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Set the field has been narrowed for one night, only the top 10 candidates are here. Our Democratic primary debate starts right now.
This is an ABC News special. I will be your president for every American. This is our moment. We are in a struggle with the future of this country. All right, now we can we're in the midst of the greatest economic. We will make the most of this moment together. Together we're going to win. We're going to win by being fearless. Live from Texas Southern University in Houston, Texas. Here now, chief anchor George STEPHANOPOULOS.
Good evening and welcome to Houston. We are live from Texas Southern University for tonight's Democratic debate. The top 10 candidates are here. It's going to start right now. And on the stage you see them. They have all met the criteria set by the Democratic National Committee. At least 10 others have not met the threshold. So for the first time in this primary single debate in a single night, with all the top candidates facing off, it is a critical test.
Candidates and their campaigns at a critical time for our country. They're going to lay out their vision for the country, their records, their differences with President Trump and each other. And we did our best to bring you a lively, informative and civil debate. I'm joined here tonight by my ABC colleague. Well, News Tonight anchor David Muir. Our national correspondent Lindsey Davis. And Hall Hey Ramos from our partner network, Univision. Hey, thank you very much.
We appreciate the opportunity to welcome Latinos across the country and to ask about Latin next issues during these challenging times and this bias that BNC Abal Espanol, it's about 77 momentum with your feet in front of Latinos and cuts in the style of so many of those parties important that day you'll sip on kiss it by most casesthe it.
I'm being is or bites. Let me just give you a little translation here. I'm telling Latinos that despite the fact that we are facing difficult times, this is our country too.
We are delighted to be on the beautiful campus of Texas Southern University, one of the largest historically black colleges and universities in the country.
And here in the health and physical education building tonight, we are joined by a live audience of thirty five hundred people, most invited by the Democratic National Committee and, of course, some of the brightest minds of the student body here at t-s.
You go. You can feel the energy of this debate are very basic tonight. Tonight, it had been agreed to by all the campaigns in advance. Candidates will have one minute, 15 seconds to answer a direct question and forty five seconds for a rebuttal or response as directed by one of the moderators. Candidates will each see green and yellow lights. There you see them right there, indicating how much time they have remaining. And when time is up, the light will turn red.
Candidates who interrupt will be subject to having their time reduced later on. But this is democracy. The great American experiment and the candidates are here tonight to make their case. The podium places based on their current standings and nationally recognized poll. Next, Nixon recognized polls with the leading candidates in the center. All candidates been told they can have one minute to make an opening statement. I'm going to begin in reverse pulling order with Secretary Julian Castro. Good evening.
He bienvenidos at the house. Welcome to Texas.
It's great to be here at t-s you home of the Tigers, you know, on January 20th. Twenty, twenty one at 12:00 or 1:00 p.m., we're going to have a Democratic president, a Democratic House and a Democratic Senate.
There will be life after Donald Trump. But the truth is that our problems didn't start just with Donald Trump. And we won't solve them by embracing old ideas. We need a bold vision, universal pre-K and universal health care, unleashing millions of new jobs in the clean energy economy, a tax system that rewards people who have to work for a living. But first, we have to win. And that means exciting. A young, diverse coalition of Americans who are ready for a bold future.
That's what Kennedy did. It's what Carter did. It's what Clinton did. It's what Barack Obama did. And it's what I can do in this race. Get back. Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, Florida, Georgia and Arizona. And finally, turn Texas blue and say goodbye to Donald Trump.
Senator Klobuchar. Good evening, Texas Southern. I believe that what unites us up here, the 10 of us, is much stronger than what divides us. And I think that's true of our country, too. Now, I may not be the loudest person up here, but I think we've already got that in the White House. Houston, we have a problem. This we have a guy there that is literally running our country like a game show. He would rather lie than lead.
I think we need something different. I am someone that tells the truth. I don't make promises that I can't keep. I have people's back. And I believe that to win, you bring people with you. And that is how you govern as well. So you're going to hear a lot of ideas up here. Some will be great. But if you've seen that, some of them seem a little off track. I've got a better way. If you feel stuck in the middle of the extremes in our politics and you are tired of the noise and the nonsense, you've got a home with me because I don't want to be the president for half of America.
I want to be the president for all of America. Congressand better Iraq. It's an honor to be on this debate stage. It is wonderful to be back in Texas, in Houston, back here at TXU on August 3rd in El Paso, Texas. Two things became crystal clear for me and I think produced a turning point for this country. The first is just how dangerous Donald Trump is, the cost and the consequence of his presidency. Racism and violence that had long been a part of America was welcomed out into the open and directed to my hometown of El Paso, Texas, where 22 people were killed, dozens more grievously injured by a man carrying a weapon.
He should never have been able to buy in the first place, inspired to kill by our president. The second is how insufficient our politics is to meet the threats that we have right now. The bitterness, the pettiness, the smallness of the moment, the incentives to attack one another and try to make differences without distinctions, mountains out of molehills, we have to be bigger. We have to see clearly, we have to speak honestly and we have to act decisively.
That's what I want to do for you as president of the United States. Thank you. Senator Cory Booker, it was over 20 years ago that I was a law student and moved to inner city Newark, New Jersey, to serve as a tenants rights lawyer to try to address the challenges in my community. And I was sobered by them. The gun violence, the substandard housing. But it was my greatest mentor, a woman named Miss Virginia Jones who challenged me.
She said, boy, if all you see in this neighborhood is problems, that's all there's ever gonna be. But if you're stubborn and defiant and cannot put forth a vision that can unify people, then we can make transformative change. She was a church woman that said without vision, the people will perish. Well, that's exactly what we did. We created extra ordinary unity in our community and we did things that other people think thought work was impossible.
That's the story of America at our best. We unify, we find common cause and common purpose. The differences amongst us Democrats on the stage are not as great as the urgency for us to unite as a party, not just to beat Donald Trump, but to unite America in common cause and common purpose. That's why I'm running for president. And that's how I will lead this nation.
Entrepreneur Andrew Yang. In America today, everything revolves around the almighty dollar. Our schools, our hospitals, our media, even our government. It's why we don't trust our institutions anymore. We have to get our country working for us again instead of the other way around. We have to see ourselves as the owners and shareholders of this democracy rather than inputs into a giant machine.
When you donated money to a presidential campaign, what happens? The politician spends the money on TV ads and consultants and you hope it works out. It's time to trust ourselves more than our politicians. That's why I'm going to do something unprecedented tonight. My campaign will now give a freedom dividend of $1000 a month for an entire year to 10 American families. Someone watching this at home right now. If you believe that you can solve your own problems better than any politician.
Go to Yang 20:20 dot com and tell us how $1000 a month will help you do just that. This is how we will get our country working for us again. The American people. m.p but a judge. It's original, I'll give you that. The American people are divided and doubtful at the very moment. We need to rise to some of the greatest challenges we've ever seen. As a mayor of an industrial city coming back from the brink, as a veteran of the war in Afghanistan, I know what's at stake in our national leadership.
We keep sending politicians to Washington, asking them to fight for us. But then when they get there, they seem more interested in the part about fighting than the part about us. Good politics is supposed to be not about the day to day fights of the politicians, but about the day to day lives of Americans. We just mark the anniversary of 9/11 all day to day. I've been thinking about September 12th, the way it felt when for a moment we came together as a country.
Imagine if we had been able to sustain that unity. Imagine what would be possible right now with ideas that are bold enough to meet the challenges of our time, but big enough as well that they could unify the American people. That's what presidential leadership can do. That's what the presidency is for. And that is why I'm asking for your vote.
Senator Kamala Harris, thank you, it's great to be back at CSU. So I plan on spending tonight talking with you about my plans to address the problems that keep you up at night. But first, I have a few words for Donald Trump, who we all know is watching. So, President Trump, you spent the last two and a half years full time trying to sow hate and division among us as. And that is why we've gotten nothing done.
You have used hate, intimidation, fear and over 12000 lies as a way to distract from your failed policies and your broken promises. The only reason you've not been indicted is because there was a memo in the Department of Justice that says the sitting president cannot be charged with a crime. But here's what you don't get. What you don't get is that the American people are so much better than this. And we know that the vast majority of us have so much more in common than what separates us, regardless of our race where we live.
Are the party with which were registered to vote. And I plan on focusing on our common issues, our common hopes and desires. And in that way, unifying our country, winning this election and turning the page for America. And now, President Trump, you can go back to watching Fox News.
Senator Bernie Sanders. Senator Sanders, let me be blunt and tell you what you don't hear much about in Congress or in the media. And that is it goes without saying that we must and will defeat Trump, the most dangerous president in the history of this country.
But we must do more. We must do more. We have got to recognize that this country is moving into an oligarchic form of society where a handful of billionaires control the economic and political life of this country. And as president, I am prepared to take them on. Yes, we will raise the minimum wage to a living wage. Yes. We will finally make sure that every American has health care as a human right, not a privilege. And yes, we will address the catastrophic crisis of climate change and transform our energy system away from fossil fuel.
Senator Elizabeth Warren. So I was born and raised in Oklahoma, but I'm sure glad to be in Texas tonight. All three of my brothers served in military bases here in Texas. That was their ticket to the middle class. Me. I got my big opportunity about a half mile down the road from here at the University of Houston, back when it cost $50 a semester.
For a price that I could pay for on a part time waitressing job, I got to finish my four year degree and I became a special needs teacher. And after law school, my first big job was back here in Houston. By then, I had two little kids and when childcare nearly brought me down, my Aunt Bea moved in and saved us. All the paths to America's middle class have gotten a lot smaller and a lot narrower. Today, service members are preyed upon by predatory lenders.
Students are crushed by debt. And families cannot afford child care. I know what's broken. I know how to fix it. And I'm going to lead the fight to get it done. Vice President Joe Biden, you know, when President Kennedy announced the moonshot, he used the phrase that sticks and made my whole life. He said we're doing it because we refuse to postpone. Well, I refuse to postpone one more minute, spending billions of dollars on curing cancer, all timers and other diseases, which if we invest in them, we can find cures.
I refuse to postpone giving every single child in America, no matter their zip code, pre-K all the way through high school and beyond. I refuse to postpone any longer taking on climate change and leading the world in taking on climate change. Look, this is the United States of America. There's never been a single solitary time when we've set our mind to something. We were unable to do it. We're walking around our heads down like woe is me.
We're the best equipped nation in the world to take this on. It's no longer time to postpone. We should get moving. There's an enormous, enormous opportunities once we get rid of Donald Trump.
Candidates, thank you. Several of you said you are more united than divided. That is certainly true. All of you agree on one big thing. The goal of defeating President Trump, driving the country in a new direction. But out on the campaign trail, you have outlined big differences over how far to go and how fast to go. And Vice President Biden, the differences between you and the senators on either side of you tonight strike at the heart of this primary debate.
Both Senators Warner and Sanders want to replace Obamacare with Medicare for all. You want to build on Obamacare, not scrap it. They proposed spending far more than you to combat climate change and tackle student loan debt. And they would raise more in taxes than you to pay for their programs. Our senators, Warner and Sanders pushing too far beyond where Democrats want to go and where the country needs to go.
That would be for the voters to decide that question. Let me tell you what I think. I think we should have a debate on health care. I think. I know that the senator says she's for Bernie. Well, I'm for Barack. I think the Obamacare worked. I think the way we add to it replace everything has been cut at a public option, guarantee that everyone will be able to have affordable assurance, number one. Number two, I think we should be in a position of taking a look at what costs are.
My plan for health care costs. A lot of money. It costs seven hundred and forty billion dollars. It doesn't cost thirty trillion dollars, 3.4 trillion a year. Turns out is twice what the entire federal budget is. That's before it exists now. Without interest on the debt, how are we going to pay for it? I want to hear tonight how that's happened so far. My distinguished friend, the senator on my left is not has not indicate how she pays for it.
And the senator has, in fact, come forward and said how he's going to pay for it. But it gets him about halfway there. There's a lot of other things that need to be done. I prefer a bold plan to deal with making sure we triple the money for at risk pools that are a Title 1 schools from 40 from 15 to 45 billion dollars a year. But I go down the line and each of the things we're talking about, I lay out how I can pay for it, how I can get it done and why it's better.
Senator Warner, let me let me take that to you, particularly on what Senator Biden was saying there about health care. He's actually praised Bernie Sanders for being candid about his health care plan. That senator says that Senator Sanders has been candid about the fact that Middle-Class Taxes are going to go up and most of private insurance is going to be eliminated. Will you make that same admission? So let's be clear about health care. And once I actually start with vice president, did we all owe a huge debt to President Obama, who fundamentally transformed health care in America and committed this country to health care for every.
And now the question is how best can we improve on it? And I believe the best way we can do that is we make sure that everybody gets covered by health care at the lowest possible cost. How do we pay for it? We pay for it. Those at the very top, the richest individuals and the biggest corporations are going to pay more and middle class families are going to pay less. That's how this is going to work. Direct question, you said middle class families are going to pay less, but will middle class taxes go up to pay for the program?
I know you believe that the deductibles and the premiums will go down. Will middle class taxes go up? Will private insurance be eliminated? Look, what families have to deal with is cost. Total cost. That's what they have to deal with. And understand families are paying for their health care today. Families pay every time an insurance company says, sorry, you can't see that specialist. Every time an insurance company says sorry. That doctor is out of network.
Sorry. We are not covering that prescription. Families are paying every time. They don't get a prescription filled because they can't pay for it. They don't have a lump checked out because they can't afford the co-pay. What we're talking about here is what's going to happen in families pockets. What's going to happen in their budgets. And the answer is on Medicare for all costs are going to go up for wealthier individuals. And costs are going to go up for giant corporations.
But for hard working families across this country, costs are going to go down. And that's how it should work. Under Medicare for all. In our health care. Senator Sanders, you are invoking the vice president. Also, take on that question about taxes.
Joe said that the Medicare problem cuts over 30 trillion dollars. That's right, Joe. Status quo. Over 10 years, we'll be 50 trillion dollars. Every study done shows that Medicare for all is the most cost effective approach to providing health care to every man, woman and child in this country. I who wrote the damn bill, if I may say so.
Intends to eliminate all out of pocket expenses, all deductibles or copayments. Nobody in America will pay more than $200 a year for prescription drugs because we're going to stand up to the greed and corruption and price fixing of the pharmaceutical industry.
pre-Need We need a health care system that guarantees health care to all people. Every other major country, but not a system which provides a hundred billion dollars a year in profit for the drug companies. And the insurance companies tell you how absurd the system is to night on ABC. The health care industry will be appetising, telling you how bad Medicare for all is because I want to protect their profits. That is absurd in my mind.
George, you get it, you get a response, then we're going to broaden out the discourse, OK? Number one, my health care plan does significantly cut. The cost of largest out-of-pocket payment. You'll pay is a thousand dollars. You'll be able to get into a. Anyone who can't afford it gets automatically enrolled in Medicare type option. We have a center. But guess what? Of one hundred and sixty million people who like their health care now they can keep it.
If they don't like it. They can leave. Number one. Number two. The fact of the matter is we're in a situation where, if you notice, he had answered the question. This is about candor, honesty, big ideas. And let's have a big idea. The tax of 2 percent. The senator is talking about that raises about 3 billion dollars. Guess what? That leaves you about $28 billion dollars short. The senator said before it's going to cost you in your pay.
There will be a deductible in your paycheck. You're going to a middle class person, say someone making sixty grand with three kids. They're going to end up paying $5000 more. They're going to end up paying four percent more on their income tax. That's a reality. Now, it's not a bad idea if you'll like it. I don't like it. OK. Now, whenever he keeps at the time. But you didn't vote. Both senators. I have to get responses to them on that.
Senator Warner, you go first.
So let's be clear. I've actually never met anybody who likes their health insurance company. I've met people like their doctors. I've met people who like their nurses. I've met people who like their pharmacists. I've met people who like their physical therapists. What they want is access to health care. And we just need to be clear about what Medicare for all is all about. Instead of paying premiums into insurance companies and then having insurance companies build their profits by saying no to coverage, we're gonna do this by saying everyone is covered by Medicare for all.
Every health care provider is covered. And the only question here in terms of difference is where to send the bill. Senator Sanders? Let us be clear, Joe. In the United States of America, we are spending twice as much per capita on health care as the Canadians or any other major country on Earth. It's America. Yeah, but Americans don't want to pay twice as much as other countries, and they guarantee health care to all people on the by Medicare for all proposal.
When you don't pay out of pocket and you don't pay premiums, maybe you run into people who love their premiums. I haven't what people want. It's cost effective health care. Medicare for all will save the average American's substantial sums of money on his or her health care. Senator Bill, Senator Klobuchar, you said in your opening statement you don't want to represent the people stuck in the middle, the extremes. Who represents the extreme on this stage? I think you know that I don't agree with some of these proposals up here.
George, I'm talking about. If I could if I could respond to some of the proposals from my friends. First of all, Senator Sanders and I have worked valiantly to bring down the costs of pharmaceuticals. That was the club's Shah Sanders amendment to allow for drugs to come in from less expensive countries like Canada. We have worked to bring down the costs by fighting to allow 43 million seniors. That's a bill I lead to negotiate for better prices under Medicare.
I figured that's a lot of seniors and they should be allowed to get a better price. But when it comes to our health care and on what comes to our premiums, I go with the doctors creed, which is do no harm. And while Bernie wrote the bill, I read the bill. And on page 8, on page eight of the bill, it says that we will no longer have private insurance as we know it. And that means that one hundred and forty nine million Americans will no longer be able to have their current insurance.
That's in four years. I don't think that's a bold. Idea I think it's a bad idea, and what I favor is something that what Barack Obama wanted to do from the very beginning, and that is a public option, a nonprofit choice that will bring down the cost of insurance, covered 12 million more people and bring down the prices for 13 million more people. That is a bold idea. Senator, one of the goals, he says one hundred forty nine people will lose their health insurance.
I'm sorry, she said page eight of the bill.
One hundred forty nine people will lose their health insurance, but current health insurance and forty nine million million. Excuse me.
So let's be clear about this. People will have access to all of their doctors, all of their nurses, their community hospitals, their rural hospitals. Doctors won't have to hire people to fill out crazy forms. They won't have to spend time on the phone arguing with insurance companies. People who have sick family members won't have to get into these battles. What this is about is making sure that we have the most efficient way possible to pay for health care for everyone in this country.
Insurance companies last year sucked twenty three billion dollars in profits out of the system. How did they make that money? Every one of those twenty three billion dollars was made by an insurance company saying no to your health care. I'm here to judge the problem. Senator Sanders, with that damn bill that you wrote and that Senator Warren backs. Is it it doesn't trust the American people. I trust you to choose what makes the most sense for you, not my way or the highway.
Now, look, I think we do have to go far beyond tinkering with the ACA. I propose Medicare for all who want it. We take a version of Medicare. We make it available for the American people. And if we're right as progressives, that that public alternative is better than the American people will figure that out for themselves. I trust the American people to make the right choice for them. Why don't you, Senator Sanders?
Forty five seconds. George, you talked about 150 million people, private insurance. 50 million of those people lose their private insurance every year. When they quit their jobs or they go unemployed or their employer changes their insurance policy. Medicare for all is comprehensive. Health care covers all basic needs, including home health care. It allows you to go to any doctor you want, which many private insurance company programs do not. So if you want comprehensive health care, freedom of choice regarding doctor or hospital, no more than $200 dollars a year for prescription drugs.
Taking on the drug companies and the insurance companies moving to Medicare for all is the way to go.
Senator Hatch, you started out co-sponsoring Senator Sanders, Bill. You now say you're uncomfortable with it. Why?
I want to give credit first to Barack Obama for really bringing us this far. We would not be here if he hadn't the courage, the talent or the will to see us this far.
I want to give credit to Bernie. Take credit, Bernie. You know, you brought us this far on Medicare for all. I support Medicare for all. I always have. But I wanted to make the plan better, which I did, which is about offering people choice, not taking that from them. So under my Medicare for all plan, people have the choice of a private plan or a public plan because that's what people want. And I agree, we shouldn't take choice from people.
But here's the thing. Everybody on this stage, I do believe, is well-intentioned and wants that all Americans have coverage and recognizes that right now 30 million Americans don't have coverage, but at least five people have talked some repeatedly on this subject and not once have we talked about Donald Trump.
So let's talk about the fact that Donald Trump came into office and spent almost the entire first year of his term trying to get rid of the Affordable Care Act. We all fought against it. And then the late great John McCain at that moment at about 2:00 in the morning, killed his attempt to take health care from millions of people in this country. Fast forward to today. And what is happening? Donald Trump's Department of Justice is trying to get rid of the Affordable Care Act.
Donald Trump's administration is trying to get rid of the ban that we placed on denying people who have preexisting conditions coverage. Donald Trump is trying to say that our kids up to the age of twenty six can no longer be on our plans. And frankly, I think this discussion has given the American public a headache. What they want to know is that they're going to have health care and costs will not be a barrier to getting it. But let's focus on the end goal.
If we don't get Donald Trump out of office, he's going to get rid of all of it.
George in Texas, seconds. Fifteen seconds. Let me get to kind of in work and then bring you.
Go ahead, Mr by 15 seconds. Look, everybody says you want an option. The option I'm proposing is Medicare for all, Medicare for choice. If you want Medicare, if you lose the job from your insurance company, from your employer, you automatically can buy into this. You don't have no preexisting condition, can stop you from buying it and you get covered, period. And if you notice, nobody's yet said how much it's going to cost the taxpayer.
I hear this large savings. The president thank you, my friend for Vermont thinks that the employer is going to give you back if you negotiate. His union all these years got a cut in wages because you got insurance. They're gonna give back that money to the employee. Matter of fact, they will. Well, I'm for a socialist. You've got associates. You've got a lot more confidence in corporate America than I do.
Senator Sanders. George, go ahead. All right. Two points. You've got to defend the fact that today not only do we have 87 million people uninsured and underinsured. You've got to defend the fact that five hundred thousand Americans are going bankrupt. You know why they're going bankrupt? Because they've suffered a terrible disease, cancer or heart disease under my legislation. People will not go into financial road because they suffered with a diagnosis of cancer at our program. It's the only one that does that.
I know a lot about cancer.
Let me tell you something is personal to me. Let me tell you something. Every single person who is diagnosed with cancer or any other disease can automatically become part of this plan. They will not go bankrupt because of that. They will not go bankrupt because that they can join immediately. And we're talking four, six, eight, 10 years, depending you're talking about, before we get to Medicare for all. Come on, get in there. You've been there.
You know what it's like. People need help now. Hope now. And do something now. Congressman or. Thank you. Listen, I'm grateful that we all agree about the urgency of this challenge and the fact that Donald Trump is undermining the limited protections that we have right now. But I also think we're being offered a false choice between those who propose an all or nothing gambit, forcing tens of millions off of insurance that they like that works for them to force them onto Medicare.
And others who want to, as a vice president, does incrementally improve what we have, which will still leave many, maybe millions uninsured and uncared for in a state like Texas, where the largest provider of mental health care services is a county jail system. We've got to do better. In my proposal, Medicare for America says everyone who is uninsured will be enrolled in Medicare. Everyone who is insufficiently insured cannot afford it, can move over to Medicare.
And those like members of unions who fought for the health care plans that work for them and their families are able to keep them. That is the best possible path. This is it.
Health care is the top issue for everyone in the country. I want to make sure everyone gets one minute to respond. Second, Senator. Secretary Castro. Andrew Yang. And then Senator. Senator Booker. You get him. Thank you. You know, I also want to recognize the work that Bernie has done on this. And of course, we owe a debt of gratitude to President Barack Obama. Of course, I also work for President Obama, Vice President Biden.
And I know that the problem with your plan is that it leaves 10 million people uncovered now on the last debate stage in Detroit. You said that wasn't true when Senator Harris brought that up. There was a fact check of that. They said that was true. You know, I grew up with a grandmother who had type 2 diabetes, and I watched her condition get worse and worse. But that whole time she had Medicare. I want every single American family to have a strong Medicare plan available if they choose to hold on to strong, solid private health insurance.
I believe they should be able to do that. But the difference between what I support and what you support. Vice President Biden, is that you require them to opt in. And I would not require them to opt in. They would automatically be enrolled. They wouldn't have to buy in. That's a big difference, because Barack Obama's vision was not to leave 10 million people uncovered. He wanted every single person in this country covered. My plan would do that.
Your plan would you do not have to buy in. They do not have to buy. You just said that. You just said that two minutes ago. You just said two minutes ago that they would have to buy it. You said they would have to buy it to buy enough to qualify. Are you forgetting what you said Maddox could be in for?
What you said just two minutes ago. I mean, I can't believe that you said two minutes ago that they had to buy in and now you're saying they don't have to, but you're forgetting that anyone. I mean, look, a grandmother who has no money, she will health care center automatically and ironically enrolls people regardless of whether they choose to opt in or not. If you lose your job, for instance, his his health care plan would not automatically enroll you.
You would have to opt in. My health care plan would. That's a big difference. I'm fulfilling and fulfilling the legacy of Barack Obama. And you're not. I be surprised to him. Andrew Yang. This is why presidential debates are becoming unwatchable. Yeah, we're lines everybody of what they cannot stand about Washington can boring points against each other, kind of poking at each other and telling each other that you're my plan, your play. Look, we all that's called the Democratic primary election.
It's called an election.
That's an election. You know what? We're here for an election. Yeah, but I had your house divided. Cannot stand. And that is not how everyone we're nowhere on the same team here. We know we're on the same team. We all have a better vision for health care than our current president. And I believe we're talking about this the wrong way. As someone who has run a business, I know that our current health care system makes it harder to hire people, makes it harder to give them benefits and treat them as full time employees.
You instead pretend they're contractors. It's harder to change jobs. It's certainly harder to start a business. The pitch we have to make the American people as we will get the health care weight off of your backs and then unleash the hopes and dreams of the American people.
Senator, I am Asian, so I know a lot of doctors and they tell me that they spend a lot of time on paperwork, avoiding being sued and navigating the insurance bureaucracy. We have to change the incentives. So instead of revenue and activity, people are focused on our health and the health care system and the Cleveland Clinic where they're paid, not based upon how many procedures they prescribe. Shocker. They prescribe fewer procedures and patient health stays the same or improves.
That is the pitch the American people. Senator Booker, close out this disclosure.
Thank you very much.
There are a lot of people watching at home right now, listening to us that are afraid because they are in crisis. They don't have health insurance or health insurance doesn't go far enough. They can't afford their prescription drugs. Look, I I'm clear in what I believe. I believe in. Medicare, for all I believe, is the best way to rationalize the system. But dear God, I know that every one of my colleagues on this stage is in favor of universal health coverage and comes at this with the best of intentions.
And I'll tell you, there is an urgency right now in this nation. Everybody feels it as a person who has an ideal. I know we cannot sacrifice progress on the altar of purity because people in my community, they need help right now. They have high blood pressure. Right now, they have unaffordable insulin right now. And this must be a moment where we as Democrats can begin to show that we can not only stake and stand our ground, but find common ground because we've got one shot to make Donald Trump a one term president and we cannot lose it.
By the way, we talk about each other or demonize and degrade each other. We can walk and chew gum at the same time. If I am the leader, I will work towards the ideal of health insurance, health coverage being a right for all Americans. But every single day, I'll join with other Democrats to make progress happen in our nation for the people that are struggling and suffering today.
Candidates, thank you, Lindsey Davis. Thanks, George.
Since we're here at an HBCU, I'd like to start with young black voters. Several recent polls indicate their number one concern is racism. This campus, this state and this nation are still raw from that racially motivated attack on Latinos in El Paso. Now we know that the racial divide started long before President Trump and President Obama. But each of you on this stage has said that President Trump has made that divide worse. Congressman, over coming to you first.
Why are you the most qualified candidate to address this divide?
You know, I called this out in no uncertain terms on August 3rd. And every day since then and I was talking about it long before then as well. Racism in America is endemic. It is foundational. We can mark the creation of this country, not at the Fourth of July, 1776, but August 20th, 16, 19, when the first kidnapped African. Was brought to this country against his will and in bondage and has a slave built the greatness and the success and the wealth that neither he nor his descendants would ever be able to fully participate in and enjoy.
We have to be able to answer this challenge. And it is found in our education system where in Texas, a five year old child in kindergarten is five times as likely to be disciplined or suspended or expelled based on the color of their skin. In our health care system, where there is a maternal mortality crisis three times as deadly for women of color, or the fact that there's ten times the wealth in white America than there is in black America, I'm going to follow Sheila Jackson Lee's lead and sign into law a reparations bill that will allow us to address this at its foundation.
The fact that we have a white supremacist in the White House and he poses a mortal threat to people of color all across this country. Secretary. I want to commend Bethell for how well he has spoken to the the passion and the frustration and the sadness after what happened in his hometown of El Paso. He's done a great job with that look. A few weeks ago, a shooter drove 10 miles inspired by this Brett, 10 hours inspired by this president to kill people who look like me and people who look like my family.
White supremacy is a growing threat to this country and we have to root it out. I'm proud that I put forward a plan to disarm hate. I'm also proud that I was the first to put forward a police reform plan because we're not going to have any more Laquan McDonald or Eric Garner's or Michael Brown's or Pamela Turner's or Walter Scott's or Sandra Bland here from the Houston area. We need to root out racism. And I believe that we can do that because that doesn't represent the vast majority of Americans who do have a good heart.
They also need a leader to match that. And I will be a president that matches that.
Senator Booker, you have said the real question isn't who is or isn't a racist. It's who is going to do something about it. Senator, what do you plan to do about it? Well, first and foremost, I want to hit that point, because we know Donald Trump's a racist, but there is no red badge of courage for calling him that. Racism exists. The question isn't who in who isn't a racist. It's who is and isn't doing something about racism.
And this is not just an issue that started yesterday. It's not just an issue that we hear a president that can't content white supremacy. We have systemic racism that is eroding our nation from health care to the criminal justice system. And it's nice to go all the way back to slavery. But dear God, we have a criminal justice system that is so racially biased. We have more African-Americans under criminal supervision today than all the slaves in 1850. We have to come at this issue attacking systemic racism, having the courage to call it out and having a plan to do something about it.
If I am president of the United States, we will create an office in the White House to deal with the problem of white supremacy and hate crimes. And we will make sure that systemic racism is dealt with in substantive plans, from criminal justice reform to the disparities in health care to even one that we don't talk about enough, which is the racism that we see in environmental injustice in communities of color all around this country.
Mayor Rudy, you've been struggling with issues around race in your own community. You've also said that anyone who votes to re-elect President Trump is at best looking the other way on racism. Does that sort of talk alienate voters and potentially deepen divisions in our country?
I believe what's deepened divisions in the country is the conduct of this president. And we have a chance to change all of that. Look, systemic racism preceded this president. And even when we defeat him, it will be with us. That's why we need a systemic approach to dismantle it. It's it's not enough to just take a racist policy, replace it with a neutral one, and expect things will just get better on their own. Haarms compound in the same way that a dollars saved compound, so does a dollar stolen.
And we know that the generational theft of the descendants of slaves is part of why everything from housing to education to health to employment basically puts us in two different countries. I have proposed the most comprehensive vision to tackle systemic racism in every one of these areas, marshaling as many resources as went into the Marshall Plan that rebuilt Europe. But this time, a douglas' plan that we invest right here at home to make sure that we're not only dealing with things like the overincarceration of black Americans, but also black solutions, entrepreneurship raising to 25 percent the target for the federal government to do business with minority owned businesses, investing in HPC use that are training and educating the next generation of entrepreneurs.
We can and must do that, but that means transcending this framework that pits us against each other, that pits a single black mother of three against a displaced auto worker. Because when I come where I come from, a lot of times that displaced auto worker is a single black mother of three. We've got to say that and bring people together. Also, a concern for people of color is criminal justice reform. Senator Harrison, you released your plan for that just this week, and it does contradict some of your prior positions.
Among them, you used to oppose the legalization of marijuana. Now you don't. You used to oppose outside investigations and police shootings. Now you don't. You've said that you changed on these and other things because you were, quote, swimming against the current. And thankfully, the currents have changed. But when you had the power, why didn't you try to effect change that?
There. I'm glad you asked me this question. And there have been many distortions of my record. Let me be very clear. I made a decision to become a prosecutor for two reasons. One, I've always wanted to protect people and keep them safe. And second, I was born knowing about how this criminal justice system in America has worked in a way that has been informed by racial bias. And I could tell you extensively about the experiences I and my family members have personally had.
But I made a decision that if I was going to have the ability to reform the system, I would try to do it from the inside. And so I took on the position that allowed me without asking permission to create one of the first in the nation initiatives that was a model and became a national model around people who were arrested for drugs and getting them jobs. I created one of the first in the nation requirements that a state law enforcement agency would have to wear cameras and keep them on full time.
I created one of the first in the nation trainings for police officer on the issue of racial bias and the need to reform the system. Was I able to get enough done? Absolutely not. But my plan has been described by activists as being a bold and comprehensive plan that is about ending mass incarceration, about taking the profit out of the criminal justice system. I plan on shutting down for profit prisons on day one. It will be about what we need to do to hold law enforcement, including prosecutors, accountable.
And finally, my plan is about making sure that in America's criminal justice system, we d incarcerate women and children, that we end solitary confinement and that we work on keeping families intact. And as president of the United States, knowing the system from the inside, I will have the ability to be an effective leader and get this job complete. Thank you, Senator Harris. Senator Klobuchar. During your eight years as a prosecutor in Minnesota, there were dozens of incidents where black men were killed by police.
Critics say that too often you sided with police in these cases. The ACLU legal director in Minnesota has said that you showed no interest in racial justice. Do you wish now that you had done more? That's not my record. We are here at a historically black college. And I think of an alarm about college, Barbara Jordan and something that she once said. She said what the people want is simple. They want a country as good as its promise.
And that same can be said of the criminal justice system. So when I was there, the way we handled these police shootings, I actually took a stand to make sure outside investigators handled them. I took on our major police chief in Minneapolis. But in the prosecutor's office, they were handled with the grand jury. That's how they were all handled across our state. I now believe it is better for accountability if the prosecutor handles them and makes those decisions herself.
That aside, I am proud of the work our staff did, 400 people in our office. The cases that came to us, the African-American community that came to us, they said there was no justice for their little kids. There was a kid named Byron Phillips that was shot on his front porch. No one had bothered to figure out who did it. When I came into that office, we worked with the community groups. We put up billboards.
We found the shooter and we put him in jail. We did the same for the killer of a little girl named Tyisha Edwards, who was doing her homework at her kitchen table and was shot through the window. What changes did we make? Go after white collar crimes in a big way. Diversify the office in a big way. Work with the Innocence Project to make sure we do much better with eyewitness I.D.. And as a senator and as your president, I will make sure that we don't just do the first step act when it comes to criminal sentencing that we move to the second step back, which means that 90 percent of people that are incarcerated in local and state jails let's reduce those sentences for nonviolent offenders and let's get them jobs and let them vote when they get out of prison.
And thank you, Senator Clinton. You all believe that the war on drugs has put too many Americans behind bars. Vice President Biden, do you have a plan to release many nonviolent drug offenders from prison? Senator Booker says that your plan is not ambitious enough. Your response?
Well, first of all, let me say that when I came back from law school, I had a job with great big time law firm. I left and became a public defender because my state was under siege. When Dr. King was assassinated, we were occupied by the National Guard for 10 months. I've been involved in beginning as a young congressman, as young as councilman. I introduced legislation to try to keep them putting a sewer plant in a poor neighborhood.
I made sure that we did deal with redlining. Banks should have to lend where they operate, etc.. The fact of the matter is that what's happened is that we're in a situation now where there are so.
Many people who are in jail and shouldn't be in jail. The whole means by which this should change is to hold models to change. We should be talking about rehabilitation. Nobody should be in jail for a nonviolent crime as when we were in the White House. We released six thousand people from the federal prison system. Nobody should be in jail for a drug problem. They should be going directly to a rehabilitate. We build more rehabilitation centers, not prisons.
We I'm the guy that put in the the drug courts to divert people from the criminal justice system. And so we have to change the whole way. We look at this and we put people in prison. We have to equip them when they get out. Nobody who got in prison for marijuana, for example, immediately upon being released. They shouldn't be in there for mr. That should be a misdemeanor. They should be out and their record should be expunged.
Every single right should be returned. When you finish your term in prison, you should be able not only vote, but have access to Pell grants, have access to be able to get housing, have access to be able to move along the way. I've laid out a detailed plan along those lines and the fact is we've learned so much more than by mr. Thank you, Senator Volcker, 45 seconds to respond. Our criminal justice system is so savagely broken, there's no difference in America between blacks, whites and Latinos for using drugs or dealing drugs.
But if you're African-American, you're almost four times more likely to be arrested and incarcerated, destroying your lives. And so much of this comes down to privilege. We have a criminal justice system that Bryan Stevenson says treats you better if you're rich and guilty than if you're poor and innocent. And so I have challenged this whole field. We can specifically and demonstrate ably now show that there are seventeen thousand people unjustly incarcerated in America. And all of us should come forward and say, when we are president, the United States, when I am president, I states we will release them.
And let me be specific. I joined together and led in the United States Senate, the only major bipartisan bill to pass on to this prison for criminal justice reform that has already led to thousands of people coming out of jail. If eighty seven members, the United States Senate says that these sentences are way too long and we changed it, but we didn't make it retroactive, we could literally point to the people that are in jail unjustly right now. Everyone on this stage should say that we are going to give clemency to these seventeen thousand people.
And I challenge you don't just say big statements. Back it up with details of the people in prison right now looking for one of the most sacrosanct ideals of this nation, which is liberty and freedom. We need to reform this system and we must do it now. Every day we wait so long.
Thank you, Lindsey. I want to turn to the deadly mass shootings here in this country. And of course, we are all mindful tonight of where we stand. We are here in Texas tonight where twenty nine people have lost their lives in just the last month alone. El Paso, which we've discussed in Odessa. And I know there are survivors from El Paso right here in the hall tonight. Vice President Biden, I do want to direct this to you, because we all remember Sandy Hook.
Twenty six people died in that school, 20 of them children. Those first graders would be in eighth grade today. At the time, there was a groundswell in this country to get something done. President Obama asked you to lead the push for gun control. You have often pointed to your ability to reach across the aisle to get things done. But four months after Sandy Hook, a measure to require expanded background checks died on the Senate floor. If you couldn't get it done after Sandy Hook, why should voters give you another chance?
It got done before. I'm the only one up, Piers. Ever beat the NRA. Only one ever beat the NRA nationally. I'm the guy that brought the Brady Bill and the focus and became law. And so that's number one. Number two, after Sandy Hook, a number of things happened. It went from a cause to a movement. Look what's happened now. Mothers. Their organization, Mothers Against Violence. What? What? Gun violence. We've seen what's happened again.
Now we have all these young people marching on Washington, making sure that things are going to change. There has been a sea change. Those proposals I put forward for the president had over 50 percent of of guns, of gun members of the NRA supporting them. And overwhelmingly, the rest of the people supported them. Now the numbers are much higher because they realize what I've been saying and we've all been saying is correct. Over 90 percent of the American people think we have to get assault weapons off the street, period.
And we have to get buy backs and get them out of their basements. So the point is things have changed and things have changed a lot. And now what's happening is. And by the way, the way better handle. Scuse me for saying better, Congressman. That's all right.
That's a good way to handle what happened in his home town. Is meaningful to look in the eyes of those people, to see those kids, to understand those parents. You understand the. But this is ready to do this. Mr. Vice President, you did bring up assault weapons. You did bring up the assault weapons here, and many of you on his days had talked about executive order, Senator Harris. You have said that you would take executive action on guns within your first 100 days, including banning imports of a AR 15 assault weapons.
That's right. President Obama after Sandy Hook, more than twenty three executive actions. And yet here we are today. In recent days, former Vice President Biden has said about executive orders, some really talented people are seeking the nomination. They said, I'm going to issue an executive order. Biden saying there's no constitutional authority to issue that executive order when they say, I'm going to eliminate assault weapons, saying you can't do it by executive order anymore than Trump can do things when he says he can do it by executive order.
Does the vice president have a point there? Some things you can. Many things you can't. Let's let the senator answer. Oh, I mean, I would just say, hey, Joe, it said it's a no, we can't. Let's say yes, we can. Was constitutional. We've got to. We can. Because I'll tell you something. The way that I think about this is I've seen more autopsy photographs than I care to tell you.
I have attended more police officer funerals than I care to tell you. I have hugged more mothers of homicide victims than I care to tell you. And the idea that we would wait for this Congress, which has just done nothing to act, is just it is it is overlooking the fact that every day in America, our babies are going to school to have drills, elementary, middle and high school students where they are learning about how they have to hide in a closet or crouch in a corner if there is a mass shooter roaming the hallways of their school.
I was talking about this at one of my town halls. And this child, it was eight years old, probably came up to me. It was like it was a secret between the two of us. And he touched on my jacket and he said I had to have one of those drills. It is traumatizing our children. El Paso and Pato, thank God love you for standing so courageously in the midst of that tragedy. You know, people asked me in El Paso, they said, you know, because I have a longstanding record on this issue.
They said, well, do you think Trump is responsible for what happened? I said, well, look, I mean, obviously, he didn't pull the trigger, but he's certainly been tweeting out the ammunition. Harris, thank you. Vice President Gore. Do you still stand by what you said? An executive, he said, was the question that speak to constitutional scholars.
If, in fact, we could say, by the way, you can't own the following weapons, period. They cannot be sold anymore. Check with constitutional scholars, Mr. Vice President, thank you. You know, one day I'm going to I'm going to work down the row here, but I do want to come to congressman or work because I know this is personal to you. El Paso is your hometown. Some other states have suggested a voluntary buyback for guns in this country.
You've gone further. You said, quote, Americans who own a AR 15 and AK 47s will have to sell them to the government. All of them. You know, the critics call this confiscation. Are you proposing taking away their guns? And how would this work? I am. If it's a weapon that was designed to kill people on a battlefield. If the high impact, high velocity round when it hits your body shreds everything inside of your body because it was designed to do that so that you would bleed to death on a battlefield, not be able to get up and kill one of our soldiers.
When we see that being used against children. And in Odessa, I met the mother of a 15 year old girl who was shot by an A.R. 15. And that mother watched her bleed to death over the course of an hour because so many other people were shot by that eight or fifteen in Odessa and Midland. There weren't enough ambulances to get to them in time. Hell, yes. We're going to take your a-r fifteen, your AK 47. I'm listening to the people of this country.
The day after I proposed doing that, I went to a gun show in Conway, Arkansas, to meet with those who are selling a 15s and AK 47s and those who are buying those weapons. And you might be surprised there was some common ground there. Folks who said I would willingly give that up, cut it to pieces. I don't need this weapon to hunt, to defend myself. It is a weapon of war. So let's do the right thing.
But let's bring everyone in America into the conversation. Republicans, Democrats, gun owners and non-gun owners alike make a point. Congressman, thank you. I want to bring in Senator Bashar on this, because you've often talked about your uncle and the proud hunters back home in Minnesota. So I wanted to get your response to congressman or work tonight. Where do you stand on mandatory gun buybacks? I so appreciate what the congressman has been doing.
And I want to remind people here that what unites us is so much bigger than what divides us. Everyone up here favors an assault weapon ban. Everyone up here favors magazine limitations, which, by the way, would have made a huge difference if that was in place in El Paso in that store where all those ordinary people showed such extraordinary courage. And certainly in Dayton, Ohio, where in 30 seconds, one man gunned down innocent people, the cops got there in one minute and it still wasn't enough to save those people.
That's what unites us. You know what else unites us? And I'll tell you this. What unites us is that right now on Mitch McConnell's desk are three bills, universal background checks, closing the Charleston loophole and passing my bill to make sure that domestic abusers don't get AK 47. Senator Kohl is going to get something done. And I personally think we should start with a voluntary, voluntary buyback program. That's what I think, David. But I want to finish this, because if you want action now, if you want action now, we got to send a message to Mitch McConnell.
We can't wait until one of us gets in the White House. We have to pass those bills right now to get this done. Senator, flowcharts bare another innocent life. Thank you. Thank you. I want to turn to Senator Booker, because you have said just this week about guns and about the candidates on this stage that the differences do matter. Those were your words. You have argued if you need a license to drive a car in this country, you should have a license to buy a gun.
Gun owners would not only have to pass a background check, they would have to obtain a federal license to buy a gun. This would require, as you know, Congress to pass legislation. If Democrats can't get universal background checks, how would you get this done? And can you name one Republican colleague of yours in the Senate right now who would be onboard with this idea? So background checks and gun licensing. These are agreed to by over whelming glee, the majority of Americans.
Eighty three percent of Americans agree with licensing. This is the issue. Look, I grew up in the suburbs. It was about 20 years ago that I came out of my home when I moved to Inner-City Newark, New Jersey, and witnessed the aftermath of a shooting. It's one of the reasons why shooting after shooting after shooting in neighborhoods like mine for decades. This has been a crisis for me. It's why I was the first person to come out for gun licensing.
And I'm happy that people like federal work are showing such courage now and coming forward. And also now supporting licensing. But this is what I'm sorry about. I'm sorry that it had to take issues coming to my neighborhood or personally affecting Biddle to suddenly make us demand change. This is a crisis of empathy in our nation. We are never going to solve this crisis. If we have to wait for it to personally affect us or our neighborhood, our community before we demand action.
You want to know how we get this done? We get this done by having a more courageous empathy where people don't wait for this hell to visit upon their communities. They stand up and understand the truth of what King said, that injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. I will lead change on this issue because I have seen what the carnage creates in communities like mine, because we forget national shootings. These these mass shootings are tragedies. But the majority of the homicide victims come from neighborhoods like mine.
Nobody has ascended to the White House. That will bring more personal passion on this issue. I will fight this and bring a fight to the NRA and the corporate gun lobby like they have never seen before.
Senator Booker, thank you. A quick follow up, though, because Americans watching tonight know the reality of Congress in Washington. I asked, do you have a Republican colleague in the Senate who would be onboard with this idea to get this done? You know, if that was the attitude when Strom Thurmond had the longest syllabub filibuster ever on civil rights, if it was this idea that we can't get it done because of the situation in the Senate, I'm looking to lead a movement.
The number one reason why governments are formed is to protect the citizenry.
Think about this. We have had more people die due to gun violence in my lifetime than every single. In this country combined from the Revolutionary War till now, this is not a side issue to me. It is a central issue to me. That is the kind of fight because the majority of homicide victims of a mass shooting every single day in communities like mine. We must awaken a more courageous empathy in this country so that we stand together and fight together and overwhelm those Republicans who are not even representing their constituency.
Because the majority of Americans, the majority of gun owners agree with me, not the corporate gun lobby. It is time for a movement on this issue and I will lead it over. Thank you, Senator Warren. I want to come to you next, because you have actually said in recent days that there aren't things you can get done with Republicans in the Senate. What can you get done on gun control? So let's start by framing the problem the right way.
We have a gun violence problem in this country. The mass shootings are terrible, but they get all the headlines. Children die every day on streets, in neighborhoods, on playgrounds. People die from violence, from suicide and domestic abuse. We have a gun violence problem in this country and we agree on many steps we can take to fix it. My view on this is we've got enough. It's not going to be one and done on this. We're gonna do it and we're gonna have to do it again.
And we're gonna have to come back some more until we cut the number of gun deaths in this country significantly. But here's the deal. The question we need to ask is when we've got this much support across the country, 90 percent of Americans want to see us do. I like registration, want to see us do background checks, want to get assault weapons off the ground, off the streets. Why doesn't it happen? And the answer is corruption, pure and simple.
We have a Congress that is beholden to the gun industry. And unless we're willing to address that head on and roll back the filibuster, we're not going to get anything done on guns. I was in the United States Senate when 54 senators said, let's do background checks. Let's get rid of assault weapons. And with fifty four senators, it failed because of the filibuster until we attacked the systemic problems. We can't get done reform in this country. We've got to go straight against the industry and we've got to change Congress so it doesn't just work for the wealthy and well-connected.
So it works for the people. Senator Warren, thank you.
You bring up eliminating the filibuster, which means you would need simply a simple majority in a Republican Senate to get something done. I want to turn to Senator Sanders on this, because you've said before of this, if Donald Trump supports ending the filibuster, which he's talked about himself, you should be nervous. Would you support ending the filibuster? No, but what I would support absolutely is passing major legislation. But gun legislation, the people here are talking about Medicare for all.
Climate change legislation that saves the planet. I will not wait for 60 votes to make that happen. And you could do it in a variety of ways. You could do that through budget reconciliation law. You will have a vice president who will, in fact, tell the Senate what is appropriate and what is not, what is in order and what is not. What I want to get back to a point that Elizabeth made. And that, in fact, the herbs have got issues picking up a Gorian battle with everybody else.
What we are looking at is a corrupt political system. And that means whether it is the drug companies or the insurance companies or the fossil fuel industry determining what's happening in Washington or in this case, you got in and are a which has intimidated the president of the United States and the Republican leadership. I am proud. I am proud that year after year I had an F rating from the NRA. And as president, I will not be intimidated by the NRA.
Senator Sanders, thank you. May I respond?
There's an item we've been hearing a lot about what's been happening here in Texas. Only a few weeks ago, the deadliest massacre of Latinos, Latinos in modern U.S. history happened in this state. Now, PASSEL So the fear among Latinos. And, you know, this is very real. So let me start with an issue that is causing a lot of division in this country. Immigration. Vice President Biden said, presidential candidate in 2008, you supported the border walls, saying, like most Democrats, I voted for 700 miles of fence.
This is what you said. Then you serve as vice president. You know, the administration that deported 3 million people, the most ever in U.S. history. Did you do anything? To prevent those deportations, I mean, you've been at this question before and refuse to answer, so let me try once again. I you prepared to say tonight that you and President Obama made a mistake about deportations. Why should Latinos trust you?
Well, Latinos should look at is comparing this president to the president we have is outrageous. Number one, we didn't lock people up in cages. We didn't separate families. We didn't do all of those things. Number one. Number two. Number two, by the time this is the president came along with the doctor program, no one had ever done that before. This the president sent legislation to desk saying he wants to find a pathway for the 11 million undocumented in the United States, America.
This the president has done a great deal. So I'm proud to have served with him. What I would do as president is several more things, because things have changed. I would, in fact, make sure that there is we immediately surge to the border. All those people are seeking asylum. They deserve to be heard. That's who we are. We're a nation says if you want to flee and you're fleeing oppression, you should come. I would change the order that the president just change.
Say, women who are being beaten and abused could no longer claim that is a reason for asylum. And by the way, retrospectively, you know, the 25th anniversary, the Violence Against Women Act is up. The Republican Congress has not reauthorized it. Let's put pressure on them to pass the Violence Against Women Act now. But you didn't answer the question. You'll make them. No. Did you make a mistake with those importations? The president did the best thing that was able to be done about you.
I'm the vice president, United States secretary of Castro. Would you want to send an invite? And let me put this in context, because your party controlled the White House and Congress in 2009 and didn't pass immigration reform. And these broken promises made by President Barack Obama to Latinos. So why should voters force Democrats now? I mean, nobody is even more difficult, as you know, because you need Republican votes in the Senate. So are you willing 40 any to keep up that cut or give up a path to citizenship or even a way to build a wall in order to legalize ten point five million undocumented immigrants here?
Thank you very much for that question. And you look, I agree that Barack Obama was very different from Donald Trump. Donald Trump has a dark heart when it comes to immigrants. He built his whole political career so far on scapegoating and fear mongering and other rising migrants. And that's very different for Barack Obama. But my problem with Vice President Biden and Corey pointed this out last time is every time something good about Barack Obama comes up, he says, oh, I was there, I was there, I was there.
That's me, too. And then every time somebody questions part of the administration that we were both part of, he says, well, that was the president. I mean, he wants to take credit for Obama's work, but not have to answer any questions. Vice President Biden get that? Let me just say what I've said. Let me just say that I would. I was the first candidate in early April to put forward an immigration plan. You know why?
Because I'm not afraid of Donald Trump on this issue. I'm not going to backpedal. I'm not going to pretend like I don't have my own vision for immigration. So we're not going to give up DACA. We're not going to give up protections for anybody. I believe that on January 20th, twenty, twenty one, we're going to have a Democratic president. We're going to throw out Mitch McConnell and John Cornyn and have a Democratic Senate and a Democratic House.
And we're going to pass immigration reform within the first hundred day. President. Forty five seconds. I did not say I don't stand out. I stand with Barack Obama. All eight years, good, bad and indifferent.
That's where I stand. I did not say I did not stand with him. OK.
Senator Warren, hundreds of children have been separated from their parents at the border. And recently in Mississippi, we saw the largest immigration raid in a decade. You want to replace ICE, the agency in charge of rounding up undocumented immigrants. So how would you deal with the millions of immigrants who are ripe legally but overstay their visas? And how would you stop hundreds of thousands of Central Americans want to migrate to the US? Well, I start with a statement of principles, and that is in this country, immigration does not make us weaker.
Immigration makes us stronger. I want to see us expand legal immigration and create a pathway to citizenship for our dreamers, but also for their grandparents and for their cousins, for people whose overstayed student visas and for people who came here to work in the fields. I want to have a system that has a path to citizenship that is fair and achievable down at the border. We've got to rework this entirely. A system right now that cannot tell the difference in the threat posed by a terrorist.
A criminal and a twelve year old girl is not a system that is keeping us safer and it is not serving our values. These are young. Wait. We need I want to add one more part on this, because I think we have to look at all the pieces. Why do we have a crisis at the border? In no small part because we have withdrawn help from people in Central America who are suffering. We need to restore that help.
We need to help establishing reestablish the rule of law so that people don't feel like they have to flee for their lives. We have a crisis that Donald Trump has created and hopes to profit from politically. We have to have the courage to stand up and fight back.
Mr. Young, it is true that in the last two years we have seen the most severe anti-immigrant measures from putting kids in cages or limiting asylum for people fleeing gangs and domestic violence. But it is also true that about 1 million immigrants enter the US legally every year. So are you willing to raise the number of legal immigrants from 1 million to 2 million per year? And should there be a merit system as President Trump wants? So, yeah. Why did you ask me?
I already said it. OK. Sorry. My my father grew up on a peanut farm in Asia with no floor, and now his son is running for president. That is the immigration story that we have to be sure.
If you look at our history, almost half of Fortune 500 companies were founded by their immigrants or children of immigrants, and rates of business formation are much higher in immigrant communities. We have to say to the American people, immigrants are positive for economic and social dynamism. And I would return the level of legal immigration to the to the point it was under the Obama Biden administration. I think we have to compete for talent. And I am the opposite of Donald Trump in many ways.
He says build a wall. I'm going to say to immigrants, come to America, because if you come here, your son or daughter can run for president. The water's great. And this is where you want to build a company, build a family and build a life. This country has been a magnet for human capital for generations. If we lose that, we lose something integral to our continued success. And that is where I would lead.
As president, I've got to beat up on. I've got eight out of 10 Latinos in Texas for another mass shooting targeting them. This is according to a new Univision poll. President Trump has called Mexican immigrants rapists and killers, tried to ban Muslims from entering the country and separated the children from their parents. His supporters have chanted, build a wall and send her back. Do you think that people will support precedent from his immigration policies are racist?
Anyone who supports this is supporting racism and says that she's more yes, sinceI. The only people, though, who actually buy into this president's hateful rhetoric around immigrants are people who don't know any.
We have an opportunity to build an American majority around immigration reform in my community. A group of conservative Republicans rallied around an individual, a beloved local individual who was deported when he went into ice to try to get his paperwork sorted out because they never thought it would happen to him. In some of the most conservative rural areas of Iowa, I have seen communities that embraced immigration grow. And it's why part of my plan for revitalizing the economies of rural America includes community renewal visas that would allow cities and towns and counties that are hurting not only for jobs, but for population to embrace immigration as we have in my city.
No, the only reason that South Bend is growing right now after years of shrinking is immigration. It's one of the reasons we acted not waiting for Washington to create city issued municipal I.D. so that people, regardless of immigration status in our city, had the opportunity to have the benefits of identification. We have an opportunity to actually get something done, but we cannot allow this to continue to be the same debate with the same arguments and the same clever lines, often among the same people since the last real reform happened in the 1980s.
We have to actually engage the American majority around the opportunities for not just growth in small communities, but our values. Values welcome values of faith that all argue for us to manage this humanely and in a way that marries our values with our lost communist style battle. Up in the bottom fifth. In an interview a month ago, you were asked what to do with a so-called overstayers. People who come with a reason, then stay. And you said, I don't know.
Do you have an answer now? I do. And if you read the rest of that article in The Washington Post, I talked about harmonising our entry exit system with Mexico in the same way that we do with Canada. I think that could help us to keep a handle on visa overstays. But I think the larger question that we're trying to get at is how do we rewrite this country's immigration laws in our own image, in the image of Houston, Texas, the most diverse city in the United States of America, in the image of El Paso, Texas, one of the safest cities in the United States of America, safe, not despite the fact that we are a city of immigrants safe because we are a city of immigrants.
Kornel Symbols gets to get almost a signal in western US and many others in West Piease. This is it almost got up.
So not going to eating me that I will lead an effort to make sure that we rewrite our immigration laws in that way. Never cage another child. Make sure that there is accountability and justice for the seven lives lost under our care in our custody, but also face the fact that Democrats and Republicans alike voted to build a wall that has produced thousands of deaths of people trying to cross to join family or to work a job that we have been part of deporting people, hundreds of thousands just in the Obama administration alone who posed no threat to this country, breaking up their families.
Democrats have to get off the back foot. We have to lead on this issue because we know it is right. Legalize America. Begin with those more than 1 million dreamers, make them U.S. citizens right now in this. Their true home country and extend that to their parents, their sisters and their brothers and ensure that we have a legal, safe, orderly system to come to this country and add to our greatness here. Thank you, George.
Hey, thank you. Were gonna take a quick break. When we come back. National security, foreign policy. The impact on American jobs and U.S. troops.