The first Democratic debate, night 2

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

Updated 1:56 a.m. ET, June 28, 2019
50 Posts
Sort byDropdown arrow
10:49 p.m. ET, June 27, 2019

"I do not praise racists": Biden says his comments on segregationist senators were mischaracterized

Former Vice President Joe Biden quickly responded to Sen. Kamala Harris' callout regarding his comments on working with segregationist senators, saying he's been mischaracterized.

"It's a mischaracterization of my position across the board. I do not praise racists. That is not true," Biden said.

He went on to say that he's worked as a public defender "when, in fact, my city was in flame because of the assassination of Dr. King," and with President Obama, "who in fact we worked very hard to see to it we dealt with the issues in a major, major way."

Biden continued: "The bottom line here is, look. Everything I have done in my career, I ran because of civil rights and continue to think we have to make fundamental changes and those civil rights, by the way, include not just African-Americans, but the LGBT community."

Harris pressed Biden on where he stood on key issues when he was US senator, specifically if he opposed bussing at the time.

"I did not oppose bussing in America. What I opposed is bussing ordered by the Department of Education." Biden told Harris.

10:43 p.m. ET, June 27, 2019

Fact check: Joe Biden on immigrants contributing to social security

From CNN's Lydia DePillis

Joe Biden said: "[Undocumented immigrants] in fact contribute to the well-being of the country but they also for example increase the lifespan of social security. Because they have a job, they’re paying a social security tax. That's what they're doing. It’s increased the lifespan." 

Facts First: This is true.   

Undocumented immigrants often pay into the Social Security system through payroll taxes, but typically do not receive benefits. According to a 2013 report by the Office of the Chief Actuary of the Social Security Administration, in 2010, undocumented immigrants paid about $12 billion more into the system than they received.  

That could extend the period of solvency for the Social Security trust funds, which are currently projected to be depleted in 2035.

10:41 p.m. ET, June 27, 2019

Words we've never before heard from Biden: "My time is up, I'm sorry."

From CNN's Jeff Zeleny

It’s rare for Joe Biden to stop talking, but twice tonight on the debate stage he uttered words seldom – if ever – heard from his mouth: “My time is up, I’m sorry.”

The former vice president often seemed eager for the conversation to move on without him. In the second hour of the debate, when he was at the center of a series of fiery exchanges aimed at his long record, Biden twice came to a stop -- without being silenced by moderators.

Biden has more debate experience under his belt than any other presidential candidate, so perhaps he knew when it was time to stop. He was struggling to make his points in a crisp manner, and Sen. Kamala Harris scored far more points on their fiery and memorable exchange on race.

It’s been seven years since Biden’s been on the debate stage. The crowded and chaotic setting was nothing like the genteel affair with Paul Ryan during the 2012 vice presidential debate.

Perhaps Biden was just rusty, like when he suggested Democrats won the Senate last fall, when he surely meant the House. Or perhaps he has lost his step. Only future debates – and campaign stops – will show whether he is a strong front-runner or merely a placeholder. 

But tonight, the former vice president surrendering his microphone – without being asked by the moderators – was remarkable for a man known for a half-century of stem-winders.

10:37 p.m. ET, June 27, 2019

Fact check: Andrew Yang says Amazon pays "literally zero in taxes"

From CNN's Brian Fung

Andrew Yang claimed that Amazon pays “literally zero in taxes.” "Oh, so, it's difficult to do if you have companies like Amazon, trillion-dollar tech companies paying literally zero in taxes while they're closing 30% of our stores." 

Facts First: When it comes to taxes the picture is more complicated than Yang claims. Amazon pays state taxes and has also paid federal taxes in the past. 

The Wall Street Journal reported recently that Amazon’s overall 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’s SEC filings in 2017 showed it did not expect to owe any federal tax, and in fact expected to get a $137 million refund from the federal government.

It did, however, say it expected to pay $211 million to states. 

More recently, in February, an analysis of Amazon corporate filings by the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy found that the company got a rebate of $129 million for tax year 2018.

Analysts say Amazon was able to whittle down its tax liability by taking advantage of tax credits and deductions.

10:24 p.m. ET, June 27, 2019

Time check: Here's who's talked the most

10:25 p.m. ET, June 27, 2019

Fact check: Kamala Harris on Trump's tax bill impacting the US debt

From CNN's Maegan Vazquez and Holmes Lybrand

California Sen. Kamala Harris claimed that the tax bill signed by President Donald Trump benefits major corporations and will contribute at least $1 trillion to the US debt. 

Facts First: This is true. The Congressional Budget Office estimated that the 2017 Republican tax act would add some $1.9 trillion to the federal deficit over the next decade. 

CNN has previously reported that the Republican tax reform bill passed in 2017 included tax cuts for corporations as well as individuals -- but while the benefits for business were permanent, the individual taxpayer cuts will expire by 2027. If Congress does nothing to extend them, the top 1% will at that point receive roughly 83% of the tax cut benefits, according to estimates from the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center

Last year, the Congressional Budget Office projected that the Republican tax bill would add $1.9. trillion over the course of 10 years.

10:50 p.m. ET, June 27, 2019

Kamala Harris tells Joe Biden: "I do not believe you are a racist" ... but comments were "hurtful"

Sen. Kamala Harris confronted former Vice President Joe Biden on his recent remarks, in which he recalled working with two segregationist senators.

He used the senators as examples of colleagues he could work with during an era where "at least there was some civility" in the Senate.

Here's what Harris had to say about Biden's remarks:

"I do not believe you are a racist and I agree with you when you commit yourself to the importance of finding common ground, but I also believe, and it's personal, and it was hurtful to hear you talk about the reputations of two United States senators who (have) built their reputations and career on the segregation of race in this country."

She went on to talk about her experience as young girl.

"It was not only that, but you also worked with them to oppose there was a little girl in California who was part of the second class to integrate her public schools and she was bussed to school every day. That little girl was me. So I will tell you that on this subject, it cannot be an intellectual debate among Democrats. We have to take it seriously. We have to act swiftly," Harris said.

Harris raised the issue while talking about race and recalling her own childhood.

"There is not a black man I know, be he a relative, a friend or a coworker who has not been the subject of profiling or discrimination. My sister and I had to deal with the neighbor who told us her parents couldn't play with us because we were black," she said.

Her account tweeted this moments ago:

10:15 p.m. ET, June 27, 2019

Pete Buttigieg says South Bend police force isn't diverse because he "couldn't get it done"

Mayor Pete Buttigieg admitted that his police force in South Bend lacked diversity because he “couldn’t get it done.”

South Bend, Indiana, has been in turmoil over the last two weeks after a white officer shot a black man during an altercation earlier this month. The police have alleged that the black man was breaking into cars and wielding a knife.

The South Bend Police Department has lost African-American officers nearly every year under Mayor Pete Buttigieg, according to numbers released to CNN by the police department. When Buttigieg took office in January 2012, the South Bend Police Department had 29 black officers on the force. That number was 15 in 2019, according to the numbers.

Buttigieg said the situation around the shooting is a “mess” because the officer didn’t have his body camera on.

“We are hurting. I could walk you through all of the things we have done as a community,” Buttigieg said. “All of the steps we took from bias training to de-escalation, but it didn’t save the life of Eric Logan. When I look into his mother’s eyes, I have to face the fact that nothing that I say will bring him back.”

He added: “This is an issue that is facing our community and so many communities around the country. Until we move policing out from the shadow of systemic racism and whatever this reaches us, there is a wall of mistrust put up one racist act at a time not from what happened in the past, but what happened in the present. It threatens the wellbeing of every community. I am determined to bring about a day when a white person driving a vehicle in and a black person driving a vehicle, when they see a police officer approaching, feels the same thing. Not of fear, but of safety. I am going to bring about that very thing.”

10:10 p.m. ET, June 27, 2019

The debate is halfway over. Here's what has happened so far.

From CNN Political Director David Chalian

  1. Kamala Harris is owning this debate in the first half. She is connecting every policy prescription or presidential action she would take to a very human story. She even brought order to the unruly group of candidates on the stage. If you’ve been looking for what Sen. Harris’ next moment in this race would be after her very successful January launch and strong first quarter fundraising, look no farther than tonight’s debate performance thus far.
  2. Joe Biden appears to be hanging back a bit tonight. He’s indicated interest in wanting to get in on a couple of the debates, but then seemed to be just as fine to move on to the next topic when the moderators indicated they were ready to do so. There isn’t anything in the first half of the debate to suggest he has harmed his frontrunner position, but he also did nothing to narrow the enormous divide between the voters and the political establishment on how his candidacy is perceived. And guess what? The voters get to decide.
  3. Rep. Eric Swalwell stole some of Pete Buttigieg’s generational thunder by taking the fight directly to Biden with his prepared #passthetorch story. But is this precisely the kind of attack that rebounds negatively on him? It may get him some attention, but does it endear him to any voters – who seem to like Joe Biden quite a bit!
  4. Sen. Michael Bennet of Colorado is doing a lot of Joe Biden’s work for him. He's explaining why, from his perspective, Sen. Bernie Sanders’ solutions to America’s problems are the wrong ones for the party to pursue.
  5. I’m surprised Marianne Williamson and Andrew Yang haven’t yet had some very buzzy/quirky/outsider moments.