Democrats Clash on Health Care, Immigration

10 candidates take stage in first night of debates
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 26, 2019 9:18 PM CDT
First Democratic Debate Kicks Off
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass, speaks at the Democratic primary debate hosted by NBC News at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, Wednesday, June 26, 2019, in Miami,.   (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

The first of two 10-candidate Democratic debates kicked off in Miami at 9pm Eastern Wednesday—and Elizabeth Warren got off to a strong start. The Washington Post reports that the senator was able to go straight to her stump speech when she got the first question of the night, about whether her plans to overhaul the economy are too risky. She argued that "structural change" is necessary. "When you’ve got a government, when you’ve got an economy that does great for those with money, but isn’t doing great for everyone else, that is corruption, pure and simple," she said. More:

  • The AP reports that the first clash of the night was between Beto O'Rourke and Bill de Blasio. The New York City mayor interrupted O'Rourke when the Texan was explaining why he didn't want to fully replace private health insurance with a government-run plan, saying "Private insurance is not working." Warren and de Blasio were the only ones to raise their hands when the candidates were asked if they wanted to abolish private insurance.

  • Jay Inslee was one of the first candidates to slam President Trump, reports the Hill. The Washington governor targeted the president view's on wind power. "Donald Trump is simply wrong. He says they cause cancer. I say they cause jobs."
  • Another flashpoint was immigration. Julian Castro said a heartbreaking photo of a drowned migrant father and daughter should "piss us all off" and "spur us to action." He also clashed with O'Rourke, accusing him of having not done "his homework" on the issue.
  • When asked about equal pay for men and women, Tulsi Gabbard talked about her military service in the National Guard instead, saying her service gave her national security expertise, the Guardian reports.
  • Trump, who said he would watch the debate on Air Force One, weighed in with a one-word tweet: "BORING!" He later attacked NBC for having a "horrible technical breakdown" that delayed the second half of the debate. "Truly unprofessional and only worthy of a FAKE NEWS Organization, which they are!" he tweeted.
  • On gun control, Warren said she would "double down" on research to find out "what really works." Cory Booker, asked his gun buy back plan, said he lived in a neighborhood where he hears gunshots. "It’s not about policy, this is personal," he said. De Blasio spoke about raising a black son and keeping him safe from police.
  • Booker was the only candidate who didn't raise his hand when asked if he would re-sign Obama's nuclear deal with Iran, the AP reports. Asked to explain why, he said that as president, he would do his best "to secure this country." Gabbard slammed Trump and his "chickenhawk Cabinet" for leading the country "to the brink of war with Iran."
  • When the candidates were asked about what the biggest geo-political threat to the US was, Gabbard said it was the threat of nuclear war. John Delaney said it was China and nuclear weapons, and Inslee said it was Trump, USA Today reports.
  • Asked about the climate crisis, Inslee said he would be the only candidate to make it his No. 1 priority. Tim Ryan, asked about carbon mitigation, spoke about "real politics" instead, saying the party is seen as out of touch with working people.
  • Each candidate had a 45-second closing statement, and many of them focused on their personal stories. "Never in a million years did I think I’d stand on a stage like this," Warren said. "When I was a child I didn’t have money to go to college, but I got my chance through community college."
(More Democratic debate stories.)

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