CNN Democratic debate night 2

By Veronica Rocha, Meg Wagner, Amanda Wills and Elise Hammond, CNN

Updated 11:59 PM ET, Wed July 31, 2019
65 Posts
Sort byDropdown arrow
11:04 p.m. ET, July 31, 2019

Why should you vote for them? Here's what each candidate said

Mark Peterson/Redux for CNN
Mark Peterson/Redux for CNN

The 10 presidential candidates just wrapped up their debate appearances tonight with their closing remarks to Americans.

Here's what they said:

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio: "If we're going to beat Donald Trump, this has to be a party that stands for something. The party of labor unions. This has to be the party of universal health care. This has to be the party that's not afraid to say out loud we're going to tax the hell out of the wealthy. And when we do that, Donald Trump right on cue will call us socialists. Here's what I'll say to him: 'Donald, you're the real socialist.'"

Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet: "I think that we have an incredible opportunity in front of us. All of us. To come together just as our parents and grandparents did before them, and face challenges even harder than the ones we face. But the only way that we're going to be able to do it is to put the divisive politics of Donald Trump behind us." 

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee: "We have one last chance. When you have one chance in life, you take it. Think about this. Literally the survival of humanity on this planet in civilization is in the hands of the next president. And we have to have a leader who will do what is necessary to save us. That includes making this the top priority of the next presidency."

New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand: "I'm running for president because I want to help people. And I actually have the experience and the ability to do that. I brought Congress together and actually made a difference in peoples lives."

Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard: "The needs are great as your president I will put your interest above all else."

Former Secretary Julián Castro: "I believe that we need leadership that understands that we need to move forward as one nation. With one destiny. And our destiny in the years to come is to be the smartest, the healthiest, the fairest and the most prosperous nation on Earth."

Businessman Andrew Yang: "You know what the talking heads couldn't stop talking about about after the last debate? It's not the fact that I am somehow No. four on the stage in national polling. It was the fact that I wasn't wearing a tie. Instead of automation in the future, including the fact we automated away 4 million manufacturing jobs. Hundreds of thousands right here in Michigan. We're up here with makeup on our faces and our rehearsed attack lines. Playing roles in this reality TV show. It's one reason why we elected a reality TV star as our president."

New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker: "We have a real crisis in our country, and the crisis is Donald Trump — but not only Donald Trump, I have a frustration that sometimes people are saying the only thing they want is to beat Donald Trump. Well, that is the floor and not the ceiling."

California Sen. Kamala Harris: "What we need is someone who is going to be on that debate stage with Donald Trump and defeat him by being able to prosecute the case against four more years. And let me tell you we've got a long rap sheet."

Former Vice President Joe Biden: Everybody knows who Donald Trump is. We have to let him know who we are. We choose science over fiction. We choose hope over fear. We choose unity over division. And we choose, we choose the idea that we can as Americans, when we act together, do anything."

See Harris' closing statement:

10:56 p.m. ET, July 31, 2019

Fact check: Cory Booker's record as Newark mayor 

From CNN's Holmes Lybrand

Gabriella Demczuk for CNN
Gabriella Demczuk for CNN

While defending his record as mayor of Newark, New Jersey, against attacks from former Vice President Joe Biden, New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker claimed that the leader of New Jersey’s American Civil Liberties Union "has said that I embraced reforms not just in action but in deeds." 

Facts First: This is true, but lacks important context. 

Booker was mayor of Newark from 2006 to 2013, and in his last year the head of ACLU-NJ did "commend" Booker and the city's police director for issuing "one of the most comprehensive policies in the nation requiring the tracking and public reporting of the police department’s stop-and-frisk practices." 

But the reforms came, in part, following a 96-page complaint made by the ACLU against Newark's police department in 2010. The complaint led to a three-year investigation from the Department of Justice into the department. The DOJ released a report in 2014 which found "reasonable cause to believe" police officers had stolen from civilians and -- among other things -- engaged in a "pattern of unconstitutional stops and arrests" that disproportionately affected black people. 

Booker is leaving out this critical background in touting the praise from the ACLU. 

10:48 p.m. ET, July 31, 2019

Fact check: Andrew Yang on robots displacing more workers than immigrants

From CNN's Lydia DePillis

 Scott Olson/Getty Images
 Scott Olson/Getty Images

Andrew Yang said: "If you go to a factory here in Michigan, you will not find wall-to-wall immigrants, you will find wall-to-wall robots and machines. Immigrants are being scapegoated for issues they have nothing to do with in our economy." 

Facts First: Yang is right that robots have displaced more workers than immigrants. 

Many studies have shown that immigrants generally create more net jobs in the US, although there may be some displacement and wage stagnation in low-skilled industries where more immigrants compete directly with native-born Americans.  

But all kinds of manufacturing industries in America, from steel to tractors, have incorporated technology that reduces the number of people needed to create a given amount of stuff. The automotive sector accounts for about half the US’ robot shipments, according to the Robotics Industry Association, though non-automotive industries have been catching up fast. And many economists, including those at Oxford Economics and McKinsey, project that automation will displace millions of jobs in manufacturing down the line.  

However, manufacturing employment in Michigan has been steadily rising since the bottom of the Great Recession, and now stands at 635,000 jobs — 14% of total employment in the state. And according to the pro-immigration American Immigration Council, in 2015, 94,152 of those jobs were occupied by immigrants, a share that was higher than immigrants' percentage of the overall population

10:39 p.m. ET, July 31, 2019

Tulsi Gabbard: "We were all lied to" on Iraq

From CNN's Gregory Krieg

Paul Sancya/AP
Paul Sancya/AP

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, the only war veteran on stage tonight, said most policymakers in Washington can’t fathom the cost of the war.

Her political record has come under intense scrutiny over the past few years, but Gabbard’s criticism of the US foreign policy establishment is in line with most progressives’ – and she pulled no punches on stage tonight.

“For too long, we had leaders who have been arbitrating foreign policy from ivory towers in Washington without any idea about the cost and the consequence, the toll it takes on our service members, on their families,” Gabbard said. “We have to do the right thing. End the wasteful regime change wars and bring our troops home."

Before she began, Gabbard who was deployed to Iraq in 2005, said her feelings on the issue are “difficult to convey in words.”

“I served in a field medical unit where every single day I saw the high cost of war. Just this past week two more of our soldiers were killed in Afghanistan,” the Hawaii congresswoman said. “My cousin is deployed to Afghanistan right now. Nearly 300 of our Hawaii National Guard soldiers are deployed to Afghanistan. Fourteen thousand service members are deployed there.”

Ending the American conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, she added, should not be about the setting of “arbitrary deadline.” It’s a question, Gabbard said, “about leadership.”

“The leadership I will bring to do the right thing, to bring our troops home within the first year in office because they shouldn't have been there this long,” she said.

Turning to Trump, Gabbard added: “We were all lied to (about Iraq). The problem is that this current president is continuing to betray us.”

Watch Gabbard speak on Afghanistan:

11:45 p.m. ET, July 31, 2019

Harris calls out Biden for changing his position on abortion funding

 Scott Olson/Getty Images
Scott Olson/Getty Images

Former Vice President Joe Biden was forced to defend his changing position on a measure that blocks federal funds from��being used for most abortions.

During a conversation about women's rights, California Sen. Kamala Harris brought up Biden's recent decision drop his support for the Hyde Amendment.

"Listen, I mean now talk about running for president and you change your position. On the Hyde amendment vice president were you made a decision for years to withhold resources to poor women to have access to reproductive health care and including women who were the victims of rape and incest. Do you now say that you have evolved and you regret that? Because you've only since you have been running for president this time said you in some way would take that back or didn't agree with the decision that you made over many many years. And this directly impacted so many women in our country. And I personally prosecuted rape cases and child molestation," she said, speaking directly to Biden.

Biden defended his position, saying, "The fact is that senator knows that's not my position."

"Everybody on this stage has been in the Congress. And the Senate or the House has voted for the Hyde Amendment at some point. It's in the past it was available because there was other access for those kinds of services, provided privately. Once I wrote the legislation making sure that every single woman would have the opportunity to have health care paid for by the federal government, everyone, that that could no longer stand," he said.

"I support a woman's right to choose. I support it as a constitutional right. I support it, and will continue to support it and move as president to see to that the Congress legislates that that is the law as well," Biden added.

The former vice president said he changed his position on the measure "because there was not full federal funding for all reproductive services prior to this point."

Watch the moment:

10:29 p.m. ET, July 31, 2019

Biden and Gillibrand just had a tense exchange about working women

Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images
Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand grilled Joe Biden on an op-ed that about women working outside of the home, which he wrote when he was a senator.

"I want to address Vice President Biden directly. When the Senate was debating middle class affordability for child care he wrote an op-ed. He voted against it," she began. "He wrote an op-ed: He believed that women working outside the home would, quote, 'create the deterioration of family.' He also said that women who were working outside the home were quote, 'avoiding responsibility.'"

She asked him what those quotes meant — and Biden explained why he voted against the bill.

"That was a long time ago," he said. "It would have given people making today $100,000 a year tax break for child care. I didn't want that. I wanted the child care to go to people making less than $100,000."

Gillibrand was not satisfied.

"Mr. Vice President you didn't answer my question," she said. "What did you mean when you said when a woman works outside the home, it's resulting in, quote, 'the deterioration of family'?"

Biden said both his late and current wives worked outside the home, and he said that he wrote the Violence Against Women Act. He pointed out that he and Gillibrand have worked together on women's issues.

"I don't know what's happened except you're now running for president," Biden said to Gillibrand.

Here's how Gillibrand responded:

"Mr. Vice President, I respect you deeply. I respect you deeply. But those words are very specific. You said women working outside the home lead to the deterioration of family."

"I never believed it" Biden said.

Watch this moment:

10:13 p.m. ET, July 31, 2019

Tulsi Gabbard explains the 3 issues she has with the Trans-Pacific Partnership

From CNN's Katie Lobosco

Tulsi Gabbard, who has opposed the Trans-Pacific Partnership, said she'd ensure that the US remains competitive against China by "pushing for fair trade."

"Not trade deals that give away the sovereignty of the American people. And our country. That give away American jobs. And that threaten our environment. These are the three main issues with that massive trade deal, the Trans-Pacific Partnership," she said.

What you need to know about the deal: The Trans-Pacific Partnership, known as TPP, was negotiated under the Obama administration. It would have eliminated trade barriers between the United States and 11 other countries, including Japan, Australia, New Zealand, as well as some South American countries like Peru and Chile – with the goal of creating an alliance to counter Chinese economic influence.

Some Democrats, like Gabbard, are opposed: It drew criticism from some Democrats, including Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, who argued it was written behind closed doors with input from corporations and could end up forcing American workers to compete with low-wage labor around the world. 

President Trump isn't a fan either: He repeatedly said during his election campaign that it would send American jobs overseas and -- as one of his first acts as President, he withdrew the United States from the agreement. The 11 other countries went ahead with the deal, now called the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership. It went into effect in January 2019. 

Instead, Trump has decided to take on China alone. He’s imposed tariffs on more than $250 billion of Chinese goods while his administration negotiates with Beijing, attempting to reach a comprehensive trade agreement that would address what it says are unfair trade practices by the Chinese.

10:11 p.m. ET, July 31, 2019

Fact check: Obama did not sign DACA into law

From CNN's Z. Byron Wolf

Former Vice President Joe Biden was the target of multiple attacks, from protesters and from others onstage, about the deportation record of President Barack Obama. Biden defended his former boss against New York Mayor Bill de Blasio by saying Obama "came up with the idea for the first time ever of dealing with the DREAMers. He put that into law." 

Fact's First: That's false. Obama didn’t put it into law -- and that’s a hugely important point. 

The "DREAMers" are undocumented immigrants who were brought into the United States as children and there has long been bipartisan support to give a pathway to legal status. The DREAM Act was a bill written by Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois. It never became law despite multiple efforts -- but the name stuck. 

But there was not enough support to put it into law. And when a comprehensive immigration plan failed in congress, Obama instead used executive authority to give DREAMers temporary protection with the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program. 

If they met certain requirements, signed up for the program and stayed out of trouble, he promised they could stay in the country. But it was a temporary fix and not ever put into law. 

So when Donald Trump came into office, he moved to end DACA. Trump says he supports a legal status for DREAMers, but has said Congress must pass a law giving it to them. His effort to end the DACA program is currently stalled in the courts. 

So no, Obama did not put anything for the DREAMers into law. And that's part of the point of his record on immigration that frustrates immigration advocates. 

10:13 p.m. ET, July 31, 2019

Tulsi Gabbard calls climate change debate "personal"

From CNN's Paul LeBlanc

Gabriella Demczuk for CNN
Gabriella Demczuk for CNN

Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, who is not a co-sponsor of the sweeping Green New Deal proposal, called the climate change debate “personal,” drawing on her experience growing up in Hawaii.

“First of all, this is personal. You can imagine I grew up in Hawaii, which is the most remote island chain in the world, so for us growing up there, protecting our environment was not a political issue, it’s a way of life," she said. "It’s part of our culture. It’s part of who we are.”

She went on to plug her work on climate change in Congress:

“This is why, as a member of Congress long before there was ever a Green New Deal, I introduced the most ambitious climate change legislation ever in Congress called the Off Fossil Fuels Act that actually laid out an actionable plan to take us from where we are today to transition off of fossil fuels and invest in green renewable energy, invest in workforce training, invest in the kind of infrastructure that we need to deal with the problems and the challenges that climate change is posing to us today.”

Watch now: