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Harris defends criminal-justice record but dodges specific questions

The audience in Houston broke out in applause when moderator Linsey Davis pressed Sen. Kamala Harris of California on her record on criminal justice, which has been a source of concern for some Democratic voters.

Davis, an ABC correspondent, noted that Harris, as the attorney general of California, had opposed the legalization of marijuana as well as outside investigations of police shootings.

“When you had the power, why didn’t you try to effect change then?” she asked.

The senator addressed neither point, instead claiming, “There have been many distortions of my record.” Harris touted her efforts to pair drug offenders with jobs and to expand the use of police body cameras.

“Was I able to get enough done? Absolutely not,” she acknowledged. But she said her plan to reform the criminal justice system has been hailed by activists as a “bold and comprehensive plan.”

Third Democratic debate: Analysis and fact-checking

Ten Democratic candidates will be on stage Thursday night for the third debate of the presidential primary race. The previous two debates have been held over two nights, but the Democratic National Committee tightened the donor and polling requirements for participation, decreasing the field.

The debate is scheduled to start at 8 p.m. Eastern and last three hours. It’s being held in Houston and will be aired on ABC.

On stage will be former vice president Joe Biden; Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.); Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.); Sen. Kamala D. Harris (D-Calif.); South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg; former congressman Beto O’Rourke; Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.); businessman Andrew Yang; former HUD secretary Julián Castro; and Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.).

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