Jul 31, 2019
Transcript of July Democratic Debate 2nd Round, Night 2: Full Transcript July 31, 2019
Democratic candidates Corey Booker, Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, Kirsten Gillibrand, Tulsi Gabbard, Jay Inslee, Andrew Yang, Michael Bennet, Bill De Blasio, and Julio Castro took the stage in Detroit, MI for Night 2 of the 2nd round of Democratic Debates on July 31, 2019. Read the full transcript of the debate below.
Jake Tapper: (00:00)
Welcome back to the CNN Democratic presidential debate. Candidates, we’re about to begin opening statements but first, a quick review of the ground rules that your campaigns agreed to earlier this month to try to ensure a fair debate. As moderators, we will attempt to guide the discussion. You will each receive one minute to answer questions, 30 seconds for responses and rebuttals, and 15 additional seconds if a moderator asks for a clarification. The timing lights will remind you of these limits. Please respect them and please refrain from interrupting other candidates during their allotted time. A candidate infringing on another candidate’s time will have his or her time reduced. We again remind our audience inside the Fox Theater to try to remain silent when candidates are actively debating. The candidates need to be able to properly hear the questions and each other.
Dana Bash: (00:48)
Let’s start with opening statements. You will each receive one minute. Mayor Bill de Blasio, please begin.
Bill de Blasio: (00:56)
To the working people of America, tonight I bring you a message of hope. We can make change in this country. I know from personal experience it can be done. When I became the mayor of the nation’s largest city, I set us on a path of bold change. They said it couldn’t be done, but we gave pre-K to every child for free. We got rid of Stop and Frisk and we lowered crime. We raise the minimum wage to $15.00 an hour, yes, it can be done. Now tonight we have to get to the heart and soul of who we are as Democrats. There are good people on this stage, but there are real differences. Joe Biden told wealthy donors that nothing fundamentally would change if he were president.
Bill de Blasio: (01:40)
Kamala Harris said she’s not trying to restructure society. Well, I am. For 40 years, working people have taken it on the chin in this country. For 40 years, the rich and gotten richer and they paid less and less in taxes. It cannot go on this way. When I am president, we will even up the score and we will tax the hell out of the wealthy to make this a fairer country and to make sure it’s a country that puts working people first.
Dana Bash: (02:11)
Thank you Mayor de Blasio. Senator Michael Bennet.
Michael Bennet: (02:15)
Thank you. Last week I saw one of those Trump signs that says “America, love it or leave it” and it was on the outside of the church. I love America and I know we can make it better. Before coming to the Senate, I ran a large urban school district where most of the kids live in poverty. Those kids have exactly the same hopes that I had. Their parents have exactly the same hopes for them that my parents had for me. And that Susan and I had for our three children. But for the last three years we’ve been consumed by a president who frankly doesn’t give a damn about your kids or mine. Mr. President, kids belong in classrooms, not cages. And they deserve something better than a bully in the White House. Let’s end this three ring circus in Washington and let’s make this election about reclaiming our future for our kids and our democracy. Empty promises won’t beat Donald Trump, I can.
Dana Bash: (03:41)
Governor Jay Inslee.
Jay Inslee: (03:44)
Good evening, I’m Jay Inslee. I am running for president because the people in this room and the Democrats watching tonight are the last best hope for humanity on this planet. If we make defeating the climate crisis the top priority of the United States, we will have a fighting chance to save ourselves and our children’s future. It has to be our top priority. My plan is one of national mobilization, quickly bringing 100% clean energy to Americans, creating eight million good union jobs. This is a big, bold, ambitious plan for clean energy for a big, bold, ambitious nation. Middle ground approaches are not enough. We must confront the fossil fuel industry. I’ve been working on this for 25 years and now we know this, we’re a tipping point. And whether we shrink from this challenge or rise to it is the vital question of our time. We Democrats believe we can still do big things in this nation. We can defeat the climate crisis. Let’s get to work.
Dana Bash: (05:04)
Senator Kirsten Gillibrand.
Kirsten G.: (05:07)
My grandmother taught me that nothing’s impossible. She spent two generations organizing women in upstate New York. My mother taught me nothing’s impossible. She was one of my only three women in her law school class and worked with gay couples for basic rights. If you want to get something done just tell me it’s impossible. As a freshman senator, I was told you couldn’t repeal don’t ask, don’t tell. Even numbers of my own party told me it wasn’t convenient. When are civil rights ever convenient? We stood up to the Pentagon and we got it done, not impossible. 10 years ago, I was told you couldn’t pass healthcare for our 9/11 first responders. Those heroes who raced up the towers when others were coming down. Even when Congress turned its back on them, we kept fighting. Just last week we made the 9/11 health bill permanent. Beating Donald Trump, definitely not impossible. We need a nominee who will take on the big fights and win. We need a nominee who doesn’t know the meaning of impossible.
Dana Bash: (06:19)
Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard.
Tulsi Gabbard: (06:24)
I love our country. It’s why I enlisted after 9/11 where I’ve served as a soldier for over 16 years, deployed twice to the Middle East and serve in Congress now for almost seven years. I know what patriotism is and I’ve known many great patriots throughout my life. And let me tell you this, Donald Trump is not behaving like a patriot. As president, I will bring this spirit of real patriotism to the White House, serving the interest of all Americans, not just the rich and powerful. I’ll fight for our rights and freedoms of all Americans upholding these principles in our constitution upon which our country was founded. Fighting for justice and equality for all. Fighting for every single American, regardless of race or religion as we strive towards that more perfect union. And as president, I’ll bring this unifying spirit of love for country and the soldiers values of service above self to the White House, truly leading a government of, by and for the people.
Dana Bash: (07:28)
Secretary Julian Castro.
Julian Castro: (07:30)
Thank you Dana and good evening. Just a few days ago we were reminded and inspired by our fellow Americans in Puerto Rico. That public service is not fundamentally about any of us. It’s about you and your family. I want you to know that if I’m elected president, that I will work hard every single day so that you and your family can have good healthcare when you need it. So that your children and grandchildren can get a good education so that they can reach their dreams, and then you can have good job opportunities. Whether you live here in a big city like Detroit or in a small town in our country. I know we have a wonderful, special nation but that too many people are struggling and I know what that’s like too. I grew up with a single mom in a poor neighborhood. But like many of you, I don’t want to make America anything again. I don’t want us to go backwards. We’re not going back to the past. We’re not going back where we came from. We’re going to move forward. We’re going to make America better than it’s ever been in the years to come. Let’s do that together.
Dana Bash: (08:41)
Andrew Yang: (08:44)
If you heard anything about me and my campaign, you’ve heard that someone is running for president who wants to give every American $1,000 a month. I know this may sound like a gimmick but this is a deeply American idea. From Thomas Payne to Martin Luther King to today. Let me tell you why we need to do it and how we pay for it. Why do we need to do it? We already automated away millions of manufacturing jobs and chances are your job could be next. If you don’t believe me, just ask an auto worker here in Detroit. How do we pay for it? Raise your hand in the crowd if you’ve seen stores closing where you live. It is not just you, Amazon is closing 30% of America’s stores and malls and paying zero in taxes while doing it. We need to do the opposite of much of what we’re doing right now. And the opposite of Donald Trump is an Asian man who likes math. So let me share the math. On $1,000 a month for every adult would be $461 million every month right here in Detroit alone. The automation of our jobs is a central challenge facing us today. It is why Donald Trump is our president and any politician not addressing it is failing the American people.
Dana Bash: (09:56)
Senator Cory Booker.
Cory Booker: (09:58)
Thank you Dana. Last week, the President of the United States attacked an American city calling it a disgusting, rat infested rodent mess. We need a nation that understands that these tired old language-
Speaker 1: (10:28)
Stand by, Senator.
Cory Booker: (10:28)
I will stand by.
Speaker 1: (10:29)
Please stand by.
Speaker 1: (10:45)
Please continue Senator.
Cory Booker: (10:47)
Thank you very much. Donald Trump from Charleston to Baltimore to even the border is using the tired old language of demagogues, of fear-mongers, of racists to try to divide our country against itself. We know who Donald Trump is but in this election the question is who are we as a people? We have serious problems in America. We have deep wounds and seriously, deeply rooted challenges. We desperately need to heal as a nation and move forward. Because we know in this country that our fates are united, that we have a common destiny. The call of this election is the call to unite in common cause and common purpose. That’s how we will beat Donald Trump. That’s how I will beat Donald Trump and as your president, that’s how I will govern and move us forward together.
Dana Bash: (11:58)
Senator Kamala Harris.
Kamala Harris: (12:02)
This is an inflection moment in the history of our country, I think we all know that. This is a moment in time that is requiring us each as individuals and collectively to look in a mirror and ask the question, that question being, who are we? And I think most of us know that part of the answer to that question is we are better than this. So this then becomes a moment that we must fight for the best of who we are and fight of course we will. And this is not a new fight for us as Americans. We have always been prepared to fight for our ideals. We have always been a nation that fights for the best of who we are. And I’ll tell you, I come from fighters. My parents met when they were active in the civil rights movement. My sister Maya and I joke, we grew up surrounded by a bunch of adults, who spent full time marching and shouting about this thing called justice. And I am prepared to march with you, to fight with you for the best of who we are and to successfully prosecute the case of four more years of Donald Trump and against him.
Dana Bash: (13:11)
Vice President Joe Biden.
Joe Biden: (13:13)
Tonight I think Democrats are expecting some engagement here and I expect we’ll get it. I’m running for president to restore the soul of this country. We have a president, as everybody’s acknowledged here, every day is ripping at the social fabric of this country. But no one man has the capacity to rip that apart, it’s too strong, we’re too good. Just look at this stage made up of very diverse people from diverse backgrounds. Went on to be mayors, senators, governors, congresswomen, members of the cabinet and yes, even a vice president. Mr. President, this is America and we are stronger and great because of this diversity, Mr. President. Not in spite of it, Mr. President. So Mr. President, let’s get something straight. We love it, we are not leaving it. We are here to stay and we’re certainly not going to leave it to you.
Dana Bash: (14:10)
Thank you, Vice President Biden. I want to start the debate with one of the top priorities for democratic voters and that is healthcare. Senator Harris, this week you released a new healthcare plan which would preserve private insurance and take 10 years to phase in. Vice President Biden’s campaign calls your plan, “a have-it-every-which-way approach” and says it’s just part of a confusing pattern of equivocating about your healthcare stance. What do you say to that?
Kamala Harris: (14:45)
Well, they’re probably confused because they’ve not read it, but the reality is that I have been spending time in this campaign listening to American families. Listening to experts, listening to healthcare providers and what I came away with is a very clear understanding that I needed to create a plan that was responsive to the needs of the American people. Responsive to their needs, understanding that insurance companies have been jacking up the prices for far too long. That American families have to be held down by deductibles and copays and premiums that can cause them bankruptcy.
Kamala Harris: (15:22)
I listened to the American families who said four years is just not enough to transition into this new plan. So I devised a plan where it’s going to be 10 years of a transition. I listened to American families who said, I want an option that will be under your Medicare system that allows a private plan. So I designed a plan where yes, responsive to the needs of American families, there will be a public plan under my plan for Medicare and a private plan under my plan for Medicare. Because the bottom line is this, we must agree that access to healthcare must be a right and not just a privilege of those who can afford it. And in America today, far too many people, in fact, 30 million people are going without access to healthcare.
Dana Bash: (16:06)
Thank you Senator Harris. Vice President Biden, your response.
Joe Biden: (16:09)
Well my response is that is the Senator’s had several plans so far. And anytime someone tells you you’re going to get something good in 10 years, you should wonder why it takes 10 years. If you noticed there’s no talk about the fact that the plan in 10 years will cost $3 trillion. You will lose your employer based insurance. And in fact, this is the single most important issue facing the public. And to be very blunt and to be very straightforward, you can’t beat President Trump with double talk on this plan.
Dana Bash: (16:39)
Your response, Senator Harris.
Kamala Harris: (16:41)
Absolutely. Unfortunately, Vice President Biden, you’re just simply inaccurate in what you’re describing. The reality is that our plan will bring healthcare to all Americans under a Medicare For All system. Our plan will allow people to start signing up on the first day. Babies will be born into our plan and right now four million babies almost are born every day in America or every year in America. Under our plan, we will ensure that everyone has access to healthcare. Your plan by contrast, leaves out almost 10 million Americans. So I think that you should really think about what you’re saying, but be reflective and understand that the people of America want access to healthcare and do not want costs to be their barrier to getting it.
Dana Bash: (17:24)
Senator Harris, thank you. Vice President Biden, your response.
Joe Biden: (17:28)
The plan, no matter how you cut it cost $3 trillion when it is in fact employed. Number one, 10 years from now after two terms of the senator being president, after her time. Secondly, it will require middle-class taxes to go up, not down. Thirdly, it will eliminate employer based insurance and fourthly, what happens in the meantime?
Kamala Harris: (17:53)
I’d like to respond. First of all, the cost of doing nothing is far too expensive. Second, we are now paying $3 trillion a year for healthcare in America. Over the next 10 years, it’s probably going to be $6 trillion. We must act. My plan is about immediately allowing people to sign up and get into coverage. Right now in America, we have seniors who everyday, millions of seniors are going into the Medicare system and they are getting full coverage and the kind of coverage they need. All people should have access to healthcare and and costs should not be-
Dana Bash: (18:29)
Thank you, Senator Harris. Mayor de Blasio, let’s bring you in here, what’s your response?
Bill de Blasio: (18:33)
Thank you. I don’t know what the Vice President or Senator are talking about. The folks I talked to about health insurance say that their health insurance isn’t working for them. There’s tens of millions of Americans who don’t even have health insurance, tens of millions more who have health insurance they can barely make work because of the copays, the deductibles, the premiums, the out-of-pocket expenses. There’s this mythology that somehow all these folks are in love with their insurance in America. What I hear from union members and from hardworking, middle-class people is, they wish they had better insurance.
Bill de Blasio: (19:03)
From hard-working middle class people is, they wish they had better insurance and they’re angry at private insurance companies that skim all the profits off the top and make it impossible for everyday people to get coverage like mental health care, dental care-
Dana Bash: (19:12)
Thank you, Mr. Mayor.
Bill de Blasio: (19:12)
The things that would be full coverage for all Americans.
Dana Bash: (19:14)
Thank you, Mr. Mayor. Vice President Biden, you just heard Mayor DeBlasio. He said in the past that Democrats who wanted to keep the private insurance industry are defending a healthcare system that is not working. What’s your response?
Joe Biden: (19:26)
My response is Obamacare is working. The way to build this and get to it immediately is to build on Obamacare. Go back and do… take back all the things that Trump took away, provide a public option, meaning every single person in America would be able to buy into the option if they didn’t like their employer plan or if they’re on Medicaid, they’d automatically be in the plan. It would be taking place immediately, it would move quickly, and it would insure the vast, vast, vast majority of Americans.
Joe Biden: (19:56)
In the mean time, what happens? Did anybody tell you how much their plans cost? My plans cost $750 billion dollars. That’s what it costs. Not $30 trillion dollars.
Dana Bash: (20:06)
Thank you, Mr. Vice President. Senator Gillibrand, you support Medicare for All. How do you feel about Senator Harris continuing to call her health proposal Medicare for All when it includes a far more significant role for private insurance than the bill you co-sponsored?
Kirsten G.: (20:22)
I think for the viewers in the audience right now, they’re at risk of losing the forest through the trees. Because the truth is, healthcare in America should be a right. When I was a young mother and had Theo as an infant, he had an allergic reaction to eggs and his whole body turned red and puffy. I had to rush him to the emergency room. My heart is palpitating, because I’m worried that his throat will close. I am not worried about not having an insurance card, or a credit card in my wallet. I know whatever they’re going to prescribe, whether it’s an EpiPen or an inhaler, I can afford it. The truth about healthcare in America today is people can’t afford it. They cannot afford, and these insurance companies, for these plans that rely on insurance companies, I’m sorry.
Kirsten G.: (21:03)
They’re for profit companies. They have an obligation to their shareholders. They pay their CEO millions of dollars. They have to have quarterly profits. They have fat in the system that’s real and it should be going to healthcare. So let’s not lose the forest through the trees and last, let’s not forget what the Republicans are doing. Because the truth is, the Republicans and Trump, their whole goal is to take away your healthcare.
Dana Bash: (21:28)
Kirsten G.: (21:28)
To make it harder for you to afford it, even if you have a pre-existing condition.
Dana Bash: (21:32)
Thank you, Senator Gillibrand. Senator Harris, in response?
Kamala Harris: (21:37)
In response to Senator Biden about the Affordable Care Act, it is important that you understand that our Medicare for All plan has actually by the architect of the Obama Affordable Care Act been described as one of the most effective way to bring healthcare to all, Kathleen Sibelius has endorsed our plan as being something that will get us to where we need to go. In terms of the point that Senator Gillibrand is raising, I couldn’t agree more. Senator Biden, your plan will keep and allow insurance companies to remain with status quo, doing business as usual. And that’s going to be about jacking up copays, jacking up deductibles-
Dana Bash: (22:13)
Thank you, Senator.
Kamala Harris: (22:13)
It will still be the situation-
Dana Bash: (22:15)
[crosstalk 00:22:15] Thank you, Senator Harris.
Kamala Harris: (22:16)
That people going to an emergency room have to come out $5,000.
Dana Bash: (22:18)
[crosstalk 00:22:18] Vice President Biden, your response?
Joe Biden: (22:19)
My plan makes a limit of copay to be $1,000, because we further support the ability to buy in to the Obamacare plan. Secondly, the idea that this is somehow a bad idea, no one has to keep their private insurance, but if they like their insurance, they should be able to keep it. Nothing is demanded in my plan that there be private insurance, it says, “If the 160 million people who have it say they like their employer insurance, they should have a right to have it. If they don’t, they can buy in to the Biden plan which is Obamacare with a,”-
Dana Bash: (22:57)
Thank you, Mr. Vice President. Thank you. Senator Booker, let me bring you in here. You say you support Medicare for All. You also say you are not going to pull private health insurance from more than 150 million Americans, in exchange for a government plan. But that’s what Medicare for All would do, so how do you square that?
Cory Booker: (23:15)
Well, first of all, let me just say that the person that’s enjoying this debate most right now is Donald Trump, as we pit Democrats against each other while he is working right now to take away Americans’ healthcare. There’s a court case working through the system that’s going to gut the Affordable Care Act and actually gut protections on pre-existing conditions. And so I was raised by two Civil Rights parents who told me to always keep your eyes on the prize and that is that the United States of America, every Democrat should stand with the belief that everyone should have access to healthcare. That it’s a human right. And how we get there, it has to be to end this broken system, because we are on our way in just a handful of years, of literally spending 20% of our economy, one out of every $5 spent on healthcare.
Cory Booker: (24:04)
And we spend more than every other nation, on everything from MRIs to insulin drugs, multiple more than other countries. And so you want to know what I’m going to do? I’m going to work to get us to a point where Medicare for all, where everyone is covered. But this pitting against progressives against moderates, saying one is unrealistic and the other doesn’t care enough, that to me is dividing our party and demoralizing us in the face of the real enemy here.
Dana Bash: (24:30)
Thank you, Senator.
Cory Booker: (24:31)
[crosstalk 00:24:31] And I’m going to keep fighting for that.
Dana Bash: (24:32)
Thank you, Senator Booker. Congressman Gabbard, what’s your response?
Tulsi Gabbard: (24:36)
The reality is right now, we don’t have a healthcare system. We have a sick care system, and there are far too many people in this country who are sick and unable to get the care that they need because they cannot afford it. So the core of this problem is the fact that big insurance companies and big pharmaceutical companies who’ve been profiting off the backs of sick people have had a seat at the table writing this legislation. Now, Kamala Harris just talked about Kathleen Sibelius who helped write her bill. This just pointed to the fatal flaw in her proposal.
Tulsi Gabbard: (25:06)
Sibelius works for Medicare Advantage, private insurance company who will stand to profit under her plan. If we’re seeking to really reform our healthcare system, we’ve got to shut out big insurance and big pharma, out of the drafting process so that they cannot continue to profit off the backs of the sick people in this country who are searching and in desperate need of care.
Dana Bash: (25:27)
Senator Harris, your response?
Kamala Harris: (25:29)
Well, unfortunately Representative Gabbard got it wrong. Kathleen Sibelius did not write my plan, she endorsed it as being one of the plans that is the best to get us to a place where everyone’s going to have access to healthcare in America. And when we talk about this again, I’m going to go back to Vice President Biden, because your plan does not cover everyone in America, by your staff’s and your own definition. 10 million people, as many as 10 million people will not have access to healthcare. And in 2019 in America, for a Democrat to be running for President with a plan that does not cover everyone, I think is without excuse.
Kamala Harris: (26:12)
Our plan covers everyone-
Dana Bash: (26:13)
Thank you, Senator.
Kamala Harris: (26:14)
And gives people choice.
Dana Bash: (26:15)
Thank you, Senator. Vice President Biden, your response?
Joe Biden: (26:17)
My plan will cover everyone, number one. Number two, the fact is that my plan also calls for controlling drug prices. The bio pharma is now where things are going to go, it’s no longer chemicals, it’s about all these breakthroughs we have with generally the whole, excuse me, immune system. And what we have to do now is we have to have a form that sits in the HHS and says, “As you develop a drug, you’ve got to come to us and decide what you can sell it for. We will set the price.” And secondly, it says that you cannot raise that price beyond the cost of inflation from this point on-
Jake Tapper: (26:53)
Thank you, Mr. Vice President.
Joe Biden: (26:55)
[crosstalk 00:26:55] To end the-
Jake Tapper: (26:55)
I want to bring in Senator Bennet. Last night on this stage, one of your democratic rivals suggested that running on Medicare for all would get Donald Trump re-elected. Do you agree with that, sir?
Michael Bennet: (27:05)
I agree that it makes it much more likely. Unlike others on this stage, I’ve been crystal clear of where I’ve been for a decade, through two tough races in Colorado. I believe we should finish the job we started with the Affordable Care Act with a public option that gives everybody in this audience the chance to pick for their family whether they want private insurance or public insurance.
Michael Bennet: (27:26)
It requires drug companies to be negotiated with by Medicare, and it provides competition. That is totally different from the plan that Senator Warren and Senator Sanders and Senator Harris have proposed, which would make illegal employer-based health insurance in this country, and massively raise taxes on the middle class, to the tune of $30 trillion dollars, as Joe Biden said. We don’t need to do that. It doesn’t make sense for us to take away insurance from half the people in this room and put huge taxes on almost everybody in this room, when we can pass a public option. Trust the American people to make the right decision and have universal healthcare in this country, in two years. Not 10 years.
Jake Tapper: (28:12)
Thank you, Senator. Secretary Castro, I want to bring you in-
Kamala Harris: (28:14)
I need to respond.
Jake Tapper: (28:15)
Your response. I’ll come to you right after Secretary Castro. Secretary Castro?
Julian Castro: (28:18)
Well, I know that this is something very personal for all Americans. I grew up with a grandmother that had diabetes, and I watched as her condition got worse and worse. That whole time, she had Medicare. I want to strengthen Medicare for the people who are on it, and then expand it to anybody who wants it. I also believe though that if somebody has a private health insurance plan that is strong, that they want to hold onto, that they should be able to do that. What I don’t believe is that the profit motive of big pharma or big insurance companies should ever determine in our great nation, whether somebody gets healthcare or not.
Jake Tapper: (28:51)
Thank you, Secretary Castro. Senator Harris, Senator Bennet had suggested that you support banning employer-based health insurance. Is that true?
Kamala Harris: (28:59)
Well, first of all with all due respect to my friend Michael Bennet, my plan does not offer anything that is illegal. What it does is it separates the employer from healthcare, meaning that where you work will not be a, the kind of healthcare you get will not be a function of where you work. I have met so many Americans who stick to a job that they do not like, where they are not prospering, simply because they need the healthcare that that employer provides.
Kamala Harris: (29:25)
It’s time that we separate employers from the kind of healthcare people get, and under my plan, we do that. As it relates to the insurance and pharmaceutical companies-
Jake Tapper: (29:33)
Thank you, Senator.
Kamala Harris: (29:33)
Who will not be called in and who will not be taken to task by Senator Biden or Senator Bennet’s plan-
Jake Tapper: (29:40)
[crosstalk 00:29:40] Thank you, Senator.
Kamala Harris: (29:40)
We will do that.
Jake Tapper: (29:43)
Senator Bennet, I want to bring you back.
Michael Bennet: (29:43)
Senator Harris is my friend as well, but I have to say, if we can’t admit tonight what’s in the plan which is banning employer-based insurance, we’re not going to be able to admit that when Donald Trump is accusing Democrats of doing that as well. We need to be honest about what’s in this plan. It bans employer-based insurance and taxes the middle class to the tune of $30 trillion dollars. Do you know how much that is? That is 70% of what the government will collect in taxes over the next 10 years. We don’t need to do that.
Jake Tapper: (30:18)
Thank you, Senator. Governor Inslee, I’m going to come to you in a second, but I do want to-
Michael Bennet: (30:23)
[crosstalk 00:30:23] We can have a public option and have-
Jake Tapper: (30:23)
Come to you in a second, but I do want to, I do want to-
Michael Bennet: (30:23)
[crosstalk 00:30:23] Universal healthcare in this country.
Jake Tapper: (30:23)
I do want to bring in Senator Harris, because he suggested you were not being honest.
Kamala Harris: (30:28)
We cannot keep with the Republican talking points on this. You got to stop. The reality is that under my Medicare for All plan, yes. Employers are not going to be able to dictate the kind of healthcare that their employees get. They will be able to make that decision. Private insurance companies and private carriers, if they comply by our rules and play by our rules, we’ll be able to offer those employees healthcare coverage under a private Medicare plan, or they can have the option of a public Medicare plan. But it is misleading to suggest that employees want what their employer is offering only, they want choice and my plan gives that to them.
Jake Tapper: (31:06)
Thank you, Senator. Governor Inslee, I want to bring you in. You recently signed a public option into law, which allows Washington state residents to purchase a state-backed plan if they want to, but this may only save families in Washington state as little as 5% off premiums. Is 5% really the kind of relief that the American people need?
Jay Inslee: (31:27)
No, we need universal coverage and I’m proud of our state that has done less squabbling and actually getting things done. And I am proud that we are the first state to offer a publicly sanctioned offer of healthcare to our citizens. I’m also proud that we didn’t stop there. We’re also the first state that has taken care of our elders, our seniors. We have a looming retirement wave coming up, I’m proud that our state has made them eligible to retire in dignity.
Jay Inslee: (31:55)
I’m also proud of this, and I think we need to talk more about this as Democrats. It is time to give people adequate mental healthcare in this country. And we are having, we are having some success in integrating mental health with physical health. There’s no reason we should distinguish between your physiological and your mental health. And the last thing we’re doing, I think it’s very instructive for the nation, we know we’re being eaten alive by pharmaceutical costs. We’ve had one of, if not the most innovate way to drive down pharmaceuticals for life-saving medications in the United States. That’s a record of Washington state I’d like to take to Washington DC.
Jake Tapper: (32:36)
Thank you. Thank you, Governor Inslee. Mr. Yang, I want to bring you in. You support a Medicare for All system. How do you respond to Governor Inslee?
Andrew Yang: (32:43)
I just want to share a story. When I told my wife I was running for president, you know the first question she asked me? What are we going to do about our healthcare? That’s a true story and it’s not just us, Democrats are talking about healthcare in the wrong way. As someone who’s run a business, I can tell you flat out our current healthcare system makes it harder to hire. It makes it harder to treat people well and give them benefits and treat them as full-time employees. It makes it harder to switch jobs, as Senator Harris just said, and it’s certainly a lot harder to start a business. If we say, “Look, we’re going to get healthcare off the backs of businesses and families, then watch American entrepreneurship recover and bloom.” That’s the argument we should be making to the American people.
Jake Tapper: (33:19)
Thank you, Mr. Yang. Mayor DeBlasio?
Bill de Blasio: (33:21)
Yeah. I don’t understand why Democrats on this stage are fear-mongering about universal healthcare. It makes no sense. Ask the American people, they are sick of what the pharmaceutical companies are doing to them. Ask them what they feel about the health insurance companies, they feel it’s holding back their families because they can’t get the coverage they need. They get a lot of nos, they don’t get a lot of help from health insurance companies. Why are we not going to be the party that does something bold? That says, “We don’t need to be dependent on private insurance.” We could have a system that actually covers everyone.
Bill de Blasio: (33:51)
You know what? Donald Trump won this state of Michigan by saying he was going to disrupt the status quo. How about we be the party that’s going to disrupt the status quo-
Jake Tapper: (34:00)
Bill de Blasio: (34:00)
For working people.
Jake Tapper: (34:01)
Mr. Mayor, just a 15-second point of clarification. Who are you talking about? Who’s fear mongering?
Bill de Blasio: (34:06)
Certainly, with all due respect to Senator Bennet, what he’s saying is absolutely inaccurate about taxes. Americans right now are paying so much money for their healthcare, ask people about the reality of premiums, deductibles, copays, out-of-pocket expenses.
Jake Tapper: (34:22)
Bill de Blasio: (34:23)
That’s worse than any tax.
Jake Tapper: (34:24)
Bill de Blasio: (34:25)
And people are paying that right now.
Jake Tapper: (34:26)
Thank you, Mr. Mayor. Senator Bennet?
Michael Bennet: (34:31)
This has nothing to do with Republican talking points or the pharmaceutical industry. This has to do with having faith in the American people that they can make the right decisions for their families, and they can choose a public option. Bernie Sanders who said last night he wrote the damn bill, and he did just like I wrote the damn public option bill, is the guy who says it’ll cost $32 trillion dollars, and then we’re going to have to raise those taxes to pay for it. He says that. Republicans don’t say it. Don’t try to distract from the truth.
Jake Tapper: (35:02)
Thank you, Senator.
Michael Bennet: (35:03)
You can’t hide from the truth here-
Jake Tapper: (35:05)
[crosstalk 00:35:05] I want to let Mayor DeBlasio, and then I’m going to come to you-
Michael Bennet: (35:05)
[crosstalk 00:35:05] We need to be for universal healthcare.
Jake Tapper: (35:07)
Vice President Biden.
Bill de Blasio: (35:07)
Senator, if we as Democrats say, “We’re done with private insurance. It has only hurt the American people in so many ways. We’re going to give them something that works for their families, full coverage that they can depend on.” If we say that, then there’s an election, the American people get to decide. The ultimate choice, Senator, is an election. And this should be the party that stands for universal healthcare and says, “We’re not going to accept anything less. Right now in America, so many people don’t have the healthcare they need. That is a fact. Tens of millions of people, including-
Jake Tapper: (35:38)
[crosstalk 00:35:38] Thank you, Mr. Mayor.
Bill de Blasio: (35:38)
Middle class people.
Jake Tapper: (35:38)
Thank you, Mr. Mayor.
Bill de Blasio: (35:39)
Give them a chance to make that decision-
Jake Tapper: (35:40)
Thank you, Mr. Mayor.
Bill de Blasio: (35:41)
Through an election.
Jake Tapper: (35:41)
Vice President Biden, your response, sir.
Joe Biden: (35:43)
This is not a Republican talking point. The Republicans are trying to kill Obamacare. Obamacare took care of 20 million people right off the bat. A hundred million people with pre-existing conditions. And in fact what we got is a public option, that in fact would allow anybody to buy in. No one has to keep their private insurance, they can buy into this plan, and they can buy into it with a $1,000 deductible, and never have to pay more than 8.5% of their income when they do it. And if they don’t have any money, they’ll get in free. So this idea is a bunch of malarkey, what we’re talking about here.
Joe Biden: (36:13)
The fact of the matter is, the fact of the matter is that there will be a deductible, it’ll be a deductible in their paycheck. Bernie acknowledges it. Bernie acknowledges $30 trillion dollars has to all be paid, and I don’t know what math you do in New York, I don’t know what math you do in California, but I tell you, that’s a lot of money. And there will be a deductible. The deductible will be out of your paycheck, because that’s what would be required.
Jake Tapper: (36:41)
Senator Harris, I want to bring you in here. Your response?
Kamala Harris: (36:44)
Yeah, let’s talk about math. Let’s talk about math. Let’s talk about the fact that the pharmaceutical companies and the insurance companies last year along profited $72 billion dollars, and that is on the backs of American families. And under your plan, status quo, you do nothing to hold the insurance companies to task for what they have been doing to American families. In America today, a diabetes patient, one in four cannot afford their insulin. In America today-
Jake Tapper: (37:17)
Thank you, Senator.
Kamala Harris: (37:18)
For those people who have overdosed from an opioid, there is a syringe that costs $4,000-
Jake Tapper: (37:22)
Thank you, Senator.
Kamala Harris: (37:23)
That will save their life. It is immoral, it is untenable-
Jake Tapper: (37:26)
Thank you, Senator.
Kamala Harris: (37:27)
And it must change with Medicare for All.
Jake Tapper: (37:29)
[crosstalk 00:37:29] Time is up, Senator.
Kamala Harris: (37:29)
Vice President Biden, your response?
Joe Biden: (37:30)
Real quick. I have the only plan that limits the ability of insurance companies to charge unreasonable prices. Flat out, number one. Number two, we should put some of these insurance executives who totally oppose my plan in jail for the nine billion opioids they sell out there. They are misrepresenting the American people, what need to be done. And lastly, here’s the deal: The deal is, let’s figure out how this works. We immediately are able to cover everybody who wants to get off of their insurance plan they don’t like, no matter what one it is, and-
Joe Biden: (38:03)
Off of their insurance plan they don’t like, no matter what one it is and buy into a Medicare option. And they can buy the Gold Plan and they’re not going to have to pay. Anyway.
Don Lemon: (38:09)
Thank you, Mr. Vice President, thank you. Let’s move now to immigration, please.
Don Lemon: (38:13)
Secretary Castro, you think it should no longer be a crime to cross the US border illegally. President Obama’s Homeland Security Secretary Jay Johnson, whom you served with, says that is a public declaration that the border is “effectively open to all.” How is he wrong?
Julian Castro: (38:30)
Thank you for that question. You know, if you elect me president, you’re not electing me to follow, you’re electing me to lead. Open borders is a right wing talking point, and frankly I’m disappointed that some folks, including some folks on this stage have taken the bait. The only way that we’re going to guarantee that we don’t have family separations in this country again is to repeal section 1325 of the Immigration Nationality Act. That is the law that this President, this administration is using to incarcerate migrant parents and then physically separate them from their children.
Julian Castro: (39:11)
My immigration plan would also make sure that we put undocumented immigrants who haven’t committed a serious crime on a pathway to citizenship. That we do a 21st century Marshall Plan with Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala so that we can get to the root of this challenge, so people can find safety and opportunity at home instead of having to come the United States. That’s how we can be smarter, more effective, and more humane when it comes to immigration policy.
Don Lemon: (39:38)
Thank you, Secretary Castro. Senator Bennet, what’s your response?
Michael Bennet: (39:44)
I disagree that we should decriminalize our border. This is personal for me, my mom’s an immigrant and she was separated from her parents during the Holocaust in Poland. For those reasons, I was part of the Gang of Eight that wrote, I wrote the immigration bill in 2013 with John McCain that passed the senate with 68 votes. That gave a pathway to citizenship for the 11 million undocumented people that are here, that would pass the most aggressive dream act that ha ever been conceived much less passed on the floor of the senate, and had 46 billion dollars of border security.
Michael Bennet: (40:22)
Every single Democrat voted for that bill.
Don Lemon: (40:25)
Michael Bennet: (40:25)
And a lot of Republicans. That should be our position.
Don Lemon: (40:30)
Thank you, Senator.
Michael Bennet: (40:31)
That is our position.
Don Lemon: (40:31)
Thank you, Senator. Senator Harris, you have indicated that do you think it should be a criminal offense punishable by jail to cross the US border illegally. How do you respond to senator Bennet?
Kamala Harris: (40:40)
Well, again, with all due respect, after the last debate for example, I went to a place in Florida called Homestead. There is a private detention facility being paid for by your tax payer dollars, a private detention facility that currently houses 2700 children. By the way, there were members of us… Julian was there, members of Congress. They would not let us enter the place, members of the United States Congress. So I walked down the road, I climbed a ladder and I looked over the fence and I’m going to tell you what I saw.
Kamala Harris: (41:14)
I saw children lined up single file based on gender, being walked into barracks. The policies of this administration have been facilitated by laws on the book that allow them to be incarcerated as though they’ve committed crimes.
Don Lemon: (41:28)
Thank you, Senator.
Kamala Harris: (41:28)
These children have not committed crimes and should be not treated like criminals.
Don Lemon: (41:32)
Thank you, Senator Harris. Senator Bennet, what’s your response?
Michael Bennet: (41:38)
I think this is one in the end that we agree with. There’s not a single person on this stage who if we were president would ever separate a child from their parents at the border.
Michael Bennet: (41:52)
That is what this administration has done in the American people’s name. They have turned our border into a symbol of nativist hostility. The symbol of this country before Donald Trump was president was the Statue of Liberty. That should be the symbol of the United States of America, not Donald Trump’s terrible [crosstalk 00:42:12].
Don Lemon: (42:11)
Thank you, Senator Bennet. Senator Gillibrand, I’m going to bring you in, what’s your response?
Kirsten G.: (42:14)
So, I think when you talk about whether this should be a crime, you have to remember who we’re talking about. When I was at the Texas border, I visited with women who had fled violence. A woman from El Salvador, owned a small business, gangs came to her and said, “If you don’t give us all your money, we’re going to kill your family.” That’s why she fled.
Kirsten G.: (42:32)
Another woman was raped, that’s why she fled. So this is who we’re talking about, and they’re not criminals. So I believe that we should have a civil violation. No president before President Trump enforced the law in the way he has enforced it, because he’s using it as the crutch to lock up women and children, to separate mothers and babies, to put them behind bars. So I don’t think we should have a law on the books that could be so misused. It should be a civil violation, and we should make sure that we treat people humanely.
Don Lemon: (43:05)
Thank you, Senator. Vice President Biden, in the first two years of the Obama administration, nearly 800 thousand immigrants were deported, far more than during President Trump’s first two years. Would the higher deportation rates resume if you are president?
Joe Biden: (43:19)
Absolutely not, number one. Number two, everything landed on the President’s desk but locusts. I found that Julian, excuse me, the secretary, we sat together in many meetings. I never heard him talk about any of this when he was the secretary.
Three million deportations! Three million deportations!
Don Lemon: (43:38)
Please be respectful. Please be respectful in the crowd.
Three million deportations!
Don Lemon: (43:43)
Please continue, Mr. Vice President.
Three million deportations! Three million deportations! Three million deportations!
Joe Biden: (43:49)
The fact is… I don’t know if you can hear, I can hear, but I don’t know.
Don Lemon: (43:56)
We can hear fine, Mr. Vice President. Please continue if you will.
Joe Biden: (43:58)
The fact is, what the senator from New York talked about is seeking asylum. The women she spoke to are entitled to asylum. That is not crossing the border illegally. What we should do is flood the zone to make sure we have people to make those decisions quickly.
Joe Biden: (44:16)
With regard to the Secretary’s point. I already proposed and passed 750 million dollars for Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras to be able to change the circumstance, why people fled in the first place. In addition to that, we’re in a circumstance where if in fact you say you can just cross the border, what do you say to all those people around the world who in fact want the same thing, to come to the United States and make their case? And if they don’t, that they have to wait in line.
Joe Biden: (44:46)
The fact of the matter is, you should be able to, if you cross the border illegally you should be able to be sent back, it’s a crime. It’s a crime, and it’s not one that in fact-
Don Lemon: (44:57)
Thank you, Mr. Vice President. Secretary Castro, please your response.
Julian Castro: (45:00)
Yeah, uh, first of all Mr. Vice President, it looks like one of us has learned the lessons of the past and one of us hasn’t. Let me begin by telling you-
Julian Castro: (45:11)
Let me just start out by answering that question. My immigration plan would also fix the broken legal immigration system, because we do have a problem with that. Secondly, the only way that we’re going to guarantee that these kinds of family separations don’t happen in the future is that we need to repeal this law. There’s still going to be consequences if somebody crosses the border. It’s a civil action.
Julian Castro: (45:33)
Also, we have 654 miles of fencing. We have thousands of personnel at the border. We have planes, we have boats.
Don Lemon: (45:41)
Julian Castro: (45:41)
We have helicopters, we have security cameras.
Don Lemon: (45:43)
Secretary Castro, thank you.
Julian Castro: (45:44)
What we need are politicians-
Don Lemon: (45:45)
Your time is up.
Julian Castro: (45:46)
… that actually have some guts. on this issue.
Don Lemon: (45:47)
Thank you, Secretary. Mr. Vice President, please your response.
Joe Biden: (45:52)
I have guts enough to say his plan doesn’t make sense. Here’s the deal. The fact of the matter is that in fact when people cross the border illegally, it is illegal to do it unless they’re seeking asylum. People should have to get in line, that’s the problem. And the only reason this particular part of the law is being abused is because of Donald Trump. We should defeat Donald Trump and end this practice.
Don Lemon: (46:18)
Thank you. Congresswoman Gabbard, what’s your response?
Tulsi Gabbard: (46:22)
Our hearts break when we see those children at these detention facilities who’ve been separated from their parents. When we see human beings crowded into cages in abhorrent, inhumane conditions.
Tulsi Gabbard: (46:36)
This is about leadership, and understanding that we can and should have both secure borders as well as humane immigration policies. We will have to stop separating children from their parents. Make it so it’s easier for people to seek asylum in this country, make sure that we are securing our borders and making it so that people are able to use our legal immigration system by reforming those laws.
Don Lemon: (46:59)
Mr. Yang, your response.
I’m the son of immigrants myself. My father immigrated here as a graduate student and generated over 65 US patents for GE and IBM. I think that’s a pretty good deal for the United States. That’s the immigration story we need to be telling. We can’t always be focusing on some of the distress stories.
And if you go to a factory here in Michigan, you will not find wall to wall immigrants. You will find wall to wall robots and machines. Immigrants are being scapegoated for issues they have nothing to do with in our economy.
Don Lemon: (47:29)
Thank you, Mr. Yang. Senator Booker, you have a plan that would, “Virtually eliminate immigration detention.” Does that mean that the roughly 55 thousand migrants currently in detention would be released into the United States?
Cory Booker: (47:43)
Well first of all, I just want to say again tonight we are playing into Republican hands, who have a very different view and they’re trying to divide us against each other. I’m listening to the language of my colleagues. No, Mr. Vice President, we are not going to just let people cross the border.
Cory Booker: (48:00)
And unlawful crossing is an unlawful crossing if you do it in the civil courts, or if you do it through the criminal courts. But the criminal courts is what is giving Donald Trump the ability to truly violate the human rights of people coming to our country, who no one surrenders their human rights.
Cory Booker: (48:17)
And so doing it through the civil courts means that you won’t need these awful detention facilities, that I’ve been to, seeing children sleeping on pavement, people being put in cages, nursing mothers, small children. This is not necessary. We have seen, using the civil system, piloted programs that have 100% compliance with the civil courts, where people are evaluated. If they have no justifiable reason to be here, they are returned.
Cory Booker: (48:47)
If they are, like the people I met in Juarez who were survivors of sexual assault, who we wouldn’t even let come and present for asylum. We are butchering our values, and making ourselves less safe.
Don Lemon: (48:59)
Senator Booker, thank you very much. Mr. Vice President, your response.
Joe Biden: (49:02)
I agree with the Senator. The asylum process is a real process and this president is ruining it, it has nothing to do with that section of the law. That’s what he’s doing, number one.
Joe Biden: (49:11)
Number two, we should in fact, and we have proposed and we tried to get past our administration, proposed significantly increasing the number of legal immigrants who are able to come. This country can tolerate a heck of a lot more people, and the reason we’re the country we are is we’ve been able to cherry pick from the best of every culture. Immigrants built this country, that’s why we’re so special. It took courage, it took resilience, it took absolute confidence for them to come. And we should be encouraging people.
Don Lemon: (49:37)
Joe Biden: (49:37)
By the way, anybody who crosses the stage with a PhD, you should get a green card for seven years. We should keep them here.
Don Lemon: (49:44)
Thank you. Thank you very much, Mr. Vice President. Governor Inslee, what’s your response?
Jay Inslee: (49:49)
I think we’re missing two central statements we need to make. Number one, we can no longer allow a white nationalist to be in the White House, number one.
Jay Inslee: (49:56)
Number two… Number two, we have to make America what it’s always been, a place of refuge. We’ve got to boos the number of people we except. I’m proud of being the first governor saying, “Send us your Syrian refugees.” I’m proud to have been the first governor to stand up against Donald Trump’s Muslim ban. I’m proud to have sued him 21 times and beat him 21 times in a row, I’m ready for November 2020.
Don Lemon: (50:26)
Go ahead, Mayor de Blasio, please your response.
Bill de Blasio: (50:28)
Two points. One, it’s all kind of a charade because there’s 11 million people here, and everyone in theory has broken the law, but they’re part of our communities now, they’re part of our economy, they’re our neighbors. Why are we even discussing on one level whether it’s a civil penalty or a criminal penalty, when it’s an American reality and what we need is comprehensive immigration reform once and for all to fix it.
Bill de Blasio: (50:51)
Second, Vice President Biden, I didn’t hear your response when the issues came up of all those deportations. You were Vice President of the United States, I didn’t hear whether you tried to stop them or not using your power, your influence in the White House. Did you think it was a good idea, or did you think it was something that needed to be stopped?
Joe Biden: (51:07)
The President came along, and he’s the guy that came up with the idea, first time ever, of dealing with the Dreamers. He put that in the law. He talked about a comprehensive plan which he lay before the congress saying that we should find a pathway to citizenship for people. He said we should up the number of people that we’re able to bring into this country.
Joe Biden: (51:28)
Lastly, he also pointed out that we should go to the source of the problem and fix it, where people were leaving in the first place. To compare him to Donald Trump I think is absolutely bizarre.
Don Lemon: (51:40)
Thank you very much, Mr. Vice President. Congresswoman Gabbard, you are a cosponsor of the College For All Act, which would make public colleges and universities free for all Americans.
Don Lemon: (51:50)
One of the authors of that plan, Senator Sanders believes college should be tuition free for undocumented immigrants as well. Do you?
Tulsi Gabbard: (51:58)
I don’t. I think it’s important for us to fix our legal immigration system and look at the millions of undocumented immigrants in this country who have been suffering as they’ve been living in the shadows, and instead of putting a bandaid on this problem, fix our legal immigration system to provide them with that pathway to legal residency or citizenship so that they are no longer treated as second class citizens in this country.
Tulsi Gabbard: (52:22)
We’ve got to look at the challenge that people all across this country are facing under crushing student debt. This is something that is impacting my generation in a huge way, and I believe that it is our generation that has the bold, creative solutions to be able to solve it. This is about promise for our future and we’ve got to make those kinds of investments.
Don Lemon: (52:43)
Thank you, Congresswoman. Mayor de Blasio, what’s your response?
Bill de Blasio: (52:46)
Yeah, I agree with the Congress member, but I don’t hear an answer from the Vice President, I’m confused. I asked the Vice President point blank, did he use his power to stop those deportations? He went right around the question. Mr. Vice President, you want to be President of the United States, you need to be able to answer the tough questions. I guarantee you if you’re debating Donald Trump, he’s not going to let you off the hook.
Bill de Blasio: (53:07)
So did you say those deportations were a good idea? Or did you go to the President and say, “This is a mistake, we shouldn’t do it.” Which one?
Joe Biden: (53:14)
I was Vice President, I am not the President. I keep my recommendations to him in private. Unlike you, I expect you would go ahead and say whatever was said privately with him. That’s not what I do.
Joe Biden: (53:26)
What I do say to you is, he moved to fundamentally change the system. That’s what he did. That’s what he did, but much more has to be done. Much more has to be done.
Bill de Blasio: (53:36)
I still don’t hear an answer.
Don Lemon: (53:37)
Senator Booker, please respond.
Cory Booker: (53:38)
Well, a couple things. First of all, Mr. Vice President, you can’t have it both ways. You invoke President Obama more than anybody in this campaign. You can’t do it when it’s convenient and then dodge it when it’s not.
Cory Booker: (53:48)
And the second thing, and this really irks me, because I heard the Vice President say that if you’ve got a PhD, you can come right into this country. Well that’s playing into what the Republicans want, to pit some immigrants against other immigrants. Some are from shit hole countries, and some are from worthy countries.
Cory Booker: (54:04)
We need to reform this whole immigration system and begin to be the country that says everyone has worth and dignity, and this should be a country that honors for everyone. Don’t let the Republicans divide this party against itself.
Don Lemon: (54:17)
Senator, thank you. Mr. Vice President, your response.
Joe Biden: (54:19)
The fact is that’s what I said about this country. We are a country of immigrants, all of us. All of us. Some here came against their will, others came because they in fact thought they could fundamentally change their lives. And they did. The [inaudible 00:54:33] that’s what we’re talking about. That’s what made us great. And the fact of the matter is, I think the President of the United States, Barack Obama went out of his way to try to change the system and he got pushed back significantly.
Don Lemon: (54:47)
Senator Gillibrand, what’s your response?
Kirsten G.: (54:54)
Again, President Trump, under his administration, seven children died in his custody. Under his administration families have been torn apart. This party is talking about real ideas for the future. We’re talking about what we will do to change America. But we must not forget about our values.
Kirsten G.: (55:14)
We used to believe in this country you should treat others the way you want to be treated. We used to believe in this country we should care about the least among us. Let’s remind the American people who we are, why we are Democrats and why we’re running for president ..
Don Lemon: (55:27)
Senator Gillibrand, thank you very much. The debate will be right back, right after this short break.
Jake Tapper: (00:01)
Welcome back to the CNN Democratic Presidential Debate. We are live from Detroit. I want to turn now to criminal justice. Mr. Vice President, Senator Booker called your new criminal justice reform plan “an inadequate solution to what is a raging crisis in our country.” Why is Senator Booker wrong?
Joe Biden: (00:21)
Well, I don’t … I think he is wrong. I think we should work together. He has a similar plan. I think that we should change the way we look at prisons. Right now, we’re in a situation where when someone is convicted of a drug crime, they end up going to jail and to prison. They should be going to rehabilitation. They shouldn’t be going to prison.
Joe Biden: (00:39)
When in prison, they should be learning to read and write and not just sit in there and learn how to be better criminals. And when they get out of prison, they should be in a situation where they have access to everything they would’ve had before, including Pell grants for education, including making sure that they’re able to have housing, public housing, including they have all the opportunities that were available them because we want them to become better citizens. That’s the essence of what my plan in detail lays out.
Joe Biden: (01:03)
I’m happy to discuss it more in detail if the senator want to, and so I looked at it … Anyway. That’s what I think my plan … I know what my plan does, and I think it’s not dissimilar to what the senator said we should be working together on getting things done. It’s a-
Jake Tapper: (01:17)
Senator, your response?
Cory Booker: (01:18)
Well, my response is that this is a crisis in our country because we have treated issues of race and poverty, mental health and addiction, with locking people up and not lifting them up. And Mr. Vice President has said that since the 1970s, every major crime bill, every crime bill, major and minor, has had his name on it. And so those are your words, not mine. And this is one of those instances where the house was set on fire, and you claimed responsibility for those laws. And you can’t just now come out with a plan to put out that fire.
Cory Booker: (01:58)
We have got to have far more bold action on criminal justice reform, like having-
Jake Tapper: (02:04)
Thank you, Senator.
Cory Booker: (02:04)
… true marijuana justice, which means that-
Jake Tapper: (02:07)
Thank you, Senator Booker.
Cory Booker: (02:07)
… we legalize it on a federal level-
Jake Tapper: (02:09)
Thank you, Senator Booker.
Cory Booker: (02:09)
… and reinvest the profits in communities-
Jake Tapper: (02:11)
Thank you, Senator Booker.
Cory Booker: (02:12)
… that have been disproportionately targeted by marijuana enforcement.
Jake Tapper: (02:15)
Vice President Biden, Vice President Biden, I want to give you a chance to respond.
Joe Biden: (02:17)
The fact is that the bills that the President, that … Excuse me. The future President here. That the senator is talking about are bills that were passed years ago, and they were passed overwhelmingly.
Joe Biden: (02:28)
Since 2007, I, for example, tried to get the crack powder cocaine totally … disparity, totally eliminated. In 2007, you became mayor, and you had a police department that was … You went out, and you hired Rudy Giuliani’s guy. You engaged in stop and frisk. You had 75% of those stops reviewed as illegal. You found yourself in this situation with three times as many African-American kids were caught in that chain and caught up. The Justice Department came after you for saying you were engaging in behavior that was inappropriate, and then in fact, and nothing happened, the entire time you were mayor.
Jake Tapper: (03:05)
Thank you. Senator Booker, you want to respond?
Cory Booker: (03:07)
Well, first of all, I’m grateful that he endorsed my presidency already, but I’ll tell you this. It’s no secret that I inherited a criminal … a police department with massive problems and decades-long challenges. But the head of the ACLU has already said, the head of the New Jersey ACLU, that I put forth national standards setting accountability. Mr. Vice President-
Joe Biden: (03:28)
At that point?
Cory Booker: (03:28)
Mr. Vice President, I didn’t interrupt you.
Joe Biden: (03:30)
[crosstalk 00:03: 30].
Cory Booker: (03:30)
Please show me that respect, sir. We have a system right now that’s broken, and if you want to compare records, and frankly, I’m shocked that you do, I am happy to do that because all the problems that he is talking about that he created, I actually led the bill that got passed into law that reverses the damage that your bills that you are frankly to correct you, Mr. Vice President, you are bragging, calling it the Biden crime bill up until 2015.
Jake Tapper: (03:57)
Thank you, Senator. Vice President Biden?
Joe Biden: (04:00)
Number one. The bill he talks about is a bill that, in my … our administration, we passed. We passed that bill that you added onto. That’s the bill, in fact, you passed. And the fact of the matter is secondly, there was nothing done for the entire eight years he was mayor. There was nothing done to deal with the police department that was trouble. Why did you announce in the first day a zero tolerance policy of stop and frisk and hire Rudy Giuliani’s guy in 2007 when I was trying to get rid of the crack cocaine [crosstalk 00:04:30]?
Cory Booker: (04:31)
Mr. Vice President, there’s a saying in my community: you’re dipping into the Kool-Aid, and you don’t even know the flavor.
Cory Booker: (04:38)
You need to come to the city of Newark and see the reforms that we put in place. The New Jersey head of the ACLU has said that I embraced reforms, not just in action, but in deed. Sir, you are trying to shift the view from what you created.
Cory Booker: (04:53)
There are people right now in prison for life, for drug offenses because you stood up and used that tough on crime, phony rhetoric that got a lot of people elected but destroy communities like mine. This isn’t about the past, sir. This is about the present right now.
Cory Booker: (05:11)
I believe in redemption.
Jake Tapper: (05:12)
Thank you, Senator.
Cory Booker: (05:13)
I’m happy you evolved-
Jake Tapper: (05:14)
I want to bring in Secretary-
Cory Booker: (05:14)
… but you offered no redemption to the people in prison right now for life.
Jake Tapper: (05:17)
I want to bring in Secretary Castro. Your response, sir?
Julian Castro: (05:22)
I agree with Senator Booker that a lot of what Vice President helped author in ’94 was a mistake, and he has flip flopped on these things, and that’s clear. But let me say, when we talk about criminal justice reform, there are a lot of things that we can talk about: sentencing reform, cash bail reform, investing in public defenders, diversion programs. I’m proud that I’m the only candidate that has put forward a police reform plan because we have a police system that is broken and we need to fix it and whether it’s the case of someone like Tamir Rice or Michael Brown or Eric Garner, where the Trump Justice Department just decided not to pursue charges. We do ensure we have a national use of force standard and that we end qualified immunity for police officers so that we can hold them accountable for using excessive force.
Jake Tapper: (06:08)
Thank you, Secretary Castro.
Jay Inslee: (06:09)
[crosstalk 00:06:09] I need to [crosstalk 00:06:12]-
Jake Tapper: (06:11)
I want to bring in Governor Inslee. Governor Inslee, your response?
Jay Inslee: (06:14)
Let me suggest that people come out to the state of Washington and see what criminal justice reform looks like, our effort to reduce racial disparity. I’m proud that I was the first governor to offer pardons to thousands of people with drug crimes. Now we’re vacating more tens of thousands. We’ve eliminated the death penalty. And importantly, we’ve done this. When people come out of the legal system and they’ve done their responsibility to the citizens, we need to make sure they can get a job. We have ban the box so that people can actually get a job when they come out.
Jay Inslee: (06:47)
And I’ve got to argue with my friend, Secretary Castro. We haven’t just put forward a plan. We have adopted probably one of the best police accountability measures and train our police officers in deescalation techniques so we have less violence [crosstalk 00:00:07:02].
Jake Tapper: (07:04)
Secretary Castro, your response to Governor Inslee?
Julian Castro: (07:06)
Well that it’s much more than that because what we see, and this was a good example, the other day of the Department of Justice not going after Officer Pantaleo that … Officer Pantaleo used a chokehold that was prohibited by NYPD. He did that for seven seconds. 11 different times, Eric Garner said that he couldn’t breathe. He knew what he was doing, that he was killing Eric Garner, and yet he has not been brought to justice. That police officer should be off the street.
Jake Tapper: (07:34)
Mayor de Blasio? Mayor de Blasio, why is that police officer still on the force, the one who killed Eric Gardner? Please respond.
Bill de Blasio: (07:45)
Let me tell you. I know the Garner family. They’ve gone through extraordinary pain. They are waiting for justice, and they’re going to get justice. There’s finally going to be justice. I have confidence in that, in the next 30 days in New York. You know why? Because for the first time, we are not waiting on the federal justice department, which told the city of New York that we could not proceed because the justice department was pursuing their prosecution. And years went by, and a lot of pain accrued.
Bill de Blasio: (08:14)
And in the meantime, what I’m working on is making sure, and I have for five years, there will never be another tragedy, they’ll never be another Eric Garner because we’re changing fundamentally how we police.
Jake Tapper: (08:23)
Thank you, Mayor.
Bill de Blasio: (08:24)
But there’s one last point I have to say about the Justice Department. The Vice President, for two and a half of those years, Mr, Vice President, tell us what did you do to try and spur on the Justice Department-
Jake Tapper: (08:36)
Thank you. Thank you, Mayor.
Bill de Blasio: (08:37)
… to act in the Garner case?
Jake Tapper: (08:38)
Thank you, Mayor de Blasio. Vice President Biden, you can respond to that.
Joe Biden: (08:42)
We did a lot. Number one, we made sure we reduced the federal prison population by 38,000 people. Number one. Number two, we in fact insisted that we change the rules of police engaging. They had to have … We provided for body cameras. We made sure that there were a lot of things that were changed in the process. But 38,000 people in the federal system were released under the system.
Joe Biden: (09:04)
And so the fact is that there’s a lot we’ve done. But here’s the deal. The fact is that we’re talking about things that occurred a long, long time ago, and now all of a sudden, I find it fascinating. Everybody’s talking about how terrible I am on these issues. Barack Obama knew exactly who I was. He had 10 lawyers do a background check on everything about me on civil rights and civil liberties, and he chose me, and he said it was the best decision he made.
Jake Tapper: (09:30)
Thank you, Mr. Vice President.
Joe Biden: (09:30)
Jake Tapper: (09:31)
Mr. Yang, your response?
Andrew Yang: (09:34)
I speak for just about everyone watching when I say I would trust anyone on this stage much more than I would trust our current president on matters of criminal justice. We cannot tear each other down. We have to focus on beating Donald Trump in 2020.
Andrew Yang: (09:47)
I want to share a story that a prison guard, a corrections officer in New Hampshire said to me. He said we should pay people to stay out of jail because we spend so much when they’re behind bars. Right now, we think we’re saving money. We just end up spending the money in much more dark and punitive ways. We should put money directly into people’s hands, certainly, when they come out of prison, but before they go into prison.
Jake Tapper: (10:07)
Thank you, Mr Yang. I want to bring in Senator Gillibrand. You heard earlier, Mayor de Blasio respond to Secretary Castro on the question of why the police officer who killed Eric Gardner is still on the NYPD. Was that response adequate? Please respond.
Kirsten G.: (10:22)
No. He should be fired. He should be fired now. I sat down with Eric Garner’s mother, and I can tell you when you’ve lost your son, when he begged for breath, when you know because you have a video, when you know he said, “I can’t breathe,” so many times, over and over again, when you know he used an illegal chokehold, that person should be fired. If I was the mayor, I’d fire him, but as President, I would make sure that we had a full investigation, that the report would be made public, and if I wasn’t satisfied, we would have a consent decree.
Jake Tapper: (10:59)
I want to bring in Senator Harris now. Senator Harris, you have also been quite-
Jake Tapper: (11:03)
Senator Harris now, Senator Harris, you have also been quite critical of Vice President Biden’s policies on race. Specifically on the issue of busing in the 1970s, having benefited from busing when you were a young child. Vice President Biden says that your current position on busing, you’re opposed to federally mandated busing, that that position is the same as his position. Is he right?
Kamala Harris: (11:28)
That is simply false and let’s be very clear about this. When Vice President Biden was in the United States Senate working with segregationist to oppose busing, which was the vehicle by which we would integrate America’s public schools, had I been in the United States Senate at that time, I would have been completely on the other side of the aisle. And let’s be clear about this, had those segregationists their way, I would not be a member of the United States Senate. Cory Booker would not be a member of the United States Senate and Barack Obama would not have been in a position to nominate him for the title he now holds.
Kamala Harris: (12:03)
And so, on that issue, we could not be more apart, which is that the vice president has still failed to acknowledge that it was wrong to take the position that he took at that time. Now I would like to also talk about this conversation about Eric Garner because I too met with his mother, and one of the things that we’ve got to be clear about is that this President of the United States, Donald Trump, while he has been in office, has quietly been allowing the United States Department of Justice to shut down consent decrees, to stop pattern and practice investigations on that case.
Kamala Harris: (12:38)
We also know that the [crosstalk 00:12:40] civil rights division, this is important, the civil rights division of the United States Department of Justice said charges should have been filed, but this United States Department of Justice usurped, and I believe it is because that president did not want those charges to go forward and they overrode a decision by the civil rights division of the United States [crosstalk 00:12:58] Department of Justice. Under my administration the civil rights [crosstalk 00:13:01] will reign and there will be independent investigations.
Jake Tapper: (13:04)
Vice President Biden I want to give you a chance to respond to what Senator Harris just said.
Joe Biden: (13:07)
When Senator Harris was the Attorney General for eight years in the state of California, there were two of the most segregated school districts in the country. In Los Angeles and in San Francisco. And she did not, I didn’t see a single solitary time she brought a case against them to desegregate them.
Joe Biden: (13:25)
Secondly, she also was in a situation where she had a police department when she was there, that in fact was abusing people’s rights. And the fact was that she in fact was told by her own people that her own staff that she should do something about and disclose to defense attorneys like me, that you in fact have been, the police officer did something that did not give you information that would explicate your client. She didn’t do that. She never did it. And so what happened? Along came a federal judge and said, “Enough, enough,” and he freed [crosstalk 00:13:59] a thousand of these people. If you doubt me, Google a thousand prisoners freed, Kamala Harris.
Jake Tapper: (14:05)
Thank you vice president Biden and Senator Harris, your response?
Kamala Harris: (14:08)
That is simply not true and as Attorney General of California where I ran the second largest Department of Justice in the United States, second only to the United States Department of Justice, I am proud of the work we did. Work that has received national recognition for what has been the important work of reforming a criminal justice system and cleaning up the consequences of the bills that you passed when you were in the United States Senate for decades.
Kamala Harris: (14:34)
It was the work of creating one of the first in the nation initiatives around reentering former offenders and getting them jobs and counseling.
Jake Tapper: (14:41)
Thank you senator.
Kamala Harris: (14:41)
I did the work as Attorney General of putting body cameras-
Jake Tapper: (14:44)
Thank you senator.
Kamala Harris: (14:44)
On special agents [crosstalk 00:14:46] in the state of California and I’m proud of that work.
Jake Tapper: (14:48)
I want to bring in Congresswoman Gabbard, Congresswoman Gabbard, you took issue with Senator Harris confronting Vice President Biden at the last debate. You called it a, quote, false accusation that Joe Biden is a racist. What’s your response?
Tulsi Gabbard: (15:00)
I want to bring the conversation back to the broken criminal justice system, that is disproportionately negatively impacting black and brown people all across this country today.
Tulsi Gabbard: (15:10)
Oh, Senator Harris says she’s proud of her record as a prosecutor and that she’ll be a prosecutor president. But I’m deeply concerned about this record. There are too many examples to cite, but she put over 1500 people in jail for marijuana violations and then laughed about it when she was asked if she ever smoked marijuana.
Tulsi Gabbard: (15:27)
She blocked evidence that would have freed an innocent man from death row until the courts forced her to do so. She kept people in prison beyond their sentences to use them as cheap labor for the state of California and she fought to keep [crosstalk 00:15:44] cash bail system in place that impacts poor people in the worst kind of way.
Jake Tapper: (15:49)
Thank you Congresswoman, Senator Harris, your response?
Kamala Harris: (15:55)
As the elected Attorney General of California, I did the work of significantly reforming the criminal justice system of a state of 40 million people, which became a national model for the work that needs to be done. And I am proud of that work and I am proud of making a decision to not just give fancy speeches or be in a legislative body and give speeches on the floor, but actually doing the work of being in the position to use the power that I had to reform a system that is badly in need of reform.
Kamala Harris: (16:24)
That is why we created initiatives that were about reentering former offenders and getting them counseling.
Jake Tapper: (16:30)
Kamala Harris: (16:30)
It is why and because I know that criminal justice system is so broken-
Jake Tapper: (16:33)
Thank you senator.
Kamala Harris: (16:33)
That I am an advocate for what [crosstalk 00:16:35] we need to do to not only [crosstalk 00:16:36] but legalize marijuana in the United States.
Jake Tapper: (16:41)
I want to bring a congresswoman Gabbard back in, your response?
Tulsi Gabbard: (16:42)
The bottom line is, Senator Harris, when you were in a position to make a difference and an impact in these people’s lives, you did not. And worse yet in the case of those who were on death row, innocent people, you actually blocked evidence from being revealed that would have freed them until you were forced to do so. There is no excuse for that. And the people who suffered under your reign as prosecutor, you owe them an apology.
Jake Tapper: (17:07)
Kamala Harris: (17:11)
My entire career I have been-
Kamala Harris: (17:13)
Adopt a green new deal on day one as president.
Speaker 1: (17:15)
Kamala Harris: (17:15)
I would reenter us in the Paris Agreement.
Speaker 1: (17:17)
Thank you Senator.
Kamala Harris: (17:18)
And put in place so we would be carbon neutral by 2030.
Speaker 1: (17:21)
Thank you Senator, I want to talk about that with Senator [crosstalk 00:17:23] includes the guarantee of a job with medical leave, paid vacations and retirement security for everyone in America. Explain how that’s realistic?
Kristen Gillibr: (17:34)
So the first thing that I’m going to do when I’m president is I’m going to Clorox the Oval Office. The second thing I’m going to do, is I will reengage on global climate change, and I will not only sign the Paris global climate accords, but I will lead a worldwide conversation about the urgency of this crisis.
Kristen Gillibr: (17:56)
The greatest threat to humanity is global climate change. I visited a family in Iowa who water spewed into her home, Fran Par, it tossed her refrigerator upend, all the furniture was broken, all the dishes were broken and mud was everywhere. That is the impact of severe weather right now on families lives.
Kristen Gillibr: (18:16)
And so the truth is we need a robust solution. When John F. Kennedy said, “I want to put a man on the moon in the next 10 years, not because it’s easy, but because it’s hard.” He knew it was going to be a measure of our innovation, our success, our ability to galvanize worldwide competition. He wanted to have a space race with Russia. Why not have a green energy race with China? Why not have clean air and clean water for all Americans? Why not rebuild our infrastructure? Why not actually invest in the green jobs? That’s what the Green New Deal is about.
Speaker 1: (18:47)
Kristen Gillibr: (18:47)
Not only will I pass it, but I will put a price on carbon to make market forces help us.
Speaker 1: (18:51)
Thank you Senator. Congresswoman Gabbard, you are not a co-sponsor of the Green New Deal. Please respond.
Tulsi Gabbard: (18:57)
Oh, first of all, this is personal. You can imagine, I grew up in Hawaii, which is the most remote island chain in the world. So for us growing up there, protecting our environment was not a political issue., it’s a way of life. It’s part of our culture. It’s part of who we are. This is why as a member of congress long before there was ever a Green New Deal, I introduced the most ambitious climate change legislation ever in Congress called the Off Fossil Fuels Act. That actually laid out an actionable plan to take us from where we are today, to transition off of fossil fuels and invest in green renewable energy. Invest in workforce training, invest in the kinds of infrastructure that we need to deal with the problems and the challenges that climate is posing to us today.
Speaker 1: (19:41)
Thank you, Congresswoman. Senator Booker, what’s your response? Is the job guarantee in the Green New Deal realistic?
Cory Booker: (19:48)
I just want to take, first of all, a step back and say that I agree wholeheartedly with Governor Inslee, and it’s one of the reasons why Greenpeace ranks me and him at the top of this entire field [crosstalk 00:19:58] I want to say very clearly, thank you man, thank you. I’ll try harder. Look, the reason why is because first of all, this problem didn’t start yesterday. Science didn’t become a reality yesterday. This has been going on for years. There was another president that would not join an international accord. Then it was the Kyoto accord. I was mayor then and I stood up in national leadership, joining with other mayors to say climate change is not a separate issue.
Cory Booker: (20:29)
It must be the issue and the lens with which you view every issue. Nobody should get applause for rejoining the Paris climate accords, that is kindergarten. We have to go to far advance and makes sure that everything from our trade deals, everything from the billions of dollars we spend to foreign aid, everything must be sublimated to the challenge and the crisis that is existential, which is dealing with the climate threat. And yes, the majority of this problem is outside the United States, but the only way we’re going to deal with this-
Speaker 1: (20:58)
Cory Booker: (20:59)
Is that the United States leads.
Kamala Harris: (21:01)
Thank you senator, Mayor de Blasio, your administration has come under fire after hundreds of children living in New York City public housing tested positive for elevated levels of lead. As you know, we’re not far from Flint, Michigan, where residents are still dealing with the consequences of having lead in their drinking water. How can you assure the people of Flint and across the nation that you are the right person to handle such a problem?
Bill de Blasio: (21:28)
We have a huge problem and it’s decades old in New York, but here’s what we’ve done about it. We’ve declared the eradication of all lead, literally ending the notion of lead poisoning once and for all as the goal of our administration, and we’re doing something about it. Lead poisoning has gone down 90% since 2005 and we’re going to literally bring it down to zero, because we’re going to go into every place, buildings, schools, public housing, and take out that lead, remediate that lead once and for all, and that needs to be done all over this country. Now, the federal government used to not take any responsibility for-
Bill de Blasio: (22:03)
… country. Now, the federal government used to not take any responsibility for our public housing. For decades they’ve been disinvesting in the public housing that was supposed to be a federal responsibility. That’s part of why we have this lead crisis to begin with. But I’ll tell you what you do when you’re actually in charge of something. I’m in charge of the largest city in this nation. You do not accept the status quo, you fix it. And so we are going into every one of those apartments to make sure those children and those families are safe, and then we are going to eradicate that lead once and for all. And there should be a federal mandate to do the same for Flint, for Detroit, for every place in this country. It can be done.
Thank you, Mister Mayor. Secretary Castro, why are you the right candidate to solve this problem? Please respond.
Julian Castro: (22:43)
Well, because people don’t have to wonder what I would do. I’ve actually done it. I was Secretary of Housing and Urban Development when Flint had its water crisis. I went to Flint. We did what we could to help folks get water filters. And then we didn’t stop there. We improved the standard of how we deal with elevated blood lead levels in children. A lot of Americans don’t know that this is still a major problem out there. I was back in Flint about six weeks ago, and I released a plan to invest $50 billion so that we remove lead as a major public health threat. We need to do it, we can do it, and I will do it.
Jake Tapper: (23:16)
Thank you, Secretary Castro.
Speaker 2: (23:17)
May I get in this?
Jake Tapper: (23:18)
Donald Trump won independents here in Michigan by 16 percentage points, which was critical to Donald Trump winning the state’s 16 electoral votes. Now there is a big debate within the Democratic Party here and around the country about the best way the Democrats can win back Michigan. Vice President Biden, last night on this stage, Senator Elizabeth Warren said, quote, “We’re not going to solve the urgent problems that we face with small ideas and spinelessness. We’re going to solve them by being the Democratic Party of big structural change.” What do you say to progressives who worry that your proposals are not ambitious enough to energize the progressive wing of your party, which you will need to beat Donald Trump?
Joe Biden: (24:00)
Because we did it. I was asked to manage an $87 billion plan, to be spent in a total of 18 months, that revived this state and many others, and it kept us out of a depression, with two-tenths of 1% of waste or fraud. Secondly, I was part of the organization within our administration that pushed bailing General Motors out, saving tens of thousands of jobs here in this state. Number three. Number three, I also was asked, as the Mayor of Detroit can tell you, by the president of the United States to help Detroit get out of bankruptcy and get back on its feet. I spent better part of two years out here working to make sure that it did exactly that. We invested significantly in this city, in transportation. Anyway, the point is, we’ve made significant investments in this state. I expect in this city, I expect that’s why the mayor endorsed me.
Jake Tapper: (25:00)
Thank you, Vice President Biden. Senator Gillibrand, what’s your response?
Kirsten G.: (25:05)
To the people of Michigan, I know exactly how I’d beat President Trump. I’ve already done it. I took a bus tour to talk about Trump’s broken promises here in Michigan. He promised no bad trade deals. Not only did he not have bad trade deals, he started a trade war with China, and he just signed onto another bad trade agreement with NAFTA 2.0, a giveaway to drug companies in Mexico. I took the bus to Michigan, to Ohio, and to Pennsylvania, telling people that he has broken his promises to them. I lifted up their voices, I listened to their concerns, and I offered real solutions. And I’ve done this before. My first House district I ran in was a two-to-one Republican district. I won it twice, and I haven’t lost an election since. So I can bring people together in red, purple, and blue areas. But more than that, I can get things done.
Jake Tapper: (25:53)
Thank you. Thank you, Senator Gillibrand. Mr. Yang, in poll after poll, Democratic voters say that having a nominee who can beat President Trump is more important to them than having a nominee who agrees with them on major issues. And right now, according to polls, they say the candidate who has the best chance of doing that, of beating President Trump, is Vice President Biden. Why are they wrong?
Andrew Yang: (26:14)
Well, I’m building a coalition of disaffected Trump voters, independents, libertarians, and conservatives, as well as Democrats and progressives. I believe I’m the candidate best suited to beat Donald Trump. And as for how to win in Michigan and Ohio and Pennsylvania, the problem is that so many people feel like the economy has left them behind. What we have to do is we have to say look, there is record high GDP and stock market prices. You know what else are at record highs? Suicides, drug overdoses, depression, anxiety. It’s gotten so bad that American life expectancy has declined for the last three years.
Andrew Yang: (26:45)
And I like to talk about my wife who’s at home with our two boys right now, one of whom is autistic. What does her work count at in today’s economy? Zero, and we know that’s the opposite of the truth. We know that her work is among the most challenging and vital. The way we win this election is we redefine economic progress to include all the things that matter to the people in Michigan and all of us, like our own health, our well-being, our mental health, our clean air and clean water, how our kids are doing. If we change the measurements for the 21st century economy to revolve around our own well-being, then we will win this election.
Jake Tapper: (27:22)
Thank you, Mr. Yang. Congresswoman Gabbard, your response?
Tulsi Gabbard: (27:24)
Donald Trump won this election because far too many people in this country felt like they’ve been left behind by both political parties, by self-serving politicians on both sides who are more interested in partisan politics than they are in actually fighting for the people. I’m speaking the truth to people all across this country about the fact that people in Flint, Michigan are still being left behind, still being poisoned by the water in their system. Because every single month we are spending $4 billion on a continuing war in Afghanistan, $4 billion every single month, rather than ending that war, bringing our troops home, and using those precious resources into serving the needs of the people here in this country, people and communities like Flint. That’s the kind of leadership that I’ll bring.
Jake Tapper: (28:10)
Thank you, Congresswoman. Senator Booker, your response?
Cory Booker: (28:12)
I’m grateful. I’m grateful. Jake, look, this is one of those times where we’re not staring at the truth and calling it out, and this is a case for the Democratic Party, the truth will set us free. We lost the State of Michigan, because everybody from Republicans to Russians were targeting the suppression of African American voters. We need to say that. If the African American vote in this state had been like it was four years earlier, we would have won the State of Michigan. We need to have a campaign that is ready for what’s coming, an all-out assault, especially on the most valuable voter group in our, in fact, the highest-performing voter group in our coalition, which is black women. And so I will be a person that tries to fight against voter suppression, that can activate and engage the kind of voters and coalitions that are going to win states like Michigan and Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.
Jake Tapper: (29:05)
Thank you. Senator Harris?
Kamala Harris: (29:08)
First of all, Donald Trump came in making a whole lot of promises to working people that he did not keep. He said he was going to help farmers. He said he was going to help auto workers. Farmers are now looking at bankruptcy, soybeans rotting in bales. Auto workers, we expect perhaps hundreds of thousands will be out of jobs by the end of the year. Jerome Powell just dropped the interest rates, and he admitted why, because of this so-called trade policy that this president has that has been nothing more than the Trump trade tax that has resulted in American families spending as much as $1.4 billion more a month on everything from shampoo to washing machines. He betrayed the American people, he betrayed American families, and he will lose this election, because folks are clear that he has done nothing except try to beat people down instead of lift people up. And that’s what we want in the next president of the United States.
Jake Tapper: (29:59)
Thank you, Senator Harris. The debate is back right…
Dana Bash: (00:02)
And we’re back with the CNN Democratic Presidential Debate. We want to turn now to the economy. Secretary Castro, this was for you. Rising unemployment is near historic lows, including for Latinos and African Americans. You have all outlined plans, but you in particular, that could end up raising taxes. How can you guarantee that won’t hurt the economy?
Julian Castro: (00:26)
Well, first of all, there are a lot of Americans right now that are hurting. Just go and ask the folks that just received notice that they’re going to get been laid off by General Motors. Or ask the many folks who are sleeping on the streets in big cities and small towns across the United States. Or ask fast food workers that I joined a couple of weeks ago that are working for minimum wage and can’t provide for their families or pay the rent. So the idea that America is doing just fine is wrong. Not only that, this president always likes to take credit like he did this. We’ve now had about 105 straight months of positive job growth, the longest streak in American history. Over 80 months of that was due to President Barack Obama. Thank you, Barack Obama. Thank you, Barack Obama. So I believe that we need to invest in what will ensure that Americans can prosper in the years to come. Making sure they have the knowledge and skills to compete in the 21st century economy. Ensuring that they can afford the rent where they live and that they have health care so that they don’t have to worry about going homeless because they can’t afford a medical procedure.
Dana Bash: (01:36)
Thank you, Secretary Castro. I want to turn now to a question about trade and, for Congresswoman Gabbard, many saw the Trans-Pacific Partnership issue as something that would be a critical tool to deal with the rise of China. You were against it. How would you ensure that the United States is able to remain competitive against China on the world stage.
Tulsi Gabbard: (02:00)
By pushing for fair trade. Not trade deals that give away the sovereignty of the American people and our country, that give away American jobs, and that threaten our environment. These were the three main issues with that massive trade deal, the Trans-Pacific Partnership. I think the central one was the fact that it gave away our sovereignty to a panel of international corporations whose rulings would supersede any domestic law that we would pass, either a federal law or a state or a local law. This is extremely dangerous and goes against the very values that we have as a country. What to speak of the fact that it would have a negative impact on domestic jobs and that it lacked clear protections for our environment. These are the things that we have to keep at the forefront as we look to enact fair trade deals with other countries to make sure that we continue to be a thriving part of our global economy.
Dana Bash: (02:52)
So to be clear, congresswoman, would you keep President Trump’s tariffs on China in place?
Tulsi Gabbard: (02:58)
I would not, because the approach that President Trump has taken has been extremely volatile without any clear strategic plan and it has a ravaging and devastating effect on our domestic manufacturers, on our farmers, who are already struggling and now failing to see the light of day because of the plan that Trump has taken.
Dana Bash: (03:17)
Vice President Biden, would you read join the Trans-Pacific Partnership which, of course, President Trump withdrew from? Please respond.
Joe Biden: (03:25)
I’d renegotiate it. We make up 25% of the world’s economy. In order… Either China’s going to write the rules of the road for the 21st century on trade or we are. We have to join with the 40% of the world that we had with us, and this time makes sure that there’s no one sitting at that table doing the deal unless environmentalists are there and labor is there. And to make sure we equip our workers first to compete by investing in them now, in the things that make them more competitive. That’s what we have to do. Otherwise they are going to write the rules of the road. We must have the rest of the world join us to keep them-
Dana Bash: (04:01)
Joe Biden: (04:01)
… In check from abusing it.
Dana Bash: (04:03)
Thank you. Vice President Biden, just to be clear, would you or would you not rejoin the TTP? Yes or no?
Joe Biden: (04:08)
I would not rejoin the TTP as it was initially put forward. I would insist that we renegotiate pieces of that with the Pacific nations that we had in South America and North America so that we could bring them together to hold China accountable for the rules of us setting the rules of the road as to how trade should be conducted. Otherwise they’re going to do exactly what they’re doing. Fill the vacuum and run the table.
Dana Bash: (04:35)
Thank you, sir. Mayor de Blasio, you also oppose the deal. Please respond.
Bill de Blasio: (04:38)
Yeah. And I would just want to ask this question of all the candidates, but particularly of Vice President Biden. President Trump is trying to sell NAFTA 2.0. He’s got a new name for it. It’s just as dangerous as the old NAFTA. It’s going to take away American jobs like the old NAFTA, like it did to Michigan. And we cannot have Democrats be party to a new NAFTA. So Vice President, I believe you’re the only person on the stage who voted for the original NAFTA. Are you ready to say here and now that you will oppose a new NAFTA? And that what you will believe in, which a lot of us hope for, is trade treaties that empower organized labor across the boundaries of the world and give working people power again, not just multinational corporations.
Dana Bash: (05:19)
Mr. Vice President?
Joe Biden: (05:19)
Dana Bash: (05:19)
Your response? Your response, sir?
Joe Biden: (05:23)
Dana Bash: (05:23)
Joe Biden: (05:24)
No, he said would I insist that labor be engaged? The answer is yes.
Bill de Blasio: (05:30)
I consider that a victory.
Joe Biden: (05:32)
Well, I love your affection for me. You spend a lot of time with me.
Bill de Blasio: (05:39)
You know what? We believe in redemption, Joe. We believe in redemption in this party.
Joe Biden: (05:44)
Well, I tell you what. I hope you’re part of it.
Dana Bash: (05:45)
Okay. I want to ask a question of Senator Bennett now. Senator, CNN reached out to Michigan Democratic Primary voters for their most pressing question. Ferris from Flint, Michigan has this question, “Here in Detroit our economy has seen firsthand how technology and automation can displace workers and create uncertainty around human job security. How would you balance these disruptions created by technology with the beneficial impact of technology on our economy?”
Michael Bennet: (06:13)
Dana this goes to the last question you asked as well, which is how are we going to remain competitive? It’s not just about trade, which we were talking about earlier. It’s about whether we’re going to invest in this country anymore. Since 2001 we have cut five trillion dollars worth of taxes. Almost all of that has gone to the wealthiest people in America. We have made the income inequality worse, not better, through the policies of the federal government. We’ve spent 5.6 trillion dollars in the Middle East. That’s 12 or 13 trillion dollars that, from the point of view of driving the economy in Michigan or anywhere else in America, we might as well just have lit that money on fire. We’ve got to stop doing that. And we need to invest in America again. For the money that we’ve spent, that I just described, we could have fixed every road and bridge in this country. We could have fixed every airport that needs to be fixed. We could have fixed, not just Flint, but every-
Dana Bash: (07:17)
Michael Bennet: (07:17)
… Water system in this country. We could’ve made social security solvent for my children.
Dana Bash: (07:22)
Thank you, Senator.
Michael Bennet: (07:23)
But we did none of it because of self-serving politicians in Washington DC who voted for deals that were good for them.
Dana Bash: (07:30)
Senator Bennett, thank you very much.
Michael Bennet: (07:31)
But not for Michigan or the American people.
Dana Bash: (07:32)
Your time is up, sir. Mr. Yang. Mr. Yang women, on average, earn 80 cents, about 80 cents, for every dollar earned by men. Senator Harris wants to fine companies that don’t close their gender pay gaps. As an entrepreneur, do you think a stiff fine will change how companies pay their female employees?
Andrew Yang: (07:56)
I have seen firsthand the inequities in the business world where women are concerned, particularly in startups and entrepreneurship. We have to do more at every step. And, if you are a woman entrepreneur, the obstacles start not just at home. But then when you seek a mentor or an investor often they don’t look like you and they might not think your idea is the right one. In order to give women a leg up, what we have to do is we have to think about women in every situation, including the ones who are in exploitative and abusive jobs and relationships around the country. I’m talking about the waitress who’s getting harassed by her boss at the diner, who might have a business idea, but right now is stuck where she is. What we have to do is we have to give women the economic freedom to be able to improve their own situations and start businesses. And the best way to do this is by putting a dividend of $1,000 a month into their hands. It would be a game changer for women around the country because we know that women do more of the unrecognized and uncompensated work in our society. It will not change unless we change it. And I say that’s just what we do.
Dana Bash: (08:56)
Senator Harris, your response.
Kamala Harris: (08:58)
I think that supported my proposal, which is this, since 1963 when we passed the Equal Pay Act we have been talking about the fact women are not paid equally for equal work. Fast forward to the Year of our Lord 2019 and women are paid 80 cents on the dollar. Black women, 61 cents. Native American woman, 58 cents. Latinas, 53 cents. I’m done with the conversation. So, yes, I am proposing in order to deal with this, one, I’m going to require corporations to post on their website whether they are paying women equally for equal work. Two, they will be fined. For every 1% differential between what they’re paying men and women they will be find 1% of their previous year’s profits. That’ll get everybody’s attention.
Dana Bash: (09:41)
Thank you, senator. Senator-
Kamala Harris: (09:42)
Time for action.
Dana Bash: (09:43)
Senator Gillibrand, what’s your response? Will fining companies help solve the problem?
I think we have to have a broader conversation about whether we value women and whether we want to make sure women have every opportunity in the workplace. And I want to address Vice President Biden directly. When the Senate was debating middle-class affordability for childcare, he wrote an Op-ed. He voted against it, the only vote. But what he wrote an Op-ed was that he believed that women working outside the home would, “Create the deterioration of family.” He also said that women who were working outside the home were, “Avoiding responsibility.” And I just need to understand, as a woman who’s worked my entire career as the primary-wage earner, as the primary caregiver… In fact, my second son Henry is here and I had him when I was a member of Congress. So, under Vice President Biden’s analysis, am I serving in Congress resulting in the deterioration of the family because I had access to quality, affordable daycare? I just want to know what he meant when he said that.
Joe Biden: (10:52)
That was a long time ago and here’s what it was about. It would have given people making today $100,000 a year a tax break for childcare. I did not want that. I wanted the childcare to go to people making less than $100,000 and that’s what it was about. As a single father, who in fact raised three children for five years by myself, I have some idea what it costs. I support making sure that every single, solitary person needing child care get an $8,000 tax credit. Now, that would put 700,000 women back to work, increase the GDP by almost eight-tenths of 1%. It’s the right thing to do. If we can give tax breaks to corporations for these things, why can’t we do it this way?
Dana Bash: (11:38)
But, Mr. Vice President, you didn’t answer my question. What did you mean when you said when a woman works outside the home, it’s resulting in, “The deterioration of family.”
Joe Biden: (11:48)
No. What I-
And that we are avoiding… These are quotes. It was the title of the Op-ed.
Joe Biden: (11:52)
And that just causes concern for me. Because we know America’s women are working. Four out of 10 moms have to work. They are the primary or sole wage earners. They actually have to put food on the table. Eight out of 10 moms are working today. Most women have to work to provide for their kids. Many women want to be working to provide for their communities and to help people.
Dana Bash: (12:10)
Thank you, Senator. Let the Vice President respond now, thank you.
Either you don’t believe it today or what did you mean when you said it then?
Joe Biden: (12:15)
In the very beginning my deceased wife worked when we had children. My present wife has worked all the way through raising our children. The fact of the matter is the situation is one that I don’t know what’s happened. I wrote the Violence Against Women Act. Lilly Ledbetter, I was deeply involved in making sure there’s the equal pay amendments. I was deeply involved in all these things. I came up with the It’s On Us proposal to see to it the women were treated more decently on college campuses. You came to Syracuse University with me and said it was wonderful. I’m passionate about the concern, making sure women are treated equally. I don’t know what’s happened except that you’re now running for president.
So I understand… Mr. Vice President? Mr. Vice President, I respect you deeply. I respect you deeply. But those words are very specific. You said women working outside the home would lead to the deterioration of family. My grandmother worked outside the home.
Joe Biden: (13:10)
My mother worked outside the home.
Joe Biden: (13:13)
Dana Bash: (13:14)
Thank you, Senator Gillibrand.
Well he hasn’t… Either-
Dana Bash: (13:16)
I want to bring Senator Harris into this conversation.
Either he no longer believes it. I mean, I just think he needs to-
Joe Biden: (13:20)
I never believed it.
Dana Bash: (13:21)
Thank you. Senator Harris, please respond.
Kamala Harris: (13:23)
Well, I just… Listen, I mean, talk about now running for president and you change your position. On the Hyde Amendment, Vice President, where you made a decision for years to withhold resources to poor women to have access to reproductive healthcare and including women who were the victims of rape and incest. Do you now say that you have evolved and you regret that? Because you’ve only, since you’ve been running for president this time, said that you in some way would take that back or you didn’t agree with the decision that you made over many, many years.
Joe Biden: (13:57)
I’m getting to-
Kamala Harris: (13:57)
And this directly impacted so many women in our country. And I personally prosecuted rape cases and child molestation cases. And the experience that those women have, those children have, and that they would then be denied the resources-
Dana Bash: (14:11)
Thank you, Senator. Let the Vice President respond to it.
Kamala Harris: (14:11)
I think is unacceptable.
Joe Biden: (14:14)
The fact is that the Senator knows that’s not my position. Everybody on this stage who’s been in the Congress and the Senate or House has voted for the Hyde Amendment at some point. The Hyde Amendment, in the past, was available because there was other access for those kinds of services provided privately. But once I wrote the legislation making sure that every single woman would in fact have an opportunity to have health care paid for by the federal government, everyone, that that could no longer stand. I support a woman’s right to choose. I support it. It’s a constitutional right. I’ve supported it and I will continue to support it. And I will, in fact, move as president to see to that the congress legislates that that is the law as well.
Dana Bash: (14:57)
Thank you. Thank you, Mr. Vice President. Governor Inslee, your response?
Kamala Harris: (14:57)
Well, why did it take you so long to change your position on the Hyde Amendment? Why did it take so long until you were running for president to change your position on the Hyde Amendment?
Joe Biden: (15:06)
Because there was not full federal funding for all reproductive services prior to this point.
Kamala Harris: (15:13)
Dana Bash: (15:13)
Thank you. Governor Inslee, your response?
Jay Inslee: (15:16)
I would suggest that we need to broaden our discussion. I would suggest we need to think about a bigger scandal in America, which is that in professions and careers where women have been more than the majority, they have been almost always underpaid. And that is why this year I’m proud to be the governor who won the largest pay increase for our educators in the United States. And I believe that that is long, long overdue. I think it is true for nursing staff, as well. And I’m glad that we’ve now passed new measures.
Jake Tapper: (15:50)
Jay Inslee: (15:50)
And I’m glad that we’ve increased our union membership 10%.
Jake Tapper: (15:53)
Thank you, Governor.
Jay Inslee: (15:54)
So unions can stand up for women as well.
Jake Tapper: (15:54)
Thank you, Governor Inslee. I want to turn to foreign policy, if we can. Senator Booker, there are about 14,000 US service members in Afghanistan right now. If elected, will they still be in Afghanistan by the end of your first year in office?
Cory Booker: (16:08)
Well, first of all, I want to say very clearly that I will not do foreign policy by tweet as Donald Trump seems to do all the time. A guy that literally tweets out that we’re pulling our troops out before his generals even know about it, is creating a dangerous situation for our troops in places like Afghanistan. And so I will bring our troops home and I will bring them home as quickly as possible. But I will not set, during a campaign, an artificial deadline. I will make sure we do it, we do it expeditiously. We do it safely to not create a vacuum that’s ultimately going to destabilize the Middle East and, perhaps, create the environment for terrorism and for extremism to threaten our nation.
Jake Tapper: (16:48)
Congresswoman Gabbard, you’re the only veteran on the stage. Please respond.
Tulsi Gabbard: (16:54)
This is real in a way that’s very difficult to convey in words. I was deployed to Iraq in 2005, during the height of the war, where I served in a field medical unit where every single day I saw the high cost of war. Just this past week, two more of our soldiers were killed in Afghanistan. My cousin is deployed to Afghanistan right now. Nearly 300 of our Hawaii National Guard soldiers are deployed to Afghanistan. 14,000 service members are deployed there. This is not about arbitrary deadlines. This is about leadership. The leadership I will bring to do the right thing, to bring our troops home within the first year in office. Because they shouldn’t have been there this long. For too long we’ve had leaders who have been arbitrating foreign policy from ivory towers in Washington without any idea about the cost and the consequence, the toll that it takes on our service members, on their families. We have to do the right thing, end these wasteful regime-change wars, and bring our troops home.
Jake Tapper: (17:55)
Thank you. Thank you, congresswoman. Mr. Yang, Iran has now breached the terms of the 2015 nuclear deal, after President Trump withdrew the US from the deal. And that puts Iran closer to building a nuclear weapon, the ability to do so at the very least. You’ve said, if Iran violates the agreement, the US would need to respond, “Very strongly.” So how would a President Yang respond right now?
Andrew Yang: (18:20)
I would move to deescalate tensions in Iran, because they’re responding to the fact that we’ve pulled out of this agreement. And it wasn’t just us and Iran, there were many other world powers that were part of that multilateral agreement. We’d have to try and reenter that agreement, renegotiate the timelines, because the timelines now don’t make as much sense. But I’ve signed a pledge to end the forever wars. Right now our strength abroad reflects our strength at home. What’s happened, really? We’ve fallen apart at home so we elected Donald Trump and now we have this erratic and unpredictable relationship with even our longstanding partners and allies. What we have to do is we have to start investing those resources to solve the problem right here at home. We’ve spent trillions of dollars and lost thousands of American lives in conflicts that had unclear benefits. We’ve been in a constant state of war for 18 years. This is not what the American people want. I would bring the troops home. I would deescalate tensions with Iran. And I would start investing our resources in our own communities.
Jake Tapper: (19:18)
Governor Inslee, your response?
Jay Inslee: (19:21)
Well, I think that these are matters of great and often difficult judgment and there is no sort of primer for presidents to read. We have to determine whether a potential president has adequate judgment in these decisions. I was only one of two members on this panel today who were called to make a judgment about the Iraq war. I was a relatively new member of Congress and I made the right judgment, because it was obvious to me that George Bush was fanning the flames of war. Now we face similar situations where we recognize we have a president who’d be willing to beat the drums of war. We need a president who can stand up against the drums of war and make rational decisions. That was the right vote and I believe it.
Jake Tapper: (20:08)
Thank you. Thank you, Governor. Vice President Biden, he was obviously suggesting that you made the wrong decision and had bad judgment when you voted to go to war in Iraq as a US senator.
Joe Biden: (20:17)
I did make a bad judgment trusting the president saying he was only doing this to get inspectors in and get the UN to agree to put inspectors in. From the moment Shock and Awe started, from that moment, I was opposed to the effort and I was outspoken as much as anyone at all in the congress and the administration. Secondly, I was asked by the president in the first meeting we had on Iraq. He turned and said, “Joe, get our combat troops out.” In front of the entire national security team. One of the proudest moments of my life was to stand there in Al-Faw Palace and tell everyone that we’re coming, all our combat troops are coming, home.
Jake Tapper: (20:52)
Joe Biden: (20:52)
I opposed the surge in Afghanistan. This is long overdue. We should have not, in fact, gone into Afghanistan.
Jake Tapper: (21:00)
Joe Biden: (21:00)
… The way.
Bill de Blasio: (21:01)
Mr. Vice President.
Joe Biden: (21:02)
Thank you, Mr. Vice President. I want to bring in…
Joe Biden: (21:03)
I would like to bring in the person on the stage who served in Iraq. Governor, I’m sorry, Congresswoman Gabbard, your response to what Vice President Biden just said?
Tulsi Gabbard: (21:11)
We were all lied to. This is the betrayal. This is the betrayal to the American people, to me, to my fellow service members. We were all lied to, told that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, was working with Al-Qaeda, and that this posed a threat to the American people. So I enlisted after 9/11 to protect our country. To go after those who attacked us on that fateful day, who took the lives of thousands of Americans. The problem is that this current president is continuing to betray us. We were supposed to be going after Al-Qaeda. But over years now not only have we not gone after Al-Qaeda, who is stronger today than they were in 9/11, our president is supporting Al-Qaeda.
Jake Tapper: (21:57)
Thank you, congresswoman.
Bill de Blasio: (21:58)
We still didn’t talk about Iran.
Jake Tapper: (21:58)
Thank you, please.
Bill de Blasio: (21:58)
We didn’t talk about Iran.
Jake Tapper: (21:58)
Bill de Blasio: (21:59)
Because we’re on the march to war in Iran right now and we blew by it.
Jake Tapper: (22:02)
Please, mayor, the rules. Please follow the rules.
Bill de Blasio: (22:04)
I respect the rules.
Jake Tapper: (22:06)
Bill de Blasio: (22:06)
Jake Tapper: (22:06)
Bill de Blasio: (22:06)
Have to stop this-
Jake Tapper: (22:06)
Mayor, thank you very much.
Bill de Blasio: (22:07)
… March to war in Iran.
Jake Tapper: (22:08)
We’re going on and we’re going to talk about another subject.
Bill de Blasio: (22:09)
And the Democratic party has to stand up for it.
Jake Tapper: (22:10)
Mayor, thank you very much. I appreciate that. Let’s talk about now the former special counsel Robert Mueller’s appearance in front of congress last week. When asked whether or not the president could be charged with a crime after leaving office, his answer was yes. Senator Harris, you’ve criticized President Trump for interfering with the justice department. And, just last month, you said if you were elected president your Justice Department would, “Have no choice and should go forward with obstruction of justice charges against Former President Trump.” Why is it okay for you to advocate for the Justice Department to prosecute somebody but, President Trump, not him?
Kamala Harris: (22:45)
Well, I would never direct the Department of Justice to do whatever it believes it should do. But listen, look, we all watched his testimony. I read the report. There are 10 clear incidents of obstruction of justice by this president and he needs to be held accountable. I’ve seen people go to prison for far less. And the reality of it is that we have a person in the White House right now who has been shielded by a memo in the United States Department of Justice that says a sitting president cannot be indicted. I believe the American people are right to say there should be consequence and accountability for everyone and no one is above the law, including the President of the United States,
Jake Tapper: (23:25)
Senator Booker, your response?
Cory Booker: (23:28)
My response is exactly that. I’ve read the report, I’ve read the redacted versions of the report. We have something that is astonishing going on the United States of America. We have a president that is not acting like the leader of the free world. He’s acting like an authoritarian against the actual Constitution that he swore an oath to uphold. And so this is a difference with a lot of us on this debate stage. I believe that we, in the United States Congress, should start impeachment proceedings immediately. And I’ll tell you this, Debbie Stabenow has joined my call for starting impeachment proceedings. Because he is now stonewalling congress, not allowing or subjecting himself to the checks and balances. We swore an oath to uphold the Constitution. The politics of this be damned. When we look back in history at what happened when a President of the United States started acting more like an authoritarian leader than the leader of the free world, the question is what will we have done? And I believe the congress should do its job.
Jake Tapper: (24:27)
Senator Booker, thank you very much. Secretary Castro, what’s your response?
Julian Castro: (24:30)
Well, I agree. I was the first of the candidates to call on congress to begin impeachment proceedings. There are 10 different instances that Robert Mueller has pointed out where this president either obstructed justice or attempted to obstruct justice. And I believe that they should go forward with impeachment proceedings. As to the question of what my Department of Justice would do, I agree with those who say that a president should not direct an attorney general specifically to prosecute or not prosecute. However, I believe that the evidence is plain and clear and that if it gets that far that you’re likely to see a prosecution of Donald Trump.
Jake Tapper: (25:04)
Thank you, secretary. Mayor de Blasio, I’m going to bring you in. What’s your response?
Bill de Blasio: (25:08)
I think it’s obvious at this point in our history that the president has committed the crimes worthy of impeachment. But I want to caution my fellow Democrats, while we move in every way we can for impeachment, we have to remember at the same time the American people are out there looking for us to do something for them in their lives. And what they see when they turn on the TV or go online is just talk about impeachment. We need more talk about working people and their lives. For example, are we really ready? And I ask people on this stage this question, are we ready to make sure that the wealthy pay their fair share in taxes? That’s something every American wants to know about. That’s something they want answers to right now. So yeah, move for impeachment. But don’t forget to do the people’s business and to stand up for working people. Because that’s how we’re actually going to beat Donald Trump. The best impeachment is beating him in the election of 2020.
Jake Tapper: (25:59)
Mayor, thank you very much. Senator Bennett, how do you respond to this conversation?
Michael Bennet: (26:01)
I think, look, as we go forward here we need to recognize a very practical reality which is that we are four months away. We’ve got the August recess, then we are four months away from the Iowa caucuses. And I just want to make sure whatever we do doesn’t end up with an acquittal by Mitch McConnell in the Senate, which it surely would. And then President Trump would be running saying that he had been acquitted by the United States Congress. I believe we have a moral obligation to beat Donald Trump. He has to be a single-term president and we can’t do anything that plays into his hands. We were talking earlier about climate up here, it’s so important. Donald Trump should be the last climate denier that’s ever in the White House.
Jake Tapper: (26:49)
Senator Bennet, thank you very much. Secretary Castro, please respond.
Michael Bennet: (26:52)
But we need to be smart about how-
Jake Tapper: (26:54)
Thank you, senator.
Michael Bennet: (26:54)
… We’re running or we’re going to give him a second term.
Jake Tapper: (26:56)
Secretary please, your turn.
Michael Bennet: (26:57)
We can’t do it.
Julian Castro: (26:58)
Well, let me first say that I really do believe that we can walk and chew gum at the same time. All of us have a vision for the future of the country that we’re articulating to the American people. We’re going to continue to do that. We have an election coming up. At the same time, senator, I think that too many folks in the senate and in the congress had been spooked by 1998. I believe that the times are different. And, in fact, I think that folks are making a mistake by not pursuing impeachment. The Mueller Report clearly details that he deserves it. And what’s going to happen in the Fall of next year, of 2020, if they don’t impeach him it’s easy to say, “You see? You see? The Democrats didn’t go after me on impeachment. And you know why? Because I didn’t do anything wrong. These folks that always investigate me, they’re always trying to go after me. When it came down to it, they didn’t go after me there because I didn’t do anything wrong.” Conversely, if Mitch McConnell is the one that lets him off the hook, we’re going to be able to say-
Jake Tapper: (27:50)
Julian Castro: (27:51)
“Well, sure. They impeached him in the house-
Jake Tapper: (27:53)
Secretary Castro, thank you.
Julian Castro: (27:53)
… But his friend, Mitch McConnell, Moscow Mitch-
Jake Tapper: (27:55)
Thank you, secretary.
Julian Castro: (27:56)
… Let him off the hook.”
Jake Tapper: (27:56)
Senator Bennet, please respond.
Michael Bennet: (28:02)
I don’t disagree with that, you just said it better than I did. We have to walk and chew gum at the same time. It is incredibly unusual for members of Congress to be able to do that. And I’m glad that Secretary Castro has the ambition-
Julian Castro: (28:15)
Well my brother can, he’s here tonight.
Michael Bennet: (28:16)
That’s what I was going to say, it’s your brother that’s giving you that good feeling about the congress. That’s what we should do.
Jake Tapper: (28:22)
Speaker 1: (00:03)
Welcome back to the CNN the Democratic Presidential Debate. It is time now for closing statements. You will each receive one minute. Mayor de Blasio, let’s begin with you.
Bill de Blasio: (00:12)
Thank you. For the last three years, we’ve watched Donald Trump pit working people against each other, black versus white, citizen versus immigrant, and why? So that the wealthy and the powerful he represents can hold the American dream hostage from everyone else. We can’t let them get away with it. If we’re going to beat Donald Trump, this has to be a party that stands for something.
Bill de Blasio: (00:34)
This has to be the party of labor unions. This has to be the party of universal health care. This has to be the party that’s not afraid to say out loud we’re going to tax the hell out of the wealthy. And when we do that, Donald Trump, right on cue will call us socialists. Well, here’s what I’ll say to him, “Donald, you’re the real socialist. The problem is it’s socialism for the rich.”
Bill de Blasio: (01:06)
We here in this country, we don’t have to take that anymore. We can fight back. If you agree that we can stand up to Donald Trump and we can stand up to the wealthy, then go to taxthehell.com and join us so we can build a country that puts working people first.
Speaker 1: (01:27)
Senator Bennet: (01:28)
Thank you. Thank you very much. What I want to say to all of you tonight is we have been here before as a country. We have faced challenges that we’ve actually even forget some of us tonight how hard the people fought, how hard they work, how hard they organized the votes, they had to take the people they had to get to the polls to make this country more democratic, more fair and more free. And now we have a person in the White House who has no appreciation of that history, who doesn’t believe in the rule of law, who doesn’t believe in the independence of the judiciary, who doesn’t believe that climate change is real.
Senator Bennet: (02:07)
I think that we have an incredible opportunity in front of us, all of us, to come together just as our parents and grandparents did before them and face challenges even harder than the ones that we face. But the only way we’re going to be able to do it is to put the divisive politics of Donald Trump behind us, and the divisive politics of the last 10 years behind us. We need to come together united against a broken Washington, make Donald Trump a one term President, and begin to govern this country again for our kids and our grandkids who cannot do it for themselves.
Senator Bennet: (02:45)
We have to do it for them. Please join me at michaelbennet.com thanks for being here tonight.
Speaker 1: (02:52)
Jay Inslee: (02:56)
For decades we have kicked the can down the road on climate change. And now under Donald Trump we faced a looming catastrophe, but it is not too late. We have one last chance. And when you have one chance in life, you take it. Think about this, literally the survival of humanity on this planet in civilization as we know it is in the hands of the next president. And we have to have a leader who will do what is necessary to save us.
Jay Inslee: (03:31)
And that includes making this the top priority of the next Presidency. And I alone on this panel am making a commitment that this will be the organizing principle of my administration, not the first day, but every day. And if you share my view of the urgency of this matter, I hope you’ll join me because we are up against powerful special fossil fuel interests. And it is time to stand up on our legs and confront the fossil fuels special interests because that is our salvation, what it depends upon.
Jay Inslee: (04:06)
So I hope you will consider going to jayinslee.com and joining this effort. And I will close with this. I am confident and optimistic tonight even in the face of this difficulty because I know we can build a clean energy economy. I know we can save our children and our grandchildren. I know that we can defeat climate change. And we will defeat Donald Trump. This is our moral responsibility and we will fulfill it. Thank you very much.
Speaker 1: (04:40)
Donald Trump has really torn apart the moral fabric of this country dividing us on every racial line, every religious line, every socioeconomic line he can find. I’m running for president because I want to help people. And I actually have the experience and the ability to do that. I’ve brought Congress together and actually made a difference in people’s lives. I also know how to beat Donald Trump. He has broken his promises to the American people.
I’ve taken this fight directly to his backyard in Michigan, and Ohio, and Pennsylvania, and I’ll go to all the places in this country. I will fight for your family. Doesn’t matter who you are. It doesn’t matter where you live. It doesn’t matter who you love because that’s my responsibility. And I’ve done this before. I started out in a two to one Republican district. I won it twice. I’ve never lost an election since.
And I not only bring people together electorally, but also legislatively. I get things done. So we need a president who is not afraid of the big challenges of the big fights. There is no false choice. We don’t need a liberal or progressive with big ideas, or we don’t need a moderate who can win back Trump-Obama voters. You need someone who can do both. And that’s who I am. Please go to kirstengillibrand.com so I can make the next debate stage.
Speaker 1: (06:18)
Tulsi Gabbard: (06:20)
Thank you. Donald Trump and warmongering politicians in Washington have failed us. They continue to escalate tensions with other nuclear-armed countries like Russia, and China, and North Korea, starting a new Cold War, pushing us closer and closer to the brink of nuclear catastrophe. Now as we stand here tonight, there are thousands of nuclear missiles pointed at us. And if we were to get an attack right here tonight, you would have 30 minutes, 30 minutes before we were hit.
Tulsi Gabbard: (06:50)
And you would receive an alert like the one we received in Hawaii last year that would say incoming missile. Seek immediate shelter. This is not a drill. Seek immediate shelter. This is not a drill. And you would see as we did, as my loved ones in Hawaii did, there is no shelter. This is the warmongers hoax. There is no shelter. It’s all a lie. As president, I will end this insanity because it doesn’t have to be this way.
Tulsi Gabbard: (07:22)
I will end these wasteful regime change wars. Work to end this new Cold War through the use of diplomacy to deescalate these tensions. And take the trillions of dollars that we’ve been wasting on these wars and on these weapons, and redirect those resources into serving the needs of our people right here at home. Things like healthcare for all, making sure everyone in this country has clean water to drink and clean air to breathe, investing in education, investing in our infrastructure. The needs are great. As your president, I will put your interests above all else.
Speaker 1: (07:55)
Julian Castro: (07:58)
Well, first of all let me say thank you to you, Jake, Dana, and to Don, and to everybody here, and to those watching. This election is all about what kind of nation we’re going to become. You and I, we stand on the shoulders of folks who have made beds and made sacrifices. People that fought in wars, and fought discrimination, folks that pick crops, and stood in picket lines. And they helped build the wonderful nation that we live in today.
Julian Castro: (08:30)
Donald Trump has not been bashful in his cruelty. And I’m not going to be bashful in my common sense and compassion. I believe that we need leadership that understands that we need to move forward as one nation with one destiny. And our destiny in the years to come is to be the smartest, the healthiest, the fairest, and the most prosperous nation on earth. If you want to help me build that America for the future, I hope you’ll go to juliancastro.com. And on January 20th, 2021 we’ll say together, “Adios,” to Donald Trump.
Speaker 1: (09:10)
Andrew Yang: (09:15)
You know what the talking heads couldn’t stop talking about after the last debate? It’s not the fact that I’m somehow number four on this stage in national polling. It was the fact that I wasn’t wearing a tie. Instead of talking about automation and our future, including the fact that we automated away four million manufacturing jobs, hundreds of thousands right here in Michigan. We’re up here with makeup on our faces and our rehearsed attack lines playing roles in this reality TV show. It’s one reason why we elected a reality TV star as our President.
Andrew Yang: (09:47)
We need to be laser focused on solving the real challenges of today, like the fact that the most common job jobs in America may not exist in a decade. Or, that most Americans cannot pay their bills. My flagship proposal, the Freedom Dividend, would put $1,000 a month into the hands of every American adult, be a game changer for millions of American families. If you care more about your family and your kids than my neckwear, enter your zip code at yang2020.com, and see what $1,000 a month would mean to your community. I have done the math. It’s not left. It’s not right. It’s forward. And that is how we’re going to beat Donald Trump in 2020.
Speaker 1: (10:27)
Cory Booker: (10:29)
Thank you. First, I just want to give a lot of thanks to the city of Detroit. They’re hosting us today. And one of the reasons I respect this city is because it has the kind of defiant love that I find in many American cities, including the city of Newark. And Detroit is turning around. And Newark is turning around because we let no one divide us, no one demean or degrade us, or underestimate our worth. We pulled together and fought for common purpose and common cause.
Cory Booker: (10:58)
That’s the history of this city. My mom is sitting there who was born in the city of Detroit, born to a guy that was a UAW worker. My grandfather who pulled his family out of poverty in the Depression. My grandmother joined him. She was really entrepreneurial, opened a pool hall and a laundry mat right here in this city. That is the American dream. And so many of us have stories like that. But the dream of this country is under threat right now.
Cory Booker: (11:27)
Well, my mom’s generation, 80, 95% of baby boomers did better than their parents. It’s now just a coin toss for millennials. We have a real crises in our country. And the crises is Donald Trump, but not only Donald Trump. I have a frustration that sometimes people are saying the only thing they want is to beat Donald Trump. Well, that is the floor, and not the ceiling.
Cory Booker: (11:50)
The way we beat Donald Trump is not just focusing on him. He wants to take all the oxygen out of the room. It’s when we start focusing on each other, and understanding that our common bonds, and our common purpose to address our common pain is what has saved us before. It’s what’s gonna save us now. That is the kind of leader that I am going to be as President of the United States. Not just uniting the Democratic Party, but making sure that we put more indivisible back into this one nation under God. And if you believe like I do, please go to corybooker.com and join the mission.
Speaker 1: (12:30)
Kamala Harris: (12:36)
So in my background as Attorney General of California, I took on the big banks who preyed on the homeowners, many of whom lost their homes and will never be able to buy another. I’ve taken on the for profit colleges who preyed on students, put them out of business. I’ve preyed on transnational criminal organizations that have preyed on women and children. And I will tell you, we have a predator living in the White House.
Kamala Harris: (13:02)
And I’m going to tell you something. Donald Trump has predatory nature and predatory instincts. And the thing about predators is this, by their very nature, they prey on people they perceive to be weak. They prey on people they perceive to be vulnerable. They prey on people who are in need of help, often desperate for help. And predators are cowards. What we need is someone who is going to be on that debate stage with Donald Trump and defeat him by being able to prosecute the case against four more years.
Kamala Harris: (13:40)
And let me tell you, we’ve got a long rap sheet. We’re looking at someone who passed a tax bill benefiting the top 1% and the biggest corporations in this country when he said he would help working families. We’ve got a person who was put babies in cages and separated children from their parents. We have someone who passed his so-called trade policy that was trade policy by tweet and has resulted in a tax on American families.
Kamala Harris: (14:05)
So we must defeat him. And then in turning the page, write the next chapter for our country. And that has to be written in a way that recognizes what wakes people up at three o’clock in the morning. And that is my agenda. The 3:00 AM agenda that is focused on getting folks the jobs they need, getting their children the education they need, making sure they have the healthcare they need, and the future they deserve. So please join me at kamalaharris.org and I thank you for your time.
Speaker 1: (14:35)
Vice President Biden.
Joe Biden: (14:40)
Thank you. Thank you very much. And thank you Mr. Mayor for Detroit hosting this. Look, I’ve said it many times and I think everyone agrees with this. We’re in a battle for the soul of America. This is the most consequential election any one of you no matter how old or young you are has ever, ever participate in. Four more years of Donald Trump will go down as an aberration. Hard to overcome the damage he’s done, but we can overcome it.
Joe Biden: (15:04)
Eight more years of Donald Trump will change America in a fundamental way. The America we know will no longer exist. Everybody knows who Donald Trump is. We have to let them know who we are. We choose science over fiction. We choose hope over fear. We choose unity over division. And we choose. We choose the idea that we can as Americans, when we act together, do anything. This is the United States of America. We’ve acted together. We have never, never, never been unable to overcome whatever the problem was. If you agree with me, go to Joe30330 and help me in this fight. Thank you very much.
Speaker 12: (15:51)
Candidates, thank you so much. Appreciate it. And stay with CNN for spectral coverage of tonight’s debate. Anderson Cooper and Chris Cuomo are coming up that begins right now.
Speaker 13: (16:03)
Night two. The CNN Democratic Debate here in Detroit. Once again, anyone wanting to know what separates Democrats from Donald Trump and what separates those Democrats on that-