Good evening, and welcome to NPI’s live coverage of the second Democratic presidential debate of the 2020 cycle.
NPI staff are watching and sharing impressions of the debate as it progresses, which will take place over the course of two nights in Detroit, Michigan.
CNN is the media partner for this DNC-sanctioned debate.
Candidates will be given sixty seconds to respond to a moderator-directed question, and thirty seconds for responses and rebuttals.
Colored lights will be used to help the candidates manage their remaining response times: 15 seconds = yellow; 5 seconds = flashing red; no time remaining = solid red.
A candidate attacked by name by another candidate will be given thirty seconds to respond. There will be no show of hands or one-word, down-the-line questions.
A candidate who consistently interrupts will have his or her time reduced. Questions posed by the moderators will appear on the bottom of the screen for television viewers.
Tonight’s lineup of ten candidates is as follows:
- Montana Governor Steve Bullock
- South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg
- Former Maryland U.S. Representative John Delaney
- Former Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper
- Minnesota U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar
- Former Texas U.S. Representative Beto O’Rourke
- Ohio U.S. Representative Tim Ryan
- Vermont U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders
- Massachusetts U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren
- Author Marianne Williamson
Our live coverage begins below.
UPDATE, 5:02 PM (Ruairi): Good evening all, the Democratic debate is beginning in the historic Fox Theatre in Detroit, Michigan. Stay with us for debate commentary and analysis!
UPDATE, 5:08 PM (Ruairi): Jake Tapper is joined by Dana Bash and Don Lemon to moderate the debate between the first set of ten Democratic candidates. First to walk on the stage are Senators Sanders and Warren, followed by Pete Buttigieg and Beto O’Rourke. They are followed by Amy Klobuchar, John Hickenlooper, Tim Ryan, John Delaney, Marianne Williamson, and Steve Bullock.
UPDATE, 5:11 PM (Ruairi): The national anthem is beautifully performed by a local Detroit church choir, led by Pastor Marvin Winans.
UPDATE, 5:14 PM (Andrew): CNN decided to introduce the candidates by their standing in the polls. That meant Sanders and Warren came out first. They exchanged very friendly greetings.
UPDATE, 5:16 PM (Andrew): CNN gives Montana’s Steve Bullock the first word. He’s certainly making a better pitch than John Hickenlooper did the first time around.
UPDATE, 5:17 PM (Andrew): Bullock closed his opening pitch with: “I’m a progressive… emphasis on progress.”
It’s certainly true that, as Sarah Vowell recently noted, he has accomplished a lot with a little in his home state of Montana.
UPDATE, 5:18 PM (Ruairi): Montana’s Governor Steve Bullock is the first to give his opening statement. He decried the “wish list economics” of his rivals and argued that his strong record in a Trump state shows that he can connect to ordinary Americans.
UPDATE, 5:19 PM (Andrew): If John Delaney’s goal was to secure new converts to his cause in this debate, he’s failing. Miserably.
UPDATE, 5:22 PM (Ruairi): Marianne Williamson recalled the abolitionist movement, the suffragette movement and the civil rights movement in her opening statement. She called out the economic obsession with corporate profits as a “false god” in modern society. She claimed that “conventional politics are not part of the solution because conventional politics are part of the problem.”
UPDATE, 5:23 PM (Andrew): Our team at NPI has not forgotten that Tim Ryan previously argued that the key to victory in the 2018 midterms was for Democrats to embrace corporate tax cuts. Background: https://npi.li/26a
UPDATE, 5:24 PM (Andrew): Props to Beto O’Rourke for bringing up the climate crisis. We need to stop dithering and act to halt and reverse climate damage.
UPDATE, 5:25 PM (Andrew): “Our problems did not start with Donald Trump,” @ElizabethWarren astutely notes.
UPDATE, 5:26 PM (Ruairi): John Delaney launched into an attack on “bad policies” like Medicare for All and “free everything,” as he put it. He recalled the failed campaigns of Democrats like McGovern and Dukakis, and argued that he had real solutions, not impossible promises.
UPDATE, 5:27 PM (Andrew): Bernie Sanders is, not surprisingly, emphasizing healthcare and tax fairness in his opening statement. He also mentioned the fossil fuel industry’s destructive impact on the Earth, our common home.
UPDATE, 5:28 PM (Ruairi): Tim Ryan decried America’s “broken economic system” and wants to install “new and better” systems. He launched into a progressive economic message.
UPDATE, 5:29 PM (Andrew): With the opening statements out of the way, CNN has set up an exchange between John Delaney and Bernie Sanders over healthcare.
UPDATE, 5:30 PM (Ruairi): John Hickenlooper, in a somewhat verbally stumbling statement, argued that he could offer pragmatic solutions. He touted his success as a small businessman, and his successes as the Governor of Colorado. He claimed that under his tenure, Colorado had :”the top economy in the country.”
UPDATE, 5:31 PM (Andrew): “We should stop using Republican talking points,” Elizabeth Warren wisely says, jumping into the foray over healthcare.
UPDATE, 5:32 PM (Ruairi): Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota had a simple message; she is from the Midwest, which is where the Democrats need to win back ground from the Republicans. She described her policies as ambitious, but “grounded.”
UPDATE, 5:33 PM (Andrew): Two bad follow-up questions from Jake Tapper, using the Republican talking points Warren just decried. It’s tiresome when debate moderators use right wing framing in a Democratic debate.
UPDATE, 5:33 PM (Ruairi): Beto O’Rourke launched into soaring rhetoric, describing the potential that the USA had. He was the first candidate to mention “endless war” and climate change.
UPDATE, 5:34 PM (Ruairi): Mayor Pete Buttigieg’s statement painted a dark picture of America’s future, with a “horizon of catastrophe” approaching the world’s climate. He wanted to “walk away from the past and do something different.”
UPDATE, 5:35 PM (Andrew): CNN viewers deserve better facilitation than what we’re getting from CNN’s Jake Tapper in this debate.
UPDATE, 5:36 PM (Ruairi): Bernie Sanders gave the stump speech familiar to followers of U.S. politics – economic populism, decrying the homelessness numbers and criticizing the top 1% and major corporations for dodging tax.
UPDATE, 5:38 PM (Andrew): Thank you, Bernie Sanders, for calling out Jake Tapper.
UPDATE, 5:40 PM (Andrew): John Delaney just keeps bombing in this debate.
UPDATE, 5:42 PM (Andrew): “It is time to stop worrying about what the Republicans will say,” Pete Buttigieg says, aptly pointing out that Republicans will throw mud no matter what.
UPDATE, 5:43 PM (Andrew): Elizabeth Warren nods as Bernie Sanders reminds everyone how much insurance companies and drug companies spend on lobbying.
UPDATE, 5:45 PM (Ruairi): The first question to the candidates addressed the subject of healthcare. John Delaney’s criticism of Bernie Sanders’ Medicare for All proposal was used to immediately spark a fierce debate between the idea’s supporters, and moderate candidates. Sanders and Warren defended their plan strongly, while O’Rourke and Buttigieg tried to draw attention to their own specific Medicare plans. Delaney, Bullock, Klobuchar, Williamson and Hickenlooper attacked the plan as unworkable. CNN framed the issue in terms of increased taxes, but Sanders called out the moderators for “using a Republican framework” on the issue.
UPDATE, 5:46 PM (Ruairi): The supporters of Medicare for All clearly had the support of the Fox Theatre audience, where those against the bill were met with stony silence. Pete Buttigieg got a laugh, for pointing out that, no matter what, the GOP will call the Democrats “a bunch of crazy socialists.” When Tim Ryan tried to claim that Bernie Sanders didn’t know what he was talking about, he snapped back to applause, “I do know that, I wrote the damn bill!”
UPDATE, 5:47 PM (Andrew): We’ve come full circle in this conversation on healthcare with Delaney and Sanders sparring again. How about we talk about addressing climate damage now?
UPDATE, 5:47 PM (Ruairi): When John Delaney claimed that the “math is wrong” on Medicare for All, Bernie Sanders accused Delaney of making money off of healthcare bureaucracy, alluding to Delaney’s career in the private sector.
UPDATE, 5:48 PM (Andrew): Pretty smooth answer from Pete Buttigieg on immigration and a nice demonstration of the power of reframing.
UPDATE, 5:51 PM (Ruairi): The second question addressed immigration. Dana Bash asked why Pete Buttigieg’s plan to decriminalize illegal border crossings would not “encourage more illegal immigrants.” Buttigieg and O’Rourke disagree on the issue, but both want to change the situation on the border.
UPDATE, 5:52 PM (Andrew): Warren is hammering home the point of changing our immigration laws so that they can’t be used as a weapon to break up families.
UPDATE, 5:52 PM (Ruairi): Senator Warren argued, “the point is not about criminalization,” but did support the measure. Hickenlooper seemed to lack a plan, saying, “how hard can that be?” Sen. Klobuchar argued that the immigration system needed a reform that gave a path to citizenship.
UPDATE, 5:54 PM (Ruairi): Sen. Sanders argued that he would “end the demonization” of immigrants. He proposed a hemispheric conference to address the problems of the immigrants’ home countries, El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala.
UPDATE, 5:55 PM (Andrew): Bernie Sanders emphasizes the importance of reducing violence and instability in countries like Guatemala, El Salvador, and Nicaragua so that people there don’t have to flee their homes in pursuit of freedom and safety.
UPDATE, 5:56 PM (Ruairi): Governor Bullock indulges in some fear-mongering about the numbers of immigrants coming to the U.S. He claimed that the immigration debate was detached from ordinary Americans’ interests. He clashed with Sen. Warren over which side was playing into Donald Trump’s hands.
UPDATE, 5:57 PM (Andrew): There is a clear divide between the candidates on this stage who want to decriminalize the freedom of movement (like Warren and Buttigieg) and those who want the status quo (like Bullock and Ryan).
UPDATE, 5:58 PM (Ruairi): Tim Ryan said, “if you want to come in the country, you ought to ring the doorbell.” He believed that Sen. Sanders’ plans would encourage illegal immigration, and he argued that the main problem was President Trump, not the current border laws. Sanders responded that, as “healthcare is a human right,” the human beings coming to the border deserved healthcare like everyone else.
UPDATE, 6:00 PM (Ruairi): Pete Buttigieg was asked about what he would do about the epidemic of gun violence in the USA. He pointed out that 90% of Republicans want universal background checks. He subtly brought in his military record, pointing out that the weapons he used overseas had no place in the homeland. Klobuchar loudly disagreed with Buttigieg.
UPDATE, 6:01 PM (Andrew): One thing the CNN moderators are doing a good job of tonight is stopping candidates from jumping in when not called upon and interrupting each other, thereby preventing the debate from turning into a free for all. They’re also enforcing time limits more stringently than the NBC moderators did.
UPDATE, 6:01 PM (Ruairi): John Hickenlooper was the Governor of Colorado when the Aurora cinema massacre happened. He pointed out that his administration managed to implement some gun law reforms. Amy Klobuchar pointed out that a president had to be able to take on the NRA.
UPDATE, 6:03 PM (Ruairi): Buttigieg pointed out that he was in high school when the infamous Columbine Massacre occurred, part of the first mass-shooting generation. He saw the Parkland generation as the second generation. He pledged that there would not be a third.
UPDATE, 6:04 PM (Andrew): Outlining his position on gun violence, Steve Bullock invoked the Koch brothers as he castigated the hold that dark money has on our nation’s capital. Good answer.
UPDATE, 6:04 PM (Ruairi): Steve Bullock argued that gun violence had to be addressed as a “public health issue, not a political issue.” He argued that the true problem in American politics was dark money influencing elections.
UPDATE, 6:06 PM (Ruairi): Beto O’Rourke agreed that dark money over-influenced politics. He wanted to ban political action committees donating to political candidates. Sen. Sanders, who has lost elections in his home state of Vermont over the gun control issues, laid out a set of policies that would tackle gun violence.
UPDATE, 6:09 PM (Ruairi): Buttigieg launched into an argument about the Constitution, arguing that an Amendment was needed to get money out of politics. Steve Bullock pointed out that, if he could reduce PAC spending in Montana, it could be done in Washington D.C. Marianne Williamson pointed out that a number of the politicians on the stage have taken money from large corporations, and called for a Constitutional Amendment to publicly fund elections.
UPDATE, 6:10 PM (Andrew): Prior to the commercial break, the debate segued from talking about gun violence to a discussion about reducing big money’s stranglehold on politics — a topic that moderators working for big media rarely emphasize in debates.
UPDATE, 6:13 PM (Andrew): Debates offer an opportunity for candidates to discuss their views on policy directions and policies with each other and viewers who are watching. Such opportunities get squandered when moderators ask bad questions, like the one that Jake Tapper just posed to John Hickenlooper.
UPDATE, 6:15 PM (Ruairi): The next question addressed the issue of electability. Hickenlooper was asked about his attacks on Sen. Sanders’ socialism. He called Sanders’ policies “a disaster at the ballot box.” He argued that “Donald Trump is malpractice personified,” and that Democrats should focus on simple bread-and-butter issues. Sanders pointed out that his political platform had led him to a place where, in every credible poll, he could beat Donald Trump.
UPDATE, 6:15 PM (Andrew): Did John Hickenlooper forget that Bernie Sanders was once a mayor? Oops.
UPDATE, 6:16 PM (Ruairi): Hickenlooper argued that “you can’t just spring a plan on the world and expect it to succeed!” Sanders pointed out that Medicare was just such a plan, and it has been working for decades. Tim Ryan pointed out that, at this point in the 2016 election, Hillary Clinton was winning in the polls too!
UPDATE, 6:18 PM (Ruairi): Ryan wanted to fight for under-paid working class voters’ issues. Beto O’Rourke didn’t see the neccessitty to over-focus on the industrial Midwest, if he could win Texas. Bullock pointed out that he actually won a Trump state. He wants to win back Trump voters, by focusing on the fact that the economy wasn’t working most people.
UPDATE, 6:19 PM (Ruairi): The CNN moderators took Warren’s assertion that she is a capitalist as an opportunity to drive a wedge between her and her socialist colleague, Bernie Sanders. She didn’t take the bait, pointing out that she wasn’t afraid of what the Republicans say about Democrats.
UPDATE, 6:21 PM (Ruairi): John Delaney wanted to encourage collaboration between the government and the private sector rather than more radical ideas. Warren got a huge cheer for pointing out, “I don’t know why someone would go to the trouble of running for President, just to talk about what we can’t do!”
UPDATE, 6:21 PM (Andrew): John Delaney isn’t scoring any points by trying to pick fights with Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders.
He’s really embarrassing himself.
UPDATE, 6:22 PM (Andrew): Bernie Sanders is correct: Democrats need to articulate a compelling vision and need to engage young people to win in 2020.
UPDATE, 6:23 PM (Ruairi): Delaney argued that his ideas were big, and decried the solutions of Warren and Sanders. Warren pointed out that “we have already tried” to use Delaney’s solutions. She reused the line, “insurance companies do not have the God-given right to suck billions of dollars out of the economy.” Sanders pointed out that beating Trump was no easy task, and argued for a radical grassroots approach to the 2020 elections.
UPDATE, 6:25 PM (Ruairi): Klobuchar pointed out that she won Minnesota with her moderate ideas. O’Rourke pointed to his record in El Paso, turning around the city’struggling VA.
UPDATE, 6:25 PM (Andrew): Jay Inslee’s campaign just sent out a fundraising email noting that the climate crisis is once again getting ignored in the debate. (Inslee is not on stage tonight; he will be tomorrow.) But CNN’s Dana Bash just brought the topic up, giving John Delaney the first chance to respond.
UPDATE, 6:26 PM (Ruairi): Delaney is confronted in the next question with his opposition to the Green New Deal, as the climate crisis looms.
UPDATE, 6:27 PM (Ruairi): Delaney laid out his own plan, which involves sucking carbon out of the atmosphere and encouraging the private sector. Sen. Warren argued her plan encourages innovation, and links her climate plan to the manufacturing industries in the Midwest.
UPDATE, 6:28 PM (Andrew): Elizabeth Warren is doing a great job explaining how we can reduce pollution and create great new jobs at the same time.
UPDATE, 6:29 PM (Ruairi): Hickenlooper called the Green New Deal “a distraction.” He wants to build bridges with countries like China to deal with climate change. Warren argued that her policy was “a real policy on the table,” and the likes of Hickenlooper used Republican talking points and obfuscation.
UPDATE, 6:30 PM (Andrew): Reasonably strong answer from Tim Ryan on creating a stronger clean American manufacturing industry and making our farms more sustainable.
UPDATE, 6:30 PM (Ruairi): Tim Ryan, who represents a huge number of auto workers, is asked about Sen. Sanders plan to reduce gas-powered cars. Ryan wants the United States to dominate the electric car and renewable energy industries. He also wants to strengthen agriculture industry as part of the climate change problem.
UPDATE, 6:32 PM (Ruairi): Sanders argues that the Republicans are not afraid of their big ideas, “so please don’t tell me that we [the Democrats] can’t take on the fossil fuel industry!” Ryan got a chuckle from the audience by saying, “there’s no need to shout, Bernie.”
UPDATE, 6:34 PM (Ruairi): Sanders wants to be “super aggressive” on the issue of the environment. He wants to take on the industry, transform the economy, transform the transportation system, and lead the world on the issue. Steve Bullock pointed out that the GOP does not even recognize the existence of climate damage, bringing back the issue of dark money.
UPDATE, 6:35 PM (Andrew): Workers would not be left behind in a Green New Deal that provides a just and responsible transition to a clean energy economy, Bernie Sanders tells Steve Bullock. (Bullock conveniently neglected to mention his advocacy for the coal industry during his answer.)
UPDATE, 6:35 PM (Ruairi): Bullock was worried that the Democrats risked alienating and demonizing workers in the fossil fuel industry. Sanders argued that his plan would encourage an industry transfer for working class people.
UPDATE, 6:37 PM (Andrew): Props to CNN for finally bringing up the Flint water crisis during this debate and making it the subject of a moderator question.
UPDATE, 6:37 PM (Ruairi): O’Rourke (one of the youngest on stage) pointed out that scientists warn that the U.S. has only ten years to meet the challenge. He wants to “bring everyone in to the solution.” Buttigieg pointed out that the USA will only confront climate change when Donald Trump is out of office. He argued that, as a veteran, he could slam Trump for his draft-dodging.
UPDATE, 6:39 PM (Ruairi): Amy Klobuchar was one of the two candidates asked about the Flint water crisis. She said that she would put a trillion dollars into green infrastructure, and pay for it with a change in the capital gains tax. Marianne Willaimson said that “Flint is just the tip of the iceberg.” She saw the crisis as connected to systems of injustice and racism throughout the U.S.
UPDATE, 6:40 PM (Andrew): Seriously, CNN? That’s all on the Flint water crisis? That’s all? You invoke a hugely important, often unaddressed topic and then ask only two of the ten candidates on the stage to weigh in?
UPDATE, 6:41 PM (Ruairi): The questioners turned to the issue of race, asking how Beto O’Rourke would be able to take on Trump’s obvious racism. O’Rourke brought up Trump’s attacks on Ilhan Omar, his “criminals and rapists” comments, and his attempted Muslim ban. O’Rourke says his home town of El Paso is one of the safest in the USA exactly because of its diverse population.
UPDATE, 6:42 PM (Ruairi): Governor Hickenlooper answered CNN’s race question, offering to introduce an “urban agenda,” talking about police violence and affordable housing.
UPDATE, 6:43 PM (Ruairi): Warren was asked about the rise of white supremacy. She called recent white supremacist attacks “domestic terrorism.” She argued that education was part of the solution, especially her plan to increase Pell Grants for historically black universities, to the applause of the Detroit audience.
UPDATE, 6:45 PM (Ruairi): Buttigieg, asked about his troubling racial record as Mayor, said that”the racial divide lives within me.” He pointed to the many inequalities in U.S. society, and outlined some of his policies to address the issues.
UPDATE, 6:46 PM (Ruairi): Klobuchar was asked about Donald Trump’s racism. She promised that under her presidency, racist attacks from the White House would stop. She argued that her policies would “help everyone,” non-white communities included.
UPDATE, 6:48 PM (Ruairi): O’Rourke was applauded for pointing out that the entire U.S. economy is built on racial injustice. He laid out a detailed, radical plan, which included reparations from slavery.
Williamson supported the idea of reparations saying, “anything under 0 billion is an insult!” She was wildly applauded by the audience.
UPDATE, 6:50 PM (Ruairi): Sanders, who has not expressed support for reparations, was asked about the statistic that 73% of African-Americans support reparations. Sanders responded by outlining his plan to help a wide variety of disadvantaged communities; riffing on Warren, he claimed, “I also have a plan.”
UPDATE, 6:54 PM (Andrew): In many respects, CNN has done a better job organizing this debate than NBC did with theirs.
For instance, there haven’t been any embarrassing audio snafus and the candidates were given the opportunity to discuss a broader range of topics.
UPDATE, 6:55 PM (Ruairi): Tim Ryan was asked about President Trump’s policy of trade tarriffs. Ryan argued that Trump “was on to something” on the issue of China. He linked the degradation of the working class to both the top 1% of Americans AND the Chinese. Ryan argued that he would take a more intelligent approach to confronting China.
UPDATE, 6:58 PM (Ruairi): John Delaney began his argument by supporting the Trans-Pacific Partnership, criticizing Sen. Warren’s criticisms of U.S. trade policy. Warren pointed out that corporations have no loyalty to the American people. She planned to negotiate with corporations, with unionists and activists “at the table.” Delaney (inaccurately) argued, “that was the Trans-Pacific Partnership,” and that Warren’s plan would stop trade with the U.K. and the E.U.
UPDATE, 6:58 PM (Ruairi): Sanders was so infuriated by Delaney’s argument that he began to talk over Warren, but then said, “Oh! I’m sorry!” to his ally in the Senate.
UPDATE, 6:59 PM (Andrew): Another memorable Warren-Delaney exchange, this time on trade. Bernie Sanders is speaking now, backing up Elizabeth Warren one hundred percent.
UPDATE, 7:00 PM (Ruairi): O’Rourke asked, “when have we ever gone to war, even a trade war, without allies?” He wanted to bring the E.U. into the USA’s efforts against China. Sanders said that “Elizabeth is absolutely right” on international trade. He promised to bring corporate greed to heel by refusing to give rapacious corporations government contracts.
UPDATE, 7:01 PM (Ruairi): Warrren pointed out that tarriffs are not the real point of trade deals. Trade deals “have become a way for giant multinationals…to suck more profits out for themselves.”
UPDATE, 7:02 PM (Ruairi): Steve Bullock wanted to ensure that farmers and workers were protected by new trade deals.
UPDATE, 7:02 PM (Andrew): Steve Bullock voiced agreement with Elizabeth Warren when it was his turn to weigh in on trade policy and tariffs, right after Warren put on a clinic about what’s really in the current crop of trade deals.
UPDATE, 7:04 PM (Ruairi): Mayor Buttigieg was asked about his plan to retrain workers for a changing economy. He argued that such industrial changes afftected his own community of South Bend, Indiana. He pointed to his proposal to allow “gig economy” workers to unionize. He quoted the Bible, arguing that “conservative Christian senators” were oppressing the poor.
UPDATE, 7:07 PM (Ruairi): John Delaney would be targeted by Sen. Warren’s wealth tax. He was asked about this and argued that a wealth tax is not the solution, is “arguably unconstitutional”, and promoted a raise on capital gains tax. Warren listed the things her wealth tax could fund: funding preschools and teachers, universal tuition-free college, raise Pell Grants, cancel a huge amount of student loan debt.
UPDATE, 7:08 PM (Andrew): Pete Buttigieg managed to get in a nice dig at Betsy DeVos in his answer on student debt forgiveness.
UPDATE, 7:09 PM (Ruairi): Pete Buttigieg was asked about his own student debt, and Bernie Sanders’ plan to eliminate student debt. He said, “that would be great for us,” but argued that many would be missed by Sanders’ plan. He wanted to target for-profit colleges and predatory lenders.
UPDATE, 7:11 PM (Ruairi): Sanders, asked about Buttigieg’s response, launched into a familiar spiel; “what we need is a political revolution.” Williamson’s plan for free college was framed by CNN as a boon for wealthy kids. She argued that any help for education and college debt would stimulate the U.S. economy. She described her plan as, “using the instruments of government to HELP people!”
UPDATE, 7:12 PM (Andrew): No mention of Puerto Rico so far tonight.
Why’s that, CNN?
UPDATE, 7:12 PM (Ruairi): Instead of free four-year college tuition, Beto O’Rourke’s plan would fully finance (including room and board) two-year degrees. Klobuchar wants to “focus resources on the people who need it most,” and is concerned that “Wall Street kids” would be the ones who benefited from a free college plan.
UPDATE, 7:13 PM (Andrew): “Trump is a pathological liar. I tell the truth.” – Bernie Sanders, swatting down the premise of another lousy moderator question.
UPDATE, 7:14 PM (Ruairi): Sanders went on to argue for a policy that focuses on diplomacy, ending conflict, and working through the United Nations.
UPDATE, 7:15 PM (Ruairi): Hickenlooper recalled mourning with the families of Colorado National Guard members who were killed in action. Tim Ryan was asked about North Korea. He said he would not meet with Kim Jong Un, and said that Amy Klobuchar’s assertion that she would meet with any leader was wrong.
UPDATE, 7:15 PM (Andrew): John Hickenlooper’s answer on foreign policy was one of his strongest tonight.
UPDATE, 7:17 PM (Ruairi): Tim Ryan described diplomacy as “long tedious work,” and described Trump’s foreign policy as flashy and incompetence. Klobuchar described Trump’s foreign policy as the “Go It Alone Doctrine.” She said the U.S. needed to put American issues first, “not the Russians’.”
UPDATE, 7:18 PM (Andrew): One thing the CNN moderators have done reasonably well tonight is making sure that candidates who are itching to comment on a topic (or deliver a follow-up) get called upon in a timely fashion so they don’t feel compelled to interrupt.
UPDATE, 7:19 PM (Ruairi): Asked if he would withdraw U.S. troops from Afghanistan within his first year in office, Pete Buttigieg said “we have to.” He proposed a “three year sunset” on any military intervention abroad. O’Rourke did not commit to withdrawal “in the first year,” but in his first term. He also pointed to troop deployment in Yemen, Somalia, Libya, Iraq and other countries.
UPDATE, 7:20 PM (Ruairi): Hickenlooper believes that pulling troops out of Afghanistan would create “a humanitarian disaster.”
He said “we’re gonna have to be in Afghanistan!”
UPDATE, 7:20 PM (Andrew): Beto O’Rourke and John Hickenlooper clearly differ on what America’s policy should be with respect to our presence in Afghanistan.
UPDATE, 7:22 PM (Ruairi): Warren, who has proposed banning preemptive use of nuclear weapons, was asked why the U.S. should “tie its hands” in that way. She pointed out that such a policy simply makes the world safer. She turned the conversation back to the Endless Wars.
UPDATE, 7:22 PM (Andrew): Elizabeth Warren hit it out of the park in explaining why we need a policy that declares that the United States will not launch a preemptive nuclear strike anywhere, ever. It will make the world safer.
UPDATE, 7:23 PM (Ruairi): Steve Bullock did not want to take attacking a nation with nuclear weapons preemptively “off the table.” Warren pointed out that such a position could never expand trust in the international community; Donald Trump’s nuclear policy has led the world “closer and closer to nuclear war.”
UPDATE, 7:23 PM (Andrew): Senator Warren is doing a great job of explaining how we model the leadership that we want to see in the world on nuclear nonproliferation.
UPDATE, 7:24 PM (Ruairi): Steve Bullock said that he didn’t want to wait until Detroit has been destroyed by a nuclear weapon before deploying weapons of mass destruction.
UPDATE, 7:25 PM (Ruairi): It did not escape CNN’s notice that the youngest candidate, Pete Buttigieg, is standing next to the oldest, Bernie Sanders.
He was asked about the importance of age in politics. He wanted to focus on vision, not age; “you can be a great president, at any age.”
UPDATE, 7:26 PM (Andrew): Pete Buttigieg delivered a powerful admonition to any Republican members of Congress who may be watching the debate about their complicity in enabling Donald Trump. One of his finest moments.
UPDATE, 7:27 PM (Ruairi): Sanders said that “Pete is right, it’s a question of vision.” He then led into a speech on his political priorities, describing them as “a new vision.” Elizabeth Warren seemed keen to speak to the issue, but was unable to get in before the debate went to a break.
UPDATE, 7:28 PM (Andrew): Is CNN going to ask the candidates about pay equity, paycheck fairness, discrimination on the basis of gender identity, or family leave?