CNN Democratic Debate
March 15, 2020

During Sunday's CNN debate, former Vice President Joe Biden said that should he become the Democratic presidential nominee, he will select a woman as his running mate.

"There are a number of women who are qualified to be president tomorrow," he said. "I would pick a woman to be my vice president." A Biden Cabinet would "look like the country," he declared, and if given the opportunity to fill a vacancy on the Supreme Court, he will appoint a black woman. "It's long overdue," Biden said.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) said his administration will also "look like America. Last I heard, over half of the people in America are women. That will be the representation in my Cabinet, in my administration." There must be equal pay for women, he continued, as well as "universal, affordable, high-quality child care."

When asked to respond to Biden's commitment to choose a woman to be his running mate, Sanders said he would "in all likelihood" also pick a woman to be his vice president. "For me, it's not just nominating a woman," he said. "It is making sure that we have a progressive woman, and there are progressive women out there, so my very strong tendency is to move in that direction." Catherine Garcia

March 15, 2020

Former Vice President Joe Biden and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders went toe-to-toe at the CNN Democratic debate on Sunday over Biden's record on Social Security. The debate marked the first time the two frontrunners were alone on stage together, and allowed for them to directly attack each other in back-to-back exchanges. "Bernie, you're running ads saying I'm against Social Security, that Politifact says is a flat lie," Biden began.

"Oh, well, let me ask you a question, Joe," Sanders fired back. "You're right here with me. Have you been on the floor of the Senate — you were in the Senate for a few years — time and time again talking about the necessity, with pride, about cutting social security, cutting Medicare, cutting veterans programs?"

"No," Biden answered.

"You never said that?" Sanders continued to push Biden, urging him to "just tell the truth here. We all make mistakes … I want you to just be straight with the American people. I am saying you have been on the floor of the Senate time and time again talking about the need to cut social security, Medicare, and veterans benefits. Is that true or not true?"

"No, it's not true," Biden maintained.

Sanders appeared to be referring in particular to a speech Biden gave in 1995, when he said: "When I argued if we should freeze federal spending, I meant social security as well, I meant Medicare and Medicaid, I meant veterans benefits, I meant every single solitary thing." Politifact has contextualized that attack, noting that "in the 1980s and 1990s, [Biden] supported a one-year freeze in benefits" and "in the 2000s, he opposed benefit cuts, protected Social Security from automatic budget cuts, and supported a change that would reduce benefits by about 4.5 percent over 40 years." Watch the entire exchange below. Jeva Lange

March 15, 2020

Former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) are both taking all the necessary precautions to protect themselves during the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

During Sunday night's CNN debate, the Democratic presidential candidates both stressed that they are limiting their time around others and no longer shaking hands. Sanders, 78, said his entire staff is working from home and he is "very careful about the people I am interacting with." Sanders, who had a heart attack last year, is also "using a lot of soap and hand sanitizers to make sure I do not get the infection, and I have to say, thank God right now I do not have any symptoms, and I feel very grateful for that."

Biden, 77, said he "fortunately" doesn't have any underlying conditions to worry about, and like Sanders, has asked his staff to work from home. In addition to using hand sanitizer, Biden said he washes his hands "God know how many times a day with hot water and soap," and makes sure not to touch his face. "I'm taking all the precautions everyone else should be taking," he added.

True to their word, Biden and Sanders did not shake hands at the beginning of the debate, instead opting to do an elbow bump. Catherine Garcia

March 15, 2020

When asked what he would do to save American lives from the novel coronavirus, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders had an immediate answer for the CNN debate moderators on Sunday night: "The first thing we've got to do, whether or not I'm president, is shut this president up right now."

Sanders further alleged that "Trump is undermining the doctors and scientists who are trying to help the American people. It is unacceptable for him to be blabbering un-factual information, which is confusing the public."

The Trump administration has been widely slammed over its handling of the coronavirus outbreak, with the president downplaying the crisis. Trump's address in the Rose Garden on Friday was described as "the worst speech of his political career" by The Week's Matthew Walther, and The New York Times' fact-check found that he was misleading about everything from a website Google is setting up to help handle the outbreak to unfounded criticism against the Obama administration over their handling of swine flu in 2009.

Sanders also had additional ideas for how to slow the coronavirus outbreak, which you can listen to below. Jeva Lange

October 13, 2015

Hillary Clinton does not believe that mandated maternity leave would mean fewer jobs, and said it's time for the United States to join other countries around the world who provide it.

When asked by CNN's Dana Bash if she is proposing another government program at the "expense of taxpayer money," Clinton responded: "When people say that, it's always the Republicans or their sympathizers who say you can't have paid leave, you can't provide health care. They don't mind having big government to interfere with a woman's right to choose and to try to take down Planned Parenthood. They're fine with big government when it comes to that. I'm sick of it."

An animated Clinton continued: "We should not be paralyzed by the Republicans and their constant refrain 'big government this, big government that,' except for what they want to impose on the American people. I know we can afford it because we're going to make the wealthy pay for it." Catherine Garcia

October 13, 2015

In Thursday's Democratic presidential debate, CNN's Anderson Cooper asked the five contenders to name one thing they would do differently than President Obama, that would make them something other than "Obama's third term."

Lincoln Chafee: "We've got to stop these wars. We've got to have a new dynamic, a new paradigm."
Martin O'Malley: He would reinstate the Glass-Stegall banking law.
Hillary Clinton: "Well I think that’s pretty obvious. I think being the first woman president would be quite a change from the presidents we’ve had up until this point." She also named a few other issues where she would go beyond Obama, including education and immigration.

Bernie Sanders: He would push for a "political revolution" in the U.S. against giant corporations and lobbyists.
Jim Webb: Webb started out criticizing Sanders for proposing "revolution," prompting a clarification from Sanders that he's essentially proposing greater voting and engagement that allows the American people to know what's really going on in Washington and change it with their indignation. Peter Weber

October 13, 2015

As expected, Hillary Clinton was asked during the CNN Democratic debate about her use of a private email server while secretary of state, but it was Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) who had the best response to Anderson Cooper's question.

Clinton said that she answered all of the questions asked of her by the official committee, which she called an "arm of the Republican National Committee. It is a partisan vehicle, as admitted by House Republican Majority Leader Mr. McCarthy to drive down my poll numbers. Big surprise, that's what they have attempted to do. I am still standing, I am happy to be part of this debate, and I intend to keep talking about the issues that matter to the American people."

Before Cooper could move on, Sanders jumped in: "Let me say something that may not be great politics, but I think the secretary is right, and that is the American people are sick and tired of hearing about your damn emails." Sanders said he goes around the United States and knows what people really want to talk about: "The middle class in this country is collapsing, we have 27 million people living in poverty, we have massive wealth and income inequality, our trade policies have cost us millions of decent jobs, the American people want to know if we're going to have a democracy or oligarchy as a result of Citizen's United. Enough of the emails, let's talk about the real issues facing America."

The room erupted in cheers, and Clinton shook hands with Sanders. Cooper gave Lincoln Chafee the opportunity to say he believes there is an issue of "American credibility" with the world, and "we need someone who has the best in ethical standards as our next president." When asked if she'd like to respond, Clinton gave a quick one word answer: "No." Catherine Garcia

October 13, 2015

The other four Democrats on stage with Hillary Clinton during Tuesday's presidential debate all agreed on one thing: Clinton's vote to authorize the invasion of Iraq in 2003 was a huge blunder. "Well, I recall being on a debate stage about 25 times with then-Sen. Obama, debating this very issue," Clinton responded. "After the election, he asked me to become secretary of state. He valued my judgment." Watch below. Peter Weber

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