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Health Care Splits Candidates in Democratic Debate

Sanders, Warren clash with moderates
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 30, 2019 8:59 PM CDT
Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., speaks as South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg listens during the first of two Democratic presidential primary debates hosted by CNN Tuesday, July 30, 2019, in the Fox Theatre in...   (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
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(Newser) – The first of another round of 10-candidate Democratic debates kicked off Tuesday night with a reshuffled stack of candidates and a different set of rules. Marianne Williamson, Tim Ryan, Amy Klobuchar, Pete Buttigieg, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Beto O'Rourke, John Hickenlooper, John Delaney, and Steve Bullock are debating in Detroit, where health care divided the candidates in the opening minutes, the New York Times reports. Only Sens. Sanders and Warren said they supported "Medicare for All." Other advocated a more moderate approach, including Buttigieg, who advocated "Medicare for all who want it." More:

  • Sanders and Warren fired back against moderates including Delaney, who accused them of offering "free everything and impossible promises," the AP reports. "I don't understand why anybody goes to all the trouble of running for president of the United States just to talk about what we really can't do and shouldn't fight for," Warren said.

  • Buttigieg said it was time for Democratic infighting to stop. "It is time to stop worrying about what the Republicans will say," the South Bend mayor said. "It's true that if we embrace a far-left agenda, they're going to say we're a bunch of crazy socialists. If we embrace a conservative agenda, you know what they're going to do? They're going to say we're a bunch of crazy socialists. So let's just stand up for the right policy, go out there and defend it."
  • Sanders delivered what is being called the best line of the night when Rep. Ryan accused him of not knowing whether Medicare for All would be better than the deals unionized workers already have. "I do know. I wrote the damn bill!" Sanders fired back.
  • On immigration, Sanders promised to end the "demonization" of migrants, Politico reports. "If a mother and a child walk thousands of miles on a dangerous path, in my view, they are not criminals," he said. "They are people fleeing violence." Buttigieg and O'Rourke were among the candidates who said they didn't support decriminalizing unauthorized border crossings. Bullock, the governor of Montana, said decriminalization would "play into Donald Trump's hands."
  • Williamson said she supported reparations for slavery, citing the Civil War-era "40 acres and a mule" promise, the Guardian reports. Asked why African-American voters should support him as the Democratic nominee, Buttigieg said that as the mayor of a diverse city, "the racial divide lives within me."
  • On foreign policy, Sanders said he would focus on diplomacy instead of military action and strengthen America's standing with the United Nations. Buttigieg, an Afghanistan veteran, promised to withdraw American troops from the country within a year of taking office. "We will withdraw. We have to,” he said. "We’re pretty close to waking up to the news of a casualty in Afghanistan of someone who was not born on 9/11."
  • Sanders, the oldest candidate at 77, and the youngest, the 37-year-old Buttigieg, both said age didn't matter, ABC reports. "I don't care how old you are. I care about your vision," Buttigieg said. "I think it matters we have a new generation of leaders stepping up around the world." Sanders said: "Pete is right. It's a question of vision. Whether you are young or old or in between."
(Read more Democratic debate stories.)

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