Sen. Michael Bennet CNN town hall

11:13 p.m. ET, May 30, 2019

4 key takeaways from Michael Bennet's town hall

Democratic presidential candidate Michael Bennet took questions from voters tonight at a CNN town hall in Atlanta, Georgia.

We're wrapping up our live coverage, but you can scroll through the posts below to see how it unfolded.

In case you missed it, here are the key things we learned:

  • On impeachment: Bennet said that although he believes President Trump committed impeachable offenses, he thinks Congress should do its job and investigate him.
  • On Trump's tariffs: Bennet criticized Trump's plan for a 5% tariff on imports from Mexico. He said Trump has imposed tariffs that hurt American farmers at “the last moment they need them.”
  • On abortion rights: Bennet said if he’s elected president in 2020, he would defend abortion rights by only appointing federal judges who would “uphold the precedent of Roe v. Wade, to begin with.”
  • On universal health care: Bennet said he supports a “public option” that would allow people to buy into Medicare. He said his plan is “Medicare for All — if you want it. But if you want to keep the insurance you have, then you could do that as well.”
11:12 p.m. ET, May 30, 2019

This is how Michael Bennet plans on beating Trump

Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet said his plan to defeat President Donald Trump requires a broad coalition intent on changing Washington.

“I think if we have to build a big coalition of Americans -- Democrats, Republicans and independents -- to overcome the broken politics of Washington, DC. It will never fix itself. It will only become more bitter and more partisan if we as a country don’t come together and say, we demand something better,” the Democratic 2020 presidential contender said Thursday in a CNN town hall.

“I think if we do that, we can not only beat Donald Trump -- we can fix our broken politics in Washington, and we can leave our kids in this country an honorable future that we can be proud of,” he said.

11:00 p.m. ET, May 30, 2019

These are the world leaders Bennet says he would call first

Audience member Deb Dahlmann, who runs a packaging consulting business, said she is concerned about the country's standing in the world.

So she asked Sen. Michael Bennet which three leaders he'd call first if he is elected president.

He said he would first call Europe's leaders, then Israel's prime minister, then the leaders of South American countries.

Here's his full response:

"I would call our allies in Europe and say that we are open for business once again because we know how important this alliance is to freedom and the world and to all of us since World War II. It's not a Republican or Democratic president hasn't made a call like that. I would make a call like that. 
I would call the prime minister of Israel and remind them that our relationship is strong and that even when we are critical of one another we have a particularly important relationship for the reasons that Dana and I were talking about earlier. 
And then I would call the heads of Mexico and Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala and I would invite them to Washington or I would go there and say we need to help you solve the problems in your countries so that we can end the kind of refugee crisis that's led to the American government in the name of the American people separating children from their families at the border of the United States of America. That should never happen again and never can happen again. Those are the calls I would make."
10:41 p.m. ET, May 30, 2019

Bennet says "everybody in America" needs to work together to combat climate change

Sen. Michael Bennet wants to invest a trillion dollars in public money in a bid to solve climate change.

"This isn't going to be driven from Washington, D.C.," he said, explaining his stance. "Everybody in America needs to take a role solving it because everyone of our kids and grandkids are going to be affected by it if we don't."

He promptly corrected himself: "Not going to be affected by it. They are being affected by it today."

Bennet rolled out his presidential campaign's climate change plan last week, announcing a proposal to significantly increase the protection of public lands.

Here's what's in the plan:

  • Bennet's five-principle plan: The plan, if enacted, would commit the federal government to conserving 30% of America's land and oceans, creating a vehicle for consumers to purchase 100% clean, net-zero emissions electricity from their power company and launching a so-called "2030 Climate Challenge" that would spur states to compete for federal infrastructure.
  • A climate bank proposal: The priciest portion of the plan would be Bennet's climate bank proposal, which would spend $1 trillion in federal money on infrastructure to combat climate change that, Bennet hopes, would spur $10 trillion in private investment.
  • What Bennet said: Bennet said he believes that the plan, if implemented fully, will "build and sustain" 10 million jobs over 10 years.
10:39 p.m. ET, May 30, 2019

Bennet points to his own cancer diagnosis while advocating for universal health care

Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet connected his recent diagnosis and surgery for prostate cancer to his calls for “universal health care” during a CNN town hall Thursday night.

“I feel awfully lucky that I had health insurance. It did cost $92,000, and if my family hadn’t been insured, it would have been a disaster for us -- and it would have been a real disaster for most American families,” the Democratic 2020 presidential contender said.

“I think about not only that, but what it would mean if you were an American citizen and you didn’t have a primary care doctor who could give you a screening that let you know I had cancer," he said, adding that he had no symptoms.

Bennet said he supports a “public option” that would allow people to buy into Medicare. But he sharply criticized Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders’ “Medicare for All” proposal that would eliminate the role of private insurers.

Bennet said his plan is “Medicare for All — if you want it. But if you want to keep the insurance you have, then you could do that as well.”

“Now, Bernie is proposing, if you like your insurance, we’re going to take it away from you,” he said. Bennet said Sanders is “wrong to propose it. I think what we should do is give American people a choice.”

10:26 p.m. ET, May 30, 2019

Here's where Bennet stands on gun reform legislation

Democratic presidential hopeful Michael Bennet outlined his position on gun reform legislation at tonight's town hall.

He said students shouldn't be "scared to go to school because of what happens every several months it seems in the United States of America."

Bennet then laid out what he wants to do to stop gun violence.

His plan includes:

  • Pass background checks
  • Close the gun show and internet loophole
  • Ban assault weapons

10:27 p.m. ET, May 30, 2019

Bennet says he'd only appoint judges who would uphold Roe v. Wade

Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet said if he’s elected president in 2020, he would defend abortion rights by only appointing federal judges who would “uphold the precedent of Roe v. Wade, to begin with.”

He praised a proposal by a Democratic rival, California Sen. Kamala Harris, to require states that have attempted to restrict abortion rights and lost court battles to obtain the Department of Justice’s pre-approval before implementing new restrictions.

“Women’s reproductive rights are under assault all over the United States. Women’s health care is under assault all over the United States,” he said.

Bennet also said he supports Disney, Netflix and WarnerMedia boycotting the production of movies in Georgia if the state’s new abortion law takes effect.

“I think it’s important, it’s helpful and it’s necessary. Look, this is a moment when our democracy is under siege in so many different ways. … This isn’t about just politicians. This is about all of America rising up and saying, we’re going in a different direction.”