Democratic debate in South Carolina
The global spread of the coronavirus came up during tonight's debate. The candidates were asked how they would address the growing epidemic as president.
Responding first, Sen. Klobuchar said, "What we have to do is make sure we have treatment for those Americans and that they are in a quarantine situation. We don't want to expose people, but we want to give them help."
The Minnesota Democrat encouraged people who feel sick to keep checking the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention's website because she said "many doctors are just saying it's just a matter of time before we're going to start seeing this here."
Former Vice President Joe Biden talked about his experience dealing with the Ebola outbreak during his time in the Obama administration.
"I was part of making sure that pandemic did not get to the United States, saved millions of lives. What we did, we set up, I helped set up that office in the presidency, in the president's office on diseases that are pandemic diseases. We increased the budget of the CDC, we increased the (National Institutes of Health) budget. Our President today, he's wiped all that out. We did it. We stopped it."
Biden attacked President Trump for cutting funding to the CDC. Sen. Bernie Sanders echoed that criticism of Trump.
He also went after the President for his comments that the coronavirus will stop spreading once the weather gets warmer.
"In the White House today, we have a self-described great genius — self-described — and this great genius has told us that this coronavirus is going to end in two months. April is the magical date that this great scientist we have in the White House has determined — I wish I was kidding, that is what he said."
Trump downplays coronavirus despite venting in private:
Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren said former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg previously supported Republican candidates.
“We're here in Charleston, and you know who is going to be in Charleston later this week? It’s Donald Trump,” Warren said. “He's going to be here to raise money for his buddy, Senator Lindsey Graham. Who funded Lindsey Graham's campaign for reelection last time? It was Mayor Bloomberg. And that's not the only right-wing senator that mayor Bloomberg has funded.”
“In 2016, he dumped $12 million into the Pennsylvania senate race to help reelect an anti-choice, right-wing Republican senator,” Warren added. “And I just want to say, the woman challenger was terrific. She lost by a single point. In 2012, he scooped in to try to defend another Republican senator against a woman challenger. That was me. It didn't work, but he tried hard.”
Facts first: This is true. Bloomberg supported Republican Pennsylvania Sen. Pat Toomey’s re-election in 2016. He supported Scott Brown in his losing effort against Warren in 2012. In 2014, Bloomberg gave money to a super-PAC supporting Lindsey Graham.
Bloomberg spent nearly $12 million in 2016 to support the reelection of Republican Sen. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, an ally of his on the issue of background checks on gun purchases. The New York Times also reported in November he supported Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina in 2014.
In 2012, Bloomberg supported Brown over Warren, saying on his radio program as mayor he supported Brown because of Brown’s stance against requiring states to recognize concealed carry laws from other states.
Tonight, Bloomberg called such attacks a “side show” and not relevant to his record as mayor.
Addressing his history with the controversial stop and frisk policy, Mike Bloomberg claimed the incidents decreased by 95% while he was mayor of New York.
"We let it get out of control and when I realized that, I cut it back by 95%. And I’ve apologized and asked for forgiveness. I've met with black leaders to try to get an understanding of how I can better position myself and what I should have done and what I should do next time," he said.
Facts First: Bloomberg, as he has done before, was misleading by omission when he cited a 95% decline in stop and frisk. While there was such a reduction, it happened only during the last two years of his 12-year mayoralty, from the first quarter of 2012 to the last quarter of 2013, following a 605% increase in his first 10 years. Looking at his entire mayoralty, from 2002 through 2013, there was a 97% increase, not a decrease.
Bloomberg also claimed the 95% was prompted by his realization that the situation was “out of control.” He does not mention that the decline began right around the time a federal judge signaled she would rule against stop and frisk, nor that he continued to be a vocal defender of stop and frisk for years after his professed realization about the harms of the policy.
You can read more about Bloomberg’s history with stop and frisk here.
Michael Bloomberg mentioned the "Naked Cowboy" — a shirtless and underpants-clad guitarist in Times Square — while explaining why he enforced tough policies as New York City's mayor.
The CBS moderator brought up tonight his bans on trans fats and his war on obesity, then asked, "Will you push those policies on the national level as well if you become president?"
Here's how Bloomberg responded:
"New York City isn't like all other cities otherwise you would have a naked cowboy in every city. Let's get serious here. But I do think it's good government to teach people good science, and explain to people what science says and how to take care of themselves and extend their lives," he said.
He went on to defend the city's ban on smoking in public places and support of public health.
The Democrats running for president may be split between "Medicare for All," the sweeping, government health insurance proposal supported by Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, and a more moderate public insurance option that the other candidates favor.
But the health care industry wants viewers of Tuesday’s Democratic debate to know that neither reform is palatable, at least not to them.
The Partnership for America’s Health Care Future, a coalition of groups representing insurers, hospitals, drug makers, employers and others, launched a national 30-second ad, entitled “Priorities,” during the South Carolina debate. It features a woman saying that government-controlled health insurance is a “real threat” to people’s health coverage.
She goes on to say that Medicare for All and the public option could double Americans’ income taxes and raise premiums. Instead, “it’s time to build on what’s working and fix what’s broken. Not start over.”
The ad will run on CBS television stations and digital properties, as well as on Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat.
The partnership has a lot of convincing to do. About two thirds of voters polled in Iowa, New Hampshire and Nevada said they support a single-payer health care system.
As of the second commercial break, former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg leads the pack with almost 10 minutes of speaking time. See the full breakdown below, and follow along live here.
Michael Bloomberg said he would support decriminalizing marijuana, though he wants to see its legality expanded by the states “very slowly.”
“We should not make this a criminal thing if you have a small amount. For dealers, yes, but for the average person, no, and you should expunge the records of those who got caught up in this before,” the former New York mayor said.
Bloomberg said he wouldn’t try to undo the efforts of states that have legalized marijuana. But he said the government should heed the warnings of scientists.
“They say go very slowly, they haven’t done enough research and the evidence so far is worrisome,” he said.
The candidates were asked how they will ensure there is available health care in rural areas of the country that have populations who are older, sicker, poorer and have to travel farther to get medical help when they need it.
Sen. Amy Klobuchar said she is for expanding "critical access hospitals" in rural areas. "Actually, I am the lead Democrat on a bill to extend that, to have other types of hospitals, like emergency rooms in rural areas be covered."
Mayor Pete Buttigieg said a big part of the problem is "we're seeing hospital closures, right and left" in rural areas.
He added: "And we're seeing them, in particular, in states where medicaid was not expanded. Something that is hurting black and poor white families and is largely the results of racial voters suppression."
Sen. Bernie Sanders said that under his Medicare For All plan, "We will have health care for all people in all parts of this country."
It's hard to get over the range of ages and experiences on the debate stage. Consider that in 1981, the year Mike Bloomberg was fired from Salomon and got the $10 million severance he used to found Bloomberg, Bernie Sanders was elected as a lonely socialist mayor in Burlington, Vermont, making a steady paycheck perhaps for the first time in his life.
Here's what all the candidates were doing that year:
- Bernie elected mayor, getting a steady paycheck and making 33k a year
- Bloomberg fired from Salomon, given $10 million severance
- Warren gets job as law professor at University of Texas
- Biden was 7 years a senator
- Klobuchar was a senior at Yale
- Steyer left his job as an analyst at Morgan Stanley
- Buttigieg was not yet born