Mar 16, 2020
March Democratic Debate Transcript: Joe Biden & Bernie Sanders
Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders participated in a March 15, 2020 Democratic Debate in Washington DC after a series of big primary victories by Joe Biden. Read the full transcript of the debate here.
Part 1 of March Democratic Debate
Jake Tapper: (00:00)
Welcome to this unique event, the CNN Univision Democratic Presidential Debate with the two leading candidates for the Democratic nomination, former Vice President Joe Biden and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, candidates. Welcome. It’s good to have you. I’m Jake Tapper, along with CNN’s Dana Bash, and Univision’s Ilia Calderón.
Dana Bash: (00:19)
We come together tonight at an extraordinary time in our country when people are worried about far more than just presidential politics. We’re in a national emergency because of the devastating global pandemic of coronavirus. It has killed nearly 6,000 [inaudible 00:00:34] and more than 3,300 known cases here in the United States. As a result, tonight’s debate will focus heavily on the crisis.
Ilia Calderón: (00:42)
The setting of this debate is also different. To reduce unnecessary risk of transmission of the virus, CNN, Univision, the Democratic National Committee, and the campaigns moved this debate from Phoenix, Arizona to here at CNN studios in Washington without any audience.
Jake Tapper: (01:00)
All of this comes of course as four more states, Florida, Arizona, Ohio, and Illinois prepare to vote on Tuesday, with Vice President Biden currently leading Senator Sanders in the race for delegates. Here’s what we’re going to do tonight. Each of you will have 90 seconds to answer questions, and 45 seconds for responses and rebuttals. As much as we can, we hope this will be a conversation between the two of you, so let’s begin with the most important issue right now, the coronavirus, and what you would do as president in the face of it. Vice President Biden, let me start with you. We’re in a reality right now that might’ve seemed unimaginable a week ago. Schools have been canceled for more than 25 million students. Grocery store shelves have been cleared out. March Madness, NBA games, Disney parks, Broadway, small businesses, all shut down, and just today the CDC issued a new recommendation that for the next eight weeks, events that consist of 50 people or more throughout the US be canceled or postponed. What do you say to the American people who are confronting this new reality?
Joe Biden: (02:01)
First of all, my heart goes out to those who have already lost someone, or those who are suffering from the virus, and this is bigger than any one of us. This calls for a national rallying to everybody move together, and I laid out in detail what I would do were I president today. You can go to joebiden.com. I laid it out in significant detail, but there are three pieces of this. First of all, have to take care of those who in fact are exposed, or are likely to be exposed to the virus, and that means we have to do testing. We have to get the testing kits up and ready.
Joe Biden: (02:37)
I would have the World Health Organization, I’d take advantage of the test kits they have available to us, even though the president says a million or more are coming, let’s just get all the tests we can done as quickly as we can. Secondly, I would make sure that every state in the union had at least 10 places where they had drive-through testing arrangements. I would also at this point deal with the need to begin to plan for the need for additional hospital beds. We have that capacity in the Department of Defense as well as with the FEMA, and they can set up hundred-bed, 500-bed hospitals and tents quickly.
Joe Biden: (03:12)
We have to lay all that out, but we have to deal with the economic fallout quickly, and that means making sure that people who in fact lose their job, don’t get a paycheck, can’t pay their mortgage, are able to pay it, and pay them now, and do it now. Small businesses be able to borrow interest-free loans. I see my time is up here. You’re going to hold us tightly, I assume, but that’s what I would do. Go to joebiden.com. It lays out precisely what I would do were I president today.
Jake Tapper: (03:37)
Senator Sanders, this morning, Dr. Anthony Fauci acknowledged that it’s possible that hundreds of thousands, if not millions of Americans, could die of coronavirus in a worst-case scenario. If you were president right now, what’s the most important thing you would do tonight to try to save American lives?
Bernie Sanders: (03:56)
Well, first thing we have got to do, whether or not I’m president, is to shut this president up right now, because he is undermining the doctors and the scientists who are trying to help the American people. It is unacceptable for him to be blabbering with unfactual information which is confusing the general public. Second of all, what we need to do, and I’m glad that he has called a state of national emergency. What we have got to do is move aggressively to make sure that every person in this country finally understands that when they get sick with the coronavirus that all payments will be made, that they don’t have to worry about coming up with money for testing. They don’t have to worry about coming up with money for treatment.
Bernie Sanders: (04:42)
This is an unprecedented moment in American history. Now, I obviously believe in Medicare for all. I will fight for that as president, but right now in this emergency, I want every person in this country to understand that when you get sick, you go to the doctor. When you get sick, if you have the virus, that will be paid for. Do not worry about the cost right now, because we’re in the middle of a national emergency.
Bernie Sanders: (05:05)
Second of all, we have to make sure that our hospitals have the ventilators that they need, have the IC units that they need. Right now, we have a lack of medical personnel, and I worry very much that if there is a peak, whether we have the capability of dealing with the hundreds of thousands of people who may be in hospitals, so we need unprecedented action right now to deal with the unprecedented crisis. Bottom line from an economic point of view, what we have got to say to the American people, if you lose your job, you will be made whole. You’re not going to lose income. If Trump can put, or the fed can put a trillion and a half into the banking system …
Jake Tapper: (05:43)
Thank you, Senator.
Bernie Sanders: (05:44)
… we can protect the wages of every worker in America.
Jake Tapper: (05:46)
Thank you, Senator. Vice President Biden, President Trump says he does not take any responsibility for the problems with coronavirus testing, in part because he says he inherited so many rules, regulations, and red tape. Did bureaucratic red tape hamper this response in any way?
Joe Biden: (06:05)
No. Look, the World Health Organization offered, offered the testing kits that they have available and to give it to us now. We refused them. We did not want to buy them. We did not want to get them from them. We wanted to make sure we had our own. I think he said something like, “We have the best scientists in America,” or something to that effect. The idea that we are not prepared for this and not … The other thing I want to point out, and I agree with Bernie, we’re in a situation where we have to now be providing for the hospitals that are going to be needed, needed now.
Joe Biden: (06:37)
The present system cannot handle the surge that is likely to come, so we should already be sitting down and planning where we’re going to put these temporary hospitals, and we can do that. We did that … We’ve been through this before with the coronavirus. We’ve been through this … I mean, excuse me, we’ve been through this before with dealing with the viruses that the N1H1 as well as what happened in Africa. We provided these hospitals dealing with these great pandemics, and were able to do it quickly, and people would have a place to go, but we also have to provide the equipment to protect the first responders, and that’s not being done either.
Jake Tapper: (07:14)
Senator Sanders, on that note, and both of you have addressed this, but obviously another major health concern right now for officials is the potential surge in patients all at once, overburdening hospitals, the healthcare system. You’ve mentioned ICU beds, both of you, and ventilators. We’re already in the middle of flu season, so already a lot of those beds and ventilators are already being used. If you were president right now, what would you do to make sure every sick American is able to get treatment so the US does not suffer the same fate as Italy, where doctors have to decide right now who gets lifesaving treatment and who does not?
Bernie Sanders: (07:51)
Jake, let’s be honest and understand that this coronavirus pandemic exposes the incredible weakness and dysfunctionality of our current healthcare system. Now, we’re spending twice as much per person on healthcare as the people of any other country. How in God’s name does it happen that we end up with 87 million people who are uninsured or underinsured and there are people who are watching this program tonight, and say, “I’m not feeling well. Should I go to the doctor? But I can’t afford to go to the doctor. What happens if I am sick? It’s going to cost thousands of dollars for treatment. Who’s going to feed my kids?” We are the only major country on earth not to guarantee healthcare to all people.
Bernie Sanders: (08:32)
We’re spending so much money, and yet we are not even prepared for this pandemic. How come we don’t have enough doctors? How come hospitals in rural areas are shutting down? How come people can’t afford to get the prescription drugs they need, because we have a bunch of crooks who are running the pharmaceutical industry, ripping us off every single day, and I’ll tell you something right now, in the midst of this epidemic, you’ve got people in the pharmaceutical industry who are saying, “Oh wow, what an opportunity to make a fortune.” So the word has got to go out. I certainly would do this as president. You don’t worry, people of America, do not worry about the cost of prescription drugs. Do not worry about the cost of the healthcare that you’re going to get, because we are a nation, a civilized democratic society. Everybody, rich and poor, middle-class, will get the care they need. The drug companies will not rip us off.
Dana Bash: (09:21)
Thank you, Senator. Vice President Biden, some medical experts are saying the only true way to control this virus is through a national quarantine, requiring every American other than essential personnel to stay home. Would you take that unprecedented step of a national lockdown?
Joe Biden: (09:38)
What I would do is what we did in our administration. I would call a meeting in The Situation Room of all the experts in America dealing with this crisis. I would sit them down, and I would do exactly what we did then. What is it that we need? Listen to the experts. What do we need? With all due respect to Medicare for all, you have a single-payer system in Italy. It doesn’t work there. It has nothing to do with Medicare for all. That would not solve the problem at all. We can take care of that right now by making sure that no one has to pay for treatment, period, because of the crisis. No one has to pay for whatever drugs are needed, period, because of the crisis. No one has to pay for hospitalization because of the crisis, period. That is a national emergency, and that’s how it’s handled.
Joe Biden: (10:23)
It is not working in Italy right now, and they have a single-payer system. Now, with regard to what else I would do, the fact is that we’re in a position where I would bring together the leading experts in the world, instead of doing this, in the United States, instead of doing this piecemeal, sit down and do what we did before with the Ebola crisis. What is needed? And have one voice, one voice, like we did every day we met on that crisis in The Situation Room, so we lay out overall, for all the nation, what the best proposal is and how to move forward. In the absence of that, governors are making some sound decisions. They’re doing the best they can by going out and getting the healthcare experts in their communities and their states to move, but it should be directed from the White House, from The Situation Room, laying out in detail like we did in the Ebola crisis …
Dana Bash: (11:15)
Joe Biden: (11:15)
… and we beat it.
Dana Bash: (11:16)
Thank you. Senator Sanders, your response?
Bernie Sanders: (11:18)
Well, first of all, the dysfunctionality of the current healthcare system is obviously apparent. As I said earlier, there are people who hesitate go to the doctor. You’re going to have the maze of regulations. Well, if this is my income, but that’s my income, can I get it? Can I not get it? Clearly we are not prepared, and Trump only exacerbates the crisis. When we spend twice as much per capita on healthcare as any other nation, one might expect that we would have enough doctors all over this country. One might expect that we would have affordable prescription drugs. One might expect that we were preparing effectively for a pandemic, that we were ready with the ventilators, with the ICUs, with the test kits that we need.
Bernie Sanders: (12:02)
We are not, and bottom line here is in terms of Medicare for all, despite what the vice president is saying, what the experts tell us, is that one of the reasons that we are unprepared and have been unprepared is we don’t have a system. We got thousands of private insurance plans. That is not a system that is prepared to provide healthcare to all people. In a good year without the epidemic, we’re losing up to 60,000 people who die every year because they don’t get to a doctor on time. It’s clearly this crisis is only making a bad situation worse.
Joe Biden: (12:39)
That has nothing to do when you’re in a national crisis. The national crisis says we’re responding. It’s all free. You don’t have to pay for a thing. That has nothing to do with whether or not you have an insurance policy. This is a crisis. We’re at war with the virus. We’re at war with the virus. It has nothing to do with copays or anything. We just pass a law saying that you do not have to pay for any of this, period.
Bernie Sanders: (13:08)
That’s not true. As a matter of fact, that’s not true. That law has enormous loopholes. I understand that Nancy Pelosi did her best. Republicans prevented it. What you’re-
Joe Biden: (13:15)
Bernie Sanders: (13:16)
What you’re talking about, Joe, here, is enormous loopholes within that, that in fact it is not necessarily covering treatment for all people in America, and that people are going to be stuck with a bill unless we change that, and we’re going to offer legislation to in fact change that.
Joe Biden: (13:30)
If I may, I offered legislation. I laid out on my plan that it would cover exactly what is not covered by the house. I laid out in the plan that I laid out for how we would deal with this crisis. Nobody, nobody will pay for anything having to do with the crisis. This is a national emergency. There isn’t a question of whether or not this is something that could be covered by insurance, or anything else. We, out of the treasury, are going to pay for this. It’s a national emergency.
Bernie Sanders: (14:00)
But you see …
Joe Biden: (14:00)
That’s what my plan calls for.
Bernie Sanders: (14:01)
But the weakness of this is, let’s just do a hypothetical. A family member’s diagnosed with the virus.
Joe Biden: (14:09)
Bernie Sanders: (14:09)
Terrible tragedy, massive anxiety. The wife has the virus. The husband is a wreck, wants to go to a psychologist, wants to get counseling, doesn’t have the money to do that. Maybe their kid breaks a leg. They don’t have the money to go to healthcare. So you’re saying right now in the middle of a crisis, but you know what? Last year at least 30,000 people died in America because they didn’t get healthcare when they should, because we don’t have universal coverage. I think that’s a crisis. One out of five people in America cannot afford the prescription drugs they need. They suffer. Some die. I consider that a crisis. Bottom line is we need a simple system, which exists in Canada, exists in countries all over the world, and that is if you are an American, you get the healthcare you need, end of discussion. We can save huge sums of money doing that. The trick is, do we have the guts to take on the healthcare industry, some of which is funding the vice president’s campaign. Do we have the courage to take on the executives at the prescription drug industry …
Dana Bash: (15:11)
Thank you, Senator.
Bernie Sanders: (15:11)
… some of whom are funding his campaign.
Dana Bash: (15:15)
Vice President Biden.
Joe Biden: (15:16)
Look, this is a national crisis. I don’t want to get this into a back and forth in terms of our politics here. I’ve laid out a plan building on Obamacare, providing a public option of Medicare, that would cover everyone the same way. This idea that this is his only answer is a mistaken notion, but regardless of whether my plan was in place or his, this is a crisis. This is like we are being attacked from abroad. This is something that is of great consequence. This is like a war, and in a war you do whatever is needed to be done to take care of your people, and what you do is you, and I have proposed it, and laid it out in detail, everything that you need in terms of dealing with this crisis would be free. It is paid for by the taxpayers generally, generally. It has nothing to do with Bernie’s Medicare for all. By the way, the …
Dana Bash: (16:09)
Vice President Biden, thank you.
Bernie Sanders: (16:10)
Let me just-
Dana Bash: (16:11)
If I may, the vice president had just mentioned war. Would you deploy the US military in effort to contain the virus? And if so, how?
Bernie Sanders: (16:18)
Well, I think we use all of the tools that make sense. If using the National Guard, which is, folks I think in New York state are already using the National Guard, that is something that has to be done. This is clearly, as the vice president indicated, a national emergency. What I worry about is not only how we respond aggressively to the virus, but also how we respond aggressively to the economic fallout of a global recession.
Bernie Sanders: (16:53)
Right now in Illinois and Ohio, if my memory is correct, the governor there has said they’re closing down bars. They’re closing down restaurants. What happens to the workers who are there? What happens to the millions of workers who may end up losing their jobs? What I think we have got to do right now is if Trump can provide, or the fed can provide a trillion and a half for liquidity for the banks, what we’ve got to say to every worker in America, you know what? Don’t panic. You’re not going to … You’ll be able to pay your mortgage, because you’re going to get a check.
Dana Bash: (17:25)
Bernie Sanders: (17:25)
You’re going to be made whole.
Dana Bash: (17:26)
Senator, we’re going to talk about the economic … Oh, go ahead, Mr. Vice President.
Joe Biden: (17:29)
The answer is I would call out the military.
Dana Bash: (17:31)
Joe Biden: (17:31)
Now. They have the capacity to provide this surge help that hospitals need and that is needed across the nation. I would make sure that they did exactly what they’re prepared to do. They’ve done it. They did it in the Ebola crisis. They’ve done it. They have the capacity to build 500-bed hospitals, and tents that are completely safe and secure, and provide the help to get it done to anybody, this overflow. So it is a national emergency. I would call out the military.
Bernie Sanders: (18:03)
Well, the Ebola crisis is one thing. This is obviously a pandemic which is far more severe and impactful to this country. I think one of the things that we want to remember here is that we got a lot of elderly people in this country who are told, stay home. Don’t leave your house. Who’s going to get food to them? How do we get food to them? You’ve got schools all over this country now being shut down. Okay. How are we going to make sure that the kids do well in this crisis, not become traumatized? What do we do about the parents now who have to stay home with the kids and can’t go to work?
Bernie Sanders: (18:37)
I think what bottom line here is that in this crisis, we have got to start paying attention to the most vulnerable, that includes people who are in prison right now, people who are in homeless shelters right now. What about the half a million people who are homeless tonight? Who’s going to respond to them? Now, in 2008 when we had the Wall Street bailout, they did very well for the people on top. They bailed out the crooks on Wall Street, but they forgot about the suffering of ordinary Americans. This time around, let us learn that lesson. Let us pay attention to the working families in this country.
Dana Bash: (19:10)
Thank you, Senator.
Bernie Sanders: (19:10)
We have the most vulnerable.
Joe Biden: (19:11)
We have learned that lesson, and again, I lay out in detail. What we should be doing now is we should be surging help to those places which are the most vulnerable. We should have every single person that’s in a nursing home being able to be tested. We should be moving forces in to do that. We should move in the capability to do that. We should be sitting down, the president should be sitting down in The Situation Room right now and doing what we did before, and asking the question, “Okay, you’re going to close everything. Well, if you close everything, how do you get prescriptions that have to be filled? How do you make sure when you close that school those children are going to be able to get the school food program? How do you make sure that you’re going to be able to see to it that you get your mortgage paid?” I propose that all of that be covered, and it’s going to take a multi-multi-billion dollar program to do that. But first things first, the first thing is take care of the immediate needs we have now relating to surging the kind-
Joe Biden: (20:03)
Take care of the immediate needs we have now relating to surging the kind of capability we have to prevent this great bump in terms of how it’s going to cause such pain, as well as moving in the direction of making sure we have a longterm plan to make sure it’s taken care-
Dana Bash: (20:16)
Thank you, Mr. Vice President. We’re going to talk in a moment a lot more about the economic impact, but first, Senator Sanders, I want to ask about China. When this outbreak first started in China, the government there censored the whistleblower doctor who sounded the alarm and downplayed the true gravity of the virus.
Bernie Sanders: (20:31)
Dana Bash: (20:31)
What consequences should China face for its role in this global crisis?
Bernie Sanders: (20:35)
Well, one of the consequences is we have got to learn that you cannot lie to the American people. You cannot be less than frank about the nature of the crisis. And what bothers me very much is you have a president of the United States today, Mr. Trump, who was praising China, for the good work that they are doing, when in fact, as you indicated, they were lying to their own people and allowing that [inaudible 00:21:02] the case. Look, I don’t think this is the time for recrimination, to be punishing people. Now is the time, by the way, to be working with China. They are learning a lot about this crisis, and in fact, we have got to work with them. We’ve got to work with the World Health Organization. We’ve got to work with Italy. We’ve got to work with countries around the world. If there was ever a moment when the entire world is in this together, got to support each other, this is that moment.
Joe Biden: (21:29)
If I may respond. That’s why I insisted, the moment this broke out, that we should insist on having our experts in China, in China to see what was happening, and make it clear to China there’d be consequences if we did not have that access. We have to lead the world. We should be the ones doing what we did during the Ebola crisis, bringing the whole world together and saying, “This is what we must do.” We have to have a common plan. All nations are affected the same way by this virus depending on exposure. And so this is, we need world leadership. We need international leadership. We need someone who knows how to bring the world together and insist on fundamental change in the way in which we’re approaching this.
Dana Bash: (22:15)
Bernie Sanders: (22:16)
Well, the bottom line here is that in the midst of this crisis, we have got to act in an unprecedented way. And that means every country on earth is going to be affected. Every country on earth has got to work together. It also means that we tell the pharmaceutical industry, we tell the big money interests, that this is not a time for profiteering. This is a time for all of us working together. The World Health Organization is a very, very strong organization. It is sad that we have a President that has ignored the international community in so many ways, including in terms of international health crisis.
Ilia Calderón: (22:58)
Thank you, Senator Sanders. Obviously, another part of this story is the economy, which is reeling from this pandemic. Many economists are warning of a recession. Just hours ago, the Federal Reserve cut interest rates to near 0%, which has not happened since the financial crisis in 2008. Vice President Biden, what would you do?
Joe Biden: (23:22)
What I would do is make it clear to the world and make it clear to the United States that we are going to have to have a major, major, major bailout package that we do not reward corporations, we reward individuals who in fact are really put to the test here. The problem is, the policies of this administration economically have… We’ve eaten a lot of our seed corn here. The ability for us to use levers that were available before have been used up by this godawful tax cut of $1.9 trillion. By the fact that we have used… The fed will be of little consequence now, they’ve already used what leverage they have, and so we’re going to have to just level with the American people.
Joe Biden: (24:03)
Here’s the deal. We’re going to have to not only deal with the immediate crisis, economic crisis, which is the most critical now to let people know their mortgages are going to be paid, their rents are going to be paid, they’re going to have childcare, they’re going to make sure that all their medical bills are cared for relating to this, et cetera. We have to go beyond that. We’re going to have to be in a situation where we’re meeting on a daily basis, like we did in the middle of the financial crisis, to decide how we are going to find the wherewithal and the money to be able to see to it. We hold all these folks harmless. But not do what Trump wants to do. For example, he came along and said, “I got a great idea. Let’s…” Well, you’re going to tell me-
Ilia Calderón: (24:45)
Bernie Sanders: (24:48)
The Ebola crisis, in my view, exposes the dysfunctionality of our healthcare system and how poorly prepared we are, despite how much money that we spent. The Ebola crisis is also, I think, exposing the cruelty and the unjustness of our economy today. We have more income and wealth inequality in America today than any time in 100 years. And what that means then, in the midst of this crisis… You know, if you’re a multimillionaire, no one’s happy about this crisis. You’re going to get through it. You’re going to get everything you need. You’re not worried about healthcare. You’re not worried about income coming in.
Bernie Sanders: (25:28)
Half of our people are living paycheck to paycheck. We got people who are struggling working two or three jobs to put food on the table. What is going to happen to them? So the lesson to be learned is we have got to move aggressively right now to address the economic crisis as a result of Ebola… Keep talking about Ebola. You got Ebola in my head here right now. As a result of the virus here, the Coronavirus. What we have got to do also is understand the fragility of the economy and how unjust and unfair it is that so few have so much and so many have so little.
Joe Biden: (26:07)
People are looking for results, not a revolution. They want to deal with the results they need right now, and we can do that by making sure that we make everybody whole who has been so badly hurt in terms of they lose their job, in terms of not having the ability to care for their children, in terms of the healthcare costs that they have related to this crisis. We can make them whole now, now, and put in process a system whereby they all are made whole.
Joe Biden: (26:37)
That has nothing to do with a legitimate concern about income equality in America. That’s real. That’s real. But that does not affect the need for us to act swiftly and very thoroughly and in concert with all the forces that we need to bring to bear to deal with the crisis now, so no one’s thrown out of their home, no one loses their mortgage, no one is kicked out of their house, no one loses their paycheck, no one is in a position where they have a significant financial disability as a consequence of this SARS… Of this particular crisis.
Ilia Calderón: (27:11)
Thank you, Vice President. Senator Sanders.
Bernie Sanders: (27:14)
Well, I think it goes without saying that as a nation we have to respond as forcefully as we can to the current crisis, but it is not good enough not to be understanding how we got here and where we want to go into the future. So how does it happen that today, in the wealthiest country in the history of the world, half of our people are scared to death? Good. I agree. In fact, that was my idea originally to make sure that every person in this country is made whole as a result of this crisis. But God willing, this crisis is going to end, and we are going to have to develop an economy in which half of our people are not living paycheck to paycheck and struggling to put food on the table.
Joe Biden: (28:05)
I don’t disagree with that. You were asking about the crisis, what are we going to do about the crisis now? Which is incredibly consequential to millions and millions of Americans. And it’s not going to be policy now. It’s not going to be solved by a change in how we deal with healthcare. It’s got to be solved with an emergency need right now. Right now, what do we do? First thing we do is we make sure that healthcare is available by us having the tools to be able to deal with it, and that requires us to go out and do much more than this president has done in terms of planning. Secondly, it requires us to be in a position where we’re anticipating what will happen in the next month or weeks in terms of the flow into the healthcare system, by bringing the military along, more hospital beds, more training, more equipment, more equipment to save the first responders, as well.
Joe Biden: (28:55)
In addition to that, we then have to also look at what are the immediate needs right today? How about that person who’s been laid off today? How about that person who doesn’t have an income today? They have to know that tomorrow, when the paycheck comes due, you will get that paycheck. And thirdly, we have to think longterm about how we deal with making all those who have been badly damaged right again, and then we move on. Then we move on to change the economy in ways that are more profoundly necessary than people think, but do not respond to the immediate needs we have now. First things first.
Ilia Calderón: (29:31)
Thank you, Vice President, Senator Sanders, you voted against bailouts following the 2008 financial crisis.
Joe Biden: (29:38)
Ilia Calderón: (29:39)
Many believe those spending bills were a crucial part of stabilizing the economy back then. Would you support bailouts for industries that are being crushed by the Coronavirus outbreak now?
Bernie Sanders: (29:52)
I did. You’re quite right, I voted against the bailout because I believed that the illegal behavior being done by the people on Wall Street should not be rewarded by a bailout. And today, by the way, those banks are more prosperous and own more assets, by and large, than they did back then. They’re bigger now than they were then. I thought at the time that in the midst of massive income and wealth inequality, the people on top… there was surtax on the very wealthy… should bail out. And it’s not just the top bailout. We gave trillions of dollars in zero interest loans to large banks.
Bernie Sanders: (30:29)
But to answer your question where we are right now, we need to stabilize the economy, but we can’t repeat what we did in 2008. Joe voted for that. I voted against it. Because we have got to do more than save the banks or the oil companies. Our job right now is to tell every working person in this country, no matter what your income is, you are not going to suffer as a result of this crisis of which you had no control.
Ilia Calderón: (30:56)
Vice President Biden.
Joe Biden: (30:56)
Had those banks all gone under, all those people Bernie says he cares about would be in deep trouble. Deep, deep trouble. All those little folks… we’d have gone out of business… they’d find themselves in the position where they would lose everything that they had in that bank, whether it was $10 or $300 or a savings account. This was about saving an economy, and it did save the economy, and the banks paid back and they paid back with interest. I agree with Bernie, some of them should have gone to jail. That was the big disagreement I had in terms of bailing out, but the question was, they paid back. In addition to that, also part of that was bailing out the automobile industry, saving thousands of jobs, tens of thousands of jobs over time. He voted against that as well.
Bernie Sanders: (31:40)
No. I did not vote against that. That bailout money was used later on by Bush to protect the automobile industry. But here’s the point-
Joe Biden: (31:48)
Bernie Sanders: (31:48)
…one minute, one minute. Here’s the point here, is that in terms of that bailout, there are ways that you can bail out. When you have a handful of people who have incredible wealth, who have prospered off of the illegal behavior of individuals, in this case on Wall Street, you know what you say to them? And I did. I said this to the Secretary of the Treasury, “You want a bailout? That’s fine. You have your friends pay for it, not working people.” The other point is, as Joe should know, it wasn’t just the 700 billion TARP program. The fed gave trillions and trillions of dollars in zero interest loans to every financial institution in this country and central banks all over the world. That was essentially a grant, because they then could sell that. They can then bring in interest rates much greater than the zero interest loans that they got.
Ilia Calderón: (32:42)
Vice President Biden.
Joe Biden: (32:43)
Look, the fact of the matter is that if in fact the banks had all gone under, we would be in a great depression. How do you get out of that? Now, Bernie’s saying that I guess he’s going to do a wealth tax or something, that the top 1% could pay for everything and they should pay for everything that occurred. We were talking about tens and hundreds of billions of dollars. That’s what this was about. And the fact was that it saved the economy from going into a depression, after we passed the Recovery Act, which I was the one went on, got the three votes to get it changed, that had $900 billion in it and was the thing that kept us from going into a great depression.
Ilia Calderón: (33:27)
Vice President Biden, I’m going to stay with you. Many of the 11 million undocumented immigrants, and now even many legal immigrants in the United States, are afraid to seek medical help. How do you ensure they feel safe enough to get treatment to help stop the spread of Coronavirus?
Joe Biden: (33:46)
Anyone who shows up to be tested for Coronavirus or gets Coronavirus treated would be held harmless. Just like I’ve argued all along. Any woman who crosses the border or is here and being beaten by her husband, but she’s an undocumented, she cannot be deported because she reports. There are certain things you cannot deport an undocumented person for and that would be one of them. We want that. It’s in the interests of everyone. And those folks who are the xenophobic folks out there, it’s even in their interest that that woman come forward or that man come forward, because it deals with keeping the spread from moving more rapidly. They will not, should not, under any circumstances, be held accountable and be deported for that purpose, period.
Bernie Sanders: (34:38)
I have been criticized because the proposal for Medicare for All that I introduced includes making sure that undocumented people are also covered. And right now, we have the absurd situation where undocumented people who try to do the right thing, they’re sick, they want to go to the doctor, they don’t want to spread this disease, are now standing and thinking about whether ICE is going to deport them. So one of the things that we have to do is to make sure that everybody feels comfortable getting the healthcare that they need. That should be a general principle, above and beyond the Coronavirus.
Bernie Sanders: (35:13)
Second of all, we’ve got to end these terrible ICE raids which are terrorizing communities all over this country. And thirdly, to answer your question, the time is long overdue for this country to move to comprehensive immigration reform and a path towards citizenship for those 11 million undocumented. And furthermore, on day one as President, I would restore the legal status of the 1.8 million young people [crosstalk 00:35:37]-
Dana Bash: (35:36)
Senator. Senator, thank you. We’re going to talk about immigration in a minute, but first I want to ask about something that’s going on right now. Again, back to this crisis. We know that people over the age of 60 and those with underlying medical conditions, especially heart disease, lung disease and diabetes, are the most vulnerable to Coronavirus and are being asked to change their behavior to protect themselves. So Senator Sanders, I’ll start with you. You’re 78 years old. You had a heart attack. What are you doing to protect yourself?
Bernie Sanders: (36:03)
Well, a great deal. I mean, last night we had a fireside chat, not a rally. I love doing rallies and we bring many thousands of people out to our rallies. I enjoy it very much. We’re not doing that right now. In fact, our entire staff is working from home. So on a personal level, what we’re doing is, I’m not shaking hands. Joe and I did not shake hands. I am very careful about the people I am interacting with. I’m using a lot of soap and hand sanitizers to make sure that I do not get the infection. And I have to say, thank God, right now I do not have any symptoms and I feel very grateful for that.
Dana Bash: (36:48)
Vice President Biden, you’re 77. What are you doing to protect yourself?
Joe Biden: (36:52)
Well, fortunately, I don’t have any of the underlying conditions you talked about that I have to worry about, number one. Number two, thank God… for the time being, anything can happen, as my mother would say, knock on wood… that I’m in good health. Number three, I’m taking all the precautions anyone would take, whether they’re 30 years old or 60 years old or 80 years old. That is, I’m going to make sure that I do not shake hands any longer. I do not engage. We did the same thing. Our staff is all working from home. We are not doing rallies any longer. We’re doing virtual rallies. We’re doing virtual town hall meetings.
Joe Biden: (37:27)
We’re in a situation where now, I do not… as I said, when we encounter people, we’re not going into crowds. And so I’m taking all the precautions everyone else should be taking. I wash my hands God knows how many times a day with hot water and soap. I carry with me… as a matter of fact, I have it in my bag outside here… hand sanitizer. I don’t know how many times a day I use that. I make sure I don’t touch my face, and so on. So I’m taking all the precautions we’ve told everybody else to take.
Jake Tapper: (37:53)
Let’s turn to the race more broadly now. Throughout this campaign, you’ve each laid out starkly different visions for how to bring about change. Vice President Biden, Senator Sanders is calling for a political revolution. You said people want results, not a revolution. Make the case for why a revolution is not what the country needs or wants.
Joe Biden: (38:13)
We have problems we have to solve now. Now. What’s a revolution going to do, disrupt everything in the meantime? Look, the Senator talks about his Medicare For All. He still hasn’t told you how he’s going to ever get it past. He hasn’t told you how in fact there’s any possibility of that happening. He hadn’t told you how much it’s going to cost. He hadn’t tell you how it’s going to apply. It doesn’t kick in for four years, even after it passes. We want a revolution. Let’s act now. Pass the Biden healthcare plan, which takes Obamacare, restores all the cuts made to it. Subsidize it further. Provide for lower drug prices. Make sure that there’s no hidden bills. Make sure that we invest what I want to invest $50 billion in dealing with underlying diseases that are of great consequence, diabetes, Alzheimer’s and cancer.
Joe Biden: (38:59)
Make sure that we have a Medicare option that’s in a public option providing Medicare for us. We can do that now. I can get that passed. I can get that done if I’m President of the United States of America. That will be a fundamental change and it happens now. I can tell you from experience, being a significant consumer of healthcare with my sons, my family, all the things we’ve gone through, what people want is hope. And they need it now, not four years from now. Bernie still hasn’t told us how he’s going to pay for it.
Bernie Sanders: (39:29)
Not quite true.
Joe Biden: (39:30)
We’re talking about a $30-plus trillion plan.
Bernie Sanders: (39:32)
Not quite true.
Jake Tapper: (39:33)
Bernie Sanders: (39:34)
Look, let’s do something that is very rarely done in the Congress. Let’s do something that the media does. Let’s talk about the reality of American life. Why is it that over the last 45 years, despite the huge increase in productivity and technology, the average worker today’s making a nickel more in real dollars? Why is it that over the last 30 years, the richest 1% have seen a $21 trillion increase in their wealth, bottom half of America, $900 billion decline in their wealth?
Bernie Sanders: (40:03)
The bottom half of America, $900 billion decline in their wealth. Why is it that we are the only major country on Earth not to guarantee healthcare to all people as a human right? Why are we the only major country not to have paid medical and family leave? Why do we give tax breaks to billionaires, when a half-a-million people are homeless today? And it comes down to something, Jake, we don’t talk about. The power structure in America, who has the power? I’ll tell you who has the power. It’s the people who contribute money. The billionaires who contribute money to political campaigns, who control the legislative agenda. Those people have the power.
Bernie Sanders: (40:38)
If you want to make real changes in this country, if you want to create an economy that works for all, not just the few… if you want to guarantee quality healthcare to all, not make $100 billion in profit for the healthcare industry, you know what you need? You need to take on Wall Street. You need to take on the drug companies, and the insurance companies, and the fossil fuel industry. You don’t take campaign contributions from them. You take them on and create an economy that works for all.
Joe Biden: (41:06)
You want to do that? Do what I proposed over 30 years ago, federally fund all elections… My whole healthcare plan, by changing the way in which we deal with capital gains. People should pay their capital gains based on what their income tax is, and not at 20%. That would raise $800 billion to pay for my entire medical healthcare plan which would cover everyone.
Joe Biden: (41:54)
The fact of the matter is, everything I call for I pay for. And I do not believe and I have not supported these exorbitant tax cuts for the wealthy. I strongly opposed the tax cut that this president has put through of $1 trillion, $900 billion. I said at the time, this was all about trying to eliminate the safety net.
Joe Biden: (42:14)
Look, the idea that Bernie implies the way he says things, speaking of negative ads… My lord Bernie, you’re running ads saying I’m opposed to Social Security. The PolitiFact says it’s a flat lie, and that the Washington Post said is a flat lie.
Bernie Sanders: (42:29)
Oh, well. Let me ask you a question, Joe.
Joe Biden: (42:31)
Bernie Sanders: (42:31)
You’re right here with me.
Joe Biden: (42:32)
Bernie Sanders: (42:33)
Have you been on the floor of the Senate? You were in the Senate for a few years.
Joe Biden: (42:37)
Bernie Sanders: (42:38)
Time and time again talking about the necessity, with pride, about cutting Social Security, cutting Medicare, cutting veterans programs.
Joe Biden: (42:46)
Bernie Sanders: (42:47)
You never said that?
Joe Biden: (42:48)
Bernie Sanders: (42:49)
All right. America, go to the website right now. Go to the YouTube right now. Time after time, you were not a fan of Bowles-Simpson.
Joe Biden: (43:00)
I was not a fan of Bowles-
Bernie Sanders: (43:01)
You were not a fan of the balanced budget amendment, which called for cuts in Social Security? Come on Joe, you were.
Joe Biden: (43:07)
Look, here’s the deal.
Bernie Sanders: (43:08)
You’re an honest guy. Why don’t you just tell the truth here? We all make mistakes.
Joe Biden: (43:11)
I am telling the truth. You said that I, in fact… Why am I rated 96% by the Social Security organizations? Why am I viewed as a strong-
Bernie Sanders: (43:21)
Joe Biden: (43:21)
I have laid out how I will increase Social Security benefits.
Bernie Sanders: (43:24)
That’s good. I laid that out.
Joe Biden: (43:25)
I have laid out how I am going to make sure that it is in fact, paid for.
Bernie Sanders: (43:29)
Joe Biden: (43:30)
Go to joebiden.com. Look at my exchange with Paul Ryan on his desire to try to privatize and/or cut Social Security, and understand how he manipulated it.
Bernie Sanders: (43:39)
All right. Joe, let me repeat it again. I want you just to be straight with the American people. I am saying that you have been on the floor of the Senate time and time again, talking about the need to cut Social Security, Medicare, and veterans programs. Is that true or is that not true?
Joe Biden: (44:00)
No, it’s not true.
Bernie Sanders: (44:01)
That is not true?
Joe Biden: (44:02)
That is not true. What is true is, in terms of the negotiations that are taking place, how to deal with the deficit… Everything was on the table. I did not support any of those cuts, and Social Security or in veterans benefits.
Bernie Sanders: (44:14)
Whoa. Whoa. Whoa. Everything was on the table. All right, you’re right. You just said it. Including in your judgment, cuts to Social Security and veterans.
Joe Biden: (44:22)
In order to get the kinds of changes we need on other things related., but we did not cut it. I did not vote for it.
Bernie Sanders: (44:30)
I know, because people like me helped stop that. But Joe, you just contradict-
Joe Biden: (44:34)
Come on, Bernie.
Bernie Sanders: (44:34)
Joe, you just contradicted yourself. One minute… Excuse me. One minute you said, “I was not on the floor.” The next minute you say, “Well yes, there was a reason why I was worried about the deficit.” Maybe that’s good reason, maybe it’s not. All that I am saying is you were prepared to cut, and advocated for the cuts of programs.
Joe Biden: (44:53)
Let’s just… I did not. I never voted to cut Social Security.
Bernie Sanders: (44:58)
I’m not talking about voting, Joe. That’s not what I said.
Joe Biden: (44:59)
I never voted… Well, look. I voted to protect it. Just go look at the debate with Paul Ryan for the vice presidency. Look at what I did. And Bernie, will you acknowledge your campaign took out of context, that whole exchange between Paul Ryan? Are you saying PolitiFact is wrong? Are you saying-
Bernie Sanders: (45:17)
Yeah. Well, believe me, the Washington Post, PolitiFact is wrong a whole lot of times.
Joe Biden: (45:22)
Are they wrong on that, Bernie? Are they wrong on that, Bernie?
Bernie Sanders: (45:23)
Joe Biden: (45:23)
Bernie, did you miss-
Bernie Sanders: (45:24)
Joe, did you… Wait a minute. I’ll answer your question. You answer mine.
Joe Biden: (45:28)
I answered yours.
Bernie Sanders: (45:28)
No, you didn’t.
Joe Biden: (45:30)
Bernie Sanders: (45:30)
One more time. Were you on the floor time and time again, for whatever reason, talking about the need to cut Social Security and Medicare and veterans programs?
Joe Biden: (45:40)
No, I did not talk about the need to cut any of those programs.
Bernie Sanders: (45:43)
Okay. All that I would say to the American people, go to YouTube. It’s all over the place. Joe said it many, many times. I’m surprised. You can defend it or change your mind on it, but you can’t deny the reality.
Dana Bash: (45:55)
So Senator, because you brought up Social Security and you have been talking about it, I want to ask you about something that you wrote in 1996. You were a member of the House, and you wrote an op ed that said, “It is clear we will have to make incremental adjustments in Social Security, taxes and benefits.”
Bernie Sanders: (46:11)
Dana Bash: (46:12)
Why are your past comments any less relevant than the vice president’s?
Bernie Sanders: (46:16)
Incremental adjustments are what I advocated. Adjustments that I advocated and have advocated for years, is among other things, increasing the cost of living assistance. No, you’re not going to find me ever calling for cuts to Social Security. Right now for example, we determine COLAs by looking at inflation for the general population rather than segregating the higher costs that seniors are paying for prescription drugs and for healthcare. That’s what I was talking about.
Bernie Sanders: (46:47)
I have in fact, when Joe and others were enamored with the so-called Bowles-Simpson effort, which included cuts to Social Security or raising the retirement age. I formed along with people like Barbara Boxer, the defending Social Security caucus to say no… when 20% of our seniors who are trying to get by on $13,000 a year or more, we are not going to cut Social Security.
Ilia Calderón: (47:11)
Vice President Biden, yesterday you endorsed an Elizabeth Warren plan that would undo key parts of the bankruptcy law you helped pass in 2005. A few hours ago, you announced support for making public college tuition free for families who make less than $125, 000 a year, something Senator Sanders has supported. What changed?
Joe Biden: (47:35)
Two things. Number one, let’s talk about the Bankruptcy Bill. The Bankruptcy Bill was passing overwhelmingly and I improved it. I had a choice. It was going to pass, and a Republican president, Republican Congress. I offered two amendments to make sure that people under $50,000 would not be affected, and women and children would go to the front of the line on alimony and support payments. That’s what I did. It passed overwhelmingly. I did not like the rest of the bill. But I improved it, number one.
Joe Biden: (48:03)
Number two, I’ve talked with Senator Warren about her proposal. This is the first opportunity we’ve had to make substantial change in what we couldn’t get done in a Republican administration. That’s why we talked last… two nights ago, and I supported her proposal. It’s a good proposal, it’s a solid proposal. She should get credit for having introduced it.
Joe Biden: (48:24)
With regard to what we’re talking about in terms of college education… I’ve been saying for a long time that we’re in a position where 12 years of education is not enough, is not enough for the 21st century. We need 16 years of education. The exact bill that Senator Sanders introduced, I guess a little over a year ago, capping it off at $125,000 in income. You could get free up to that point. After that, you’d have to pay for your college education. It only worked for public schools, and it would work for public universities in your state. I support that idea. It was a good idea and I support it. That’s what it is. I’m not saying everything Bernie’s said has been wrong, he happens to be right on that one.
Ilia Calderón: (49:10)
Senator Sanders, I assume you welcome these changes.
Bernie Sanders: (49:14)
Look, this is a little bit about leadership as well. Joe talked about bankruptcy. Joe, if my memory is correct, you helped write that Bankruptcy Bill.
Joe Biden: (49:22)
I did not.
Bernie Sanders: (49:23)
Joe Biden: (49:23)
I did not.
Bernie Sanders: (49:23)
That Bankruptcy Bill… By the way, when we talk about education, we got 45 million people in America struggling with student debt, some of them really struggling with student debt. That Bankruptcy Bill made it impossible, very difficult for people to escape from that student debt. It was a very, very bad bill. You said, Joe, that a majority of the people in the Senate voted for it. You’re right.
Joe Biden: (49:45)
Bernie Sanders: (49:46)
Overwhelmingly. Well, I voted against it in the House, and I was right. I don’t have to rethink my position, because that’s what leadership is about. Having the guts to take an unpopular vote. But it’s not just bankruptcy. The difference between Joe and I on higher education is… four years ago, it was not a popular idea, Joe. Glad you’re coming around now. Four years ago, when I said that public colleges and universities should be tuition free, people were saying, “Bernie, that’s a radical idea.” Well, you got states and cities and counties all over the country that are moving in that direction.
Bernie Sanders: (50:25)
I’m glad that Joe was on board. But what leadership is about, is going forward when it’s not popular, when it’s an idea that you get criticized for. So I’m proud of that fact, and I’m proud of my leadership on many issues. Joe, since the campaign, has come around. I talked about raising that minimum wage 15-bucks-an-hour, four years ago, Joe.
Joe Biden: (50:46)
So did I, and I went out and campaigned for it.
Bernie Sanders: (50:48)
$15 an hour?
Joe Biden: (50:49)
$15 an hour, in New York city. Go to the Governor.
Bernie Sanders: (50:52)
I will talk to the Governor. I am not aware of it. I am not aware of it.
Joe Biden: (50:55)
You should be aware of it.
Bernie Sanders: (50:56)
All right. Four years ago, it was a radical idea. Very few people in Congress were talking about it.
Ilia Calderón: (51:01)
Go ahead, Vice President.
Joe Biden: (51:02)
Well here, look. Let’s get something straight about the Bankruptcy Bill. The Bankruptcy Bill already… It did not affect student debt for 90%, because the law had already been passed. You could not declare bankruptcy for those loans that were from private institutions. You couldn’t do it, as the Bankruptcy Bill did not affect that. It affected 10% of the people, the first Bankruptcy Bill. 10% of the student loans, number one.
Joe Biden: (51:28)
Number two. Now we’re in a position where we’re able to correct that problem. The fact is, if I hadn’t stepped up and changed the law as it relates to people making less than $50,000, those who… for alimony and child support, then guess what? They would have been in the bucket too. It was going to pass anyway. I made it… Let me finish. I made incrementally better. I did not like the bill. I did not support the bill. And I made it clear to the industry, I didn’t like the bill.
Joe Biden: (51:56)
Number two, this bill now calls for the opportunity to fundamentally change the mistakes we couldn’t correct in the bill the first time around. That is why I support Elizabeth Warren’s idea, and it’s a very good idea.
Ilia Calderón: (52:11)
Senator Sanders, go ahead.
Bernie Sanders: (52:12)
Well, this is kind of circular logic. We’re going to reform the bill that I voted for. Well, if you hadn’t voted for it, and if you rallied other people as I tried to do in the House voting against it, we might not have the problems with it we have today. What leadership is about, Joe, it deals whether your opposition or your support, I should say, for legislation regarding gay communities and the so-called Defense of Marriage Act. You remember that bill, right? You remember?
Joe Biden: (52:48)
Yes, I do.
Bernie Sanders: (52:49)
Gay marriage today is considered a little bit differently than it was 25 years ago. I remember that vote. It was a very hard vote. I voted against the Defense of Marriage Act. You voted for it. I voted against the Bankruptcy Bill. You voted for it. I voted against the war in Iraq, which was also a tough vote. You voted for. I voted against disastrous trade agreements like NAFTA and PNT all with China, which costs this country over four million good paying jobs. You voted for it. I voted against the Hyde Amendment, which denies low income women the right to get an abortion. You have consistently voted for it. I don’t know what your position is on it today, but you have consistently voted for it. In other words, all that I’m saying here, we can argue about the merits of the bill.
Ilia Calderón: (53:35)
Vice President Biden-
Bernie Sanders: (53:36)
It takes courage sometimes to do the right thing.
Joe Biden: (53:38)
We can argue about the past and the future. This man voted against the Brady Bill five times. Background checks, background checks. Five times, number one. Number two, this man is the only… one of the few Democrats I know who voted to exempt the gun industry from being able to be sued. Talk about a special, special interest. We should be able to sue drug companies. We should be able to sue tobacco companies. We cannot sue the gun manufacturers, because he voted for that years ago. He says it was a mistake now. I’m prepared to accept he says it’s a mistake.
Joe Biden: (54:13)
The question is, what do we do from this point on? And by the way, I might add, I’m the first person to go on national television in any administration and say, I supported gay marriage. I supported gay marriage when asked. It started a ripple effect for gay marriage on national television.
Bernie Sanders: (54:32)
All that I’m saying here-
Joe Biden: (54:34)
Bernie Sanders: (54:35)
We could argue this or that bill. But what I’m suggesting is that in this time of crisis, when we live in a really, really unsettling world… economically, from a healthcare prospective with the coronavirus, the people of America know my record. Okay?
Bernie Sanders: (54:56)
For 30 years, I have stood with the working families of this country. I have taken on every special interest there is out there, and that is what I will do in the White House. That’s a very different record than Joe’s.
Joe Biden: (55:09)
That is not a different record than mine.
Bernie Sanders: (55:10)
That is a totally different record than yours. All right? I mean, it’s manifested in this campaign when you’re getting all this money from wealthy people and billionaires. I think, if you want somebody who will take to the White House what I have done for my whole life-
Jake Tapper: (55:28)
Thank you Senator Sanders.
Bernie Sanders: (55:30)
And that is take on special interest, I think I’m that candidate.
Joe Biden: (55:32)
The average campaign contribution, $44.
Jake Tapper: (55:35)
Let’s talk about the future, Vice President Biden. If you become the Democratic Presidential nominee, how will you appeal to supporters of Senator Sanders when you do disagree on so many issues?
Joe Biden: (55:45)
He’s making it hard for me right now. I was trying to give him credit for some things. He won’t even take the credit for things he wants to do. Look, I think that I want to make it clear that Bernie as a nominee, I will not only support him, I will campaign for him. I believe the people who support me will do the same thing. Because the existential threat to the United States of America is Donald Trump. It’s critical. I would hope that Bernie would do the same thing if I am the nominee, and encourage all of his followers to in fact, support me as well. Because it’s much bigger than either of us. Character of the nation is on the ballot. It goes well beyond whether or not Senator Sanders and I both agree, we need medic… healthcare should be a right, not a privilege. We both agree we have to deal with student debt. We both agree we have to deal with education and access to education. We both agree that we have a new Green Deal to deal with the existential threat that faces humanity. We disagree on the detail of how we do it, but we don’t disagree on the principle. We fundamentally disagree with this president on everything. This is a man who wants to cut Social Security, cut Medicare. Not Bernie, the President of the United States. So this is much bigger than whether or not I’m the nominee or Bernie’s the nominee. We must defeat Donald Trump. He is the… Four more years of Donald Trump will fundamentally change the nature of who we are as a nation. We’ve got to restore this country’s soul, that’s essential. As long as this president is there, we’re not going to be able to that.
Jake Tapper: (57:18)
Senator Sanders, if-
Bernie Sanders: (57:20)
Can I just say a word, then I’ll respond to you?
Jake Tapper: (57:22)
Well, it’s just a quick question.
Bernie Sanders: (57:22)
Jake Tapper: (57:22)
Which is, if he is the nominee, Vice-President Biden… You’ve already said you would support him.
Bernie Sanders: (57:27)
Jake Tapper: (57:27)
But will you campaign for him? Will you urge your supporters to-
Bernie Sanders: (57:30)
On day one, when I announced my candidacy, what I said is… This country cannot deal with a president who is a pathological liar, was running a corrupt administration or obviously doesn’t know the Constitution of the United States, who believes he’s above law, was a racist and a sexist and a homophobe. He is the most dangerous president in the modern history of this country.
Bernie Sanders: (57:55)
What I said on day one, Joe, day one, that obviously I hope to win the nomination. But if I don’t win the nomination, I and I think every other Democratic candidate, is prepared to come together to do everything humanly possible to defeat Donald Trump.
Bernie Sanders: (58:10)
But let me respond to something that Joe said. We talk about the Green New Deal and all of these things in general terms, but details make a difference. What I have said throughout this campaign, and I don’t think I’ve heard you say this yet, Joe… is that if we’re going to save this planet for our kids and future generations, we need to have the courage to take on the greed of the fossil fuel industry and make it clear to them that their short-term profits are not more important than the future of this planet. We have a very detailed planet, a detailed proposal. Happy to get the endorsement of the Sunrise Movement.
Part 2 of March Democratic Debate
Dr. Sanjay Gupta: (00:00)
… Gupta and this is CNN.
Dana Bash: (00:06)
Welcome back to the CNN-Univision Democratic Presidential debate, live from Washington DC. And as we noted, Arizona will vote on Tuesday. We solicited questions from undecided Democratic voters there. One is from Amy Langenfeld, who is a law professor from Chandler, Arizona, with a question for Senator Sanders.
Amy Langenfeld: (00:26)
Women are the canaries in the coal mine of the Conservative agenda. Our access to healthcare is at risk- [crosstalk 00:00:31]… from the Federalist Society’s remaking of the courts. Our lives are threatened by abusive partners’ access to guns. Women are disproportionately affected by bail requirements, Social Security cuts and cuts to public education. How will your Cabinet ensure the best advice on issues that affect women’s physical and financial health? Thank you.
Bernie Sanders: (00:55)
My Cabinet, my administration will look like America, last I heard over half of the people in America are women and that will be the representation in my Cabinet and my administration. And in terms of policies, unlike Joe, I have consistently believed and I have a 100% lifetime voting record from groups like NARAL, that it is a women’s right to control her own body, not the government. I have believed that we have got to move aggressively to deal with domestic violence in this country. I have aggressively and I think effectively, made the case that we cannot have women in America earning 80 cents on the dollar compared to men. And if you’re a minority woman, it’s 50 or 60 cents on the dollar.
Bernie Sanders: (01:50)
We need to have universal, affordable, high-quality childcare, so women who are single or married can go off to work and know that their kids are going to be well taken care of. So I think if you look at my agenda, which is on berniesanders.com, what you will find, it is a very strong agenda in fighting for the rights of women, who today are under incredible political assault by Trump and Republican governors all across this country.
Dana Bash: (02:20)
Vice President Biden.
Joe Biden: (02:21)
Am I able to respond to that?
Dana Bash: (02:21)
Joe Biden: (02:23)
Yes, thank you. Number one, I agree with the question and the underlying premise of Amy’s question. Number one, I commit it that if I’m elected President and have an opportunity to appoint someone to the courts, I’ll appoint the first black woman to the courts. It’s required that they have representation, now it’s long overdue. Secondly, if I’m elected President, my Cabinet, my administration will look like the country. And I commit that I’ll pick a woman to be Vice President. There are a number of women who are qualified to be President tomorrow, I would pick a woman to be my Vice President.
Joe Biden: (03:03)
Number three, I’m the guy that wrote the domestic violence law and I’m the guy that put in the prohibitions that no one who abuses someone else should be able to own a gun, period. They should not be able to own a gun. I would get the boyfriend exception amended, now I’ve gotten it past that. If you are to get a stay away order from a court, you have a child with someone that you cannot own a gun. No one should be able in a gun who has abused a woman, period.
Dana Bash: (03:30)
Mr. Vice President, if I could just follow up. Just to be clear, you just committed here tonight that your running mate, if you get the nomination will be a woman?
Joe Biden: (03:38)
Dana Bash: (03:40)
Senator Sanders, will you make that same statement?
Bernie Sanders: (03:42)
May I just respond-
Dana Bash: (03:44)
Bernie Sanders: (03:44)
… and ask Joe a question? Right now, a woman’s right to control her own body is under massive assault, unprecedented assault.
Joe Biden: (03:54)
Bernie Sanders: (03:54)
Joe, you have in the past on more than one occasion, voted for the Hyde Amendment which says that a woman, low-income woman could not use Medicaid funding for an abortion. Is that still your view or have you modified it?
Joe Biden: (04:09)
It is not my view. It is not my view and by the way everybody who’s been in the Congress voted for the Hyde Amendment at one point or another, because it was locked in other bills. The reason why I affirmatively came out opposed to the Hyde Amendment was, that if we’re going to have public funding for all healthcare along the line, there is no way you could allow for there to be a requirement that you have Hyde Amendment, a woman who doesn’t have the money could not have coverage under healthcare.
Bernie Sanders: (04:36)
Well I’m glad.
Joe Biden: (04:36)
Number two… And I did that a while ago, okay. Number one. Number two, I would send immediately to the desk of the United States Congress, when I’m elected President, if I’m elected President, a codification of Roe V Wade amended by Casey because I think it is a woman’s right to choose. I think it’s a woman’s opportunity to be able to make that decision. And in fact, I’ve gotten a 100% rating from NARAL as well.
Dana Bash: (05:01)
Senator Sanders, before we move on, I just want to get you to respond-
Bernie Sanders: (05:04)
Excuse me, you have a lifetime 100% voting record from NARAL?
Joe Biden: (05:07)
I know my record of late from NARAL has been 100%. I don’t know whether it was 25 years ago.
Bernie Sanders: (05:13)
Well all right, I mean, I think one of the differences, not to pick a bone here, is I have been consistent. I’ve always believed in that and you have not. I’m glad you’ve changed your views.
Dana Bash: (05:23)
Senator, just to be clear, the Vice President committed to picking a woman as his running mate. If you get the nomination, will you?
Bernie Sanders: (05:30)
In all likelihood, I will. For me, it’s not just nominating a woman. It is making sure that we have a progressive women and there are progressive women out there, so my very strong tendency is to move in that direction.
Ilia Calderón: (05:47)
Let’s turn now to immigration. Vice President Biden, you recently said for the first time that the Obama-Biden administration made a big mistake in deporting millions of immigrants, but you didn’t publicly speak out against it at the time. What commitment will you make tonight, that as President, you won’t deport millions again?
Joe Biden: (06:11)
Number one, I said that it took much too long to get it right and the President did get it right by DACA as well as making sure that it tried to protect parents as well and by the way, moving on an immigration bill as well. The fact is that we already had a vote on immigration bill, by the way, and Bernie voted against it, the immigration bill. Had he voted forward and had passed, we’d already have 6 million undocumented would be citizens as I speak right now. But I will send to the desk immediately a bill that requires access to citizenship for 11 million undocumented folks, number one. Number two, the first hundred days of my administration, no one, no one will be deported at all. From that point on, the only deportations that will take place are commissions of felonies in the United States of America.
Ilia Calderón: (07:01)
So to be clear, only felons get deported and everyone else gets-
Joe Biden: (07:04)
Ilia Calderón: (07:04)
… to stay?
Joe Biden: (07:06)
Yes, and the reason-
Ilia Calderón: (07:07)
Joe Biden: (07:08)
Is, it’s about uniting families. It’s about making sure that we can both be a nation of immigrants, as well as a nation that is decent.
Bernie Sanders: (07:16)
Let me respond and I’ll answer your question. Let me respond to Joe’s comments about the 2007 immigration bill. That bill was opposed by LULAC, the largest Latino organization in America. The Southern Poverty Law Center called it’s guest-worker programs akin to slavery. There wasn’t really a vote on the bill. It was killed because there was a vote on the Dorgan amendment, I think it was 49-48. And you know who voted with me on that one Joe? Barack Obama. He understood that that proposal was a bad idea. We don’t need slavery in America where workers, guest-workers are forced to say with their employers.
Bernie Sanders: (07:55)
But in terms of immigration in general, let me outline some of the things that we do. Day one, we restore the legal status of 1.8 million young people and their parents in the DACA program. Number two, immediately, we end these ICE raids, which are terrorizing communities all over this country. Three, we changed the border policy, under my administration, no federal agent will ever grab little babies from the arms of their mothers. And fourth, I think we can pass what the American people want and that is comprehensive immigration reform, path towards citizenship for the 11 million undocumented.
Dr. Sanjay Gupta: (08:28)
Senator Sanders, critics suggest, positions like this send a message that when a Democrat is in the White House, the border is open. Do they?
Bernie Sanders: (08:37)
No. That’s just… I mean that’s what Trump says and that is a total lie. What we’re talking about is a humane, sensible policy supported by the American people. Nobody is talking about open borders and of course Trump lies about that. But the bottom line is, right now you have in this country, people who have been here for decades, they are working hard, they’re raising their kids. They are an important part of our agricultural economy, our construction economy. These are good people and yet they are living in terror and we have got to end that terror and end the ICE raids and move toward a path towards citizenship.
Joe Biden: (09:16)
Let me set the record straight on something what was said. You know the idea that it was slavery, Barack Obama supported that immigration bill. Teddy Kennedy supported that immigration bill. I supported it. I doubt whether those people think it’s slavery. And by the way, right after his vote against that, he went on the Lou Dobbs show and continued to canard, that they’re taking jobs. These immigrants are taking jobs from Americans, which is one of the Republican canards, right after that no vote. And so come on, this is… You think Ted Kennedy is for slavery? You think I was for slavery? You think people voted for it for slavery?
Bernie Sanders: (09:54)
Joe Biden: (09:55)
And with regard to your question relative to whether or not I would deal with supporting the border. Look, we can deal with securing the border by national technical means. All the bad things are coming through ports of entry right now, we don’t need a wall. And by the way, I would immediately as President, surge to the border, I would end this notion for the first time in history that people seeking asylum have to be in squalor on the other side of the river, in a desperate situation. They should be able to come to the United States and have a judgment made is whether or not they qualify. I would also surge to the border immigration judges to make decisions immediately and no one, no one would be put in jail while waiting for their hearing.
Ilia Calderón: (10:41)
Bernie Sanders: (10:42)
That’s kind of what I’ve been saying throughout the entire campaign.
Joe Biden: (10:45)
So have I.
Bernie Sanders: (10:46)
So what we need is, at the border, hundreds of administrative judges. We need to deal with people who are seeking asylum, based on international law. We need not to be dividing children from their parents and dividing families up. We need a humane border policy. And I’ll tell you what else we need and I speak as the son of an immigrant. My father came to this country from Poland at the age of 17, without a nickel in his pocket, couldn’t speak English, didn’t have much of an education. I will end, on day one, the demonization, the ugly demonization from the White House of the immigrant community in this country. We’ve got a President who is trying to divide us up. My administration brings our people together, black and white and Latino, Native American, Asian American.
Ilia Calderón: (11:40)
Thank you Senator Sanders. Vice President Biden, you opposed sanctuary cities as a Presidential candidate in 2007, where do you stand now? Should undocumented immigrants arrested by local police be turned over to immigration officials?
Joe Biden: (11:56)
Ilia Calderón: (12:00)
Bernie Sanders: (12:01)
Of course not. Look… And one of the things that goes on when you have that process, is that not only the psychological terror, and I’ve talked to these kids, kids are scared to death in America when they come home from school that their mom or dad may not be there, may be deported. What we need to do is to end, and I will end this on day one, the ICE raids that have been so harmful to so many people. And we need to do, again, what the American people want us to do. I’m the son of an immigrant. This is a country significantly built by immigrant labor, built by slave labor and what we have got to do is appreciate each other and end this demonization and the divisiveness this coming from the Trump administration.
Jake Tapper: (12:52)
Joe Biden: (12:53)
Can I add one thing to that, please?
Jake Tapper: (12:53)
Joe Biden: (12:54)
Look, we are a nation of immigrants, our future rests upon the Latino community being fully integrated. 24 out of every 100 children in school today from kindergarten through high school is a Latino, right now today. The idea that any American thinks it doesn’t pay for us to significantly invest in their future is absolutely a bizarre notion, because if we do not invest everything that the very wealthy are concerned about and the xenophobes are concerned about, will in fact get worse, not better. We should be embracing, bringing them in, just like what happened with the Irish immigrants after the famine, just what happened with the Italians, et cetera. We’ve been through this before, xenophobia is a disease.
Jake Tapper: (13:37)
Thank you Vice President Biden. Let’s move now to the climate crisis. I’m coming right to you Senator Sanders. The world Health Organization calls the climate crisis, a “Health crisis” and warns that climate change could fuel the spread of infectious diseases. Can you point to specific measures in your climate plan that address that threat?
Bernie Sanders: (13:57)
Well, of course we do. I mean we… Look, this is what the scientists are telling us, the same scientists who make your point there, Jake. What they’re telling us is, if we don’t get our act together in the next seven or eight years, there would be irreversible damage done to this planet. We’re talking about cities in America, from Miami to New Orleans to Charleston, South Carolina being underwater. We are talking about severe droughts which will prevent farmers in the Midwest from growing the food that we need. We’re talking about extreme weather disturbances which hit Houston Texas, Venice Italy, just a few months ago.
Bernie Sanders: (14:37)
We are talking about the absolute need and I want to hear Joe’s position on this. This is not a middle of the ground thing. This is not building a few more solar panels or a few more wind turbines. What this is about is transforming our energy system, as quickly as we humanly can, away from fossil fuel. It is insane that we continue to have fracking in America. It is absurd that we give tens of billions of dollars a year in tax breaks and subsidies to the fossil fuel industry. This has got the end and end now if we love our kids and future generations.
Jake Tapper: (15:15)
Vice President Biden?
Joe Biden: (15:16)
First thing that President Obama and I were summoned to the State Department… Excuse me, the Defense Department for was to meet with all the chiefs, the single greatest threat to our national security, they said, is climate change. Single greatest threat to our national security, because as populations have to move because they can no longer live where they are, because their islands are sinking, because you saw what happened in Darfur, with the change in weather patterns and the deserted there. It causes war, it causes great migrations, great migrations. They said that’s the single biggest problem. Number two, there’s an awful lot of people today who are in fact getting ill because of the changes in the environment, particularly up where Bernie lives. I’m not… It has nothing to do with him. But having, up in the Northeast, because you have everything from beetle infestation and a whole range of things that are causing diseases as well, in addition to eliminating foliage. But-
Jake Tapper: (16:11)
So Vice President Biden, let me ask you then, you talk about this being the number one crisis-
Joe Biden: (16:16)
Jake Tapper: (16:17)
… they told you at the Pentagon. The price tag for your climate plan is about $1.7 trillion. That’s about $14 trillion less than Senator Sanders wants to spend on this. Is your plan ambitious enough to tackle this crisis?
Joe Biden: (16:30)
Yes, it is ambitious enough to tackle the crisis, because what… Go to joebiden.com, I lay out the first 13 things I would do immediately upon being elected. Number one, we’re going to once again reinstate all the cuts the President made and everything from the cafe standards, how far automobiles can go, investing in light rail so that we take cars off the road, making sure we’re in a position where we are now in a position that we put 500,000 charging stations in areas that… [silence 00:17:03] … all new highways that we built, making sure that we spent $500 billion a year… [silence 00:17:22] and the federal government paying for transportation, the vehicles we run, all of those being converted to being able to run on low carbon fuel and/or be able to run on no carbon fuel at all by having them move into a direction that is all carbon free. We can do these things. We can lay down the tracks where nothing can be changed by the next President or the following President, the one beyond that.
Joe Biden: (18:02)
In addition to that, we also have to… I would immediately rejoin the Paris climate accord, which I helped put together. I would call the 100 nations, over a hundred nations, but the hundred major polluters to the United States and the first hundred days, to up the ante and make it clear that in fact if they didn’t, there’d be a price to pay. And lastly, I would be right now organizing the hemisphere and the world, to provide $20 billion for the Amazon, for Brazil no longer to burn the Amazon, so they could have forests… They’re no longer forests but they could have farming and say, “This is what we’re going to do.” … the region is burning out than we admit in one entire year, per year.
Jake Tapper: (18:41)
Thank you, Mr. Vice President. Senator Sanders?
Bernie Sanders: (18:43)
All well and good, but nowhere near enough. I mean, you mentioned, we started this debate talking about a warlike situation in terms of the coronavirus and we said, “We have to act accordingly.” You said it. I think you’re right. I said it. We have to act dramatically, boldly, if we’re going to save lives in this country and around the world. I look at climate change in exactly the same way. It’s not a question of reentering the Paris Accord. That’s fine. Who cares? It’s not a big deal. The deal right now is, do we have the courage? And this gets back to the point I’m trying to make all night long. Do we take on the healthcare industry and tell them their profits are not more important than healthcare for all? Do we take on the fossil fuel industry?
Bernie Sanders: (19:28)
Look, in terms of the fossil fuel industry, these guys have been lying, they’ve been lying for years, like the tobacco industry lied 50 years ago. “Oh we don’t know if fossil fuels, if oil and carbon emissions are causing climate change.” They knew. ExxonMobil knew, they lied. In fact, I think they should be held criminally accountable. But this Jake, is an issue of enormous consequence. What Joe was saying goes nowhere near enough. It’s not a question of money. Give me a minute here. We have time to talk about this. This is a world shaking event.
Jake Tapper: (20:03)
I understand. I just want to give him a chance to respond and then we can come back to you.
Bernie Sanders: (20:05)
Okay, fine let’s stay on.
Jake Tapper: (20:06)
We’re staying on this issue.
Joe Biden: (20:07)
Number one, no more subsidies for fossil fuel industry. No more drilling on federal lands. No more drilling, including offshore. No ability for the oil industry to continue to drill, period, ends, number one. Number two, we’re in a situation as well where we cannot… We are able to move rapidly to change the dynamic, in terms of what we can do to set in motion. The fact that he says climate change, Paris Accord doesn’t mean much. We could get everything exactly right, we’re 15% of the problem. 85% of the problem is over there. We need someone who can deal internationally. We need someone who can bring the together again. We need someone who can move in a direction that in fact, if you violate the commitment you make, you will pay an economic price for it. Like what’s happening in China there they’re exporting coal, significant coal.
Jake Tapper: (21:00)
Bernie Sanders: (21:01)
Okay. Look, obviously the Paris Accord is useful, but it doesn’t go anywhere… If you’re laughing Joe, then you’re missing the point.
Joe Biden: (21:08)
You’re missing the point.
Bernie Sanders: (21:08)
This is an existential crisis.
Joe Biden: (21:10)
Bernie Sanders: (21:11)
You talk about… I’m talking about stopping fracking, as soon as we possibly can. I’m talking about telling the fossil fuel industry that they are going to stop destroying this planet. No ifs, buts and maybes about it. I’m talking about speaking-
Joe Biden: (21:27)
So am I.
Bernie Sanders: (21:28)
… to China… Well, I’m not sure your proposal does that. I’m talking about speaking to China, to Russia, to countries all over the world and in this moment, making the point that instead of spending 1.8 trillion on weapons of destruction designed to kill each other, maybe we should pool our resources and fight our common enemy, which is climate change. I know your heart is in the right place, but this requires dramatic, bold action. We’ve got to take on the fossil fuel industry. Your plan does not do that.
Joe Biden: (21:59)
My plan takes on the fossil fuel industry and it unites the world. He just got finished saying, what’s he going to do? He’s going to bring these countries together, making it clear to them. I’m saying we bring them together, make them live up to the commitments. If they don’t live up to the commitments, they pay a financial price for it. They pay an economic price for it. Because we can do everything, my state is three feet above sea level. I don’t need a lecture on what’s going to happen about rising seas. I know what happens. I watched the whole Delmarva Peninsula, just like it is in South Carolina and the rest. Something I know a little bit about, I wrote the first climate change bill that was in the Congress, which PolitiFact said was a game changer. I’m the guy who came along and said with Dick Lugar, that we’re going to trade, we’ll forgive your debt if you don’t cut down your FARs. I’ve been way ahead of this curve. This idea that all of a sudden Bernie found this out is amazing to me.
Jake Tapper: (22:53)
Bernie Sanders: (22:53)
No, Bernie didn’t find it out. Bernie is listening to the scientists and what… You’re talking about making countries around the world fulfill their commitments. Those commitments are not enough. What this moment is about Joe, is that the scientists are telling us they underestimated the severity of the crisis. They were wrong. The problem is more severe. So all that I’m saying right here is that we are fighting for the future of this planet, for the wellbeing of our kids and future generations. You cannot continue, as I understand Joe believes, to continue fracking, correct me if I’m wrong. What we need to do right now is bringing the world together, tell the fossil fuel industry that we are going to move aggressively to win solar, sustainable energies-
Jake Tapper: (23:43)
Bernie Sanders: (23:44)
… and energy efficiency.
Jake Tapper: (23:45)
Thank you Senator.
Joe Biden: (23:46)
No more, no new fracking. And by the way, on the Recovery Act, I was able to make sure we invested $90 billion in making sure we brought down the price of solar and wind, that is lower than the price of coal. That’s why not another new coal plant will be built. I did that while you were watching, number one. Number two, we’re in a situation where we in fact have the ability to lay down the tracks where no one can change the dynamic. And that’s why we should be talking about things like I’ve been talking about for years, high speed rail, taking millions of automobiles off the road. Making sure that we move in a direction where no more, no more drilling on federal lands, making sure that we invest in changing the entire fleet-
Jake Tapper: (24:32)
Joe Biden: (24:32)
… of the United States military to… I know.
Jake Tapper: (24:35)
Thank you, Mr. Vice President. Senator Sanders-
Bernie Sanders: (24:36)
Can I respond?
Jake Tapper: (24:37)
… I want to talk to you about fracking because you want to ban fracking-
Bernie Sanders: (24:40)
Jake Tapper: (24:40)
… which is a method of extracting natural gas. The shift towards natural gas and away from coal has resulted in reduced US carbon emissions. So how can the US transition to your targeted goal is zero emissions with fracking completely out of the picture?
Bernie Sanders: (24:56)
Because we have to invest in an unprecedented way, in an unprecedented way. You started off by saying that we’re talking about a 13, $14 trillion investment. That is a lot of money and I’ve been criticized for that. But I don’t know what the alternative is, if we are playing for the future of this planet. So we’ve got to be dramatic and what being dramatic is, massive investments in wind, in solar and sustainable energies in general and research and development, in making our buildings all over this country… In my state of Vermont and around this country, got a lot of old buildings. We can put millions…
Part 3 of March Democratic Debate
Jake Tapper: (00:04)
Welcome back to the CNN Univision Democratic presidential debate on Tuesday. Voters in Arizona, Ohio, Illinois, and Florida will cast their votes in the democratic primary. Here’s Univision’s Ilia Calderón.
Ilia Calderón: (00:15)
Thank you, Jake. Let’s move now to foreign policy. Senator Sanders, there are about 1.5 million Cuban Americans living in Florida right now. Why would they vote for you when they hear you praise a program of Fidel Castro, a dictator who jailed, tortured, and killed thousands of Cubans.
Bernie Sanders: (00:36)
I have opposed or authoritarianism, whether it’s in Cuba, whether it’s in Saudi Arabia, whether it’s in China or whether it is in Russia. That is my life record. I believe unlike the president of the United States, in democracy, not authoritarianism in Cuba or any place else.
Bernie Sanders: (00:57)
What I believe right now in this world is that we are faced with a global crisis and a movement toward authoritarianism. That’s what Putin in Russia is leading, that’s what MBS in Saudi Arabia is leading. And as president of the United States, unlike Donald Trump, I will put the flag down and say that in this country and in this world, we have got a move toward democracy and human rights. That is my view and has always been my view.
Ilia Calderón: (01:27)
To be clear, Senator Sanders, Cuba has been a dictatorship for decades. Shouldn’t we judge dictators by the violation of human rights and not by any of their alleged achievements?
Bernie Sanders: (01:39)
Well, I think you can make the same point about China. China is undoubtedly an authoritarian society. Okay? But would anybody deny, any economists deny that extreme poverty in China today is much less than what it was 40 or 50 years ago? That’s a fact. So I think we condemn authoritarianism, whether it’s in China, Russia, Cuba, any place else. But to simply say that nothing ever done by any of those administrations had a positive impact on their people, would I think be incorrect.
Ilia Calderón: (02:14)
Vice president Biden, you have criticized Senator Sanders for bracing Castro’s education system, but in 2016 president Obama said Cuba made “A great progress in educating young people and that its healthcare system is a huge achievement that they should be congratulated for” How is that different from what Senator Sanders has said?
Joe Biden: (02:36)
He was trying to change Cuban policies so the Cuban people would get out from under the thumb of the Castro and his brother. That is to change the policy so that we can impact on Cuba’s policy by getting them opened up. That was about, but the praising of the Sandinistas, the praising of Cuba, the praising just now of China. China is an authoritarian dictatorship. That’s what it is. We have to deal with them because they’re there.
Joe Biden: (03:03)
But the idea that they in fact have increased the wealth of people in that country, it’s been marginal that change that’s taken place. It is still, they have a million Uyghurs, a million Muslims in prison camps in the West. You see what’s happening in Hong Kong today. And by the way, the idea that he praised the Soviet Union when it was the Soviet Union about the things that they had done well, they are an awful dictatorship killing millions and millions of people.
Joe Biden: (03:28)
And in addition to that, we have a circumstance where after the election was all over and we knew what was done by the Russians now and interfering with our elections, this man voted against sanctioning Russia for interference in our elections.
Ilia Calderón: (03:44)
Joe Biden: (03:45)
I don’t get it.
Bernie Sanders: (03:46)
Well, what you don’t get in. This is exactly what the problem with politics is about. All right. Question. Did China make progress in ending extreme poverty over the last 50 years? That’s a no.
Joe Biden: (03:58)
That’s like saying Jack the ripper.
Bernie Sanders: (04:00)
No, it’s not Joe.
Joe Biden: (04:01)
Yes, it is.
Bernie Sanders: (04:01)
You see, Joe, this is the problem.
Joe Biden: (04:02)
Yes, it is.
Bernie Sanders: (04:03)
This is the problem. We can’t talk … I know there’s a political line, I understand. China’s terrible, awful, nothing ever good [inaudible 00:04:10] but the fact of the matter is China, of course is an authoritarian state. It’s what I just said.
Joe Biden: (04:15)
It’s a dictatorship.
Bernie Sanders: (04:17)
That’s what I just said five minutes ago. And by the way, the question that was asked quoted Barack Obama, president Obama was more generous in his praise of what Cuba did in healthcare and education than I was. I was talking about a program 60 years ago in the first year of the Castro revolution.
Bernie Sanders: (04:37)
So the bottom line is, that I think it’s a little bit absurd if we’re going to look at the world the way it is. Of course, we are opposed to authoritarian. And by the way, before it was considered good policy, good idea. I was condemning the dictatorship in Saudi Arabia when a lot of other people in Washington-
Joe Biden: (04:57)
Bernie Sanders: (04:59)
I was condemning the dictatorship in the UAE, you were not.
Bernie Sanders: (05:02)
Yes, I was.
Ilia Calderón: (05:03)
Thank you, Senator Sanders, Vice president Biden.
Joe Biden: (05:05)
Look, the idea of occasionally saying something nice about a country is one thing. The idea of praising a country that is violating human rights around the world is in fact makes our allies wonder what’s going on. What do you think the South Koreans think when he praises China like that? What do you think the Australians believe in the shadow of China? What do you think is happening in Indonesia in the shadow of China? What do you think is happening in terms of Japan in the shadow of China? Words matter. These are flat out dictators, period, and they should be called for it. Straight up. We may have to work out.
Joe Biden: (05:45)
For example, I was able to help negotiate a new start agreement with Russia, not because I like Putin, the guy is a thug.
Jake Tapper: (05:52)
Mr. Vice president, sticking with foreign policy, you acknowledge that your support and vote for the Iraq war was a mistake. What lessons did you learn from that mistake, and how might those lessons influence your foreign policy decision making as president?
Joe Biden: (06:09)
I learned I can’t take the word of a president when in fact they assured me that they would not use force. Remember the context, the context was the United Nations Security Council was going to vote to insist that we allow inspectors into determine whether or not they were in fact producing nuclear weapons or weapons of mass destruction. They were not.
Joe Biden: (06:30)
And what’s the first thing that happened when we got elected? The president Obama turned to me and said, get those troops out of the hours responsible for getting 150,000 combat troops out of Iraq. I admitted 14 years ago was in [spect 00:06:43] to have trusted him and I’m prepared to compare my foreign policy credentials up against my friend here on any day of the week and every day of the week.
Bernie Sanders: (06:52)
Okay, let’s start off with the war in Iraq, Joe, I was there too. I was in the house. I understood … and by the way, let’s be clear about what that vote was and you were there at the signing ceremony with Bush. Everybody in the world knew that when you voted for that resolution, you were giving Bush the authority to go to war and everybody knew that’s exactly what he and Cheney wanted to do.
Bernie Sanders: (07:18)
Most people who followed that issue closely understood that the Bush administration was lying through its teeth with regard to Saddam having weapons of mass destruction. I understood that, I was on the floor of the house time and time again. But the issue is not just the war in Iraq. That was a long time ago. The issue is the trade agreement. What is it so easy for me to lead the effort against disastrous trade agreements?
Bernie Sanders: (07:43)
The issue was the bankruptcy bill that you supported. The issue was the Hyde amendment. The issue is the defense of marriage Act. The issue is whether or not in difficult times and God knows these are difficult times. We’re going to have the courage to take on powerful special interest and do what’s right for the working families of this country.
Jake Tapper: (08:06)
Vice president Biden.
Joe Biden: (08:07)
Why did you vote not to sanction the Russians?
Bernie Sanders: (08:10)
You know why? Because I had every … you keep talking about Iran that was tied to Iran. Russia was in Iran. I think John Kerry indicated his support for what I did. That was undermining the Iranian agreement. That’s why.
Joe Biden: (08:24)
That’s not true. Our [crosstalk 00:08:24]
Bernie Sanders: (08:24)
That’s why, and that’s the only reason why I have condemned Russia time and time again.
Jake Tapper: (08:27)
Vice president Biden.
Joe Biden: (08:28)
The fact is that the idea that I in fact supported the things that you suggested is not accurate. Look, I’m the guy that helped put together the Iran deal and got the inspectors in there. My chief of staff was the guy, my foreign policy guy doing that negotiation, I was the guy that helped put together a 60-nation organization to take on the ISIS in Iraq and in Syria. I’ve dealt with these folks, I know them, and I know what they’re like and I know who the good guys are and who the bad guys are.
Joe Biden: (09:02)
The fact is, this Bernie’s notion about how he embraces folks like the Sandinistas and Cuba and the former Soviet Union and talks about the good things they did in China is absolutely contrary to every message we want to send the rest of the world.
Jake Tapper: (09:18)
Bernie Sanders: (09:21)
I have led the effort against all forms of authoritarianism, including America’s so-called allies in the UAE and in Saudi Arabia. And in fact, as you may know, worked with conservative Republicans to utilize for the very first time the War Powers Act to get the United States out of the horrific war in Yemen led by Saudi Arabia. That’s what I did. So my view is that in a world moving toward authoritarianism, the United States has got to be the leader where people all over the world look to us for guidance.
Ilia Calderón: (10:00)
Thank you, Senator. Thank you gentlemen. I want to change topics and ask each of you about some of your vulnerabilities in this election. Starting with you, Vice president Biden, Senator Sanders has one more of the Hispanic vote than you in several key States so far. In fact, he doubled your support in California among Hispanics. He almost tripled it in Nevada. So why is your message not resonating with Hispanic voters?
Joe Biden: (10:24)
Well, look, my message has resonated across the board. Every single state we’ve been in, there’s been a significant turnout. In Virginia, turnout was up 70%, they voted for me. He didn’t bring them out, I brought them out. And number two, look what’s happened in Mississippi. Look what’s happened in North Carolina, look what’s happened in Washington state. Look what’s happening across the board. Why is it that I’m winning all those places? What’s the reason? What’s the reason? The reason is because they know I am a Democrat with a capital D who in fact believes that our base is the base of the Democratic party, which are hardworking men and women who are in fact are high school educated, African Americans and minorities, including Hispanics, but all minorities. Suburban women, people who in fact have a sense of our place in the world. That’s why I am winning, not just winning, but overwhelmingly winning, not even close in these places. And-
Bernie Sanders: (11:19)
Well, you didn’t quite win-
Ilia Calderón: (11:20)
Senator Sanders, let me just follow up with you about an issue that you’re having for the second consecutive presidential election. You’re struggling to gain wide support from African-Americans. Why is your message not resonating with African-American voters?
Bernie Sanders: (11:37)
Here is what I believe is happening and this is an important point and why I decided to run for president. I think it’s imperative that we defeat Trump. I think our campaign of a biracial, bigenerational, multigenerational grassroots movement is the way to do it. Now we have won some states, Joe has won more States than I have, but here’s what we are winning. We are winning the ideological struggle. Even in States like Mississippi where Joe won a major victory. It turns out that a pretty good majority of the folks there believe in Medicare for … and that’s true in almost every state in this country.
Bernie Sanders: (12:15)
And the other issue that we don’t talk enough about is we are winning the generational struggle. Depending on the state, we’re winning people 50 years of age or younger, big time people, 30 years of age and younger. I frankly have my doubts.
Bernie Sanders: (12:29)
Look, if I lose this thing, Joe wins, Joe, I will be there for you. But I have my doubts about how you win a general election against Trump will be a very, very tough opponent unless you have energy, excitement, the largest voter turnout in history. And to do that you are going to have to bring young people who are not great voters. They don’t vote in the kinds of numbers they should into the political process. You’re going to have to bring Latinos who are great people, have the agenda that we need, but also don’t vote in the numbers that we need. I have my doubts that vice president Biden’s campaign can generate that energy and excitement and that voter turnout.
Joe Biden: (13:09)
I will do that. And by the way, just get this straight. The energy and excitement is taking place so far has been for me. 70% turnout increased in Virginia, I can go down the list, they’re coming out for me and I didn’t even have the money to compete with this man in those States. I virtually had no money. The press kept saying Biden has no money and they were right by net, no money. And the idea, why are they doing that? The reason they’re doing that is because they understand I know what has to happen, that I know what needs to be done.
Joe Biden: (13:41)
And by the way, the idea that everybody supports Medicare for all he has still hadn’t indicated how much it’s going to cost people. He’s yet to know exactly what’s going to … So here’s my point. People don’t know the detail at all and the fact is I am winning-
Ilia Calderón: (13:57)
Thank you, sir.
Joe Biden: (13:57)
… overwhelmingly among democratic constituencies across the board.
Ilia Calderón: (14:01)
Thank you Mr. Vice president. We are going to be right back with more from the CNN Univision Democratic presidential debates. Stay right there.
Jake Tapper: (00:00)
Welcome back to the CNN Univision Democratic Presidential Debate. Finally, gentlemen, thanks so much for everything. As we end here tonight, let’s return to where we began, the coronavirus, which does not discriminate based on ideology. It does not care if one is a Democrat or Republican, a Conservative, a Moderate or a Progressive. Senator Sanders, let me start with you. What’s your closing message tonight for those who are concerned about, effected by, or dealing with the coronavirus?
Bernie Sanders: (00:29)
Well, our hearts go out to everyone. We need to move aggressively, to make sure that every person in this country who has the virus, who thinks they have the virus, understands they get all the healthcare that they need, because they are Americans, that we move aggressively to make sure that the test kits are out there, that the ventilators are out there, that the ICU units are out there, that the medical personnel are out there.
Bernie Sanders: (00:59)
But Jake, if I might also say, that in this moment of economic uncertainty, in addition to the coronavirus, it is time to ask how we get to where we are, not only our lack of preparation for the virus, but how we end up with an economy, with so many about people are hurting at a time of massive income and wealth inequality. It is time to ask the question of where the power is in America. Who owns the media? Who owns the economy? Who owns the legislative process? Why do we give tax breaks to billionaires and not raise the minimum wage?
Bernie Sanders: (01:41)
Why do we pump up the oil industry while a half a million people are homeless in America? This is the time to move aggressively, dealing with the coronavirus crisis, to deal with the economic fallout, but it’s also a time to rethink America, and create a country where we care about each other, rather than a nation of greed and corruption, which is what is taking place among the corporate elite.
Jake Tapper: (02:07)
Thank you, senator Sanders. Vice President Biden, what’s your closing message tonight for those concerned about affected by or dealing with with this virus?
Joe Biden: (02:16)
Number one, as I said at the outset, I just can’t imagine what people are going through right now who have lost someone already. I can’t imagine what people are going through when they have a mom. Like for example, a good friend of ours is sitting outside the window of a nursing home where her mom is because she can’t go in, trying to do sign language to her mom and through the window to be able to talk to her. I guess I can imagine the fear and concern people have. Number one, one of the things that I think we have to understand is that this is an all hands on deck. This is, as someone said, maybe it was you Jake at the outset, this is bigger than any individual. This is bigger than yourself. This is about America. This is about the world. This is about how we bring people together and make the kind of sacrifices we need to make to get this done, and so first and foremost, where we have to do is start to listen to the science again.
Joe Biden: (03:16)
As I said, what we did, we met and that what I’d be doing today, I’d be sitting down in the situation room literally every day like we did at the outset of other crises we had when we were in the White House, and pulling together the best people and not just the United States the world and say, “What is it? What are the prescriptive moves we have to take now to lessen this virus to beat it, to go to the point where we can save more lives, get more people tested, get more people to kind of care they need?”
Joe Biden: (03:45)
And then what do we do beyond that to make sure that the economic impact on them is in fact rendered harmless? That we in fact make sure every paycheck is met, every paycheck that’s out there that the people are going to miss, that we keep people in their homes, they don’t miss their mortgage payments, they don’t miss their rent payments, making sure that they’re going to be able to take care of education, and by the way, the education systems are closing down right now, and so there’s so many things we have to do.
Joe Biden: (04:15)
In addition to that, we have to do is we have to have the best science in the world and telling us what can stay open and what need be closed. Like I said earlier, the idea that we are closing schools, which I understand, but not being able to provide lunches for people who in fact need the school lunch program to get by. The idea that we would close any place that I can understand the decision made to close places where a hundred or 50 people or more gather, but how do you keep open the drug store to make sure you can get your prescription? How do you deal with the things that necessarily have to be kept going and what’s the way to do that? There should be a national standard for that. It should be coming out of the situation room right now.
Joe Biden: (04:57)
And by the way, the single most significant thing we can do should deal with the larger problem down the road of income inequality is get rid of Donald Trump, Donald Trump. He’s exacerbated every single one of these problems, both the immediate urgent need, and how we’re going to hold people harmless for the damage done as a consequence of this virus. It’s important we do both.
Jake Tapper: (05:22)
Vice President Biden, Senator Sanders, I would want to thank you both for being here tonight under these challenging and trying circumstances. We wish both of you the best. Our thanks as well to our partners at Univision. For Ilia Calderon and Dana Bash, I’m Jake Tapper. Thank you so much for watching. Please stay healthy. Stay safe. Our coverage of both tonight’s debate and the coronavirus pandemic continues now with Anderson Cooper.
Anderson Cooper: (05:48)
Jake, thanks very much. There you have the CNN Univision Democratic Debate, Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, and a third unwelcome player, the coronavirus. The candidates acknowledged it at the closed debate in their final remarks.