Democratic candidates debate in Ohio

By Veronica Rocha, Meg Wagner and Amanda Wills, CNN

Updated 7:49 p.m. ET, November 11, 2019
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9:44 p.m. ET, October 15, 2019

Fact check: Will 150 million people have to change health insurance under Medicare for All?

From CNN's Tami Luhby

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

South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg argued for expanding the Affordable Care Act rather than moving to Medicare for All, the government-backed health care program supported by Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.  

“I don't understand why you believe the only way to deliver affordable coverage to everybody is to obliterate private plans, kicking 150 million Americans off of their insurance in four short years,” Buttigieg said.  

A moment later, Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar made a similar point, arguing that extending Obamacare was “what we should be doing instead of kicking 149 million people off their insurance in four years.”   

FACTS FIRST: The figures cited by both Buttigieg and Klobuchar are close to the latest number provided by one study. Some 153 million people are covered by private plans sponsored by their employers, according to the latest Kaiser Family Foundation report. There are also tens of millions more who are covered by private plans through Medicare Advantage, Medicaid managed care plans and on the Obamacare individual market. 

All these people would have to change their health care under Medicare for All — but they would be covered by the federal plan instead. 

9:54 p.m. ET, October 15, 2019

Castro: Trump is "caging kids on the border" and "letting ISIS prisoners run free"

Maddie McGarvey for CNN
Maddie McGarvey for CNN

Former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro said while President Trump "caging kids on the border," he is "effectively letting ISIS prisoners run free" in Syria.

"He has made a tremendous mistake, a total disaster in Syria," Castro said.

Castro said, as president, he would work with allies to stop the military aggression. He said also supports stronger sanctions than those announced by the Trump administration.

Trump on Monday sought to project a harder line on Turkey as the country pushes further into northern Syria. Trump said he was applying harsh new sanctions on certain Turkish officials, and in a phone call with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Trump "could not have been more firm" in expressing his displeasure at the incursion, according to Vice President Mike Pence, who updated reporters at the White House on Monday evening.

More context: In defending his decision to remove US troops from northern Syria, Trump echoed talking points from Turkish officials, suggesting that Kurdish forces might be purposely allowing ISIS detainees to escape camps and prisons.

US officials have told CNN there are no indications that the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces have intentionally released any of the 10,000-plus ISIS prisoners they guard. Due to the attack by Turkish forces on the SDF in northern Syrian, the Kurdish-led militia has had to remove troops guarding prisons and camps holding ISIS fighters and those displaced by the fight against ISIS.

Turkish warplanes and artillery have also repeatedly struck several detention camps, allowing the escape of several ISIS prisoners and 785 people connected to ISIS fighters, according to Kurdish authorities. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan suggested the reports were "disinformation," designed to "provoke the US and Europe."

US officials believe the SDF— who have lost 11,000 troops in the fight against ISIS — is unlikely to intentionally release any ISIS prisoners given the direct threat the terrorist group poses to Kurdish-held areas.

Watch here:

9:44 p.m. ET, October 15, 2019

Buttigieg to Gabbard on Syria: "That is dead wrong"

From CNN's Dan Merica

The two veterans on the debate stage sparred on Tuesday night over America’s role in Syria, with South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg accusing Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of being “dead wrong.”

The high-profile confrontation on foreign policy highlights a stark divide between Gabbard, who has pegged violence in Syria to America’s presence in the Middle East, and other candidates on the stage who blame President Donald Trump for removing soldiers from Syria for the recent spate of violence.

“We’ve got to understand the reality of the situation there, which is that the slaughter of the Kurds being done by Turkey is yet another negative consequence of the regime change war we’ve been waging in Syria,” said Gabbard, who served in the Iraq War. “Donald Trump has the blood of the Kurds on his hand, but so do many of the politicians in our country from both parties who have supported this ongoing regime change war in Syria that started in 2011.”

Buttigieg took issue with that answer.

“Respectfully, Congresswoman, I think that is dead wrong,” he said. “The slaughter going on in Syria is not a consequence of American presence, it a consequence of a withdrawal and a betrayal by this President of American allies and American values.”

Buttigieg, who served in Afghanistan, said that he did not think “we should have gone to Iraq in the first place” and that the United States needs to “get out of Afghanistan, but it’s also the case that a small number of specialized, special operations forces and intelligence capabilities were the only thing that stood between that part of Syria and what we’re seeing now, which is the beginning of a genocide and the resurgence of ISIS.”

9:41 p.m. ET, October 15, 2019

Why Andrew Yang is wearing a pin that says "MATH"

Maddie McGarvey for CNN
Maddie McGarvey for CNN

Businessman Andrew Yang has forgone the typical American flag pin of many politicians. Instead, he's wearing a pin that says "MATH."

It's actually his campaign slogan: "Make America Think Harder."

Yang, who has an economics degree from Brown University, has joked about his love for math a lot.

On the campaign trail, he often tells audiences that the biggest change in the White House after Trump would be an “Asian guy who likes math.”

9:53 p.m. ET, October 15, 2019

Biden predicts there will be no NATO if Trump is re-elected

From CNN's Eric Bradner

Former Vice President Joe Biden says if President Donald Trump is re-elected in 2020, it would result in the end of NATO and ISIS attacks on Americans.

“We have an erratic, crazy president who knows not a damn thing about foreign policy and operates out of fear for his own re-election,” he said.

Biden pointed to Trump’s criticism of NATO and cozier relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“If he is re-elected, I promise you, there will be no NATO. … We’ll be in real trouble,” he said of Trump.

He also defended the United States’ intervention in Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq in combatting ISIS.“

They are going to in fact damage the United States of America. That’s why we got involved in the first place, and not ceded the whole area to Assad and to the Russians,” he said.

9:25 p.m. ET, October 15, 2019

Booker warns against Democrats attacking each other: "It will be a disaster for us in 2020"

From CNN's Eric Bradner

Gabriella Demczuk for CNN
Gabriella Demczuk for CNN

New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker warned Democrats against “tearing each other down because we have a different plan.”

“I have seen this script before. It didn’t work in 2016 and it will be a disaster for us in 2020,” he said.

He said Democrats should be “defining ourselves by what we're against, but we need to win this election by talking about who and what we are for.”

Booker’s comment came as Democrats discussed taxes on the wealthy. Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren -- who has been attacked repeatedly by a number of her rivals over her proposals -- has advocated a 2% tax on the very wealthiest Americans.

“I have a different plan than Elizabeth Warren and than many people on this stage and it involves, again, fair taxes for the richest,” he said. “We have a lot of work to do there -- but we've had 20 years of presidential debates and we have never talked about the violence in America of child poverty. We have got to begin to talk more eloquently and persuasively and urgently about doing things to make sure not just fair taxes are paid by those on the top but that we deal with the obscenity of having the highest level of child poverty in the world.”

9:20 p.m. ET, October 15, 2019

Fact check: Biden claims he never discussed Ukraine dealings with son. But his son indicated otherwise.

From CNN's Tara Subramaniam

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

Asked about his son’s international business dealings, former Vice President Joe Biden said, “I never discussed a single thing with my son about anything having to do with Ukraine. No one has indicated I have.”  

Facts first: Joe Biden's son, Hunter Biden, has indicated otherwise. In both an interview on ABC that aired today and a New Yorker article from July, he said that he had spoken briefly with his father about his involvement with Ukrainian company Burisma Holdings.  

According to the New Yorker, "As Hunter recalled, his father discussed Burisma with him just once: “Dad said, ‘I hope you know what you are doing,’ and I said, ‘I do.'" However, the New Yorker article did not make clear whether Hunter Biden said there were any more details as part of the father-son exchange.

In the ABC interview, Hunter Biden initially minimized the exchange saying “it wasn’t a discussion in any way,” before acknowledging the New Yorker’s characterization was accurate.   

9:42 p.m. ET, October 15, 2019

Gabbard: "Trump has the blood of the Kurds on his hand"

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

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, an Iraq War veteran, has said that US troops should leave Syria — but said she doesn't agree with how President Trump is now withdrawing troops.

She was just asked what she would have done differently. Here's how she answered:

"The slaughter of the Kurds being done by Turkey is yet another negative consequence of the regime-change war that we've been waging in Syria. Donald Trump has the blood of the Kurds on his hand — but so do many of the politicians in our country from both parties who have supported this ongoing regime-change war in Syria that started in 2011, along with many in the mainstream media, who have been championing and cheerleading this regime-change war. "
Watch here:
9:28 p.m. ET, October 15, 2019

Klobuchar, under threat of not making November debate, goes on the attack

From CNN's Dan Merica

Gabriella Demczuk for CNN
Gabriella Demczuk for CNN

Sen. Amy Klobuchar learned from her first three debates.

After delivering three muted debate performances in the last four months, Klobuchar used two of her first three questions to directly take on Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, the candidate who has surged most in the Democratic primary.

There is a reason for this urgency: Klobuchar, after qualifying for the first four debates, is on the verge of not qualifying for the fifth Democratic debate in November. While Klobuchar has the required number of donors, she has yet to reach the polling threshold, something that her team believes she can boost with a well-reviewed debate.

“I want to give a reality check to Elizabeth because no one on this stage wants to protect billionaires,” Klobuchar said after Warren accused people on stage of wanting to protect billionaires. “Not even the billionaire wants to protect billionaires,” she added, referring to businessman Tom Steyer.

“We just have different approaches,” Klobuchar added. “Your idea is not the only idea. And when I look at this, I think about Donald Trump.”

Warren responded: “I understand that this is hard, but I think as Democrats, we are going to succeed when we dream big and fight hard, not when we dream small and quit before we get started.”

That did not go over well with Klobuchar.

“I think simply because you have different ideas doesn’t mean you’re fighting for regular people,” she replied. “I wouldn’t even be up on this stage if it wasn’t for unions and the dignity of work.”

This wasn’t the first time Klobuchar went after Warren. Earlier during the debate the Minnesota senator accused her of not being “honest” about how she will pay for her health care plan, which she also called a “pipe dream.”

Watch here: