Thanks for following our live coverage of a very policy-filled evening in Miami during Night One of the Democratic debate. Our live blog will be back around 6 p.m. ET Thursday with coverage of the second group of 10 candidates on Night Two of the debate, hosted by NBC News, MSNBC and Telemundo.
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Top-tier candidates put economic inequality in the crosshairs
In their opening answers, top-tier contenders Elizabeth Warren, Cory Booker and Amy Klobuchar took dead aim at economic inequality and what they characterized as a financial system that favors the rich and leaves struggling working-class families behind.
Warren, who has called for the most dramatic and sweeping financial reforms, including a new tax on wealth, blasted an economic order that she says has been rigged for the wealthy and powerful.
Klobuchar, asked to respond to Warren's free college plan, said: "I do get concerned about paying for college for rich kids. I do."
Booker, for his part, lamented corporate consolidation and suggested America's biggest firms should be broken up with antitrust enforcement.
The backdrop for all this economic populism: President Trump regularly touts a strong economy, but the Democratic contenders want to put the focus on working-class Americans who they say have been forgotten.
Fact check: The top 1 percent control 90 percent of the wealth
This is false. The top 1 percent actually controls about 40 percent of the nation's wealth, according to a 2017 paper by economist Edward N. Wolff who used data from the federal Survey of Consumer Finances.
Ryan may have been to be trying to reference a surprising stat from that same paper: the fact that the top 1 percent of American households own more wealth than bottom 90 percent.
CORRECTION (JUNE 27, 12:34 a.m. ET): An earlier version of this article misquoted Rep. Tim Ryan in one reference to wealth, which changes the assessment of his statement from true to false. He said that the top 1 percent of American households controls 90 percent of the nation's wealth; he did not say that the top 1 percent of American households owns more wealth than the bottom 90 percent. (His statement is false, according to a 2017 paper by economist Edward N. Wolff that found that the top 1 percent controls about 40 percent of the nation's wealth.)
Booker reacts to Beto speaking Spanish
Fact check: de Blasio touts progressive achievements in New York. Can he take the credit?
“We’ve been addressing income inequality in New York City by raising wages by raising benefits by putting money back in the hands of working people. 15 dollars minimum wage. Paid sick days. Pre-K for all. Things that we’re doing are making a huge difference in working people’s lives," de Blasio said.
De Blasio has certainly talked about getting a lot of progressive things done. And while he definitely has, many other key progressive policy accomplishments have come as a result of action by Albany, not City Hall.
For example, implementing a $15 minimum wage in New York City for most businesses — while championed by de Blasio — was the product of a statewide roll-out of increased minimum wages.
On the other hand, de Blasio’s signature campaign promise back in 2013 was providing universal pre-kindergarten, and funding it with a tax for the city’s super-wealthy. He enacted universal pre-K — and it’s wildly popular — but not with a wealth tax, which Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo would not sign off on. Cuomo, however, found other state funds to pay for the program, which has grown to cover 3-year-olds in recent years.
In 2014, de Blasio signed into law a bill that required employers with at least five workers to offer five paid sick days a year. And in January, de Blasio released a plan that would guarantee 10 days of paid vacation for nearly all workers in New York City and another plan that would help workers save for retirement.
Fact check: Does Amazon pay nothing in taxes, as Booker said?
Asked about corporate mega-mergers, and whether he would call out those companies, Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey said he had no problem naming companies like Amazon that pay "nothing" in taxes.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts has made this claim previously, as well, and it's true for federal taxes, according to an analysis of corporate filings put out by the progressive think tank Institute for Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP.)
The analysis did not review state and local taxes, however.
What the candidates are wearing
The candidates walked out onto the stage wearing either purple (Warren's jacket, De Blasio's tie), red (Booker's tie, Klobuchar's shirt, Gabbard's jacket) or blue (ties of Ryan, Castro, Delaney, O'Rourke).
But Inslee, whose campaign is focused on climate change, is wearing a green tie.
Buttigieg takes the stage tomorrow, but his city is in the news tonight
Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg, the 37-year-old two-term mayor of South Bend, Indiana, doesn't take the stage until Thursday night. But he has made headlines in recent days amid unrest in his city over the fatal shooting of a black man by a white police sergeant.
In the latest development, the family of the shooting victim — 54-year-old Eric Jack Logan — filed a lawsuit Wednesday against the police officer and the city in federal court, according to The Associated Press. The lawsuit accuses Sgt. Ryan O'Neill of using excessive deadly force when he shot Logan on June 16. The suit also names the city of South Bond as a defendant, but it does not name Buttigieg, the AP reported.
The public outrage over Logan's death has threatened to overshadow Buttigieg's presidential ambitions, potentially halting his meteoric ascent from obscure Midwestern mayor to top-tier contender. He faced shout-downs, heckling and profanity at a contentious town hall over the weekend.
But in almost 20 interviews across South Bend this week, most locals offered more muted and even-handed criticism of their mayor, and some applauded him for taking a break from the campaign trail to focus on the crisis back home. In conversations, many African American residents expressed far more anger about long-standing issues of racial injustice and economic inequality in their town.
"It didn't start with Pete," one lifelong resident of the city told NBC News.
Trump buys out the YouTube homepage ahead of debate
The president's campaign isn't taking the night off.
Ads from Donald J. Trump for President Inc., the president's official re-election committee, are showing up on the homepage for YouTube.
The Google-owned video platform is one of the most visited pages on the internet, making its homepage banner particularly valuable real estate. Earlier today, Trump railed against Google and other tech companies, claiming that they are "full of Democrats."
It's heating up in Miami
The candidates won't need to do much to warm up in Miami.
According to John Morales, chief meteorologist at WTVJ, the NBC News affiliate in Miami, the city has experienced four consecutive days of record heat.
We'll see if any candidate brings it up in reference to global warming...
Will Dems bare their FANGs?
Back in April 2016, the last time the Democrats held a presidential debate, tech companies were still on the good side of the public and most of Washington.
A little more than three years later, American tech giants are the subject of a full-on political barrage from regulators, elected officials and presidential hopefuls. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., led the charge with a call to break up some of the so-called FANG companies — Facebook, Amazon and Google (not so much Netflix) — and to create new rules that prevent them from using their power to hurt smaller competitors.
The Democrats have plenty to talk about, but tech policy very well could end up a talking point tonight, particularly as the debaters look to differentiate themselves on a crowded stage.
Can a meme fulfill candidates' dreams?
Amanda Carpenter, a former staffer for Sen. Ted Cruz, makes a good point — could the winner of tonight's debate be up to the internet?
And in particular, could it come down to the most meme-able moment?
We've already seen the power that the internet has in driving the media cycle and elevating its favorite candidates, especially Andrew Yang and his Yang Gang.