Return to Transcripts main page


2020 Dems Clash At Final Debate Of 2019. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired December 19, 2019 - 21:00   ET



BIDEN: Secondly, we, in fact, should make sure that we begin to rebuild our alliances, which Trump has demolished, with Japan and South Korea, Australia and all -- and Indonesia. We, in fact, need to have allies who understand that we're going to stop the Chinese from their actions.

We should be going to the U.N. immediately and sought sanctions against them in the United Nations for what they did. We have to be firm. We don't have to go to war. But we have to make it clear, this is as far as you go, China.

And in terms of their military build-up, it's real. But it would take them about 17 years to build up to where we are. We're not looking for a war. But we've got to make clear, we are a Pacific power and we are not going to back away.

WOODRUFF: Mr. Yang and then Senator Klobuchar.


YANG: I have family in Hong Kong. I spent four months there and seeing what's happening on the streets. It's shocking. They banned face masks in Hong Kong. Why? Because they have AI technology that now is using facial recognition to identify protesters if they so much as do anything on the street so they can follow up with them and detain them later.

This is the rivalry that we have to win where China is concerned. They're in the process of leapfrogging us in AI because they have more data than we do and their government is subsidizing it to the tune of tens of billions of dollars.

I have sat with our leading technologists and they say they cannot match the Chinese resources. China just produced its first major smartphone that does not have Google apps and it is now trying to export its technology to the rest of the world.

What we have to do is build an international coalition to set technology standards, and then you can bring the Chinese to the table in a very real way, because this is their top priority, and this is where we need to outcompete them and win.

WOODRUFF: Senator Klobuchar? (APPLAUSE)

KLOBUCHAR: When it comes to foreign policy, I think we need to keep our promises and keep our threats. And this president has done neither. In a country like China, their leaders, they watch that and they know. He has stood with dictators over innocents. He has stood with tyrants over free leaders. He does it all the time.

And I have a little different take than some of my colleagues when it comes to what happened at that conference with NATO. Yeah, they were making fun of them, some of the foreign leaders. I've heard senators make more fun of other senators than that.

The point of it was that he couldn't even tolerate it. He is so thin- skinned that he walked. He quit.

America doesn't quit. So if we want to send a message to the Chinese, we stand with our allies. We stand with them firmly. We have a very clear and coherent foreign policy when it comes to human rights.

Check out my website, I have the five R's of our foreign policy, about reasserting our values, rejoining international agreements, like the Iranian nuclear agreement. But it all comes down to one R: returning to sanity.


WOODRUFF: Mayor Buttigieg, and then we're going to take a break.

BUTTIGIEG: I'm actually not worried about the president's bad sense of humor when it comes to being made fun of. I'm worried about the fact that he is echoing the vocabulary of dictators around the world.

When the American president refers to unfavorable press coverage as the product of the "enemy of the people," democracy around the world gets weaker. Freedom of the press not just here at home but around the world gets weaker. It's one more reminder of what is at stake, not just here at home, but for world history in the imperative that we win this election.

KLOBUCHAR: Could I respond?

BUTTIGIEG: This is our chance.

WOODRUFF: Very brief. Very brief.

KLOBUCHAR: OK. I just want to make very clear, Mayor, that the freedom of the press is deep in my heart. My dad was a newspaperman. And I am the one that asked every attorney general candidate we've had under Donald Trump, both of whom I opposed, about their respect for the First Amendment. And they have refused, they have refused to follow the rules that Attorney General Holder put in place when it came to protecting our journalists.

They would not commit that they wouldn't put a journalist in jail for doing their job. So this is not just talking points to me. This is the real world. And I think that experience that I will bring to the White House, with protecting the First Amendment, is worth more than any talking points.


WOODRUFF: We are going to take a short break, and we will be -- we'll be right back with more questions.



CUOMO: Good evening everyone, I'm Chris Cuomo. We're live here in Los Angeles. You're watching the sixth democratic presidential debate at Loyola Maramount University. Of course I'm with Dana Bash in the debate hall.

So, we've been watching thus far a very interesting parallel reality. On this stage we were sizing it up before we came on for you and Dana was saying, not that hot a debate in terms of crossfire at each other.

BASH: Not at all.

CUOMO: That distinguishing battle that we're used to seeing. In parallel existence the president is on social media killing the democrats, saying they're afraid of a trial, they're afraid of witnesses. These guys aren't talking about it, the contrast?

BASH: No not at all and its the second so far, we're only half way through but if it continues this way it's the second debate that we have seen in a row where the expectation - we were talking about this before it started, was that because we're so much closer to people actually going to the caucuses, to the primary polls that there would be a lot more heat.

That people who are offendent like Pete Buttigieg who is doing quite well in Iowa that people would - his competitors would kind of turn on him.

CUOMO: So how do you explain it?

BASH: And it hasn't happened. Because the democratic electorate, and I think that they have seen this as a result of the other debates that they've done. They want to make a decision, but they don't want to see them fight.

They want these democratic candidates to save that fight for the President of the United States. But the issue is you still have to if you are a discerning voter find out what the differences are.

CUOMO: And so the way they're helping that is by taking each others lanes. Yang, with the Yang gang, and they have been pretty vocal in here. Most of the young people as you might expect are up in the higher seats here, they got very hot for Yang when he was talking about the needs of what to feed in this country. Sanders, came on the heels of him, wanted to change the topic and you heard their frustration. So, that was moving into Sanders lane, that's what we're seeing tonight.

BASH: Yes, and I thought that was a really interesting moment for that reason and for another reasons. Because the question that Yang was asked which he hit out of the park, was about the fact that after the most diverse debate stage that we have seen ever up until now, it's white except Yang.

CUOMO: And he was loaded with stats, he was ready.

BASH: He was, he was loaded with stats. So, but talking about the fact that the reason why having people of color is important is to make it clear that they understand the plight of people. And he didn't talk about Asian-Americans, he talked about African-Americans, about Latino's.

CUOMO: And he know what he was talking about. He keeps distinguishing himself with depth of knowledge. He does not seem that any of this is old hat for him. Joe Biden has been steady, let's see how he does on the back half of this. He has not been a target, he hasn't targeted anybody.

Dana and I will watch, and then we'll come back with complete coverage after this sixth democratic debate tonight.



WOODRUFF: Welcome back to the PBS NewsHour-Politico Democratic presidential debate. I'm Judy Woodruff, joined by my PBS NewsHour colleagues, Amna Nawaz and Yamiche Alcindor, by Tim Alberta of Politico.

Now let's turn to the next question from Tim.

ALBERTA: Thank you, Judy. Candidates, let's make things interesting. Former President Obama said this week when asked who should be running countries that if women were in charge, you'd see a significant improvement on just about everything.


He also said, quote, "If you look at the world and look at the problems, it's usually old people, usually old men, not getting out of the way."


Senator Sanders, you are the oldest candidate on stage this evening.

SANDERS: And I'm white, as well. Yes.

ALBERTA: How do you respond to what the former president had to say? SANDERS: Well, I got a lot of respect for Barack Obama. I think I disagree with him on this one. Maybe a little self-serving, but I do disagree.

Here is the issue. The issue is where power resides in America, and it's not white or black or male or female. We are living in a nation increasingly becoming an oligarchy, where you have a handful of billionaires who spend hundreds of millions of dollars buying elections and politicians.

You have more income and wealth inequality today than at any time since the 1920s. We are the only major country on Earth not to guarantee health care for all people, which is why we need Medicare for all.

We are facing an existential crisis of climate change. The issue is not old or young, male or female. The issue is working people standing up, taking on the billionaire class, and creating a government and economy that works for all, not just the 1 percent.

ALBERTA: Thank you, Senator Sanders.

Vice President Biden, I'm going to guess that President Obama did not clear that remark through your campaign ahead of time.

BIDEN: And I'm going to guess...

ALBERTA: What do you say to it?

BIDEN: And I'm going to guess he wasn't talking about me, either.


BIDEN: Number one. Look, I'm running -- I'm running because I've been around, on my experience. With experience hopefully comes judgment and a little bit of wisdom. The fact is that we're in a position now, the next president of the United States is going to inherit two things, an economy that is out of kilter and a domestic policy that needs to be -- where we have to unite America. And a foreign policy that requires somebody to be able to on day one stand up, look out, the entire world know who that person is, know what they stand for, and know they know them.


And that's what -- that's the reason I'm running. I have more experience in doing that than anybody on this stage.

ALBERTA: Just to follow up, Vice President Biden, if elected, if elected you would turn 82 at the end of your first term. You'd be the oldest president in American history.

BIDEN: More like Winston Churchill.

ALBERTA: Are you willing -- are you willing to commit -- American history. BIDEN: Oh, American history.

ALBERTA: Yes. Are you...

BIDEN: I was joking. That was a joke.



Appreciate it.

BIDEN: Politico doesn't have much of a sense of humor.

ALBERTA: Oh, we've got a great sense of humor. They wouldn't have put me on stage otherwise. Are you willing to commit tonight to running for a second term if you're elected next November?

BIDEN: No, I'm not willing to commit one way or another. Here's the deal. I'm not even elected one term yet, and let's see where we are. Let's see what happens.


But it's a nice thought.

ALBERTA: Senator Klobuchar, you had your hand raised.

KLOBUCHAR: Thank you for asking a woman this question. I think...


First of all, we have not had enough women in our government. When I was on Trevor Noah's show once, I explained how in the history of the Senate, there was something like 2,000 men and only 50 women in the whole history. And he said if a nightclub had numbers that bad, they would shut it down.


However, it is not just about numbers. It's about what you get done. And that is my argument. If you look at the poll -- the state that knows me best, and that is the state of Minnesota, it showed in the state that Hillary had her lowest margin of victory, it showed that I'd beat Donald Trump by 18 points. I beat him with men more than anyone on this stage.

So I think what matters in this election is, can you bring in those rural and suburban areas, particularly in the Midwest? And number two, what will you do when you get there? And I am someone that has passed over 100 bills, with men and women, with Republicans and with Democrats, including changing the sexual harassment laws for the United States Congress, a bill I led so taxpayers are no longer going to have to pay for people that harass other people.

ALBERTA: Senator Warren... KLOBUCHAR: I have passed a law for drug shortages. I have done work in our rural areas. I think that's what most matters to people. I would be so proud to be the first woman president. But mostly I want to be a president that gets things done and improves people's lives.

ALBERTA: Thank you, Senator Klobuchar.


Senator Warren, you would be the oldest president ever inaugurated. I'd like you to weigh in, as well.

WARREN: I'd also be the youngest woman ever inaugurated.



I believe that President Obama was talking about who has power in America, whose voices get heard. I believe he's talking about women and people of color and trans people and people whose voices just so often get shoved out.

And for me, the best way to understand that is to look at how people are running their campaigns in 2020. You know, I made the decision when I decided to run not to do business as usual. And now I'm proud to have been in 100,000 selfies. That's 100,000 hugs and handshakes and stories, stories from people who are struggling with student loan debt, stories from people who can't pay their medical bills, stories from people who can't find childcare.

Now, most of the people on this stage run a traditional campaign. And that means going back and forth from coast to coast to rich people and people who can put up $5,000 bucks or more in order to have a picture taken, in order to have a conversation, and in order maybe to be considered to be an ambassador.

ALBERTA: Thank you, Senator Warren.

WARREN: Those selfies -- no, I want to finish this. Those selfies cost nobody anything. And I get it. In a democracy, we all have a lot of different points of view. And everybody gets one vote.

But here's the thing. People who can put down $5,000 to have a picture taken don't have the same priorities as people who are struggling with student loan debt or who are struggling to pay off medical debt.

I want -- I'm running a campaign where people whose voices get heard. We can't have...

ALBERTA: Thank you, Senator Warren. We're...

WARREN: We can't have people who can put down $5,000 for a check drown out the voices of everyone else.

ALBERTA: Thank you, Senator Warren. WARREN: They don't in my campaign, and they won't in my White House.

ALBERTA: Mayor Buttigieg -- Mayor Buttigieg, you had your hand raised.


BUTTIGIEG: Well, can't help but feel that might have been directed at me. And here is the thing. We're in the fight of our lives right now.


Donald Trump and his allies have made it abundantly clear that they will stop at nothing, not even foreign interference to hold onto power. They've already put together more than $300 million.

This is our chance. This is our only chance to defeat Donald Trump. And we shouldn't try to do it with one hand tied behind our back.

The way we're going to win is to bring everybody to our side in this fight. If that means that you're a grad student digging deep to go online to and chip in $10 bucks, that's great. And if you can drop $1,000 without blinking, that's great, too. We need everybody's help in this fight. I'm not going to turn away anyone who wants to help us defeat Donald Trump.

We need Democrats who've been with us all along, yes, but we also need independents worried about the direction of the country. If you're a Republican disgusted with what's going on in your own party, we're not going to agree on everything, but we need you in this fight, and I will welcome you to our side.

ALBERTA: Thank you, Mr. Mayor.


Senator Warren, 45 seconds to respond.

WARREN: So the mayor just recently had a fundraiser that was held in a wine cave full of crystals and served $900-a-bottle wine. Think about who comes to that. He had promised that every fundraiser he would do would be open door, but this one was closed door. We made the decision many years ago that rich people in smoke-filled rooms would not pick the next president of the United States.


Billionaires in wine caves should not pick the next president of the United States.

ALBERTA: Mr. Mayor, your response?

BUTTIGIEG: You know, according to Forbes magazine, I am literally the only person on this stage who is not a millionaire or a billionaire.


So if -- this is important. This is the problem with issuing purity tests you cannot yourself pass.


If I pledge -- 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. Now, supposing that you went home feeling the holiday spirit -- I know this isn't likely, but stay with me -- and decided to go onto and gave the maximum allowable by law, $2,800, would that pollute my campaign because it came from a wealthy person? No, I would be glad to have that support. We need the support from everybody who is committed to helping us defeat Donald Trump.


ALBERTA: We would like to bring everyone, but obviously, Senator Warren, would like to give you a chance to respond.

WARREN: I do not sell access to my time. I don't do call time with millionaires and billionaires.

BUTTIGIEG: Hold on a second. Sorry, as of when, Senator?

WARREN: I don't meet -- I don't meet behind closed doors with big dollar donors. And, look, I have taken one that ought to be an easy step for everyone here. I've said to anyone who wants to donate to me, if you want to donate to me, that's fine, but don't come around later expecting to be named ambassador, because that's what goes on in these high-dollar fundraisers.

I said no, and I asked everybody on this stage to join me. This ought to be an easy step. And here's the problem. If you can't stand up and take the steps that are relatively easy, can't stand up to the wealthy and well connected when it's relatively easy when you're a candidate, then how can the American people believe you're going to stand up to the wealthy and well-connected when you're president and it's really hard?


KLOBUCHAR: Judy -- Judy...

BUTTIGIEG: Senator, Senator, I've got to respond.

ALBERTA: Mr. Mayor, we're going to give you one more chance to respond.

BUTTIGIEG: First of all, if you can't say no to a donor, then you have no business running for office in the first place. But also, 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 fundraisers you now denounce. Did it corrupt you, Senator? Of course not.

So to denounce the same kind of fundraising guidelines that President Obama went by, that Speaker Pelosi goes by, that you yourself went by until not long ago, in order to build the Democratic Party and build a campaign ready for the fight of our lives, these purity tests shrink the stakes of the most important election...


ALBERTA: We'd like to bring everyone in. We'd like to bring everyone in.


ALBERTA: But, Senator Klobuchar, had your hand up first. We'd like to call on you.


KLOBUCHAR: I did not come here to listen to this argument. I came here to make a case for progress. And I have never even been to a wine cave. I've been to the wind cave in South Dakota, which I suggest you go to.


So what is making a case for progress about? That is what unites us up here instead of what divides us, which is campaign finance reform. That means passing a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United. It means making the first bill we pass when I am president will be H.R. 1, which is the ethics reform passed in the House, which is currently sitting on Mitch McConnell's desk, along with 400 bills. And if you don't think we can get this done, well, we can, but only if we win this election big.

ALBERTA: Thank you, Senator.

KLOBUCHAR: Not by arguing with each other, but by finding what unites us and getting this done.


I came to make a case for progress.

ALBERTA: Thank you, Senator Klobuchar. Senator Sanders?

SANDERS: I am -- I am rather proud, maybe, I don't know, the only candidate up here that doesn't have any billionaire contributions. But you know what I do have? We have received more contributions from more individuals than any candidate in the history of the United States of America at this point in an election, averaging $18 a piece.

Now, there's a real competition going on up here. My good friend, Joe, and he is a good friend, he's received contributions from 44 billionaires. Pete, on the other hand, he's trailing, Pete. You only got 39 billionaires contributing. So, Pete, we look forward to you. I know you're an energetic guy and a competitive guy to see if you can take on Joe on that issue.

But what is not -- what is not a laughing matter, my friends, this is why three people own more wealth than the bottom half. This is why Amazon and other major corporations pay zero in federal taxes. We need to get money out of politics. We should run our campaigns on that basis.

ALBERTA: Thank you, Senator.


Vice President Biden, 45 seconds to respond.

BIDEN: My average contributions is $43, number one. That's number one.

Number two, the idea that the senator suggested, that I am in the pocket of billionaires, when, in fact, they oppose everything that I have ever done and continue to do, I have made sure from the very beginning every one of my fundraisers is open to the press, every single solitary one. Not one single time, period.

And I have made sure that you know exactly where all the -- and the largest contribution I have accepted is $2,800, which is allowed under law. And I'm the first person to introduce the constitutional amendment to make sure that there is no -- all public funding of elections. End all private funding.

And we all should take a commitment, make a commitment to that right now on this stage. In the meantime, you got to fund a campaign, and we, in fact, have funded a campaign, average contribution $43.

ALBERTA: Thank you, Vice President. Mr. Steyer, I would like to bring you in.

STEYER: Listen, I am running because this government is broken, because it's purchased by corporations. And I've spent 10 years fighting those corporations and beating them and building grassroots organizations to push power down to the people. That's what I've been doing for a decade.

But let me say this. There's someone who is loving this conversation, and his name is Donald Trump.

BIDEN: That's right.

STEYER: We know how he's going to run. He's told us last week he looked at a group of Americans and said, "I don't like you. You don't like me. It doesn't matter. You're going to support me because the Democrats will destroy the economy in 15 minutes."

We need to go after this guy. He's a different breed of cat, and we need to beat him. And we need to talk about prosperity. And I spent 25 years building a business. We're going to have to take him on, on the economy, not have these kinds of conversations and tear each other down, but actually go after...

ALBERTA: Thank you, Mr. Steyer.

STEYER: ... this corrupt president and beat him on the economy where he thinks he's king and where, in fact, he's a fraud and a failure.

ALBERTA: Thank you, Mr. Steyer. We're going to end it there. (APPLAUSE)


NAWAZ: Thanks, Tim. I want to turn now to an issue that's been in the headlines quite a bit, and that is immigration. Mr. Yang, we have a question here from a professor right here at Loyola, Marymount. There are nearly 200,000 DACA recipients, so-called Dreamers, in the state of California, more than any other state, including several students right here at LMU. If you win and you reinstate DACA through executive action, another president could just overturn it again. So will you move on a permanent legislative fix for Dreamers in your first 100 days, if elected?

YANG: Of course I would. I'm the son of immigrants myself, and I know that Dreamers are essentially Americans in everything but this legal classification.


I just want to return to this conversation, because I think it's core.


Our country is deeply misogynist, and most all of us know that. Money and men are tied together. That's where I thought Elizabeth was taking the conversation.

The fact is, strong societies would elect more female leaders. Strong men treat women well for the same reasons.


I'm on the record saying that you need both strong men and female leaders in government, because the fact is, if you get too many men alone and leave us alone for a while, we kind of become morons.



So it's related to our campaign finance rules, because right now the fact is we operate in a fundamentally anti-woman marketplace. And that includes the marketplace for politicians. If we were to put 100 democracy dollars into the hands of every American voter, instead of 5 percent contributing, you'd see that rate skyrocket to 50 percent or 60 percent, and you'd have many, many more women who would run for office because they don't have to go shake the money tree in the wine cave.


NAWAZ: Thank you, Mr. Yang. I do...

KLOBUCHAR: Could I address...

NAWAZ: I'd like to follow up. The question, again, Mr. Yang, was about Dreamers.

KLOBUCHAR: Could I address immigration reform?

NAWAZ: You pledged to move -- you pledged to move on a permanent legislative fix in your first 100 days. Dreamers say that they are frustrated by Democrats' failure to prioritize their status in deal after deal. So why should Dreamers trust Democrats now?

YANG: I believe everyone on this stage would do the right thing by Dreamers in the first 100 days. I would make it a top priority. I'm the son of immigrants myself. The fact is, almost half of Fortune 500 companies were started by an immigrant or children of immigrants. Immigrants make our country stronger and more dynamic.


And immigrants are being scapegoated for issues they have absolutely nothing to do with. If you go to the factory in Michigan, it's not wall-to-wall immigrants. It's wall-to-wall robot arms and machines. We have to send the opposite message of this administration.

And as your president, I think I could send a very clear message, where if you are considering immigrating to this country and I am the president, you would realize my son or daughter can become president of the United States. That's the opposite of the current administration, and that's the message I would love to send to the world.

NAWAZ: Thank you, Mr. Yang.


Senator Sanders, a related question to you.

SANDERS: Donald Trump...

NAWAZ: Actually, Senator Sanders -- Senator Sanders, I have a new question for you. You can respond to Mr. Yang's comments, as well.

SANDERS: I can't respond to the immigration question?

NAWAZ: This is related, sir. But there are estimated to be as many as 12 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S., more than 2 million right here in California. If you have a chance to forge a bipartisan immigration reform plan, would you insist on a path to citizenship for all 12 million or just a segment of that population?

SANDERS: This is what I would do. Day one, executive order, restore the legal status of 1.8 million young people in the DACA program.


Day one, we change border policy so that federal agents will never snatch babies from the arms of their mothers.


Day one, day one, we introduce bipartisan legislation, which will, in fact, be comprehensive, which will result in a path toward citizenship for all of the 11 million who are undocumented. That is what the people of our country want.


Trump thinks mistakenly that he is going to win re-election by dividing us up. We are going to win this election by bringing our people together -- black and white and Latino, Native American, Asian American. That's what this campaign is about. That's what America must be about.


NAWAZ: Senator Klobuchar, you had your hand up.

KLOBUCHAR: Thank you. I started my day-to-day with a group of immigrants who were there talking to me about housing. And I thought about this president and what he's done. He has used our immigrants as political pawns. Every single day, he tries to draw a wedge. I will be a different president.

My view on this comes from experience. When I got to the Senate, Senator Kennedy asked me to be one of the two new senators that was in the group to work on the immigration reform package. We got so close to passing that. I voted for it. Not everyone did. But most of the Democrats did.

Then I was on the Judiciary Committee when President Obama was president. And we worked very hard on that immigration reform. We actually passed that with Republican votes.

Then I was in the small group that worked on the compromise on the Dreamers that would have solved that problem. We didn't get that done because this president gut-punched us.

NAWAZ: Thank you, Senator.

KLOBUCHAR: I will take my views. I will take this experience. I will get this done because immigrants don't diminish America. They are America.

NAWAZ: Thank you, Senator. Mr. Steyer, briefly, your response?


STEYER: Listen, I think it's important to note that this president is not against immigration. He's against immigration by nonwhite people.



STEYER: This is his attempt to divide us, as Senator Sanders said, on race. And that's what he's been doing since the very first day he started running for president. He's been vilifying non-white people. He's been trying to inflame his base and scare them that if, in fact, white people lose control of this country, that they're going to lose control of their lives.

And as somebody who lives in a majority-minority state, which is California, what he's doing is so wrong on so many different levels.

I agree with Senator Sanders. We have to reframe this argument completely. We have to go back to the idea that every American is worth being a full human being on every right. This is a racial argument by a racist president who's trying to divide us and who's vilifying people. It's absolutely wrong. And it's led him to break the laws of humanity in our name.

NAWAZ: Thank you, Mr. Steyer.


Mayor Buttigieg, a new question to you, Mr. Mayor. You said last month that the U.S. owes compensation to children separated from their families at the southern border. The consensus among child welfare experts is that those thousands of children will likely suffer lifelong trauma as a result of that separation. Are you committing as president to financial compensation for those thousands of children?

BUTTIGIEG: Yes, and they should have a fast track to citizenship, because what the United States did under this president to them was wrong. We have a moral obligation to make right what was broken.

And on the larger issue of immigration, my understanding of this issue isn't theoretical. It's not something I formed in committee rooms in Washington. It begins with the fact that my household, my family, came from abroad. My father immigrated to this country and became a U.S. citizen.

It comes from the fact that I'm the mayor of a city where neighborhoods that were left for dying are now coming back to life, largely because of the contributions mainly of Latino immigrants. And I've seen those same neighborhoods shut down, families huddling in church, panicking just because of the rumor of an ICE raid. That did not make our country safer.

KLOBUCHAR: Could I respond?

BUTTIGIEG: I had to look into the eyes of an 8-year-old boy whose father was deported, even though he had nothing so much as a traffic ticket against his name, and try to think of something to tell that boy because I couldn't tell him what he most wanted to hear, which is just that he was going to have his dad back. How could harming that young man possibly make America safer?

NAWAZ: Mr. Mayor, just...

BUTTIGIEG: When I am president, based on those experiences, I will make sure that this is a country of laws and of values. And that means not only ending these unspeakable, cruel practices at the border, but finally and truly fixing the immigration system that has needed a full overhaul since the 1980s.

NAWAZ: Mr. Mayor...

BUTTIGIEG: We cannot wait 4 years, 10 years. We cannot wait anymore to do something about this.

NAWAZ: Thank you, Mr. Mayor. Just to follow up...


... since you do support compensation for those families, should the U.S. also compensate descendants of enslaved people? Do you support reparations for African-Americans?

BUTTIGIEG: I support H.R. 40, which is the bill that has been proposed in Congress to establish a commission to look at reparations. But we shouldn't wait for that commission to do its work to do things that are reparative.

Remember, we're not talking about a gift to anybody. We're talking about mending what was broken. We're talking about the generational theft of the wealth of generations of African-Americans. And just crossing out a racist policy and replacing it with a neutral one is not enough to deliver equality.

Harms compound, just like a dollar saved in its value compounds over time. So does the value of a dollars stolen. And that is why the United States must act immediately with investments in minority-owned businesses, with investments in health equity, with investments in HBCUs, and on the longer term look at reparations so that we can mend what has been broken.

NAWAZ: Vice President Biden, do you support reparations?


BIDEN: Look, let me -- since I haven't spoken on this, I've got a chance. Number one, the reason we're the country we are is because of immigration. We've been able to cherry pick the best from every single continent.

The people who come here have determination, resilience. They are ready to stand up and work like the devil. We have 24 out of every 100 children in our schools today is Hispanic. The idea that we are going to walk away and not provide every opportunity for them is not only stupid and immoral, but it's bad for America.

They are the future of America and we should invest in them.


Everybody will benefit from it, every single American. And you should get used to it. This is a nation of immigrants. That's who we are. That's why we're who we are. That's what makes us different. And we should invest in them.


NAWAZ: Thank you, Mr. Biden. Senator Klobuchar, you had your hand up.

KLOBUCHAR: Well, I was -- I was harkening back. I made my case on immigration to what the mayor said about Washington.

So I look at this a different way. When we were in the last debate, Mayor, you basically mocked the hundred years of experience on the stage. And what do I see on this stage? I see Elizabeth's work starting the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and helping 29 million people.


I see the vice president's work in getting $2 billion for his cancer moon shot. I see Senator Sanders' work -- working to get the veterans bill passed across the aisle. And I see what I've done, which is to negotiate three farm bills and be someone that actually had major provisions put in those bills.

So while you can dismiss committee hearings, I think this experience works. And I have not denigrated your experience as a local official. I have been one.

BUTTIGIEG: You know -- I'm sorry.

KLOBUCHAR: I just think you should respect our experience when you look at how you evaluate someone who can get things done.

NAWAZ: Thank you, Senator.

Mr. Mayor, I'll give you a chance to respond.


BUTTIGIEG: You actually did denigrate my experience, Senator, and it was before the break, and I was going to let it go, because we got bigger fish to fry here. But you implied that my...

KLOBUCHAR: Oh, I don't think we have bigger fish to fry than picking a president of the United States.

BUTTIGIEG: You're right. And before the break, you seemed to imply that my relationship to the First Amendment was a talking point, as if anyone up here has any more or less commitment to the Constitution than anybody else up here.

Let me tell you about my relationship to the First Amendment. It is part of the Constitution that I raised my right hand and swore to defend with my life. That is my experience. And it may not be the same as yours, but it counts, Senator. It counts.

NAWAZ: Thank you, Mr. Mayor.

Senator Klobuchar, you have 45 seconds to respond.

KLOBUCHAR: I have been -- I certainly respect your military experience. That's not what this is about. This is about choosing a president.

And I know my view of this is I know you ran to be chair of the Democratic National Committee. That's not something that I wanted to do. I want to be president of the United States. And the point is, we should have someone heading up this ticket that has actually won and been able to show that they can gather the support that you talk about of 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. I think a track record of getting things done matters. And I also think showing our party that we can actually bring people with us, have a wider tent, have a bigger coalition, and, yes, longer coattails, that matters.

NAWAZ: Thank you, Senator. Yamiche?


SANDERS: Excuse me.

BUTTIGIEG: I got to respond to that. I got to respond to that. Senator, I know that, if you just go by vote totals, maybe what goes on in my city seems small to you. 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.


KLOBUCHAR: Again, I would -- Mayor, if you -- if you had won in Indiana, that would be one thing. You tried and you lost by 20 points. I'm sorry. That's just the math.

SANDERS: Let's talk about how we -- excuse me. Let's talk about how we win an election, which is something everybody here wants to do, in terms of defeating the most dangerous president in American history. So let me tell you how you win it: You have the largest voter turnout in the history of America.


And you don't have -- you don't have the largest voter turnout unless you create energy and excitement. And you don't create energy and excitement unless you are prepared to take on the people who own America and are prepared to speak to the people who are working in America.

We need a progressive agenda -- Medicare for all, raising the minimum wage to a living wage, leading the world in combatting climate change, making public colleges and universities available to all...

ALCINDOR: Thank you. Thank you, Senator Sanders.

SANDERS: ... because we have free tuition, and canceling all student debt in this country.

ALCINDOR: Thank you, Senator Sanders.


I'd like to turn to a new subject, and that is, of course, education. Senator Warren, you've proposed free public college tuition and student loan forgiveness for most families. Why should wealthy families be able to send their kids to public college for free? Why not concentrate that government help on those most in need?


WARREN: So, as I've talked about before, I have a two cent wealth tax proposed for millionaires and billionaires, and that gives us enough money to invest in all of our babies, age 0 to 5, to put an historic $800 billion investment in public schools K through 12, and that will permit us to offer technical school, two-year college, four-year college for every single person who wants an education, cancel student loan debt for 50 -- put a $50 billion investment in our historically black colleges and universities, and cancel student loan debt for 43 million Americans.

Look, this is about money, but this is also about values. We need to make an investment in our future, and the best way to do that is let's invest in the public education of our children. That starts when you're babies and it goes long after high school.

We want to have families. I meet families every day in the selfie lines who talk about what it means to be crushed by student loan debt. That's why I have a proposal popular among Democrats, popular among Republicans, popular among independents, to ask those at the top to pay a little more so somebody can get rid of that student loan debt so they can make an investment in themselves, start a small business, buy a car, create a future for themselves and for this country.

ALCINDOR: Thank you, Senator. I see some hands, but I want to go to Mayor Buttigieg.

BUTTIGIEG: Can I respond?

ALCINDOR: Mayor Buttigieg, your plan offers free or discounted public college only to families making up to $150,000 a year. Do you think Senator Warren's plan offers free college to too many families?

BUTTIGIEG: I do think that if you're in that lucky top 10 percent -- I still wish you well, don't get me wrong. I just want you to go ahead and pay your own tuition.

Now, we can still have public service loan forgiveness for those who go into lower income fields to deal with that. But if you're in that top 10 percent, I think you're going to be for the most part OK. And there is a very real choice on where every one of these tax dollars goes. So I very much agree with Senator Warren on raising more tax revenue from millionaires and billionaires. I just don't agree on the part about spending it on millionaires and billionaires when it comes to their college tuition.

ALCINDOR: Thank you, Mayor. Thank you, Mayor Buttigieg.

WARREN: So -- no, wait, wait, wait.

ALCINDOR: I want to...

WARREN: No. He mentioned me by name.

ALCINDOR: I'm going to let -- I'm going to let you respond, Senator Warren. Go ahead.

WARREN: He mentioned me by name. Look, the mayor wants billionaires to pay one tuition for their own kids. I want a billionaire to pay enough to cover tuition for all of our kids, because that's how we build a future.

The other part is we've got to deal with student loan debt. And right now, most of the people on this stage are nibbling around the edges of a huge student loan debt burden that disproportionally affects people of color. African-Americans are more likely to have to borrow money to go to school, more likely to borrow more money while they're in school, and have a harder time paying it off.

We want to make an investment in the future? Then open up education for all of our kids. That's how we build a future.

ALCINDOR: Thank you, Senator. Senator Sanders?

KLOBUCHAR: Could I respond after Bernie?

SANDERS: We believe -- I believe in the concept of universality. And one of the crises in America today is people are sick and tired of filling out forms. So you're not eligible for the program today because you're at $150,000, but you lost your job, are you eligible? You get a better job, you're eligible.

I think what we have to do is what we do with Social Security, what we do with public education. Donald Trump's kids can go to a public school. They should be able to go to a public school.

What we need right now is a revolution in education. We have got to end this dysfunctional childcare system and make sure that every working-class person in this country can find high-quality, affordable childcare. We need to make public colleges and universities tuition- free. And by taxing billionaires and by taxing Wall Street, we will cancel all student debt in this country.

ALCINDOR: Thank you, Senator Sanders.

Tim? ALBERTA: Switching gears here, Mr. Steyer, earlier this year in Iowa, I met a father, Bill Stumpf, and his son, Kyle, in Dubuque. Kyle is a remarkable young adult with significant disabilities. And though he's been employed for about five years at a local pizza parlor, the future is very uncertain for his family.

Bill worries that there aren't enough jobs, living facilities, social programs designed to meet the needs of his son. So I'm wonderful, as president, are there specific steps that you would take to help people like Kyle become more integrated into the workforce and into their local communities?


STEYER: Look, the United States has made a commitment to treat everybody equally. And that means supporting people with disabilities, both in terms of education and later when they're part of the workforce. That means bringing the resources to bear to make sure that we're treating them fairly, in school and after school, to try and integrate them fully and to make them have as full a life as possible.

The question we've got here across the board is, can we afford to do the kinds of things that Senator Sanders and Senator Warren are pushing? And the answer is yes, that, in fact, what we need to do is to undo the tax breaks that have been given for two generations to rich Americans and big corporations.

Last year, the top 400 corporations paid an 11 percent tax. That is absolutely ludicrous.

KLOBUCHAR: Could I answer the question?


STEYER: So the answer on disabilities is a question of focus and money, as so many of these questions are. We have a country where the government is broken because corporations have bought it, they're getting their way, and for us to get back to government of, by, and for the people that serves Americans, including Americans with disabilities, we're going to have to take that back.


ALBERTA: Mr. Yang, I didn't hear a specific answer from Mr. Steyer. Can you outline specific steps that the government should take to help integrate these young people into the workforce and into their local communities?

YANG: I would love it. I have a son with special needs. And to me, special needs is the new normal in this country. How many of you all have a family member or a friend or a neighbor with special needs or autism?


As you look around, most hands went up. The fact is right now, we have to do more for Kyle. Special needs children are going to become special needs adults in many cases. And here's the challenge. We go to employers and say, hey, this special needs person can be a contributor in your workplace, which may be correct, but that's not the point.

We have to stop confusing economic value and human value. We have to be able to say to our kids and Kyle that you have intrinsic value because you're an American and you're a human being.

We're going to put a freedom dividend of $1,000 a month in everyone's hands, which is going to help families around the country adapt. And then we're going to take this burden off of the communities and off of the schools who do not have the resources to support kids like my son and make it a federal priority, not a local one, so we're not robbing Peter to pay Paul.

ALBERTA: Thank you, Mr. Yang. We have to move on. Judy?


WARREN: No, no, no. No, no, no. Come on.


ALBERTA: Senator Warren, 45 seconds to you, please.

WARREN: So I was a special education teacher. And I loved that work, because it gave me a chance to work straight out with people to recognize the worth of every human being. I had 4- to 6-year-olds who were in special ed.

And what do we need to do? That's why I have a plan, as a special ed teacher, to fully fund IDEA, so every child with disabilities will get the full education they need.

My housing plan is about investing in more housing across this country, in rural America, in urban America, in small town America, but it's also about making sure that people who want to live independently, people who have disabilities, will have housing available to them.

I make a part of my jobs bill that we are going to make sure -- as president, I will make sure that the people who want to bid on federal contracts are treating people with disabilities fairly and paying them fairly.

You've got to go at it at every part of what we do, because as a nation, this is truly a measure of who we are. We believe in treating these, the least of thy brethren, as people of value. And that is how we make a better America.


ALBERTA: Thank you, Senator Warren. Thank you, Senator Warren.


WOODRUFF: I know we have a lot of hands up. We have so many important topics to discuss.

I want to come to you, Senator Klobuchar, on a question of the judges. President Trump has appointed, as we know, two Supreme Court justices. But he's also had confirmed nearly 200 federal judges, most of whom are young and can shape American law for decades to come.

Some of them you voted for in the Senate, including one who just yesterday joined a ruling to strike down a key part of the Affordable Care Act. Would President Trump's appointees -- my question is -- make it harder for you as president, for any of you on this stage to enact your agenda?

KLOBUCHAR: Of course. And I want to make it clear that I have opposed many, many judges. And I think everyone will remember what happened at the Kavanaugh hearing when that nominee went after me. I stood my ground and he had to apologize.


So I have been very strong on these judges. As for the judge you just referred to, there was actually -- the judge that wrote the opinion was a judge that went through the Senate unanimously, with support by Senator Sanders, with support by President Obama, with support by then-Senator Kennedy.


So I think it is very important, when we look at these judges, to acknowledge that there are some of these judges that you think are going to be OK and they aren't.

But what would I do as president? I would appoint judges that are in the vein of people like Elena Kagan and Justice Breyer and Sonia Sotomayor, and let's not forget the notorious RBG. That's what I would do.


And if you look at my record as a lawyer and a member of the Judiciary Committee, look at the judges that I recommended to President Obama, people like Mimi Wright, who is a superstar, and Susan Richard Nelson. Look who I've put in as the first openly gay marshal in the history of the United States. I did that because I knew they were qualified people to take those jobs.

And you need to do it not only with the right judges and have that know-how, but you also have to do it right away. That is one thing that we all learned from when President Obama was in, and that was that he was dealing with an economic crisis and it was hard to do it right away, but we have to immediately start putting judges on the bench to fill vacancies so that we can reverse the horrific nature of these Trump judges.

WOODRUFF: A follow-up to Mayor Buttigieg. Beyond a pledge not to overturn Roe v. Wade, which I believe all of you have said would be part of your decision-making in choosing a nominee to the court, are there other litmus tests that you would apply in choosing federal judges?

BUTTIGIEG: The Supreme Court is very personal for me, because my household, my marriage exists by the grace of a single vote on that body. And, yes, it is critical that we have justices who understand that American freedom includes reproductive rights and reproductive freedom.

But that's not all. I expect an understanding that voting rights are human rights. I expect an understanding that equality is required of us all. And I expect a level of respect for the rule of law that prevents this body from coming to be viewed as just one more partisan battlefield, which is why I will not only appoint judges and justices who reflect this worldview, but also begin moving to reform the body itself, as our country has done at least half a dozen times in its history, so that it is not one more political battlefield every single time a vacancy comes up.


WOODRUFF: Yamiche?

ALCINDOR: Senator Sanders, at least 22 transgender people were killed in the United States this year, move of them transgender women of color. Each of you has said you would push for the passage of the Equality Act, a comprehensive LGBTQ civil rights bill. But if elected, what more would you do to stop violence against transgender people?

SANDERS: We need moral leadership in the White House. We need a president who will do everything humanly possible to end all forms of discrimination against the transgender community, against the African- American community, against the Latino community, and against all minorities in this country.

But above and beyond providing the moral leadership of trying to bring our people together, what we also need for the transgender community is to make sure that health care is available to every person in this country, regardless of their sexual orientation or their needs.

And that is why I strongly support and have helped lead the effort for a Medicare for all single-payer program, which will provide comprehensive health care to all people, including certainly the transgender community.

ALCINDOR: Thank you, Senator Sanders. Senator Warren?

WARREN: The transgender community has been marginalized in every way possible. And one thing that the president of the United States can do is lift up attention, lift up their voices, lift up their lives.

Here's a promise I make. I will go to the Rose Garden once every year to read the names of transgender women, of people of color, who have been killed in the past year. I will make sure that we read their names so that as a nation we are forced to address the particular vulnerability on homelessness. I will change the rules now that put people in prison based on their birth sex identification rather than their current identification. [22:00:00]