CNN hosts town halls with Biden, Warren, Yang and Steyer

By Jessica Estepa, CNN

Updated 7:25 p.m. ET, February 6, 2020
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10:13 p.m. ET, February 5, 2020

Warren says US embassy should be moved based on negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians

From CNN's Dan Merica

Edward M. PioRoda/CNN
Edward M. PioRoda/CNN

Elizabeth Warren did not say whether, as president, she would reverse President Donald Trump’s decision to move the US embassy to Jerusalem. Instead, the Massachusetts senator argued that where the United States puts its embassy should be up to negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.

“We need to encourage both Israel and the Palestinians to negotiate with each other,” Warren said. “The United States should not be putting a thumb on the scale, should not be saying in these negotiations, we stand only with one party.”

Warren took on the Trump administration’s ties to the Israeli government led by Benjamin Netanyahu and argued that a two-state solution should dictate where the United States puts its embassy.

“The embassy is what they should be negotiating,” she said, referring to the Israelis and Palestinians. “They should be negotiating what constitutes the capital. That’s really my point, that’s what the parties should decide.”

She added: “The parties should negotiate whether or not the capital is in Jerusalem, where the capital is, and then the United States should move its embassy to be in the capital of each of the two states in a two-state solution.” 

9:54 p.m. ET, February 5, 2020

Warren: New immigration policy requires a "path to citizenship"

From CNN's Gregory Krieg

Edward M. PioRoda/CNN
Edward M. PioRoda/CNN

Sen. Elizabeth Warren on Wednesday night made clear that creating a "path to citizenship" for undocumented immigrants will be a central piece of her immigration agenda if she wins in November.

"I want to put the people who are here to stay – remember, these are our neighbors, these are people you nay work with, these are people who may be cleaning the room that you stay in tonight – those people should be on a path to citizenship," Warren said.

"It needs to be fair, it needs to be managed, but it needs to be a path to citizenship," she added, before turning to the more controversial question of what public goods those families and individuals should have access to before they attain legal status.

"If people are on a path to citizenship," Warren added, "they should have health care and their children should get an education because that is how we build an America that works for everyone."

10:17 p.m. ET, February 5, 2020

Warren: Male candidates "believe" they are better positioned to beat Trump, but they are “wrong”

From CNN's Dan Merica


When a woman studying politics at St. Anselm College asked Sen. Elizabeth Warren if men have a better chance of beating President Donald Trump because of their gender, the Massachusetts senator laughed.

“I believe they think so,” she said, “but they would be wrong.”

Warren noted that people in the 1960s said a Catholic could not win the presidency, and then John F. Kennedy won in 1960. She then said how people believed in 2008 that the United States would never elect a black president and then Barack Obama won the presidency.

“Our party is better than that. And we proved that our country is better than that,” Warren said. “2020, we can and should have a woman for president.”

Warren has pushed forcefully against the electability argument that a man has a better chance of taking on Trump.

During the most recent Democratic debate, Warren took on the electability question by noting the win-loss record of each person on the stage, including Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, the only other woman on the stage.

"So, can a woman beat Donald Trump? Look at the men on this stage," Warren said. "Collectively, they have lost 10 elections. The only people on this stage who have won every single election that they've been in are the women. Amy and me."

Watch the moment:

9:23 p.m. ET, February 5, 2020

Warren: My national organization should appeal to New Hampshire voters

From CNN's Gregory Krieg

Edward M. PioRoda/CNN
Edward M. PioRoda/CNN

Sen. Elizabeth Warren pointed to her massive national organization as evidence for New Hampshire voters to consider when they go to the polls next Tuesday.

Asked what she needed to do to in the coming primary to prove she's a "top tier" candidate, Warren refused to set any concrete expectations.

Instead, in much the same way her campaign sought to temper early state expectations in a memo last month, Warren touted her team's presence around the country.

"I’m delighted to be in New Hampshire right now," she said, "but also building out all across this country. We’ve got 55 more states and territories (in the primary). I’m in 31 states now with a thousand (paid organizers) on the ground."

Warren's answer mirrored the message put out by her campaign manager, Roger Lau, in late January, a little more than a week before the Iowa caucuses, in which he charted a path to winning the nearly 2,000 delegates needed to secure the nomination.

But he also downplays the first round of contests, pointedly noting that those states provided less than 4% of the delegates, and took an early swing at how the results would be covered.

"We expect this to be a long nomination fight and have built our campaign to sustain well past Super Tuesday and stay resilient no matter what breathless media narratives come when voting begins," Lau wrote.

9:06 p.m. ET, February 5, 2020

Elizabeth Warren's town hall has begun

Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren is speaking to New Hampshire Democrats and independents ahead of next week's primary in the Granite State.

9:11 p.m. ET, February 5, 2020

Biden says he'd like a woman or person of color as running mate

From CNN's Eric Bradner

Edward M. PioRoda/CNN
Edward M. PioRoda/CNN

Former Vice President Joe Biden said that because of his age -- he is 77 -- the most important qualification in a potential running mate is “that the person’s ready to be president of the United States.” 

Biden said at a CNN town hall in New Hampshire he’d like to pick a woman or person of color as his running mate, though it would be “incredibly presumptuous” of him to talk in detail about it or name names at this stage of the Democratic primary. 

He said he would want a close relationship with his vice president, and would want someone prepared to handle tasks “from beginning to end” -- pointing to Obama assigning him to disburse federal stimulus dollars in the wake of the economic collapse. 

9:45 p.m. ET, February 5, 2020

Biden says he keeps in contact with about 15 people who stutter 

From CNN's Kate Sullivan

Edward M. PioRoda/CNN
Edward M. PioRoda/CNN

Former Vice President Joe Biden, who has dealt with stuttering throughout his life, said he keeps in contact and works with many people who stutter.

“I deal with about 15 stutterers I keep in contact with all the time,” Biden said.

Biden was asked at the CNN town hall what advice he would give a college student who has struggled with stuttering since he was a young child. The question led the former vice president to open up more publicly about his own struggles than he has before in the 2020 race -- and acknowledge that he still stutters at times.

“You know, stuttering, when you think about it, is the only handicap that people still laugh about. That still humiliate people about. And they don’t even mean to,” Biden said. 

“The point I make to these young people that I still work with, is that in fact it’s critically important for them not to judge themselves by their speech. (To) not let that define them,” Biden said. 

“What I say to anybody out there, and any of the people you work with, young people who stutter, I'll give you my phone number, not a joke, and they can call me. I’ll give you a private number, ” Biden said. 

Watch the moment:

8:40 p.m. ET, February 5, 2020

Biden to Republicans on election interference: "Why are we putting our head in the sand"

From CNN's Dan Merica

Edward M. PioRoda/CNN
Edward M. PioRoda/CNN

Former Vice President Joe Biden forcefully accused Republicans – namely Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell – of putting their “head in the sand” over election interference by Russia.

“There is a bill on the desk of Mitch McConnell” to take on election interference and strengthen US elections, Biden said on Wednesday in New Hampshire. “What are we doing? Why are we putting our head in the sand and pretending that these guys don't want to interfere in our election?”

The US intelligence community assessed following the 2016 election that Russian intelligence agencies interfered in the election and concerns remain that the same could happen in November.

Biden said Democrats and Republicans should be “making available to all the states a way in which we will help them fund the change in their electoral process so that they can have the machines that are not able to be tapped, paper ballots, et cetera.”

“What are our friends in the congress doing? They're blocking our ability to make sure that we secure the election,” Biden added.

And on Russia, Biden added, “They have, they are, and they'll continue to be. It will be an overwhelming priority for me when I'm President of the United States to see to it that it ends and there will be consequences if it doesn't.”

8:42 p.m. ET, February 5, 2020

Biden on Limbaugh: “I don't think he understands the American code of decency and honor”

From CNN's Kate Sullivan

Edward M. PioRoda/CNN
Edward M. PioRoda/CNN

Former Vice President Joe Biden said Wednesday that President Donald Trump awarding conservative radio personality Rush Limbaugh the Presidential Medal of Freedom was more about maintaining his right-wing political base than anything else. 

First lady Melania Trump placed the medal on Limbaugh during Trump’s State of the Union address in a surprise move on Tuesday, one day after Limbaugh publicly revealed he has advanced lung cancer. 

“Rush Limbaugh will spend his entire time on the air dividing people, belittling people, talking about how, talking about blacks in ways, African Americans in ways that — anyway, I do feel badly, and I mean this sincerely, that he's suffering from a terminal illness. So he has my empathy and sympathy no matter what his background is,” Biden said. 

“But the idea that he … receives a medal that is of the highest honor that can committed, given to a civilian, I find, quite frankly, driven more by trying to maintain your right-wing political credentials than it is anything else,” Biden said. 

Biden himself was awarded the Medal of Freedom by then-President Barack Obama in 2017. Biden served as Obama's vice president.

“I mean, if you read some of the things that Rush has said about people, their backgrounds, their ethnicity, how he speaks to them. I don't think he speaks, I don't think he understands the American code of decency and honor,” Biden said. 

“But, look, this is Donald Trump," Biden said.

Watch the moment: