, thank you.

David : (13:31)
I want to turn now to our troops overseas and to America’s longest war in Afghanistan. US talks with the Taliban are dead according to the president. Secret talks at Camp David have been canceled before they could happen. Many of you have weighed in on that already, so I want to move past that tonight to what all of you have promised on the campaign trail. Many of you on this stage have said you’d bring the troops home in your first term, others have said in your first year.

David : (13:54)
Senator Warren, we all know the presidency is much different from the campaign trail. President Obama wanted to bring the troops home, President Trump promised to bring the troops home, and you have said of Afghanistan, “Let’s help them reach a peace settlement. It is time to bring our troops home,” in your words, “Starting right now.” Would you keep that promise to bring the troops home starting right now with no deal with the Taliban?

E. Warren: (14:15)
Yes, and I’ll tell you why. What we’re doing right now in Afghanistan is not helping the safety and security of the United States, it is not helping the safety and security of the world, it is not helping the safety and security of Afghanistan. We need to bring our troops home and then we need to make a big shift. We cannot ask our military to keep solving problems that cannot be solved militarily. We’re not going to bomb our way to a solution in Afghanistan. We need to treat the problem of terrorism as a worldwide problem and that means we need to be working with all of our allies, our European allies, our Canadian allies, our Asian allies, our allies in Africa and in South America. We need to work together to root out terrorism. It means using all of our tools, it means economic investment, it means expanding our diplomatic efforts instead of hollowing out the state department and deliberately making it so we have no eyes and ears in many of these countries. We need a foreign policy that is about our security and about leading on our values.

David : (15:37)
Senator Warren, a quick follow on that because top US leaders, military leaders on the ground in Afghanistan told me you can’t do it without a deal with the Taliban. You just said you would [crosstalk 00:15:46] you would bring them home. What if they told you that, would you would listen to their advice?

E. Warren: (15:49)
I was in Afghanistan with John McCain two years ago this past summer. I think it may have been Senator McCain’s last trip before he was sick. And I talked to people, we did, we talked to military leaders, American and local leaders. We talked to people on the ground and ask the question, the same one I ask on the Senate Armed Services Committee every time one of the Generals comes through. Show me what winning looks like, tell me what it looks like. And what you hear is a lot of [inaudible 00:16:22] because no one can describe it and the reason no one can describe it is because the problems in Afghanistan are not problems that can be solved by a military.

E. Warren: (16:35)
I have three older brothers who all served in the military. I understand firsthand the kind of commitment they have made. They will do anything we ask them to do, but we cannot ask them to solve problems that they alone cannot solve. We need to work with the rest of the world. We need to use our economic tools. We need to use our diplomatic tools, we need to build with our allies and we need to make the whole world safer, not keep troops bombing in Afghanistan.

David : (17:06)
Senator Warren, thank you.

David : (17:07)
I do want to stay on this and I’m going to turn to Mayor Buttigieg, because you’re the only veteran on this stage who served in Afghanistan. We heard in recent days from General Joseph Dunford, the chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who said in recent days, “I’m not going to use the word withdrawal right now. It’s our judgment the Afghans need support to deal with the level of violence.” If he’s not even using the word withdrawal, would you put your promise to bring troops home in the first year on hold to follow the advice?

Pete Buttigieg: (17:33)
You know I served under General Dunford, way under General Dunford in Afghanistan. And today, September 12th, 2019 means that today you could be 18 years old, old enough to serve, and have not been alive on 9/11. We have got to put an end to endless war. And the way we do it is see to it that that country will never again be-

Pete Buttigieg: (18:03)
… that that country will never again be used for an attack against our homeland, and that does not require an open-ended commitment of ground troops.

Pete Buttigieg: (18:10)
Let me say something else, because if there’s one thing we’ve learned about Afghanistan … from Afghanistan, it’s that the best way not to be caught up in endless war is to avoid starting one in the first place. And so when I am president, an authorization for the use of military force will have a built-in three-year sunset. Congress will be required to vote and a president will be required to go to Congress to seek an authorization. Because if our troops can summon the courage to go overseas, the least our members of Congress should be able to do is summon the courage to take a vote on whether they ought to be there.

Pete Buttigieg: (18:48)
By the way, we also have a president right now who seems to treat troops as props, or worse, tools for his own enrichment. We saw what’s going on with flights apparently being routed through Scotland just so people can stay at his hotels. I’ll tell you, as a military officer, the very first thing that goes through your mind the first time you ever make eye contact with somebody that you were responsible for in uniform is, “Do not let these men and women down.” This president is doing exactly that. I will not.

David : (19:18)
Mayor Buttigieg, thank you.

David : (19:20)
I want to turn to Vice President Biden, because the concerns about any possible vacuum being created in Afghanistan if you pulled the US troops out has been heightened by what we’ve seen in recent days on the ground in Iraq. When you were vice president, President Obama turned to you to bring the troops home from Iraq. You have said on the campaign trail, “I made sure the president turned to me and said, ‘Joe, get our combat troops out of Iraq.'” There was a major drawdown of US troops, and then ISIS seized, by some estimates, 40% of the territory in Iraq. You then had to send thousands of troops back in. Was it wrong to pull out of Iraq that quickly? And did the move actually help ISIS take hold?

Joe Biden: (19:58)
No, it wasn’t wrong to pull out, but I want to answer the Afghanistan question. I’ve been in and out of Afghanistan, not with a gun, and I admire my friend for his service, but I’ve been in and out of Afghanistan I think more than anybody on this … And it’s an open secret. You reported a long time ago, George, that I was opposed to the surge in Afghanistan. The whole purpose of going to Afghanistan was to not have a counter insurgency, meaning that we’re going to put that country together. It can not be put together. Let me say it again, it will not be put together. It’s three different countries. Pakistan owns the three counties … the three provinces in the east. There are not any part of the [inaudible 00:20:37] run it. I will go on and on.

Joe Biden: (20:38)
But here’s the point. The point is that it’s a counter-terrorism strategy. We can prevent the United States from being the victim of terror coming out of Afghanistan by providing for bases, insist the Pakistanis provide bases for us to airlift from, and to move against what we know. We don’t need those troops there. I would bring them home. And Joe Dunford’s a fine guy, but this has been an internal argument we’ve had for eight years.

Joe Biden: (21:03)
With regard to Iraq, the fact of the matter is that I should’ve never voted to give Bush authority to go in and do what he said he was going to do. The AUMF was designed, he said, to go in and get the security council to vote 15 to nothing, to allow inspectors to go in to determine whether or not anything was being done with chemical weapons or nuclear weapons. And when that happened, he went ahead and went anyway without any of that proof.

Joe Biden: (21:33)
I said something that was not meant the way I said it. I said from that point on what I was argued against in the beginning, once he started to put the troops in, was that, in fact, we were doing it the wrong way. There was no plan. We should not be engaged. We didn’t have the people with us. We didn’t have our aligned … We didn’t have allies with us, etc. And it was later when we came into office, that Barack, the president, turned to me and said, “Joe …” when they said we got to plan to get out, he turned to the whole security, and said, “Joe will organize this. Get the troops home.”

Joe Biden: (22:05)
My son spent a year in Iraq, and I understand, and we were right to get the combat troops out. The big mistake that was made, which we predicted, was that you would not have a circumstance where the Shia and the Kurds would work together to keep ISIS from moving in. Now-

David : (22:26)
Mr. Vice President, thank you. I want to turn to Senator Sanders on this, because the concern over Afghanistan is very similar to what we saw in Iraq. When the troops came out, ISIS filled that vacuum. What do you make of people out there who are worried that if we pull out US troops too quickly from Afghanistan, it will create safe haven all over again, like the plotters of 9/11?

Bernie Sanders: (22:44)
David, let me answer that, but let me just comment on something that the vice president said. You talked about the big mistake in Iraq and the surge. The truth is, the big mistake, the huge mistake, and one of the big differences between you and me, I never believed what Cheney and Bush said about Iraq.

Joe Biden: (23:03)
You’re right.

Bernie Sanders: (23:04)
I voted against the war in Iraq and helped lead the opposition. And it’s sad to say, I mean, I kind of had the feeling that there would be massive destabilization in that area if we went into that war.

Bernie Sanders: (23:20)
As the former chairman of the Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs, I want to pick up on what Pete said, we cannot express our gratitude to all of the men and women who have put their lives on the line to defend us, who have responded to the call of duty. But I think also, I am the only person up here to have voted against all three of Trump’s military budgets. I don’t think we have to spend $750 billion a year on the military when we don’t even know who our enemy is.

Bernie Sanders: (23:58)
I think that what we have got to do is bring this world together, bring it together on climate change, bring it together in fighting against terrorism, and make it clear that we, as a planet, as a global community, we’ll work together to help countries around the world rebuild their struggling economies, and do everything that we can to rid the world of terrorism. But dropping bombs on Afghanistan and Iraq was not the way to do it.

David : (24:33)
Senator Sanders, thank you. I want to take this to Mr. Yang. You share the stage, as you know, when we talk about troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, with the vice president, who was in the situation room, with senators who were on the Senate Arms Services, the foreign relations committees, with an Afghanistan veteran who is on the stage tonight. As you share the stage with these candidates, what makes you the most qualified on this stage to be commander-in-chief?

Andrew Yang: (24:57)
I’ve signed a pledge to end the forever wars. We’ve been in a state of continuous armed conflict for 18 years, which is not what the American people want. We have to start owning what we can and can’t do. We’re not very good at rebuilding countries. And if you want proof, all you have to do is look within our own country at Puerto Rico. We’ve spent trillions of dollars to unclear benefits, lost thousands of lives. And thank you, Pete, for your service.

Andrew Yang: (25:22)
And the goal has to be to rebuild the relationships that have made America strong for decades. I would lead our armed forces with restraint and judgment. What the American people want is simply a president who has the right values and point of view, and they can trust to make the right decisions when it comes to putting our young men and women into harm’s way. And that’s what I would do as president.

David : (25:46)
Mr. Yang, thank you. Jorge.

Jorge Ramos: (25:49)
Thank you very much. [foreign language 00:07:50]. You haven’t been asked about Latin America in the previous debates, so let’s begin. Senator Sanders, one country where many immigrants are arriving from is Venezuela. A recent UN fact-finding mission found that thousands have been disappeared, tortured, and killed by government forces in Venezuela. You admit that Venezuela does not have free elections, but still you refuse to call Nicolas Maduro un dictador, a dictator. Can you explain why? And what are the main differences between your kind of socialism and the one being imposed in Venezuela, Cuba, and Nicaragua?

Bernie Sanders: (26:27)
Well, first of all, let me be very clear. Anybody who does what Maduro does is a vicious tyrant. What we need now is international and regional cooperation for free elections in Venezuela so that the people of that country can make and can create their own future.

Bernie Sanders: (26:46)
In terms of democratic socialism, to equate what goes on in Venezuela with what I believe, is extremely unfair. I’ll tell you what I believe in terms of democratic socialism. I agree with what goes on in Canada and in Scandinavia, guaranteeing healthcare to all people as a human right. I believe that the United States should not be the only major country on earth not to provide paid family and medical leave. I believe that every worker in this country deserves a living wage, and that we expand the trade union movement.

Bernie Sanders: (27:22)
I happen to believe also that what, to me, democratic socialism means, is we deal with an issue we do not discuss enough, Jorge, not in the media, and not in Congress. You got three people in America owning more wealth than the bottom half of this country. You got a handful of billionaires controlling what goes on in Wall Street, the insurance companies, and in the media. Maybe, just [inaudible 00:27:49] maybe, what we should be doing-

Jorge Ramos: (27:51)
Thank you.

Bernie Sanders: (27:51)
… is creating an economy that works for all of us, not 1%. That’s my understanding of democratic socialism.

Jorge Ramos: (27:58)
[Inaudible 00:27:58] you wanted to say a quick response, 45 seconds.

Sec. Castro: (28:02)
Sure. Thank you, Jorge. I’ll call Maduro a dictator, because he is a dictator. And what we need to do is to, along with our allies, make sure that the Venezuelan people get the assistance that they need, that we continue to pressure Venezuela so that they’ll have free and fair elections. And also, here in the United States, offer a temporary protected status, TPS, to Venezuelans. That is something that the Trump administration has failed to do. For all of his big talk about supporting the Venezuelan-American community, he has failed. I will not.

Sec. Castro: (28:34)
I also believe that we need to do things like a 21st-century Marshall Plan for Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala, so that people can find safety and opportunity at home instead of having to make the dangerous journey to the United States. And under my administration, we’re going to put renewed focus on Latin America. It makes sense. They’re our neighbors, and we have a lot of things in common.

Jorge Ramos: (28:56)
Thank you.

Sec. Castro: (28:56)
It also makes sense that, because we have a country like China that is going around the world to places like Africa and Latin America, making their own relationships, strengthening those, the United States needs to strengthen its partnerships in Latin America immediately.

Jorge Ramos: (29:10)
Thank you [crosstalk 00:29:10]-

Sec. Castro: (29:10)
And I will.

Jorge Ramos: (29:11)
Senator Booker, let me ask you about Brazil. After the recent fires in the Amazon, some experts suggested that eating less meat is one way to help the environment. You are a vegan since 2014. That’s obviously a personal choice. But President Trump and Brazil’s President Bolsonaro are concerned that climate change regulations could affect economic growth. So should more Americans, including those here in Texas and in Iowa, follow your diet?

Cory Booker: (29:41)
First of all, I want to say no. Actually, I want to translate that into Spanish: No. Look, let’s just be clear, the factory farming going on that’s assaulting this corporate consolidation of the agriculture industry, one of the reasons why I have a bill to put a moratorium on this kind of corporate consolidation is because this factory farming is destroying and hurting our environment. And you see independent family farmers being pushed out of business because of the kind of incentives we are giving that don’t line up with our values. That’s what I’m calling for.

Cory Booker: (30:20)
But I want to switch, because we don’t have … a crowded debate stage. We were talking about Afghanistan and Iraq. It annoys me that we had a conversation about our troops overseas and we didn’t say one word about veterans in our country. We have a shameful reality in America that we send people off to war and they often come home with invisible wounds, hurts and harms. They’re disproportionately homeless. You hear stories about women waiting for months for gynecological care through the VA. It is very important that we as a country understand that we are not going to solve every problem with this outrageous increased militarism, that we also make sure that we stand up for the people that stood for us. We end our national anthem with “home of the brave.” It’s about time we make this a better home for our bravest.

Jorge Ramos: (31:11)
Congressman O’Rourke, hurricane Harvey hit this town two years ago, and not only is the Amazon burning, Greenland is melting at a record pace. The last five years have been the hottest ever recorded. And we have a viewer’s question about this: “What meaningful action will you take to reverse the effect of climate change? And can we count on you to follow through if your donors are against it?

Beto O’Rourke: (31:35)
Yes, we will follow through regardless of the political consequences or who it offends, because this is the very future of our planet and our ability for our children and grandchildren to be able to survive on it. We will make sure that we get to net zero greenhouse gas emissions no later than the year 2050, that we are halfway there by 2030, that we mobilize $5 trillion over the next 10 years to do that, that we invest here in Houston, Texas with pre-disaster mitigation grants to protect those communities that are vulnerable to flooding. Given the fact that this town has seen three 500-year floods in just five years, you’d like to think you’re good for 1,500 years, but you’re not. They’re coming faster, and larger, and more devastating than ever.

Beto O’Rourke: (32:21)
We’re also going to make sure that we free ourselves from a dependence on fossil fuels and embrace renewable wind and solar energy technology, as well as the high-paying, high-skill, high-wage jobs that come along with that. And then we’re going to pay farmers for the environmental services that they want to provide. Planting cover crops, keeping more land under conservation, using no-till farming, regenerative agriculture can pull carbon out of the air and can drive it and sequester it into the soil. That’s the way that we’re going to meet this challenge, and we’re going to bring everyone into the solution.

Jorge Ramos: (32:53)
Many of you want to comment. Let’s try to see if we can go very fast. Senator Klobuchar.

Sen Klobuchar: (32:58)
Thank you. This is the existential crisis of our time. You know that movie, The Day After Tomorrow? It’s today. We have seen a warming in our world like never before. We’re seeing flooding in the Midwest, flooding in Houston, fires in the West. And I think having someone leading the ticket from the Midwest will allow us to talk about this in a different way and get it done.

Sen Klobuchar: (33:22)
On day one, I will get us back into the international climate change agreement. On day two, I will bring back the Clean Power rules that president Obama had worked on. On day three, I will bring back the gas mileage standards. You can do all that without Congress, which is good. On day four, five, and six, I will, working with Congress and mayors and businesspeople all over the country, introduce sweeping legislation to get at that 2050 goal.

Jorge Ramos: (33:51)
Thank you.

Sen Klobuchar: (33:51)
And on day seven, you’re supposed to rest, but I won’t.

Jorge Ramos: (33:54)
Senator Warren-

Sen Klobuchar: (33:54)
This is what we need to do if we’re going to get at climate change. We have to take this on as a crisis that’s happening right now.

Jorge Ramos: (34:01)
Senator Warren, should American foreign policy be based around the principle of climate change?

E. Warren: (34:05)
Yes. We need to work on every front on climate change. It is the threat to every living thing on this planet, and we are running out of time. Every time the scientists go back, they say we have less and less time than we thought we had. But that means we’ve got to use all the tools. One of the tools we need to use are our regulatory tools. I have proposed, following, Governor Inslee, that we, by 2028, cut all carbon emissions from new buildings, by 2030, carbon emissions from cars, and by 2035, all carbon emissions from the manufacture of electricity. That alone, those three, will cut our emissions here in the United States by 70%. We can do this.

E. Warren: (34:54)
We also need to help around the world to clean, but understand this one more time, why doesn’t it happen?

Jorge Ramos: (35:02)
Thank you.

E. Warren: (35:02)
As long as Washington is paying more attention to money than it is to our future, we can’t make the changes we need to make. We have to attack the corruption head on so that we can save our planet.

Jorge Ramos: (35:16)
Senator Harris, 45 seconds.

Kamala Harris: (35:18)
When I think about this issue, it really is through the lens of my baby nieces who are one and a half and three years old. When I look at what is going to be the world if we do nothing, when they turn 20, I am really scared. And when I’ve been in the United States Senate for now the last two and a half years, and I look at our counterparts, the Republicans in the United States Senate, they must be looking at their children. And then when they look at the mirror, I don’t know what they see, but it’s a lack of courage.

Kamala Harris: (35:48)
And this is an issue that, yes, it represents an existential threat. It is also something we can do something about. This is a problem that was created by human behaviors, and we can change our behaviors in a way that-

Kamala Harris: (36:03)
… and we can change our behaviors in a way that saves our planet. I’ve seen it happen in California. I took on as the Attorney General of California. I ran the second largest Department of Justice in the United States. Second only to the United States Department of Justice. I took on the big oil companies. We saw progress.

Kamala Harris: (36:20)
If any of you have been to Los Angeles [crosstalk 00:36:22] 20 years ago, you’ll remember, that sky was brown. You go there now the sky is blue. You know why? Because leader decided to lead. We took on these big fossil fuel companies. We have some of the most important and strongest laws-

Speaker 2: (36:36)
Thank you.

Kamala Harris: (36:36)
… in the country.

Speaker 2: (36:36)
Thank you, very much.

Kamala Harris: (36:38)
We made a difference. My point being I’ve done it before and I will lead as president on this issue because we have no time. The clock is ticking-

Speaker 2: (36:47)
Thank you.

Kamala Harris: (36:48)
[crosstalk 00:36:48] … but we need courage and we need courageous leadership. We can get this done.

Speaker 2: (36:52)
Mr. Yang.

Andrew Yang: (36:55)
To follow up on what Elizabeth said, why are we losing to the fossil fuel companies? Why are we losing to the gun lobby and the NRA? The answer is this, we all know, everyone on this stage knows, that our government has been overrun by money and corporate interests. Now everyone here has a plan to try and curb those corporate interests, but we have to face facts. Money finds a way. Money will find its way back in.

Andrew Yang: (37:19)
What is the answer? The answer is to wash the money out with people powered money. My proposal is that we give every American 100 democracy dollars that you can only give to candidates and causes that you like. This would washout the lobbyist cash by a factor of eight to one. That is the only way we will win. As someone running for president I’ll tell you, there’s the people on one side and the money on the other. The only way for us to win is if we bring them together.

Speaker 2: (37:46)
Thank you Mr. Yang.

Speaker 2: (37:47)
[Lindsey 00:37:47].

Lindsey: (37:47)
I’d like to have an academic discussion now about education. Mr. Yang we’ll stay with you. Here in Houston the school district is facing yet another year of spending cuts. Like schools across the country the system faces many challenges. One of them, thousands of students are leaving traditional public schools and going to charter schools. You are the most vocal proponent on this stage for charter schools.

Lindsey: (38:10)
You have said that Democrats who want to limit them are, quote, “Just jumping into bed with teacher’s unions and doing kids a disservice.” Why isn’t tax payer money better spent on fixing traditional public schools?

Andrew Yang: (38:22)
Let me be clear, I am pro good school. I’ve got a kid … One of my little boys just started public school last week, and I was not there because I was running for president. We need to pay teachers more because the data clearly shows a good teacher is worth his or her weight in gold. We need to lighten up the emphasis on standardized tests, which do not measure anything fundamental about our character or human word.

Andrew Yang: (38:50)
But here’s the big one, the data clearly shows that 65 to 70 percent of our students’ outcomes are determined outside of the school. We’re talking about time spent at home with the parents, words read to them when they’re young, stress levels in the house, income, type of neighborhood. We’re putting money into schools, and educators know this. We’re saying, “You’re 100% responsible for educating our kids but you can only control 30%.” They all know this. The answer is to put money directly into the families and neighborhoods to give our kids a chance to learn, and our teachers a chance to teach.

Lindsey: (39:26)
Mayor Buttigieg, 45 seconds to respond.

Pete Buttigieg: (39:31)
Step one is appoint a Secretary of Education who actually believes in public education. I believe in public education. In order to strengthen it some things are very complex, for preparing for a future where knowledge is at your fingertips but we got to teach more to do with critical thinking, and social and emotional learning. Some of it is extremely simple, we’ve just got to pay teachers more. We’ve got to lift up the teaching profession.

Pete Buttigieg: (40:02)
I always think of a story from South Bend of friends who hosted exchange students from Japan. They had a student one year who wanted to be a teacher. They kept in touch with her when she went back to Japan and to college. She took the exam to try to become a teacher, in a society that really regards teachers and compensates teachers well. She came up just short. You know what she did? Since she was academically good but couldn’t quite make the cut to be a teacher? She had a fallback plan. She became a doctor. That is how seriously some countries treat the teaching profession.

Pete Buttigieg: (40:35)
If we want to get the results that we expect for our children we have to support and compensate the teaching profession. Respect teachers the way we do soldiers and pay them more like the way we do doctors.

Lindsey: (40:47)
Senator Warren, to use Mr. Yang’s term, are you just jumping into bed with teacher’s unions?

E. Warren: (40:53)
I think I’m the only person on this stage who has been a public school teacher. I’ve wanted to be a public school teacher since I was in 2nd grade. Let’s be clear in all the ways we talk about this, money for public schools should stay in public schools, not go anywhere else. I’ve already made my commitment. We will have a Secretary of Education who has been a public school teacher.

E. Warren: (41:26)
I think this is ultimately about our values. I have proposed a two cent wealth tax on the top 1/10 of 1% in this country. That would give us enough money to start with our babies by providing universal child care for every baby age zero to five. Universal pre-K for every three year old and four year old in this country.

Lindsey: (41:53)
Thank you Senator.

E. Warren: (41:54)
Raise the wages of every childcare worker and pre-school teacher in this country. Cancel student loan debt for 95% of the folks who’ve got it.

Lindsey: (42:05)
Thank you Senator.

E. Warren: (42:06)
Strengthen our unions. This is how we build an America that reflects our values, not just where the money comes from with the billionaires and corporate executives.

Lindsey: (42:17)
Senator Harris, 45 seconds to respond.

Kamala Harris: (42:19)
My first grade teacher, Mrs. Francis Wilson, God rest her soul, attended my law school graduation. I think most of us would say that we are not where we are without the teachers who believed in us. I have offered, in this campaign, a proposal to deal with this, which will be the first in the nation, Federal investment enclosing the teacher pay gap. Which is $13,500 a year. Because right now in our public schools our teachers, 94% of them are coming out of their own pocket to help pay for school supplies. That is wrong.

Kamala Harris: (42:51)
I also want to talk about where we are here at TSU and what it means in terms of HBCUs. I have, as part of my proposal, that we will put two trillion dollars into investing in our HBCUs for teachers. Because one, as a proud graduate of a historically black college and university I will say that is our HBCUs that disproportionately produce teachers and those who serve in these many professions. But also-

Lindsey: (43:22)
Thank you Senator.

Kamala Harris: (43:22)
But this is a critical point. If a black child has a black teacher before the end of third grade they are 13% more likely to go to college. If that child has had two black teachers before the end of third grade they are 32% more likely to go to college. When we talk about investing in our public education system it is at the source of so much. When we fix it that will fix so many other things. We must invest in the potential-

Lindsey: (43:54)
Thank you Senator.

Kamala Harris: (43:55)
… of our children.

Lindsey: (43:55)
Senator Sanders-

Kamala Harris: (43:56)
I strongly believe you can judge a [crosstalk 00:43:58] society based on how it treats its children and we are-

Lindsey: (44:01)
Thank you Senator.

Kamala Harris: (44:02)
… failing on this issue.

Bernie Sanders: (44:09)
Guess what? You’re guessing. All right, here’s the answer. We are the wealthiest country in the history of the world. Yet we have the highest child poverty rate of almost any country on Earth. We have teachers in this country who are leaving education because they can’t work two or three jobs to support themselves, which is why under my legislation we’ll move to see that every teacher in America makes at least $60,000 a year.

Bernie Sanders: (44:48)
What we will also do is not only have universal pre-K, we will make public colleges, and universities, and HBCUs debt free. What we will also do, because this is an incredible burden on millions and millions of young people who did nothing wrong except try to get the education they need, we are going to cancel all student debt in this country.

Lindsey: (45:19)
Thank you Senator. Thank you.

Bernie Sanders: (45:19)
We are going to do that by imposing a tax on Wall Street speculation.

Lindsey: (45:28)
Thank you [crosstalk 00:45:29] Senator. Mr. Vice President, I want to come to you, and talk to you about inequality in schools, and race. In a conversation about how to deal with segregation in schools back in 1975 you told a reporter, “I don’t feel responsible for the sins of my father and grandfather. I feel responsible for what the situation is today, for the sins of my own generation. I’ll be damned if I feel responsible to pay for what happened 300 years ago.” You said that some 40 years ago, but as you stand here tonight, what responsibility do you think that Americans need to take to repair the legacy of slavery in our country?

Joe Biden: (46:06)
Well they have to deal with the … Look, there is institutional segregation in this country. From the time I got involved I started dealing with that. Redlining banks. Making sure that we are in a position where … Look, we talk about education. I propose that what we take is those very poor schools, the Title 1 schools, triple the amount of money we spend from 15 to 45 billion a year. Give every single teacher a raise so they equal raise of getting out of the $60,000 level.

Joe Biden: (46:33)
Number two, make sure that we bring into help the teachers deal with the problems that come from home. The problems that come from home. We have one school psychologist for every 1,500 kids in America today. It’s crazy. The teachers are … I’m married to a teacher. My deceased wife is a teacher. They have every problem coming to them. We make sure that every single child does in fact have three, four, and five year olds go to school. School. Not daycare, school. We bring social workers into homes and parents, to help them deal with how to raise their children.

Joe Biden: (47:06)
It’s not that they don’t want to help. They don’t know quite what to do. Play the radio. Make sure the television … Excuse me. Make sure you have the record player on at night. Make sure the kids hear words. A kid coming from a very poor background will hear four million words fewer spoken by the time they get there. There’s so much we can-

Lindsey: (47:26)
Thank you Mr. Vice President.

Joe Biden: (47:27)
No, I’m going to go like the rest of them do, twice over. Okay? Because here’s the deal. The deal is that we’ve got this a little backwards.

Joe Biden: (47:36)
By the way, in Venezuela we should be allowing people to come here from Venezuela. I know Maduro. I’ve confronted Maduro.

Joe Biden: (47:43)
Number two, you talk about the need to do something to Latin America. I’m the guy that came up with 740 million dollars to see to it those three countries, in fact, changed their system so people don’t have a chance to leave. You’re all acting like we just discovered this yesterday. Thank you very much.

Lindsey: (47:58)
Thank you Mr. Vice President.

Lindsey: (47:59)
Secretary Castro.

Sec. Castro: (48:01)
Thank you very much. Well that’s quite a lot. [crosstalk 00:48:05] But I grew up in one of those neighborhoods that folks have talked about. In a neighborhood that was grappling with the legacy of segregation. In fact in two public school districts that were involved in a 1973 Supreme Court case, challenging how Texas financed its schools.

Sec. Castro: (48:25)
I know that today our schools are segregated because our neighborhoods are segregated. Now I have an education plan, like a lot of folks up here, that would pay teachers more. That would recruit diverse ranks of teachers. That would invest in our public schools, but I also believe that we have to connect the dots. To uplift the quality of life. To invest in housing opportunity, to invest in job opportunity, to invest in community schools that offer resources like parents able to go back and get their GED. Healthcare opportunities. Those things that truly ensure that the entire family can prosper. Those are the types of things we need to do, in addition to lifting up our public schools.

Sec. Castro: (49:07)
You asked a second ago about charter schools. Look, it is a myth that charter schools are better than public schools. They’re not.

Lindsey: (49:15)
Thank you Secretary.

Sec. Castro: (49:19)
Well I’m not categorically against charter schools, I would require more transparency and accountability from them than is required right now.

Lindsey: (49:27)
Senator Booker, coming to you know. It was 65 years ago this year that the Supreme Court outlawed racial segregation in public schools. Yet for millions of students of color today segregation remains a reality. Non-white districts typically receive $2,200 less per student than those in white districts. This means older books, less access to computers, and often worse outcomes. What is your plan to address segregation? I’m not just talking about the achievement gap, but I’m talking about the opportunity gap in education.

Cory Booker: (49:58)
I’m hearing a lot of conversations on the stage and the way we talk about communities of color. Look I live in a black and brown community below the poverty line. I’ve lived in [Polk 00:50:10] Housing Projects for almost a decade and saw the anguish of parents who are just so deeply frustrated that they don’t have a school that serves their genius. I think I’m the only person on the stage, even though I had no formal authority as Mayor to run a school system, I stepped up and took responsibility for our schools. We produce results.

Cory Booker: (50:29)
A lot of folks here talking about raising teachers salary. We actually did it in Newark, New Jersey. We didn’t stop there. We closed poor performing charter schools, but dagnabbit we expanded high performing charter schools. We were a city that said, “We need to find local solutions that work for our community.” The results speak for themselves. We’re now the number one city in America for Beat the Odds schools. From high poverty to high performance. Strategies like investing in our children work.

Cory Booker: (50:57)
I’ll tell you this. I am tired of us thinking about these problems isolated, disconnected from the other issues. That’s why my friend Secretary Castro is 100% right. We are in the reality we are right now because Vice President of overtly racist policies, not 400 years ago just in my lifetime. That were redlining communities, disinvesting in communities. More than just that, my kids are not only struggling with racial segregation, and housing, and the challenges of underfunded schools, but they’re also struggling with environmental injustice. If you’ve talked to someone who’s a parent of a child who has had permanent brain damage because of lead, you’ll know this is a national problem because there’s over 3,000 jurisdictions in America where children have more than twice the blood lead levels of Flint, Michigan.

Lindsey: (51:44)
Thank you Senator.

Cory Booker: (51:45)
If I’m President of the United States it is a holistic solution to education. From raising teachers’ salary, fully funded special education, but combating the issues of poverty, combating the issues of racial segregation, combating the issues of a criminal justice system that takes-

Lindsey: (51:59)
Thank you Senator.

Cory Booker: (51:59)
… parents away from their kids. Dealing with environmental justice as a major pillar of any climate policy.

Speaker 3: (52:05)
[crosstalk 00:52:05] Thank you Lindsey. One final question coming up. We’ll be right back.

Part 3: Closing Statements

George S.: (00:00)
… a round of questions. One question for each candidate. We’re going to go in reverse order from the opening statement and the candidates. The question is on the quality of resilience. No president can succeed without resilience. Every president confronts crises, defeats and mistakes. So, I want to ask each of you, what’s the most significant professional setback you’ve had to face? How did you recover from it, and what did you learn from it? Vice President Biden.

Joe Biden: (00:28)
I never counted any professional setback I have as a serious setback. There’s things that are important, things that aren’t important.

George S.: (00:56)
We’re going to clear the protestors now. Just one minute.

George S.: (01:08)
Senator Biden, we’ll start the clock again.

Speaker 3: (01:09)
[inaudible 00:01:12].

Joe Biden: (01:09)
What’d they say?

Joe Biden: (01:22)
I’m sorry.

George S.: (01:23)
We’re sorry. Go ahead.

Joe Biden: (01:26)
There are setbacks to the setbacks, and I think the most critical setback that can occur to anyone is to lose … Well, my dad had an expression. He said, “Joey, it’s not a question of succeeding and whether you get knocked down, it’s how quickly you get up.” He used to say, “You never explain and never complain.” Then go on to say that, “The only obligation that really matters, the most important thing is family.”

Joe Biden: (01:57)
So, I was raised to believe that that was the center of everything, family, and could be judged on based how you treat your family and how you went from there. It took … you know, Kierkegaard said, “Faith sees best in the dark.”

Joe Biden: (02:12)
Right after I got elected, my wife and daughter were killed in an automobile accident, and my two sons were badly injured. I’d just been elected, not sworn in. I lost my faith for awhile. I came back. Then later when my son Beau came home from Iraq and with a terminal disease and a year later, a year and a half later, losing him was like losing part of my soul. The fact is that I learned that the way you deal with it is you deal with finding purpose, purpose in what you do.

Joe Biden: (02:44)
That’s why I hope he’s proud of me today because he wanted to make sure I didn’t run for president but I stayed engaged. Because when you get hit badly, whether you’re losing a job or you’re raising a family, like my dad, where you have to make that longest walk up the stairs to tell your kid, “You can’t live here anymore.” Dad lost his job. You know, we’ve all been through that some form or another. It just takes … just for me, the way I’ve dealt with it is finding purpose. My purpose is to do what I’ve always tried to do and stay engaged in public policy.

Joe Biden: (03:16)
There’s a lot of people who went through a lot worse than I have and get up every single morning, put their feet one foot in front of another without the help I had. There are real heroes out there, some real heroes.

George S.: (03:25)
Thank you, Mister Vice President. Senator Warren.

Elizabeth W.: (03:31)
I mentioned earlier, I’ve known what I wanted to be since second grade. I wanted to be a public school teacher, and I invested early. I used to line my dollies up and teach school. I had a reputation for being tough but fair. By the time I graduated from high school, my family didn’t have money for a college application, much less to send me off to four years at a university.

Elizabeth W.: (03:56)
My story, like a lot of stories, has a lot of twists and turns. I got a scholarship. Then at 19, I got married, dropped out of school, took a minimum wage job, thought my dream was over. I got a chance down the road at the university of Houston, and I made it as a special needs teacher. I still remember that first year as a special needs teacher. I could tell you what those babies looked like. I had four to six year olds.

Elizabeth W.: (04:22)
At the end of that first year I was visibly pregnant. Back in the day, that meant that the principal said to me … wished me luck and hired someone else for the job. So, there I am. I’m at home, I’ve got a baby, I can’t have a job. What am I going to do? Here’s resilience. I said, “I’ll go to law school.” The consequence was, I practiced law for about 45 minutes and then went back to my first love, which is teaching. It let me get into fights. It gave me new tools. The reason I’m standing here today is because I got back up. I fought back. I know what’s broken. I want to be in the fight to fix it in America.

George S.: (05:09)
Thank you, Senator.

Elizabeth W.: (05:15)
That’s why I’m here.

George S.: (05:16)
Senator Sanders.

Bernie Sanders: (05:16)
I’d say that resilience to me means growing up in a rent controlled apartment in Brooklyn, New York, the son of an immigrant who came to this country without a nickel in his pocket. Professional resilience means to me, George, running for US Senate in Vermont and getting one percent of the vote, running for governor and getting two percent of the vote. Finally, becoming mayor of Burlington, Vermont with ten vote margin.

Bernie Sanders: (05:46)
What resilience means to me is that throughout my political career, I have taken on virtually every powerful special interest in this country, whether it is Wall Street, whether it is the insurance industry, whether it is the pharmaceutical industry whose corruption and greed is killing people today, whether it is a military industrial complex or a prison industrial complex. I feel confident that given a lifelong record I’ve taken on powerful special interests of standing up for the working families of this country, that I will be able to take on the greed and corruption of the corporate elite and create a government and an economy that works for all of us. Not just the one percent.

George S.: (06:47)
Thank you, Senator Sanders. Senator Harris.

Kamala Harris: (06:53)
Every office I’ve run for, whether it be district attorney or attorney general, I was told each time it can’t be done. They said, “Nobody like you has done it before. You’re … nobody is ready for you.” When I ran for DA, I won and became the first Black woman elected DA in a state of 40 million people in San Francisco. When I ran for Attorney General of California, I was elected because I didn’t listen. I was the only Black elected woman, Black elected attorney general in the state, in the country.

Kamala Harris: (07:32)
Each time people would say, “It’s not your time. It’s not your turn. It’s going to be too difficult. They’re not ready for you.” I didn’t listen. A part of it probably comes from the fact that I was raised by a mother who said many things that were life lessons for me, including, “Don’t you ever let anybody tell you who you are. You tell them who you are.”

Kamala Harris: (07:56)
When I look around the town halls that we do in this race for President of the United States and I look at the meetings that we do and the community meetings and I see these little girls and boys sometimes even brought by their fathers. They bring them to me, and I talk to them during these events and they smile. They’re full of joy and their fathers tell them, “See, don’t you ever listen and let anybody ever tell you what you can or cannot be. You have to believe in what can be unburdened by what has been.”

George S.: (08:30)
Senator Harris, thank you very much. Mayor Buttigieg.

Pete Buttigieg: (08:32)
As a military officer serving under, “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” and as an elected official in the State of Indiana when Mike Pence was governor, at a certain point when it came to professional setbacks, I had to wonder whether just acknowledging who I was was going to be the ultimate career ending professional setback. I came back from deployment and realized that you only get to live one life, and I was not interested in not knowing what it was like to be in love any longer. So, I just came out. I had no idea what kind of professional setback it would be, especially because inconveniently it was an election year in my socially Conservative community.

Pete Buttigieg: (09:24)
What happened was that when I trusted voters to judge me based on the job that I did for them, they decided to trust me and reelected me with 80% of the vote. What I learned was that trust can be reciprocated and that part of how you can win and deserve to win is to know what’s worth more to you than winning. I think that’s what we need in the presidency right now. We have to know what we are about.

Pete Buttigieg: (09:53)
This election is not about any of us up here. It is not about this President, even though it’s hard to talk of anything else some days. It’s about the people who trust us with their lives. A kid wondering if we’re actually going to make their schools safe when they’ve learned active shooter drills before they’ve learned to read, a generation wondering whether we will actually get the job done on climate change. If we hold to that, then it doesn’t matter what happens to each of us professionally. Together we will win a better era for our country.

George S.: (10:24)
Mayor Buttigieg, thank you. Mister Yang.

Andrew Yang: (10:31)
I was an unhappy lawyer for five whole months, and I left to start a business. I’m going to share with you all one of the secrets to entrepreneurship. If you want to start something, tell everyone you know you’re going to do it. Then you don’t have a choice. You put your heart and soul into it. Even though I did that, my company flopped, had its mini rise and maximum fall, lost investors, hundreds of thousands of dollars. Still owed 100,000 in school debt. My parents still told people I was a lawyer. I guess it was a little easier.

Andrew Yang: (10:58)
So, I remember lying on my floor, looking up, wondering how did it come to this, Eventually, I picked myself back up. I kept working in small growth companies for another ten years and eventually had some success. Then after I did have some success, I still remembered how hard it was, how isolating it was, how it feels like your friends no longer want to spend time with you. So, I spent seven years starting and running a nonprofit that helped train young entrepreneurs around the country, including Sean Wen, who’s here in the audience tonight who left his gilded Wall Street job to become a food entrepreneur in San Antonio. Sean, I hope I made the process a little bit easier for you than it was for me. The goal of my campaign is to make this an economy that allows us to live our human values and aspirations.

George S.: (11:43)
Thank you. Thank you, Mister Yang. Senator Booker.

Cory Booker: (11:49)
My biggest professional setback is embarrassing, because a lot of folks know about it. I, with a bunch of tenant leaders in Newark, New Jersey in 2002, took on the political machine. Boy, did they fight back. I had tires on my car slashed. Our campaign offices were broken into. My phones were tapped. It became a spectacle, and we lost that election. Here’s a bit of advice to everybody. If you’re going to have a spectacular failure, have a documentary team there to capture it because it made for an Oscar nominated documentary called Street Fight. But hen unfortunately, another setback, it lost in the Oscars to a movie called March of the dag nab Penguins, for crying out loud.

Cory Booker: (12:27)
The people in my community of living in the projects told me, “Don’t give up on the people, and the people won’t give up on you. Create bigger and bolder coalitions, and you’re going to win.” You know what? We came back four years later and won the largest lopsided victory in our city’s history.

Cory Booker: (12:44)
More than that, the lesson was there. We didn’t give up. We were taking on America’s toughest problems from crime to poverty. We transformed our city, creating tens of thousands of new jobs, the biggest economic expansion in our city, and as I said before, turned around our school system. There’s more work to do, but I haven’t given up on the people. I still live in that community.

Cory Booker: (13:03)
This is the big lesson. My staff and my friends and my community told me, “If you want to go fast, you may have won the mayor’s race, but that’s not what life is about.” There’s an old African saying that says, “If you want to go fast, go alone. But if you want to go far, go together.” The lesson I learned of resilience is to trust people, because the power of the people is always greater than the people in power. The test of America right now, it’s not a referendum on Donald Trump. It’s a referendum on us and who we are and who we’re going to be together. We need to use this moment in history to unite in common cause and common purpose, and then there’s nothing we can’t do together as a nation.

George S.: (13:40)
Senator Booker, thank you. Congressman O’Rourke.

Beto O’Rourke: (13:44)
Thank you, George. Everything that I’ve learned about resilience, I’ve learned from my hometown of El Paso, Texas. In the face of this act of terror that was directed at our community in large part by the President of the United States that killed 22 people and injured many more, we were not defeated by that nor were we defined by that. The very thing that drew that killer to us is the very thing that helps us set the example for the rest of this country. We don’t see our differences as disqualifying or dangerous. We see them as foundational to our success, to our strength and to our security and to our safety.

Beto O’Rourke: (14:27)
Yesterday, I was visiting with one of those victims. He’s the head coach of the Fusion. This is a girl’s soccer team of ten and 11 year old girls. His name is Luis. He was shot in the legs multiple times. He was shot in the side multiple times. He’s still healing from his wounds in the hospital, but from his hospital bed, he’s still trying to coach the Fusion girls soccer team. Memo, his co-coach, is still fighting for his life right now at Del Sol Hospital. Those two men, Jessica and Marcella, their wives, they exemplify resilience to me.

Beto O’Rourke: (15:03)
When we end this scourge of gun violence in this country, when we finally confront the racism that exists in America, when we’re defined not by our fears but instead by our aspirations and our ambitions, it will be in large part, I think, thanks to the example that El Paso has set.

George S.: (15:20)
Congressman, thank you.

Beto O’Rourke: (15:21)
Thank you.

George S.: (15:21)
Senator Klobuchar.

Amy Klobuchar: (15:25)
My challenges and resilience have brought me up here. I grew up with a dad who struggled with alcoholism his whole life. After his third DWI, he had a choice between jail and treatment. He chose treatment with his faith, with his friends, with our family. In his words, he was pursued by grace. That made me interested in public service, because I feel like everyone should have that same right to be pursued by grace. Then got married. My husband’s out there somewhere, hopefully smiling, and our daughter. Our daughter was born, I had this expectation, we were going to have this perfect, perfect birth. She was really sick, and she couldn’t swallow. She was in and out of hospitals for a year and a half. But when she was born, they had a rule in place that you got kicked out of the hospital in 24 hours. She was in intensive care, and I was kicked out. I thought this could never happen to any other mom again.

Amy Klobuchar: (16:22)
So, I went to the legislature, our state legislator, not an elected official, a mom, and I advocated for one of the first laws in the country guaranteeing new moms and their babies a 48 hour hospital stay. When they tried to delay the implementation of that law, I brought six pregnant friends to the conference committee so they outnumbered the lobbyist two to one. When they said, “When should it take place?”, they all raised their hand and said, “Now.”

Amy Klobuchar: (16:46)
That is what motivated me to go into public service. When I got to that gridlock of Washington DC and got to work and pass over a hundred bills … I know a lot of my friends here are from the Left, but remember I am from the middle of the country. I believe if we’re going to get things done that we have to have someone leading the ticket with grit. Someone’s going to not just change the policies but change the tone in the country and someone who believes in America and believes it from their heart because of where they came from, that everyone should have that same opportunity.

George S.: (17:20)
Senator, thank you. Secretary Castro.

Julian Castro: (17:24)
Thank you, George, to hold head to Linsey and to David and to all of you all for tuning in tonight. In many ways, I shouldn’t be here on this stage. Castro is my mother’s name and was my grandmother’s name before her. I grew up in a single parent household on the West side of San Antonio going to the public schools. Eventually my brother, Joaquin, and I became the first in our family to become professionals.

Julian Castro: (17:49)
When I got home, I took a job at the biggest law firm in town. I was making $100,000 a year in the year 2000. A few months later, I got elected to the San Antonio City Council. The city council at the time was only paying $1,040 a year. So, everybody had another job, and my job was at the law firm. Well, a few months after I got elected, the law firm got a client. The client wanted those of us on the city council to vote for a land deal. The land deal was that they wanted to build a golf course over our water supply, because we relied on an underground aquifer. I didn’t think the environmental protection plan was strong enough, so I wanted to vote against it and my constituents wanted me to vote against it. But under the ethics rules for lawyers in Texas, because believe it or not, lawyers have ethics rules, you can’t just go against the interests of a client. So, I was stuck.

Julian Castro: (18:43)
On the one hand, I wanted to do the right thing. On the other hand, my livelihood, my student loans, my new house payment, my car payment depended on me shutting up, being conflicted out. So, one day I walked into my law firm and I quit my job and then I went and I voted against that land deal on the city council.

Julian Castro: (19:05)
It was the first test that I had. I think back to that because oftentimes we think of politics and you think of politics is dirty or corrupting. I wondered before I went into it whether it would change who I was. I was proud that when that first test came that I stood up for the people that I was there to represent and not for big special interests. There’s nobody that gets tested more in a position of public trust than the President of the United States. This President has failed that test, but I want you to know that if you elect me president, I won’t. I won’t serve anybody except you and your family. Together we can create an America that’s better than ever. Thank you very much.

George S.: (19:47)
Secretary Castro. Thank you to all of our candidates. It was a great debate. I think we learned a lot tonight. Thanks to you. Thanks to Texas Southern University for hosting us tonight. It was a great crowd.

Speaker 13: (20:00)
Thank you.

George S.: (20:01)
[crosstalk 00:20:01] tonight. Thanks to you. Thanks to everyone at home. The debate is over. Our coverage continues with Tom Llamas. That’s it.

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