A record 12 Democratic 2020 candidates took to the debate stage in Ohio Tuesday night and immediately united in calling for Donald Trump – the man they all have been planning to run against – to be impeached with Joe Biden calling him ‘the most corrupt president in all our history.’
WHO’S ON STAGE
From left to right
Meeting for the first time since House Speaker Nancy Pelosi proclaimed a formal impeachment inquiry, the candidates blasted Trump’s push to have Ukraine investigate the Bidens, and accused him of self-dealing and ‘selling out’ the American people.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who has jumped in the polls, fielded the first question at the fourth Democratic debate. An early caller for Trump’s impeachment, she said: ‘This president has obstructed justice and had done it repeatedly,’ Warren said.
‘Impeachment is the way that we establish that this man will not be permitted to break the law over and over without consequences,’ Warren continued.
Sanders, on stage for the first time since his heart attack, called Trump: ‘The most corrupt president in the history of this country.’
Biden, whose son Hunter’s business in Ukraine featured in Trump’s push for a probe by the Ukrainian government, called Trump ‘the most corrupt president in modern history and I think all of our history.’
The dozen candidates met in Ohio for the first time since 10 front-runners met in Houston last month. It was the largest Democratic debate in recent memory. Others split candidates into separate pools.
The intervening period featured a dramatic move among House Democrats toward opening an impeachment inquiry of President Trump, after a whistle-blower alleged the president abused his office by pressuring the Ukrainian government to investigate the Bidens.
Tuesday’s Presidential Debate: (From left to right) Tulsi Gabbard, Tom Steyer, Cory Booker, Kamala Harris, Bernie Sanders, Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren, Pette Buttigieg, Andrew Yang, Beto O’Rourke, Amy Klobuchar, and Julián Castro took to the debate stage Tuesday night in Westerville, Ohio
Tuesday’s debate started with the candidates putting on a united front in tearing into Donald Trump and backing impeachment
Senator Kamala Harris, Senator Bernie Sanders and former Vice President Joe Biden smiled as they took the stage Tuesday night
Tuesday’s debate was moderated by The New York Times national editor Marc Lacey (left), moderator and CNN anchor Anderson Cooper (center) and moderator and CNN anchor Erin Burnett (right)
Former Vice President Joe Biden listened as Senator Elizabeth Warren slammed President Donald Trump during the fourth Democratic primary debate on Tuesday
Senator Bernie Sanders will be put to the test during Tuesday’s debate, just a few weeks after his heart attack
Vice President Joe Biden was grilled about corruption allegations made by Trump against his son Hunter Biden. He said: ‘My son did nothing wrong. I did nothing wrong’
Biden delivered yet another defense of his son, on a day when Hunter Biden told ABC he would forego foreign work if his father wins the presidency, acknowledged some responsibility for the appearance of favoritism, and admitted he got jobs due to his father’s name.
‘My son did nothing wrong. I did nothing wrong,’ Joe Biden said when pressed on the issue – while seeking to steer clear of details.
‘My son’s statement speaks for itself what I think is important is we focus on why it’s so important to remove this man from office,’ Biden said. ‘Rudy Giuliani, the president and his thugs, have already proven that they are in fact flat lying,’ Biden intoned, referencing Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani, who pushed Ukraine to probe the Bidens.
‘He doesn’t’ want me to be the candidate. He knows that if I get the nomination I will beat him like a drum,’ said Biden, who Trump did focus attacks on as the poll leader throughout the summer while officials were deliberating on how to push Ukraine.
His comments came after Biden adviser Anita Dunn told DailyMail.com of Hunter’s performance in an interview designed to move past the issue: ‘He answered all the questions.’
Tuesday will be a big night for Senator Elizabeth Warren who as recently emerged as a frontrunner in the Democratic race – surpassing Biden in several polls this month
Tuesday’s debate began with talks back and forth of Medicare for all and Trump’s impeachment inquiry
Billionaire Tom Steyer made his debut on the debate stage Tuesday night where he slammed Donald Trump as the ‘criminal of the White House’
South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg took to the stage and said he is the Democratic nominee can be the ‘president that can turn the page’
Sen. Kamala Harris of California, a former prosecutor, said Trump ‘has committed crimes in plain sight.’ She said Trump had been ‘selling out the American people.’
‘On this issue with Ukraine he’s been selling out democracy,’ Harris said, standing by her statement that she has seen enough evidence to vote to impeach.
‘I know a confession when I see it,’ she said.
New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker said he feels as much ‘outrage’ as fellow Democrats. But he cautioned: ‘This has got to be about patriotism and not partisanship.’
Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota delivered an impassioned attack on Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
‘He’s digging up dirt on an opponent. That’s illegal conduct,’ said Klobuchar, also a former prosecutor. ‘I’m still waiting to find out from him how making that call to the head of Ukraine and trying to get him involved in interfering in our election makes America great again.’
‘I would like to hear from him how coddling up to Vladimir Putin makes America great again. It doesn’t make America great again, it makes Russia great again,’ she said, playing off Trump’s campaign slogan.
Sanders walked into the venue alongside Biden and others, smiling as he took the podium for the first time and clapping for fellow Democrats.
He is still among the three poll leaders, although support for Sanders has dipped in recent polls following his heart attack, while Warren has equaled Biden in some recent national polls.
Bernie Sanders faces standing at a podium for three hours after his recent heart attack but some of his rivals for the Democratic nomination for the White House have problems of their own ahead of Tuesday’s debate in Westerville, Ohio.
Democrats are holding their most crowded debate night in modern history on Tuesday where a dozen candidates will take stage.
Former vice president Joe Biden is facing persistent allegations of wrongdoing overseas that could undermine his argument that he is best positioned to defeat Donald Trump while Elizabeth Warren is fending off new scrutiny of her biography.
Warren suddenly emerged as the frontrunner candidate in recent weeks, taking over the No. 1 position that was consistently held by Biden until this month.
Biden’s son, Hunter also broke his silence while appearing on ABC News Tuesday morning, bringing more attention to the growing scandal surrounding his father. He agreed to an interview where no questions were off-limits.
Sanders is recovering from a heart attack that raised questions about his ability to withstand the vigor of a presidential campaign.
While 12 Democratic presidential candidates will meet on Tuesday, there are three leading candidates, Biden, Sanders and Warren, who face the most intense spotlight that could expose glaring liabilities in their quest for the White House.
Bernie Sanders will face scrutiny following his heart attack on whether he can withstand the grueling schedule a president holds
Joe Biden – who consistently polled as the No. 1 candidate until this month – is expected to take heat for a scandal involving him and his son’s foreign business dealings in Ukraine and China
The debate marks the first time the candidates will meet since the Democratic-controlled House moved forward with an impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump, stemming from a controversy involving his conversation with his Ukrainian counterpart.
While they are united on that issue, the debate will again expose a political party struggling to coalesce around a unifying message or messenger with the first primary contest just over three months away.
The event, hosted by CNN and The New York Times, will be held in Ohio, at the private liberal arts college Otterbein University.
Ohio is a so-called swing state that has long helped decide presidential elections but has drifted away from Democrats in recent years.
The White House hopefuls will represent the political and personal diversity that has come to define the Democratic Party of 2019: four women, four people of color, an openly gay man and an age range that spans four decades.
With such a crowded stage, candidates will not be provided any time for opening or closing statements and will have one minute and 15 seconds to answer questions and 45 seconds to respond to other candidates or present a rebuttal.
Sanders, an independent Vermont senator, will be under pressure to prove he has the physical and mental stamina to stand on a podium for three hours less than two weeks after suffering a heart attack.
Age was already a concern for the 78-year-old before he was taken to a Nevada hospital on October 1 and had two stents put in to clear a clogged artery in his heart.
Sanders and his allies insist the health scare has only strengthened his commitment to the 2020 contest and his case for his signature health care plan, Medicare For All.
Elizabeth Warren is also facing controversy over her claims that she was forced from her teaching job because of a pregnancy nearly a half century ago, but critics have now pointed out past speeches and documents suggest she left on her own
His first time speaking to the press after his heart attack, Sanders said he was more ‘fatigued’ lately and should have listened to his body. A day later he walked back on the comment, claiming he ‘misspoke’ and that he would continue a ‘vigorous’ campaign and rally schedule.
Sanders plans to note, as he has in recent days, that millions of Americans without health insurance could have been forced into bankruptcy, or worse, under the same circumstances.
‘Bernie is a political marathon runner,’ said Sanders’ confidante RoseAnn DeMoro, the former executive director of National Nurses United. ‘I think the debate is going to be a great reassurance to the public.’
The stakes are also high for Warren, a fellow progressive candidate, who stands on the debate stage for the first time as a front-runner, a status that makes her a top target of rivals in both political parties.
Biden, 76, and others have jabbed her intense focus on detailed liberal policies that may be difficult to implement with a divided Congress.
South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg has highlighted the absence of a specific Warren health care plan; she has embraced Sanders’ single-payer plan instead.
Republicans, meanwhile, have raised questions about whether Warren, 70, was actually forced from her teaching job because of a pregnancy nearly a half century ago – a claim that has become a core part of her personal message she shares with supporters at rallies.
Critics have pointed to past speeches and documents that suggest she left on her own. But Warren is standing by her story.
In a July 25 call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelesnky, Donald Trump urged the European nation to probe the former vice president’s son and his business dealings there. The president insists Biden is engaged in ‘corruption’ in Ukraine and China
The issue is particularly threatening because it is not the first time she has been accused of embellishing her biography.
Warren, a Massachusetts senator, was already forced to apologized for claiming Native American heritage decades ago after a DNA test revealed she was likely only 1/1024 American Indian.
While it showed distant tribal ancestry, it also sparked a rebuke of Warren from some Native Americans for attributing tribal membership to genetics.
‘The good news is that most attempts to attack Warren actually make her stronger,’ said Adam Green, a Warren supporter and co-founder of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee.
‘Questioning whether she got fired for being pregnant ended up increasing her breadth and intensity of support, particularly among women,’ he said.
Biden is no stranger to the pressure of front-runner status.
But he enters his fourth debate under the weight of intensifying questions from Trump about his family’s work overseas.
Trump has repeatedly said that Biden’s 49-year-old son, Hunter, improperly profited from work in Ukraine and China while the elder Biden was vice president. He also insists that Biden used his office to protect his son from allegations of wrongdoing in those countries.
Biden will almost certainly be asked by the debate moderators to defend himself.
In Hunter’s interview on ABC in the hours ahead of the debate, he admitted he used ‘poor judgement,’ but insisted that he did nothing wrong.
‘In retrospect, look, I think that it was poor judgment on my part. Is that I think that it was poor judgment because I don’t believe now, when I look back on it – I know that there was – did nothing wrong at all,’ he told ABC News in an interview that aired Tuesday morning on Good Morning America.
‘However, was it poor judgment to be in the middle of something that is…a swamp in- in – in many ways? Yeah.’
‘I gave a hook to some very unethical people to act in illegal ways to try to do some harm to my father. That’s where I made the mistake,’ he noted.
Joe Biden addressed the situation over the weekend, promising to bar family members from occupying any office within the White House if elected. But he has yet to address Trump’s allegations facing a national debate audience.
Hunter also released a statement over the weekend saying he was resigning from his board position at a Chinese-backed equity firm and claiming he would not get involved in any foreign business if his father were to become president.
How Biden fares during the first debate since the revelations of his son’s business dealings could determine whether he maintains his place atop the crowded field.
Many other candidates, meanwhile, are fighting for their very political survival.
Tulsi Gabbard (left) said she was considering boycotting the fourth Democrat debates to expose the DNC and media’s bias against lower-tier candidates and ‘arbitrary’ requirements to qualify. She said Monday she would be attending after all, and Amy Klobuchar (right) – whose attendence was never in question – responded, ‘Same’
The debate will also feature Buttigieg, California Senator Kamala Harris, New York entrepreneur Andrew Yang, former Texas Representative Beto O’Rourke, Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar, New Jersey Senator Cory Booker, former Obama housing chief Julian Castro, billionaire activist Tom Steyer and Hawaii Representative Tulsi Gabbard.
This is the first Democratic debate of four that Booker’s girlfriend, actress Rosario Dawson, will appear. There is a seat reserved for her in the second row of the gymnasium of the Rike Center, which is being used as the debate hall on Otterbein’s campus.
She was noticeably missing from the first three debates in June, July and September. The New York Post first reported in January that the two were an item and they made their first joint appearance in June when Booker was interviewed by renowned Drag Queen RuPaul.
Even though Gabbard qualified for the fourth Democrat debates, she said earlier this month that she was considering boycotting the event to expose the Democratic National Committee and media’s efforts to ‘rig the 2020 primary’ against lower tier candidates and political outsiders by setting ‘arbitrary’ requirements to qualify for the debates.
‘I am seriously considering boycotting October 15 debate to bring attention to DNC/corporate media’s effort to rig the 2020 primary,’ she tweeted earlier this month.
In an accompanying video, Gabbard said there were none-transparent requirements to qualify for the debates and argued Democratic Party leaders ‘are trying to hijack the entire election process.’
‘In order to bring attention to this serious threat to our democracy, and ensure your voice is heard, I am giving serious consideration to boycotting the next debate on October 15th,’ she added.
This debate will also be the first attended by Cory Booker’s girlfriend Rosario Dawson (right). The two have been dating since December, but the actress did not attend any of the other three debates
Democratic presidential candidate South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg has starkly disagreed with a Medicare for All plan because he argues that format would prevent Americans from having a choice in their healthcare coverage
Gabbard tweeted Monday – a day before the debate – that she would be attending.
Fellow candidate Amy Klobuchar responded supposedly in jest, ‘Same.’
With the Iowa caucuses scheduled for February 3, time is quickly running out for the lower-tier candidates to make a move.
Based on current polling, several would not qualify for the next round of debates.
The risks offer a compelling reason for the struggling White House hopefuls to be more aggressive.
Buttigieg has squabbled with O’Rourke recently over guns, and he signaled over the weekend that he planned to make a sharper distinction between himself and Warren.
Health care emerged as a key contrast among candidates in recent debates and it likely will again, at least according to the 37-year-old mayor, whose plan would give people a choice of whether to join a government-backed health care system or their private insurer.
Speaking to a labour union audience at a presidential candidate forum in Iowa, he warned that some of his competitors, without explicitly naming Warren, would give Americans no choice.
‘I’m not pushing Medicare For All whether you want it or not,’ Buttigieg said.
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