Democratic debate in Los Angeles

By Veronica Rocha and Fernando Alfonso III, CNN

Updated 11:58 PM ET, Thu December 19, 2019
17 Posts
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8:35 p.m. ET, December 19, 2019

Yang: "We have to stop being obsessed over impeachment"

From CNN's Dan Merica

Andrew Yang suggested tonight that Democrats are too focused on the impeachment of President Donald Trump, and that it is at the party’s peril.

“We have to stop being obsessed over impeachment, which unfortunately strikes many Americans like a ball game where you know what the score is going to be, and start actually digging in and solving the problems that got Donald Trump elected in the first place,” Yang said, just a day after House Democrats impeached the President.

The businessman argued that the more Democrats “act like Donald Trump is the cause of all our problems, the more Americans lose trust that we can actually see what’s going on in our communities and solve those problems.”

This stance puts Yang at odds with some of his opponents, some of whom have said they not only support impeachment, but – in the case of US senators – suggested they would vote in favor of removing the President from office.

Watch here:

8:38 p.m. ET, December 19, 2019

Buttigieg on poverty: "People are not getting paid enough"

From CNN's Dan Merica

Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images
Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images

Pete Buttigieg responded to question about the economy by arguing “this economy is not working for most of us” because “people are not getting paid enough.”

“I know you’re supposed to say middle class and not poor in politics, but we have to talk about poverty in this country,” the South Bend, Indiana, mayor said. “The biggest problem in our economy is simple. People are not getting paid enough. That is not the result of some mysterious cosmic force. It’s the result of bad policy.”

President Donald Trump has been citing the economy – particularly the rising stock market – as a reason for him to win four more years in office. But Democrats, like Buttigieg, see the stock market as a poor indicator of a strong economy.

Buttigieg is not the first presidential candidate to argue Democrats need to focus on poverty. Former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro, who did not qualify for the December debate, has been focusing on the issue in recent months.

Watch here:

8:41 p.m. ET, December 19, 2019

Biden rails against the wealthy: "The middle class is getting killed"

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Former Vice President Joe Biden decried tax cuts to the wealthy, and said he wants to invest in services crucial to helping the middle class, like education.

"The middle class is getting killed. The middle class is getting crushed. The working class no way up as a consequence of that," Biden said.

Biden added: "We have to eliminate a significant number of these god awful tax cuts that were given to the wealthy. We have to invest in education. We have to invest in healthcare. We have to invest in those things that make a difference in the lives of middle class people so they can maintain their standard of living."

Watch here:

8:29 p.m. ET, December 19, 2019

Sanders and Klobuchar split on new trade agreement

From CNN's Eric Bradner

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar split on the new US-Mexico-Canada trade agreement, with Sanders saying he’ll vote against it and Klobuchar saying she’ll support it.

At Thursday's debate, Sanders called the deal, negotiated to replace former President Bill Clinton’s North American Free Trade Agreement, “a modest improvement over what we have right now,” but said it won’t stop companies from outsourcing their manufacturing.

“I will not be voting for this agreement, although it makes some modest improvements,” he said.

Klobuchar, meanwhile, pointed to another populist Democrat -- Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown, once seen as a presidential contender -- saying he backs the new deal and she will, too.

“We have a change with this agreement,” she said. Klobuchar also touted alterations negotiated by Democrats, saying the pact now brings “better labor standards, better environmental standards, and a better deal.”

8:23 p.m. ET, December 19, 2019

Warren frames argument against Biden and Buttigieg from the start

From CNN's Dan Merica

Maddie McGarvey for CNN
Maddie McGarvey for CNN

Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren used the first question during the debate -- about impeachment – to frame her argument against former Vice President Joe Biden and South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg by questioning the willingness of some candidates to take on the powerful and wealthy.

“We need a candidate for president who can draw the sharpest distinction between the corruption of the Trump administration and a Democrat who is willing to get out and fight not for the wealthy and well-connected, but to fight for everyone else,” Warren said. “That’s why I’m in this race.”

Warren is sticking with an argument she has made coming into the debate: Because Biden and Buttigieg raise money from top Democratic donors, they are not willing to take on monied interests.

8:22 p.m. ET, December 19, 2019

Elizabeth Warren calls impeachment a moment to "uphold our Constitution"

Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images
Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images

Sen. Elizabeth Warren called the impeachment of President Trump a moment for the Senate to "uphold our Constitution" in her answer to the first question tonight from moderators during tonight's Democratic debate in Los Angeles.

"I see this as a constitutional moment. Last night the President was impeached. And everyone now in the Senate has taken a constitutional oath to uphold our Constitution. And that doesn't mean loyalty to an individual. It doesn't mean loyalty to a political party. It means loyalty to our country," Warren said.

Watch here:

8:21 p.m. ET, December 19, 2019

Sanders: Trump is "a pathological liar"

PBS NewsHour/POLITICO
PBS NewsHour/POLITICO

Sen. Bernie Sanders called President Trump a "pathological liar" a day after the President was impeached by the House.

"We have a President who is a pathological liar," Sanders said. "We have President who is running the most corrupt administration in the modern history of this country. And we have a President who is a fraud because during his campaign he told working people one thing and he ended up doing something else."

Sanders will likely need to be in Washington if the Senate convenes a trial to decide whether to convict Trump and remove him from office.

Watch here:

8:43 p.m. ET, December 19, 2019

Joe Biden calls the impeachment of President Trump a "constitutional necessity"

The first question tonight in the Democratic debate was on the impeachment of President Trump and was directed at former Vice President Joe Biden who called it a "constitutional necessity."

"It was a constitutional necessity for the House to act as it did," Biden said in his opening remarks. "Is it any wonder that if you look at the international polling that's been done, that the Chinese leader is rated above the American president, or that Vladimir Putin congratulated him, saying stand fast and that in fact it was a mistake to impeach him. We need to restore the integrity of the presidency, of the office of the presidency."

Watch here:

8:02 p.m. ET, December 19, 2019

NOW: The debate has started

PBS NewsHour/POLITICO
PBS NewsHour/POLITICO

The sixth Democratic primary debate has just started in Los Angeles.

Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, Andrew Yang, Joe Biden, Pete Buttigieg, Tom Steyer and Amy Klobuchar have taken the debate stage at Loyola Marymount University.