Politics

Biden, Buttigieg, Sanders, Harris face off in fiery Dems debate night 2

Race economy were main issues of...

MIAMI, Florida - Democratic divisions over race, age and ideology surged into public view Thursday night as the party’s leading presidential contenders faced off in a fiery debate over who is best positioned to take on President Donald Trump. Here's a look back at the key moments; all times reflected on the timeline are Eastern Time...

10:59 p.m.: The 10 Democrats deliver closing remarks

California Rep. Eric Swalwell: "When I'm not changing diaper, I'm changing Washington. Most of the time, the diapers smell better."

Marianne Williamson: "Mr. President, if you're listening I want you to hear me please. You've harnessed fear for political purposes and only love can cast that out. So I have a feeling you know what you're doing. I'm going to harness love for political purposes. I will meet you on that field, and sir, love will win."

Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet: "I believe we need to build a broad coalition of Americans to beat Donald Trump and build a new era of American democracy and American opportunity."

Former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper: "I'm the one person up here who's actually done the big progressive things everyone else is talking about. If we turn towards socialism we run the risk of helping to re-elect the worst president in American history."

New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand: "Now is not the time to play it safe. Now is not the time to be afraid of firsts. We need a president who will take on the big challenges even if she stands alone."

Andrew Yang: "I am that candidate, I can build a much broader coalition to beat Donald Trump. It is not left, it is not right. It is forward. And that is where I'll take the country in 2020."

California Sen. Kamala Harris: "This is about your hopes and your dreams and your fears and what wakes you up at 3:00 in the morning ... when I think about what our country needs, I promise you I will be a president who leads with a sense of dignity, with honesty, speaking the truth, and giving the American family all that they need to get through the end of the month in a way that allows them to prosper."

South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg: "I'm running because the decisions we make in the next three or four years are going to decide how the next 30 or 40 go. And when I get to the current age of the current president in the year 2055 I want to be able to look back on these years and say my generation delivered climate solutions, racial equality and an end to endless war."

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders: "If we don't have the guts to take them on, we'll continue to have plans, we'll continue to have talk, and rich will get richer and everybody else will be struggling."

Former Vice President Joe Biden: "I think we have to restore the backbone of America, the poor and hardworking middle class people ... we've got to unite the United States of America. If we do, there's not a single thing the American people can't do. This is the United States of America."

10:42 p.m.: Sanders and Swalwell spar over gun control

California Rep. Eric Swalwell, who has made gun violence a cornerstone of his campaign, when asked how he would approach the issue in red states, said, "Keep your pistols and rifles and shotguns, but we can take the most dangerous weapons from the most dangerous people."

"We must be a country who loves our children more than we love our guns," he added.

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders was pressed by the moderators on a 2013 interview he gave, in which he said, "my own view on guns is everything being equal, states should make those decisions."

"That's a mischaracterization," he replied, despite being corrected that it was a quote, before adding, "In 1988, Rachel, when it wasn't popular, I ran on a platform of banning assault weapons."

Sanders added that the United States is facing a "gun crisis" and spoke on his record of pushing for a ban on assault weapons.

Swalwell called out Sanders' plan, saying, "Your plan leaves them on the streets," before pushing Sanders on if he would support a gun buy-back program.

"If the government wants to do that and people want to," Sanders said.

"If you are the government, will you buy them back," Swalwell asked again.

"Yeah," Sanders said.

South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg jumped in on the debate, "This is tearing communities apart. If more guns made us safer, we would be the safest country on Earth. It doesn't work that way."

10:25 p.m: Climate change gets its moment in the spotlight

In the first question on climate change, California Sen. Kamala Harris immediately corrected the moderators, saying, "I don't call it climate change, it’s a climate crisis. It is an existential threat to us as a species. The fact that we have a president who embraced science fiction over science fact is to our collective peril."

She then continued her assault on Trump, adding, "We talked about whether you asked what is the greatest national security threat to the United States, it's Donald Trump. I am going to tell you why. Because I agree. Climate change represents an existential threat. He denies the science."

South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg also weighed in on the issue, pointing to the significance of rural communities to combat climate change: "We have to look at the leadership of local communities. The networks of mayors and cities not waiting for the national governments to catch up. We should have a Pittsburgh summit as well as rejoining the Paris agreement."

Former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper was then asked to defend his position on making oil and gas companies partners in the fights to combat climate change.

"We have to recognize that only by bringing people together, businesses, nonprofits-- We can't demonize every business. If we're not able to do that, we will be doomed to failure. No way of doing this."

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders slammed the "old ways" of approaching climate change.

"The old ways are no longer relevant," he said. "The scientists tell us we have 12 years before there is irreparable damage to the planet."

10:23 p.m.: Sanders says he'll only appoint SCOTUS justices that support Roe v. Wade

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand weighed in on reproductive rights and the landmark Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade after multiple states around the country passed laws seeking to restrict abortion access.

"A woman's right control her own body is a constitutional right," Sanders said. "Government and politicians should not infringe on that right. We will do everything we can to defend Roe vs. Wade."

Sanders said he would have a "litmus test" for nominating Supreme Court justices, saying he would only nominate ones who supported the Roe decision.

"Medicare for all guarantees every woman in this country the right to have an abortion if she wants it," he added.

Gillibrand took the opportunity to take on President Donald Trump.

"Women's reproductive rights are under assault by President Trump and the Republican party," Gillibrand followed up. "We need to stop playing defense and start playing offense."

10:22 p.m.: Michael Bennet condemns the Supreme Court's decision on gerrymandering

After the Supreme Court ruled that the courts can not police partisan gerrymandering, Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet lambasted the decision, "We need end gerrymandering in Washington and the court today said they couldn't do anything about it. We need to overturn Citizens United. The court gave us Citizens United and the attack on voting rights. That's something we need to deal with."

10:03 p.m. Pete Buttigieg talks about race issues in South Bend, Indiana and faced attacks from rivals as the conversation turns to race.

Mayor Pete Buttigieg was faced with questions about a black man who was fatally shot by a white police officer in South Bend, Indiana. The police force is 6% black in a city that is 26% black, and he was asked why that has that not improved over his two terms as mayor.

"Because I couldn't get it done," Buttigieg.

"Until we move policing out from the shadow of systemic racism and whatever this teaches us, there is a wall of mistrust put up one racist act at a time not from what happened in the past, but what happened in the present," he added.

Rep. Eric Swalwell came out swinging at Buttigieg for not firing the officer involved in the shooting.

"You’re mayor, you should fire the chief," Swalwell.

10:03 p.m. Kamala Harris and Joe Biden square off on race.

Sen. Kamala Harris chimed in saying that she wanted to shift the conversation to race, and took the time to come to the defense of former Vice President Joe Biden who has faced recent controversy that he praised his working relationship with two segregationists at a fundraiser.

"I will direct this at vice president Biden, I do not believe you are a racist and I agree with you when you commit yourself to the importance of finding common ground, but I also believe and it's personal and it was hurtful to hear you talk about the reputations of two United States senators who is built their reputations and career on the segregation of race in this country," Harris said.

Biden immediately responded, "It's a mischaracterization of my position across the board. I do not praise racists. That is not true. Number one."

He added, "Number two if we want to have this litigated on who supports civil rights, I'm happy to do that," before hitting back. "I was a public defender. I was not a prosecutor."

The debate turned into more of a scuffle, with Harris invoking Biden's track record on bussing when she asked, "But do you agree today that you were wrong to oppose bussing in America then? Do you agree?"

He replied: "I did not oppose bussing in America."

Harris hit back: "There was a failure of states to integrate public schools in America. I was part of the second class to integrate Berkeley, California public schools almost two decades after Brown v. Board of Education."

Then Biden said: "Because the federal government made that decision."

Harris then replied, to loud applause, "And the federal government must step in and pass the Equality Act and need the pass the ERA. There are moments in history where states fail to preserve the civil rights of all people."

10:02 p.m.: Sen. Bennet gets personal when talking about family separations

Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet invoked his mother, who was separated from her parents during the Holocaust, amid a conversation about family separations.

It was a powerful and personal moment from the Colorado senator, whose mother and grandparents survived the Holocaust in Warsaw, Poland during World War II.

He said: "I would like to answer the other question before this as well. When I see these kids at the border, I see my mom because I know she sees herself. She was separated from her parents for years during the Holocaust in Poland. For Donald Trump to be doing what he is doing to children and their families at the border accident I say to somebody who wrote the immigration bill in 2013 and created a pathway to citizenship for 11 million people in this country and had the most progressive Dream Act that ever has been conceived, much less passed."

10:00 p.m.: Marianne Williamson introduced herself to the American People on the debate stage

As front-running candidates sparred over healthcare insurance and big pharma, Marianne Williamson seized the moment to distinguish herself from the more politically experienced opponents on the stage, arguing that a healthcare system that doesn’t invest in preventative care would be a system of "superficial fixes."

“Ladies and gentlemen, we don't have a health care system in the United States. We have a sickness care system in the United States. We wait until somebody gets sick and talk about who is going pay for the treatment and how they will be treated. What we need to talk about is why so many Americans have unnecessary chronic illnesses compared to other countries,” she said.

9:44 p.m.: Amid the clash over immigration, 2020 Democrats weigh in with harsh words for the Trump adminstration

"I will also immediately put in place a meaningful process for reviewing the cases for asylum and release children from cages and get rid of the private detention centers and ensure that this microphone that the president of the United States holds in her hand is used in a way that is about reflecting the values of our country and not about locking children up, separating them from their parents," California Sen. Kamala Harris said on immigration.

She then launched into an attack on President Trump: "A mother who pays a coyote to transport her child through the entire country of Mexico facing unknown peril to come here, why would that mother do that? I will tell you. Because she has decided for that child to remain where they are is worse. But what does Donald Trump do? He says go back to where you came from. That is not reflective of our America and our values and it's got to end!"

Two candidates, former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper and Marianne Williamsonfollowed Harris, both calling the current state of family separations at the southern border "kidnapping."

9:39 p.m.: Candidates show unity in favor of health care plan covering undocumented immigrants

All 10 candidates on stage raised their hands in support of a health care plan that would offer coverage to undocumented immigrants living in the United States.

"Our country is healthier when everybody is healthier," South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg said.

"You cannot let as the mayor said, people who are sick no matter where they come from and whatever their status go uncovered," Former Vice President Joe Biden added. "It's the humane thing to do."

9:24 p.m. Second round of candidates weigh in on demolishing private insurance and healthcare

The candidates were asked, once again, who would be in favor of demolishing private insurance companies. Sens. Bernie Sanders and Kamala Harris raised their hand in favor.

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand weighed in on her stance on Medicare for all.

"I believe we need to get to universal health care as a right and not a privilege to single payer," said Gillibrand

Mayor Pete Buttigieg followed Kirsten with an attack on Medicare for all.

"Everybody who says Medicare for all and every person in politics who is allows that phrase to escape their lips has a responsibility to explain how you are supposed to get from here to there," Buttigieg said.

Amid debate over Medicare-for-All amongst his rivals, the former vice president turned to the signature issue of his former boss's presidency, the Affordable Care Act.

"This is very personal to me," he began. "The fact is that the quickest fastest way to build it is build on Obamacare and do what we did. Secondly, to make sure that everyone does have an option."

"I'm against any Democrat who takes down Obamacare and any Republican who wants it," he added.

9:21 p.m.: Eric Swalwell focuses his fire on Biden for his age

California Rep. Eric Swalwell delivers the first blow to former Vice President Joe Biden.

"I was 6 years old when a presidential candidate came to the California Democratic convention and said it's time to pass the torch to a new generation of Americans. That Candidate was then-senator Joe Biden," he said. "Joe Biden was right when he said that 32 years ago. He is still right today. If we are going to solve the issue, pass the torch. If we are going to solve climate chaos, pass the torch."

Biden quipped, "I would. I'm still holding on to that torch."

9:19 p.m. Yang makes his introduction to the American people

Entrepreneur Andrew Yang made his case for president focusing on issues with big tech.

"We need to put the American people in the position to benefit from all these innovations and other parts of the economy," Yang said. "We automated away four million manufacturing jobs and we are about to do the same to millions of retail jobs and call center jobs and fast food and truck driver jobs"

9:17 p.m. Mayor Pete Buttigieg is the first candidate of the night to speak Spanish

Kicking off his answer on college affordability, South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg first spoke in Spanish, and then launched into his stance on college affordability: "So college affordability is personal for us. Chasten and I have six-figure student debt. If you can refinance your house, you ought to be able to refinance your debt. I believe in free college for those for whom cost could be a barrier. I just don't believe it makes sense to ask working-class families to subsidize even the children of billionaires."

Swalwell then jumped in, following up to Buttigieg's response, telling the audience, "You can't count on people around when this problem was created to solve it. Will be the 40 million of us who can't start a family and can't buy our first home. This is the generation that will solve student loan debt. This generation is ready to lead."

9:10 p.m. The Democrats take on Trump early

California Sen. Kamala Harris weighed in on the ambitious plans proposed by the sprawling Democratic field, particularly how they will pay for them and turned towards criticizing the current occupant of the White House.

She immediately condemned Republicans and President Donald Trump for passing the GOP tax cuts in 2017, telling the moderators, "I hear that question, but where was that question when the Republicans and Donald Trump passed a tax bill that benefits."

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders also chimed in, when asked about the criticisms of nominating a socialist, he replied, "I think the response is that the polls have us 10 points ahead of Donald Trump because the American people understand that Trump is a phony. Trump is a pathological liar and a racist and that he lied to the American people during his campaign. He said he was going to stand up for working families. Well, President Trump, you are not standing up for working families."

9:07 Joe Biden takes the next question and makes first mention of President Donald Trump

Former Vice President Joe Biden took the second question of the night in which he was asked to explain comments on not wanting to demonize or punish the rich. He was also the first candidate of the night to bring up President Donald Trump.

"What I meant by that is, look, Donald Trump thinks Wall Street built America. Ordinary, middle-class Americans built America," Biden said.

9:05 p.m. The first question of the night goes to Bernie Sanders

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders was first up in the second round of debates, taking a question on taxes for the middle class.

When asked will taxes go up for the middle class in a Sanders' administration, he responded, "People who have healthcare under Medicare for all will have no premiums, no deductibles, no co-payments, no out of pocket expenses, yes, they will pay more in taxes but less in healthcare for what they get."

9:00 p.m. The second debate in Miami kicks off

The second slate of 2020 candidates at the first Democratic debates are taking the stage. Here's the lineup tonight:


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