Democratic debate in Nevada

By Fernando Alfonso III and Veronica Rocha, CNN

Updated 12:35 AM ET, Thu February 20, 2020
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10:04 p.m. ET, February 19, 2020

Klobuchar to Buttigieg over Mexican president mistake: Are you saying I'm dumb?

From CNN's Dan Merica

Mario Tama/Getty Images
Mario Tama/Getty Images

Amy Klobuchar and Pete Buttigieg sparred over the Minnesota senator forgetting the name of the president of Mexico on Wednesday night, with the senator eventually asking the former mayor directly if he was “saying I’m dumb.”

Klobuchar and Tom Steyer both couldn't name the president of Mexico when asked during a Telemundo interview while campaigning in Nevada this week. Klobuchar, when asked if she knew the president’s name, simply said no.

The senator looked to explain her misstep by saying that she didn’t think “momentary forgetfulness actually reflects what I know about Mexico and how much I care about it.”

“I said I made an error,” Klobuchar said. “I think having a president that maybe is humble and is able to admit that here and there maybe wouldn't be a bad thing.”

Buttigieg has tried to use the misstep against Klobuchar, suggesting it shows her Washington experience has not prepared her to be President. And he did the same on Wednesday night.

“You are staking your candidacy on your Washington experience,” Buttigieg said. “You're on the committee that oversees border security. You're on the committee that does trade. You're literally in the part of the committee that's overseeing these things.”

Klobuchar took the question and looked to turn it on Buttigieg: “Are you trying to say I’m dumb? Are you mocking me here, Pete? I said I made an error. People sometimes forget names.”

The argument further descended into an argument over electability, with Klobuchar arguing her ability to win in Minnesota proves she can win nationally.

"This is a race for president," Buttigieg fired back, before arguing that if being a senator from Minnesota was a prerequisite, he would have "grown up under the presidency of Walter Mondale."

Klobuchar interned for Mondale when she was in college.

10:16 p.m. ET, February 19, 2020

Warren slams Bloomberg: Democrats won't beat Trump "with a man who has who knows how many nondisclosure agreements"

Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images
Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images

Sen. Elizabeth Warren slammed former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg over allegations of sexist and misogynistic behavior.

"I'm sorry, the question is, are the women bound by being muzzled by you? You could release them from that immediately. Because understand, this is not just a question of the mayor's character," she said.

"This is also a question about electability. We are not going to beat Donald Trump with a man who has who knows how many nondisclosure agreements and the drip, drip, drip of stories of women saying they have been harassed and discriminated against. That's not what we do as Democrats," Warren continued.

Former Vice President Joe Biden interjected and said the solution is simple.

"It's easy. All the mayor has to do is say, you are released from the nondisclosure agreement. Period. Talk about transparency here," he said.

What's this about: The allegations include claims from the 1990s that, prior to a male colleague's wedding, Bloomberg told a group of female employees to "line up to give him a blow job as a wedding present"; that he would regularly direct comments like "look at that nice piece of ass" at women in the office; and that upon learning that a female employee was expecting a baby, he responded: "Kill it!"

10:04 p.m. ET, February 19, 2020

Warren defends Klobuchar against attacks over not remembering the name of Mexico's president

John Locher/AP
John Locher/AP

Sen. Elizabeth Warren came to the defense of Sen. Amy Klobuchar tonight after questions were raised over her grasp of Mexican politics after the senator from Minnesota had forgotten the name of the country's president last week.

Former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg piled on, asking how Klobuchar was not "able to speak to literally the first thing about the politics of the country to our south?"

Warren came to Klobuchar's defense, calling the criticism "not right."

"Can I just defend Senator Klobuchar? This is not right. I understand she forgot a name. It happens to everybody on the stage. Look, you want to ask about whether or not you understand trade policy with Mexico? Have at it. If you get it wrong, you ought to be held accountable. You want to ask about autonomy, you ought to be held accountable. You want to ask about a thousand different issues and you get it wrong, you ought to be held accountable. Let's be clear. Missing a name all by itself does not indicate that you do not understand what is going on," Warren said.

9:59 p.m. ET, February 19, 2020

Who has talked the most so far

We're tracking speaking times during tonight's debate. As of the first commercial break, Sen. Bernie Sanders has spoken the most at just over nine minutes.

Follow along in real time here.

10:02 p.m. ET, February 19, 2020

Buttigieg says Sanders should accept "some responsibility" for online attacks by Sanders supporters 

From CNN's Kate Sullivan

Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images
Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images

Pete Buttigieg told Bernie Sanders he should accept “some responsibility” for online attacks made by supporters of the senator. 

“I think you have to accept some responsibility and ask yourself what it is about your campaign in particular that seems to be motivating this behavior more than others,” Buttigieg said. 

Last week, a spokesperson for the Culinary Union said the union had been “viciously attacked” by supporters of the senator after it distributed a flier criticizing Sanders' "Medicare for All" plan. 

Sanders said he has more than 10 million followers on Twitter, and said, “If there are a few people who make ugly remarks, who attack trade union leaders, I disown those people, they are not part of our movement.”

Buttigieg turned to Sanders and said he believed that the senator disowns the attacks and didn’t personally direct them. 

“But at a certain point,” Buttigieg continued, “you've got to ask yourself: Why did this pattern arise? Why is it especially the case among your supporters?

“I don't think it is especially the case, by the way,” Sander said. He said women on his campaign have experienced “the most ugly sexist, racist attacks.”

Sanders cited Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, and said “I’m not saying that's happening. But it would not shock me.” 

“I saw some of those tweets regarding the Culinary Workers Union. I have a 30-year, 100% pro-union voting record. Do you think I would support or anybody supports me would be attacking union leaders? It's not thinkable,” Sanders said. 

Buttigieg said, “Leadership is about what you draw out of people, it's about how you inspire people to act. Right now we're in this toxic political environment.”

9:54 p.m. ET, February 19, 2020

Sanders defends heart health disclosures, pokes at Bloomberg

From CNN's Gregory Krieg

Mario Tama/Getty Images
Mario Tama/Getty Images

Bernie Sanders argued again on Wednesday night that he has been sufficiently transparent about his health in the aftermath of his October heart attack.

"We released the full report about the heart attack," Sanders said, citing a letter from the attending physician on Capitol Hill. "All of my history, medical history, and furthermore, we released reports from two leading Vermont cardiologists who described my situation and, by the way, who said 'Bernie Sanders is more than able to deal with the stress and vigor of being President of the United States.'"

Before ticking off what he has released, Sanders jokingly thanked Las Vegas for the care he received in the city after falling ill. He also turned to Michael Bloomberg and reminded the former mayor that they both, now, have "two stents" in their hearts.   

“The one area that maybe Mayor Bloomberg and I share is, you have two stents as well,” Sanders said as Bloomberg gripped his podium, unamused.

“Twenty-five years ago,” Bloomberg shot back.

But Bloomberg has not, like Sanders, suffered a documented heart attack. Earlier in the day, a spokeswoman for Sanders had to walk back a suggestion that he had, saying she "misspoke" during an appearance on CNN.

Eventually, Pete Buttigieg entered the conversation. Asked if he thought Sanders had been transparent enough, he said "No."

9:48 p.m. ET, February 19, 2020

Bloomberg claims his taxes are too complicated and he "can't go to Turbo Tax"

John Locher/AP
John Locher/AP

When former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg was asked about releasing his tax records, he claimed that it would take "a long time" and that he "can't go to Turbo Tax."

"It just takes us a long time. Unfortunately or fortunately I make a lot of money and we do business all around the world and we are preparing it. The number of pages will probably be in the thousands of pages. I can't go to Turbo Tax. I put up my tax return every year for 12 years in city hall. We will put out this one," Bloomberg said.
9:58 p.m. ET, February 19, 2020

Klobuchar defends criminal justice record, calls for "any evidence" in controversial case to be reviewed

From CNN's Dan Merica

Amy Klobuchar defended her record as county attorney for Hennepin County at Wednesday’s debate and argued that “any evidence, if there is new evidence, even old evidence” should be reviewed in a controversial case that she oversaw years ago.

The case in question is that of Myon Burrell, a teenager who was sentenced to life for the killing of 11-year-old Tyesha Edwards but now, with the backing of new evidence, insists he is innocent. The case has garnered new attention as Klobuchar runs for President.

“It is very clear that any evidence, if there is new evidence, even old evidence, it should be reviewed by that office, the county attorney,” Klobuchar said.

She added: “I have made very clear for months now that like so many prosecutors, I think those cases in my time they were all going to the grand jury. It was thought that was the best way to handle them in many, many jurisdictions.”

The Burrell case caused a host of groups, including the Minneapolis NAACP, to call for Klobuchar to suspend her campaign.

Klobuchar said Wednesday that she has “the support of African-Americans in my community in every election… because I earned it.”

The highs and lows of Amy Klobuchar's political career:

9:32 p.m. ET, February 19, 2020

Warren hits three foes at once on health care

From CNN's Eric Bradner

Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images
Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images

Elizabeth Warren took on nearly the entire Democratic debate stage at once on health care, unloading a scathing attack on three of her Democratic rivals’ plans. 

The remarkable moment left nearly every other candidate asking for an opportunity to respond to Warren, who appeared to be aiming to reclaim the identity she’d cultivated in 2019 as the candidate with the most detailed plans. 

She called Pete Buttigieg’s proposal — which he calls “Medicare for all who want it” — as “a slogan that was thought up by his consultants to paper over thin version of a plan that would leave millions of people unable to afford their health care. It's not a plan, it's a Power Point.” 

She said Amy Klobuchar’s call for a public option is “like a Post-It note.” 

And she lambasted Bernie Sanders over his supporters’ strident approach to the issue. 

She praised Sanders’ plan, which she had long backed before rolling out her own version of “Medicare for All.” But she said “instead of expanding and bringing in more people to help, instead his campaign relentlessly attacks everyone who asks a question or tries to fill in details about how to actually make this work.”