The first Democratic debate, night 2

By Veronica Rocha, Dan Merica, Gregory Krieg, Eric Bradner, Amanda Wills and Kyle Blaine, CNN

Updated 1:56 a.m. ET, June 28, 2019
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9:36 p.m. ET, June 27, 2019

Fact check: Bernie Sanders on the US homeless population

From CNN's Lydia DePillis

In calling for change, Bernie Sanders said: "500,000 people are sleeping out on the streets today." 

Facts First: Sanders is basically correct here. While the number of people experiencing homelessness fluctuates in the United States, the most recent government tally broadly comports with Sanders’ claim.  

According to the federally mandated Point in Time Count conducted every year by HUD to count the nation’s homeless population, there were 552,830 people experiencing homelessness on a single night in December 2018. 

9:32 p.m. ET, June 27, 2019

Swalwell to Biden: "Pass the torch." Biden responds: "I'm still holding onto that torch."

Rep. Eric Swalwell urged former Vice President Joe Biden to pass the torch to younger candidates by quoting then-Sen. Joe Biden back to the now 76-year-old candidate.

“I was 6 years old when a presidential candidate came to the California Democratic convention and said it’s time to pass the torch to a new generation of Americans,” the California Democrat said. “That candidate was then-Sen. Joe Biden.”

The line landed as Swalwell, who is 38, and Biden were split screen on camera as the audience let out a collective gasp.

“He was right when he said that 32 years ago. He is still right today,” Swalwell continued.

“If we are going to solve the issue, pass the torch. If we are going to solve climate chaos, pass the cover. If we want to end gun violence and solve student debt, pass the torch.”

Biden, in response, said, "I'm still holding onto that torch. I want to make it clear."

9:35 p.m. ET, June 27, 2019

Kamala Harris: "Americans don't want to witness a food fight. They want to know how we're going to put food on their table."

For a moment on stage tonight, the candidates running for the Democratic nomination descended into a cacophony of noise over who was old, who was young, who wanted the torch and who still had it.

Then Sen. Kamala Harris interjected: "Americans don't want to witness a food fight. They want to know how we're going to put food on their table."

The audience broke into applause.

9:25 p.m. ET, June 27, 2019

Pete Buttigieg speaks 8 languages. He used his Spanish tonight.

Pete Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, got a chance to use one of the many languages he knows tonight.

Before jumping into a question, Telemundo's José Díaz-Balart welcomed Buttigieg in Spanish.

Buttigieg quickly responded in Spanish, saying, "Good night. Thank you."

Some background: Buttigieg speaks eight languages: English, Norwegian, Spanish, Italian, Maltese, Arabic, Dari and French.

9:23 p.m. ET, June 27, 2019

The fight for the future of the Democratic party is on

The opening volleys of the second Democratic primary debate offered an immediate contrast between the candidates' competing ideas about the direction of the party -- thanks in large part to former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper.

Sen. Bernie Sanders took the first question, talking up his Medicare for all plan. In response to a question from the moderator, he said that taxes would go up in order to make it happen. His argument: Health care costs for would go down, creating a net financial benefit.

Former Vice President Joe Biden got the next question: about his remarks to donors that nothing would "fundamentally change" for them if he were elected. Biden responded by attacking Trump and and promising to end his tax cuts for the rich.

"Donald Trump thinks Wall Street built America," Biden said. "Ordinary middle class Americans built America."

But it was Hickenlooper who laid bare the party's internal divisions in response to a question about Sanders' democratic socialism.

"​I think that the bottom line is we don't clearly define we​ ​are not socialists, the Republicans are going to come at us every way we can and call us socialists​," he said.​ If you look at the green new deal which I admire the sense of urgency and doing climate change, I'm a scientist, but we can't promise every American a government job."

Hickenlooper has been a vocal critic of Sanders and, in just a sentence or two, summarized party moderates' argument against him.

9:23 p.m. ET, June 27, 2019

The first 15 minutes revolved around Bernie Sanders

The early portion of tonight's debate was all about Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders: the policies he’s built his brand on advocating, and the consequences of them.

The debate opened with Sanders acknowledging his Medicare for All proposal would come with higher taxes (but lower health care costs overall). “Yes, they will pay more in taxes, but less in health care for what they get,” he said.

The candidates faced questions that revolved around Sanders’ agenda. South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg was asked about his breaking with Sanders on whether college tuition should be free.

Candidates who have criticized Sanders were asked to defend their position on him. The first question to former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper was to explain which of Sanders’ policy ideas he considers socialist. Hickenlooper answered by pointing to the political challenge that “the Republicans are going to come with everything they can to call us socialist.”

9:18 p.m. ET, June 27, 2019

Biden takes his first swipe at Trump

Former Vice President Joe Biden took his first swipe at President Trump of the night while talking about income inequality.

Asked about his remarks to wealthy donors in which he said we shouldn't demonize the rich, Biden then tried to explain what he meant.

"What I meant is, look. Donald Trump thinks Wall Street built America. Ordinary middle class Americans built America. My dad had an expression. 'Joe, a job is about a lot more than a paycheck.' It's about dignity and respect and looking your kid in the eye and seeing that everything is going to be okay. Too many people at the middle class and fall had the bottom fallout. I am saying we have to be straight forward. We have to make sure we understand that the return of dignity to the middle class, they have to have insurance that is cover and they can afford it. They have to make sure we have a situation where there is continuing education and they are able to pay for it and they center have to make sure they breathe air that is clean and they have water that they can drink. 

He continued: "Look, Donald Trump put us in a horrible situation. We do have enormous income inequality."
9:08 p.m. ET, June 27, 2019

Bernie Sanders gets the first question. And it's about taxes on the middle class.

The question: "You have called for big new government benefits like universal health care and free college. In a recent interview, you suggested that Americans would be delighted to pay more taxes for things like that. My question to you is, will taxes go up for the middle class in a Sanders administration and if so, how do you sell that to voters?"

Sanders' answer: "People who have health care under medicare for all will have no premiums, no deductibles and copayments and no out of pockets. Yes, they will pay more in taxes and less in health care for what they get."

9:11 p.m. ET, June 27, 2019

Biden had been in the Senate for roughly a decade by the time his debate neighbor Pete Buttigieg was born

One of the oldest candidates, Joe Biden, and the youngest candidate in the race, Pete Buttigieg, are standing next to each other tonight, laying bare their age difference.

And the difference is stark: When Buttigieg – age 37 – was born in 1982, Biden – age 76 – had been in the Senate for roughly a decade. He became a senator in from Delaware in 1973.

For weeks, Buttigieg has been making a generational argument about his candidacy -- an unspoken knock on Biden. Now, viewers can see it on stage.