Democratic candidates debate in Ohio

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12:43 a.m. ET, October 16, 2019

Who won the Ohio debate?

A dozen Democratic presidential candidates took the stage in Ohio for the fourth debate of the 2020 election, the largest field ever to participate in a single debate.

Here are the winners and losers from tonight's debate:

Winners: Pete Buttigieg, Andrew Yang, Amy Klobuchar and Bernie Sanders

Losers: Elizabeth Warren, Joe Biden, Tom Steyer and Kamala Harris

Read Cillizza's take on why here.

12:32 a.m. ET, October 16, 2019

O'Rourke on Ocasio-Cortez's endorsement: 2020 race is about America, not one faction of the Democratic party

Maddie McGarvey for CNN
Maddie McGarvey for CNN

After the debate, Beto O'Rourke was asked if Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's endorsement of Sen. Bernie Sanders will change the 2020 race.

Here's what he said:

"This race is about America and not one faction or part of the Democratic party," he told reporters after the debate.

O'Rourke went on to talk about his record, saying he's shown that he can bring Democrats "in record numbers in Texas" and independents.

"I think that's the way that we beat Donald Trump and that's the way that we run a bold, progressive agenda and we've done this and we've done it fearlessly talking about the issues that matter most to our fellow Americans, so that's what I am going to stay focused on," he said.

12:28 a.m. ET, October 16, 2019

Warren was again asked if middle class taxes will go up with Medicare for All. Here's how she answered.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren tonight refused to directly explain how she would fund Medicare for All — and many of the other 2020 Democrats called her out for dodging the question.

She was asked about the refusal after the debate. Here's what she told CNN:

"The way I see this: We know there are a lot of different cost estimates for medicare for all and they vary by trillions and trillions of dollars. We know there are a lot of different revenue streams. I've made my commitment clear. I will not sign a bill into law that raises costs for middle class families."

She stressed that she's met many Americans struggling to afford medical expenses.

"These are families that are struggling with the cost of health care," she said. "I talk to these people every day when I'm out on the campaign trail, at town halls, when I'm doing selfies afterwards. This is what middle class families are struggling with."

CNN again asked her if her Medicare for All plan means that middle class taxes will go up.

Here's her full answer:

So what Medicare for All describes is the kind of health care coverage we are going to provide as a country. The cost estimates on it are in lots of different places, and they vary by literally trillions and trillions of dollars depending on how this lands. The same thing is true for the revenue streams. So where I am — and I think this is the right place to be -- is to say, look, here's the commitment we need to make. It's a cost commitment. And this is why I talk about — think about what it means if you say to families, go have your health insurance. We're done with you. Yeah, you're done with them until the person I met who needed $125,000 for one treatment to save her life, and her insurance company just looked at her and said no. 
12:15 a.m. ET, October 16, 2019

Tom Steyer and Rosario Dawson posed together after the debate

Democratic presidential candidiate Tom Steyer posed for photos with Rosario Dawson inside the spin room, the area candidates go after the debate.

Rosario is dating fellow 2020 Democrat Cory Booker.

12:15 a.m. ET, October 16, 2019

Why Tom Steyer thinks he stands out

Tom Steyer, speaking to reporters after the debate, said he thinks his background makes him different from the rest of the Democratic candidates.

Steyer, a billionaire businessman, began amassing his fortune in 1986 when he launched his hedge fund Farallon Capital.

"I've been taking on people who broke that government for 10 years and succeeded," Steyer said.

Steyer said he thinks President Trump will run on the economy.

"People are going to want think that whoever the next president is knows about growth, prosperity and shared prosperity," he said.

Steyer continued: "I think I have a completely different background than anyone on that stage and a completely different ability to tackle those things and as I try to say, take Mr. Trump down."

12:33 a.m. ET, October 16, 2019

Harris says debates force candidates to condense "complex subjects into a 75-second answer"

Many of the 2020 Democrats directly challenged each other tonight. Sen. Kamala Harris said that may have been a symptom of the candidates trying to make their voices heard under challenging debate rules.

"The dynamics on the stage are the reality, I think, and probably a source of frustration for everybody. We get a minute and 15 seconds to have very serious conversations about topics like Syria, health care," she told CNN after the debate.

"And I think the reality, then, is that everyone fights for their time to try and be heard and condense what are complex subjects into a 75-second answer," she added.

Harris was then asked about her calls to get Twitter to suspected President Trump's account. She said his threats are no longer a matter of free speech.

Here's how she put it:

He does not have a right to commit a crime because he is President of the United States. He does not have the right to threaten witnesses and threaten their safety because he is President of the United States. In fact, that's the very problem with Donald Trump. He thinks he's above the law, and we cannot keep reinforcing that. And anyone who wants to say, well, this is a matter of free speech, you are not free to threaten the life of a witness. That is a crime. 
12:05 a.m. ET, October 16, 2019

Booker on the 2020 Democrats: We can disagree, but we have to come together after the primary

Sen. Elizabeth Warren was met swift criticism from her 2020 Democratic rivals tonight as they debated her health care plans.

But Sen. Cory Booker said he wants to remind voters that the Democrats must unite after the primary.

"Look, everybody has to defend their record. But how we do it — what you say about other people often says more about you," he told CNN after the debate when asked about Democrats going after Warren.

He continued: "I just wanted to be one of the people on the stage continuing to remind folks, we can fight over policy issues and which has the better idea. But we must do it in a way that ultimately we can unify at the end of this and be standing together."

11:50 p.m. ET, October 15, 2019

Fact check: Harris claims about pharmaceutical and insurance industry profits

Gabriella Demczuk for CNN
Gabriella Demczuk for CNN

Sen. Kamala Harris resurfaced a previous claim that the eight biggest pharmaceutical and insurance companies alone made $72 billion in profits last year while Americans continue to suffer under the opioid crisis.  

“The eight biggest pharmaceutical companies and insurance companies last year profited $72 billion on the backs of people like the families that we are talking about that have been overwhelmed by this crisis, which is a public health epidemic,” said Harris. “And they knew what they were doing.”  

It’s not the first time that Harris has made the argument. She lodged the complaint back in July while criticizing former Vice President Joe Biden’s health care plan.

Facts First: While it was not clear which companies are part of Harris’ tally, she’s likely in the ballpark, at least according to profit data available for US drug companies as well as numbers on health insurance company profits from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners. However, some context is needed as these profits aren’t derived solely from opioids or from the US market alone. 

Ten of the largest US-based drug companies made $69 billion in profits last year. The health insurance industry made a total of $23 billion

The profits of the top US drug companies were as follows: Johnson & Johnson ($15.3 billion), Pfizer ($11.2 billion), Amgen ($8.4 billion), Merck ($6.2 billion), AbbVie ($5.7 billion), Gilead ($5.5 billion), Bristol-Myers Squibb ($5 billion), Biogen ($4.4 billion), Celgene ($4 billion), Eli Lilly ($3.2 billion).  

Not all of these profits came from the companies’ operations in the United States.  

A report from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners said the health insurance industry generated net earnings of $23.4 billion in 2018. 

12:00 a.m. ET, October 16, 2019

Here's what Buttigieg thinks went well in his debate performance tonight

Some are praising South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg's performance on stage tonight.

Here's what he attributed his success to:

"I had an opportunity to demonstrate the message in my campaign and this idea that we can't wait. We have an opportunity on issues from immigration to economics to guns to climate to make something happen. We can not get caught up in purity tests, we can't get absorbed fighting each other. We have a chance to actually make this happen."