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 that and please refrain from interrupting your fellow candidates during their allotted time. A candidate infringing on another candidate's time will have his or her time reduced.
We also want to ask our audience inside the historic Fox Theater to remain silent when the candidates are actively debating. The candidates need to be able to hear the questions and hear one another.
BASH: Time, now, for opening statements. You'll each receive one minute.
Governor Steve Bullock, please begin.
I come from a state where a lot of people voted for Donald Trump. Let's not kid ourselves. He will be hard to beat. Yet watching that last debate, folks seemed more concerned about scoring points or outdoing each other with wish-list economics, than making sure Americans know we hear their voices and will help their lives.
Look, I'm a pro-choice, pro-union, populist Democrat who won three elections in a red state. Not by compromising our values, but by getting stuff done. That's how we win back the places we lost: showing up, listening, focusing on the challenges of everyday Americans.
That farmer getting hit right now by Trump's trade wars, that teacher working a second job, just to afford her insulin. They can't wait for a revolution. Their problems are in the here and now.
I’m a progressive, emphasis on progress, and I’m running for president to get stuff done for all those Americans Washington has left behind.
BASH: Marianne Williamson?
In 1776 our founders brought forth on this planet an extraordinary new possibility. It was the idea that people, no matter who they were, would simply have the possibility of thriving. We have not ever totally actualized this ideal. But at the times when we have done best, we have tried. And when forces have opposed them, generations of Americans have risen up and pushed back against those forces.
We did that with abolition and with women's suffrage and with civil rights. And now it is time for a generation of Americans to rise up again, for an amoral economic system has turned short-term profits for huge multi-national corporations into a false god. And this new false god takes precedence over the safety and the health and the well-being of we the American people and the people of the world and the planet on which we live.
Conventional politics will not solve this problem because conventional politics is part of the problem. We the American people must rise up and do what we do best and create a new possibility, say no to what we don't want and yes to what we know can be true.
I'm Marianne Williamson, and that's why I'm running for president.
BASH: Congressman John Delaney?
DELANEY: Folks, we have a choice. We can go down the road that Senator Sanders and Senator Warren want to take us, which is with bad policies like Medicare for all, free everything and impossible promises that will turn off independent voters and get Trump re-elected. That’s what happened with McGovern. That’s what happened with Mondale. That’s what happened with Dukakis. Or we can nominate someone with new ideas to create universal health care for every American with choice, someone who wants to unify our country and grow the economy and create jobs everywhere. And then we win the White House.
I'm the product of the American dream. I believe in it. I'm the grandson of immigrants, the son of a construction worker. My wife April and I have four amazing daughters. I was the youngest CEO in the history of the New York Stock Exchange, created thousands of jobs and then served in Congress. That's the type of background -- and my platform is about real solutions, not impossible promises, that can beat Trump and govern. Thank you.
BASH: Congressman Tim Ryan?
RYAN: America is great, but not everyone can access America's greatness. The systems that were built to lift us up are now suffocating the American people. The economic system that used to create $30, $40, $50 an hour jobs that you can have a good, solid middle-class living now force us to have two or three jobs just to get by.
Most families, when they go to sit at the kitchen table to do their bills, they get a pit in the middle of their stomach. We deserve better. And the political system is broken, too, because the entire conversation is about left or right, where are you at on the political system? And I'm here to say this isn't about left or right. This is about new and better. And it's not about reforming old systems. It's about building new systems.
And tonight, I will offer solutions that are bold, that are realistic and that are a clean break from the past.
BASH: Governor John Hickenlooper?
HICKENLOOPER: Last year Democrats flipped 40 Republican seats in the House, and not one of those 40 Democrats supported the policies of our front-runners at center stage.
Now, I share their progressive values, but I'm a little more pragmatic. I was out of work for two whole years until I started what became the largest brew pub in America. And I learned the small -- small business lessons of how to provide service and teamwork and became a top mayor, and as governor of Colorado created the number one economy in the country.
We also expanded health care and reproductive rights. We attacked climate change head-on. We beat the NRA. We did not build massive government expansions.
Now, some will promise a bill tonight or a plan for tonight. What we focused on was making sure that we got people together to get things done, to provide solutions to problems, to make sure that we -- that we worked together and created jobs. That's how we're going to beat Donald Trump. That's how we're going to win Michigan and the country.
BASH: Senator Amy Klobuchar?
KLOBUCHAR: Let's get real. Tonight we debate, but ultimately, we have to beat Donald Trump. My background, it's a little different than his. I stand before you today as a granddaughter of an iron ore miner, as a daughter of a union teacher and a newspaper man, as the first woman elected to the U.S. Senate from the state of Minnesota and a candidate for president of the United States.
That's because we come from a country of shared dreams, and I have had it with the racist attacks. I have had it with a president that says one thing on TV that has your back and then you get home and you see those charges for prescription drugs and cable and college.
You're going to hear a lot of promises up here, but I'm going to tell you this. Yes, I have bold ideas, but they are grounded in reality. And, yes, I will make some simple promises. I can win this. I'm from the Midwest. And I have won every race, every place, every time. And I will govern with integrity, the integrity worthy of the extraordinary people of this nation.
BASH: Congressman Beto O'Rourke?
O'ROURKE: I'm running for president because I believe that America discovers its greatness at its moments of greatest need. This moment will define us forever, and I believe that in this test America will be redeemed.
In the face of cruelty and fear from a lawless president, we will choose to be the nation that stands up for the human rights of everyone, for the rule of law for everyone, and a democracy that serves everyone. Whatever our differences, we know that, before we are anything else, we are Americans first, and we will ensure that each one of us is well enough and educated enough and paid enough to realize our full potential.
We will meet these challenges here at home, and we will lead the world in those that we face abroad, successfully confronting endless war and climate change. At this moment of truth, let us pursue our national promise and make a more perfect union of everyone, by everyone, and for everyone.
BASH: Mayor Pete Buttigieg?
BUTTIGIEG: I'm running for president because our country is running out of time. It is even bigger than the emergency of the Trump presidency. Ask yourself how somebody like Donald Trump ever gets within cheating distance of the Oval Office in the first place.
It doesn't happen unless America is already in a crisis -- an economy that's not working for everyone, endless war, climate change. We have lived this in my industrial Midwestern hometown. My generation has lived this as long as we have been alive.
And it’s only accelerating. Science tells us we have 12 years before we reach the horizon of catastrophe when it comes to our climate. By 2030, the average house in this country will cost half a million bucks and a women’s right to choose may not even exist.
We are not going to be able to meet this moment by recycling the same arguments, policies, and politicians that have dominated Washington for as long as I have been alive. We've got to summon the courage to walk away from the past and do something different. This is our shot. That is why I'm running for president.
BASH: Senator Elizabeth Warren?
WARREN: Donald Trump disgraces the office of president every single day. And anyone on this stage tonight or tomorrow night would be a far better president. I promise, no matter who our candidate is, I will work my heart out to beat Donald Trump and to elect a Democratic Congress.
But our problems didn't start with Donald Trump. Donald Trump is part of a corrupt, rigged system that has helped the wealthy and the well-connected and kicked dirt in the faces of everyone else.
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. We need to be the party that fights for our democracy and our economy to work for everyone.
You know, I know what's broken in this country, I know how to fix it, and I will fight to make it happen.
BASH: Senator Bernie Sanders?
SANDERS: Tonight in America, as we speak, 87 million Americans are uninsured or underinsured, but the health care industry made $100 billion in profits last year.
Tonight, as we speak, right now, 500,000 Americans are sleeping out on the street, and yet companies like Amazon that made billions in profits did not pay one nickel in federal income tax.
Tonight, half of the American people are living paycheck to paycheck, and yet 49 percent of all new income goes to the top 1 percent.
SANDERS: Tonight, the fossil fuel industry continues to receive hundreds of billions of dollars in subsidies and tax breaks while they destroy this planet. We have got to take on Trump’s racism, his sexism, xenophobia and come together in an unprecedented grassroots movement, to not only defeat Trump but to transform our economy and our government.
TAPPER: Thank you, Senator Sanders.
Let's start the debate with the number-one issue for Democratic voters, health care. And Senator Sanders, let's start with you. You support Medicare for all, which would eventually take private health insurance away from more than 150 million Americans, in exchange for government-sponsored health care for everyone.
Congressman Delaney just referred to it as bad policy. And previously, he has called the idea "political suicide that will just get President Trump re-elected." What do you say to Congressman Delaney?
Right now, we have a dysfunctional health care system: 87 million uninsured or underinsured, $500,000 -- 500,000 Americans every year, going bankrupt because of medical bills, 30,000 people dying while the health care industry makes tens of billions of dollars in profit.
Five minutes away from me and John is a country, it's called Canada. They guarantee health care to every man, woman and child as a human right. They spend half of what we spend. And by the way, when you end up in a hospital in Canada, you come out with no bill at all. Health care is a human right, not a privilege. I believe that, I will fight for that.
TAPPER: Thank you, Senator Sanders.
DELANEY: Well, I'm right about this. We can create a universal health care system to give everyone basic health care for free, and I have a proposal to do it. But we don't have to go around and be the party of subtraction, and telling half the country, who has private health insurance, that their health insurance is illegal.
My dad, the union electrician, loved the health care he got from the IBEW. He would never want someone to take that away. Half of Medicare beneficiaries now have Medicare Advantage, which is private insurance, or supplemental plans. It's also bad policy. It'll underfund the industry, many hospitals will close...
TAPPER: Thank you, Congressman.
DELANEY: ... and it's bad policy.
TAPPER: Senator Sanders, I want to -- I...
WARREN (?): My name was also mentioned in this.
TAPPER: We're going to come to you in one second, but let me go to Senator Sanders right now.
SANDERS: The fact of the matter is, tens of millions of people lose their health insurance every single year when they change jobs or their employer changes that insurance. If you want stability in the health care system, if you want a system which gives you freedom of choice with regard to a doctor or a hospital, which is a system which will not bankrupt you, the answer is to get rid of the profiteering of the drug companies...
TAPPER: Thank you, Senator.
SANDERS: ... and the insurance companies, move to Medicare for all.
TAPPER: Congressman Delaney?
DELANEY: But now he’s talking about a different issue. What I’m talking about is really simple. We should deal with the tragedy of the uninsured and give everyone health care as a right. But why do we got to be the party of taking something away from people?
WARREN: No. No one is the party...
TAPPER: Hold on one second, Senator.
DELANEY: That's what they're running on. They're running on...
DELANEY: ... telling half the country that your health insurance is illegal. It says it right in the bill.
TAPPER: All right, thank you.
DELANEY: We don't have to do that. We can give everyone health care...
DELANEY: ... and allow people to have choice. That's the American way.
TAPPER: Thank you, Congressman.
WARREN: So, look. Let's -- let's be clear about this. We are the Democrats. We are not about trying to take away health care from anyone. That's what the Republicans are trying to do.
And we should stop using Republican talking points in order to talk with each other about how to best provide that health care.
Now, I want to have a chance to tell the story about my friend Ady Barkan. Ady is 35 years old. He has a wife, Rachael, he has a cute little boy named Carl. He also has ALS and it's killing him. Ady has health insurance, good health insurance...
WARREN: ... and it's not nearly enough.
TAPPER: Senator? I want to -- I'm coming right...
WARREN: No, this is important.
TAPPER: ... I'm staying with you, I'm staying with you. But you exceeded your time. So let me just stay with you on Medicare for all.
TAPPER: At the last debate, you said you’re, quote, “with Bernie on Medicare for all.” Now, Senator Sanders has said that people in the middle class will pay more in taxes to help pay for Medicare for all, though that will be offset by the elimination of insurance premiums and other costs. Are you also, quote, “with Bernie” on Medicare for all when it comes to raising taxes on middle-class Americans to pay for it?
WARREN: So giant corporations and billionaires are going to pay more. Middle-class families are going to pay less out of pocket for their health care. And I'd like to finish talking about Ady, the guy who has ALS...
WARREN: This isn’t funny. This is somebody who has health insurance and is dying. And every month, he has about $9,000 in medical bills that his insurance company won’t cover. His wife, Rachael, is on the phone for hours and hours and hours, begging the insurance company, “Please cover what the doctors say he needs.”
He talks about what it's like to go online with thousands of other people to beg friends, family, and strangers for money so he can cover his medical expenses.
The basic profit model of an insurance company is taking as much money as you can in premiums and pay out as little as possible in health care coverage. That is not working for Americans...
WARREN: ... across this country...
TAPPER: Thank you, Senator.
WARREN: Medicare for All will fix that, and that's why I'll fight for it.
TAPPER: Thank you, Senator. Just a point of clarification...
... in 15 extra seconds, would you raise taxes on the middle class to pay for Medicare for All, offset, obviously, by the elimination of insurance premiums, yes or no?
WARREN: Costs will go up for billionaires and go up for corporations. For middle-class families, costs -- total costs -- will go down.
TAPPER: Governor Bullock, I want to bring you in. You do not support Medicare for All. How do you respond to Senator Warren?
BULLOCK: No, health care is so personal to all of us. Never forget when my 12-year-old son had a heart attack within 24 hours of his life. Had to be life-flighted to Salt Lake City. But because we had good insurance, he's here with me tonight.
At the end of the day, I'm not going to support any plan that rips away quality health care from individuals. This is an example of wish list economics. It used to be just Republicans who wanted to repeal and replace. Now many Democrats do, as well. We can get there with a public option, negotiating drug prices, ending...
TAPPER: Thank you, Governor Bullock.
I want to bring in Mayor Buttigieg. On the topic of whether or not the middle class should pay higher taxes in exchange for guaranteed health care and the elimination of insurance premiums, how do you respond, Mayor?
BUTTIGIEG: So we don't have to stand up here speculating about whether the public option will be better or a Medicare for All environment will be better than the corporate options. We can put it to the test.
That's the concept of my Medicare for All Who Want It proposal. That way, if people like me are right that the public alternative is going to be not only more comprehensive, but more affordable than any of the corporate options around there, we'll see Americans walk away from the corporate options into that Medicare option, and it will become Medicare for All without us having to kick anybody off their insurance.
TAPPER: Just 15 seconds on the clarification. You are willing to raise taxes on middle-class Americans in order to have universal coverage with the disappearance of insurance premiums, yes or no?
BUTTIGIEG: I think you can buy into it. That's the idea of Medicare for All Who Want It. Look, this is a distinction without a difference, whether you're paying the same money in the form of taxes or premiums. Look, in this country, if you have health coverage -- if you don't have health coverage, you're paying too much for care, and if you do have health coverage, you're paying too much for care.
TAPPER: Thank you, Mayor Buttigieg. I want to bring in Congressman O'Rourke on the topic of whether the middle class should pay higher taxes in exchange for universal coverage and the elimination of insurance premiums. What's your response?
O'ROURKE: The answer is no. The middle class will not pay more in taxes in order to ensure that every American is guaranteed world-class health care. I think we're being offered a false choice, some who want to improve the Affordable Care Act at the margins, others who want a Medicare for All program that will force people off of private insurance, I have a better path.
Medicare for America. Everyone who is uninsured is enrolled in Medicare tomorrow. Those who are insufficiently insured are enrolled...
O'ROURKE: ... in Medicare...
TAPPER: Just a 15 seconds...
O'ROURKE: And those who have employer-sponsored insurance...
TAPPER: Who is offering -- who is offering a false choice here?
O'ROURKE: Jake, this is important.
TAPPER: Who's offering a false choice here?
O’ROURKE: You have some. Governor Bullock, who’s said that we will improve the Affordable Care Act at the margins with a public option. You have others to my right who are talking about taking away people’s choice for the private insurance they have or members of unions. I was listening to Dee Taylor in Nevada...
TAPPER: Thank you, Congressman. Governor Bullock...
TAPPER: ... he just said you're offering a false choice, sir.
BULLOCK: Congressman, not at all. You know, it took us decades and false starts to get the Affordable Care Act. So let's actually build on it. A public option, allowing anyone to buy in.
You know, we pay more for prescription drugs than any place actually in the world. We got nothing to show for it. Negotiate prescription drug prices. End surprise medical billing. That's the way that we can get there without disrupting the lives of 160 million people that like their employer-sponsored health insurance.
TAPPER: Congressman O’Rourke, you can respond. Congressman O’Rourke, you can respond.
O'ROURKE: Every estimate that I've seen of expanding ACA even through a public option still leaves millions of people uninsured and also means that people are not guaranteed the health care that they need, as the example that Senator Warren showed us.
Our plan ensures that everyone is enrolled in Medicare or can keep their employer-sponsored insurance. When we listen to the American people -- and this is what they want us to do -- they want everyone covered, but they want to be able to maintain choice...
TAPPER: Thank you, Congressman.
O'ROURKE: ... and our plan does that.
TAPPER: Thank you, Congressman. I want to bring in Senator Klobuchar.
Senator Warren at the beginning of the night said that Democrats cannot bring -- cannot win the White House with small ideas and spinelessness. In the last debate, she said the politicians who are not supporting Medicare for All simply lack the will to fight for it. You do not support Medicare for All. Is Senator Warren correct? Do you just not lack the will to fight for it?
KLOBUCHAR: That is incorrect. I just have a better way to do this. And in one of my first debates, Jake, I was called a street fighter from the iron range by my opponent. And when she said it, I said thank you.
So this is what I think we need to get done. We need the public option. That's what Barack Obama wanted, and it would bring health care costs down for everyone.
And by the way, I just don't buy this. I've heard some of these candidates say that it's somehow not moral if you -- not moral to not have that public option. Well, Senator Sanders was actually on a public option bill last year, and that was, Bernie, the Medicaid public option bill that Senator Schatz introduced.
Clearly, this is the easiest way to move forward quickly, and I want to get things done. People can't wait. I've got my friend, Nicole, out there whose son was actually died trying to ration his insulin as a restaurant manager. And he died because he didn't have enough money to pay for it.
KLOBUCHAR: And Bernie and I have worked on pharmaceutical issues together.
TAPPER: Thank you, Senator.
KLOBUCHAR: We can get less expensive drugs.
TAPPER: Senator Sanders -- I'm going to go to Senator Sanders, then Senator Warren, because you both were mentioned. Senator Sanders?
SANDERS: As the author -- as the author of the Medicare bill, let me clear up one thing. As people talk about having insurance, there are millions of people who have insurance, they can't go to the doctor, and when they come out of the hospital, they go bankrupt. All right?
What I am talking about and others up here are talking about is no deductibles and no co-payments. And, Jake, your question is a Republican talking point. At the end of the day...
And by the way -- and by the way -- by the way -- the health care industry will be advertising tonight on this program.
TAPPER: Thank you, Senator. Senator Warren, it's your turn.
SANDERS: Oh, can I complete that, please?
TAPPER: Your time is up. Thirty seconds.
SANDERS: They will be advertising tonight with that talking point.
WARREN: So we have to think of this in terms of the big frame. What's the problem in Washington? It works great for the wealthy. It works great for those who can hire armies of lobbyists and lawyers. And it keeps working great for the insurance companies and the drug companies.
What it's going to take is real courage to fight back against them. These insurance companies do not have a God-given right to make $23 billion in profits and suck it out of our health care system.
TAPPER: Thank you, Senator.
WARREN: They do not have a God-given right...
TAPPER: Thank you, Senator.
KLOBUCHAR: On page eight of the bill it says...
TAPPER: I want to let Congressman Delaney in.
TAPPER: Thank you, Senator. If we could all just stick to the rules of the time, that would be great. Congressman Delaney?
DELANEY: So I was -- I'm the only one on this stage who actually has experience in the health care business. And with all due respect, I don't think my colleagues understand the business. We have the public option, which is great.
SANDERS: It's not a business!
DELANEY: The public option is great, but it doesn't go far enough. It doesn't go far enough. I'm proposing universal health care, where everyone gets health care as a basic human right for free, but they have choices. My plan, BetterCare, is fully paid for without raising middle class tax options. So when we think about this debate...
TAPPER: Thank you, Congressman.
DELANEY: There's Medicare for All, which is extreme...
TAPPER: Thank you, Congressman.
DELANEY: I was interrupted.
TAPPER: I want to bring in -- I want to bring in Governor Hickenlooper. Governor Hickenlooper, I'd like to hear what you say about Senator Warren's suggestion that those people on the stage who are not in favor of Medicare for All lack the political will to fight for it.
HICKENLOOPER: Well, obviously, I disagree with that as much as I respect both of the senators to my right. You know, it comes down to that question of Americans being used to being able to make choices, to have the right to make a decision. And I think proposing a public option that allows some form of Medicare that maybe is a combination of Medicare Advantage and Medicare, but people choose it, and if enough people choose it, it expands, the quality improves, the cost comes down, more people choose it, eventually, in 15 years, you could get there, but it would be an evolution, not a revolution.
TAPPER: Thank you, Governor. Senator Warren?
WARREN: ... we have tried this experiment with the insurance companies. And what they've done is they've sucked billions of dollars out of our health care system. And they force people to have to fight to try to get the health care coverage that their doctors and nurses say that they need.
Why does everybody -- why does every doctor, why does every hospital have to fill out so many complicated forms? It's because it gives insurance companies a chance to say no and to push that cost back on the patients.
TAPPER: Thank you, Senator Warren.
WARREN: That's what we have to fight.
TAPPER: I want to bring in Marianne Williamson. Ms. Williamson, how do you respond to the criticism from Senator Warren that you’re not willing to fight for Medicare for All?
WILLIAMSON: I don't know if Senator Warren said that about me specifically. I admire very much what Senator Warren has said and what Bernie has said.
But I have to say, I have -- I'm normally way over there with Bernie and Elizabeth on this one. I hear the others. And I have some concern about that, as well. And I do have concern about what the Republicans would say. And that's not just a Republican talking point. I do have concern that it will be difficult. I have concern that it will make it harder to win, and I have a concern that it'll make it harder to govern. Because if that's our big fight, then --
TAPPER: Thank you Ms. Williamson.
WILLIAMSON: The Republicans will so shut us down on everything else.
TAPPER: I want to bring in Mayor Buttigieg -- Mayor Buttigieg, your response?
BUTTIGIEG: It is time to stop worrying about what the Republicans will say. Look, if --
If it's true that if we embrace a far-left agenda they're going to say we're a bunch of crazy socialists. If we embrace a conservative agenda, you know what they're going to do? They're going to say we're a bunch of crazy socialists.
So let's just stand up for the right policy, go out there and defend it. That's the policy I'm putting forward, not because I think it's the right triangulation between Republicans here and Democrats there -- because I think it's the right answer for people like my mother-in-law who is here -- whose life was saved by the ACA, but who is still far too vulnerable to the fact that the insurance industry does not care about her --
TAPPER: Thank you Mayor Buttigieg, Senator Sanders your response?
SANDERS: Let's be clear what this debate is about. Nobody can defend the dysfunctionality of the current system. What we are taking on is the fact that over the last 20 years the drug companies and the insurance companies have spent $4.5 billion of your health insurance money on lobbying and campaign contributions.
That is why when I went to Canada the other day, people paid one-tenth the price in Canada for insulin that they're paying in the United States --
TAPPER: Thank you Senator. I want to bring in Congressman Tim Ryan, Congressman Ryan your response?
RYAN: So here we are in Detroit, home of the United Auto workers. We have all our union friends here tonight. This plan that's being offered by Senator Warren and Senator Sanders will tell those Union members who gave away wages in order to get good healthcare that they're going to lose their healthcare because Washington's going to come in and tell them they got a better plan.
This is the left and right thing -- new and better is this, move Medicare down to 50. Allow people to buy-in, Kaiser Permanente said that if they -- those 60 million people do that, they will see --
TAPPER: Thank you Congressman.
RYAN: A 40 percent reduction --
TAPPER: Thank you Congressman.
RYAN: In their healthcare cost, let businesses buy-in, Jake --
TAPPER: Thank you Congressman. So Senator, let's talk about that. If Medicare for all is enacted, there are more than 600,000 union members here in Michigan who would be forced to give up their private healthcare plans.
Now, I understand that it would provide universal coverage -- but, can you guarantee those union members that the benefits under Medicare for all will be as good as the benefits that they're representatives -- their union reps fought hard to negotiate?
SANDERS: Well two things, they will be better because Medicare for all is comprehensive -- it covers all healthcare needs. For senior citizens it will finally include dental care, hearing aids and eyeglasses.
RYAN: But you don't know that -- you don't know that, Bernie.
SANDERS: Second of all --
TAPPER: I'll come to you in a second, Congressman.
SANDERS: I do know it, I wrote the damn bill. And second of all, second of all -- many of our union brothers and sisters, nobody more pro-union than me up here, are now paying high deductibles and copayments when we do Medicare for all, instead of having the company putting money in to healthcare, they can get decent wage increases, which they're not getting today.
TAPPER: I want to bring in Congressman Ryan to respond to what Senator Sanders just said.
RYAN: I mean, Senator Sanders does not know all of the union contracts in the United States. I'm trying to explain that these union members are losing their jobs, their wages have been stagnant, the world is crumbling around them -- the only thing they have is possibly really good healthcare.
And the Democratic message is going to be, we're going to go in and the only thing you have left we're going to take it and we're going to do better. I do not think that's a recipe for success for us, it's bad policy and it's certainly bad politics.
TAPPER: Congressman Delaney.
DELANEY: So the bill that Senator Sanders drafted, by definition will lower quality in healthcare, because it says specifically that the rates will be the same as current Medicare rates. And the data is clear, Medicare does not cover the cost of healthcare, it covers 80 percent of the costs of healthcare in this country.
And private insurance covers 120 percent, so if you start underpaying all the healthcare providers, you're going to create a two tier market where wealthy people buy their healthcare with cash, and the people who are forced -- like my dad, the union electrician --
TAPPER: Thank you Congressman.
DELANEY: Will have that healthcare plan taken away from him --
TAPPER: Thank you Congressman --
DELANEY: They will be forced into an underfunded system.
TAPPER: I want to give Senator Sanders -- I want to give Senator Sanders a chance to respond.
SANDERS: On the Medicare for all, the hospitals will save substantial sums of money because they're not going to be spending a fortune doing billing and the other bureaucratic things that they have to do today.
DELANEY: I've done the math, it doesn't add up.
SANDERS: Maybe you did that and made money off of healthcare, but our job is to run a nonprofit healthcare system. Furthermore -- furthermore, when we say $500 billion a year by ending all of the incredible complexities that are driving every American crazy trying to deal with the health insurance companies --
TAPPER: Thank you Senator.
SANDERS: Hospitals will be better off than they are today.
TAPPER: Congressman Delaney, I want to let you have a chance to respond.
DELANEY: Listen, his math is wrong. That's all I'm saying -- that his math is wrong, it's been well-documented that if all the bills were paid at Medicare rate, which is specifically -- I think it's in section 1,200 of their bill, then many hospitals in this country would close.
I've been going around rural America, and I ask rural hospital administrators one question, "If all your bills were paid at the Medicare rate last year, what would happen?"
And they all look at me and say, "We would close."
But the question is, why do we have to be so extreme? Why can't we just give everyone health care as a right, and allow them to have choice?
BASH: Thank you, Congressman.
DELANEY: I'm starting to think this is not about health care...
BASH: Thank you, Congressman...
DELANEY: This is an anti-private-sector...
BASH: Thank you Congressman. We're going to move on.
BASH: We're going to move on to the issue of immigration now. There is...
... widespread agreement on this stage on the need for immigration reform, a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, including dreamers. But there are some areas of disagreement.
Mayor Buttigieg, you're in favor of getting rid of the law that makes it a crime to come across the U.S. border illegally. Why won't that just encourage more illegal immigration?
BUTTIGIEG: When I am president, illegally crossing the border will still be illegal. We can argue over the finer points of which parts of this ought to be handled by civil law and which parts ought to be handled by criminal law. But we've got a crisis on our hands. And it's not just a crisis of immigration; it's a crisis of cruelty and incompetence that has created a humanitarian disaster on our southern border. It is a stain on the United States of America.
Americans want comprehensive immigration reform. And frankly, we've been talking about the same framework for my entire adult lifetime, protections for DREAMers; making sure that -- that we have a pathway to citizenship for the undocumented; cleaning up lawful immigration.
We know what to do. We know that border security can be part of that package and we can still be a nation of laws. The problem is we haven't had the will to get it done in Washington. And now we have a president who could fix it in a month, because there is that bipartisan agreement, but he needs it to be a crisis rather than an achievement. That will end on my watch.
BASH: But just a point of clarification, you did raise your hand in the last debate. You do want to decriminalize crossing the border illegally?
BUTTIGIEG: So in my view, if fraud is involved, then that's suitable for the criminal statute. If not, then it should be handled under civil law. But these show of hands are exactly what is wrong with the way that this race is being covered.
BASH: Well, we're not -- we're not doing that here.
BUTTIGIEG: And we appreciate that.
BASH: Congressman -- thank you. Congressman...
... O'Rourke, you live near the U.S.-Mexico border in El Paso. You disagree with Mayor Buttigieg on decriminalizing the border crossings. Please respond.
O'ROURKE: I do, because, in my administration, after we have waived citizenship fees for green card holders, more than 9 million of our fellow Americans; freed DREAMers from any fear of deportation; and stopped criminally prosecuting families and children for seeking asylum and refuge; end for-profit detention in this country; and then assist...
... those countries in Central America so that no family ever has to make that 2,000-mile journey, than I expect that people who come here follow our laws, and we reserve the right to criminally prosecute them if they do not.
BASH: Thank you, Congressman.
Senator Warren, you say the provision making illegal border crossings a crime is totally unnecessary. Please respond.
WARREN: So the problem is that, right now, the criminalization statute is what gives Donald Trump the ability to take children away from their parents. It's what gives him the ability to lock up people at our borders.
We need to continue to have border security, and we can do that, but what we can't do is not live our values. I've been down to the border. I have seen the mothers. I have seen the cages of babies. We must be a country that every day lives our values. And that means we cannot...
BASH: Thank you, Senator Warren.
WARREN: ... make it a crime...
WARREN: ... when someone...
BASH: Thank you, Senator. Just to clarify, would you decriminalize...
BASH: ... illegal border crossings?
WARREN: The point is not about criminalization. That has given Donald Trump the tool to break families apart.
BASH: Thank you, Senator.
BASH: Governor Hickenlooper, your response?
HICKENLOOPER: I agree that we need secure borders. There's no question about that. And the frustration with what's going on in Washington is they're kicking the ball back and forth. Secure the borders, make sure whatever law we have doesn't allow children to be snatched from their parents and put in cages. How hard can that be?
We've got -- I don't know -- on the two debate nights, we've got 170 years of Washington experience. Somehow it seems like that should be fairly fixable.
WARREN: Well, and one way to fix it is to decriminalize. That's the whole point. What we're...
... looking for here is a way to take away the tool that Donald Trump has used...
BASH: Thank you, Senator Warren.
WARREN: ... to break up families.
BASH: Thank you, Senator Warren. Senator Klobuchar, your response?
KLOBUCHAR: I would say there is the will to change this in Congress. What's missing is the right person in the White House. I believe that immigrants don't diminish America; they are America. And if you want to do something...
... about border security, you first of all change the rules so people can seek asylum in those Northern Triangle countries.
Then, you pass the bill. And what the bill will do is, it will greatly reduce the deficit and give us some money for border security and for border processing the cases. And most of all, it will allow for a path to citizenship.
Because this is not just about the border...
KLOBUCHAR: ... Donald Trump wants to use these people as political pawns, when we have people...
BASH: Thank you, Senator Klobuchar.
KLOBUCHAR: ... all over our country that simply want to work...
KLOBUCHAR: ... and obey the law.
BASH: Senator Sanders, you want to provide undocumented immigrants free health care and free college. Why won't this drive even more people to come to the U.S. illegally?
SANDERS: Because we’ll have strong border protections. But the main point I want to make is that what Trump is doing through his racism and his xenophobia, is demonizing a group of people. And as president, I will end that demonization.
If a mother and a child walk thousands of miles on a dangerous path, in my view, they are not criminals.
They are people fleeing violence. And I think the main thing that we’ve got to do -- among many others, and Beto made this point -- we’ve got to ask ourselves, “Why are people walking 2,000 miles to a strange country where they don’t know the language?”
So what we will do, the first week we are in the White House, is bring the entire hemisphere together to talk about how we rebuild Honduras...
SANDERS: ... Guatemala and El Salvador so people do not have to flee their own countries.
BASH: Thank you, Senator.
Governor Bullock, about two-thirds of Democratic voters and many of your rivals here for the nomination, support giving health insurance to undocumented immigrants. You haven't gone that far. Why not?
BULLOCK: Look, I think this is the part of the discussion that shows how often these debates are detached from people's lives. We've got 100,000 people showing up at the border right now. If we decriminalize entry, if we give health care to everyone, we'll have multiples of that. Don't take my word, that was President Obama's Homeland Security secretary that said that.
The biggest problem right now that we have with immigration, it's Donald Trump. He's using immigration to not only rip apart families, but rip apart this country. We can actually get to the point where we have safe borders, where we have a path to citizenship, where we have opportunities for Dreamers.
And you don't have to decriminalize everything. What you have to do is have a president in there with the judgment and the decency to treat someone that comes to the border like one of our own.
WARREN: You know, I just wanted to...
WARREN: ... add on this...
BASH: ... he just said your plan in unrealistic. How do you respond?
WARREN: You know, I think that what we have to do, is we have to be an America that is clear about what we want to do with immigration. We need to expand legal immigration. We need to create a path for citizenship, not just for Dreamers but for grandmas and for people who have been working here in the farms and for students who have overstayed their visas...
... we need to fix the crisis at the border. And a big part of how we do that, is we do not play into Donald Trump's hands.
WARREN: He wants to stir up the crisis at the border because that's his overall message. It's -- if there's anything wrong in your life, blame them.
BASH: Thank you, Senator Warren.
Governor Bullock, your response?
BULLOCK: But you are playing into Donald Trump's hands. The challenge isn't that it's a criminal offense to cross the border. The challenge is that Donald Trump is president, and using this to rip families apart.
A sane immigration system needs a sane leader. And we can do that without decriminalizing and providing health care for everyone.
And it's not me saying that, that's Obama's Homeland Security secretary...
BULLOCK: ... that said you'll cause further problems at the border, not making it better.
WARREN: What -- what you're saying is ignore the law. Laws matter. And it matters if we say our law is that we will lock people up who come here, seeking refuge, who come here, seeking asylum, that is not a crime. And as Americans, what we need to do is have a sane system that keeps us safe at the border, but does not criminalize the activity...
BASH: Thank you, Senator Warren.
WARREN: ... of a mother fleeing here for safety.
BULLOCK: Dana, I must correct the record
BASH: Congressman Ryan, are Senator Sanders’ proposals going to incentivize undocumented immigrants to come into this country illegally?
RYAN: Yes. And right now, if you want to come into the country, you should at least ring the doorbell. We have asylum laws. I saw the kids up in Grand Rapids, not far from here. It is shameful what's happening. But Donald Trump is doing it.
And even if you decriminalize, which we should not do, you still have statutory authority. The president could still use his authority to separate families. So we've got to get rid of Donald Trump. But you don't decriminalize people just walking into the United States. If they're seeking asylum, of course, we want to welcome them. We're a strong enough country to be able to welcome them.
And as far as the healthcare goes, undocumented people can buy healthcare too. I mean everyone else in America is paying for their healthcare. I think - I don't think it's a stretch for us to ask undocumented people in the country to also pay for healthcare.
BASH: Senator Sanders, your response?
SANDERS: Well, I have two things. A sane immigration policy moves the comprehensive immigration reform. It moves to a humane border policy, and which, by the way, we have enough administrative judges, so that we don’t have incredible backlogs that we have right now.
But to your answer your question, I happen to believe that when I talk about healthcare as a human right that applies to all people in this country, and under a Medicare for All single payer system, we could afford to do that.
BASH: Senator Sanders, thank you. And Ms. Williamson, your response?
WILLIAMSON: Everything that we're talking about here tonight is what's wrong with American politics, and the Democratic Party needs to understand that we should be the party that talks, not just about symptoms, but also about causes. When it - when we're talking about healthcare, we need to talk about more than just the healthcare plan.
We need to realize, we have a sickness care rather than a healthcare system. We need to be the party talking about why so many of our chemical policies and our food policies and our agricultural policies and our environment policies and even our economic policies are leading to people sick to begin with.
WILLIAMSON: That's what the democratic -- but I want to say more --
LEMON: Thank you, Ms. Williamson.
WILLIAMSON: -- about. OK.
LEMON: Thank you, Ms. Williamson.
WILLIAMSON: I hope you’ll come back to me this time.
LEMON: Go ahead. Thank you, Ms. Williamson. Let’s turn now to the issue of gun violence. There were three large-scale shootings this past week in America, at a park in Brooklyn, on the streets on Philadelphia and one that left three dead and 12 injured at a food festival in Gilroy, California. Governor - excuse me, Mayor Buttigieg, other than offering words of comfort, what’re you specially going to do to stop this epidemic of gun violence?
BUTTIGIEG: Well, this epidemic of gun violence has hit my community too, far too many times. It’s the worst part of being there, getting the phone call, consoling, grieving parents. And we have a mass shooting’s worth of killings everyday in this country. What we’re doing hasn’t worked because we haven’t had a system in Washington capable of delivering what the American people have told us they want.
Eighty, 90 percent of Republicans want universal background checks, not to mention the common sense solutions like red flag laws that disarmed domestic abusers and flag mental health risks and an end to assault weapons, things like what I carried overseas in uniform, that have no business in American neighbors in peace time, let alone anywhere near a school.
I was at an event a few days ago, and a 13-year-old asked me what we’re going to do about school safety, and then began shaking and then began crying. And we can talk about these policies, but we already know the policies. I only thing I could think of, looking into the eyes of this child, is we’re supposed to be dealing with this so you don’t have to. High school is hard enough, without having to worry about whether you’re going to get shot.
BUTTIGIEG: And when 90 percent of Americans want something to happen --
BUTTIGIEG: -- and Washington --
LEMON: Thank you, Mayor. Thank you, Mayor. Governor Hickenlooper, your response please?
KLOBUCHAR: I disagree - I disagree with his diagnosis of the problem.
LEMON: Please standby, Senator.
LEMON: Please stick to the rules. We'll get to you - we'll come to you in a just a minute. Governor Hickenlooper, please respond.
HICKENLOOPER: Well, this is the fundamental nonsense of government, another thing - another place where, despite our best efforts, we can't seem to make any progress. You know, when I went to the - to the movie theater in Aurora in 2012, and saw that footage of what happened at that crime scene, I'll never forget it.
And we decided, you know, that we were going to go out and take on the NRA, and we passed as a purple state. We passed universal background checks. We limited magazine capacity. We did the basic work that for whatever reason doesn't seem to be able to get done in Washington.
LEMON: Thank you, Governor. Senator Klobuchar, please respond.
KLOBUCHAR: Yes, this isn’t just about a system, or it’s not just about words. This is about the NRA. I sat across from the president of the United States after Parkland, because I’ve been a leader on these issues and have the will to close to a boyfriend loophole.
And I watched and wrote down when, nine times, he said he wanted universal background checks. The next day, he goes and he meets with the NRA, and he folds. As your president, I will not fold. I will make sure that we get universal background checks passed, the assault weapon ban, that we do something about magazines, and that we understand when 6 little - little 6-year-old boy died, Stephen Romero, when his dad said he’s only 6 years old, all I can -
LEMON: Thank you, Senator.
KLOBUCHAR: - say is he's 6 years old.
LEMON: Mayor Buttigieg, please respond.
KLOBUCHAR: We have to remember that.
BUTTIGIEG: This is the exact same conversation we’ve been having since - since I was in high school. I was a junior when the Columbine shooting happened. I was part of the first generation that saw routine school shootings. We have now produced the second school shooting generation in this country. We better not allow there to be a third. Something is broken if it is even possible for the same debate around the same solutions that we all know are the right thing to do. They won’t prevent every incident. They won’t save every life. But we know what to do, and it has not happened.
LEMON: Thank you, Mayor. Senator Klobuchar, please respond.
KLOBUCHAR: Yes. What is broken is a political system that allows the NRA and other large, big money to come in and make things not happen when the majority of people are for. The people are with us now.
After Parkland, those students just didn’t march. They talked to their dads and their grandpas and the hunters in their family, and they said there must be a better way. Then we elected people in the House of Representatives. And guess what? It changed, and they passed universal background checks. And now that bill is sitting on Mitch McConnell’s doorstep because of the money and the power of the NRA. As president, I will take them on.
LEMON: Thank you, Senator.
KLOBUCHAR: This is not about systems and words.
LEMON: Thank you, Senator Klobuchar.
Governor Bullock, how can Democrats trust you to be the leader on this fight for gun safety when you only changed your position to call for an assault weapons ban last summer?
BULLOCK: You know, like 40 percent of American households, I’m a gun-owner. I hunt. Like far too many people in America, I’ve been personally impacted by gun violence. Had an 11-year-old nephew, Jeremy, shot and killed on a playground.
We need to start looking at this as a public health issue, not a political issue. I agree with Senator Klobuchar. It is the NRA. And it's not just gun violence. It's when we talked about climate, when we talk about prescription drug costs, Washington, D.C., is captured by dark money, the Koch brothers, and others.
That's been the fight of my career. Kicking the Koch brothers out of Montana, taking the first case after Citizens United up to the Supreme Court, making it so that elections are about people. That's the way we're actually going to make a change on this, Don, is by changing that system. And most of the things that folks are talking about on this stage we're not going to address until we kick dark money and the post-Citizens United corporate spending out of these elections.
LEMON: Congressman O'Rourke, your response?
O'ROURKE: How else can we explain that we lose nearly 40,000 people in this country to gun violence, a number that no other country comes even close to, that we know what all the solutions are, and yet nothing has changed? It is because, in this country, money buys influence, access, and, increasingly, outcomes.
The Centers for Disease Control prevented from actually studying the issue in the first place. As president, we will make sure that we ban political action committee contributions to any member of Congress or any candidate for federal office. We will listen to people, not PACs, people, not corporations, people, not special interests.
LEMON: Congressman, thank you very much.
Senator Sanders, you said this in 2013, just months after the Sandy Hook massacre, and I quote here: "If you pass the strongest gun control legislation tomorrow, I don't think it will have a profound effect on the tragedies we have seen." Do you still agree with that statement today?
SANDERS: I think we have got to do -- I think what I meant is what President Obama said, in that nobody up here is going to tell you that we have a magical solution to the crisis.
Now, I come from one of the most rural states in America. I have a D-minus voting record from the NRA. And as president I suspect it will be an F record. What I believe we have got to do is have the guts to finally take on the NRA.
You asked me about my record. Back in 1988, coming from a state that had no gun control, I called for the ban of the sale and distribution of assault weapons. I lost that election. I will do everything I can not only to take on the NRA, but to expand and create universal background checks, do away with the strawman provision, do away with the gun show loophole, and do away with the loopholes that now exist for gun manufacturers who are selling large amounts of weapons into communities that are going to gangs.
LEMON: Yeah. Mayor Buttigieg, your response.
BUTTIGIEG: Still the conversation that we've been having for the last 20 years. Of course we need to get money out of politics. But when I propose the actual structural democratic reforms that might make a difference, end the Electoral College, amend the Constitution, if necessary, to clear up Citizens United, have D.C. actually be a state, and depoliticize the Supreme Court with structural reform, people look at me funny, as if this country were incapable of structural reform.
Does anybody really think we're going to overtake Citizens United without constitutional action? This is a country that once changed its Constitution so you couldn't drink and then changed it back because we changed our minds about that.
LEMON: Thank you. Thank you, Mayor.
BUTTIGIEG: And you're telling me we can't reform our democracy in our time?
BUTTIGIEG: We have to or we'll be having the same argument 20 years from now.
LEMON: Please respond, Governor Bullock.
BULLOCK: You can make changes. Even in Montana, with a two-thirds Republican legislature, we passed a law that said, if you're going to spend money in our elections, I don't care if you call yourselves Americans for America for America, you're going to have to disclose every one of those dollars in the last 90 days.
I'll never forget running for re-election in 2016. Even we stopped the Koch brothers from spending it that time. If we can kick the Koch brothers out of Montana, we can do it in D.C., we can do it everywhere.
And we're also taking steps, additional steps that we've taken -- I passed an executive order. If you're even going to contract with the state...
LEMON: Governor Bullock, thank you very much.
WARREN: I'd like to have a chance on this.
LEMON: Ms. Williamson, how do you respond to this issue of gun safety?
WILLIAMSON: The issue of gun safety, of course, is that the NRA has us in a chokehold, but so do the pharmaceutical companies, so do the health insurance companies, so do the fossil fuel companies, and so do the defense contractors, and none of this will change until we either pass a constitutional amendment or pass legislation that establishes public funding for federal campaigns.
But for politicians, including my fellow candidates, who themselves have taken tens of thousands -- and in some cases, hundreds of thousands -- of dollars from these same corporate donors to think that they now have the moral authority to say we're going to take them on, I don't think the Democratic Party should be surprised that so many Americans believe yada, yada, yada.
It is time for us to start over with people who have not taken donations from any of those corporations and can say with real moral authority: That is over. We are going to establish public funding for federal campaigns. That's what we need to stand up to.
We need to have a constitutional amendment. We need to have -- we need to have legislation to do it.
WILLIAMSON: And until we do it, it's just the same old, same old.
LEMON: Thank you. Thank you, Ms. Williamson. The debate will be right back right after this short break.
TAPPER: Presidential Debate, we are live from Detroit, Michigan. In poll after poll Democratic voters say that they want a candidate who can beat President Trump, more than they want a candidate who agrees with them on major issues.
Governor Hickenlooper, you ran a Facebook ad that warned "socialism is not the answer." The ad also said, "don't let extremes give Trump four more years," are you saying that Senator Sanders is too extreme to beat President Trump?
HICKENLOOPER: I'm saying the policies of -- this notion that you're going to take private insurance away from 180 million Americans who, many of them don't want to give -- many of them do want to get rid of it, but some don't -- many don't.
Or you're going to -- the Green New Deal make sure that every American's guaranteed a government job if they want, that is a disaster at the ballot box, you might as well FedEx the election to Donald Trump.
I think we've got to focus on where Donald Trump is failing, you know, the world malpractice, and this is interesting -- I always thought it was doctors or lawyers, it's -- you know negligent, improper, illegal professional activity for doctors, lawyers or public officials, Google it, check it out.
Donald Trump is malpractice personified, we've got to point that out. Why is it soybean farmers in Iowa need 10 good years to get back to where they were 2 years ago? Where's the small manufacturing jobs that are supposed to come back?
Why are we lurching from one international crisis to another? All things that he promised American voters, we've got to focus on that -- and the economy, and jobs, and training, so that we can promise a future for America that everybody wants to invest it.
TAPPER: Thank you Governor. Senator Sanders you are a proud Democratic-Socialist, how do you respond to Governor Hickenlooper?
SANDERS: Well the truth is that every credible poll that I have seen has me beating Donald Trump -- including the battleground states of Michigan, where I won the Democratic primary -- Wisconsin where I won the Democratic primary, and Pennsylvania.
And the reason we are going to defeat Trump, and beat him badly is that he is a fraud and a phony and we’re going to expose him for what he is. The American people want to have a minimum wage which is a living wage, $15 an hour. I’ve helped lead that effort.
The American people want to pay reasonable prices for prescription drugs, not the highest prices in the world --
TAPPER: Thank you, Senator.
SANDERS: I've helped lead the effort for that as well.
TAPPER: Thank you Senator. Governor Hickenlooper, I want to bring you back to respond?
HICKENLOOPER: So again, I think if we're going to force Americans to make these radical changes, they're not going to go along -- throw your hands up --
HICKENLOOPER: Oh-ho, I can do it. But you haven’t implemented the plans, us governors and mayors are the ones, we have to pick up all the pieces when suddenly the government’s supposed to take over all these responsibilities, and there’s no preparation, the details aren’t worked. You can’t just spring a plan on the world and expect it to succeed --
SANDERS: John, I was a mayor and I helped transform my city -- I have some practical experience. Second of all, interestingly enough today is the anniversary of Medicare -- 54 years ago under Linda Johnson of the Democratic Congress they started a new program after one year 19 million elderly people in it.
Please don’t tell me that in a four year period we cannot go from 65 down to 55, to 45, to 35 -- this is not radical. This is what virtually every other country on Earth runs --
TAPPER: Thank you Senator.
SANDERS: We are the odd dog out.
TAPPER: I want to bring in -- I want to bring in Congressman Ryan. You're from the state of Ohio, it's a state that voted twice for Obama and then went to President Trump in 2016, please respond to Senator Sanders.
RYAN: Well I would just say Hillary Clinton was winning in the polls too, to take a snapshot in the polls today and apply it 16 months from now or whenever it is, I don't think is accurate.
Now in this discussion already tonight we've talked about taking private health insurance away from union members in the industrial Midwest, we've talked about decriminalizing the border, and we've talked about giving free healthcare to undocumented workers when so many Americans are struggling to pay for their healthcare.
I quite frankly don't think that that is an agenda that we can move forward on and win. We've got to talk about the working class issues, the people that take a shower after work, who haven't had a raise in 30 years --
TAPPER: Thank you -- thank you Congressman --
RYAN: If we focus on that, we'll win the election.
TAPPER: Thank you Congressman, I want to bring Congressman O'Rourke, your response, sir?
O'ROURKE: Bernie was talking about some of the battleground states in which we compete -- there is a new battleground state, Texas and it has 38 electoral college votes. And the way that we put it in play was by going to each one of those 254 counties. No matter how red or rural, we did not write you off. No matter how blue, or urban -- we did not take you for granted.
And we didn't trim our sails, either. We had the courage of our convictions, talking about universal health care, comprehensive immigration reform, and confronting the challenge of climate before it is too late. We brought everyone in...
O'ROURKE: ... and now we have a chance to beat Donald Trump with Texas.
TAPPER: Thank you, Congressman. I want to bring in Governor Bullock. We're talking about whether Democrats are moving too far to the left to win the White House. President Trump won your home state of Montana by 20 points. How do you respond, sir?
BULLOCK: Yeah, as the only one of the field of 37 that actually won a Trump state -- 25 percent to 30 percent of my voters voted for Donald Trump -- I know that we do have to win back some of those places we lost and get those Trump voters back if we’re ever going to win.
But this isn't just a choice between the left and the center. It's not a choice just between sort of these wish list economics or thinking that we have to sacrifice our values to actually win. What folks want is a fair shot. The way I won, the way we can win is to actually focus on the economy and the democracy aren't working for most people.
TAPPER: Thank you, Governor.
BULLOCK: That's how I win. That's how we can take back the office.
TAPPER: Thank you, Governor. Senator Warren, you make it a point to say that you're a capitalist. Is that your way of convincing voters that you might be a safer choice than Senator Sanders?
WARREN: No. It is my way of talking about I know how to fight and I know how to win. I took on giant banks, and I beat them. I took on Wall Street, and CEOs, and their lobbyists, and their lawyers, and I beat them. I took on a popular Republican incumbent senator, and I beat him.
I remember when people said Barack Obama couldn't get elected. Shoot, I remember when people said Donald Trump couldn't get elected. But here's where we are.
I get it. There is a lot at stake, and people are scared. But we can't choose a candidate we don't believe in just because we're too scared to do anything else. And we can't ask other people to vote for a candidate we don't believe in.
Democrats win when we figure out what is right and we get out there and fight for it. I am not afraid. And for Democrats to win, you can't be afraid, either.
TAPPER: Congressman Delaney, your response?
DELANEY: So -- so I think Democrats win when we run on real solutions, not impossible promises, when we run on things that are workable, not fairy tale economics.
Look at the story of Detroit, this amazing city that we're in. This city is turning around because the government and the private sector are working well together. That has to be our model going forward. We need to encourage collaboration between the government, the private sector, and the nonprofit sector, and focus on those kitchen table, pocketbook issues that matter to hard-working Americans: building infrastructure, creating jobs, improving their pay...
TAPPER: Thank you, Congressman.
DELANEY: ... creating universal health care, and lowering drug prices.
TAPPER: Thank you, Congressman. Senator Warren?
WARREN: You know, I don't understand why anybody goes to all the trouble of running for president of the United States just to talk about what we really can't do and shouldn't fight for.
Our biggest problem in Washington is corruption. It is giant corporations that have taken our government and that are holding it by the throat. And we need to have the courage to fight back against that. And until we're ready to do that, it's just more of the same.
Well, I'm ready to get in this fight. I'm ready to win this fight.
TAPPER: Thank you, Senator. Congressman Delaney?
DELANEY: When we created Social Security, we didn't say pensions were illegal, right? We can have big ideas to transform the lives. I mean, I started two companies and took them public before I was 40. I'm as big of a dreamer and an entrepreneur as anyone.
But I also believe we need to have solutions that are workable. Can you imagine if we tried to start Social Security now but said private pensions are illegal? That's the equivalent of what Senator Sanders and Senator Warren are proposing with health care. That's not a big idea. That's an idea that's dead on arrival. That will never happen. So why don't we actually talk about things, big ideas that we can get done? The stakes are too high.
TAPPER: Thank you, Congressman. Senator Warren?
WARREN: So, look, he talks...
SANDERS: He just mentioned my name.
TAPPER: We'll come to you right after that.
WARREN: He talks about solutions that are workable. We have tried the solution of Medicare, Medicaid, and private insurance. And what have the private insurance companies done? They've sucked billions of dollars out of our health care system. They've made everybody fill out dozens and dozens of forms. Why? Not because they're trying to track your health care. They just want one more excuse to say no. Insurance companies do not have a God-given right to suck money out of our health care system.
TAPPER: Thank you, Senator.
WARREN: And 2020 is our chance to stop it.
TAPPER: Thank you, Senator. Senator Sanders?
SANDERS: Detroit was mentioned. And I'm delighted that Detroit is rebounding. But let us understand, Detroit was nearly destroyed because of awful trade policy which allowed corporations to throw workers in this community out on the streets as they moved to low-wage countries.
To win this election, and to defeat Donald Trump -- which, by the way, in my view, is not going to be easy -- we need to have a campaign of energy and excitement and of vision. We need to bring millions of young people into the political process in a way that we have never seen by, among other things, making public colleges...
TAPPER: Thank you, Senator.
SANDERS: ... and universities tuition-free and canceling student debt.
TAPPER: Thank you, Senator. Thank you, Senator.
I want to bring in -- I want to bring in Senator Klobuchar. At the beginning of the night, you said you're going to hear a lot of promises on the stage. And previously you have said, when asked about your primary opponents, quote, "A lot of people are making promises, and I'm not going to make promises just to get elected." Who on this stage is making promises just to get elected?
KLOBUCHAR: Everyone wants to get elected. But my point is this: I think when we have a guy in the White House that has now told over 10,000 lies, that we'd better be very straightforward with the American people.
And, no, do I think that we are going to end up voting for a plan that kicks half of America off of their current insurance in four years? No, I don't think we're going to do that. I think there is a better way to get what we all want to see, which is lower costs for health care.
Do I think that we're going to vote to give free college to the wealthiest kids? No, I don't think we're going to do that. So that's what I'm talking about.
But what I don't like about this argument right now, what I don't like about it at all, is that we are more worried about winning an argument than winning an election.
And I think how we win an election is to bring everyone with us. And, yes, I have won in a state every single time statewide. I have won those congressional districts that Donald Trump won by over 20 points. He just targeted Minnesota last week. And I have done it by getting out there and talking to people, by knowing rural issues and farm issues...
TAPPER: Thank you, Senator Klobuchar.
KLOBUCHAR: ... and bringing metro people with me in the state that had the highest voter turnout in the country.
TAPPER: Thank you, Senator Klobuchar. Thank you, Senator.
KLOBUCHAR: That's what we want.
TAPPER: I want to bring in Congressman O'Rourke. Congressman O'Rourke, please respond.
O'ROURKE: You know, I think a big part of leadership and showing our commitment to the American people is delivering on our commitments. As a member of Congress, when I learned that the El Paso V.A. had the worst wait times for mental health care in the country, meaning that care delayed functionally became care denied, and was related to the suicide epidemic, we made it our priority and we turned around the V.A. in El Paso.
We took that lesson nationally and I worked with Republican and Democratic colleagues to expand medical health care to veterans, and we got it signed into law by the one person with whom I agree on almost nothing -- Donald Trump -- to show that, at the end of the day, we will put the American people first...
O'ROURKE: ... before party, before any other concern.
BASH: Thank you, Congressman O'Rourke.
We've been asking voters to weigh in on what they'd most like to hear Democrats debate. Among the topics they told us they're most interested in, the climate crisis.
Congressman Delaney, I’ll start with you. You say the Green New Deal is about as realistic as Trump saying Mexico is going to pay for the wall. But scientists say we need essentially to eliminate fossil fuel pollution by 2050 to avoid the most catastrophic consequences. Why isn’t this sweeping plan to fight the climate crisis realistic?
DELANEY: Well, first of all, because it ties its progress to other things that are completely unrelated to climate, like universal health care, guaranteed government jobs, and universal basic income. So that only makes it harder to do.
My plan, which gets us to net zero by 2050, which we absolutely have to do for our kids and our grandkids, will get us there. I put a price on carbon, take all the money, give it back to the American people in a dividend. That was introduced by me on a bipartisan basis. It's the only significant bipartisan climate bill in the Congress.
I’m going to increase the Department of Energy research budget by fivefold, because we fundamentally have to innovate our way out of this problem. I’m going to create a market for something called direct air capture, which are machines that actually take carbon out of the atmosphere, because I don’t think we’ll get to net zero by 2050 unless we have those things. I’m going to increase investment in renewables and I’m going to create something called the Climate Corps.
That is a plan that's realistic. It's a bet on the U.S. private innovation economy and creates the incentives to get us to net zero by 2050 for our kids.
BASH: Thank you. Thank you, Congressman. Senator Warren, you’re a cosponsor of the Green New Deal. Your response to Congressman Delaney?
WARREN: So, climate crisis is the existential crisis for our world. It puts every living thing on this planet at risk. I have a plan for a green industrial policy that takes advantage of the fact that we do what we do best, and that is innovate and create.
So I've proposed putting $2 trillion in so we do the research. We then say anyone in the world can use it, so long as you build it right here in America. That will produce about 1.2 million manufacturing jobs right here in Michigan, right here in Ohio, right here in the industrial Midwest.
And the second thing we will do is we will then sell those products all around the world. Right now, for every $1 the United States...
WARREN: ... spends trying to market around the world...
BASH: Thank you, Senator Warren.
WARREN: ... China is spending $100.
BASH: Thank you, Senator Warren.
Governor Hickenlooper, you take issue with the green new deal. Please respond.
HICKENLOOPER: Well, I think the guarantee for a public job for everyone who wants one is a classic part of the problem. It's a distraction.
I share the urgency of everyone up here. We have to recognize -- I mean, everyone's got good ideas. What we do in this country is no better than just a best practice, right? It's what we do here is a best practice and a template, but it's got to be done all over the world.
So we’ve got to be building bridges right now with people like China, who were cheating on international agreements and stealing intellectual property. We need to work on that, but not with a tariff system. We need every country working together if we’re going to really deal with climate change in a realistic way.
BASH: Thank you. Senator Warren, your response?
WARREN: Look, I put a real policy on the table to create 1.2 million new jobs in green manufacturing. There's going to be a $23 trillion worldwide market for this. This could revitalize huge cities across this country. And no one wants to talk about it. What you want to do instead is find the Republican talking point of a made-up piece of some other part and say, "Oh, we don't really have to do anything."
That’s the problem we’ve got in Washington right now.
It continues to be a Washington that works great for oil companies, just not for people worried about climate change.
BASH: Thank you, Senator Warren. Congressman Ryan, we are here in Michigan, where there are about 180,000 workers in auto manufacturing. Your state of Ohio has around 96,000 workers in that industry.
Senator Sanders is co-sponsoring a bill that would eliminate new gas-powered car sales by 2040. Given the number of auto manufacturing workers in your state, how concerned are you about Senator Sanders' plan?
RYAN: Well, if we get our act together, we won't have to worry about it. I -- my plan is to create a chief manufacturing officer so we could actually start making things in the United States again, that would pull the government, the Department of Energy, Department of Transportation, work with the private sector, work with investors, emerging tech companies, to dominate the electric vehicle market.
China dominates it now, 50 percent to 60 percent. I want us to dominate the battery market, make those here in the United States and cut the workers in on the deal. The charging stations, solar panels, same thing; China dominates 60 percent of the solar panel market.
So this person will work in the White House, report directly to me, and we're going to start making things again.
But you cannot get there on climate unless we talk about agriculture. We need to convert our industrial agriculture system over to a sustainable and regenerative agriculture system...
RYAN: ... that actually sequesters carbon...
... into the soil. And you can go ask -- you can go ask Gabe Brown and Allen Williams, who actually make money off of regenerative agriculture. So we can move away...
... from all the subsidies that we're giving the farmers. They haven't made a profit in five years. And we could start getting good food into our schools and into our communities. And that's going to drive health care down. That's another part of the health care conversation...
RYAN: ... that we didn't even have. How do we start talking about health...
BASH: Thank you, Congressman Ryan.
RYAN: ... instead of just disease care?
BASH: Thank you. Senator Sanders, your response?
SANDERS: I get a little bit tired of Democrats afraid of big ideas. Republicans are not afraid of big ideas. They could give $1 trillion in tax breaks to billionaires and profitable corporations. They could bail out the crooks on Wall Street. So please don't tell me that we cannot take on the fossil fuel industry. And nothing happens unless we do that.
Here is the bottom line. We've got to ask ourselves a simple question, "What do you do with an industry that knowingly, for billions of dollars in short-term profits, is destroying this planet?" I say that is criminal activity that cannot be allowed to continue.
BASH: Thank you, Senator Sanders.
Congressman, your response?
RYAN: Well, I would just say -- I didn't say we couldn't get there until 2040, Bernie. You don't have to yell. I mean, all I'm saying is...
All I'm saying is we have to invent our way out of this thing. And if we're waiting for 2040 for a ban to come in on gasoline vehicles, we're screwed. So we better get busy now. And that's why I'm saying get a chief manufacturing officer, align the environmental incentives with the financial incentives, and make sure that people can actually make money off of the new technologies that are moving forward.
And then here's what I'll do as president...
BASH: Thank you, Congressman.
RYAN: ... cut the worker in on the deal. Make sure these are union jobs. And I will double union membership to make sure these new jobs pay what the old fossil fuel jobs pay.
BASH: Senator Sanders, your response?
SANDERS: On this issue, my friends, there is no choice. We have got to be super aggressive if we love our children and if we want to leave them a planet that is healthy and is habitable, so I don’t disagree with Tim. What that means is we got to, A, take on the fossil fuel industry, B, it means we have to transform our energy system away from fossil fuel to energy efficiency and sustainable energy, at a hell of a lot of good union jobs, as we do that. We got to transform our transportation ...
BASH: Thank you, Senator ...
SANDERS: ... system, and we have to lead the world ...
BASH: Thank you, Senator Sanders.
SANDERS: ... because this is not just an American issue.
BASH: Governor Bullock, your response?
BULLOCK: You know, all of us agree that we have address climate change. No one on this stage is talking about it. The Republicans won’t even acknowledge that climate change is real, Dana, and that’s because of the corrupting influence and money. That has been the fight of my career.
And second of which, as we transition to this clean energy economy, you’ve got to recognize, there are folks that have spent their whole life powering our country, and far too often, Democrats sound like they’re part of the problem. We got to make sure to aid in those transition as we get to a carbon neutral world, which I think we can do by 2020.
BASH: Thank you, Governor. Just to clarify, who is part of the problem?
BULLOCK: Who - oh, no, I - I think Democrats often, when they're saying, oh, these fossil fuel industries, these workers, those coal miner workers. Look, the world's changing. We got to make a change, but I think Democrats often sound like the people that, as Congressman Ryan would say, shower at the end of the day, that they're part of the problem. And far too many communities are being left behind, as we make this transition.
BULLOCK: Look, we’re having this discussion, and we can talk about competing plans...
BASH: Thank you, Governor. I want to give Senator Sanders a chance to respond.
SANDERS: Look, Steve, there ain't nobody in the Congress who's more strongly pro-worker than I am. So when I talk about taking on the fossil fuel industry, what I am also talking about is a just transition. All right. We can create what the Green New Deal is about. It's a bold idea. We can create millions of good-paying jobs. We can rebuild communities in rural America that have been devastated. So we are not anti-worker. We are going to provide and make sure that those workers have a transition, new jobs, healthcare and education.
BASH: Thank you, Senator.
BASH: Governor Bullock, your response?
BULLOCK: And look, Bernie, I was a union side labor lawyer. I fought day after day, and I know - but we've set this is a false choice far too often. Are we going to actually address climate change? Fire seasons are 80 days longer in the west now. Or are we going to give people a better shot at a better life?
You can do both, but let's actually have the scientists drive this. Let's not just talk about plans that are written for press releases that will go nowhere else if we can't get a Republican to acknowledge ...
BASH: Thank you, Governor.
BULLOCK: ... that the climate's changing.
BASH: Congressman O'Rourke, your response?
O'ROURKE: I've listen to the sciences on this, and they're very clear. We don't have more than 10 years to get this right, and we won't meet that challenge with half-steps or half-measures or only half the country. We've got to bring everyone in. The people of Detroit and those that I listened to in Flint last week, they want the challenge. They want those jobs. They want to create the future for this country and the world.
Those community college students that I met in Tucumcari, New Mexico understand that wind and solar jobs are the fastest-growing jobs in the country. And those farmers in Iowa say pay me for the environmental services of planting cover crops and keeping more land in conservation easements. That's how we meet the challenge. We do it with everyone in this country. We bring everyone in to the solution.
BASH: Thank you, Congressman. Mayor Buttigieg, your response?
BUTTIGIEG: We have all put out highly similar visions on climate. It is all theoretical. We will deal with climate, if and only if we win the presidency, if and only if we beat Donald Trump. Nominate me, and you get to see the president of the United States stand next to an American war veteran and explain why he chose to pretend to be disabled when it was chance to serve.
Nominate me, and we will have a different conversation with American voters about why the president of the United States thinks you're a sucker, when the problem in your life is your paycheck is not going up nearly as fast as the cost of housing or the cost of education ...
BUTTIGIEG: ... or the cost of prescription drugs. And he has done nothing about it except ...
BASH: Thank you, Mayor Buttigieg.
BUTTIGIEG: ... the tax cuts for the corporations.
BASH: Hi, Senator Klobuchar. I want to ask you about something that CNN heard from a Michigan Democratic primary voter, but we’re reaching out and getting their questions.
Kimber from Birmingham, Michigan has this question, “what is your plan to address infrastructure, including the water issue so another Flint, Michigan does not happen again?”
KLOBUCHAR: Thank you Dana, and I was just in Flint. And they are still drinking bottled water in that town and that is outrageous. So my plan, and I am the first one that came out with an infrastructure plan and I did that because this is a bread and butter issue. It's a bread and butter issue for people that are caught in traffic jams.
I think the Governor here in Michigan smartly ran on the slogan, “fix the damn roads,” and it is an issue for union jobs. And so I think what we need to do is not have a president that’s promised he was going to do that on election night, if anyone remembers. And then he hasn’t followed through -- he has done nothing, he blew up a meeting at the White House.
I would put $1 trillion in to this, and I would pay for it by first of all changing the capital gains rate by doing something when it comes to that regressive tax bill that left everyone behind, but really made his Mar-a-Lago friends richer as he promised.
And I would take that money and put it in to rural broadband and green infrastructure so you won't have what you just saw in Detroit with the Jefferson Chalmers neighborhood, the African neighborhood -- that was African-American neighborhood that was most-hit when you had those recent rainstorms.
And I truly believe that if we're going to move on infrastructure --
KLOBUCHAR: And climate change, you need a voice from the Heartlands.
BASH: Is this -- thank you Senator Klobuchar, Ms. Williamson, what's your response on the Flint water crisis?
WILLIAMSON: My response on the Flint water crisis is that Flint is just the tip of the iceberg. I was recently in Denmark, South Carolina where it is -- there is a lot of talk about it being the next Flint.
We have an administration that has gutted the Clean Water Act. We have communities, particularly communities of color and disadvantaged communities all over this country who are suffering from environmental injustice.
I assure you, I lived Grosse Pointe -- what happened in Flint would not have happened in Grosse Pointe. This is part of the dark underbelly of American society. The racism, the bigotry, and the entire conversation that we’re having here tonight -- if you think any of this wonkiness is going to deal with this dark psychic force of the collectivized hatred that this president is bringing up in this country, then I’m afraid that the Democrats are going to see some very dark days.
We need to say it like it is, it's bigger than Flint -- it's all over this country, it's particularly people of color -- it's particularly people who do not have the money to fight back. And if the Democrats don't start saying it, then why would those people feel that they're there for us and if those people don't feel it, they won't vote for us, and Donald Trump will win.
LEMON: Thank you very much Ms. Williamson.
LEMON: We want to turn now to the issue of race in America. Congressman O'Rourke, President Trump is pursuing a reelection strategy based in part, on racial division. How do you convince primary voters that you'd be the best nominee to take on President Trump and heal the racial divide in America?
O'ROURKE: We'll call his racism out for what it is, and also talk about its consequences. It doesn't just offend our sensibilities to hear him say "send her back," about a member of Congress, because she's a woman color, because she's a Muslim-American doesn't just offend our sensibilities when he calls Mexican immigrants "rapists and criminals," or seeks to ban all Muslims from the shores of a country that's comprised of people from the world over, from every tradition of faith.
It is also changing this country. Hate crimes are in the rise -- every single one of the last three years, on the day that he signed his executive order attempting to ban Muslim travel, the mosque in Victoria, Texas was burned to the ground.
So we must not only stand up against Donald Trump and defeat him in this next election, but we must also ensure that we don't just tolerate or respect our differences, but we embrace them. That's what we've learned in El Passo, Texas -- my hometown. One of the safest cities in the United States of America, not despite, but because it's a city of immigrants and asylum seekers, and refugees.
We will show that our diversity --
O'ROURKE Is our strength in my administration.
LEMON: Congressman O'Rourke, thank you very much. Governor Hickenlooper, why are you the best nominee to heal the racial divide in America, please respond.
HICKENLOOPER: Well the core value behind this entire country's history is working towards a more perfect union, that all people are created equal. And we've fallen far away from that. I think the job is incumbent on any one of us to make the convincing case that we can deliver an urban agenda that represents progress in schools.
In Colorado when I was Mayor we got universal pre-K for every kid in the urban city. We did major police reform 10 years before Ferguson -- why is it now that five years after Ferguson we still don't have anything?
How do we get affordable housing? We created a scholarship fund for every kid -- you've got to deliver a vision like that for the whole country.
LEMON: Thank you Governor. Senator Warren, I’m coming to you now. Last week the FBI Director Christopher Wray said that the majority of domestic terrorism cases this year have been motivated by white supremacy. In fact, the alleged shooter in this weekend’s attack in Gilroy, California referenced a well-known white supremacist book on social media. How are you going to combat the rise of white supremacy?
WARREN: We need to call out white supremacy for what it is: domestic terrorism. And it poses a threat to the United States of America.
We live in a country now where the president is advancing environmental racism, economic racism, criminal justice racism, health care racism. The way we do better is to fight back and show something better.
So I have a plan, for example, on education that says we have to build a better education system for all our kids, but we've got to acknowledge what's happened on race. So my plan has universal, tuition-free college for all of our kids, but also increases the Pell Grants and levels the playing field by putting $50 billion into historically black colleges and universities.
It cancels student loan debt for 95 percent of the kids with student loan debt and helps close the black-white wealth gap in America.
LEMON: Thank you, Senator, very much.
Mayor Buttigieg, you have been criticized for your handling of racial issues in your home city of South Bend, from diversity in the police force to housing policy. Given your record, how can you convince African-Americans that you should be the Democratic nominee?
BUTTIGIEG: As an urban mayor serving a diverse community, the racial divide lives within me. I'm not saying that I became mayor and racism or crime or poverty ended on my watch.
But in our city, we have come together repeatedly to tackle challenges, like the fact that far too many people were not getting the help they needed in their housing and so we directed it to a historically underinvested African-American neighborhood.
Right now, in the wake of a police-involved shooting, our community is moving from hurting to healing by making sure that the community can participate in things like revising the use of force policy and making sure there are community voices on the board of safety that handles police matters.
I've proposed a Douglass plan to tackle this issue nationally, because mayors have hit the limits of what you can do unless there is national action.
Systemic racism has touched every part of American life, from housing to health to homeownership. If you walk into an emergency room and you are black, your reports of pain will be taken less seriously. If you apply for a job and you are black, you are less likely to be called just because of the name on the resume.
It's why I've proposed that we do everything from investing in historically red-lined neighborhoods...
BUTTIGIEG: ... to build black wealth in homeownership...
BUTTIGIEG: ... to supporting entrepreneurship for black Americans.
LEMON: Thank you very much.
Senator Klobuchar, what do you say to those Trump voters who prioritize the economy over the president's bigotry?
KLOBUCHAR: Well, first of all, there are people that voted for Donald Trump before that aren't racist; they just wanted a better shake in the economy. And so I would appeal to them.
But I don't think anyone can justify what this president is doing. Little kids literally woke up this weekend, turned on the TV, and saw their president calling their city, the town of Baltimore, nothing more than a home for rats. And I can tell you, as your president, that will stop.
The second thing I would say is that economic opportunity means economic opportunity for everyone in this country. I know that because I have lived it. And that means when we put out there better childcare and better education, and we pay teachers more, and we make sure there's a decent retirement system in place, yes, we help the African-American community and we must, because they have been the ones that have been most hurt by what we've seen in the last decades, but we help everyone.
So what I say to the people in my rural parts of my state, just like I say to them in the city and bring them together, is that economic opportunity must be there for everyone.
LEMON: Senator Klobuchar, thank you very much.
Congressman O'Rourke, please respond.
O'ROURKE: I want to acknowledge something that we're all touching on, which is the very foundation of this country, the wealth that we have built, the way we became the greatest country on the face of the planet was literally on the backs of those who were kidnapped and brought here by force.
The legacy of slavery and segregation and Jim Crow and suppression is alive and well in every aspect of the economy and in the country.
Today, as president, I will sign into law a new Voting Rights Act. I will focus on education, address health care disparities, but I will also sign into law Sheila Jackson Lee's reparations bill so that we can have the national conversation we've waited too long in this country to have.
LEMON: Thank you, Congressman O'Rourke. Speaking of reparations, Ms. Williamson, many of your opponents support a commission to study the issue of reparations for slavery. But you are calling for up to $500 billion in financial assistance. What makes you qualified to determine how much is owed in reparations?
WILLIAMSON: Well, first of all, it's not $500 billion in financial assistance. It's $500 billion, $200 billion to $500 billion payment of a debt that is owed. That is what reparations is.
We need some deep truth-telling when it comes. We don't need another commission to look at evidence. I appreciate what Congressman O'Rourke has said. It is time for us to simply realize that this country will not heal.
All that a country is, is a collection of people. People heal when there's some deep truth-telling. We need to recognize that when it comes to the economic gap between blacks and whites in America, it does come from a great injustice that has never been dealt with.
That great injustice has had to do with the fact that there was 250 years of slavery followed by another hundred years of domestic terrorism.
What makes me qualified to say $200 billion to $500 billion? I’ll tell you what makes me qualified. If you did the math of the 40 acres and a mule, given that there was 4 million to 5 million slaves at the end of the Civil War, four to five -- and they were all promised 40 acres and a mule for every family of four, if you did the math today, it would be trillions of dollars. And I believe that anything less than $100 billion is an insult.
And I believe that $200 billion to $500 billion is politically feasible today, because so many Americans realize there is an injustice that continues to form a toxicity underneath the surface, an emotional turbulence that only reparations will heal.
LEMON: Thank you very much.
Senator Sanders -- Senator Sanders, you don't think cash payments are the best way to address this issue, but according to a new Gallup poll, 73 percent of African-Americans are in favor of cash payments to black Americans who are descendants of slaves. How do you respond to them?
SANDERS: Well, I respond to that by saying that I am supportive of Jim Clyburn's legislation, which is called 10-20-30. And what that understands is that as a result of slavery, and segregation, and the institutional racism we see now in health care, in education, in financial services, we are going to have to focus big time on rebuilding distressed communities in America, including African-American communities.
In terms of education, I also have a plan. It's called the Thurgood Marshall Plan. And it would focus on ending the growth of segregated schools in America. It would triple funding for Title I schools. It would make sure that teachers in this country earned at least $60,000 a year.
LEMON: Senator Sanders, thank you very much. The debate continues right after this short break.
LEMON: Welcome back to the CNN Democratic presidential debate, live from Detroit.
Let's turn now to the economy.
Congressman Ryan, President Trump's tariffs have boosted the U.S. steel industry but hurt auto manufacturers like those here in Michigan, which could drive up the cost of cars. As president, would you continue President Trump's steel tariffs?
RYAN: Look, I think President Trump was onto something when he talked about China. China has been abusing the economic system for a long time. They steal intellectual property. They subsidize goods coming into this country. They've displaced steel workers, auto workers, across the board, eroded our manufacturing. And we basically transferred our wealth of our middle class either up to the top 1 percent or to China for them to build their military.
So I think we need some targeted response against China. But you know how you beat China? You out-compete 'em. And that's why I'd put a chief manufacturing officer in place to make sure that we rebuild the manufacturing base.
We've got to fill these factories that -- in Detroit, in Youngstown, that used to make cars and steel. We've got to fill them with workers who are making electric vehicles, batteries, charging stations, make sure they're making solar panels.
As I said earlier, China dominates 60 percent of the solar panel market. They dominate 50 percent to 60 percent of the electric vehicle market. We're going to make 10 million electric vehicle somewhere in the world in the next 10 years. I want them made in the United States. That's why I have a chief manufacturing officer that will sit in the White House and help drive this agenda.
LEMON: Congressman, thank you. Just as a point of clarification, as president, would you consider President Trump's steel tariffs, yes or no?
RYAN: Well, I would have to re-evaluate. I think some of them are effective. But he's bungled the whole thing, obviously. He has -- see, here's the problem with President Trump. He has a tactical move -- one of many -- he has a tactical move. What's the grand strategy for the United States? China has 100-year plan, a 50-year plan, a 30-year plan, a 20-year plan. We live in a 24-hour news cycle. That spells disaster for our economy and disaster for our global politics.
LEMON: Thank you, Congressman. Congressman Delaney, your response?
DELANEY: So, listen. This is what I don’t understand. President Trump wants to build physical walls and beats up on immigrants. Most of the folks running for president want to build economic walls to free trade and beat up on President Obama. I’m the only one running for president who actually supports the Trans-Pacific Partnership. President Obama was right about that. We should be getting back in that.
Senator Warren just issued a trade plan...
DELANEY: ... that would prevent the United States from trading with its allies. We can't go and -- we can't isolate ourselves from the world. We have to engage...
DELANEY: ... with fair, rules-based trade.
LEMON: Thank you, Congressman Delaney. Senator Warren, please respond.
WARREN: You know, for decades, we have had a trade policy that has been written by giant multi-national corporations to help giant multi-national corporations. They have no loyalty to America. They have no patriotism. If they can save a nickel by moving a job to Mexico, they'll do it in a heartbeat. If they can continue a polluting plant by moving it to Vietnam, they'll do it in a heartbeat.
I have put out a new comprehensive plan that says we're not going to do it that way. We're going to negotiate our deals with unions at the table, with small businesses at the table, with small farmers at the table, with environmentalists at the table, with human rights activists at the table. And then, we're going to use the fact that everybody in the world wants to get to America's markets. They want to sell to you...
DELANEY: That was the TPP.
LEMON: Congressman Delaney...
WARREN: ... is everyone wants to get to America's markets.
LEMON: Thank you, Senator.
WARREN: No. So the question is...
LEMON: Senator, thank you. Please abide by the rules.
WARREN: ... how we need to raise our standards.
LEMON: Congressman Delaney, it's your turn. Thank you, Senator. Congressman Delaney?
DELANEY: So that was the Trans-Pacific Partnership. I think President Obama was right. He did include environmental standards. He did include labor standards. We would be in an entirely different position with China if we had entered the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
We can't isolate ourselves from the world. We can't isolate ourselves from Asia. Senator Warren's plan, basically, that she put out, we would not be able to trade with the United Kingdom.
WARREN: No, what this is about...
DELANEY: We would not be able to trade with the E.U. It is so extreme that it will isolate...
LEMON: Thank you, Congressman Delaney. Thank you, Congressman.
DELANEY: ... the American economy from the world.
LEMON: Senator? Senator Warren. Senator Warren.
WARREN: I think he said...
LEMON: Senator Sanders, please let Senator Warren respond.
WARREN: What the congressman is describing as extreme is having deals that are negotiated by American workers for American workers. American workers want those jobs, and we can build the trade deals that do it.
People want access to our markets all around the world. Then the answer is, let's make them raise their standards. Make them pay workers more. Let their workers unionize. Raise their environmental standards before they come to us and say they want to be able to sell their products.
Right now, the whole game is working for the big multinationals. It's just not working for the people here in the United States, and we can change that.
LEMON: Senator, thank you very much. Congressman O'Rourke, your response?
O'ROURKE: You know, the question was about tariffs. And they're a huge mistake. They constitute the largest tax increase on the American consumer, hitting the middle class and the working poor especially hard, and farmers in Iowa and across the country are bearing the brunt of the consequences.
When have we ever gone to war, including a trade war, without allies and friends and partners? As president, we will hold China accountable, but we will bring our allies and friends, like the European Union, to bear, and we'll also negotiate trade deals that favor farmers and American workers and protect human rights and the environment and labor, not just here in the United States...
LEMON: Congressman O'Rourke, thank you so much. Senator Sanders, please respond to Congressman O'Rourke.
WARREN: I'd like to respond to this.
SANDERS: Yeah, OK. You're looking, I believe, at the only member of Congress who not only voted against these disastrous trade agreements, NAFTA, PNTR with China, which cost us over 4 million jobs, but also helped lead the effort against these agreements.
Now, Elizabeth is absolutely right. If anybody here thinks that corporate America gives one damn about the average American worker, you're mistaken. If they can save five cents by going to China, Mexico, or Vietnam, or anyplace else, that's exactly what they will do.
As president, let me tell you what I will do. These guys line up at the federal trough. They want military contracts. They want all kinds of contracts. Well, under my administration, you ain't going to get those contracts if you're throwing American workers out on the street.
LEMON: Senator Sanders, thank you very much. Governor Hickenlooper, your response?
WARREN: I'd like a chance to respond.
HICKENLOOPER: So -- so I think -- again, I think Congressman Delaney has got a point here. And there is a way of looking at trade that is therapeutic.
The bottom line is, you talk to any economist, there is not a single example in history where a trade war had a winner. Trade wars are for losers. And the bottom line is we've got to recognize, let's negotiate a better trade deal. But you're not going to win against China in a trade war when they've got 25 percent of our total debt.
And step back and look it. Here's Trump gives a giant tax cut and at the same time -- so we're paying in tariffs about $800 to $1,200 per household and then we give this incredible tax cut to the rich. Essentially what's happening is now he's transferred that tax obligation onto the middle class. That's what's outrageous. But tariffs are not the solution.
LEMON: Governor, thank you. Senator Warren?
WARREN: Anyone who thinks that these trade deals are mostly about tariffs just doesn’t understand what’s going on. Look at the new NAFTA 2.0. What’s the central feature? It’s to help pharmaceutical companies get longer periods of exclusivity so they can charge Canadians, Americans, and Mexicans more money and make more profits.
That's what trade deals have become. They have become a way for giant multinationals to change the regulatory environment so they can suck more profits out for themselves and to leave the American people behind. We have to have the courage to fight back against that corruption.
LEMON: Senator, thank you. Governor Bullock, your response?
BULLOCK: You know, a farmer in Rippy said to me, every time that Trump tweets, we lose hundreds of thousands of dollars. If Montana had to eat all the wheat that we produce, every Montanan would have to eat 40 loaves of bread a day.
But by the same token, what we have is -- I actually agree with Senator Warren on this in part. Corporations can move capital easy. Workers can't move. So going forward, we need to make sure that our trade deals actually are protecting -- thinking about the workers. They can't be the stepchild. But the way to do it, with this blunt instrument of tariffs that the president is doing, that's not how we get a fair deal for farmers anywhere or the manufacturers here in Detroit.
LEMON: Governor, thank you very much.
Mayor -- standby, please. Standby, please. Please abide by the rules. Mayor Buttigieg, on Thursday of this week, a GM plant in Michigan will stop production, the latest auto plant to cease operations in the industrial Midwest. This comes as part of the company's modernization plans, which will eventually result in 6,000 hourly workers losing their jobs or being reassigned to other plants.
What is your plan for retraining workers whose jobs are at risk?
BUTTIGIEG: Well, this happened in my community 20 years before I was born. And when I was growing up, we were still picking up the pieces. Empty factories, empty houses, poverty. I know exactly what happens to a community when these closures take place. And there will be more.
It's why we actually need to put the interests of workers first. Of course we need to do retraining. We're doing it now in South Bend. We should continue to do it. But this is so much bigger than a trade fight. This is about a moment when the economy is changing before our eyes.
There are people in the gig economy who go through more jobs in a week than my parents went through in their lifetime. It's why I've proposed that we allow gig workers to unionize, because a gig is a job and a worker is a worker.
BUTTIGIEG: We have to respond to all of these changes. And, you know, in addition to confronting tech, in addition to supporting workers by double unionization, as I propose to do, some of this is low-tech, too, like the minimum wage is just too low. And so-called conservative Christian senators right now in the Senate are blocking a bill to raise the minimum wage, when scripture says that whoever oppresses the poor taunts their maker.
LEMON: Mayor, thank you very much.
Congressman Delaney, I'm coming to you now. Your estimated net worth is more than $65 million. That would make you subject to Senator Warren's proposed wealth tax on the assets of the richest 75,000 homes, households, or so, in the United States. Do you think Senator Warren's wealth tax is a fair way to fund child care and education?
DELANEY: I think wealthy Americans have to pay more. Listen, I grew up in a blue-collar family. First in my family to go to college. Became a successful entrepreneur. Created thousands of jobs. Supported thousands of entrepreneurs all around this country. And I've done well financially. I think I should pay more in tax. I think wealthy Americans should pay more in tax. But we have to have a real solution.
The real solution is to raise the capital gains rates. There is no reason why people who invest for a living should pay less than people who work for a living. That’s ridiculous. It’s the biggest loophole in our tax code.
We act like wealthy individuals are endangered species and if we don't raise -- if we raise their taxes, they won't invest. That's crazy. That's how we get more revenues from wealthy individuals, we roll back the Trump tax cuts to wealthy individuals.
I think the wealth tax will be fought in court forever. It's arguably unconstitutional. And the countries that have had it have largely abandoned it because it's impossible to implement. But here again, real solutions, not impossible promises.
LEMON: Congressman, thank you very much.
DELANEY: Raise the capital gains tax. Roll back the taxes on wealthy Americans.
LEMON: Thank you, Congressman.
DELANEY: That we can do in our first few months as president.
LEMON: Senator Warren, please respond.
WARREN: So I have proposed a wealth tax. It's now time to do that. It's time to tax the top one tenth of one percent of fortunes in this country. Your first $50 million, you can keep free and clear. But your 50 millionth and first dollar, you got to pitch in two cents. Two cents.
What can America do with two cents? We can provide universal childcare from zero to five. We can provide universal pre-K for every 3-year-old and 4-year-old. We can raise the wages of every childcare worker and preschool teacher in this country. We can provide universal tuition-free college. We can expand Pell. We can put $50 billion into our historically black colleges and universities. And we can cancel student loan debt for 95 percent of the people who have it and start to close the wealth gap in America.
It tells you how badly broken this economy is...
LEMON: Senator, thank you very much. Congressman Delaney...
WARREN: ... that two cents from the wealthiest in this country...
LEMON: Thank you, Senator.
WARREN: ... would let us invest in the rest of America.
LEMON: Senator, please. Congressman, please respond.
DELANEY: This is not about whether wealthy -- this is not about whether wealthy Americans should pay more. I think we're all in agreement on that. It's a question of, do you have a real solution to make it happen?
We can raise the capital gains rate to match the ordinary income. You know the last president to do that was actually Ronald Reagan. We can do that in our first year. I've called for that to be done (inaudible). I've called for the expansion of universal pre-K so that every American has pre-K. And I do it through a -- through an additional tax on high net worth individuals.
But we don't need to come up with new taxes that are arguably unconstitutional...
BASH: Thank you, Congressman Delaney.
DELANEY: ... will be fought in court for years.
BASH: Thank you, Congressman. I want to turn to the issue of student debt.
SANDERS: Can I just respond to that?
BASH: I'm going to turn to the issue of student debt now. Mayor Buttigieg, you've talked about how you and your husband are...
... paying down six figures of student loan debt. Under Senator Sanders' proposal to cancel all student loan debt, yours would immediately be wiped away. Why wouldn't you support that?
BUTTIGIEG: That would be great for us. And then the next day, there would be a student loan program and people would be out taking student loans wondering they weren't -- why they weren't lucky enough in timing to get theirs wiped away completely, too.
We can have debt-free college for low and middle-income students by expanding Pell Grants and compelling states to pick up more of the burden. And on the back end, for those of us who do have a lot of debt, we can make it more affordable and we can expand a public service loan forgiveness program, which is an excellent program that is almost impossible to actually get access to right now.
We can take these steps and have an approach that is actually fair. If we want to start wiping away student debt, here's where I would start. I would start with the for-profit colleges that took advantage of people, especially veterans, by the way. The moment I redeployed, my Facebook add feed started filling with ads from these for-profit colleges. Under President Obama, they were held accountable for whether they delivered results. President Trump, under a secretary of education who regrettably is from this state, did away with those rules. There's no accountability.
On my watch, those colleges that turned the Department of Education into a predatory lender, that's where we would begin when it came to getting rid of loans.
BASH: Thank you, Mayor Buttigieg.
Senator Sanders, you want to forgive all student loan debt. Your response?
SANDERS: Matter of fact, I do. But before I get into that, the major issue that we don't talk about in Congress; you don't talk about in the media, is the massive level of income and wealth inequality in America.
You’ve got three people who own more wealth than the bottom 90 percent. You have a top 1 percent that owns more wealth than the bottom 92 percent. Forty-nine percent of all new income goes to the top 1 percent. Companies like Amazon and billionaires out there do not pay one nickel in federal income tax. And we’ve got 500,000 people sleeping out on the street.
What we need is a political revolution that tells these billionaires and corporate America that they are Americans; they'll participate in our society, but they have got to start paying their fair share of taxes, period.
BASH: Thank you, Senator Sanders. Ms. Williamson?
WILLIAMSON: I'd like to respond.
BASH: You are proposing to make college free for all qualified students. Should the government pay for children from wealthier families to go to college?
WILLIAMSON: I think that all domestic and international policy should be based on the idea that anything we do to help people thrive is a stimulation to our economy. That’s how you stimulate your economy. So if a few people take advantage, but there are four or five people who were going to take the money that they then have in the bank -- when you look at this $1.5 trillion college debt -- this is why I agree with Bernie, or I would be -- OK, why don’t we swap it? We had a $2 trillion tax cut, where 83 cents of every dollar goes to the very, very richest among us, that does not stimulate the economy.
If we get rid of this college debt, think of all the young people who will have the discretionary spending; they'll be able to start their business. The best thing you could do to stimulate the U.S. economy is to get rid of this debt.
This is not just about a plan to to do it. It’s about a philosophy of governing. And I’ve heard some people here tonight, I almost wonder why you’re Democrats. You seem to think there’s something wrong about using...
... about using the instruments of government to help people. That is what government should do. It should -- all policies should help people thrive. That is how we will have peace...
WILLIAMSON: ... and that is how we will have prosperity.
BASH: Thank you, Ms. Williamson. Congressman O'Rourke, you don't support free four-year college. Your response to Ms. Williamson?
O'ROURKE: I support free two-year college, earn that associate's degree, realize your full potential, debt-free four-year college. But unlike some of the other candidates on the stage, that's not just for tuition. That is room and books and board, the full cost of being able to better yourself so that you can better this country, and then for that schoolteacher who, in many places like Texas, is working a second or a third job, full forgiveness for her outstanding student loan debt, forgiveness for that person willing to work at the V.A. and serve our former service members.
And we do not do that at the expense of unions. We elevate them as well and make it easier to join an apprenticeship to learn a skill or a trade that you can command for the rest of your life.
BASH: Thank you. Thank you, Congressman. Senator Klobuchar, your response?
KLOBUCHAR: I want to make it easier for kids to go to college. And I think we do it by focusing our resources on the people that need it most. And my problem with some of these plans is they literally would pay for wealthy kids, for Wall Street kids to go to college. There's no difference. It says everyone is free.
I don't think that makes sense. And I'm very concerned if we do things like that, the debt we're going to pass on to the next generation and the next generation. So what I would do about student loan debt is that I would allow people to refinance it at a better rate and I would make sure that we improve those student loan repayment programs for our teachers and expand them so that you literally -- over 5, 10 years -- can get it paid for if you go into occupations where we don't have enough workers.
I think we need to mesh what we were just talking about with the economy with our education policy.
TAPPER: Thank you, Senator. Thank you, Senator. I want to turn to foreign policy now.
Senator Sanders, President Trump has argued that the United States cannot continue to be the, quote, "policeman of the world." You said the exact same thing on a debate stage in 2016. If voters are hearing the same message from you and President Trump on the issue of military intervention, how should they expect that you will be any different from him?
SANDERS: Trump is a pathological liar. I tell the truth.
We have been in Afghanistan I think 18 years, in Iraq 16 or 17 years. We have spent $5 trillion on the war on terror. And there are probably more terrorists out there now than before it began. We're going to spend -- the Congress passed -- and I will not vote for -- a $715 billion military budget, more than the 10 next countries combined.
What we need is a foreign policy that focuses on diplomacy, ending conflicts by people sitting at a table, not by killing each other. As president of the United States, I will go to the United Nations and not denigrate it, not attack the U.N., but bring countries together in the Middle East and all over the world to come to terms with their differences and solve those problems peacefully.
TAPPER: Thank you, Senator.
SANDERS: The United States cannot be the policeman of the world.
TAPPER: Thank you, Senator. Governor Hickenlooper, how do you respond to Senator Sanders' vision for America's role in the world?
HICKENLOOPER: Well, we share the recognition of the incredible costs. People don't realize that half the soldiers that fought in Iraq and Afghanistan were National Guard. And so I went and sent them off on their deployments, big, you know, noisy hangers, but I also mourned with their families when they didn't come back.
We are able now to -- I call it constant engagement. But we should have an international diplomatic approach where we're talking to everybody, because if we're going to deal with climate change and cyber security and nuclear proliferation, we've got to be talking to everybody. And tariff wars don't work.
TAPPER: Thank you, Governor.
HICKENLOOPER: They're for losers.
TAPPER: Thank you, Governor.
I want to go to Congressman Ryan and I want to turn to the subject of North Korea, which just hours ago launched two short-range ballistic missiles for the second time in less than a week. Congressman, you've said that you would not meet with North Korea dictator Kim Jong-un unless you were at least close to a deal. Now, Senator Klobuchar says that she would, quote, "always be willing to meet with leaders to discuss policies." Is that view wrong?
RYAN: Yeah, I think so. I love Amy Klobuchar, but I think she's wrong on this one. I don't think presidents of the United States meet with dictators.
We saw what just happened with President Trump. He goes to the demilitarized zone with the leader of North Korea, gives him a huge photo op, gives him global credibility, because the most powerful person in the world is sitting there meeting with him, and weeks later, he’s lobbing more missiles. That doesn’t make any sense.
We've got to demilitarize our foreign policy. We've got to make sure that we are engaging these countries all the time. This is very difficult work. I've been in Congress 17 years. I've sat on the Defense Appropriations Committee. I've sat on the Armed Services Committee. This is long, tedious work, much of it done outside of the eye of the TV camera.
And as president, you've got to monitor that and be very disciplined every day. Don't go give a dictator a huge win. Sit down and do your job.
And the same thing with what's happening in Central America. He's cutting the State Department budget, Nicaragua, Guatemala, El Salvador, where the migrants are coming from.
TAPPER: Thank you, Congressman.
RYAN: Go fix the problem at its source and use diplomacy to do it.
TAPPER: Senator Klobuchar, your response?
KLOBUCHAR: I think we agree. I just think you have to leave open the possibility of meeting with anyone at any place. What I don't like is how this president has handled it. You've heard of the Truman doctrine, the Monroe doctrine. He's done the go-it-alone doctrine with the rest of the world.
He's taking us out of the climate change agreement, out of the Iran nuclear agreement, out of the Russian nuclear agreement, and I don't agree with that.
And when he was just with Vladimir Putin at the G20, when he was asked about invading our democracy, he made a joke. Hundreds of thousands of Americans have lost their lives on the battlefield to protect our democracy and our right to vote.
KLOBUCHAR: Four little girls in Birmingham, Alabama, lost their life in a church at the height of the civil rights amendment.
TAPPER: Thank you, Senator.
KLOBUCHAR: So I do believe you meet with people, but you'd better have an agenda...
TAPPER: Thank you, Senator.
KLOBUCHAR: ... and you better put our interests of our country first, not the Russians'.
TAPPER: Thank you, Senator Klobuchar.
Mayor Buttigieg, you served in Afghanistan where just yesterday two U.S. servicemembers were killed. There are currently about 14,000 U.S. servicemembers in Afghanistan. You've said, quote, "One thing everybody can agree on is that we're getting out of Afghanistan." Will you withdraw all U.S. servicemembers by the end of your first year in office?
BUTTIGIEG: We will withdraw. We have to.
TAPPER: In your first year?
BUTTIGIEG: Yes. Look, around the world, we will do whatever it takes to keep America safe. But I thought I was one of the last troops leaving Afghanistan when I thought I was turning out the lights years ago.
Every time I see news about somebody being killed in Afghanistan, I think about what it was like to hear an explosion over there and wonder whether it was somebody that I served with, somebody that I knew, a friend, roommate, colleague.
We're pretty close to the day when we will wake up to the news of a casualty in Afghanistan who was not born on 9/11.
I was sent into that war by a congressional authorization, as well as a president. And we need to talk not only about the need for a president committed to ending endless war, but the fact that Congress has been asleep at the switch.
And on my watch, I will propose that any authorization for the use of military force have a three-year sunset and have to be renewed, because if men and women in the military have the courage to go serve, members of Congress ought to have to summon the courage to vote on whether they ought to be there.
TAPPER: Thank you, Mayor. Thank you, Mayor.
I want to bring in Congressman O'Rourke. Congressman O'Rourke, responding -- returning, rather, to the question of whether you would withdraw all U.S. servicemembers from Afghanistan during your first year in office as president, how do you respond, sir?
O'ROURKE: I would in my first term in office. Agree that there is nothing about perpetuating this war, already in its 18th year, that will make it any better. We've satisfied the reasons for our involvement in Afghanistan in the first place. And it's time to bring those servicemembers back home from Afghanistan, but also from Iraq, also from Yemen, and Somalia, and Libya, and Syria.
There is no reason for us to be at war all over the world tonight. As president, I will end those wars, and we will not start new wars. We will not send more U.S. servicemembers overseas to sacrifice their lives and to take the lives of others in our name. We can resolve these challenges peacefully and diplomatically.
TAPPER: Thank you, Congressman. Thank you, Congressman.
Governor Hickenlooper, you disagree. You've said that you're open to keeping some servicemembers in Afghanistan beyond your first term.
HICKENLOOPER: I look at it as a...
HICKENLOOPER: ... humanitarian issue. And with all due respect, you're looking at the condition of women...
HICKENLOOPER: ... if we completely pull our troops out of there, you're going to see a humanitarian disaster that will startle and frighten every man, woman, and child in this country. And I don't think -- I mean, we have troops in over 400 different locations around the world. Most of them are small, they're peacekeeping, they're not greatly at risk.
We’re going to have to be in Afghanistan. Look at the progress that’s happened in that country. We’re going to turn our backs and walk away from people that have risked their lives to help us and build a different future for Afghanistan and that part of the world?
TAPPER: Thank you, Governor. Thank you, Governor.
Senator Warren, you want to make it U.S. policy that the U.S. will never use a nuclear weapon unless another country uses one first. Now, President Obama reportedly considered that policy, but ultimately decided against it. Why should the U.S. tie its own hands with that policy?
WARREN: Because it makes the world safer. The United States is not going to use nuclear weapons preemptively, and we need to say so to the entire world. It reduces the likelihood that someone miscalculates, someone misunderstands.
Our first responsibility is to keep ourselves safe. And what's happening right now with Donald Trump is they keep expanding the different ways that we have nuclear weapons, the different ways that they could be used puts us all at risk.
You know, we talk about what’s happening around the world. I have three older brothers who served in the military. I see that they would do anything. Our military is the best on Earth. But we should not be asking our military to take on jobs that do not have a military solution. We need to use our diplomatic tools, our economic tools, and if we’re going to send someone into war, we better have a plan for how we’re going to get them out on the other end.
TAPPER: Thank you, Senator.
Governor Bullock, your response to Senator Warren's proposal to the U.S. never use a nuclear weapon first?
BULLOCK: I wouldn't want to take that off the table. I think America's strength -- we have to be able to say that. Look, never, I hope, certainly in my term or anyone else, would we really even get close to pulling that trigger.
But by the same token, America's strength -- and, look, this president has made America first as America alone. Our allies no longer trust us. Our adversaries are with us. But going from the position of strength, we should be negotiating down so there aren't nuclear weapons. But drawing those lines in the sand, at this point I wouldn't do.
LEMON: Thank you, Governor. Senator Warren. your response?
WARREN: Look, we don't expand trust around the world by saying, "You know, we might be the first ones to use a nuclear weapon." That puts the entire world at risk and puts us at risk, right in the middle of this. At a time when Donald Trump is pulling out of our nuclear negotiations, expanding the opportunities for nuclear proliferation around the world, has pulled us out of the deal in Iran, and Iran is now working on its nuclear weapon, the world gets closer and closer to nuclear warfare.
BULLOCK: Senator, that...
WARREN: We have to have an announced policy that is one the entire world can live with. We need to make that clear. We will respond if someone else does, but not first.
LEMON: Governor Bullock, please respond.
BULLOCK: Part, I agree with. But by the same token, like, we need to get back to nuclear proliferation.
BULLOCK: But when you have folks -- de-proliferation, reducing it. But at the same time, when you actually have Korea; when you have others, I don't want to turn around and say, "Well, Detroit has to be gone before we would ever use that." When so many crazy folks are getting closer to having a nuclear weapon, I don't want them to think I could strike this country and I and we as the United States of America wouldn't do a thing.
Part of the strength really is the ability to deter.
LEMON: Governor Bullock...
LEMON: Governor, thank you very much.
SANDERS: Could I add something to that...
LEMON: Senator, please -- moving on now. As you know, to serve as president of the United States -- all of you know this -- you have to be at least 35 years old.
So Mayor Buttigieg, you just qualified. You're 37, the youngest candidate in this field. Standing next to you is the oldest candidate, Bernie Sanders, at age 77. Should voters take into consideration age when choosing a presidential candidate?
BUTTIGIEG: I don't care how old you are. I care about your vision. But I do think it matters that we have a new generation of leaders stepping up around the world, leaders like the...
I actually think it's good that the prime minister of New Zealand's gotten a lot of attention in Democratic debates. She's masterful. She is younger than I would be when I take office.
This is the kind of trend America might be leading, instead of following, but only if it's actually backed by the right vision. And we can have great presidents at any age. What I will say is we need the kind of vision that's going to win. We cannot have a vision that amounts to back to normal. Because the only reason we got this president is that normal didn't work. We have to be ready to take on this president and, by the way, something that hasn't been talked about as much tonight, take on his enablers in Congress.
... when David Duke -- when David Duke ran for Congress -- ran for governor, the Republican Party, 20 years ago, ran away from him. Today they are supporting naked racism in the White House, or at best silent about it. And if you are watching this at home and you are a Republican member of Congress, consider the fact that, when the sun sets on your career and they are writing your story, of all the good and bad things you did in your life, the thing you will be remembered for is whether, in this moment, with this president, you found the courage to stand up to him or you continued to put party over country.
Senator Sanders, as the senior statesman of the group, please respond to Mayor Buttigieg.
SANDERS: Well, Pete is right. It's a question of vision. That's what it is, whether you're young, whether you're old, whether you're in between. And my vision, among other things, says that if we're going to fight for health care, we don't take money from the drug companies or the insurance companies.
And I have asked all of the candidates who are running to say they will not accept money from those entities who, in my view, are going to war against the American people in terms of health care. That's a new vision.
A new vision says that we must cancel completely student debt because the younger generation in this country today, for the first time in modern American history, will have a lower standard of living than their parents.
LEMON: Thank you, Senator Sanders.
WARREN: I'd like to respond on that, too.
LEMON: The debate continues right after this -- please.
LEMON: Thank you. The debate continues right after this short break.
TAPPER: Welcome back to the CNN Democratic presidential debates. We have covered a lot of ground tonight. Now it is time for closing statements. You will each receive one minute.
Governor Bullock, we're going to begin with you.
I was raised in a single-parent household, at times paycheck to paycheck. Only knew there was a governor's house in town because I delivered newspapers to it, so I've made it about four blocks in life. Worked my way through college, paid my way through law school.
But, you know, I had a chance to actually go from delivering newspapers to the governor's house as a kid to now raising our three kids in it. We got to recognize for far too many people now in America that shot no longer exists. And for far too many in this country, it never has.
I'm running for president to beat Donald Trump, win back the places we lost, and make sure that Americans know that where Washington has left them behind in the economy, in the political system, I'll be there.
This isn't a choice just between center and left or about -- we don't have to choose between what we don't want and what we can't afford. Folks want a different way. They want to believe the economy and our democracy can work for us. That's why I'm running for president.
TAPPER: Thank you. Ms. Williamson?
WILLIAMSON: Yes, our problem is not just that we need to defeat Donald Trump. We need a plan to solve institutionalized hatred, collectivized hatred, and white nationalism.
And in order to do that, we need more than political insider game and wonkiness and intellectual argument. Those things will not defeat Donald Trump. We need some radical truth-telling, not just to talk about health care, but talk about why are we so sick all the time. We need to have a serious conversation about race and what is truly owed.
Even on the subject of foreign policy, it's all about symptoms and not about cause. We need to talk about the fact that the United States has sacrificed our moral leadership. The fact that countries see us, not only domestically but internationally, with policies that simply support our corporate overlords. The fact that our national defense agenda is driven more by short-term profits for defense contractors than by genuine peace-building.
There's some corruption that is so deep, ladies and gentlemen. And until the Democratic Party is ready to speak to the deeper corruption, knowing that we ourselves sometimes because of our own corporate donations have participated, than I'm afraid those who vote for Trump will continue to vote for Trump and those who might not like Donald Trump will continue to stay home.
I want a politics that goes much deeper. I want a politics that speaks to the heart, because the only way to fight -- you keep talking about how we're going to fight Donald Trump. You can't fight dog whistles. You have to override them.
And the only way you can override them is with new voices, voices of energy that only come from the fact that America has been willing to live up to our own mistakes, atone for our mistakes, make amends for our own mistakes, love each other, love our democracy, love future generations, something emotional and psychological that will not be -- be emerging from anything on this stage. It will emerge from something I'm the one who's qualified to bring forth.
TAPPER: Congressman Delaney?
DELANEY: Thank you, Jake.
John F. Kennedy famously said we should not seek the Republican answer, we should not seek the Democratic answer, we should seek the right answer. He was right when he said it and he's right today, as well.
Donald Trump is the symptom of a disease. And the disease is divisiveness. And I'm the only one on the stage talking about curing that disease, which -- with big ideas like national service, by focusing on actually solving problems.
If we work together, we can fix health care and build infrastructure. We can invest in not just technology, but people and entrepreneurs, whether they be in Storm Lake, Iowa, or Detroit, Michigan, or Baltimore, Maryland. We can fight climate change and reimagine our education system. But we have to do it with real solutions, not impossible promises.
Isn't it time we had a president who was a leader in both the private sector and in government, to lead us into the future? I promise, as president, I will restore vision, unity, and leadership, and decency to this country. And that's why I'm running for president.
TAPPER: Congressman Ryan?
RYAN: So in a few minutes, all of the pundits are going to be looking at this debate and saying, well, who captured the left lane and who captured the center lane and who captured the moderate lane?
I hope tonight at some level I captured your imagination, your imagination about what this country could be like if we united, if we put together real policy that weren't left or right, but new and better. That's how we win the future. It's new and better.
A new and better economy, a new and better education system, a new and better health care system that focuses on prevention, an education system that focuses on the trauma of our kids.
There's not going to be a savior. Not going to be a superstar that's going to fix all this. It's going to be you and me. It's going to be us. That's how we fix this country, you and I coming together to do big things, to imagine the new country that we want by coming together, not left or right. New and better.
TAPPER: Governor Hickenlooper?
HICKENLOOPER: Thank you. And what a night. I've loved it.
I'd like to ask every American to imagine that you are facing life-threatening surgery tomorrow. Would you choose a doctor who had a track record of proven success, who'd actually done the work, or someone who had just talked about it? That's the question we're facing in this primary.
I've actually got a track record as small-business owner, as a mayor, and as a governor. We expanded health care in Colorado. We got near universal coverage. We fought climate change directly. We beat the NRA. And for the last three years, we've been the number-one economy in the country. We can wrap all that out.
I'm as progressive as anybody up on this stage, but I'm also pragmatic. And I've done the things that most of these other people are just talking about. And I know I can get results. And I can lead the people of this country towards a stronger, a healthier, and a more secure future, and defeat Donald Trump and return this country to its glory.
TAPPER: Senator Klobuchar?
KLOBUCHAR: Well, thank you, Detroit. To win, we have to listen to people. And out there today is Casey Jo's mom. Casey Jo was a champion high school swimmer from a small town. She got sick, went to the emergency room, and got hooked on opioids. The last thing that she said to her mom was, "Mama, it's not my fault." And she died.
A lot of Americans say the same thing every day. And that is what I will stand up for and what I will stand up against are companies like those pharma companies that got her hooked on those opioids and didn't tell the doctors or the patients what was going to happen.
We need someone that has people's back. We also need someone that can win. And I have won in these red districts. I win in the Midwest. I can win in states like Wisconsin and Michigan and Iowa.
I also will do my job without fear or favor, just like I did as a prosecutor, and get through the gridlock like I've done as a senator, where I've passed over 100 bills where I've been the lead Democrat.
And last, yes, I will govern with integrity. We have a president where people turn off their TV when they see him. Not me. I will make you proud as your president.
TAPPER: Congressman O'Rourke?
O'ROURKE: We are as divided and polarized as a country as we have ever been. And right now we have a president who uses fear to try to drive us further apart. To meet this challenge, we have to have hope in one another and a faith in a future of the country that includes everyone.
My whole life, I've been including people in the success of this country, starting a small business with high-value, high-wage, high-skilled jobs in the third poorest urban county in America, serving on City Council and holding town hall meetings every single week to remind myself who it is that I serve at the end of the day, and in Congress, being in the minority but working with Democrats and Republicans alike to deliver for my constituents and this country.
And then in Texas, this last year, traveling to every county, not writing anybody off, not taking anyone for granted, and at the end of the day, winning more votes than any Democrat had in the history of the state, winning independents for the first time in decades, and winning nearly half-a-million Republicans, and those 38 Electoral College votes in Texas are now in play and I can win them.
That is how we defeat Donald Trump in November of 2020 and how we bring this divided country together again in January of 2021. Thank you.
BULLOCK: There's good news and bad news. I'm going to start with the bad news. Our country is in trouble. GDP is going up and life expectancy is going down. Think about what that means. And it's only getting tougher.
By 2030, we will have passed the point of no return on climate, there are going to be 130 million more guns on our streets. I'll be in my forties then. If you have kids, think about how old they will be then.
But here's the good news: It's not too late. We can tell our kids that before we ran out of time, just before we ran out of time, in 2020, we did what it took to deliver a climate that we didn't have to wonder if it could support us, to deliver a society where race has no bearing on your health or your wealth or your relationship with law enforcement, that we did what it took to deliver an economy where a rising tide actually does lift all boats.
We can do this, if and only if we are ready to walk away from what hasn't worked with bold action and win, not only defeat this president, but defeat his congressional allies with a defeat so big that it reunites the Republican Party with its conscience as well as bringing Democrats to office.
Join me, and let's make it happen.
WARREN: From the time I was 7 years old, I had a dream. I wanted to be a public schoolteacher. But my daddy ended up as janitor. And by the time I graduated from high school, my family didn't have the money to send me off to college. My big chance was what was then a commuter college that cost $50 a semester.
For me, what this election is all about is opportunity. Every budget, every policy that we talk about is about who's going to get opportunity. Is it going to go to the billionaires? Or is it going to go to our kids?
Right now, for decades, we have had a government that has been on the side of the rich and the powerful. It has been on the side of the wealthy. And that means it has not been on the side of everyone else, not on the side of people living on our Native American reservations, people living in inner cities, people living in small farms, and small communities across this country.
How do we beat it? We beat it by being the party of big, structural change. Give people a reason to show up and vote. And we beat it by building a grassroots movement across this country, not showing up behind closed doors with millionaires, but actually building it person by person across this country, with small-dollar donations, with volunteers, with people who show up and say, "I have a stake in this democracy."
I will not only beat Donald Trump in 2020, I'll start to make real change come 2021.
SANDERS: As somebody who grew up in family that lived in a rent-controlled apartment in Brooklyn, New York, and lived paycheck to paycheck, I'm running for president not just to defeat the most dangerous president in the history of this country, a guy who's a racist and a sexist and a homophobe. I'm running to transform this country and to stand with the working class of America, which for the last 45 years has been decimated.
Two days ago, I had a remarkable experience which should tell you everything you need to know about what's going on in America. I took 15 people with diabetes from Detroit a few miles into Canada, and we bought insulin for one-tenth the price being charged by the crooks who run the pharmaceutical industry in America today.
But it's not just the price-fixing and the corruption and the greed of the pharmaceutical industry. It's what's going on in the fossil fuel industry. It's what's going on in Wall Street. It's what's going on with the prison industrial complex.
We need a mass political movement. Please go to berniesanders.com. Become one of our million volunteers. Stand up and take on the greed and corruption of the ruling class of this country. Let’s create a government and an economy that works for all of us, not just the 1 percent.
TAPPER: Candidates, thank you so much. That completes tonight's debate. Join us tomorrow night at 8:00 p.m. Eastern time for round two, 10 more Democratic candidates for president, right back here in Detroit.
Now stay tuned for special coverage of tonight’s debate with Anderson Cooper and Chris Cuomo. That begins right now.