The first Democratic debate, night 1

By Veronica Rocha, Dan Merica, Eric Bradner, Gregory Krieg, Amanda Wills and Kyle Blaine, CNN

Updated 4:30 p.m. ET, June 27, 2019
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11:45 p.m. ET, June 26, 2019

Tim Ryan and Tulsi Gabbard spar over War in Afghanistan

From CNN's Caroline Kelly

Reps. Tim Ryan and Tulsi Gabbard sparred on Wednesday night over the best strategy in Afghanistan.

“These flare ups distract us from the real problems in the country,” Ryan said. “If we’re getting drones shot down for $130 million because the president is distracted, that’s 130 million that we could be spending in places like Youngstown, Ohio or Flint, Michigan --”

“Congressman Ryan,” Gabbard said.

“Or rebuilding--” Ryan continued.

“Is that what you will tell the parents of those two soldiers who were just killed in Afghanistan --’we just have to engage’?” Gabbard, a veteran of the Iraq War, said. 

“As a soldier, I will tell you that answer is unacceptable,” she added. “We have to bring our troops home from Afghanistan. We are in a place in Afghanistan where we have lost so many lives. We’ve spent so much money -- money that’s coming out of every one of our pockets money that should be going into communities here at home, meeting the needs of the people here at home. 

Gabbard continued, “We are no better off in Afghanistan today than we were when the war began. This is why it’s so important to have a president and commander in chief who knows the cost of war and who’s ready to do the job on Day 1, I am ready to do that job when I walk into the Oval Office.”

Ryan replied, “I don’t want to be engaged. I wish we were spending all this money in places that I’ve represented that have been completely forgotten and we’re rebuilding. But the reality of it is, if the United States doesn’t engage, the Taliban will grow and they will have bigger bolder terrorist acts. We have got to have some presence there --” 

“The Taliban has been there long before we became in, they’ll be there long after we leave,” Gabbard said. “We can not keep US troops deployed to Afghanistan thinking that we’re going to somehow squash this Taliban that has been there--”

Ryan said, “I didn’t say squash them. When we weren’t in there, they started flying planes into our buildings. So I’m just saying right now--”

Gabbard replied, “The Taliban didn't attack us on 9/11, Al-Qaeda did. Al-Qaeda attacked us on 911, that’s why I and so many people joined the military to fight Al-Qaeda, not the Taliban.”

Ryan said, “I understand that, the Taliban was protecting those people who were plotting against us. All I’m saying is, if we want to go in to elections and we want to say that we got a withdrawal from the world, that’s what President Trump is saying. We can’t, I would love for us to.”

11:25 p.m. ET, June 26, 2019

Cory Booker was the most-searched candidate during tonight's debate

Cory Booker sparked the most interest for Googlers tonight, according to a Twitter account that shares official Google data on behalf of the search giant's Google News Initiative.

Tulsi Gabbard was second in search, and Beto O'Rourke was third.

Here's the breakdown:

11:21 p.m. ET, June 26, 2019

Fact check: Beto O'Rourke on the US prison population

From CNN's David Shortell

Former Congressman Beto O’Rourke brought a stark figure into the debate on Wednesday night when he said, “Tonight in this country you have 2.3 million of our fellow Americans behind bars. It's the largest prison population on the face of the planet.” 

Facts First: Comparing prison populations between nations is difficult because not all countries keep statistics in the same way. O’Rourke is broadly correct about the number of people behind bars in the United States but because of mass detentions in China, for instance, his claim that the US has the largest prison population on the planet is questionable.

According to an analysis of Justice Department numbers done by the Pew Research Center, there were about 2.2 million people behind bars in the US in 2016 between federal and state prisons and locally run jails.

China comes in at number two with 1,649,804 people imprisoned according to the World Prison Brief, a database compiled by Birkbeck, University of London. 

But measuring prison populations in China isn't easy, the World Prison Brief notes, citing China's use of "administrative detention facilities" for some drug offenders and prostitutes.

There may also be as many as 3 million Chinese Uyghurs, a Muslim-majority ethnic group, in government detention camps, US Assistant Secretary of Defense Randall Schriver said last month.  

11:14 p.m. ET, June 26, 2019

Here's who talked the most tonight

  1. Cory Booker: 10 minutes, 55 seconds
  2. Beto O'Rourke: 10 minutes, 39 seconds
  3. Elizabeth Warren: 9 minutes, 17 seconds
  4. Julián Castro: 8 minutes, 52 seconds
  5. Amy Klobuchar: 8 minutes, 25 seconds
  6. Tulsi Gabbard: 7 minutes, 22 seconds
  7. Tim Ryan: 7 minutes, 21 seconds
  8. John Delaney: 6 minutes, 49 seconds
  9. Bill de Blasio: 5 minutes, 40 seconds
  10. Jay Inslee: 4 minutes, 52 seconds

11:03 p.m. ET, June 26, 2019

Fact check: Amy Klobuchar on "Medicare for All"

From CNN's Tami Luhby

Sen. Amy Klobuchar spoke about "Medicare for All" and said, “I’m concerned about kicking half of Americans off of health insurance in four years.”

Facts first: True. "Medicare for All" would cut private insurance for 150 million people. 

The Senate’s Medicare for All bill, sponsored by Sen. Bernie Sanders, would essentially eliminate the private insurance industry after a four-year transition.

Instead, all Americans would be enrolled in a government-run plan, which would cover virtually all medically necessary services. Private insurers could only offer other benefits, such as cosmetic surgery. 

Currently, more than 150 million Americans get their health insurance through private plans offered by their employers, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. Also covered by private insurance are the millions who buy policies on the individual exchange or through Medicare Advantage plans. 

All of these consumers would be shifted from the policies to the national plan under "Medicare for All."

11:03 p.m. ET, June 26, 2019

Fact check: Amy Klobuchar on Nobel Prizes won by immigrants

From CNN's Ellie Kaufman

Sen. Amy Klobuchar said 25% of people who have won the Nobel Prize on behalf of the United States were born in other countries and are immigrants. 

Facts first: The percentage for some categories is actually larger than Klobuchar stated. 

Since 2000, 39% of Nobel Prizes won for the United States in Chemistry, Medicine and Physics were immigrants, according to a report from the National Foundation for American Policy.

Both in the past two decades and over the past century, a substantial percentage of Nobel Prizes won by Americans were immigrants, according to these reports. 

4:30 p.m. ET, June 27, 2019

Fact check: Cory Booker says Amazon pays no taxes

From CNN's Donna Borak

Sen. Cory Booker singled out companies like Amazon and Halliburton for “paying nothing in taxes.”   

FACTS FIRST: Amazon and Halliburton’s tax rates are low, but not zero.  

We can’t really know for sure because Amazon’s tax returns are private. But The Wall Street Journal reported recently that the company’s tax rate from 2012 through 2018 was 8%. 

“From 2012 through 2018, Amazon reported $25.4 billion in pretax US income and current federal tax provisions totaling $1.9 billion,” the Journal reported.

“That is an 8% tax rate — low, but not zero or negative. Looking back further, since 2002, Amazon has earned $27.7 billion in global pretax profits and paid $3.6 billion in global cash income taxes, a 13% tax rate.” 

Amazon has been a Democratic target as a big winner of the 2017 Republican tax overhaul law.  

Former Vice President Joe Biden blasted the company’s tax payments on the campaign trail during a stop in Iowa, and has tweeted that: “(N)o company pulling in billions of dollars of profits should pay a lower tax rate than firefighters and teachers,” pointing to Amazon. 


The company tweeted back:

“We pay every penny we owe. Congress designed tax laws to encourage companies to reinvest in the American economy. We have… Assume VP Biden’s complaint is w/the tax code, not Amazon."

Halliburton was expected to get a $19 million tax rebate on $1.1 billion in profit in 2018, giving it an effective tax rate of negative 2%, according to the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, a non-partisan think thank which issued a report showing how some of the country's biggest companies had nearly zeroed out their income taxes.

Correction: This article has been updated to reflect that Halliburton received a $19 million tax rebate in 2018, according to a report by the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, a non-partisan think tank that works on state and federal tax policy issues.

10:50 p.m. ET, June 26, 2019

Bill de Blasio brings up police shooting in Indiana while talking about his son

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said he's had serious conversations with his black son, Dante, about how to protect himself.

He went on to describe some of the discussions he's had with his son, including "how to deal with the fact that he has to take special caution because there have been too many tragedies between our young men and our police, too, as we saw recently in Indiana."

Why de Blasio is talking about Indiana: Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, has faced criticism recently after an officer involved shooting left a 54-year-old black man dead.

The mayor's tone tonight is much different from several days ago.

“Look, obviously they are going through a tragedy there in South Bend and a lot of cities, including our city, have been tough, tough moments like that. I certainly, my heart goes out to everyone in South Bend. It is a tough, tough thing to go through," de Blasio said.

10:50 p.m. ET, June 26, 2019

Fact check: Jay Inslee on the pay ratio between McDonald's CEO and its workers

When responding to a question about income inequality, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee said, “It is not right that the CEO of McDonald’s makes 2,100 times more than the people slingin’ hash at McDonald’s.”

Facts First: While technically true, it’s worth noting that this includes the wages of part-time employees working abroad -- not just US-based employees.

McDonald’s reported that CEO Stephen Easterbrook’s total 2018 compensation was $15.9 million, while its median employee earned a total compensation of $7,473. That median employee however is a part-time employee located in Hungary. 

Still, that dynamic resulted in a pay ratio of 2,124 to 1, according to a financial filing the company posted in April.