The debate isn’t even over but for Pete Buttigieg it is. When George Stephanopoulos led with a question about healthcare, it quickly revealed a party divided.
According to Deadline: ABC News’s George Stephanopoulos’s first question of the Democratic debate very quickly exposed some of the divisions among top tier candidates Joseph Biden, Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders — and then led to tiffs with others in the field.
The acrimony got so great that some candidates warned that it only would hurt the Democrats, as voters tuned in to see bitter divisions.
The issue was where the candidates stand on healthcare, as Biden proposes a plan designed to expand coverage and offer a public option, and Warren and Sanders favor a much larger Medicare for All. Stephanopoulos asked Biden whether his more progressive rivals were going “too far” in their plans.
“I know the senator says she’s for Bernie. Well, I’m for Barack,” he said. He criticized Warren, saying that she has not said how she would pay for her plan. Sanders, he said, has done that, but his plan only gets “halfway there.”
Warren and Sanders defended their approaches, and said that the country needed a bolder approach that wrestles away the influence from insurance companies.
“I have never actually met anybody who likes their health insurance company. What they want is access to healthcare,” she said.
Sanders noted that healthcare companies, i.e. insurance and pharmaceutical firms, would be advertising during the ABC commercial breaks.
“Maybe you have run into people who love their premiums. I haven’t,” he said.
Julian Castro tangled with Biden over some of the specifics of his plan and how it will cover Americans.
“They do not have to buy in,” Biden said.
“You just said two minutes ago that they would have to buy in…Are you forgetting what you said two minutes ago?” Castro asked.
Some in the audience gasped and booed at Castro’s dig at Biden’s age.
They didn’t end their tiff there.
“I’m fulfilling the legacy of Barack Obama, and you’re not,” Castro said.
“That’ll be a surprise to him,” Biden snapped back.
Said Pete Buttigieg: “This is why presidential debates are becoming unwatchable.”
To bring about a better future, we have to know what we’re about. This election is not about anyone running for office, it’s about making things better for the people who trust us with their lives. Together, we will win a better era for our country. #DemDebate pic.twitter.com/tii4Waj5MY
— Pete Buttigieg (@PeteButtigieg) September 13, 2019
Buttigieg the went after Betsy DeVos. When discussing education, Buttigieg took a shot at Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, though not by name.
“Step 1,” he said, “is appoint a secretary of education who actually believes in public education.”
She’s been criticized for her commitment to charter schools at the expense, some say, of public schools.
Buttigieg also said teachers should be paid more.
“Respect teachers the way we do soldiers and pay them like we do doctors,” he said.
"In the same way that a dollar saved compounds, so does a dollar stolen."
That's a great, clear line on racial inequality from Buttigieg.
— Ezra Klein (@ezraklein) September 13, 2019
When asked about Afghanistan, Buttigieg reiterated a long-held campaign stance that it’s time to put an end to endless wars. He said it’s possible that someday soon an American who wasn’t born by Sept. 11, 2001 may have to go to war there, a point he often makes on the trail.
He pointed to his stance on starting such wars: a proposal that Congress have to vote to send troops to war and the missions have a 3-year sunset. He said congressmen and congresswomen should have to muster the “courage” to vote since troops must have the courage to fight.
Mayor Pete Buttigieg described his experience with coming out as gay. His personal answer to a debate question showed how much the national conversation around same-sex marriage has shifted in just the past decade. https://t.co/L8ETfctmeK
— The New York Times (@nytimes) September 13, 2019