Night 1 of the second Democratic debate is in the books. The gloves came off over health care as the moderates on the stage took aim at leading progressives Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.
Look back on all the action as it happened, and for all of the night's fact checks, go here. Join us tomorrow for Night 2 of the debate, which will begin at 8 p.m. ET. Download the NBC News app for full coverage of both nights of the second Democratic debate.
Who won the Democratic debate?
It was the second face-off for the slate of 10 Democratic presidential candidates who took the stage Tuesday night to debate. For some, it could be their last.
Only half of the candidates on stage in Detroit are on track to meet the higher threshold needed to qualify for the next debate in September, putting the rest in the fight of their political lives.
Here, in no particular order, is a look at who stood out from the pack in the potentially make-or-break faceoff, who held their ground — and whose presidential hopes may be at risk.
Warren says differentiating herself from Bernie isn’t important right now
After Tuesday’s debate, Warren was asked by NBC News’ Ali Vitali about how she could differentiate herself from Sanders as the two didn’t have any big policy disagreements on the debate stage.
“Look I don't think this is about differentiation,” she said. “I think this about an opportunity for Democrats to stand up and talk about our vision for America.”
As Sanders has, Warren mentioned making the federal government “work, not just for those at the top, but for everyone else.”
“So I talk about my plans to do that,” she said. “Attack the corruption head on. Restructure basic parts of our economy. Make it easier to join a union. Put a wealth tax in place and give us universal child care and cancel student loan debt. And we didn't talk much about it tonight, but protect our democracy.”
Watch the highlights from tonight's debate:
Williamson explains one of her most talked about moments
Williamson told MSNBC’s Garrett Haake what she meant about the “dark psychic force” pervading American politics under Trump. It was another viral moment from tonight’s debate that made Williamson the talk of social media.
“But until the last few years, we thought we reached a consensus in this country that there were lines past which we would not go on either the left or the right when it came to real, dark aspects of human character — racism, bigotry, Islamophobia, homophobia, antisemitism,” she explained after the debate. “We thought we reached a point, not that those forces didn't exist, but where whether you were a Democrat or a Republican, nobody would be giving them a major megaphone.”
She added, “Those levies have fallen. First of all, I think because of social media and also because we have a political figure who stokes those things for his own political purposes. This is very, very dangerous. Very, very dangerous.”
Williamson also sat down with CNN’s Anderson Cooper to discuss her position in the crowded field. She said she does not regret her unconventional political messaging about creating a “moral uprising” to defeat Trump, arguing that the current political conversation — intellectual and wonky — is not the way Americans talk and think.
Read the full transcript of tonight's debate
Here's the full transcript of the second Democratic debate hosted by CNN in Detroit. Read the questions from the moderators, the candidates' responses and more.
Where was the ‘I-word’?
MSNBC’s Brian Williams and The Washington Post’s Robert Costa just made an interesting point: The word “impeachment” wasn’t uttered tonight.
The lack of a mention comes after testimony from special counsel Robert Mueller on his nearly two-year investigation into Russian election meddling and whether Trump obstructed justice failed to move public opinion on the question of impeachment, according to recent polling.
However, billionaire candidate Tom Steyer — who didn’t qualify for the debate stage — ran a pro-impeachment advertisement during the CNN broadcast. And more than 100 House Democrats have also called for the beginning of impeachment proceedings against Trump.
Klobuchar: 'I've gotten things done'
Fact check: Does the climate reach a 'point of no return' in 2030?
"By 2030 we will have passed the point of no return on climate," Buttigieg said Tuesday night in his closing statement. Earlier in the debate, he said that "science tells us we have 12 years before we reach the horizon of catastrophe when it comes to our climate."
He is exaggerating.
The United Nation's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change zeroed in on 2030 as an important climate date in their 2018 report, pointing to the global Paris Agreement that promises to reduce carbon emissions by that date. But the report does not label 2030 as the beginning of the end of the world or a point of catastrophe, as the mayor and media reports have done.
The more global warming is slowed by 2030, the better the globe will be able to handle the challenges of climate change, the U.N. report explains.
Looking ahead to the next debate, can Beto save himself?
After the debate, CNN’s John King noted that some candidates, such as Beto O’Rourke, have qualified for the next debate in September, so any performance issues tonight might be based on having that surety and also might not ultimately hurt their standing with voters. However, the reaction on social media to O'Rourke's performance, for example, was largely negative. The next debate could give him and others time to tweak their performances and find that sweet spot to connect with voters.
Sanders camp touts 'I wrote the damn bill' debate line
It appears that the Sanders campaign is hoping his "I wrote the damn bill" moment with Tim Ryan was a "That little girl was me" moment Kamala Harris had from the first debate, and the campaign is already fundraising off it:
Fact check: Warren misleads on her wealth tax pitch
Warren pitched her wealth tax plan as just a drop in the bucket for the country's richest Americans on Tuesday night.
“Your first $50 million, you can keep free and clear. But your 50 millionth and first dollar, you got to pitch in two cents. Two cents,” she said.
But Kyle Pomerleau, an economist and tax policy expert at the Tax Foundation, noted on Twitter that her pitch is a bit misleading.
Pomerleau explained to NBC News after the debate that he is evaluating the tax as an income tax. He said that an annual 2 percent tax — on an asset with a hypothetical 5 percent return annually — actually taxes about 40 percent of that asset's income. On an asset with a hypothetical 2 percent return, it could even be a 100 percent tax on that asset's income.
Of course, this only applies to uber-rich Americans' wealth above $50 million. But a 2 percent tax wealth does — at times — look more sizable when you consider it like an income tax.
By The Numbers: The attacks of Night 1 of the second Democratic debate
We tracked who and what the candidates in Night 1 of the second Democratic presidential debates were attacking, and this is what we found:
- Candidates delivered more than 95 attacks through the debate.
- President Donald Trump was the target of 34 of those attacks.
- Of the 30+ directed at the candidates on the stage, Bernie Sanders was targeted 13 times, and Elizabeth Warren 10 times.
- Beto O'Rourke, John Hickenlooper and Marianne Williamson were not attacked.
- Sanders, Warren and Amy Klobuchar did the most attacking, Hickenlooper, Williamson and Pete Buttigieg the least.
- More than half the attacks came in the first 60 minutes of the actual debate.
Progressive candidates lead in speaking time
Warren, Sanders and Buttigieg spoke the longest during the debate. NPR posted the totals.
Trump's been uncharacteristically quiet tonight
The last time the president tweeted was at 7:26 p.m.
Fact check: Would Warren's wealth tax proposal be unconstitutional?
Delaney, a millionaire, said Warren's wealth tax proposal could be "unconstitutional."
"I think the wealth tax will be fought in court forever. It’s arguably unconstitutional and the countries that have had it have largely abandoned it because it’s impossible to implement,” Delaney said.
Tax experts have in fact argued this, though not definitively.
The Constitution places limits on the federal government's ability to levy taxes and Congress previously had to enact the 16th Amendment to impose taxes on income. Other types of taxes have to be apportioned among the states by population, which could be difficult to reconcile with Warren’s plan.
“So the question is, what is and is not a direct tax?” analysts for the Tax Foundation, a nonprofit that studies tax policy, asked in January.
The group’s analysis points out several Supreme Court rulings on the issue. Some rulings struck down taxes deemed "direct," while other taxes, such as inheritance and estate taxes, were upheld by the high court on the grounds that they were “indirect taxes on the transfer of wealth.” Other taxes, like corporate income taxes, were also upheld on the basis of involving transactions. The Warren wealth tax does not involve transactions, the analysis points out.
“I’d argue that the term ‘direct tax’ is a proxy for incidence, as there’s solid evidence from the Founders that’s what they were getting at by using the term,” the Tax Foundation’s Joseph Bishop-Henchman wrote. "Based on that and the precedents, my inclination is that Warren’s proposal would be found unconstitutional. But it's not a slam-dunk case, as the precedents go both ways."
Anticipating the issue, Warren's office said she consulted with outside legal scholars ahead of the proposal's release, and over a dozen affirmed that it passed constitutional muster.
ANALYSIS: Marianne Williamson and the politics of emotion
In her closing statement, Williamson pressed for a “politics that speaks to the heart” and a presidency that captures “something emotional and psychological.”
It’s this kind of high-flown, highfalutin language that earned Williamson so much mockery in the first debate. But it might be worth taking seriously, since so many voters in the party’s base feel traumatized after nearly three years of President Trump.
The language of emotion and psychology — not to mention memorable, spiritually charged turns of phrase like the “dark psychic force of the collectivized hatred” — could strike a powerful chord with the party faithful.
My colleague Dart raises a related point: William spoke passionately and earnestly about race, showing off an honesty that isn’t restrained by years in Congress or professional politics, like virtually everyone else in the field.
“This is sort of how it would sound if Oprah actually did run for president,” Dart says.
It's time for closing statements
BULLOCK: Tells his personal story and explains why he is able to take on Trump and corruption based on his record as governor.
WILLIAMSON: It’s not about intellectual debates, it’s about being real about diagnosing the causes of our deeper issues and the Democratic Party needs to stand up to deeper corruption in our society.
DELANEY: Trump is the symptom of a disease afflicting the country, and Delaney says he is the only one talking about the real solutions that will solve it.
RYAN: Hopes he captured voters imagination for how to make a new and better U.S.
HICKENLOOPER: Says he loved tonight. Mentions his record as governor of Colorado and says it best positions himself to be president. Says he’s a pragmatic progressive.
KLOBUCHAR: I will stand up to companies that are taking advantage of Americans. I win in the Midwest and can win Michigan, Iowa, Wisconsin, etc. She says she can get through congressional gridlock because she has experience doing so.
O’ROURKE: We need hope in one another and in the future of this country to defeat Trump and his ideology. Talks about his rise from local politician to the national stage.
BUTTIGIEG: Our country is in trouble. We need to overwhelmingly defeat Trump to begin fixing these issues.
WARREN: My government won’t be on the side of the rich and powerful and connected, it will be on the side of everyday Americans. We will build a grassroots movement across the country to take back power. Won't just defeat Trump in 2020, will make real change in 2021.
SANDERS: I’m running to transform the U.S. and stand with the working class. Join me and take on the greed and corruption in this country.
That’s all for these 10 candidates until the DNC’s September debate. But not all of these candidates are expected to qualify, since the party is upping the threshold for its next contest.
To get on this stage, candidates needed to hit 1 percent in three qualifying polls or raise money from 65,000 unique donors.
But next time, that threshold is higher.
Candidates will have to hit 2 percent in four qualifying polls AND raise money from 130,000 unique donors.
Voters send mixed signals on age
Pete Buttigieg, the youngest candidate on stage tonight at 37, was asked whether voters should take age into account (while standing next to the oldest person on stage, Bernie Sanders, 77).
"I don't care how old you are," Buttigieg said. "I care about your vision. But I do think it matters that we have a new generation of leaders stepping up around the world."
Just 33 percent of Democrats in a March NBC News/WSJ poll said they'd be enthusiastic about or comfortable with a presidential candidate who was at least 75 years old.
Yet, Sanders and Joe Biden, 76, remain two of the top performing candidates in the polls.
Where in the world is Beto O’Rourke?
O’Rourke, who came close to conquering Sen. Ted Cruz in the 2018 midterms and seemed to galvanize millennial voters in ways reminiscent of Barack Obama, entered the presidential race with great fanfare. But, as countless pundits and commentators have observed by now, he has generally floundered in recent months, failing to gain much traction in the polls or public consciousness.
He has felt like a marginal figure for much of tonight – outshined and overshadowed not just by Buttigieg, the other fresh young voice in the field, but even by low-polling moderates. Delaney and Bullock, for example, seemed to cut into his airtime.
Does he make it to the next debate?
Low-polling candidates look for opening to move on. Here’s who may have.
Tuesday’s debate featured five candidates who were barely registering in any of the Democratic primary polls. Each of them needed to have some sort of breakout to even have a chance of making the next debate in September, which has a higher threshold for qualification.
So, who helped themselves out?
First and foremost, Williamson, with answers on questions of race and student debt that got big cheers in the Detroit venue and were praised online. Arguably, Williamson had one of the best nights of anyone on stage after her first performance was widely panned.
Next up, Delaney, but mostly as a factor of him getting so much air time on CNN, which repeatedly used him as a moderate foil to the leading progressive candidates on stage, Warren and Sanders. The moment for Delaney that will likely be most remembered was when Warren took aim at him and asked why he is even running for president if all he’s doing is telling others on stage what isn’t possible.
For the rest — it didn’t seem as if they had their breakout performance. Bullock got plenty of time to speak but didn’t have any particular stand out moment. Hickenlooper and Ryan had few chances to cut through.
Williamson talks student debt, gets another applause line
Williamson took aim at her rivals, questioning why some of them call themselves Democrats for opposing fixing student loan debt. She argued that wiping out the debt is no different than a tax cut for the wealthy. This got a huge applause line.
Williamson says that clearing the debt helps the next generation spend and save and also helps the economy thrive. Williamson is also getting praise on social media for many of her answers — a change from her last debate performance.
Fact check: Do 3 people own more wealth than the bottom 90 percent of America?
“You’ve got three people who own more wealth than the bottom 90 percent,” Sanders said on Tuesday.
This is false.
Sanders flubbed one of his regular talking points — that three people have more wealth than the bottom half of the nation.
We've fact checked the original talking point before, and it’s true that three people — Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, and Warren Buffett — are estimated to have more wealth than the bottom 50 percent of the American population, according to a report by the left-leaning think tank Institute for Policy Studies. But it's not correct that these Americans own more wealth than the bottom 90 percent.
Bernie tweets things about the health care industry, and then they happen
Sanders tries to draw contrast with Trump on foreign policy
Sanders, who like Trump has insisted that America shouldn’t serve as a global “policeman,” was asked where he differs from the president on foreign policy. He said, unlike Trump, he would not denigrate the United Nations and work to restore respect for international diplomacy.
But the line that probably got more attention was Sanders’ response to Jake Tapper’s question: “Trump is a pathological liar. I tell the truth.”
Delaney is getting a lot of air time!
If middle-tier candidates like Klobuchar and O’Rourke were hoping for a chance to reintroduce themselves to viewers at home and boost their standing tonight, they didn’t count on Delaney eating into their air time seemingly every five minutes.
Delaney has been a 2020 candidate the longest — since 2017 — and it shows in his readiness with his answers.
Spin room is filling up quick
President Trump makes for an attractive target
While candidates have been more willing to reach out and thump one another on the debate stage, candidates are way more interested in attacking President Donald Trump.
Midway through the first night of the debate, Trump had been attacked 21 times, compared with 13 attacks on Bernie Sanders.
Beto's answer on race echoed one of his biggest political moments
Beto O'Rourke gave a passionate response when asked about racial issues and his support for reparations. Race played a role in his 2018 Senate bid, where he gained a lot of attention for an answer defending professional football players who kneel during the national anthem.
Delaney tries to get the crowd excited about … a defunct Obama-era trade plan
Delaney enthusiastically made the case for the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a trade agreement President Barack Obama worked on until late in his presidency that was disowned by Hillary Clinton, Obama's former secretary of state, during her 2016 campaign. It was ultimately scrapped by Trump.
In an era in which many working-class voters have grown increasingly skeptical of free trade — if not outright hostile to it — it’s unclear who Delaney was trying to reach there. Warren, the leading progressive on the stage, quickly naysayed globalist trade policies that she said hurt American workers.
Reparations are far more popular among Democrats than all voters
Earlier this month, an NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll asked: "Do you think providing reparations for slavery is a good idea or a bad idea?"
Among all voters, 26 percent called it a good idea, while 63 percent disagreed.
Among Democrats, 46 percent called it a good idea, while 40 percent disagreed.
Among white voters, just 19 percent called reparations a good idea, while 40 percent of nonwhites said the same. (African Americans alone were not broken out as a subgroup.)
Williamson gets applause for answers on race
Williamson got multiple applause lines when she pointed out that the water crisis in majority-black Flint, Michigan, would not have happened in majority-white Grosse Pointe, Michigan, where she previously lived.
She slammed Democrats for focusing on “wonky” policy ideas and not the “dark psychic force of the collectivized hatred” Trump is using to divide Americans. She said that communities of color take the brunt of bad policies and Democrats to need to call it out and fix it.
The in-house debate audience also cheered when she took a firm stance on paying out reparations to descendants of slaves, saying it’s time for some “truth-telling.” She said it’s time for America to address this issue to start healing the racial divide and repair the racial wealth gap.
Buttigieg, who has struggled with black voters, decries ‘systemic racism’
Buttigieg, who has struggled to win the support of African American voters in the Democratic primary so far, bemoaned “systemic racism” in American life, from housing and hiring to policing.
“The racial divide lives within me,” Buttigieg said when asked about racial tensions in South Bend, Indiana, where he is a two-term mayor.
Buttigieg faced intense criticism after a white police officer killed a black man in South Bend in June, and during last month’s debate he took responsibility for failing to diversify the city's largely white police force.
Warren: White supremacy is ‘domestic terrorism’
Warren gets huge cheers when she refers to "white supremacy" as "terrorism."
"We need to call out white supremacy for what it is: domestic terrorism, and it poses a threat to the United States of America," she said.
Lower-polling candidates try to seize their moment
The low-polling candidates on the stage, presumably mindful that this could be their last chance to stay in the 2020 Democratic primary debates, have continued to go after the front-runners.
Bullock, Delaney, Hickenlooper and Ryan — all of whom have hovered at 1 or 2 percent in most recent polls — have repeatedly and aggressively contrasted their relatively moderate positions with the more openly left-wing politics of Sanders and Warren.
Meanwhile, several political commentators on Twitter expressed frustration that floundering candidates seemed to be used as foils to portray Sanders and Warren as outside the mainstream.
The kick is up ... it’s good!
The picture of the debate goes to Sanders. Thank you, senator.
Fact check: Did Sanders support a public option bill?
Klobuchar, getting in a dig at Sanders during an exchange about health care plans, said that the Vermont Independent supported a state Medicaid public option bill last year. (Sanders' signature health care plan is, of course, "Medicare for All.")
This is true. He co-sponsored a bill from Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii.
Not much talk about black voters or race in Detroit
Nearly halfway through this debate, there has been little talk about black voters specifically or Detroit and race generally. The candidates are instead talking about where they are as the “industrial Midwest” or some other moniker.
Trump has caused a political maelstrom in recent weeks for his racist Twitter attacks, particularly on Baltimore — a city demographically and politically similar to Detroit, which has the highest percentage of African Americans anywhere in the country: 83 percent.
Fact check: 25-30 percent of Bullock's voters also voted for Trump
Montana Gov. Steve Bullock, touting his ability to win in a red state, said that "25 to 30 percent" of people who voted for him in 2016 also voted for Donald Trump in 2016.
This appears to be true. Montana didn’t have any exit polling so there isn’t an exact figure the Democratic governor could point to, but Bullock outperformed Hillary Clinton in 2016 by 78,000 votes — roughly 30 percent of his overall total.
Third party candidates saw about 20,000 votes in Montana’s 2016 election, so if you wanted to go with particularly conservative math (and assume that many Bullock voters also chose a third-party candidate for president or perhaps chose not to cast a ballot in the presidential race at all) at the very least, 22 percent of his voters likely cast a ballot for Trump.
38 percent of Americans say they have been personally affected by gun violence
Several Democrats spoke about their personal connection to gun violence.
Among all adults, according to an NPR/Marist poll earlier this year, 38 percent say that they or someone they know has been personally affected by gun violence.
It's higher for Democrats (45 percent) than Republicans (29 percent).
And it's higher for nonwhite Americans (48 percent) than whites (31 percent).
Gun violence toll not simply the result of mass shootings
In 2017, nearly 40,000 people died as a result of gun violence in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's most recent national data.
About 60 percent of the nearly 40,000 people killed as a result of a firearm that year died by suicide. The bulk of the other shooting deaths in the United States were not the result of mass shootings but murders and deadly accidents involving one or two victims.
No one has attacked Marianne Williamson and Marianne Williamson hasn't attacked anyone (or anything)
Very on brand.
Follow our live attack tracker here.
Warren’s had enough, hits Delaney
Warren landed one of her biggest punches so far, hitting Delaney for going off about all the left wing ideas Democrats shouldn’t run on.
“I don’t know why anyone goes through the trouble of running for president to tell us what we can’t do and what we shouldn’t fight for,” she said in response.
The crowd went wild.
Bill de Blasio fires back at... Bill O’Reilly
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio isn’t on the debate stage, but he was gifted a chance to fire back at a critic on Tuesday.
During the National Anthem at the beginning of the debate, former Fox News host O’Reilly tweeted (then deleted) that de Blasio didn’t put his hand over his heart.
“Uh, @BillOReilly, you ok?” de Blasio tweeted. “Don't worry: you'll see me at my patriotic best tomorrow night.”
Explainer: Sanders' past record on guns
Sanders was asked if he still agreed with a statement he made after the 2012 Sandy Hook massacre. "If you pass the strongest gun control legislation tomorrow, I don’t think it will have a profound effect on the tragedies we have seen," moderator Don Lemon quoted Sanders as saying.
"Do you still agree with that statement?" Lemon asked.
Sanders said that nobody on the stage would say they had a magical solution to gun violence in America, and then touted his D- rating with the NRA. But Sanders, in fact, has a voting record that many gun control advocates consider checkered.
From 1991 to 1993, he voted at least three times against different iterations of the Brady Bill that required waiting periods for people buying guns. In 2005, he voted in favor of a law — the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act — that essentially protected gun makers from being sued by 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 on gun control, speaking (including during his campaign launch speech) about the need to expand background checks and ban assault weapons.
Google shows boosts for Delaney, Ryan
Some of the lesser-known candidates are enjoying a boost in Google searches during the debate. The graph below shows Delaney, Ryan and Hickenlooper are being searched for far more often than usual — which probably says as much about how often people are usually searching for them as it does how much interest they’re generating from the debate.
The pragmatists strike back
If the first Democratic debates in Miami were defined by the candidates veering to the left on health care and immigration, the first hour of tonight’s debate in Detroit has highlighted how the pragmatic middle has fought back.
Steve Bullock, in his opening statement of his first overall debate performance (he didn’t qualify for the Miami debates), discussed his pragmatic record as Montana governor. “I'm running for president to get stuff done,” he said.
John Delaney, Beto O’Rourke and Amy Klobuchar underscored their opposition to the single-payer "Medicare for All" bill that Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren support.
And Bullock and O’Rouke argued that decriminalizing illegal border crossings — as Warren said she supports — would only incentivize more illegal immigration crossing the U.S.-Mexico border.
Sanders and Warren are still the polling leaders on tonight’s stage, but the pragmatists are asserting themselves more than they did a month ago.
Fact check: Do the vast majority of Republicans support background checks?
"Ninety percent of Republicans want universal background checks," claimed Mayor Pete Buttigieg on Tuesday night, later claiming that the majority of Americans overall want universal background checks, too.
This is mostly true, though the data point is actually higher, according to recent Quinnipiac polls. In a 2019 survey, 92 percent of Republicans said they supported background checks for all gun buyers; last year, it was 97 percent of Republicans.
Overall, 94 percent of Americans supported background checks this year in the Quinnipiac survey.
How Hickenlooper really got universal background checks done in Colorado
During a discussion on gun control, former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper said he got universal background checks passed in Colorado, but that it "for whatever reason, [it] doesn’t seem to be able to get done in Washington."
A closer look at Hickenlooper's achievement, however, shows that he did it in a way that would likely make it difficult to enact on a national level.
The mammoth package of gun bills Hickenlooper passed in 2013, which included universal background checks for all gun purchases and a so-called "high-capacity magazine ban," was undertaken without any Republican support and exacted great political cost on state Democrats.
Hickenlooper has actually expressed serious misgivings about how he handled the issue, publicly pondering whether it was worth it and apologizing to one of the key players in the process. But he still touts it on the 2020 trail as one of his major accomplishments.
Williamson tries to take on the establishment
Going into this second debate, Williamson is aware she was widely mocked at the first debate — particularly when she said she was going to meet Trump on the battlefield and defeat him with love.
But, at this debate, the best-selling self-help author is trying to not be the joke. She’s making an anti-establishment case standing at the far-left end of the stage. She points to the entire slate of candidates and says conventional politics isn’t working, their plans don’t go far enough or are misguided and insinuates that some of them are beholden to special interests and lobbyists.
Bernie quote on guns comes back again
Sanders was asked about this 2013 quote he gave to Seven Days Vermont, a news outlet in his home state, about gun control.
“If you passed the strongest gun control legislation tomorrow, I don’t think it will have a profound effect on the tragedies we have seen," he said in the interview in his Capitol Hill office a few months after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Connecticut.
Sanders has a more moderate record on gun control than many Democrats, voting against the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act that expanded background checks and a waiting period for purchasing guns.
But he supports an assault weapons ban, and has voted for a litany of gun control bills in recent years.
No one has mentioned the front-runner yet
We’re more than an hour into Tuesday’s debate, yet no one has mentioned the name of the guy who in poll after poll is leading the Democratic primary field: former Vice President Joe Biden.
Bernie’s team keeps up CNN critiques
Sanders poked at Tapper earlier, claiming one of his health care questions was a Republican talking point. His team is driving that point home.
Briahna Joy Gray, Sanders’ national press secretary, added more on Twitter: “Is this a Fox News debate? These right wing questions my god.”
She then pointed to Sanders’ podcast.
The 'Medicare for All' fight is over who pays and who gets insured
The most contentious in-the-weeds policy fight of the night so far was over whether the "Medicare for All" plan backed by progressives Warren and Sanders would end up hurting the employed — and particularly union members — by yanking away private insurance and raising taxes on the middle class.
Rep. Tim Ryan, who represents the hardscrabble Mahoning Valley in eastern Ohio, said that after decades of unionized workers seeing plants close and wages stagnate, they are often left with the benefits of high-quality private health insurance plans as “the only thing they have.” He added: “It’s bad policy and it’s certainly bad politics” to take that away.
Several other Democrats have proposed plans that would create variations on a “public option” in which consumers could choose to sign up for government health insurance. Sanders and Warren, who aim to ensure that all Americans have insurance, countered that savings from reduced premiums, deductibles and co-payments would leave middle class families better off economically.
Ultimately, the Medicare for All senators are targeting voters who are uninsured or underinsured, while the others are keeping their eyes on those who have private insurance and are concerned that a transition to a new system would leave them worse off.
Klobuchar, keen to break out, strikes a more forceful tone
Dart mentioned earlier that Klobuchar has tried to show off her pragmatic streak tonight.
She has also used a far more assertive and impassioned tone than she did in the first round of debates last month – particularly in her answers to questions about immigration and gun control.
Candidates taking plenty of shots at each other, President Trump
The gloves were never on on Night 1 of the second Democratic debate, with every candidate except for Marianne Williamson attacking or being attacked in the opening of the debate.
In the first 30 minutes, starting with the candidates' opening statements, there were 30 attacks.
Report: Visa overstays exceed illegal border crossings
Fact check: Americans pay 10 times more for insulin than Canadians
"When I went to Canada the other day, people paid 1/10th the price of insulin that they’re paying in the U.S.," Sen. Bernie Sanders claimed Tuesday night.
Americans do pay 10 times more than Canadians for insulin, according to the reports documenting Americans who drive across the border to purchase the lower-priced insulin. The cost of insulin for treating Type 1 diabetes nearly doubled between 2012 and 2016, according to the nonprofit Health Care Cost Institute.
Candidates split on immigration
CNN's Dana Bash attempted to pin down the candidates over a “show of hands” moment in the June debate where several endorsed former HUD chief Julián Castro’s proposal to decriminalize illegal border crossings by downgrading it to a civil infraction from its current criminal status.
Candidates tonight squirmed. Buttigieg said that “we can argue over the finer points,” but Bash wasn’t having it. Buttigieg instead decried the “show of hands” moment from the last debate. “We're not doing that here,” Bash said.
O’Rourke and Hickenlooper both said they disagreed with decriminalizing border crossings.
Warren made a moral case: “The criminalization statute is what gives Donald Trump the ability to take children away from their parents.” Bash pushed Warren, and she said “yes,” she would decriminalize illegal border crossings.
Explainer: Why is it a criminal offense to enter the U.S. illegally?
During an extended discussion on immigration, many of the candidates on stage were asked for their views on whether crossing the U.S. border illegally should constitute a criminal offense.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., said the U.S. should "decriminalize" illegal border crossings, because the criminal statute is what gives President Donald Trump "the ability to lock up people at our borders." Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., agreed, saying that "I would say there is the will to change this in Congress."
But why is crossing the border illegally a criminal offense at all?
Under Section 1325, a portion of federal immigration law, entering the U.S. illegally is a criminal offense.
Simply being in the U.S. without authorization is a civil offense — and people who are found to be in the U.S. without papers can be deported — but section 1325 adds a layer of criminality.
Sanders dodges question about health care for undocumented
Dana Bash asked Sanders if he believes guaranteeing undocumented immigrants access to health care and college would encourage more illegal border crossings.
Sanders, who has led the field in embracing health care for undocumented immigrants, quickly dispensed with a promise to enforce “strong border protections” before pivoting to a blanket attack on President Trump’s “racism and xenophobia.”
Tim Ryan contrasts his immigration stance with the more progressive candidates
Fact check: Bullock says 'we pay more' for drugs than 'any place in the world'
"We pay more for prescription drugs than any place, actually, in the world. We’ve got nothing to show for it," Bullock said during a round of questions about health care.
Close. Americans pay more for drugs than people in any other developed country in the world, CNBC reported, citing recent studies.
Bullock also suggested that the U.S. should negotiate drug prices in order to help Americans afford their meds. It's currently illegal to do so. Federal law bars the government from negotiating drug prices, so Congress would have to change the law for this to become possible. Experts also argue that the government would need more tools than just the power to negotiate to really derive savings.
Klobuchar is trying to stand out for getting things done
Amy Klobuchar’s team has been prepping her to be the candidate that shows she can get things done and not have pie-in-the-sky ideas.
So far in the debate, she answered a lot of her questions with a hypothetical legislative process to fix the issue or what she has already done as a lawmaker — staying true to that prep.
More Democrats favor decriminalizing illegal border crossings than all voters
CNN opened its questioning on immigration by asking candidates whether or not crossing the border without documentation should be decriminalized.
Here's what voters said in response to a recent NPR/NewsHour/Marist poll question on this topic, which asked: "Do you think decriminalizing illegal border crossings is a good idea or a bad idea?"
Among all voters, just 27 percent said it was a good idea, while 67 percent called it a bad idea.
Among just Democrats, 45 percent called it a good idea, while 47 percent called it a bad idea.
'Good' union insurance a rare thing
The extended discussion about unionized worker health insurance benefits lacked a key bit of perspective.
In 2018, only 10.5 percent of American workers — about 14.7 million people — were members of unions, according to federal data.
Moderators allow skirmishes but keep a firm hand
CNN’s team of moderators have let the candidates mix it up when they call each other out while also enforcing the time limits. That’s receiving a mixed response on Twitter.
Warren ducks questions on middle-class taxes
Elizabeth Warren was a standout in her first debate in Miami. And she’s keeping up that reputation tonight in Detroit — with one early exception.
CNN’s Jake Tapper twice asked Warren if she agreed with Bernie Sanders that, to pay for single-payer health care that she supports, taxes would have to go up for the middle class.
And twice Warren ducked the direct question.
She answered that “giant corporations” and “the wealthy” will pay more, and that middle-class Americans will pay less for their out-of-pocket costs.
But she didn’t admit that those lower out-of-pocket costs and zero co-pays come by raising taxes on all Americans, as Sanders’ plan does.
Early battle shows Bernie’s strong position on health care
Candidates positioning themselves in the center are taking shots at Sanders more so than Warren on health care.
Bernie wants to be the candidate most associated with health care, and some of these candidates are making his job slightly easier. It doesn't hurt that he wrote the Medicare for All bill.
Attacks flying left and right
Our data reporter Nigel Chiwaya is tracking all sorts of attacks at tonight's debate. As of 8:48 p.m. the candidates have attacked Donald Trump 6 times, Mitch McConnell 0 times, Wall Street and corporations 6 times and the "ultra rich" 4 times. Follow all of the attacks here.
Buttigieg stakes out a place in the middle of the health care fight
Buttigieg used a familiar argument from the campaign trail in the health care fight. He says that people should stop with political triangulation in getting universal health care passed because Republicans are going to call them socialists anyway.
“So let’s just stand up for the right policy and then go out there and defend it,” he said.
This debate Buttigieg finally gets a chance to focus on policy. Last debate, he grappled with a police shooting in his hometown.
Health care brawl breaks out over first 20 minutes of debate
It’s clear lower-polling candidates like Delaney and Bullock went into tonight’s debate dead-set on hitting Sanders and Warren over their health care positions. This debate has split the stage into three factions. On one end, Sanders and Warren. On the other end, Delaney, Bullock and Ryan. Trying to stake out ground in the middle are Klobuchar, O’Rourke, Buttigieg and Williamson. Hickenlooper hasn’t gotten a chance to join in. But candidates who are at 1 percent or less in the polls are really trying to land punches on Sanders and Warren.
Bernie shows off his Spanish... on Twitter
No Spanish on stage yet but on Twitter, Sanders tweets a message about health care.
Sanders says health care is 'not a business!’
Delaney, touting his career experience in the health care field, said the other candidates on the stage didn’t have a sufficient understanding of the “health care business.”
Sanders, off camera, was quick with a retort: “It’s not a business!”
Public option health care proposals more popular than single-payer
As this health care conversation gets underway, here's a look at how popular some of the competing ideas are.
A recent poll conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that 51 percent of Americans over all support "a national health plan, sometimes called 'Medicare for all,' in which all Americans would get their insurance from a single government plan." (In other words, a plan that would eliminate private insurance entirely in favor of solely a government run plan, as Bernie Sanders has been arguing for.) That's down from a high of 59 percent last year.
The same survey found that more Americans — 65 percent — back a more moderate public option proposal that would offer a Medicare-like plan to those who want it while keeping private insurance in place. Among the candidates who support that kind of plan are Beto O'Rourke and Pete Buttigieg.
Sanders: ‘Jake, your question is a Republican talking point.’
Health care has proven to be a heated issue right out the gate — and not just between the candidates.
“Jake, your question is a Republican talking point,” Sanders said in response to Tapper asking about how to pay for Medicare for All. The crowd responded to the comment with a round of applause.
“And by the way, the health care industry will be advertising tonight on this program,” Sanders added, before Tapper said his time was up.
Not Warren's style of debate?
Warren dodges chance to attack Sanders’ health care plan
That was a skillful dodge from Elizabeth Warren. Jake Tapper asked her if her plan was different from Sanders’ plan, but she pivoted back to the big issue of the profit-making in health care.
Warren and Sanders are close friends and aides have already told NBC News to not expect fireworks between the two. I wonder if they will lean on each other during the rest of the debate to defend attacks on their political vision.
Warren shuts down audience laughter: ‘This isn’t funny.’
Pivoting back to a story about single payer activist Ady Barkan, who is dying of ALS, struggling to pay for his health care, Warren elicited some chuckles from the audience. She wasn’t interested in a moment of levity or in trying to warm the crowd.
“This isn’t funny,” she said, before continuing on about Barkan’s story.
Fact check: Sanders says Amazon made billions and paid zero in federal taxes
Sanders opened with a broadside against Amazon. "Tonight as we speak right now, 500,000 Americans are sleeping out on the street, and yet companies like Amazon that made billions in profits did not pay one nickel in federal income tax," he said.
He's right, 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.
Sanders defends 'Medicare for All,' slams Delaney
The first question of the night went to Sen. Bernie Sanders, one of the highest polling candidates on the stage tonight.
CNN’s Jake Tapper asked Sanders to respond to former Rep. John Delaney, who has harshly criticized the Vermont senator’s advocacy for "Medicare for All."
Sanders’ response: “You’re wrong!”
Fact check: Hickenlooper brags about expanding health care, reproductive rights
Hickenlooper said in his opening remarks that he “expanded health care and reproductive rights” when he was governor of Colorado.
This is true, but there's more to the story.
Hickenlooper is referring to the effects of the the Colorado Family Planning Initiative — a state program that provided IUDs or birth control implants at little or no cost for low-income women. But 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.
When it comes to health care, Hickenlooper, using a provision in the Affordable Care Act, expanded Medicaid in Colorado to such a degree that, according to his campaign website, “95 percent of Coloradans have health care coverage.”
A reputable survey in the state from 2017, the latest data published — the Colorado Health Access Survey — found that 93.5 percent of Coloradans had health insurance, an “all-time” high for the state because of the expansion.
Klobuchar calls Trump’s attacks 'racist'
Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar was the first candidate in the opening to call Trump’s attacks “racist,” in what is likely a reference to the president's recent tweets aimed at four congresswomen of color, Rep. Elijah Cummings and the city of Baltimore, which is part of Cummings’ district.
Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders also called out Trump’s “racism” in his opening remarks.
Detroit's population is 83 percent black. It is the city with the highest percentage of African Americans anywhere in the country. It also has the largest concentration of Arab Americans in the U.S., according to census data, and growing Asian American, Latinx and refugee communities.
Now, the debate begins
After a lengthy intro and some opening statements, the "debate" portion of the night starts at 8:25 p.m. ET.
And remember, there will be two full hours of debate followed by closing statements.
Battle lines sharpening in the Dems' health care fight
The Democratic candidates are likely to highlight their health care proposals in the second primary debate tonight and tomorrow — a topic that has spurred a high-profile fight among the field's top-tier candidates.
Biden is making the case that Democrats should retain the core structure of the Affordable Care Act, which subsidizes private insurance and Medicaid for Americans who don't get coverage from their employer or other government programs.
Sanders, however, has long called for guaranteeing every American coverage through a more generous version of Medicare and banning competing private plans.
We're tracking which candidate gets targeted the most tonight
The Detroit stage could be the last time some candidates will appear before a nationwide audience. Which means they're faced with a choice: spend the night focusing on themselves or attempt to knock down one of the front-runners.
Our graphic will update each time a candidate attacks another candidate during the debate. It will also track how many times they attack Trump, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, corporations and the “ultra-rich.” Follow along here.
Yang is unenthusiastically passing the popcorn
And they're off!
Candidates kick off the debate by delivering their opening statements.
BULLOCK: I’m a red-state governor who can get the job done. I’m progressive. That last debate was a lot of fighting and big promises. I’m going to deliver real solutions.
WILLIAMSON: Founding Fathers' ideal was that everyone could thrive. We haven’t realized this fully. Now it is time for Americans to rise up again against an amoral economic system.
DELANEY: Attacks Warren and Sanders for their progressive agenda, says they’ll get Trump re-elected. Then lists his ideas, which he says will win back the White House.
RYAN: “America is great, but not everyone can access America’s greatness.” Economic system isn’t working for the middle class anymore. Not about reforming old systems but building new systems.
HICKENLOOPER: Democrats flipped a ton of seats last fall, and none of those Democrats support the Sanders, Warren agenda.
KLOBUCHAR: “Ultimately, we have to beat Donald Trump.” Says she has “had it with the racist attacks.” She has “bold ideas grounded in reality” and has a history of winning in the Midwest. Will govern with integrity.
O’ROURKE: “This moment will define us forever.” Calls Trump a “lawless president.” Will fight for a “more perfect union.”
BUTTIGIEG: “Our country is running out of time” this moment is more dangerous than just Trump. America is already in crisis. War, climate change, a stagnant economy. Running for president to change this.
WARREN: "Donald Trump disgraces the office of president every single day." She says anyone on this stage tonight or tomorrow will be better than him. She will work to elect whoever wins. Is trying to fight the “corrupt, rigged system” that enabled Trump.
SANDERS: More than 80 million Americans are uninsured or underinsured. Many Americans are sleeping out on the street, meanwhile Amazon pays no federal income tax. I’m fighting to change this system. Let’s take on Trump’s racism, sexism and xenophobia to beat Trump and transform the U.S.
Share your Election Confessions about the candidates during the debate
Tell us what you really think about the 2020 election. What are your thoughts on the presidential candidates? How do you feel about the race itself so far? About the state of the country? Share your anonymous confession with NBC News at ElectionConfessions.com during the Democratic debate.
Search the candidates' answers on key topics
Immigration, health care, gun control and climate change were just some of the major topics of discussion in the first Democratic primary debate last month.
Introducing the candidates
The candidates arrive on stage, beginning with Sanders and Warren.
Bullock is the only candidate on stage tonight who did not appear in one of the June debates.
Your moderators tonight are CNN hosts Dana Bash, Jake Tapper, and Don Lemon.
How will Sanders and Warren interact?
Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren are set to take the stage together during the second Democratic debate. NBC News’ Jonathan Allen weighs in on how these politicians, and friends, will interact during the highly anticipated event.
Get comfy — these debates will be lengthy
CNN's debates will be a little longer than the previous ones that aired on NBC, MSNBC and Telemundo.
CNN's program will kick off each night at 8 p.m. ET with opening remarks from each candidate. That will lead into two full hours of debate, followed by closing statements, according to a source familiar with the production who was not authorized to speak publicly.
In Vegas, they might put the over-under at about two hours and 45 minutes.
Buttigieg rocks out to ‘Hamilton’ before the debates
Pete Buttigieg pumped himself up for Night 1 of the second Democratic debate by rocking out to “My Shot (Rise Up Remix)” by The Roots from "The Hamilton Mixtape." In his choice of music, Buttigieg might be hinting subtly at his age. The 37-year-old mayor, along with 38-year-old Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii, are the two millennials in the race.
DNC Chairman Tom Perez warms up the crowd
Meet the candidates
Meet the primary candidates angling to unseat Trump. For complete coverage of each campaign, click a portrait in the link below.
More protesters march in Detroit
Taylor Swift posts 'a very important reminder'
Pop music superstar Taylor Swift posted a message to her fans on Tuesday: Watch the debate.
"A very important reminder," Swift posted to the Stories feature on Instagram. "The Democratic debates will be on tonight & tomorrow night at 8pm Eastern. Make sure to watch and get to know the candidates! On @cnn."
Biden leads Democratic field in poll on eve of debate
The Motor City revs up
The scene outside the debate has attracted a variety of the politically minded, who have donned their red, white and best for the occasion.
All-white Dem debate set to grapple with Trump and race in Detroit
An awkward twist of fate has an all-white cast of 10 Democratic presidential candidates taking the debate stage tonight amid a national firestorm over President Trump's racist commentary.
A random draw by CNN, the debate's host, put them out front — without including a single one of the five contenders of color, all of whom will participate on the second night of the debate on Wednesday along with Joe Biden, the front-runner in the polls.
So, the 10 white men and women on Tuesday will be the first of the candidates to answer the president's put-downs and try to refute his assertion that he has the best programs for black and brown Americans. And they'll have to do so at a time when they are still trying to define their own narratives. That could be tricky, but not impossible, Democratic strategists say.
Six storylines to watch for in tonight's debate
Ready for another debate double-header? The lineup tonight includes Sanders, Warren, Buttigieg, former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke, Klobuchar, Montana Gov. Steve Bullock, Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan, Hickenlooper, Delaney and Williamson.
Here are six storylines to watch.
Trying to avoid a ‘food fight’: The rules for second Democratic debate
In an attempt to avoid a "food fight" in Detroit, CNN, the host of the second Democratic primary debate, announced this month that a candidate "who consistently interrupts" will be penalized by having his or her time reduced.
After New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio nudged himself into getting more screen time during the first night of the NBC-hosted debate in Miami last month, several candidates — most notably Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York — tried to do the same thing on the second night of the debate.
The jumping-in got so out of hand on Night 2 that Sen. Kamala Harris of California wound up chiding her fellow candidates. "Hey guys, you know what? America does not want to witness a food fight,” she said. “They want to know how we're going to put food on their table.”
Trump says he’ll be watching debate on Tuesday
President Donald Trump told CSPAN ahead of Tuesday night’s debate that he will be watching because he “would like to know who I’m going to be running against.”
During June’s Democratic primary debates, Trump tweeted midway through one with his analysis.
“BORING,” he wrote.
NBA great Charles Barkley is in the CNN spin room
File this one under "things we didn't expect tonight."
The cities most excited for the debate are Detroit and ... Helena, Montana?
Data from Google Trends shows that the host city of Detroit has the most search interest in tonight's debate.
But Helena, Montana, is a close second, perhaps owing to Steve Bullock, the state's governor and a presidential candidate who will be appearing on the debate stage for the first time.
After that, it's a steep drop off to Charlottesville, Virginia, and Washington, D.C. Dead last of the 209 metro areas tracked by Google? Greenwood-Greenville, Mississippi.
The data from Google is based on people searching for "Democratic debate" in the past seven days. Check out the map below to explore what parts of the country are — and aren't — searching for the term.
Trump campaign cuts ad to air during Democratic debates
President Trump's campaign says it will air a new television ad on cable news during the second round of the Democratic presidential debates, arguing that Democrats are too liberal for the American electorate.
The ad begins with footage from the first round of debates in June, where candidates raised their hands to signify their government health care plans would provide coverage for undocumented immigrants.
It's the latest example of the president trying to paint Democrats as radicals, a strategy being amplified by GOP campaign arms and outside groups.
The spot will run on CNN, MSNBC and Fox on Tuesday and Wednesday, the two nights of the Democratic Party's latest presidential debates.
How the candidates are sharpening their attacks after the first debate
Former Vice President Joe Biden is done being gracious. South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg wants to hit reset. Sen. Amy Klobuchar plans on leaning in to stand out. Sen. Cory Booker is banking on being himself. And Marianne Williamson — she’s sticking with love.
The 20 Democrats vying for the presidency have been prepping for their second bout by fine-tuning their messaging, sharpening their attacks and retooling their policy proposals. Here's how some of the candidates are preparing for this round.
Warren, Sanders expected to defend progressive agendas
A fundamental shift in the Democratic Party will be on display on the debate stage lineup tonight, as Warren and Sanders take center stage to argue for their sweeping progressive agendas.
But the debate could become a referendum on some of their proposals, such as free public college and "Medicare for All," that other candidates, like former Rep. John Delaney of Maryland and former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, have railed against as "socialism," advisers and strategists say.
Everything you need to know about the second Democratic debate
The second of a dozen Democratic primary debates, set for Tuesday and Wednesday in Detroit, will feature a new face and old tensions that have simmered since the first official face-off between the candidates last month.
Here's what you need to know about tonight and tomorrow's debate, including key match-ups, what time and how to watch, and more.