Feb 7, 2020
New Hampshire Democratic Debate Transcript
The Democratic 2020 presidential candidates debated in New Hampshire on February 7 before the New Hampshire primary on February 11. Andrew Yang, Pete Buttigieg, Elizabeth Warren, Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, Amy Klobuchar, and Tom Steyer participated. Read the full transcript of the debate right here on Rev.com.
George S.: (00:14)
Candidates, welcome. Vice President Biden, the first question is for you. In the last few days, you’ve been saying that Democrats will be taking too big a risk if they nominate Senator Sanders or Mayor Buttigieg, but they came out on top in Iowa. What risks did the Iowa Democrats miss?
Joe Biden: (00:32)
Oh, they didn’t miss anything. It’s a long race. I took a hit in Iowa and I’ll probably take a hit here. Traditionally Bernie won by 20 points last time. And usually it’s the neighboring senators that do well. But no matter what, I’m still in this for the same reason, we have to restore the soul of this country, bring back the middle class and make sure we bring people together. And so it’s a simple proposition. It doesn’t matter whether it’s this one or the next. I’ve always viewed the first four encounters, two primaries, and two caucuses as the starting point. And so that’s how I view it.
George S.: (01:08)
Why are Senator Sanders and Mayor Buttigieg too big a risk for Democrats?
Joe Biden: (01:12)
Well, you know that with regard to Senator Sanders, the President wants very much to sic a label on every candidate. We’re going to not only have to win this time, we have to bring along the United States Senate. And Bernie’s labeled himself, not me, a democratic socialist. I think that’s the label that the President’s going to lay on everyone running with Bernie if he’s a nominee. And a Mayor Buttigieg is a great guy and a real patriot. He’s a mayor of a small city, who has done some good things but has not demonstrated he has the ability to, and we’ll soon find out, to get a broad scope of support across the spectrum, including African Americans and Latinos.
George S.: (01:53)
Senator Sanders, let me give you the chance to respond first. President Trump certainly thinks this label socialism will work. At the State of the Union, he said, “Socialism destroys nations. He’s never going to let socialism destroy American healthcare.” And before the Super Bowl, he joked was Sean Hannity about your honeymoon in Moscow. Those hits are going to keep coming if you’re the nominee. Why shouldn’t Democrats be worried?
Bernie Sanders: (02:14)
Because Donald Trump lies all the time. It doesn’t matter what Donald Trump says, it’s a sad state of affairs, it really is. He will say terrible things about Joe, he has [inaudible 00:02:32] ugly, disgusting things about Elizabeth, about Amy, about anybody else who was up here. But I think George, that at the end of the day, the way we defeat Donald Trump and everybody up here by the way, is united. No matter who wins this damn thing, we’re all going to stand together to defeat Donald Trump.
Bernie Sanders: (02:55)
I believe that the way we beat Trump is by having the largest voter turnout in the history of this country. And that is appealing to working class people, who have given up on the political process because they don’t believe that anybody is hearing their pain, perceiving that pain, feeling their pain. And we got to bring young people into the political process. I am very proud that in Iowa we won the popular vote by 6,000 votes. What was most significant, most significant, is we increased voter turnout for young people under 29 by over 30%. If we do that nationally, we’re going to defeat Donald Trump.
George S.: (03:34)
But Senator, let me follow up there and then we’ll move on. But back in Iowa, the turn out this year was about the same as it was in 2016. Far below what it was in 2008 when President Obama won.
Bernie Sanders: (03:46)
That’s true. And that’s the disappointment and I think all of us probably could have done a better job in bringing out our supporters. But if there is a good spot, a good aspect about that campaign, is that young people came out in higher numbers than they did during Obama’s historic 2008 campaign. And if that happens nationally, we’re going to win and defeat Trump.
George S.: (04:09)
Before I move on to Mayor Buttigieg, let me just ask, is anyone else on the stage concerned about having a democratic socialist at the top of the Democratic ticket?
Bernie Sanders: (04:20)
George S.: (04:21)
Amy Klobuchar: (04:24)
Bernie and I work together all the time. But I think we are not going to be able to out divide the divider in chief. And I think we need someone to head up this ticket that actually brings people with her, instead of shutting them out. And when I look at a state like New Hampshire that had a very, very close election last time in 2016, I see a state that, yes, has a high voter turnout, fired-up Democrats just like my state, which by the way, Bernie, when I led the ticket, had the highest voter turnout of any state in the country. But I add to that being able to bring in independents like you have in this state as well as moderate Republicans. Because there are so many of them out there that are looking for a candidate. And truthfully, Donald Trump’s worst nightmare is a candidate that will bring people in from the middle. The people that are tired of the noise and the nonsense. And they are tired of the tweets and the mean stuff and they are looking for someone else. And I would submit that that is me.
George S.: (05:29)
Mr. Steyer, is socialism [inaudible 00:05:33]
Tom Steyer: (05:34)
I don’t think there’s any question, George, that after this week there’s a real threat that Donald Trump can get reelected. And I don’t think there’s any question, but that the only way that we’re going to beat him actually is the way that Bernie Sanders said, which is to get turnout across the spectrum of democratic voters. And that means we’re going to have to appeal across the spectrum, moderates, progressives and every group. So unless you can appeal to the diverse parts of the Democratic Party, including specifically the black community, including specifically Latinos. If you can’t do that, then we can’t beat Donald Trump in November and we can’t choose a candidate who can’t do that. And I am doing that right now with 24% of blacks down in South Carolina, with high numbers in Nevada. That’s what it’s going to take is turnout, but turnout across the spectrum of democratic voters. Someone who can pull, as Amy said, everything together in every single way we’re divided.
George S.: (06:35)
Andrew Yang and Senator Warren then Mayor Buttigieg.
Andrew Yang: (06:39)
First, let me say America, it’s great to be back on the debate stage. Thank you. I’m so excited, I want to give every American $1,000 a month. George, the entire capitalism, socialism dichotomy is completely out of date and the fact is when people were talking about these economic models, they did not foresee technology getting stronger, more powerful, capable of doing the work of thousands of humans in the blink of an eye. We have record high corporate profits in this country right now, but people in New Hampshire know, what else are at record highs? Mental illness, stress, debt, substance abuse, overdoses, suicides. What we have to do is actually get the markets working to improve our family’s way of life. Instead of following GDP and corporate profits off a cliff, we should be measuring our own health and wellness, life expectancy, mental health and freedom from substance abuse, clean air, and clean water, how our kids are doing. The way forward is a new human centered version of capitalism that actually uses the markets to improve our family’s lives.
George S.: (07:46)
Senator Warren, you reportedly said back in 2018, “I’m a capitalist to my bones.” Senator Sanders says, “I’m not.” Is that your biggest difference with Senator Sanders?
Elizabeth Warren: (07:57)
Oh, Bernie and I have been friends for a long time and we have a lot of things in common and we can have a lot of things that we differ on. But there’s fundamental question about how we bring our party together. We have to think about it in new ways. People across this country, whether they’re Democrats, independents, or Republicans, understand that we’ve got a government right now that works great for those at the top. Works great for giant drug companies, just not for people trying to get a prescription filled. Works great for oil companies that want to drill everywhere, just not for the rest of us who see climate change bearing down upon us. When you see a government that works great for those who can hire armies of lobbyists and lawyers and make big campaign donations and it’s not working so great for everyone else, that is corruption, pure and simple, and we need to call it out for what it is. Corruption, and that’s what we can run on. We bring our party together.
Elizabeth Warren: (08:54)
It’s an issue we can all agree on and fight for to end the corruption. We’re the Democrats, we should be the party on the side of hardworking people and we can bring in independents and Republicans on that. They hate the corruption as well. My anti-corruption plan, good for Republicans and Democrats. That’s not only how we bring our party together. That’s how we’re going to win in November.
George S.: (09:21)
Mayor Buttigieg, early in the campaign you said that the word socialism has lost its power, it’s mostly lost its meaning. Do you believe that or worry it could be a potent weapon in a general election?
Pete Buttigieg: (09:32)
I’m not interested in the labels. I’m not interested in what Republicans are going to say. I’m interested in the style of politics that we need to put forward to actually, finally turn the page. In order to win, yes, but also in order to govern. This is a moment where the next president is going to face challenges the likes of which we hadn’t even thought of a few years or decades ago. And politically, we’re facing a fundamentally new problem with President Donald Trump. So the biggest risk we could take at a time like this would be to go up against that fundamentally new challenge by trying to fall back on the familiar. Or trying to unite this country at a moment when we need that kind of unification, when our nominee is dividing people with a politics that says, if you don’t go all the way to the edge, it doesn’t count. A politics that says, it’s my way or the highway.
George S.: (10:32)
Are you talking about Senator Sanders?
Pete Buttigieg: (10:32)
Yes. Because we’ve got to bring as many people as we can into this process. Look, all of us have been saying that we can build the majority that it’s going to take in order to win. But the process of actually proving it is now underway. And now it comes to New Hampshire, a state that thinks for itself, is not going to be told what to do by anyone and that has a very independent streak that is going to respond to those who are reaching out in a politics of addition and inclusion and belonging. Not one that beats people over the head and says they shouldn’t even be on their side if we don’t agree 100% of the time.
George S.: (11:11)
Senator Sanders, your response.
Bernie Sanders: (11:13)
Needless to say, I’ve never said that, but let me tell you what I do say. The way you bring people together is by presenting an agenda that works for the working people of this country, not for the billionaire class. The way you bring people together, Republicans, independents, Democrats, progressives, conservatives, you raise the minimum wage to 15 bucks an hour. The way you bring people together is to make it clear that we’re not going to give tax breaks to billionaires and large corporations, they’re going to start paying their fair share of taxes. That’s what the American people want. And I’ll tell you something else, the way you bring people together is by ending the international disgrace of this country being the only major nation on Earth not to guarantee healthcare to all people as a human right. And you bring people together by telling the pharmaceutical industry they’re not going to charge us 10 times more for the same prescription drugs as the people in Canada that borders on New Hampshire. That’s how you bring people together and you defeat Donald Trump.
George S.: (12:27)
Mayor Buttigieg, you just heard Senator Sanders make healthcare the center of his piece. Do you think his healthcare plan can bring people together?
Pete Buttigieg: (12:34)
I think there’s a better way. It’s true, the American people are ready. There’s a historic majority right now, even broader than what was available to President Obama a decade ago. There is now a majority ready to act to make sure there is no such thing as an uninsured American and no such thing as an unaffordable prescription. Just so long as we don’t command people to accept a public plan if they don’t want to. That’s the idea of Medicare for All Who Want It. My point is, what I am offering is campaigning for all of these things that America wants. Yes, higher wages, doubling the rate of unionization in this country, making corporations and the wealthy pay their fair share, delivering healthcare and college affordability. But also offering a way to do these game changing transformations that will actually galvanize and energize, not polarize the American people. That is not only what we need in order to win, it’s what we need in order to govern and actually get these things done.
George S.: (13:31)
Vice President Biden, how do you unify the country?
Joe Biden: (13:34)
Look, Bernie says that you have to bring people together and we have to have Medicare for All. But Bernie says, and he says he wrote the damn thing, but he’s unwilling to sell us with the damn thing’s going to cost. The fact that we’re in New Hampshire, very levelheaded group of people, look at the numbers. How much is it going to cost? Who’s going to pay for it? It will cost more than the entire, the entire federal budget we spend now, more than entire budget. The idea middle class taxes aren’t going to go up is just crazy. When they did it in Vermont, what happened? They doubled the state income tax and then had a 14% tax on withholding. And they finally did away with it. So how much is it going to cost? When you ask Bernie that, and I’ll ask him again tonight sometime, and if you ask Bernie that, he says, “Go figure, I don’t know, we’ll find out.”
Joe Biden: (14:28)
I think that was on CBS. He said, ” We’ll find out.” Or something to that effect. Imagine you’re going to unite the country walking into the Congress, “I got this bill. It’s going to require Medicare for everybody. I can’t tell you how much it’s going to cost. We’ll find out later and it’s likely to be double whatever … everything we spent in the federal government.” Who do you think is going to get that passed? I busted my neck getting Obamacare passed, getting every Democratic vote. I know how hard it is.
George S.: (14:53)
Bernie Sanders: (14:56)
Well, for a start, what the studies show, if we do what Joe wants, we’ll be spending some $50 trillion on healthcare over the next 10 years. That’s the status quo, Joe. That’s what Health and Human Services says. [crosstalk 00:15:15] And what we have got to do Joe, and what we have got to do is understand, simple question, Joe, we are spending twice as much per capita on healthcare as do the people of any other country. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that the healthcare industry last year made $100 billion in profit. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that we are wasting $500 billion a year trying to administer thousands and thousands of different plans. What Medicare for All will do is save the average American substantial sums of money. Substantial, be much less expensive than your plan. And we will expand Medicare to include dental care, eyeglasses, hearing aides and home health care as well.
George S.: (16:03)
Vice President Biden, 30 second response, then Senator Klobuchar after that.
Joe Biden: (16:07)
George S.: (16:09)
Yeah, 30 second-
Joe Biden: (16:09)
30 second response. My proposal gives you a choice. You’re going to be covered. You have Medicare if you want it, you turn [inaudible 00:16:16] we’re going to restore all the cuts that they made in Obamacare. We’re going to reduce drug prices, reduce prescription prices, reduce copays, et cetera. And it cost a lot of money, it costs $750 billion over 10 years. I tell you how I’m going to pay for it. I’m going to raise the capital gains rates, you pay capital gains and what your tax rate is. That’ll pay for it, that’s $800 billion. But here’s the deal, the fact is that it’s going to cost … Bernie’s plan costs double, double what the taxpayers are paying for every single program we spend on in the United States of America.
George S.: (16:49)
Amy Klobuchar: (16:50)
I keep listening to this same debate, and it is not real. It is not real, Bernie, because two thirds of the Democrats in the Senate are not on your bill and because it would kick 149 million Americans off their current health insurance in four years. And let me say what else, Elizabeth wants to do it in two years. And Pete, while you have a different plan now you sent out a tweet just a few years ago that said, henceforth, forewith, indubitably, affirmatively, you are for Medicare for All for the ages. And so I would like to point out that what leadership is about is taking a position, looking at things and sticking with them. I have long believed that the way that we expand healthcare to more people and bring down premiums is by building on the Affordable Care Act, with a nonprofit public option. That is the best way to do it.
Amy Klobuchar: (17:42)
And practically look at this, the Affordable Care Act is now nearly 10 points more popular than the President of United States. So why would we talk about blowing it up? What we need to do is build on it. Mental health care, addiction, longterm care, those are the things that would make it better for everyone.
George S.: (18:00)
Senator Warren and Mayor Buttigieg, you were both invoked. I want you each to respond and then go back to Senator Sanders.
Elizabeth Warren: (18:05)
So I think we need to think about healthcare a little differently and that is, 36 million Americans last year couldn’t afford to have a prescription filled and that includes people with health insurance. I want everyone in here to think about what that means. They were worried enough or sick enough that they went to a doctor, a doctor looked at it and says that’s serious enough to write a prescription. They walked out and then said, it’s either that or groceries. It’s that or pay them rent on time. We have got to change our healthcare system. The way [no audio or video 00:18:34] Help to the most people as quickly as we can. How about we start with what a president can do, I love saying this, all by herself. On day one, I will defend the Affordable Care Act and I will use march in orders to reduce the cost of commonly used prescription drugs like insulin and HIV, AIDS, drugs and EpiPens.
Elizabeth Warren: (19:02)
We can start making healthcare better for Americans from the beginning, but we have to agree to do that. We are the Democrats, we are on the side of expanding healthcare. When we come up against Donald Trump, the team that has been trying to take away healthcare from millions of people, what’s going to matter most is we are the people on the side of those who need healthcare across this country. That’s who Democrats are.
George S.: (19:29)
Mayor Buttigieg, I want you to respond to that, but also take on the argument at the beginning from the Vice President, you don’t have the right experience to be president.
Pete Buttigieg: (19:35)
Sure. Well, first of all, just to be clear, the truth is that I have been consistent throughout in my position on delivering healthcare for every American. And as to experience, I just bring a different perspective. Look, I freely admit that if you’re looking for the person with the most years of Washington establishment experience under their belt, you’ve got your candidate, and of course it’s not me. The perspective I’m bringing is that of somebody whose life has been shaped by the decisions that are made in those big white buildings in Washington, D.C. Somebody who has guided a community written off as dying just a decade ago through historic transformation. Somebody who knows what it means to be sent to war on orders that come out of the Situation Room. We need a perspective right now that will finally allow us to leave the politics of the past in the past. Turn the page and bring change to Washington before it’s too late.
George S.: (20:27)
Vice President Biden, there’s his answer.
Joe Biden: (20:29)
The politics of the past I think were not all that bad. I wrote the Violence Against Women Act. I managed the $900 billion Recovery Act, which in fact put millions and millions of dollars into his city before he came and helped save his city. I was able to do it, I was able to pass the chemical weapons ban, arms control. And I was the first major leader holding public office to call for same sex marriage. So I don’t know what about the past of Barack Obama and Joe Biden was so bad. What happened? What is it that he wants to do away with? We were just beginning.
Joe Biden: (21:03)
… Happened, what is it that he wants to do away with? We were just beginning. It was just the beginning of what will be the future of moving this country beyond where it is now in significant ways, and there’s ways to do that, and one of the ways to do that is to make sure you have someone who knows how to get things done, and can lead the free world at the same time.
George S.: (21:18)
Mayor Buttigieg respond, and then Senator Sanders.
Pete Buttigieg: (21:23)
Those achievements were phenomenally important, because they met the moment, but now we have to meet this moment. And this moment is different. The next president is going to face challenges from global health security, like what we’re seeing coming out of China, to cybersecurity, and election security challenges that were barely thought of a few years ago. And here at home, we’re seeing things like gig work, transform what it means to be a worker in America, in ways that were barely conceived of not that long ago. We cannot solve the problems before us by looking back. We have to be ready to turn the page, and change our politics before it’s too late. And I’m seeing everywhere I go, not just fellow Democrats, but a striking number of independents, and, what I like to call future former Republicans ready to join in that historic American majority to turn the page.
George S.: (22:15)
Amy Klobuchar: (22:17)
I am listening to this about meeting the moment, and my first thought is, I’m a fresh face up here for a presidential debate, and I figure, Pete, that 59, my age, is the new 38 up here. The second thing I think about is this, and that is-
Bernie Sanders: (22:37)
70 is the new 50.
Amy Klobuchar: (22:37)
Okay, there you go. Meeting the moment, meeting the moment, we had a moment the last few weeks, mayor, and that moment was these impeachment hearings. And there was a lot of courage that you saw from only a few people. There was courage from Doug Jones, our friend of Alabama, who took that tough vote. There was courage from Mitt Romney, who took it very, very difficult vote. There was courage, as I read today, about Lieutenant Colonel Vindman being escorted out of the White House, what he did took courage. But what you said, Pete, as you were campaigning through Iowa, as three of us were jurors in that impeachment hearing, you said it was exhausting to watch, and that you wanted to turn the channel and watch cartoons.
Amy Klobuchar: (23:24)
It is easy to go after Washington, because that’s a popular thing to do. It is much harder, as I see Senator Shaheen in the front row, such a leader, it is much harder to lead, and much harder to take those difficult positions. Because I think this going after every single thing that people do, because it’s popular to say, and makes you look like a cool newcomer. I just, I don’t think that’s what people want right now. We have a newcomer in the White House, and look where it got us. I think having some experience is a good thing.
Bernie Sanders: (23:56)
George, George, can I…
George S.: (23:56)
Senator Sanders, then Mayor Buttigieg.
Andrew Yang: (23:57)
George, can I say…
Bernie Sanders: (24:01)
Look, at the end of the day, we got to ask ourselves a very simple question, whether it’s healthcare in fact, or anything else. Why are we the only major country on earth that doesn’t guarantee healthcare to all people? Pay the highest prices in the world for prescription drugs? Have 87 million people uninsured or under-insured? 30,000 die because they don’t get to a doctor on time, and 500,000 people going bankrupt, for what reason? Because they have cancer or heart disease, or Alzheimer’s. We got to ask that question, why is it why? Why have we been talking about healthcare in this country for a hundred years, and here is the answer. If you want real change in healthcare, at the end of the day, you’re going to have to take on the insurance companies, and tell them the function of healthcare is healthcare for all, not huge profits for the insurance companies. You’re going to have to take on the drug companies, and their corruption, and their price fixing, and tell them, “Sorry, we’re not going to pay 10 times more for prescription drugs, than do the people of other country.” But at the end of the day, there’s no way around it. You may want to nibble around the edges, but ultimately, you need to rally the American people to tell the drug companies, to tell Wall Street, to tell the insurance companies, to tell the fossil fuel industry this country belongs to all of us, not a handful of special interests.
George S.: (25:28)
Mayor Buttigieg, wrap this up, and then-
Tom Steyer: (25:31)
I have heard this conversation on this debate stage from these people now every single debate, and they’re all right, everybody on this stage is better on economic justice and healthcare than anybody in the Republican party, and a million times better than Donald Trump. That is not the question in front of us today. The question in front of us today is, how are we going to beat Donald Trump? You were in the Clinton campaign in 1992, and the mantra was, “It’s the economy, stupid.” Well, if you look at what Mr. Trump is saying, he’s saying those words, “It’s the economy, stupid.” I trust every one of these people a million times more, but we’re going to have to take Mr. Trump down on the economy, because if you listen to him, he’s crowing about it every single day, and he’s going to beat us unless we can take him down on the economy, stupid. And that’s the issue here. It is not about who has the best healthcare plan. All the healthcare plans are better, a million times better.
Tom Steyer: (26:24)
The question is, who can go toe to toe with Mr. Trump? Who can take down Mr. Trump, because he’s the real threat to the country? And let me say, you have to have experience to take him down. This is not a question of he’s a nice guy who’s going to listen. We need people with experience. That’s why I’m worried about Mayor Pete. You need to be able to go toe to toe with this guy, and take him down on the debate stage, or we’re going to lose. And that’s actually the issue in front of democratic voters. I have heard this debate so many darn times, and I love all these people, and they’re all right. If we win, we can get the right thing, Bernie. I am with you. If we win, we can get the right thing, Pete, and Amy, but we got to win, or we are in deep trouble, and we keep not talking about the facts.
George S.: (27:06)
Pete Buttigieg: (27:17)
Here’s how we’re going to win. We’re going to force this president to stand on that debate stage, next to somebody who actually lives in a middle class neighborhood, in the industrial Midwest, in the exact kind of community that he pretends to speak for, but turns his back on. We’re going to put up somebody who’s not afraid to call out things like his disgraceful behavior at the national prayer breakfast, and remind Americans that God does not belong to a political party. We’re going to win by having somebody up there who can call him to account for his refusal to serve when it was his turn, and remind him what serving this country is really about. If we want to beat this president, we’ve got to be ready to move on from the playbook that we have relied on in the past, and unify this country around a new and better vision. That’s how we’re going to win. And when I talk about exhaustion, this is important, because I got to tell you, the American people, from outside of Washington, we feel a sense of exhaustion watching the division, and the dysfunction there.
Pete Buttigieg: (28:21)
And that is not to take anything away from the very good work that you and our other democratic members of Congress, and the Senate are doing. It’s not. But, the reason I raise that sense of exhaustion is I see it. I see that temptation to walk away from it all among so many people that I’ve spoken to in communities from Claremont to Manchester, and in the other states that we’re in. And the important thing for the American people to remember, is this is 2020, it’s an election year. And if the Senate was the jury before, you are the jury now. The American people are the jury that will have the final verdict on this president, and on the senators in the GOP who protected him.
Andrew Yang: (28:58)
Pete, fundamentally, you are missing the lesson of Donald Trump’s victory. Donald Trump is not the cause of all of our problems, and we’re making a mistake when we act like he is.
Pete Buttigieg: (29:08)
Andrew Yang: (29:11)
He is a symptom of a disease that has been building up in our communities for years, and decades. And it is our job to get to the harder work of actually curing the disease. Most Americans feel like the political parties have been playing you lose, I lose, you lose, I lose for years. And you know who’s been losing this entire time? We have. Our communities have. Our communities way of life is disintegrating beneath our feet. That’s why Iowa, traditional swing state, went to Trump by almost 10 points. That’s why Ohio, a traditional swing state is now so red, that I’m told we’re not even going to campaign there.
Andrew Yang: (29:45)
So, these communities are seeing their way of life get blasted into smithereens. We’ve automated away four million manufacturing jobs, and counting. We’re closing 30% of New Hampshire stores and malls, and Amazon, the force behind that, is literally paying zero in taxes. These are the changes that Americans are seeing and feeling around us every day, and if we get done the hard work of curing those problems, we will not just defeat Donald Trump in the fall, but we’ll actually be able to move our communities forward.
George S.: (30:12)
I know we’re going to hear a lot more on this, but we’re going to move on.
Speaker 1: (30:15)
Thank you George. Good evening candidates. We come to you, of course, just 48 hours after the acquittal of President Trump. A process that has certainly crystallized the divide in our country. Senator Warren, want to start with you. You have said that on day one of your presidency, one of your first orders of business will be to order your justice department to launch new investigations into the Trump Administration. After a grueling impeachment, and what is likely to be a polarizing election, is investigating President Trump the best way to try to unify the country?
Elizabeth Warren: (30:46)
Look, I think no one is above the law, and that includes the President of the United States. We watched on Wednesday as Republicans, all but one locked arms to protect him from impeachment, but we need to reestablish the rule of law in this country. I believe in an independent commission, in our justice department that investigates crimes committed by our own government. It is an important part of accountability. It is an important part for every administration, that we hold ourselves accountable to the American people. Look, people around this country are losing faith in our government. They’re losing faith that government works for them. They see a government that just works great if you’re rich. It works great if you’re a lobbyist. It works great if you’re a corporate executive, but they see themselves and their children with less and less and less, and we could do something about it.
Elizabeth Warren: (31:50)
It’s not enough simply to talk about the future. We have to be willing to stand up to those who now control our government, and make that government instead work for us. We can do child care in this country for every baby. We can invest in our public schools. We can cancel student loan debt for 43 million Americans, but only if we are willing to take control of our government away from the giant corporations and billionaires, return it to the people. This is about our government. This is about our democracy. This is about our future.
Speaker 1: (32:29)
Mr. Yang, you said that the notion of a leader quote, throwing the president before them in jail is not the way things are done here in the United States. It would make it quote, very hard for any party to govern sustainably moving forward. Does that mean that any alleged misconduct by the president or his administration should not be investigated?
Andrew Yang: (32:49)
There are of course limits, and you have to see what the facts are on the ground after you assume office, but the fact is, if you look around the world, the countries that have thrown past presidents into jail, have generally been developing countries, and unfortunately that’s a pattern that once you establish, is very, very hard to break. What’s a more American tradition? We move the country forward. We don’t focus on the mistakes of the leaders that are leaving office. Most Americans do not care about what a particular individual did, so much as they care about their family’s wellbeing, their community, their town. That’s where Americans focus wants. They want the American president. They want the present. Of course, the American president, sorry about that. They want the president to be focused on that, and that’s where our attention should be. We should not fall into a pattern that has been disastrous in other countries.
Speaker 1: (33:36)
Bernie Sanders: (33:40)
Along with Elizabeth and Amy, we sat for two weeks listening to the impeachment process, and here’s what I think the horror and the danger of what happened was not only the acquittal of Trump, who in fact committed impeachable offenses, and obstructed Congress. It is the precedent that it set. The precedent that it set. And what that precedent is about now is in the future, you’re going to have presidents who say, “Hey, governor, you want highway money? You better support me, or you’re not going to get it.” Because I am the president, I can do anything I want.
Bernie Sanders: (34:20)
Hey, Congress, you want to investigate me? Don’t be ridiculous. Who cares about the Congress? Who cares about the separation of powers? Who cares about the constitution of the president? I’m the President of the United States. I have all of the power, and I’m able to intimidate members of my own party. The saddest aspect of this whole thing, is you have Republicans in the Senate who knew better. They knew that Donald Trump is a crook. They knew that Donald Trump is a cheat, but they didn’t have the guts, with the exception of Romney to vote against him. That is a sad day.
Speaker 1: (34:54)
Tom Steyer: (34:58)
So, I did start the Need to Impeach movement in October of 2017. And my father was one of the people who prosecuted the Nazi war criminals after World War II. And that’s part of the reason I started it. Because when you see something really wrong in the United States, you’re supposed to stand up against it, and fight against it. And that’s what I was doing. But he’s been, the Republicans have rolled over, they’ve had a sham trial, they’ve refused to have witnesses. They’ve covered up the truth for the American people. And it doesn’t matter anymore that he’s a crook, and he’s always been a crook, and he always will be a crook. Right now, what we have to do is we have to beat him in November, and we have to beat him because he’s incompetent, and bad for the American people. And that’s the case we have to make now.
Tom Steyer: (35:45)
Is he a crook? I knew that two years ago. Is he going to be more of a crook, now that he believes he can get away with anything? Of course he is. But the job of the people on this stage is to beat him in November, and that’s going to be based on what we can deliver for the American people. The fact that he’s incompetent as a president, his economy isn’t delivering for working people. The jobs don’t pay enough for people to live on. We’ve got to take him down on the economy, and get them out of the White House as soon as possible.
Speaker 1: (36:15)
Thank you Mr. Steyer. Impeachment is of course over. But Republicans in Congress have already started investigating vice president Biden’s son, Hunter. Mayor Buttigieg, do you think that there’s a danger for the democratic party to nominate a candidate who is still under the threat of investigation?
Pete Buttigieg: (36:30)
No, and we’re not going to let them change the subject. This is not about Hunter Biden, or vice president Biden, or any Biden. This is about an abuse of power by the president. The vice president and I and all of us are competing. But we’ve got to draw a line here. And to be the kind of president, to be the kind of human being who would seek to turn someone against his own son, who would seek to weaponize a son against his own father, is an unbelievably dishonorable thing, that is just one more example of why we as a party have to be completely united in doing whatever it takes at the end of the day to make sure that this president does not get a second term.
Speaker 1: (37:19)
Vice president Biden.
Joe Biden: (37:19)
I thank my colleague for saying that. It is a diversion, but here’s the deal. Whomever the nominee is, the president’s going to make up lies about. He thinks he has free reign right now. One of the things that I think is really important is we have to be authentic with the American people about what we’re going to do and how we’re going to do it. And by the way, Colonel Vindman got thrown out of the White House, walked out. I think at the same time, he should have been pinning a medal on Vindman, and not on rush Limbaugh. And I think we should all stand and give Colonel Vindman a show of how much we supported him. Stand up and clap for Vindman. Get up there. Who we are. That’s who we are. We are not what Trump is.
Speaker 1: (38:11)
Thank you Vice President Biden. The Democratic party’s last presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton has criticized Senator Bernie Sanders track record in the senate.
Bernie Sanders: (38:23)
I wasn’t able to hear that question.
Speaker 1: (38:24)
Okay sure. The democratic party’s last presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton has criticized Senator Bernie Sanders record in the senate, saying, “Nobody likes him. Nobody wants to work with him. He got nothing done.” Senator Klobuchar, you served with Senator Sanders in the Senate. Is he going to be able to get the support? Not if you like him, but is he going to be able to get the support that he needs from Republicans?
Amy Klobuchar: (38:49)
I like Bernie just fine. We actually have worked together on a number of things, including pharmaceuticals. We actually had a vote late at night one time, Klobuchar/ Sanders amendment to bring in less-
Bernie Sanders: (39:00)
I thought it was Sanders/Klobuchar?
Amy Klobuchar: (39:03)
Nope, nope, nope, it was not, it was not. To bring in less expensive drugs from other countries, since in this great state of New Hampshire, like in Minnesota and Vermont, we can see Canada from our porch. And we ended up getting I think 14 Republican votes. And they might not have noticed what was happening late at night, but we got those. And I think that it is just an example of what we need to do here, because I’ve been listening to this discussion. I agree with my colleagues, we must unite, but the way that we unite is by having an optimistic economic agenda for America. That is what we must do, and that means taking on a president, if you want to talk about being tough enough to take him on.
Amy Klobuchar: (39:46)
Taking on a president that literally went down to Mar-a-Lago after he signed that Republican tax bill, and looked at all his friends and said, “You just got a lot richer.” That is exhibit A for those carpenters in Pennsylvania, and those dairy farmers in Wisconsin, and those dock workers that I met with in Michigan. That is an exhibit A, and we have to be able to make the case to the working people of this country, some of whom voted for Donald Trump, that we have something better to offer. That we are going to take those incredibly regressive parts of that tax bill, and put that money into their childcare, into their healththere.
Speaker 1: (40:25)
Senator, just a quick yes or no. Do you think that Senator Sanders will be able to get Republican support in order to pass his bills?
Amy Klobuchar: (40:32)
That, I don’t know. I know we did on that bill, but the point is, I think we’re better off with someone that has the receipts. Someone that has actually won big time with Republicans and independents, and I’m the only one up on this stage, you can check it out, that has consistently won in red congressional districts. Not once, not twice, but three times. And when I did this, I didn’t just do it for me. I led a ticket. I’ve flipped the state house every single time, because I have a way of working with people, that I think should be valued here as we look at these candidates, and it’s one of the reasons that I got the New York Times endorsement, along with Elizabeth, and that I got the endorsements of the three major papers here in New Hampshire, which is the Union Leader, the Seacoast papers, and the Keene Sentinel. I think that matters. Read those editorials, and you will get a sense of what I’m about.
Speaker 1: (41:22)
Thank you Senator. Senator Sanders.
Bernie Sanders: (41:27)
I must confess, I don’t get too many newspaper editorial support. Must confess that.
Amy Klobuchar: (41:32)
Well, you the Conway endorsement.
Bernie Sanders: (41:34)
I did. We’re very proud of that.
Amy Klobuchar: (41:36)
There we go.
Bernie Sanders: (41:37)
But, let me just say this. I think the question started off with Secretary Clinton’s critique. I think, quite honestly, as we face one of the great political crises facing America, our job is to look forward and not back to 2016. And I hope that Secretary Clinton and all of us can come together, and move in that direction. Now, second of all, in terms of Republicans, let me say…
Bernie Sanders: (42:03)
-in that direction. Now, second of all, in terms of Republicans, let me say that in my own great state of Vermont, if my memory is correct, Amy, I got 25% of the Republican vote. And in fact, there were periods when I was in the House of Representatives, a number of years where I passed more amendments on the floor of the House in a bipartisan way than any other member of the House and that is when you bring people together on an issue. There are many conservative Republicans, for example, who are concerned about civil liberties, at least they used to be concerned about civil liberties. There are Republicans, as you know, who are concerned about the high cost of prescription drugs. There are ways that we can work with Republicans on issues where we have a common basis.
Thank you, Senator.
Bernie Sanders: (42:57)
Let’s do that.
David Muir: (42:59)
Lindsey, thank you. Good evening, all. I want to turn to America’s role in the world and readiness to be commander-in-chief on day one. Just this week, you saw it, during the State of the Union, President Trump offered an indication of what he’ll tout on the campaign trail. He celebrated the US air strike that killed top Iranian general, Qasem Soleimani saying, “Soleimani was the Iranian regime’s most ruthless butcher, a monster who murdered or wounded thousands of American service members in Iraq.”
David Muir: (43:24)
Mayor Buttigieg, you’re the only veteran standing on this stage and while there is still debate about whether or not there was an imminent threat, there is no debate about whether or not Soleimani was a bad actor who was responsible for the deaths of many Americans. Given what you know about Soleimani, if your national security team came to you with an opportunity to strike, would Soleimani have been dead or would he still be alive under your presidency?
Pete Buttigieg: (43:45)
In the situation that we saw with President Trump’s decision, there is no evidence that that made our country safer. Look, I feel very strongly about the campaign of murder and mayhem that General Soleimani and his units have perpetrated. It’s also the case that if we learned nothing else from the war in Iraq, it’s that taking out a bad guy is not a good idea if you do not know what you were doing. This president has moved us this much closer to the brink of war, but it didn’t start with the Soleimani strike. It started with withdrawing us from the Iran nuclear deal that his own administration certified was working. And it’s time for us to recognize that every time a step is taken that moves us to the brink of war, that has incredibly serious consequences for those who serve.
Pete Buttigieg: (44:38)
By chance, just because I was traveling for the campaign, not long ago, I ran into somebody that I hadn’t seen since we were both serving, hadn’t seen since she was injured in an insider attack. And I saw her coming down the concourse in the airport wearing a Wounded Warrior Project tee shirt that said, “Some assembly required.” And when I asked her how she was doing, she up her knee and tapped on the part of her leg that they couldn’t save, tapped on the prosthetic and said the Navy had fixed her up just fine and then let me know that she was looking forward to an upcoming deployment.
Pete Buttigieg: (45:11)
The people in our uniform will do whatever the United States requires of them. What they deserve in return is a president who will actually read the intelligence, pay attention to the international security situation, consult with our allies, keep US politics out of it, and never commit our troops to a situation where they would have to go into harm’s way if there is an alternative.
David Muir: (45:35)
Mayor Buttigieg, let me just press further on this though, because president Trump has signal in a general election campaign, he will celebrate his willingness to order that strike. I’m asking if your national security team came to you and presented you with the opportunity, would you take the strike?
Pete Buttigieg: (45:52)
It depends on the circumstances. It depends if there was an alternative and it depends what the different effects would be. That’s my point. This is not an episode of 24. This is a situation that requires that you actually evaluate the entire intelligence picture. This president has insulted the intelligence community, but they put their lives on the line to gather the information that will help a decision maker evaluate whether or not something like that is justified. And I don’t think he even reads it.
Pete Buttigieg: (46:20)
And here we have a situation where the world, that one of the most volatile places in the world has just become more dangerous at the hands of a president who has no regard for the military, not only punishing a war hero today with what he did to Colonel Vindman, but pardoning war criminals in a way that undermines the entire sense of good order and discipline and military honor. We deserve a better commander-in-chief.
David Muir: (46:44)
Mayor Buttigieg, thank you. I do want to take this to Vice President Biden next because we know that the Obama Administration was aware of the threat that Soleimani posed, so was the Bush Administration before it. I’m asking tonight as commander-in-chief though, would you have ordered the strike?
Joe Biden: (46:59)
No. And the reason I wouldn’t have ordered the strike, there is no evidence yet of imminent threat that was going to come from him. Look what happened, his America First policies made America alone. You cannot think of a time, David, and as long as you’ve been alive when NATO has said to the United States of America and to Iran, made a moral equivalence and said, both of you stand down. We are alone now, alone in that region of the world, without friends, without support, without allies.
Joe Biden: (47:31)
And secondly, you saw what happened when that air raid, when those missiles were fired from Iran into Iraq at Al-Assad Airbase, 64 of our heroes were wounded. I don’t know what I would’ve done if my son were still there. I would have been so damn angry. I don’t know what I would’ve done. But here’s what happened, they had received traumatic brain injury. What did the president say? He said, “headaches,” “not bad,” “Headaches, that’s all they are.” This guy doesn’t deserve to be commander- in-chief for one more day.
David Muir: (48:02)
Mr. Vice President, thank you, Senator Sanders, you have called this, “assassinating a government official.” You would not have ordered the strike.
Bernie Sanders: (48:10)
Right. Look, here is the danger, David, there are very bad leaders all over the world. Kim Jong-un in North Korea is probably responsible for the death of hundreds of thousands of his people threatening all of Asia with nuclear weapons. You got Mohammad Bin Salman in Saudi Arabia who is a terrible murderer, who murdered Khashoggi in cold blood and dismembered his body. You have Putin in Russia who has been involved in political assassinations of his enemies. You got Xi in China who has put a million Muslims into concentration camps.
Bernie Sanders: (48:49)
You cannot go around saying you’re a bad guy, we’re going to assassinate you, and then you’re going to have, if that happens, you’re opening the door to international anarchy that every government in the world will then be subjected to attacks and assassination. What we have got to do, which Trump does not understand, is strengthen the State Department and our diplomatic capabilities, not just the military. What we have got to do is bring countries around the world together with our power and our wealth and say, you know what, let us sit down and work out our differences through debate and discussion at the UN, not through more and more war and the expenditures of trillions of dollars and the loss of God knows how many lives.
David Muir: (49:41)
Senator Sanders, thank you. This does take me to Afghanistan and to America’s longest war. Senator Warren, you recently said quote, “We have one general after another in Afghanistan who comes in and says, ‘We’ve just turned the corner,’ and then what happens? It’s all the same. Someone new comes in and says, ‘We’ve just turned the corner.’ You said, “So many say it. We’re going in circles.”
David Muir: (50:02)
We were on the ground in Afghanistan and Iraq in recent months and the generals told us that the US needs some US presence on the ground, US special forces some presence to go after ISIS and the terrorists. If your commander-in-chief, would you listen to the generals or do they fall into the category of the generals you’ve mentioned before?
Elizabeth Warren: (50:19)
No. Look, I sit on the Senate Armed Services Committee, so I get the briefings from the generals on a regular basis. I’ve been to Afghanistan, to Iraq. I’ve been to Jordan. I’ve been throughout the region. I’ve been there with John McCain. I’ve been there with Lindsey Graham to ask the hard questions about what’s happening, to ask our generals, to ask their generals to ask people who are on the ground. And the bottom line is, nobody sees a solution to this war. Nobody can describe what winning looks like. All they can describe is endless war.
Elizabeth Warren: (50:52)
And I realized there are people on this debate stage who are willing to say, yeah, we’ll leave our troops there for five more years, for 10 more years. Lindsey Graham has said he’s willing to leave troops for 100 more years. And yet, what has all these years of war brought us? Right now, the Afghan Government controls less than 60% of the land. People don’t have faith in it. It’s a corrupt government. The opium trade is higher than ever.
Elizabeth Warren: (51:20)
Look, we sent our troops in and they did their best. They were there for us, but we need to be there for them. And that means, not send our troops to do work that cannot be solved militarily. It is time to bring our combat troops home. It is time to stop this endless war in Afghanistan.
David Muir: (51:41)
Senator Warren, I want to press you on this. You just said, “combat troops.”
Elizabeth Warren: (51:45)
David Muir: (51:45)
So if the generals came to you and said, we need US Special Forces, some footprint in Iraq and Afghanistan, would you listen? Would you leave them?
Elizabeth Warren: (51:53)
So I want to hear the plan, not just a, we need it now, we need it for the next day, we need it for the six months. And I want to know where our allies are. We all have an interest in dealing with terrorism and controlling terrorism, but that means it can’t just be the United States waging endless war. That does not make us safer. It does not make the region safer. It does not make the world safer. We should work with our allies in managing terrorism, but we need to end this war in Afghanistan. We cannot wait five more years, or 10 more years, or until we turn the corner 10 more times. We need to bring our combat troops home.
David Muir: (52:34)
Senator Warren, thank you. I want to take this to the Vice President because you have said of Senator Warren’s comments before that the United States should get out of the Middle East. You have said, “I quite frankly was surprised that I have never heard anyone say with any serious background in foreign policy that we should pull all troops out of the Middle East.” Is Senator Warren wrong on this?
Joe Biden: (52:54)
I’m not sure what she, if she wants to pull all troops out of the Middle East, but if she does want to put all troops out of the Middle East, we saw what happens when that happened.
Joe Biden: (53:02)
I helped put together a 61 nation group to take out ISIS by putting fewer than 5,000 forces along the Turkish border to see to it that they, and they lost 10,000, the Kurds, lost 10,000 lives. They defeated ISIS. They ended the caliphate and then the president on a whim dealing with a man I know very well, they’ve now, the guy running Turkey who is more of an autocrat now than a Democrat, and what happened? We pulled out and you saw what happened. You saw the end of the effort to be able to continue to contain, contain ISIS, number one.
Joe Biden: (53:37)
Number two, close your eye, everybody. Remember what you saw on television. You saw a woman standing up there holding up her baby, Kurd, saying, “Please don’t leave us.” And our military women and men standing at, going out in their [inaudible 00:53:49] Humvees with their heads down ashamed of what they did. It didn’t take a lot of men or men and women to do what needed to be done.
Joe Biden: (53:57)
And with regard Afghanistan, now I can say it because it was made public, I was totally against the whole notion of no nation building in Afghanistan. The only thing we should be doing is dealing with terrorism in that region. I’ve been in every part of Afghanistan, not in combat like my friend has, but in helicopter and/or on a vehicle in every part of it as senator and vice president. Here’s what I saw, there is no possibility of uniting that country, no possibility at all of making it a whole country. But it is possible to see to it that they’re not able to launch more attacks from the region on the United States of America. That’s a small footprint that we needed and I argued for that in the beginning.
David Muir: (54:38)
You mentioned Mayor Buttigieg. And I do want to take this to you next, mayor. Given your finish in Iowa, you’ve come under increasing scrutiny, attacks from opponents on experience. We’ve heard that theme even right here tonight. You have said on the Iraq War, for example. “I just don’t believe there is any justification for that vote.” You said, “It’s the difference between tenure and judgment.” That it’s the judgment that matters, not the time in Washington. Vice President Biden, as you know, voted yes. As commander-in-chief, do you believe your judgment would be better than the vice president’s?
Pete Buttigieg: (55:07)
I believe that I have the judgment to help us get through these situations where obviously the vice president made the wrong decision when it came to such an important moment in our foreign policy. And looking forward, we got to recognize just how much is going to be on the plate of the next president that is different in kind from what we have faced before. It’s not just about dealing with the aftermath of the war in Iraq, it’s about preventing a war with Iran. And not only do we have to undertake the military and counter terrorism activities that we’ve been doing throughout, the next president is going to have to restore the credibility of this country among our allies and among the international community.
Pete Buttigieg: (55:48)
At a moment when we are facing fundamentally different challenges from asymmetric warfare to cybersecurity threats, in President Trump’s imagination of a national security strategy is a big wall and a moat full of alligators. It’s a 17th century approach to keeping a place safe. What we have to do is be ready for the future and that means insisting not only on shoring up our relationships, but defining a strategy to keep the American people safe from fundamentally new challenges.
David Muir: (56:16)
Mr. Vice President, I’ll let you respond to his argument on judgment.
Joe Biden: (56:21)
I made a mistake and I said it 14 years ago. I trusted George Bush to keep his word. He said he was not going to go into Iraq. He said he was only using this to unite the United Nations to insist we get inspectors in to see what Saddam was doing. When we got elected, the president turned to me with the entire security apparatus and said, “Joe, I want you to organize getting 156,000 troops out of Iraq.” I did that. I did that.
Joe Biden: (56:46)
The other thing I want to point out too is that NATO is in fact going to crumble if we don’t beat Trump. NATO is in real trouble. We need NATO for more reasons than just physical security. We need NATO to make sure that we do not allow Russia to continue to have its influence in Eastern Europe in ways that it had before. It wasn’t just to stop the Soviet Union from coming into the United States, coming into Europe. It was to make sure that we did not have a kleptocracy taking over that part of the world, to unite Europe in our behalf. I know how to deal with them. I know every one of these world leaders by their first names. They call me. I talked to them and I believe I can get it done.
David Muir: (57:22)
Mr. Vice President, thank you. Mr. Steyer, I do want to bring you in on this because I noticed in the last 24 hours you have an attack ad running here in New Hampshire with images of Mayor Buttigieg and you say over those images “an untested newcomer.” But I wanted to ask you tonight on this readiness to be commander-in-chief, you share the stage with a veteran from Afghanistan, a vice president who was in the Situation Room. What makes you most qualified of all candidates on this stage to be commander-in-chief?
Tom Steyer: (57:47)
Well, let me say this, I agree with Pete Buttigieg that it’s about judgment not tenure. What we’re hearing here is a very long dissertation about exactly how America should be the world’s policemen. And what we’ve actually seen in the Middle East is that Barack Obama used diplomacy to get Iran to give up its nuclear ambitions in return for our releasing economic sanctions along with our partners around the world. So when we’re talking about our role in the world and commander-in-chief, we have abandoned a diplomacy. We don’t have a strategy and we don’t have allies.
Tom Steyer: (58:26)
And actually this view of the world, that our response should be military is driven by our gigantic military complex and ignores the biggest problem that we face internationally in the world, which is climate change. And it cannot be solved with guns and tanks and planes. It can only be solved with diplomacy and allies and interaction with other countries. So in fact, what we are listening to right here is a discussion of 20 years of failed military action and how we should continue it and how we should continue spending $700 billion dollars a year on defense when we spend $70 billion dollars a year at the federal level on education.
David Muir: (59:12)
Mr. Steyer [crosstalk 00:17:13].
Tom Steyer: (59:17)
Let’s talk about judgment here. [crosstalk 00:59:16].
David Muir: (59:20)
Mr. Vice President, I’ll give you 30 seconds to respond.
Joe Biden: (59:22)
That’s not what I said, I was part of the reason putting that deal together with Iran. I was there. I was involved in that. I was also part of the deal putting together the Paris Climate Accord. I brought in the Chinese. I was part of that. I’ve been part of every major initiative we’ve had relative to diplomacy. I have not argued for the placement of major numbers of US combat troops. I have said, along with the President of the United States, Barack Obama as his partner, I have said, we have to strengthen NATO to make it clear that we keep our commitments when we make them. Like we don’t keep our commitments to the Kurds. We must keep our commitments when we make them. Otherwise, we have no power whatsoever.
Joe Biden: (01:00:04)
And it’s not about making sure we’re policeman of the world. The only way not to become the policeman of the world is to have allies who will join us in dealing with failed States and terrorism. And it has to be done jointly by a whole lot of people and it doesn’t require large number of US troops, and I’ve never said that.
Tom Steyer: (01:00:21)
Okay, can I respond to that, David?
David Muir: (01:00:21)
Senator Sanders, Senator Sanders, please.
Tom Steyer: (01:00:23)
Can I respond to [crosstalk 01:00:22].
Bernie Sanders: (01:00:24)
Let me say this if I might, like Joe and others, I also heard the arguments in terms of the war in Iraq from Bush, from Cheney, from John Bolton, from the whole administration. I listened very carefully and I concluded that they were lying through their teeth. And I not only voted against that war, but I help lead the opposition. And it saddens me so much. If you hear what I said, it’s on YouTube, my fears about all the destabilization that would take place by the US invading Iraq. It’s sad to me that, that is what happened.
Bernie Sanders: (01:01:04)
But let me just pick up on a point that Tom made, which is absolutely right. Trump wants to build a wall around America. The problem is if we are going to deal with issues like climate change, not only do we in America have to take on the greed of the fossil fuel industry, we have to lead the entire world. This is not an American issue. It’s a global issue. We got to bring China and Russia and Brazil and Pakistan and India and every major country on earth into the fight against climate change.
Bernie Sanders: (01:01:38)
And here is my dream, maybe it’s a radical dream, but maybe just may be given the crisis of climate change, the world can understand that instead of spending $1.8 trillion dollars a year collectively on weapons of destruction designed to kill each other, maybe we pool our resources and fight our common enemy, which is climate change.
David Muir: (01:02:02)
[crosstalk 00:20:02]. Senator Sanders, thank you. George, back to you.
George S.: (01:02:06)
We have much more today coming up, but we have got to take a break. We’ll be right back.
George S.: (04:24)
Welcome back of Saint Anselm College here in New Hampshire and we are here every four years, thanks to our amazing Manchester partner WMUR. And now anchor Monica Hernandez and political director Adam Section are joining us with questions on the minds of New Hampshire voters.
Monica Hernandez: (04:39)
Thank you George. It’s an honor to be here in our community. We know Granite Staters are engaged and we know there are issues that strike especially close to home here. New Hampshire has one of the highest rates of deadly overdoses in the country. In some cases, police and paramedics tell us that they are saving the same lives again and again, sometimes more than once in a single day. It’s a healthcare issue, but it’s also so much more. Mayor Buttigieg, you have described yourself as a moderate, but one of your policies at least goes further than some on the stage with you are willing to go. You have called for the decriminalization of all drugs. Does that include heroin, meth, and cocaine, some of the drugs that have contributed to this crisis?
Pete Buttigieg: (05:19)
No. What I’ve called for is that incarceration should no longer be the response to drug possession.
Monica Hernandez: (05:34)
With all due respect Mayor Buttigieg, on your website it says that you called for decriminalization of all drugs.
Pete Buttigieg: (05:35)
Again, what I’m calling for is that we end the use of incarceration as a response. This does not mean that it will be lawful to produce or distribute those kinds of harmful drugs, but also as we know from the opioid crisis, some of this has been driven by companies that were acting irresponsibly with substances that were lawful. It’s why in South Bend we sued those companies to hold them accountable. We’ve got to make sure that there is accountability for those who suppressed evidence about the addictiveness of those substances. Even while we’re also coming to recognize that these kinds of addiction are a medical issue, not a moral failure on the part of somebody battling that addiction.
Pete Buttigieg: (06:17)
That’s why medication assisted treatment is so important. And those people who are being revived, and our own EMTs in my city had been so frustrated by the experience of reviving somebody, but then they have nowhere to go. Sometimes you get brought back with a dose of Narcan, but then your life depends on whether in the days that follow you make it until somebody can actually see you, because we have such a shortage of mental health and addiction providers in this country. We must act to change that and save lives when we do.
Monica Hernandez: (06:47)
I want to bring this question now to Mr. Yang. You’ve said you would decriminalize opioids, but you’ve also said that you would require all overdose patients to go to mandatory treatment centers for three days. Right now in New Hampshire there aren’t enough beds in treatment centers and across the country. How would you make sure treatment is available for all overdose patients and what would you do to fill the gap in the meantime?
Andrew Yang: (07:13)
That’s what we have to change, Monica. I’ve heard heartbreaking stories from families here in New Hampshire that have been destroyed, torn apart by the opiod epidemic and you have to look at the companies that profited to the tune of tens of billions of dollars in profits of essentially blood money. As President, we will take back those profits and put them to work right here in New Hampshire so that if you are seeking treatment, you have resources to be able to pursue it.
Andrew Yang: (07:37)
This is not a money problem fundamentally this is a human problem, but money cannot be the obstacle. This is something that happened on the government’s watch. The government allowed this opiod epidemic to spread throughout our communities and we have to do everything in our power to actually make sure that if you are seeking treatment, you know you’re not going to be sent to jail. We have safe injection and safe consumption sites for you.
Andrew Yang: (08:00)
If you have a family member who’s struggling, you can refer them and know that they’re not going to have criminal penalties as a result. There are so much about this that’s endemic to what’s happened throughout the country in terms of companies running amok, this hyper corporate capitalism where if money’s on one side in this country and people are on the other side, the money is winning. You can see it with the opiate epidemic. You can see it with the military industrial complex, the fossil fuel companies. This is what must change and that’s where I’ll lead as president.
Monica Hernandez: (08:33)
Senator Klobuchar, I want to take the question to you now. As a prosecutor, you embrace tough on crime policies, even with drug offenders. You’ve also spoken many times about your father’s own addiction issues, his own alcoholism and his DUI arrests. If addiction is a disease, should people be arrested for it and as a prosecutor, do you regret sending people with substance abuse issues to jail?
Amy Klobuchar: (08:56)
I led one of the most successful drug courts in the country in Hennepin County, and I always would say and believed, and I think my record shows this, that we weren’t a business. We didn’t want to see repeat customers. And if you don’t want to see repeat customers, the only answer is treatment. And maybe you’re referring to some of the people who were dealing big time in drugs. Yes, I felt that we should prosecute those people, but when it comes to, when you asked Mr. Yang a question, and I think it, we owe it to the people of New Hampshire, had one of the biggest addiction rates in the countries and death rates when it comes to opioids, to explain how we will pay for the treatment and the bed. I’ve been very clear about this.
Amy Klobuchar: (09:40)
There’s going to be a major settlement coming through, a federal settlement against all these opioid manufacturers. The evidence is overwhelming, including an email where one guy, a business guy, says to the other, “They’re eating them like Doritos. Just keep pumping them out.” We will get a conservative estimate, $40 billion in from that settlement, we can put a 2 cents per milligram tax on opiods that brings in another 40 billion. Then you can close a hedge fund loophole that brings in $18 billion. And just like every other policy I’ve proposed, and I think New Hampshire voters should care about this, I have showed how I’m going to pay for it. Because I think we have someone in the White House that has told over 15,000 lies. He makes all kinds of promises. The people of New Hampshire and the people of our country deserve better. I will get this done and it is personal for me.
Adam Sexton: (10:32)
Good evening candidates. New Hampshire is a battleground, not just for presidential contenders but also for top issues and that includes gun policy. Senator Sanders, for many voters in this Democratic primary, your allure is about consistency when it comes to progressive issues you’ve been on the right side of them for a long time. One exception is gun rights. In the ’90s when you were in Congress, you voted against background checks. You also voted against a waiting period for purchase of a firearm. Can you explain why you opposed these things that you now support?
Bernie Sanders: (11:01)
I can Adam, and let me also say that in 1988 I probably lost a race for Congress, and we only have one Congress person in the whole state, because in 1988 I said that we should ban the sale and distribution of assault weapons in this country. That was 30 years ago. Furthermore, I am very proud that today I have a D- voting record from the NRA. And under my administration it will be the American people doing gun policy, not dictated by the NRA.
Bernie Sanders: (11:38)
But to answer your question, I come, like New Hampshire, from a very, very rural state. In Vermont until the last two years ago, we had virtually no gun control legislation at all and I represented that perspective. The world has changed. In Vermont and in New Hampshire and all over this country, people are sickened by the mass shootings that we have seen and the gun violence that we have seen. The world has changed and my views have changed, and my view is right now we need universal background checks, we end the gun show loophole, we end the so called straw man provision. We make certain that we end the sale and distribution of assault weapons in this country, and we go further. We go further, but at the bottom line is I will not be intimidated by the NRA. We’re going to run the gun policy that the American people want.
Adam Sexton: (12:34)
Vice President Biden, you’ve taken a lot of heat in this primary, on these debate stages and from voters here in New Hampshire for your past positions. You’ve essentially asked them to look at the totality of your record and give you the benefit of the doubt. Does Senator Sanders deserve that same benefit of the doubt on guns?
Joe Biden : (12:49)
Here’s the deal. The biggest mistake that Bernie made, that Senator Sanders made, he voted to give the gun manufacturers, the only major industry in America, a loophole that does not allow them to be sued for the carnage they are creating. First thing I’ll do as President is work to get rid of that. It’s going to be hard. Think of all the thousands and thousands of people who died. And I might add Bernie, while you were representing your constituency, an awful lot of people [inaudible 00:13:18] your gun state and they’ve come around. In fact, all those folks in California, New York, Pennsylvania, they’re getting killed by the thousands during the same period.
Joe Biden : (13:27)
I come from a state that’s a major gun owning stare. I introduced the first assault weapons ban. I in fact got it passed. I’m the only guy that beat the NRA twice. While I was pushing the Brady Background Bill to check background checks, Bernie voted five times against that when he was in the House. So look, the other thing is that we have to be held accountable for the things we did, I’m the guy that set up drug courts. I set them up. I wrote it into law and it never got funded. And also on opioids, I’m the guy who’s already begun to make a down payment. In the Cures Act I put in $1 billion to fight opioid addiction. And lastly, my time is going to be up, surely. Here’s the deal. Those Chief Executive Officer of drug companies, they should not only be fined, they should go to jail.
Adam Sexton: (14:15)
Senator Warren, we’d like to go over to you now. [inaudible 00:14:18] I want to ask you this question here though. Laws can do so much, if you could change one thing about America’s gun culture, what would it be?
Elizabeth Warren: (14:25)
Look, we have a gun violence problem in America. It is about the mass shootings that we hear about in our schools and that frighten us, about it in theaters and in churches. It’s also though about shootings that occur on sidewalks and in playgrounds, often in communities of color that are hit hardest, but there are no headlines over those. It’s also about suicide and the increasing lethality of suicide because of the availability of guns. It is also about the increased chances that it’s usually a woman will die of domestic violence if she is with a violent man and a gun is in the home.
Elizabeth Warren: (15:07)
We need to think of this problem not as one and done or three things and done. We need to think of it just like we did on auto safety. We just keep coming back. We treat it like the public health emergency that it is. But the question we should be asking ourselves is when America, across this country, including gun owners, agree in certain basic things, universal background checks, get assault weapons off the streets. Why can we not even get a vote in the United States Senate?
Elizabeth Warren: (15:40)
And the answer is 90%, think about this, more than 90% of Americans agree on this. We can’t get a vote in the United States Senate because it is the gun industry that continues to call the shots. Until we attack the corruption in Washington, the influence of money on campaigns and lobbying, we’re not going to be able to meet our promises. And one more, until we agree that we are willing to roll back to filibuster, the gun industry is going to continue to have a veto and we will never make the changes we make. We have to be willing to build a future that works, not for a gun industry, but that works for the rest of America and protects our children.
Joe Biden : (16:24)
We ought to be able to sue the gun industry.
David Muir: (16:25)
Thank you, candidates. We’re going to go back to David up there [inaudible 00:16:26]. Adam and Monica, thank you and thanks to WMUR tonight. I want to turn to the Supreme Court, the balance on the court and the issues before the court right now. President Trump in just the last 24 hours saying we’ve appointed 191 federal judges, two Supreme Court Justices, keeping his campaign promise to shift the Court to the right with Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh.
David Muir: (16:46)
The Affordable Care Act is at the court. Climate change is working its way to the court, and a major abortion case is on the docket this year. Vice President Biden, on the issue of abortion, in 2012 you said, “President Obama’s two Supreme Court picks of them, there was no litmus test. We picked people who had an open mind, did not come with an agenda.” And you’ve said before, “We both believed that we should not apply narrow litmus tests to appointees to the Supreme Court.” Let me just ask, would you do it differently as President, Mr. Vice President? Would there be a litmus test on abortion?
Joe Biden : (17:16)
If you say the rest of what I said. I said that we’re going to not appoint anyone who did not have a view that unenumerated rights existed in the Constitution. That’s not a specific test. It’s a generic test. And only way, the only reason women have the right to choose is because it’s determined that there’s unenumerated rights coming from the Ninth Amendment in the Constitution. That’s what I said. And I was part of the reason why Elena Kagan, who worked for me, we got onto the Supreme Court. I was part of the reason why Ruth Bader Ginsburg is on the Court. I was part of the reason why Sotomayer is on the Court and she will swear me in. I presided, and I’m the reason why this right wasn’t taken away a long time ago because I almost single handedly made sure that Robert Bork did not get on the Court because he did not think there should be enumerated rights [inaudible 00:18:04].
David Muir: (18:04)
So let me just-
Joe Biden : (18:05)
Let’s get that straight.
David Muir: (18:05)
Mr. Vice President, I am aware of what you said, which is why I’m asking would you do it differently now? Would there be a litmus test on abortion?
Joe Biden : (18:12)
Yes. Look, here’s the deal. Litmus test on abortion relates to the fundamental value of the Constitution. A woman does have a right to choose. I would in fact, if they rule it to be unconstitutional, I will send to the United States Congress and it will pass, I believe, a bill that… Excuse me, legislates Roe V. Wade adjusted by Casey. It’s a woman’s right to do that. Period. And if you call that a litmus test it’s a litmus test, but what I was talking about in the past, so no one gets confused here, is if there is no… If you read the Constitution very, very narrowly and say there are no unenumerated rights. If the doesn’t say it in the Constitution that doesn’t exist, you cannot have any of the things I care about, any of the things I care about as a progressive member of the United States Congress at the time, and as Vice President and as a member of society.
David Muir: (19:04)
Mr. Vice president, thank you. Senator Warren.
Elizabeth Warren: (19:06)
Look, I’ve lived in an America in which abortion was illegal and rich women still got abortions and that’s what we have to remember about this. States are heading toward trying to ban abortion outright and the Supreme Court seems headed in exactly that direction as well. If we are going to protect the people of the United States of America and we are going to protect our rights to have dominion over our own bodies, then it’s going to mean we can’t simply rely on the courts. Three out of every four people in America believe right now that the rule of Roe versus Wade should be the law. That means we should be pushing for a Congressional solution as well. It is time to have a national law to protect the right of a woman’s choice.
David Muir: (19:57)
Senator Warren, thank you. Senator Klobuchar, I do want to come to you. Should there be a litmus test? It’s an active hall here tonight. I did want to come to you on this question.
Amy Klobuchar: (20:10)
David Muir: (20:10)
Should there be a litmus test on abortion?
Amy Klobuchar: (20:12)
I would only appoint judges that would respect precedent and one of those key precedents is Roe v. Wade. In addition, you have got to put it into law. Donald Trump, and I think it’s really important to take it to him here, when he was running for election, and this is a case I will make on the debate stage against him, he actually said that he wanted to put women in jail. He then dialed it back and said, “No, I want to put doctors in jail.” Is it a big surprise then we’re seeing states like Alabama start enacting laws that would criminalize doctors who perform abortions. It’s not. And that is why it’s going to be really important when you look at the overwhelming public support for funding Planned Parenthood, for making sure women have access to contraception, to making sure that they have a right to choose, that we make this case strongly and loudly.
David Muir: (21:06)
Senator Klobuchar, thank you. Mayor Buttigieg, you have signaled that you’d be open to the idea of expanding the Court. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg suggested leaving the Court as it is, saying quote, “Nine seems to be a good number.” And in fact she said if the number of justices is increased quote, “It would make the Court appear partisan. It would be one side saying, ‘When we’re in power, we’re going to enlarge the number of judges to have more people who will vote the way we want them to.'” Is Justice Ginsburg wrong?
Pete Buttigieg: (21:32)
Well, if all we did was change the number of justices than I agree with her that that could be the consequence. What I’ve called for is not only reforming the number of justices on the bench, but structural reform so that some of the justices are not appointed through a partisan process. We cannot allow the Supreme Court to continue to become one more political battlefield as we are seeing today. And the time has come for us to think bigger, not just reforming the makeup of the court as America, by the way, has done several times in our history. But also remember that the founders gave us the power to amend the Constitution for a reason and we shouldn’t be afraid to use it.
Pete Buttigieg: (22:13)
It’s not something you do lightly or quickly, but when it comes to something like Citizens United, which holds that corporations have the same political soul as people and that spending money to influence an election is the same thing as writing an op-ed to your local paper, we need a Constitutional amendment to clear that up and protect our democracy.
David Muir: (22:33)
Mayor Buttigieg, thank you. Vice President Biden, I do want to come to you on this. President Trump has said that the only reason Democrats want to expand the Court is they want to try and catch up. You have called any expansion of the court a bad idea, adding, “We will live to rue that day.” Do you agree with President Trump on-
Joe Biden : (22:50)
I agree with Ruth Bader Ginsburg. That’s who I agree with. And I agree the way you deal with Citizens United is pass a constitutional amendment I introduced 25 years ago saying that only public money can be spent in elections. Period. Not private money, not billionaires, not money from special interests. Period. That’s the way to amend the Constitution to deal with that. In addition to that, if in fact… Look, the Democrats stood up against the man I’ve revered, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, he wanted to expand the Court. But they were wise enough to understand that whoever then has the majority will have the ability to abuse it and it will lose its legitimacy and there are three equal branches of government. It says the President shell nominate, the Senate shall dispose, the Senate shall make that decision, not the president. He can nominate.
Joe Biden : (23:37)
That’s why it’s so important we must win back the United States Senate this time out. And that’s why as you all look at it up here in New Hampshire and around the world, excuse me, around the country, you have to ask yourself, who is most likely to help get a Senator elected in North Carolina, Georgia? Who can win Florida, Pennsylvania, Minnesota? Who can do that? Because you got to be able to win those… Well, you can. I agree. But here’s the point. You’ve got to be able to, you’ve got to be able to not just win, you’ve got to bring along a United States Senate or this becomes moot.
David Muir: (24:16)
Senator Sanders [crosstalk 00:24:17].
Bernie Sanders: (24:18)
Look, you asked the simple question, is there a litmus test for those of us up here? For me there is. I will never nominate any person to the Supreme Court or the federal courts in general who was not 100% pro Roe v. Wade. Number two, we have got a codify Roe v. Wade into legislation. Number three, we have to significantly expand funding for Planned Parenthood.
David Muir: (24:52)
Mr. Steyer, I want to bring you in on this because you have claimed that when it comes to the Supreme Court, you have said Republicans have been cheating.
Tom Steyer: (24:59)
Sure they’ve been cheating. Look, what we saw Mitch McConnell do, not just in the Supreme Court with Merrick Garland, but across the board with federal judges, was refuse to allow President Obama’s picks to be considered. That’s why Mr. Trump has appointed so many federal judges, because in fact the Republicans refused to allow President Obama to get his due, and honestly, we’re sitting here talking about do you have a litmus test? We all have the litmus test. Everybody on this row feels exactly the same way about a woman’s right to choose. Everybody on this row feels exactly the same way on gun control. Every single one in this row feels the same way.
Tom Steyer: (25:38)
There’s something else going on. These Republicans are in control. They’re stacking the Court for a generation with young right-wing radicals, and we’ve watched it happen and the question is what are we going to do about it? That’s where we are in the United States, and the question is… Actually Joe Biden’s right. We have to go win a huge victory this year, and we’re in trouble. And so the question is going to be, look at these people, who can pull together the Democratic Party?
Tom Steyer: (26:05)
And let me say this, we have not said one word tonight about race. Not one word. Are you kidding me? We have the most diverse party. We have a very diverse country. We have a very diverse party. The heart and soul of this party is diversity, black people, Latinos, AAPI people, Native Americans and white people. But for goodness sakes, pull it together. We’re talking about something different. The question we have is how are we getting that diverse group of people to the polls? What are we saying? Everybody on this stage feels the same way about a woman’s right to choose and economic justice. The question is how do we beat Trump? How do we take down these Republicans? And the answer is we’ve got to show we can take them down on growth, job creation, the economy. We send them packing and then we get all of this including beating the corporations.
David Muir: (26:56)
Mr Steyer, thank you. The night is still young. Many questions to come, and Linsey Davis is next.
Linsey Davis: (27:01)
I want to turn now to criminal justice. Mayor Buttigieg…
David Muir: (27:03)
Linsey Davis is next.
Linsey Davis: (27:03)
I want to turn now to criminal justice. Mayor Buttigieg, under your leadership as mayor, a black resident in South Bend, Indiana was four times more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession than a white resident. Now, that racial disparity is higher than the rest of the state, in fact, it’s higher than the rest of the nation, and that disparity increased in South Bend after you took office.
Linsey Davis: (27:23)
When talking about the problem on national terms, you’ve called it “evidence of systemic racism.” You were mayor for eight years, so weren’t you, in effect, the head of the system, and how do explain that increase in black arrests under your leadership?
Pete Buttigieg: (27:37)
Well, the reality is, on my watch, drug arrests in South Bend were lower than the national average, and specifically to marijuana, lower than in Indiana. But there is no question that systemic racism has penetrated to every level of our system, and my city was not immune. I took a lot of heat for discussing systemic racism with my own police department, but we’ve got to confront the fact that there is no escaping how this is part of all of our policies.
Pete Buttigieg: (28:05)
Earlier, we were talking about opioids, and thankfully, America has come to a better understanding about the fact that opioid addiction is best understood as a medical problem. But there were a lot of people, including a lot of African American activists in my community who have made the very good point, it’s great that everybody’s so enlightened about drug policy now when it comes to opioids, but where were you when it came to marijuana, where were you when it came to the crack epidemic in the 1990s? That is one of the reasons why I am calling for us as a country to take up those reforms that end incarceration as a response to possession and make sure that we legalize marijuana and when we do it, do it retroactively with expungements to correct the harm done in so many cases of incarceration, disproportionately of black and brown Americans where the incarceration did far more harm than the offense it was intended to deal with.
Linsey Davis: (29:00)
Right, let me go back to the original question though. How do you explain the increase in black arrests in South Bend under your leadership for marijuana possession?
Pete Buttigieg: (29:05)
And again, the overall rate was lower than the national rate.
Linsey Davis: (29:09)
No, there was an increase. The year before you were in office, it was lower. Once you became in office in 2012, that number went up. In 2018, the last number year that we have record for, that number was still up.
Pete Buttigieg: (29:22)
And one of the strategies that our community adopted was to target, when there were cases where there was gun violence and gang violence, which was slaughtering so many in our community, burying teenagers, disproportionately black teenagers, we adopted a strategy that said that drug enforcement would be targeted in cases where there was a connection to the most violent group or gang connected to a murder.
Pete Buttigieg: (29:49)
These things are all connected, but that’s the point. So are all of the things that need to change in order for us to prevent violence and remove the effects of systemic racism, not just from criminal justice, but from our economy, from health, from housing, and from our democracy itself.
Linsey Davis: (30:05)
Senator Warren, is that a substantial answer from Mayor Buttigieg?
Elizabeth Warren: (30:08)
No. You have to own up to the fact, and it’s important to own up to the facts about how race has totally permeated our criminal justice system. For the exact same crimes, study after study now shows that African Americans are more likely than whites to be detained, to be arrested, to be taken to trial, to be wrongfully convicted, and receive harsher sentences. We need to rework our criminal justice system, from the very front end on what we make illegal all the way through the system, and how we help people come back into the community.
Elizabeth Warren: (30:50)
But we cannot just say that criminal justice is the only time we want to talk about race specifically. We need to start having race-conscious laws. Housing, for example, I have a great housing plan to build more housing in America, but understand it was the policy of the United States of America to discriminate against African Americans and any other people of color for buying homes until 1965. You can’t just repeal that and say “Okay, now everything is even.” It’s not. We need race-conscious laws in education and employment, in entrepreneurship, to make this country a country of opportunity for everyone, no matter the color of their skin.
Andrew Yang: (31:37)
Elizabeth, with respect, you can’t regulate away racism with a whole patchwork of laws that are race-specific. What we have to do is heed the writings of Martin Luther King, whose birthday we just celebrated. He said that capitalism forgets that life is social, and what he was championing was a guaranteed minimum income for all Americans of $1000 a month or more that would end up reshaping our economy in communities of color, make it so that black net work is not 10% of white net worth in this country, which is the most important number of them all. We can’t regulate that away through any other means except by putting money directly into the hands of African Americans and Latinos and people of color to allow businesses to actually flourish and grow in those communities. The only way that will happen is if black and Latino consumers have buying power, and that is where we have to move as a country.
Linsey Davis: (32:33)
Senator Sanders, then Mr. Steyer.
Tom Steyer: (32:36)
Let me say this, I disagree. Andrew, no, let me say this. I disagree with you Andrew. I am the person on this stage who will say openly, I’m for reparations. Something wrong happened. I am for reparations to African Americans in this country, and anyone who things that racism is a thing of the past and not an ongoing problem is not dealing with reality. In fact, three days ago, one of the leaders of Joe Biden’s South Carolina campaign made racist remarks about someone associated with our campaign, and the Legislative Black Caucus went out en masse to stand up for that man and for our campaign. Joe, I’m asking you to come with me and the Legislative Black Caucus and disavow Dick Harpootlian and what he had to say. It was wrong, and I’m asking you to join us. Be on the right side.
Joe Biden : (33:25)
I’m asking you to join me and join in the support I have from the overwhelming number of the members of that Black Caucus. I have more support in South Carolina in the Black Caucus and the black community than anybody else. Double what you have, or anybody else here.
Bernie Sanders: (33:36)
I don’t think that’s quite right.
Tom Steyer: (33:37)
But wait a second, wait a second. Bernie.
Joe Biden : (33:39)
Well, that is quite right.
Tom Steyer: (33:40)
Let’s not argue about polls. Bernie, this isn’t about polls.
Linsey Davis: (33:43)
Senator Sanders …
Joe Biden : (33:43)
This is not about polls. I’m not talking about polls.
Bernie Sanders: (33:47)
Let me just say, first of all, we have nine members of the Black Caucus in South Carolina supporting us, but more importantly, much of what Elizabeth said is absolutely correct. We have a racist society from top to bottom impacting healthcare, housing, criminal justice, education, you name it. And clearly this is an issue that must be dealt with. But in terms of criminal justice, what we have got to do is understand the system is broken, is racist. We invested our young people in jobs and education, not more jails and incarceration. We end the war on drugs, which has disproportionately impacted African Americans, Latinos, and Native Americans. We end private prisons and detention centers in America.
Tom Steyer: (34:40)
Bernie, I appreciate what you’re saying.
Bernie Sanders: (34:42)
And, excuse me, we also, most people don’t know this. Tonight in America, 200,000 people are in jail without having been convicted of anything.
Tom Steyer: (34:52)
Bernie Sanders: (34:52)
200,000 people, because they can’t afford the $500 for bail they need to get out of jail. That is outrageous, we’re going to end cash bail in America.
Tom Steyer: (35:03)
Okay, let me say this. I’ve worked, Bernie, I’ve worked to end cash bail in California and it’s gone. I’ve worked to end private prisons in California and they’re gone. I’m somebody who’s, our family, my wife and I started a bank specifically to support businesses owned by women, black people, and Latinos, because they couldn’t get financing anywhere else. But I, Joe, I want a answer. Really. I think you should come over and disavow the statements that this man made that were openly racist, that were wrong, and the Legislative Black Caucus is against. I’m asking you to join us and do the right thing.
Joe Biden : (35:41)
I’ve already spoken to Dick Harpootlian and he in fact is, I believe, sorry for what he said. But here’s the deal, folks. We’ve got to stop taking the black community for granted. That’s the starting place. Every one of the things we talked about here, for example, in South Carolina, Jim Clyburn, he has a program, 10-15-30. We should be investing our money in those communities that haven’t gotten help for a long time and give most of that help to those communities. Make it a priority. We should make sure that we have no one going to jail for a drug offense, they go directly, mandatory prison. I mean, excuse me, mandatory treatment, not prison. And we fund it. And we fund it, and three days doesn’t get it. It takes at least 60 to 90 days to make any progress. We have to pay for that.
Joe Biden : (36:34)
Just like instead of building new prisons, we build new rehabilitation centers. We have to make sure that we have a window at the Treasury Department that allows entrepreneurs who are black and brown and minorities to be able to get loans to be able to start businesses. You know, if you own a house, I know you do know, if you own a house in an all black neighborhood, same exact house in all white neighborhood, exact same shape, the house valued in the black neighborhood would be valued as worth less, making it difficult for you to accumulate wealth, as my friend at the end of the line here says. So here’s the deal: we have to do much, much more. That’s what got me involved in politics in the first place, redlining, to stop it.
Joe Biden : (37:13)
I got involved through the Civil Rights Movement, I became a public defender. That’s why I got involved. There’s so many things we have to do across the board, and in education, at-risk schools. We should triple the funding we have for at-risk schools to provide for three, four, and five years old to go to school, not daycare. Increase the salaries of teachers, encourage more blacks to get into teaching, especially black men, because studies show when there’s a black man in a school, it increases prospects significantly, and so on. There’s a lot we can do, I’ve laid it all out as how to do, go to joebiden.com, you’ll see the whole deal, including criminal justice reform.
Linsey Davis: (37:49)
Thank you Mr. Vice President. As you mentioned South Carolina, three weeks from tomorrow they’ll go to the polls to vote, black voters make up about 60% of the electorate there. Senator Sanders, several weeks ago, Nina Turner, one of your national co-chairs, published an op-ed piece that said Vice President Biden has “repeatedly betrayed black voters to side with Republican lawmakers and undermine our progress.” Senator Sanders, do you agree with her, one of your most visible surrogates, that Vice President Biden has repeatedly betrayed black voters?
Bernie Sanders: (38:19)
Well, I think what Senator Turner was talking about are some of the early actions of Vice President Biden, but no. Joe Biden is a friend of mine, and I’m not here to attack him. But what I would say is that what we need in terms of the African American community is to understand that we have got to start investing big time in education, in healthcare. There is no excuse why white families in America have 10 times more wealth than black families. No excuse that disproportionately, African Americans are in jail compared to whites. No excuse for black women dying in childbirth three times the rate that white women are doing as well.
Linsey Davis: (39:06)
Amy Klobuchar: (39:08)
Linsey Davis: (39:09)
You had raised your hand before.
Amy Klobuchar: (39:10)
Yes I did, because I think in addition to the economic argument we’re making here with the sad, sad stories of a woman walking into a maternity room in New Orleans and saying her hand are swollen and walking out without her baby, and 30% of African American kids being living in poverty, we know that there are economic solutions here, to invest in those communities, housing, childcare. But there’s something else insidious going on that we haven’t addressed, and that is the systematic racism when it comes to voting. That is, moves across the country to limit people’s right to vote, and that is why I have been leading on these bills to automatically register every kid to vote in this country when they turn 18. There is no reason that we can’t do that across this country. To stop the gerrymandering by setting up independent commissions in every single state, and yes, to stop the voting purges.
Amy Klobuchar: (40:08)
Because what is going on right now in the words of one North Carolina court is that they are discriminating with surgical precision against African American voters, and we are not going to be able to get any of these things done if we don’t give people the right to vote.
Linsey Davis: (40:25)
Vice President Biden and then Senator Warren.
Joe Biden : (40:31)
I beg your pardon?
Linsey Davis: (40:31)
I just wanted to give you a chance to respond.
Joe Biden : (40:33)
Yes, I agree completely. There should be registration, automatic registration, turning 18, you get a driver’s license, whatever you do, you automatically are registered, number one. Number two, with regard to what we’re going to see in South Carolina, we’re all going to be there pretty soon. We’ll see whether or not it works. In response to the letter that the person, I’m not saying Bernie wrote the letter, but the senator who wrote the letter was very brisk and significant with other African Americans in South Carolina taking issue with her.
Joe Biden : (41:02)
But look, Amy is right, the senator’s correct. That is that we, in fact, there is systematic racism, and that’s why our Justice Department works so hard to go after those. You know, realize there are 35 states in the United States of America that have come up with a total of 78 laws to restrict voting just in the last five years to try to keep African Americans from voting, and brown as well, black and brown people from voting. And that will be an enormous priority in my administration as it was in ours. It’s just wrong, simply wrong.
Elizabeth Warren: (41:41)
I’m glad to stand on this stage with my fellow Democrats who talk about how important the black community is, at least at election time. Year after year after year, election after election after election, Democrats go to people in the black community and say “Boy, we really care about these issues. Racism is terrible, we all want to do something,” and then somehow the problem just seems to keep getting worse. Well I think it’s time we have real, concrete plans that are going to make a difference in people’s lives. I proposed a two cent wealth tax. And let me tell you just one of the things we can do with a two cent wealth tax. We can cancel student loan debt for 43 million Americans, and because African Americans have to borrow more money to go to college, borrow more money while they’re in college and have a harder time paying it back when they get out, that one law is going to help close the black-white wealth gap for people with student loans by about 20 points.
Elizabeth Warren: (42:40)
We aren’t making a difference in America. We’re saying to the rich folks “You keep your money, and the rest of us will talk about racism but not really do anything.” I think the time for that is over, I’m ready to get in this fight and really make a change.
Joe Biden : (42:54)
Okay, thank you.
George S.: (42:57)
Actually, let’s keep this debate going. Go ahead, Mr. Steyer.
Tom Steyer: (43:02)
Out of narrative comes policy. And we’re talking about a lot of policies that affect Americans, broadly and disproportionately affect black Americans or brown Americans. But what I believe is we should set up a commission on race and deal with race explicitly. Because everyone’s saying we can’t have rules that are different for different people, but in fact we’re here because we had rules that are different for different people. I would set up a formal commission on race on day one to retell the story of the last 400 years in America of systematic racism against African Americans, not just legal discrimination, injustice, and cruelty, but also the contribution that the African American community has made to America in building it and in leading the entire country from a moral standpoint for generations and centuries. Because I believe out of narrative comes policy. We need to repair damage that’s been done officially, and pretending we’re all the same is not accurate. We got here a certain way. Let’s talk about Jim Crow, let’s talk about Martin Luther King, let’s talk about Barbara Lee, the congresswoman from Oakland who’s one of our great leaders, and then let’s figure out how to repair the damage so we can move forward together.
George S.: (44:24)
Mr. Yang, take on that argument, also what he said about reparations.
Andrew Yang: (44:31)
The median African American household net work is projected to be zero by 2053. Things are not getting better for people of color. If anything, they’re getting wore, because we’re in the process of eliminating the most common jobs in our economy. It’s something of an economic unnatural disaster, and who suffers most in a natural disaster? People of color, people with lower levels of capital and access to opportunity and education.
Andrew Yang: (44:58)
And while I know we love to champion education here as Democrats, only 33% of Americans are going attend college, lower percentage of African Americans. There is no way we can prevent this tsunami from wiping out African American net worth unless we put straight cash into their hands sometime between now and 2053, and it’s not just them, it is truck drivers, it is retail clerks, it is call center workers, it is accountants, it is bookkeepers. We are in the midst of the greatest economic transformation in the history of our country, and it’s going to hit black people the hardest. We have to stop nibbling at the edges and actually start solving the real problem.
George S.: (45:39)
We’ve been getting a lot of questions from Apple News in tonight, including many about a candidate who’s not on the stage tonight, but is in this race, and that is former Mayor Michael Bloomberg of New York. And this question came in from Nashville, Tennessee, says “Billionaire Michael Bloomberg has entered the race and just got the endorsement of a former Trump Navy Secretary. Why do you think you are better positioned than Bloomberg to beat Trump?” Senator Warren.
Elizabeth Warren: (46:03)
Look, I don’t think anyone ought to be able to buy their way into a nomination or to be president of the United States. I don’t think any billionaire ought to be able to do it, and I don’t think people who suck up to billionaires in order to fund their campaigns out to do it. I heard everyone here talking about as Democrats, we all want to overturn Citizens United because we want to end this unlimited spending, yeah. Except everyone on this stage except Amy and me is either a billionaire or is receiving help from PACs that can do unlimited spending. So if you really want to live where you say, then put your money where your mouth is and say no to the PACs.
Elizabeth Warren: (46:54)
Look, I think the way we build a democracy going forward is not billionaires reaching in their own pockets or people sucking up to billionaires. The way we build it going forward is we have a grassroots movement funded from the grassroots up. That’s the way I’m running this campaign. If you think it’s the right way to run a campaign, to go elizabethwarren.com and pitch in $5, because understand this: our democracy hangs in the balance. If we have to fund through billionaires, then we’re just going to be an America that’s going to work better and better for billionaires and not for anyone else.
George S.: (47:33)
Senator Klobuchar, then Senator Sanders.
Amy Klobuchar: (47:34)
So I can’t stand the big money in politics, and one of my major focuses is going to be on passing that constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United. I didn’t come from money, and I just simply think people don’t look at the guy in the White House and say “Can we get someone richer?” I don’t think they think that. They want to have someone that they can understand. And you know my background. My grandpa was an iron ore miner, he worked 1500 feet underground in the mines his whole life. He couldn’t even graduate from high school because he had to raise his nine brothers and sisters. My grandpa saved money in a coffee can to send my dad to a two year community college. That was my family’s trust, and you can’t send, like Donald Trump got from his family, you can’t fit $413 million in a coffee can.
Amy Klobuchar: (48:26)
My mom grew up and wanted to be a teacher in Wisconsin. She moved to Minnesota, she taught second grade until she was 70 years old. And no, I am not a billionaire, but I stand before you today as granddaughter of an iron ore miner, the daughter of a teacher and a newspaperman, the first woman elected to the US Senate from the state of Minnesota, someone who has passed over 100 bills as a lead Democrat in that gridlock in Washington, DC, and that is because we live in a country of shared dreams. And that means no matter where you come from, no matter where you come from, you should be able to make it. So please help me in my efforts at amyklobuchar.com.
George S.: (49:05)
Everybody’s getting the fundraising pitches out here.
Amy Klobuchar: (49:06)
This is a campaign of real people.
George S.: (49:07)
Right now, Senator Sanders, I am coming to you, but Mayor Bloomberg is-
Bernie Sanders: (49:11)
Let’s talk about money, and let’s talk about-
George S.: (49:11)
… Let me just put the question to you, because Mayor Bloomberg has taken on your argument-
Bernie Sanders: (49:14)
… I’ve got to answer before the question, it’s more …
George S.: (49:16)
… he says we need evolution, not revolution.
Bernie Sanders: (49:18)
I couldn’t hear that.
George S.: (49:19)
Mayor Bloomberg has said we need evolution, not revolution, taking you on directly.
Bernie Sanders: (49:23)
Well, it’s a funny thing. There are millions of people who can desire to run for office, but I guess if you’re work $60 billion and you can spend several hundred million dollars on commercials, you have a slight advantage. That is nonsense. What we have got to do is have a nation in which we not only overturn Citizens United, we move to public funding of election.
Bernie Sanders: (49:51)
In terms of money in politics, our campaign, and I am enormously proud of this, unlike some of the folks up here, I don’t have 40 billionaires, Pete, contributing to my campaign, coming from the pharmaceutical industry, coming from Wall Street, and all the big money interests. What we do have is we have now over six million contributions from one and a half million people averaging $18.50 a contribution. That is unprecedented in the history of American politics. If we want to change America, you’re not going to do it be electing candidates who are going out to rich people’s homes begging for money. The way we’re going to do it is build a mass movement of working people who are prepared to stand up, not take money from these billionaires, not take money from Wall Street, but stand up to the drug companies and Wall Street. And if you want to be part of that political revolution, berniesanders.com.
George S.: (51:03)
Mayor Buttigieg, close this round out.
Pete Buttigieg: (51:09)
We are going into the fight of our lives. Donald Trump, according to news reports, and his allies raised $25 million today. We need to go into that fight with everything that we’ve got. Now I’ve been very clear on both my record, where I have sued pharmaceutical companies, and what I’m campaigning for, that includes raising wages and raising taxes on corporations and the wealthy. And as the only person on this stage who is not a millionaire or a billionaire, I know a thing or two about building a movement because mayor of South Bend, Indiana is not exactly an establishment fundraising powerhouse.
Pete Buttigieg: (51:49)
We are here without the involvement of any corporate PACs because hundreds of thousands of people went to, yes, peteforamerica.com, contributed to this campaign, and let me say something else. If we want to bring about any of the changes that everyone is talking about so elegantly up here, we need to put together the majority that can decisively defeat Donald Trump. And in order to do that, we need a politics that is defined not by who we reject, but how we bring everybody into the fold. And if you are low-income, or if you’re able to contribute a lot. If you’ve always voted Democrat, or if you’re an Independent or even a Republican who’s just sick of looking your kids in the eye and trying to explain this White House, we need you to join us right now. I will not pursue politics by telling people they can’t be at our side if they’re not with us 100% of the time. This is a time for addition, not rejection, for belonging, not exclusion.
David Muir: (52:49)
Mayor Buttigieg, thank you. I want to turn to climate change and jobs here in America. President Trump just signed the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, many call it an updated NAFTA. But it odes include incentives to make cars here in North America and it does open Canadian markets for American dairy farmers. Senator Sanders, as we sit here in New Hampshire tonight, both New Hampshire senators Maggie Hassan and Senator Jeanne Shaheen supported this, calling it a real win for workers and for farmers. You voted no, because you said you believe it takes us back years on climate. Were the senators from New Hampshire wrong?
Bernie Sanders: (53:26)
Yes. I mean, it’s a disagreement, but if you look at every environmental group in this country, including the Sunrise organization, we’re so proud to have their support, because we have introduced the most comprehensive climate change proposal I think ever authored by a presidential candidate. But they are saying, what the environmental groups are saying, we’re simply exporting fossil fuel emissions to Mexico. There is not one word in that trade agreement …
Bernie Sanders: (54:03)
There is not one word in that trade agreement that deals with climate change and I don’t know how in 2020 you can do that. Second of all, there is, in terms of outsourcing of jobs, a major crisis in this country. Nobody believes that under this Trump trade agreement that they will not be continued and significant outsourcing of jobs into low wage Mexico, where workers are paid in some cases less than $2 an hour. So I think the right vote was the vote against that agreement. I don’t apologize for that.
George S.: (54:36)
Senator Sanders, thank you. I do want to go to Senator Klobuchar. You’ve heard what Senator Sanders just said there. He said not one word on climate in the trade deal. So why did you vote yes?
Amy Klobuchar: (54:44)
Well, first of all, I want to defend the honor of the incredible two senators from New Hampshire, Jeanne Shaheen and Maggie Hassan, who work so hard for this state every day and I voted with them. Why did I vote with them? Because there were some major improvements in this trade agreement when it comes to labor inspections, when it comes to getting rid of a sweetheart pharma deal that was in place and when it comes to climate change, I think we have to have a North American trading block. We have to have Mexico and Canada and America working together and the best way to take on climate change as president, yes, I’ll work to make this a part of every future trade agreement, but the best way to take on climate change is by getting back into the international climate change agreement, which I will do on day one.
Amy Klobuchar: (55:32)
It is bringing back the clean power rules. It is bringing back the gas mileage standards and it is introducing sweeping legislation to put a price on carbon and you cannot divorce trade from that, and in future trade agreements, that should be part of our negotiations. But I’m telling you right now, having no trade agreement with Canada and Mexico puts us at such a disadvantage when it comes to dealing with China and pushing China to do better when it comes to climate change.
George S.: (55:59)
Senator Klobuchar, thank you. Senator Warren, you voted yes as well.
Elizabeth Warren: (56:03)
Yes I did, and I’ll tell you why, because there are a lot of farmers around this country that are really hurting because of Donald Trump’s trade policies. There are a lot of workers who are hurting because they can’t get enforcement of any workers’ rights. So this NAFTA provision, after a lot of negotiation with Democrats, Senator Sherrod Brown helped make it a whole lot better. This makes things somewhat better for workers and for farmers and when I see a law that makes things somewhat better for hardworking people in this country, I’m saying, I’ll sign up for that and then I’ll get up tomorrow morning and I’ll start working hard for a better trade deal on climate, a better trade deal that has a basic coherence to it. Everyone wants to get to the American market. We should be raising standards on climate around the world to get access to our market.
George S.: (56:56)
Tom Steyer: (56:58)
Yeah, I got to agree with Bernie Sanders, I do. Senator Warren is right. Everybody wants to get into our market, and that’s how we convince them that they’ve got to be right on climate too. That we have to stop making foreign policy decisions in the old way. Yeah, of course, we want to make things better for American workers, and it’s absolutely critical that when we think about trade policy, we’re thinking about it from the point of view of the American people, not of the American corporations. That’s a huge positive change. And I agree with the senators on that, but there’s something else going on here when we think about our foreign policy. We talked about whether it was right to kill General Soleimani, and there was no discussion in that about where that leaves the United States in the community of nations around the world.
Tom Steyer: (57:55)
So if we actually want to be the leaders of the world, the leaders of the free world who can actually negotiate a climate treaty around the world that sticks, that makes a difference, we’re going to have to put climate first, and when we think about doing the wrong thing, the way Mr. Trump did with General Soleimani, we have to ask, does that help us build a coalition of countries around the world to do the right thing? It absolutely does not.
Tom Steyer: (58:21)
Being all by ourselves, being the Empire in the Star Wars movie does not put us in a position to get done what we need to get done as the leader of the free world. So in fact, the USMCA is something, that’s the first step, but the second step is exactly what Bernie Sanders is saying. Use access to our market as a negotiating thing to make sure not only that we represent American workers, but that we represent the American people in the long run and we make sure that we get a safe climate deal.
Amy Klobuchar: (58:50)
One of the things about being in the arena is you have to make decisions all the time and these things aren’t always exactly how you would do them. But in this case, if you want to criticize Trump for not ever having any friends, and I would agree, he always sides with tyrants over innocents. He always sides with dictators over allies, but I think you’ve got to have some friends and those two countries, our neighbors, may not be perfect, but they are our friends, and we have a president that literally blames everyone in the world, and we have not talked about this enough.
Amy Klobuchar: (59:21)
He blames Barack Obama for everything that goes wrong. He blames his federal reserve chair that he appointed himself. He blames the King of Denmark, who does that? He blames the prime minister of Canada for, he claims, cutting him out of the Canadian version of Home Alone 2, who does that? That’s what Donald Trump does. So my point here is that when we have opportunities to work with our allies, and New Hampshire is such a great example of this, New Hampshire, Bretton Woods, New Hampshire, with senators like Jeanne Shaheen and Maggie Hassen, who believe we need to work with NATO and the rest of the world who sees it as a smaller state, but a state that is a piece of the world. We cannot be alone, and that trade agreement was not perfect, but the point of it is, if we start isolating ourselves from the rest of the world, we are going to hurt ourselves economically and we are going to hurt our nation’s security.
George S.: (01:00:17)
All right. Senator Klobuchar, thanks very much. We have hit the two hour mark, we need to take a quick break and come back for the final question.
Devin Dwyer: (01:02:40)
Welcome back to Manchester, New Hampshire and the ABC News Democratic Debate. Thanks for joining us here on ABC News Live tonight. I’m Devin Dwyer, joined with our political correspondent, Rachel Scott. Rachel, we heard so much this last block about gun policy, abortion, climate change, and then the issue of race, pushed on by Tom Steyer and really a lot of the candidates confronting Joe Biden, a sign of where this campaign is headed.
Rachel Scott: (01:03:05)
Exactly, Devin. Steyer tonight calling out the lack of discussion when it comes to race on that stage, the conversation turning 90 minutes into this debate and Biden touting what the national polls reflect. His loyalty among African American voters. I have sat down with the vice president, he has told me it’s one of the things that he is most proud of, his loyalty among black supporters, and if you want to just see how important black voters are to the democratic base, all you have to look at are the numbers from 2016, the exit polls from that primary, 6 out of 10 voters in Mississippi were black, 61% of voters in the South Carolina primary were black, and that’s where the candidates are going to be heading very soon ahead of that.
Devin Dwyer: (01:03:41)
And to Nevada as well with a lot of voters of color there and Joe Biden holding a lion’s share of those voters. We’ll see if these candidates can chip away. You know, we were talking so many of the policies we heard about tonight, like so many of the previous debates, are familiar positions from these candidates, which is why the style of their performance tonight is going to get a lot of attention from voters.
Rachel Scott: (01:04:02)
It will, but you know, when I talk to voters as I travel the country, they tell me their number one concern is electability. They want someone that could be President Trump, they want someone that could carry this over the finish line and that’s why you hear so much of the session pitting back to who can do that on that stage today.
Devin Dwyer: (01:04:18)
I was up in Derry, New Hampshire just yesterday hearing not only a lot of attention on those qualities of style, but also a lot of anxiety over this issue of electability particularly now with Donald Trump’s polling numbers on the rise, his performance at the State of the Union and his acquittal in that Senate trial. It’s going to be a four day sprint, I know you’re going to be out there all weekend as I will as well and we were just talking about what this moment in this campaign will mean. We could see a dramatically smaller field after Tuesday night here in New Hampshire.
Rachel Scott: (01:04:49)
Tom Perez came out here and he said, listen, we are beginning a 90 day sprint. Most of the delegates are going to be grabbed up by the end of this 90 days and the candidates really have to hone in on their pitch here. The voting has started, already. We’re moving into the New Hampshire primary and a lot of these candidates have a lot on the line here. They only have a few days left to gain momentum before that next vote is cast, and again, this race is getting tighter and tighter.
Devin Dwyer: (01:05:13)
And we know Donald Trump will be here in New Hampshire and Manchester as well, on Monday. So things are going to get a little even more exciting four days ahead of the New Hampshire primaries. We had back now for the final question in this ABC News Democratic Debate. Take a look at the speaking times of the candidates. We’ll leave you with that. Joe Biden, top of the list, all the candidates back at their podiums. Stay with us right here on ABC News Live.
The democratic debate. Here now, George Stephanopoulos.
George S.: (01:05:49)
Welcome back to our debate, time now for a final question. Each of you will answer it in turn. We’ll start with Mr.Yang, and the question is this. According to the Children’s Defense Fund, it’s been more than 20 years since child poverty was directly addressed in a presidential debate. The year was 1999 the question was our friend and former [inaudible 01:06:13] who may be watching right now, the late Cokie Roberts.
George S.: (01:06:19)
Cokie loved the New Hampshire primary, and she asked the candidates in this Republican debate, how will we overcome the scandal of one quarter of American preschoolers living in poverty in the richest nation on earth? Today, nearly one in five American preschoolers are still living below the poverty line, even though we’ve had 10 straight years of economic growth. What does that say to you about where America is today and what we need to do about it?
Andrew Yang: (01:06:46)
George, we’re in the midst of the most extreme winner take all economy in the history of our country, and unfortunately, that extremity is just going to reach unprecedented heights as technology is getting stronger, smarter, more capable all the time, and most of us are not. Most adults feel happy if we stayed about the same on any given day. So if we want to alleviate child poverty, we need to put money directly into the hands of families, particularly single parents, 40% of American children today are born to single moms, 90% of single parents are single moms and right now we have fallen into this trap where we have allowed the market to tell us what we are all worth.
Andrew Yang: (01:07:29)
What is the market value my wife, Evelyn had, or stay at home parents around the country? Zero. Caregivers taking care of ailing loved ones, like Kyle Christensen in Iowa? Zero. Volunteers and activists in our communities trying to do something positive? Zero. Coaches and mentors helping our kids? Zero. Most artists, sorry artists, but it’s true. Zero. Increasingly local journalists, which is wiping out our ability to have a functioning democracy because you can’t vote on something if you actually don’t have any news coverage. The mission in this campaign has to be for us to disentangle economic value and human value, say they are not the same things and make this case to our fellow Americans. That we each have intrinsic value as citizens, as human beings and as owners and shareholders of the richest country in the history of the world.
Pete Buttigieg: (01:08:27)
The problem is, America’s been counting the wrong things. Now we have a president who says the economy is fantastic because the Dow Jones is looking good. I’m sure if you’ve got a building with your name on it close to Wall Street, then that really is the same thing as the economy to you. But the problem is, we’ve had an economy grow and not be able to lift up those most in need, or even so many in the middle.
Pete Buttigieg: (01:08:53)
When I’m president, we’re going to measure the performance of our economy, not by the Dow Jones but by the income growth of the 90%, because a good economy is one where children are being lifted out of poverty. Just as we focused in South B on cutting the poverty rate, in particular, the black poverty rate and making sure families with children were participating in the growth that we did have. This is one more example of something where the American people want to see change. The American people, not just die hard Democrats, but so many Independents and some Republicans, think we need to prioritize economic equity and yet it still doesn’t happen. That is why we need to recognize that the time has arrived for a different kind of politics. To turn the page, leave the politics of the past in the past and deliver a better future before it is too late.
George S.: (01:09:47)
Elizabeth Warren: (01:09:52)
So I started my grownup life as a special education teacher. I learned early on about the worth of every single human being, and I believe that the best investment we can make as a nation, the best investment we can make as human beings, is to invest in our children. We’ve had enough of making rhetoric around this. Everyone says they love the kids, but here’s the deal. It’s time to come up with real plans to make that happen. I’ve talked before about a two cent wealth tax, but the whole idea behind it is we can do early childhood education and good quality child care, universal pre-K for every three year old and four year old in America, and we can stop exploiting the people, largely black and brown women who do this work and raise the wages of every childcare worker and preschool teacher in America.
Elizabeth Warren: (01:10:53)
We want to have a real future in this country, then invest in our children. Don’t leave public education just to our localities in our states. Be a good federal partner. Put real money into our schools, put real money into housing, put real money into into healthcare. Put real money into the future of our children. That’s how we build the America of our best values.
George S.: (01:11:22)
Mr. Vice President.
Joe Biden : (01:11:26)
I come from a family where our dad walked in one day and said, we’ve got to move. Don’t have a job. We’ve got to move to a different city. I watched my dad and I met many people here in this state and others, who go through the same thing where the father’s made that longest walk or the mother’s made that longest walk. I was listed for the entire time I was in the United States Congress as the poorest man in the United States Congress. My net worth was net zero a couple of times. The fact of the matter is that I’ve never focused on money for me and I was a single dad for five years. It’s not as hard as being a single mom and I had help from my sisters in the audience and others, but the fact is that I think we have to focus on what is at stake here.
Joe Biden : (01:12:09)
These aren’t someone else’s children. They’re all our children. They’re the kite strings that lift our national ambitions, they really are. They lift our national ambitions aloft. We have an overwhelming interest, overwhelming interest in seeing to it they do well. You know, 24 out of every 100 students in school today, from grade school to high school, are Latino. What are we going to do? Walk away from that?
Joe Biden : (01:12:33)
Many of them come from homes that are poor, very poor. That’s why I invest so much time and energy in preschool. That’s why if I only have $1 to spend, I spend it equipping the child before they get into school in the early day, than after and we talk about all those kids out there that are going to be graduating. A great number of them, as Mr. Yang said, aren’t going on to college, although I think we should help with college. They’re not going on to college. What they’re going to do, they’re going to be equipped to compete in the 21st century by training them for the new trades, the new opportunities, the new capabilities that are out there. We must focus on our children. Like I said, they’re all our children, they’re not somebody else’s kids. Everyone, everyone, everyone, everyone, as my father would say, is entitled to be treated with dignity and respect and we’re not doing it.
George S.: (01:13:20)
Bernie Sanders: (01:13:21)
Well, the answer to your question of why we have the highest rate of childhood poverty of almost any major country on earth, disproportionately high for the African American community, by the way, is the same reason that we give massive trillion dollar tax breaks to the rich and large corporations. Same reason that we give tens of billions of dollars in subsidies and tax breaks to the fossil fuel industry, while half of our people are living paycheck to paycheck. The same reason that we have three people in America owning more wealth than the bottom half of America.
Bernie Sanders: (01:13:59)
The same reason that we are the only major country on earth not to guarantee healthcare to all people as a human right. Same reason as to why we are paying in some cases 10 times more than other countries for prescription drugs, and that reason is that our priorities are determined by the 1% and by wealthy campaign contributors. Our priorities are determined by those who want to see the rich get richer and are turning their backs on the working families of this country. What is unique about our campaign, is we say, unashamedly, we are raising our campaign contributions, not from billionaires but from working class people. That our campaign is about the working families of this country for the working class of this country and that is the administration that we will run. It is time to take on the big money interests. It is time to change our national priorities. Thank you.
George S.: (01:15:02)
Amy Klobuchar: (01:15:05)
In Cokie’s memory, let me answer this question. We may have lost an election in 2016, Democrats, but we did not lose hope. And there is a way, it’s actually based on a National Academy of Science report and I’ve used that to put together a plan to reduce child poverty in half in 10 years and eradicate it in a generation. We can do it with investment in childcare. We can do it with investment in preschool and school and we can do it with tax credits and we can get it done. But to get it done, we have to be able to reach those voters that we lost in this state and across the country.
Amy Klobuchar: (01:15:43)
There’s an old story of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and when he died, his body was put on a train and went up across America and there was a guy standing by those tracks along with so many Americans, and he had his hat on his chest and he was sobbing and a reporter said, Sir, did you know the president? And the guy says, no, I didn’t know the president, but he knew me. He knew me. I will tell you this, there is a complete lack of empathy in this guy in the White House right now. I will bring that to you.
Amy Klobuchar: (01:16:20)
If you have trouble stretching your paycheck to pay for that rent. I know you and I will fight for you. If you have trouble deciding if you’re going to pay for your childcare or your longterm care, I know you and I will fight for you. If you have trouble figuring out if you’re going to fill your refrigerator or fill your prescription drug, I know you and I will fight for you. I do not have the biggest name up on this stage. I don’t have the biggest bank account. I’m not a political newcomer with no record, but I have a record of fighting for people. I’m asking you to join firstname.lastname@example.org. I’m asking you to believe that someone who totally believes in America can win this because if you are tired of the extremes in our politics and the noise and the nonsense, you have a home with me, Please, New Hampshire, I would love your vote and I would love the vote of America. Thank you.
George S.: (01:17:17)
Tom Steyer: (01:17:24)
The Republicans have a cruel plan and their plan is pretty simple. It’s to cut taxes on the richest Americans and the biggest corporations and then they pay for it by cutting education for kids, by cutting healthcare across the board, by allowing corporations to pollute as much as they want, and then they try and break unions and the organized labor movement. It’s very simple. That’s what Mr. Trump’s plan is and it’s true in every single red state, but we are not going to win by just criticizing Mr. Trump. I know that there is a better America out there and that America lives in our hearts and minds. And that America understands that when a kid succeeds in Columbia, South Carolina, that is a triumph for every American. And the same is true of a kid in Las Vegas, Nevada. Mr. Trump has no idea what prosperity looks like across this country. It’s not just that he does bad things. He doesn’t understand that investing in education and healthcare and good union jobs is actually an investment in our common humanity and in growth in the future, mobility and justice. That is the America that lives in our hearts and minds that will beat Mr. Trump, because he will never be able to imagine it. So in fact, what we need to do is have a new conception, a new dream of America, dream it and make it happen. Imagine the mountain and then we climb it together. We are in perilous times. I am asking for your vote. Let’s rise together.
George S.: (01:19:09)
Candidates. Thank you. Thanks for a great debate tonight. Thanks to our audience here at Saint Anselm College. Thanks for our partners, WMUR and Apple News and now I’d like to send it to my colleague Martha Raddatz.