The third Democratic presidential candidate debate took place in Houston Thursday. The candidates answered questions on a range of issues, including health care, gun control, immigration and an ongoing U.S.-China trade war.
Here are some comments from each candidate:
Former Vice President Joe Biden, during a discussion of foreign policy, offered that he should not have voted for a bill that launched the 2002 Iraq War, saying, “I should have never voted to give (former President George W.) Bush the authority to go in and do what he said he was going to do. … What I was arguing against in the beginning, once he started to put the troops in, was that in fact we were doing it the wrong way, there was no plan, we should not be engaged, we didn’t have the people with us, we didn’t have our allies with it.”
Senator Cory Booker, during a discussion of America’s tit-for-tat tariff war with China, while at the same time fighting over trading rights with European allies, said: “Donald Trump’s America First policy is actually an America alone policy. This is a president who has better relations with dictators rather than American allies.”
Mayor Pete Buttigieg, in criticizing President Donald Trump’s lack of “strategy,” pointed to the president’s recent actions at the Group of Seven summit in France. When Trump skipped a climate change discussion, “there was literally an empty chair, where American leadership could have been,” Buttigieg said.
Former U.S. Housing and Urban Development Julian Castro, who focused on growing up in a single-parent home in his closing statement, said: “I shouldn’t be here on this stage. You know, Castro is my mother’s name and was my grandmother’s name before her. I grew up in a single-parent household on the west side of San Antonio, going to the public schools.”
Senator Kamala Harris, responding to a question about her record as former California attorney general, said: “I’m glad you asked me this question. … Was I able to get enough done? Absolutely not,” before describing her record as having been distorted by activists.
Senator Amy Klobuchar, in responding to Sanders’ health care plan, known as Medicare for All, said, “While Bernie wrote the bill, I read the bill,” claiming tens of millions would lose their private health insurance. “I don’t think that’s a bold idea; I think that’s a bad idea.”
Former Congressman Beto O’Rourke, who lives in El Paso, Texas, where a mass shooting occurred in August, said during a heated debate about gun control that he supported taking away assault weapons from people. “Hell yes, we’re going to take your AR-15, your AK-47. We’re not going to allow them to be used against Americans anymore.”
Senator Bernie Sanders, in a pointed debate with Biden over Obama administration trade policies that supported a Trans-Pacific Partnership, said: “The average American today, despite an explosion of technology and worker productivity, is not making a penny more than he or she made 45 years ago. And one of the reasons is that, for decades, we have had disastrous trade policies.”
Senator Elizabeth Warren, during a discussion about gun control, said: “The question we need to ask is, when we’ve got this much support across the country, 90% of Americans want to see us do — I like registration — want to see us do background checks, want to get assault weapons off the streets, why doesn’t it happen? And the answer is corruption, pure and simple. We have a Congress that is beholden to the gun industry. And unless we’re willing to address that head-on and roll back the filibuster, we’re not going to get anything done on guns.”
Entrepreneur Andrew Yang announced during the debate that he would give $120,000 to 10 American families, saying, “My campaign will now give a freedom dividend of $1,000 a month for an entire year to 10 American families. Someone watching at home right now. If you believe that you can solve your own problems better than any politician, go to Yang2020.com and tell us how $1,000 a month will help you do just that. This is how we will get our country working for us again, the American people.”