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First Democratic debate 2019: Live updates from Night Two

Live blog from the first Democratic debate for the 2020 presidential election. Follow NBC News' coverage of Joe Biden, Pete Buttigieg and more.

Thanks for following our live coverage of the second night of the first Democratic presidential debate, headlined by Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, Kamala Harris, and Pete Buttigieg. This wraps up our two nights of live digital coverage of the 20 candidates who participated in the debate in Miami, hosted by NBC News, MSNBC and Telemundo.

Check out our in-depth coverage:

And download the NBC News app for full coverage of both nights of the first Democratic debate.

1557d ago / 4:55 AM UTC

Yang and Williamson can relate on their speaking time

Outsider presidential candidates Andrew Yang and Marianne Williamson had their first presidential debate stage experience on Thursday night, and both said they're taking lessons into a possible second appearance.

Asked in the post-debate spin room about what they learned in their initial appearance, both expressed a concern about their inability to garner significant speaking time.

"I've got to learn how to get in there," Williamson said. "I gotta learn how to get in there 'cause when you're sidelined like that ... there's so many things I would've loved to talk about, and obviously I was not invited to do so."

Yang, meanwhile, said he "learned that it's easier to get a question if you have been in public life for a long, long time."

1557d ago / 4:31 AM UTC

Swalwell said he had to go after Biden: 'It's personal to me'

Swalwell told MSNBC's Chris Matthews in the post-debate spin room that he had to go after the front-runner in the polls, former Vice President Joe Biden, because "it's personal to me." He cited his student loan debt, gun violence and a host of other issues that he wants to take on and said it's the next generation's responsibility. 

"He was right when he said it's time to pass the torch," Swalwell said of the former vice president. 

1557d ago / 4:10 AM UTC

Bennet: I'm 'glad' Harris confronted Biden over busing

Bennet said Harris going after Biden was a "powerful statement" regarding her comments about being bused to white schools as a young girl. He said she was right to confront Biden over his past opposition to busing. "I'm glad Kamala said what she said," he told MSNBC's Chris Matthews in the spin room. 

1557d ago / 4:08 AM UTC

Watch the highlights and top moments of debate Night Two

From Harris' food fight sound bite to Williamson accusing the government of "collective child abuse," watch the top moments of Night Two of the Democratic presidential debates.

1557d ago / 4:06 AM UTC

Fact check: Biden claims that under Obama, the U.S. built the biggest wind farm in the world

“In our administration, we built the largest wind farm in the world, the largest solar energy facility in the world,” Biden said Thursday. 

The largest wind power site in the U.S. — the Alta Wind Energy Center in California — has an operational capacity of 1,548 megawatts with 586 turbines, according to 2017 data reported by the U.S. Energy Information Administration. It was built during the Obama administration, when Biden was vice president.

But China has a bigger wind farm. The Gansu Wind Farm — also known as the the Jiuquan Wind Power Base — has 7,000 turbines and an operational capacity of at least 6,000 megawatts, according to Forbes, and plans to expand to 20,000 megawatts by 2020, according to The New York Times.

1557d ago / 4:01 AM UTC

Trump under fire: Candidates unload on president on Night Two

1557d ago / 3:56 AM UTC

Buttigieg shared practical dream about living without fear

After a question about police accountability, Buttigieg did something uncommon on a debate stage — he admitted he failed. The mayor of South Bend, Indiana, said he was unsuccessful in reducing tensions between police and black residents because of a wall of distrust that grows each time a resident is treated unfairly or subjected to discrimination. 

“I am determined to bring about a day,” Buttigieg said, “when a white person driving a vehicle and a black person driving a vehicle, when they see a police officer approaching, feels the exact same thing … a feeling not of fear but of safety. I am determined to bring that day about.”

Buttigieg has faced both intense criticism and praise for his handling of police shooting of Eric Logan, 54, in South Bend. Logan’s family filed suit against the city and the officer this week.

In a February 2019 poll, 63 percent of white Americans and 84 percent of black Americans told the Pew Research Center black Americans are treated less fairly than whites in dealing with the police. The figures reflect what experts say are both differences in treatment and knowledge of those differences.

1557d ago / 3:55 AM UTC

Harris continues to go after Biden over his record on race

In the post-debate spin room, Harris told MSNBC's Chris Matthews that she doesn't believe Biden is a racist — but she was quick to add that she found his recent comments about working with segregationist senators hurtful.

"If those men, those segregationists, had had their way, I would not be a member of the U.S. Senate ... so the harm that they did and they attempted to do ... the consequences of their actions were very real," Harris told Matthews.

Biden has come under criticism for touting his ability to forge bonds with other politicians by pointing to his onetime relationships with the segregationist Sens. James Eastland, D-Miss., and Herman Talmadge, D-Ga., early in his Senate career.

In the spin room, Harris again chastised Biden for his record on school integration.

"I would like to hear him acknowledge what was wrong about his perspective on busing," Harris said.

In the 1970s and early ’80s, Biden worked with a Southern bloc of GOP and Democratic senators who barred the use of federal funds to enforce desegregation through busing.

1557d ago / 3:46 AM UTC

Biden: Harris 'mischaracterized' my position

1557d ago / 3:45 AM UTC

Fact check: Hickenlooper says Colorado 'created the first methane regulations in the country'

Hickenlooper said that in Colorado, "We are working with the oil and gas industry and we've created the first methane regulations in the country."

This is true.

As governor, Hickenlooper, relying on input from Environmental Defense Fund as well as three oil and gas companies that operate in the state, Noble Energy, Encana and Anadarko, brokered a deal to implement strict new methane emissions regulations as well as new rules requiring the energy industry to locate and fix leaks at their drilling sites.

Those rules — which were in fact the first of their kind in the U.S. at the time — required companies to capture 95 percent of all toxic pollutants and volatile organic compounds they emitted and also led to the repair of 73,000 methane leaks from 2015 to 2017, according to  the Colorado Air Pollution Control Division. 

1557d ago / 3:39 AM UTC

Twitter’s top moments

What resonated on social media? Twitter already has the breakdown the top moments based on #DemDebate — and it’s good for Harris.

  1. Harris and Biden’s exchange on race

  2. Candidates’ first act as president

  3. Harris’ memorable line: "America does not want to witness a food fight. They want to know how we’re going to put food on their table."

1557d ago / 3:38 AM UTC

RNC chair says second night same as the first

1557d ago / 3:37 AM UTC

Fact check: Will tariffs cost Americans $800 a year, on average?

“Americans are going to pay on average $800 more a year because of these tariffs,” Buttigieg said on Thursday night, talking about the impact of President Donald Trump's trade policies.

This is true. After the president announced new tariffs this year, economists said they would cost the average household $831 per year. 

1557d ago / 3:35 AM UTC

Hickenlooper: Migrant children torn from families, put up for adoption 'unbelievable'

Almost no aspect of the Trump administration’s crackdown on immigration has generated more debate and public outrage than the detention of immigrant children after separating them from their families.

Hickenlooper raised the issue on the debate stage Thursday, along with a looming possibility. 

“The images we have seen this week just compound the emotional impact that the world is judging us by,” Hickenlooper said. “If you’d ever told me any time in my life that this country would sanction federal agents to take children from the arms of their parents, put them in cages, actually put them up for adoption — in Colorado, we call that kidnapping — I would have told you, I would have told you it was unbelievable.”

The Associated Press reported in October that since the border crisis began, a Missouri couple had already managed to permanently adopt an infant whose Guatemalan mother had been detained during an immigration raid. 

The possibility that some of the children might wind up permanently separated from their families has already begun to evoke comparisons to the federal government’s mid-20th century efforts to “re-educate” Native American children by sending thousands to boarding schools where many were abused. 

1557d ago / 3:35 AM UTC

Harris wins progressive group's flash poll

Harris was the clear favorite of members of the progressive activist group Indivisible in the second round of the first Democratic presidential debate, according to a flash poll conducted by the group.

Indivisible, which sprang up after the 2016 election to push back on President Donald Trump, asked members via text message which candidate “impressed” them most. They received 4,500 responses within 20 minutes of the debate’s conclusion. Here are the results:

Kamala Harris - 65%

Pete Buttigieg - 15%

Joe Biden - 7%

Bernie Sanders - 7%

Kirsten Gillibrand - 2%

Michael Bennet -  1%

Eric Swalwell - 1%

Marianne Williamson -1%

Andrew Yang - 1%

John Hickenlooper - 0%

In the first round of the debate Wednesday night, Sen. Elizabeth Warren was the clear favorite of Indivisible members.

1557d ago / 3:31 AM UTC

We are all Marianne Williamson — or at least Katy Perry is

Candidates try very hard to be relatable, but sometimes it’s enough to just be yourself. That’s what Williamson did on Thursday night — and it resonated. 

Of all the candidates, Williamson drew attention on social media in a way that felt a bit above the fray. Yes, plenty of it was jokes about her, but many felt as if they offered a bit of connection and even self deprecation.

Is she going to be the next president? Probably not. But in the social media age, finding common ground through shared — or at least appreciable — weirdness can be surprisingly effective. Just ask Katy Perry.

1557d ago / 3:21 AM UTC

Google searches, before and after debate

1557d ago / 3:19 AM UTC

Biden's remark on jailing execs echo his past

In 2008, after the global economy teetered on the edge of collapse, the idea that bankers and Wall Street executives should face jail time for the financial machinations that caused the Great Recession took on a certain widespread public appeal.

In the final stretch of the presidential campaign, both nominees — Democrat Barack Obama and Republican John McCain, both senators — called for increased regulation and oversight of the financial industry. After Obama won the election, by most accounts, just one top banker went to jail. 

On Thursday, Biden, the man who served as Obama’s vice president, made a familiar reference to potential jail time during a debate exchange about health care. 

“Look, we can deal with these insurance companies,” Biden said. “We can deal with the insurance companies by, No. 1, putting insurance executives in jail for their misleading advertising, what they're doing on opioids, what they're doing paying doctors to prescribe.”

It was an idea that in many ways echoed Biden’s longtime support for a jail-centered approach to addressing the sale and consumption of drugs.

Away from the debate stage, Biden has said this year that he supports a more treatment-focused approach to dealing with the nation’s opioid crisis. But his critics say Biden’s past work has made such a thing harder to accomplish. 

1557d ago / 3:11 AM UTC

Bullock chimes in with his thoughts

Montana Gov. Steve Bullock did not make the cut for the first round of Democratic presidential debates but for the second night in a row, he was weighing in on Twitter:

1557d ago / 3:06 AM UTC

52 total mentions of Trump tonight

The president was mentioned 17 more times on Night Two of the debate.

1557d ago / 3:00 AM UTC

The candidates' closing statements

Swalwell: Time to let a new generation of leaders take over and fix Washington.

Williamson: Gotta have an outsider to beat Trump. And insider won’t do it.

Bennet: Build a new era of American democracy.

Hickenlooper: Check out my progressive record in Colorado —  I can get things done. And I didn’t need to be a socialist to do it.

Gillibrand: Women are pissed right now because of an attack on our rights. We’re running for office and winning. I’m going to be a fighter who will take on the big challenges.

Yang: Thanks everyone who got him on the stage. Says he will be the one who can solve the problems that got Trump elected in the first place.

Harris: She will prosecute the case against four more years of Trump. Election is about you. She has a “3 a.m. agenda.” Will lead with honesty and speak the truth, help Americans prosper.

Buttigieg: Politics aren’t theoretical to him. He’s running because the decisions of the next three to four years will dictate the next 30 to 40 years. When he’s as old as Trump he wants to know that the right decisions were made.

Sanders: Why hasn’t anything changed? Why aren’t things getting better? Nothing will change unless “we have the guts to take on Wall Street, the insurance industry, the pharmaceutical industry, the military-industrial complex, etc. 

Biden: I want to restore the soul of our nation after Trump elevated racists and white supremacists, and embraced dictators. We have to restore the American middle class, unite the country.

1557d ago / 2:58 AM UTC

Biden campaign sends out video highlighting civil rights work

1557d ago / 2:57 AM UTC

Lightning round: What foreign relationship would you reset as president?

1557d ago / 2:56 AM UTC

Fact check: Sanders' record on gun control

Sanders claimed Thursday that he's been a reliable supporter of gun control, and said that in 1988, "when it wasn’t popular, I ran on a platform of banning assault weapons and in fact lost that race for Congress."

Not only is there little evidence that this claim is true (Sanders did lose his 1988 congressional race, but multiple outlets have said the reason isn't so clear cut), but Sanders also omits that in the 31 years since that race, he has had a voting record that many gun control advocates consider checkered.

Between 1991 and 1993, he voted at least three times against different iterations of the “Brady Bill” that required waiting periods for people buying guns. He also opposed a 1996 measure that would have funded Centers for Disease Control to conduct research on gun violence. In 2005, he voted in favor of a law — the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act — that essentially protected gun makers from lawsuits from the families of victims of gun violence. After being roundly criticized for that position during the 2016 Democratic primary, Sanders co-sponsored legislation in 2017 to repeal that law.

In recent years, he has taken a stronger stance geared toward gun control, speaking (including during his campaign launch speech) about the need to expand background checks and ban assault weapons.

1557d ago / 2:55 AM UTC

Williamson stands out

Look, it’s hard to stand out in a format like this, but Williamson really has. She’s made some, let’s say nontraditional points, and that's been something of a breath of fresh air that’s even playing pretty well among the Twitterati.

1557d ago / 2:52 AM UTC

Swalwell and Sanders go head to head on gun control

1557d ago / 2:52 AM UTC

Election Confessions: Some minds are changing, some more indecision

Joe Biden, Kamala Harris and Pete Buttigieg dominated the debate-night confessions on Election Confessions, a place readers write what they really think about the issues and the candidates in the 2020 election.

Some readers confessed a candidate met their mark ("...tonight Kamala proved to me she is Hillary 2.0 and this is a GOOD thing,"), others confessed giving up their previous pick ("Biden is (sadly) no longer my favorite...").

Have a confession you want to make? Start writing here.

1557d ago / 2:52 AM UTC

Biden explains his Iraq War vote

Biden did not backtrack on his Iraq War vote, which he previously said was a mistake. He touted his foreign policy experience as Obama's vice president to help bring troops home from Iraq. He said he would make sure that as president he would only go to war to fight terrorists and not to give presidents broad war powers. But, he said, "never do it alone," adding that he would repair relationships with other countries. 

"I know how to do it," he said. 

1557d ago / 2:51 AM UTC

It’s not quite the Cory Booker moment but...

Here’s a moment of levity for everyone.

1557d ago / 2:49 AM UTC

Sanders draws contrast with Biden over Iraq

In answering a question about foreign policy, Sanders briefly but notably brought up Biden's vote in the Senate in 2002 authorizing the invasion of Iraq.

Biden's support for the Iraq war is widely believed to be a liability for his campaign.

A recent Politico/Morning Consult poll, for example, found that more than 40 percent of participants ages 18 to 29 said his track record on the issue made them less likely to support the former Delaware senator.

1557d ago / 2:47 AM UTC

Who would you try to improve relations with off the bat?

The candidates were asked which foreign relationships they would focus on improving first:  

Williamson: European leaders

Hickenlooper: The entire world

Yang: China

Buttigieg: "We have no idea which of our most important allies [Trump] will have pissed off most" by 2020

Biden: NATO

Sanders: "It's not one country. It's rebuilding trust in the United Nations."

Harris: NATO

Gillibrand: Iran

Bennet: European allies and every Central American country

Swalwell: "We need to break up with Russia and make up with NATO."

1557d ago / 2:45 AM UTC

Biden 'within our right' to use 'smart guns'

Biden touted his work in the passage of the 1993 Brady Bill and other gun control measures and called for “smart guns.”

“No gun should be able to be sold unless your biometric measure could pull that trigger," he said. "It’s within our right to do that. We can do that. Our enemy is the gun manufacturers, not the NRA, the gun manufacturers.”

1557d ago / 2:43 AM UTC

Harris is top trending search in U.S.

1557d ago / 2:41 AM UTC

Where’s Yang?

There was a bit of hype around Yang coming into tonight thanks to his internet fandom. So far, he’s hit his basic income points. Otherwise, not much.

1557d ago / 2:41 AM UTC

Buttigieg and Hickenlooper weigh on climate change

1557d ago / 2:40 AM UTC

Biden shaky after clash with Harris

To the naked eye, Biden has not recovered well since his dust-up with Harris over his past opposition to federally enforced busing. When given the opportunity to answer on other subjects, he has appeared a little shaky, culminating with an answer in which he said the first thing he would do as president is “defeat Donald Trump.”

1557d ago / 2:40 AM UTC

Harris says she'd give Congress 100 days to "get their act together" on guns

Harris did not mince words: If she's elected president, she'll make a big push for gun control.

The California senator said she would "give Congress 100 days to get their act together" and press lawmakers to come up with sensible gun control measures.

But "if they do not," Harris vowed to take executive action, putting in place a comprehensive background check, requiring the ATF to revoke licenses from gun dealers that violate the law, and ban by executive order the importation of assault weapons.

1557d ago / 2:39 AM UTC

Swalwell pushes for plan to ban and buy back all assault weapons

"Keep your pistols, keep your rifles, keep your shotguns," the California congressman said. "But we can keep the most dangerous weapons away."

He claimed he was the only candidate in the race proposing a ban on assault weapons and a buyback program to get them out of Americans' hands.

Swalwell insisted "we must be a country that loves our children more than we love our guns."

1557d ago / 2:39 AM UTC

Biden doesn't let attacks go unchallenged

It’s been more than a decade since Joe Biden participated in a multi-candidate debate of the sort he’s engaged in Thursday night. It’s also been years since the former vice president has had to stand up for his own policies, rather than vouch for someone else’s.

That dynamic was on display Thursday in the Democratic debate as Biden’s presentation of his policies on education, taxes and immigration was not always as crisp as his rivals. Some policy specifics are new, and Biden raced to present them within the one-minute limit.  

But the moment of the debate came when Kamala Harris confronted Biden directly, not just about his recent comments about working with segregationist lawmakers, but his past opposition to busing as a young senator.

Compare that to an issue he worked on closely in the White House, which offered him an opportunity to highlight his association with President Obama, and which was deeply personal. Referring to family tragedies he faced, Biden said he "can't fathom” what his family would have done without health insurance.

The fastest way to build it is to build upon Obamacare, he said. 

Biden aides had told reporters the former vice president would aim to deflect any attacks by pivoting to his future vision. But Biden did not let the attacks over his civil rights record stand unchallenged, and his defensive answer will linger in voters' minds. The question is whether the Biden campaign is right in its belief that Biden has a credibility with voters that would withstand such attacks, and that those attacks could backfire on those who make them. 

1557d ago / 2:36 AM UTC

Sanders and Gillibrand on how they will protect Roe v. Wade

1557d ago / 2:35 AM UTC

Candidates name their top priorities

Each candidate had to name what their top policy priority will be. 

Swalwell: Ending gun violence 

Bennet: Climate change and lack of economic mobility

Gillibrand: Universal pre-k, policies for women and families 

Harris: Middle-class and low-income tax cuts, DACA

Sanders: We need a political revolution to take on special interests 

Biden: Defeat Donald Trump 

Buttigieg: Climate change, immigration

Yang: Universal basic income

Hickenlooper: Climate change 

Williamson: Make America the best place in the world for a child to grow up in

1557d ago / 2:34 AM UTC

Fact check: Did Vermont reject 'Medicare for All' because of the taxes?

"Because of those taxes, Vermont rejected 'Medicare for All,'" Bennet said on Thursday night, part of his argument against the Vermont senator's signature proposal.

This is true, though it was not called "Medicare for All." The state's then-governor, Peter Shumlin, said he was abandoning plans for a universal, publicly funded health care system because the taxes would be too high to make the program work, according to an Associated Press report at the time.

1557d ago / 2:34 AM UTC

Biden backs Obama against criticism

Biden goes after critiques of Obama’s climate change, saying the former president was the first to bring the world together on the subject. Keeping his friends close.

1557d ago / 2:29 AM UTC

Harris’ Twitter account reinforces her busing comments

1557d ago / 2:28 AM UTC

Sanders: 'The olds ways are no longer relevant'

Sanders came out strong to say that America and the rest of the world need to come together against using fossil fuels and shifting money away from war and weapons to pay for it. 

1557d ago / 2:28 AM UTC

Fact check: Did Biden work with segregationists to oppose busing?

"You worked with them to oppose busing," Harris said to Biden of segregationists in the Senate, criticizing him for recent remarks about the "reputation" of those senators. 

This is true. Biden fought to stop certain kinds of school busing, a method of integration, teaming up with segregationists in this effort. He has long maintained he supported desegregation, however.

1557d ago / 2:27 AM UTC

Hickenlooper takes aim at the Green New Deal

In a response about climate change, Gov. John Hickenlooper dissed Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's proposed Green New Deal federal jobs guarantee:

"Guaranteeing everybody a government job is not going to get us there, socialism in that sense is not the solution."

1557d ago / 2:27 AM UTC

We need someone who knows how to 'corral the rest of the world,' Biden says

Biden pledged to rejoin the Paris climate accords that were brokered when he was President Obama's vice president, adding that America needed a skilled political hand who understood how to "corral the rest of the world" in the global battle against climate change.

1557d ago / 2:26 AM UTC

Fact check: Sanders wonders why middle-class workers haven't seen more money in 45 years

Sanders said, "How come today the worker in the middle of our economy is making no more money than he or she made 45 years ago?"

This is pretty much true. The cost of living has steadily increased, but the buying power of most Americans’ wages hasn’t budged in decades, according to a 2018 analysis from Pew Research Center. This study says that despite a strong labor market, "today's real average wage (that is, the wage after accounting for inflation)" has "about the same purchasing power it did 40 years ago."

In addition, last year, real wage growth — the difference between the growth in paychecks and the growth of inflation — fell to minus-0.2 percent, meaning that Americans were making less than they had before.

1557d ago / 2:25 AM UTC

Buttigieg says rural America should be included in fight against climate change

In a wonky response to a question about climate change, Buttigieg contended that "rural America can be part of the solution instead of being told they're part of the problem."

He pitched an idea for a "Pittsburgh Summit" on climate change, adding that the federal government should look to local and regional leaders for their ideas on how to reverse the effects of climate change.

1557d ago / 2:24 AM UTC

Buttigieg patient and pointed

In the midst of an at-times raucous debate, Buttigieg has generally patiently waited for his moments and then spoken a little more slowly and deliberately than everyone else. The small-town mayor seems comfortable on the big stage — despite criticism and heightened tensions back home over the shooting of a black man by a white police office in South Bend, Indiana.

1557d ago / 2:24 AM UTC

Hickenlooper again says socialism is not a solution

Hickenlooper again slammed socialism as a solution to getting progressive policies passed. This moment was about climate change and saying that America has to regulate oil and gas and put in policies that reduce carbon emissions. 

1557d ago / 2:23 AM UTC

Harris channels Inslee: Trump is the greatest national security threat

Harris said that Trump is the greatest national security threat, channeling Gov. Jay Inslee from the first night, who gave the same answer at the first debate. She said that she believes a climate "crisis" is happening and she would recommit the U.S. to the Paris Agreement and supports the Green New Deal. 

1557d ago / 2:20 AM UTC

Harris confronts Biden in tense exchange on race relations

1557d ago / 2:19 AM UTC

Gillibrand: It's 'mind-boggling' we're debating abortion access

The New York senator, saying it was "mind-boggling" that Democratic presidential candidates were debating abortion rights in 2019, called on her party to start "playing offense" on the polarizing social issue instead of reacting to Republican-led rollbacks of reproductive rights.

1557d ago / 2:19 AM UTC

Bernie touches on court packing

An idea that has circulated on the left is to expand the Supreme Court in order to counter the conservative majority. Bernie knocked that down, but suggested an alternative — rotating justices. He argued its constitutional. 

1557d ago / 2:19 AM UTC

Sanders: I will only appoint pro-choice judges

Sanders said that he will only appoint judges that will preserve Roe v. Wade. He also said that he would use his health care plan to guarantee women access to abortions. 

1557d ago / 2:18 AM UTC

Gillibrand: Trump tax cuts were a gift for donors

Gillibrand slammed the Republican Party donor class and the Koch brothers for exercising what she sees as disproportionate influence on the American political system, blasting what she described as the "corruption" behind election finance.

She also argued forcefully that the Trump administration's tax cuts were essentially a gift to wealthy donors who backed the president's 2016 campaign.

1557d ago / 2:17 AM UTC

Harris using her courtroom skills

1557d ago / 2:17 AM UTC

Candidates asked about McConnell, don't suggest defeating him

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is up for re-election in Kentucky in 2020, but no Democrat seems confident of unseating him when his name comes up in these debates. McConnell has earned a lot of attention both Wednesday and Thursday, and candidates have conceded he won’t be willing to work with them.

1557d ago / 2:15 AM UTC

What a difference one night brings

Wednesday seems like a long time ago.

Twenty-four hours later, we're seeing Harris v. Biden and Swalwell v. Buttigieg and Williamson v. everyone. The second debate night has already offered far more confrontation — and we're just a little more than halfway through.

1557d ago / 2:12 AM UTC

Harris promises to end private detention centers

1557d ago / 2:12 AM UTC

Sanders pivots from diversity to economic inequality

In the wake of a fiery back-and-forth between Harris and Biden over race, Chuck Todd asked Sanders if he believed diversity wasn't an important principle in Democratic politics.

"Absolutely not," Sanders replied. "Unlike the Republican Party, we encourage diversity, we believe in diversity. That's what America is about."

But then Sanders pivoted to the struggles of working-class Americans and the widening wage gap, suggesting that he believed economic inequality deserves just as much national scrutiny as questions of diversity.

1557d ago / 2:12 AM UTC

Fact check: Did Biden negotiate a bipartisan deal to stave off the migrant crisis?

Biden, talking about violence in countries like El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras that has prompted thousands of people to flee and seek asylum in the U.S., said he "got a bipartisan agreement ... to spend $740 million dollars to deal with the problem and that was to go to the root cause of why people are leaving in the first place."

He then said Trump disrupted that effort. 

This is mostly true, though Biden’s numbers and timeline are slightly off.

Biden led the White House effort to send aid directly to the Northern Triangle countries, and a bipartisan Congress approved $750 million — not $740 million — in funding to stave off violence in the country. And the funding did help slow migration from these countries. The U.S. began diverting that funding in 2019, two years into — not exactly immediately — into Trump's term.

1557d ago / 2:10 AM UTC

Swalwell, lacking chances to speak, goes after others

Swalwell took another big punch at a contender when he insisted that Buttigieg should fire the local police chief over the recent shooting of Eric Logan, a black man killed by a white police officer in South Bend, Indiana. Earlier, Swalwell directly called out Biden for being, well, old, and said it was time for young leaders to be in charge.

1557d ago / 2:10 AM UTC

Biden does not endorse Castro’s proposal to decriminalize migration

Moderator José Díaz-Balart asked candidates to raise their hands if they supported Julián Castro's proposal to decriminalize migration by downgrading illegal border crossing to a civil infraction from its current status as a criminal offense. Hicklenlooper, Biden and Bennett hesitated to raise their hands; all the other candidates signaled they support the proposal.

Biden called for all asylum-seekers to be absorbed immediately, but the moderator followed up: If a person is living here illegally, and that border crossing was his or her only crime, should that person be deported?

"That person should not be the focus of deportation. We should fundamentally change the way we deal with them," Biden said.

1557d ago / 2:08 AM UTC

Harris gets personal on race, slams Biden

Harris got personal on race, saying that she and her sister, who are both black and South Asian, experience racism and was bused into an all-white school. She slammed Biden for his comments praising his work with segregationists while in the Senate and opposing busing. 

Biden came back by saying he did not praise segregationists. He also said that he was a public defender, not a prosecutor. Harris then directly confronted Biden on his busing comments in a fiery exchange. 

1557d ago / 2:06 AM UTC

Fact check: Will 'Medicare for All' ban private insurance?

Bennet, discussing his opposition to Sanders' "Medicare for All" proposal, said that the proposal would "make illegal all insurance, except cosmetic."

"Bernie is a very honest person. He has said over and over again … that this will ban, make illegal, all insurance, except cosmetic  except insurance I guess that’s for plastic surgery. Everything else is banned under Medicare for All," Bennet said. 

This is true. The bill Bennet is referring to — a version of “Medicare for All” introduced and championed by Sanders — would do away with any private insurance that duplicates a covered benefit. The bill proposes covering just about everything from doctors and hospital visits to prescription drugs and rehab. 

1557d ago / 2:06 AM UTC

Buttigieg on recent racial unrest in his city

Buttigieg took responsibility for the failure to diversify the police department in South Bend, where he has been mayor for the last eight years. He stated bluntly: "I couldn't get it done." 

He said South Bend "is in anguish right now" over the fatal shooting of a black man, Eric Logan, by a white police officer, Sgt. John O'Neill. The police force in South Bend is roughly 90 percent white.

The 37-year-old mayor, who has struggled to win support among African American primary voters, bemoaned the "wall of mistrust" between communities of color and law enforcement.

He also said America needs to think hard about how to redress what he described as "systemic racism."

1557d ago / 2:03 AM UTC

Gillibrand slams Trump on family separation

1557d ago / 2:00 AM UTC

Fact check: Buttigieg says most Americans favor a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants

Buttigieg said that most Americans support a pathway to citizenship for 11 million undocumented immigrants and that there's "consensus" 

This is true, according to a plethora of recent polls. 

According to a Gallup poll from February, 81 percent of Americans support a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants.

1557d ago / 1:59 AM UTC

Hickenlooper and Williamson talk family separation

1557d ago / 1:56 AM UTC

Biden calls for jailing insurance execs for opioids ads

Biden just called for “putting insurance executives in jail for misleading advertising” on opioids. That goes well beyond how he spoke about this issue in April before joining the race at an event in Philadelphia with — of all people — Jeb Bush. At that point, he proposed taking away the industry’s deduction for advertising expenses.

1557d ago / 1:56 AM UTC

We're about halfway through Night Two and almost everyone has mentioned Trump

1557d ago / 1:56 AM UTC

Buttigieg: China uses technology for "the perfection of dictatorship"

Buttigieg said the threat posed by the economic rise of China needs to be taken seriously, warning that the country could soon "run circles around us" on automation and other key technological initiatives.

He added that the U.S. should invest in infrastructure as a bulwark against China's ambitions.

1557d ago / 1:55 AM UTC

Harris already fundraising off her “food fight” line

1557d ago / 1:54 AM UTC

Bennet: The greatest national security threat is Russia, not China

Lester Holt asked Michael Bennet how his administration would push back against the Chinese government. But in response, Bennet said America's greatest geopolitical foe is not China but Russia, pointing to the Putin government's interference in the 2016 election.

1557d ago / 1:53 AM UTC

Nobody wants to interrupt Harris

On a night when candidates have shown a willingness to jump in and talk over one another, nobody is interrupting Harris, who has already delivered a handful of cohesive points and narratives that aren’t getting challenged.

1557d ago / 1:53 AM UTC

Harris: I disagreed with Obama, Biden

Harris said that as attorney general of California she disagreed with the Obama administration's deportation policy and directed law enforcement in the state to ignore federal directives because the people who were being deported were not violent criminals. She said she wants immigrants to not be fearful to report crimes. 

1557d ago / 1:52 AM UTC

Trump talking second night of debates at G-20

1557d ago / 1:51 AM UTC

Rewind: Buttigieg on why he doesn’t support free college for all

1557d ago / 1:51 AM UTC

Generation conversations swirl around debate

Eric Swalwell was the first to introduce the generational argument, before Pete Buttigieg who has largely used this as a part of his campaign. 

Swalwell made a cut at Joe Biden’s generation saying, "Joe Biden was right when he said it was time to pass the torch to a new generation of Americans 32 years ago."

And Bernie Sanders came back quickly to defend him.

1557d ago / 1:48 AM UTC

Biden: All talk, but 'I did it"

Biden slammed Trump's family separation policy, saying he would send billions to Central America to curb the number of families leaving to seek asylum. He added that the Obama admin did that but Trump reversed it. "We all talk about these things, I did it," he said. 

1557d ago / 1:47 AM UTC

Buttigieg assails GOP for "hypocrisy" on faith

In a powerful moment, Buttigieg lambasted the Republican Party for "cloaking" itself in the rhetoric of religion while pursuing immigration policies that he sees as contrary to the Christian faith.

Buttigieg, who regularly speaks openly about his faith experience, said Americans needed to "call out hypocrisy when we see it."

He added that the GOP was flouting the teachings of Christ by suggesting that "God would smile" on the separations of migrant families at the border or the detention of children in "cages."

1557d ago / 1:47 AM UTC

Candidates heavy on health care, but tied to immigration

While health care has dominated the first hour, the candidates and moderators have linked it to immigration in a way we didn’t hear last night, including talking about providing health care to undocumented immigrants. 

1557d ago / 1:45 AM UTC

Hickenlooper: Trump family separation is “kidnapping”

Hickenlooper blasted Trump’s family separation policy, calling it kidnapping. He said on Day One he will reform ICE, provide health care, food and clothing to migrants and allow families into the country to seek asylum and remain together.

1557d ago / 1:44 AM UTC

Gillibrand: Trump has "torn apart the fabric of who we are"

The New York senator decried the deaths of migrant children during Trump's time in office, saying the president has "torn apart the fabric of who we are" with immigration policies that Democrats and most progressives see as draconian and inhumane.

1557d ago / 1:44 AM UTC

Sanders dominates start of second-night debate

Bernie Sanders dominated the opening segment of the debate, hammering home his own talking points, taking on Joe Biden and jumping in frequently to weigh in on questions first posed to other candidates.

When Rep. Eric Swalwell said it was time for Biden to pass the torch to a new generation — as Biden had said during his own 1988 presidential campaign — Sanders was quick to yank the discussion away from age and toward priorities while keeping the heat on Biden.

“The issue, if I may say, is not generational,” Sanders said without naming Biden specifically. “The issue is who has the guts to take on Wall Street, to take on the fossil fuel industry, to take on the big money interests.”

Whether Democratic voters like Sanders’ plans or not, they heard a lot about his agenda — particularly his Medicare for All proposal, which he said would raise taxes on middle class families but lower health care costs for them. 

By the time of the first commercial break — a little more than 30 minutes into the debate — it was Sanders, the second-place candidate in national polls, whose voice had boomed most clearly through the auditorium.  

1557d ago / 1:44 AM UTC

All in favor say 'aye'

1557d ago / 1:41 AM UTC

Harris on what she’d do to protect immigrants on 'day one'

The California senator said she would “immediately” take executive action to protect DACA recipients, their parents and undocumented military veterans. She said she would also “put in place a meaningful process for reviewing asylum,” “release children from cages” and “get rid of private detention centers.”

1557d ago / 1:41 AM UTC

All candidates say their health plans would cover undocumented immigrants

An issue that was once so controversial that it prompted Rep. Joe Wilson, R-S.C., to yell “you lie” at President Barack Obama during a 2009 speech to Congress met a different Democratic Party on Thursday night: In a remarkable moment of unity, all candidates said their health care plans would cover undocumented immigrants.

“Our country is healthier when everyone is healthier,” Buttigieg said. “We do ourselves no favors by having 11 million undocumented people in our country be unable to access health care."

Democratic candidates raise their hands to answer whether they would cover undocumented immigrants in the second Democratic primary debate of the 2020 presidential campaign season hosted by NBC News at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts in Miami, Florida on June 27, 2019.
Democratic candidates raise their hands to answer whether they would cover undocumented immigrants in the second Democratic primary debate of the 2020 presidential campaign season hosted by NBC News at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts in Miami, Florida on June 27, 2019.MSNBC
1557d ago / 1:41 AM UTC

Fact check: Do other major countries spend 50 percent less per capita on health care?

“In most cases, [other major countries] are spending 50 percent per capita what we’re spending” on health care, Sanders said on Thursday night.

According to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, the U.S. spends $10,209 per capita on health care — far and away more than any other countries reviewed by the OECD.

Most spend at least 50 percent less than the U.S. per capita on health care, according to the OECD data.

1557d ago / 1:41 AM UTC

Andrew Yang explains his universal basic income plan

1557d ago / 1:40 AM UTC

Harris team capitalizing on moment

1557d ago / 1:36 AM UTC

Medicare for All dominating discussion

1557d ago / 1:36 AM UTC

Harris: Nobody should have to work more than one job

1557d ago / 1:36 AM UTC

A lot of Americans with a lot of jobs

For Harris it was a comment that generated applause. 

“In our America no one should have to work more than one job to have a roof over their head and food on the table,” Harris said. 

In reality, 5.6 percent of white Americans and 5.2 percent of black Americans worked two or more jobs in 2018, according to annual Bureau of Labor Statistics data.

Between 1996 and 2015, the share of Americans working two or more jobs steadily declined to just 4.9 percent overall. But, that’s a trend that has since reversed itself, with the overall share of multiple job holders climbing. Black Americans, particularly black women, have long ranked among the most likely to cobble together a living with multiple jobs. 

1557d ago / 1:34 AM UTC

Buttigieg on the “crazy thing” about immigration

The South Bend mayor claimed Americans want a pathway to citizenship for the 11 million undocumented people living in the United States and back protections for Dreamers. And yet the current president, he argued, seems intent on making the immigration debate as divisive as possible.

1557d ago / 1:33 AM UTC

Health care taking up almost all of the first 30 minutes

This debate so far has been heavily focused on health care —  nearly all of the first 30 minutes have been focused on it. This has led to Sanders getting a lot more time to talk than some other candidates as he’s been addressing some pushback to Medicare for All. Additionally, Biden, as Obama’s former vice president, has had some time to defend the Affordable Care Act.

1557d ago / 1:33 AM UTC

“Candidates, please!”

Savannah Guthrie tried to rein in the crosstalk amid a contentious discussion of Medicare.

1557d ago / 1:32 AM UTC

Bennet: I will build on Obamacare

Bennet is the candidate that talks about building off of Obamacare to get America to single payer. He slams Sanders for comparing Canada to the U.S., saying Canada has 35 million people with universal care and America has a larger population.

1557d ago / 1:31 AM UTC

On the far right of the debate stage, Eric Swalwell on jobs

1557d ago / 1:29 AM UTC

Marianne Williamson rails against the health care system

“We don’t have a health care system in the United States. We have a sickness care system in the United States,” the activist and author said.

1557d ago / 1:28 AM UTC

Fact check: Hickenlooper says he oversaw drop in teen pregnancy

Hickenlooper touted a birth control program in Colorado, saying "we reduced teen pregnancy by 54 percent."

This is true, though there's more to the story. While teen pregnancy rates did fall in Colorado after the Colorado Family Planning Initiative — a state program that provided IUDs or birth control implants at little or no cost for low-income women — was put into place, Hickenlooper would be hard-pressed to take all of the credit for it. The program was put in place in 2009 — two years before he took office.

According to data kept by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, birth and abortion rates both declined by nearly 50 percent among teens aged 15 to 19 and by 20 percent among young women aged 20 to 24. The birth rate among teens aged 15-19 dropped 59 percent over 2009 to 2017, according to more recent data. Hickenlooper is correct in making this claim, but neglects to mention that the program when into effect under his predecessor, Democratic Gov. Bill Ritter, in 2009.

1557d ago / 1:28 AM UTC

Sanders short on health care specifics

Asked how he would make government-run health care work, Sanders didn’t provide specifics, but he offered soaring rhetoric.

“We’ll do it the way real change has always taken place,” Sanders said. “We will have 'Medicare for All,' when tens of millions of people are willing to stand up and tell the insurance companies and the drug companies that health care is a human right.”

1557d ago / 1:27 AM UTC

Early chaos rewards aggression

It’s more of a “debate” than last night. With candidates showing little hesitation to interrupt and jump in and the moderators letting them spar, some of the aggressors are benefitting.

1557d ago / 1:25 AM UTC

Buttigieg gets personal

Buttigieg briefly mentioned the terminal illness of his late father in talking about the hard discussions surrounding health care.

The mayor’s father, Joseph Buttigieg, passed away in January at 71.

1557d ago / 1:25 AM UTC

Federal spending: creeping socialism or critical needs?

Federal spending priorities was one of the first questions of the debate, and it's a matter often framed in terms of deficit spending and creeping socialism by conservatives.

The American public’s view is a bit more complex: In a March 2019 Pew Research Center poll, 53 percent of Americans indicated that federal spending on health care should increase. Americans interviewed by Pew researchers reported the strongest support for boosting funding for education, veteran’s benefits, rebuilding highways and bridges, Medicare, environmental protection and scientific research.

Support for more spending in each of these areas topped the 50 percent mark.

However, just 31 percent of those polled supported increased spending on assistance to the unemployed and 35 percent backed providing more aid to the world’s needy. 

1557d ago / 1:25 AM UTC

Harris has a plan (to end debate crosstalk)

The line of the night so far comes from Harris, who was able to calm some crosstalk with a great line: “Guys, America doesn't want to see a food fight, they want to know how we're going to put food on their table.”

1557d ago / 1:22 AM UTC

Fact check: People in America are 'working two and three jobs' to make ends meet, Harris says

Harris and other Democrats often make the argument that the economy is not working for everyone, highlighting anecdotes of people they've met on the campaign trail who are working two and three jobs.

While there is no doubt that this is the reality for some, just 5 percent of Americans hold multiple jobs, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That number has risen slightly over the last few years, though it is down from 6 percent in 1999.

1557d ago / 1:22 AM UTC

Harris: Nobody should have to work more than one job

The California senator earned a loud round of applause for saying that no American should be forced to work multiple jobs just to make ends meet.

1557d ago / 1:22 AM UTC

Debate goes off the rails

We’re 20 minutes in and Sanders is standing up for Biden after Swalwell took a shot at his age. (Sanders is even older than Biden.) Sanders said the real issue is not age but who will take on corporate interests.

Multiple candidates are trying to yell over one another ...

1557d ago / 1:21 AM UTC

Buttigieg dips into Spanish, name drops his husband Chasten

The first Spanish words of the night came from Pete Buttigieg, who speaks multiple languages including Norwegian and Spanish. Buttigieg said his husband “Chasten and I have six-figure student debt” — a historic moment as he is the first openly LGBTQ candidate on a Democratic debate stage. 

1557d ago / 1:19 AM UTC

Swalwell goes after Biden

After he was asked a question about how automation could put Americans out of work, California Rep. Eric Swalwell instead decided to go after Biden.

He paraphrased an old quote from Biden about the need to pass the torch to a new generation of leaders — and then all but called on the former vice president to do the same.

It was the first notable attack line of the night.