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ICYMI: Here Are The Highlights From Last Night’s Democrat Debate


The top seven candidates chasing the Democratic presidential nomination faced off Thursday night for the sixth primary debate this year, with a mere seven weeks until the first votes cast in the 2020 election.

In a largely topic-driven debate, those on stage were better able to distinguish themselves in a turbulent race with 15 candidates still vying for the party’s top ticket, with more than half excluded from the primetime event.

Here are the highlights from Thursday night’s debate hosted and moderated by PBS NewsHour with Politico at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles.

Sanders: I’m White!

People have raised concerns about 78-year-old Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders’ health, as well as his ability to run a rigorous campaign and lead the country for four to eight years. A heart attack in October has added fuel to the criticism that Sanders is too old for the Democratic coronation in Milwaukee next summer.

When asked about his age on stage, Sanders blurted out that he, too, is white before pivoting to talking points over wealth redistribution.

Warren: I Would Be The Youngest Woman Ever Elected

The same question over age was also posed to Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, aged 70.

“Senator Warren, you would be the oldest president ever inaugurated. I’d like you to weigh in as well,” Politico’s Chief Political Correspondent Tim Alberta asked.

“I’d also be the youngest woman ever inaugurated,” Warren quipped.

Yang: Stop Blaming Racism For Trump’s Election

Tech entrepreneur Andrew Yang stood out from the other candidates on stage right from the beginning for urging Democrats to push past their partisan obsession with impeachment and begin focusing on the real issues that got President Donald Trump elected.

“It’s clear why Americans can’t agree on impeachment. We’re getting our news from different sources,” Yang said. “If you turn on cable network news today, you would think he’s our president because of some combination of Russia, racism, Facebook, Hillary Clinton, and emails all mixed together. But Americans around the country know different.”

Yang argued that to win in 2020, Democrats are going to be required to campaign on something other than identity politics-dripping socialism and pay better attention to the economic circumstances that led the country to elect an outsider businessman.

“We blasted away 4 million manufacturing jobs that were primarily based in Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Missouri,” Yang said, all five states of which voted for Trump in 2016. All but Missouri had voted for President Obama four years earlier.

Biden Promises Blue-Collar Unemployment For ‘Green Economy’

Former Vice President Joe Biden fielded a question on whether his left-wing climate plan would lead to the loss of thousands of jobs of those dependent on the energy industry.

“Three consecutive American presidents have enjoyed stints of economic growth, due to a boom in oil and natural gas production, as president would you be willing to sacrifice some of that growth, even knowing potentially that it could displace thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands of blue-collar workers, in the interest of transitioning into that greener economy?” Alberta asked.

“The answer is yes,” Biden stated bluntly.

Buttigieg: I’m Qualified Because I Won in ‘Mike Pence’s Indiana’ While Gay

While Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar was questioning Buttigieg’s qualifications for the party’s presidential ticket, pointing out his inability to carry a statewide race, Buttigieg shot back at the fellow Midwesterner on stage.

“The point is, we should have someone heading up this ticket that has actually won and has been able to show that they can gather the support that you talk about. Like moderate Republicans and Independents, as well as a fired-up Democratic base. And not just done it once, I have done it three times. I think winning matters,” Klobuchar said.

“If you want to talk about the capacity to win, try putting together a coalition to bring you back to office with 80 percent of the vote, as a gay dude in Mike Pence’s Indiana,” Buttigieg responded.

Buttigieg however, remained closeted during his election to mayor of South Bend and didn’t come out until years later.

Biden: Medicare For All Is a Financial Disaster For Working Families

During a discussion on health care, Biden went after Sanders’ openly socialist health-care plan, arguing that the senator is lying about the true costs of the radical program.

“It cost 30 trillion dollars. Let’s get that straight. Thirty-trillion dollars over ten years. Some say it cost $20 trillion, some say it costs 40. The idea that you are going to be able to save that person making $60,000 a year on Medicare for All is absolutely preposterous,” Biden claimed.

The moment forced Sanders to admit once again that individual taxes would be required to go up.

A recent study from the conservative Heritage foundation provides insight into how much more Americans would likely have to pay under Sanders’ proposed welfare state. The report found that a lower-income European making $40,000 a year pays $6,000 more in taxes than a similar taxpayer in the United States.

Buttigieg Chastises Warren: You’re A Millionaire Too

While Warren touted her grand crusade to end the days of big money in politics, she centered her criticism on Buttigieg, who is leading the polls in Iowa. The midwestern mayor hit back and exposed the Massachusetts senator’s hypocrisy on the issue.

“So the mayor just recently held a fundraiser that was held in a wine cave filled with crystals and served $900 a bottle of wine. Think about who comes to that,” Warren said. “Billionaires in wine caves should not pick the next president of the United States.”

“According to Forbes, I am literally the only person on this stage who is not a millionaire, or billionaire… This is the problem of issuing purity tests that you cannot yourself pass,” Buttigieg responded. “If I pledge never to be in the company of a progressive Democratic donor, I couldn’t be up here. Senator, your net worth is 100 times mine.”

Buttigieg went on to note that Warren benefited from the very same practices she is condemning as corrupt, such as raking in big corporate checks for her past campaigns, part of which has gone to fund her current campaign for the White House.

“Senator, your presidential campaign right now as we speak is funded in part by money you transferred, having raised it at those exact same big-ticket fund-raisers you now denounce. Did it corrupt you, senator? Of course not,” Buttigieg pointed out.

Yang: Please Just Read My Book

At the end of the evening, the moderators asked each candidate to go down the line and declare which candidate they would seek forgiveness from or give a gift. Yang was the first to answer, who understandably, was stumped on the question, opening up an awkward silenc.

“We could do a labor action and just all go on strike on this, Andrew,” Warren joked in reference to the pre-debate drama that nearly cancelled the primetime event altogether.

Yang said he didn’t need forgiveness from anyone and asked each to read his book, noting that Warren has already begun to do so.

“Elizabeth has done me the honor of starting to read my book. I would love to give you all a copy of my book,” Yang said, before pleading for the country to do the same.