The Democratic presidential primary debates began Wednesday with 10 candidates going head-to-head in Miami as the 2020 presidential election season got underway.
Wednesday’s debate, the first of a two-night event, featured 10 candidates. They are:
- Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey
- Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts
- Former Rep. Beto O'Rourke of Texas
- Former Rep. John Delaney of Maryland
- Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii
- Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota
- Former Housing Secretary Julián Castro
- New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio
- Gov. Jay Inslee of Washington
- Rep. Tim Ryan of Ohio
See you Thursday
11:15 p.m. ET June 26, 2019: The second part of the debate takes place Thursday in Miami -- same place, same time (9 p.m. ET).
Read the transcript
11:05 p.m. ET June 26, 2019: If you want to read a transcript of tonight’s debate, check it out at The Washington Post.
10:49 p.m. ET June 26, 2019: Closing statements have begun.
O'Rourke on President Trump: “We must begin impeachment now.”— Jamie Dupree (@jamiedupree) June 27, 2019
Delaney: “This is not the number one issue” that voters ask about.
10:47 p.m. ET June 26, 2019: Ryan is explaining why it is important to stay engaged in the war against the Taliban. Gabbard says we are not going to beat the Taliban and need to get out of the Middle East before more people are killed.
“What’s the greatest geo-political threat to the United States,” Chuck Todd asks? The answers are China, climate change, nuclear weapons and “Donald Trump.”
Our greatest existential threat is climate change.— Beto O'Rourke (@BetoORourke) June 27, 2019
LGBTQ and people of color
10:35 p.m. ET June 26, 2019: Gabbard is asked about her apology to the LGBTQ community. She said she grew up in a conservative home and her view have changed over the years.
Klobuchar is asked about what she has done for people of color. She points to a career she says has been about “economic opportunity.”
The problem seems to be Mitch
10:20 p.m. ET June 26, 2019: What to do about Sen. Mitch McConnell, the debaters are asked? Win the Senate, some of the debaters say.
Warren is asked if she has a plan to deal with McConnell. She says, “I do.”
The audience give her a cheer.
De Blasio brings up his son who is black, and says he has had to talk to him about dealing with the justice system in America.
Gun control discussion continues
10:15 p.m. ET June 26, 2019: Ryan says school kids are traumatized in school and that most school shootings are committed by kids who students at that school. Mental health care for kids is needed.
O’Rourke said he talked to kids who have survived shootings, and that they have the ability to sway the gun control debate.
Gun control issues
10:08 p.m. ET June 26, 2019: Sound problem is fixed and Warren is asked about school shootings and gun violence.
Warren says the hardest part of campaign is tough questions from kids about guns. Gun issues are a national health emergency, Warren says. She says universal background checks are important.
Booker is questioned about his “buy back” program. He tells the story of hearing gun shots in his neighborhood.
NBC had to break unexpectedly, because the microphones were still on of the first debate moderators. Sort of a "Naked Gun" type of incident— Jamie Dupree (@jamiedupree) June 27, 2019
Cut the mic
10:03 p.m. ET June 26, 2019: The microphones from the moderators of the first hour of the debate were not turned off and the audience – there and at home – are hearing them chat.
10 p.m. ET June 26, 2019: Klobuchar is asked if she agrees with a statement from Castro that it shouldn’t be a crime to cross the border. She said she’d look at his proposal, but seemed not to think it was the way to go.
Ryan says he agrees with Castro’s plan.
Booker is asked what he’d do as president on day one. He suggests investing in Latin American countries to alleviate the problems driving people here.
Inslee says on day one he would release everyone being held for coming into the country illegally.
9:51 p.m. ET June 26, 2019: Castro is asked how he would you address the immigration crisis? He mentioned the photo that went viral earlier Wednesday of a father and daughter who drowned while trying to come into the United States. He said the photo should “Piss us off”. He says the U.S. needs a Marshall Plan for Central American countries.
De Blasio again talks over someone who is speaking and says that immigrants are not taking jobs from American citizens.
9:49 p.m. ET June 26, 2019: President Trump has tweeted his opinion of the debate:
BORING!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 27, 2019
Healthcare talk continues
9:39 p.m. ET June 26, 2019: Booker continues the healthcare debate, saying he is for Medicare for all, but seems to suggest he would keep private insurance. At least for a time.
Warren says insurance cheats the average person. “It’s time for us to make families come first.”
Inslee says he thinks private companies should be prohibited from denying reproductive healthcare.
Klobuchar reminds everyone that the three women on stage fought hard for a women’s right to choose.
Health is the topic
9:30 p.m. June 26, 2019: Klobuchar addresses Trump plan to lower pharmaceutical prices. “That’s what we call at home “All foam and no beer.” She’s not seeing it.
Warren says is for Medicare for all. “Healthcare is a basic human right,” she said.
O’Rourke says he supports healthcare for all. His plan would allow people to keep their private plans, though.
De Blasio shouts out private insurance doesn’t work.
9:25 p.m. ET June 26, 2019: The questions and answers are going fast. Here is what has happened:
Ryan is asked about jobs and says he is not seeing what Trump promised with jobs. Ryan said family members who have had to “unbolt a machine from a factory floor” and ship it out of the country.
Castro is asked about equal pay for men and women. He would work to pass the Equal Rights Amendment, he says.
Gabbard is asked about the economy but about her military experience instead. She did say she would spend tax dollars on helping working class families.
de Blasio says the party has to be strong and bold and progressive. “There’s plenty of money in this country, it’s just in the wrong hands.”
Delaney says he would double the earned income tax credit. “I’m very different from everybody else here on stage,” Delaney said.
23 minutes in and we have our first candidate vs. candidate confrontation. DeBlasio goes after Beto's stance on keeping private insurance saying it is failing millions of Americans— Dorey Scheimer (@DoreyScheimer) June 27, 2019
Booker says the economy isn’t working for all
9:13 p.m. ET June 26, 2019: Booker says this economy “is not working for black and brown communities,” but won’t single out corporations he says are too big.
O’Rourke answers, in part, in Spanish
9:10 p.m. ET June 26, 2019: O’Rourke is asked about taxing corporations. He answers first in English, then in Spanish. But he doesn’t answer the question. He has another shot at it, but still doesn’t really answer if he would tax corporations at 70 percent.
Klobuchar on college
9:08 p.m. ET June 26, 2019: Klobuchar says she doesn’t support subsidizing college for kids from wealthy families. She also says Donald Trump “just sits in the White House and gloats” over college debt.
Warren goes first
9:03 p.m. ET June 26, 2019: Warren gets the first question. “What do you say to those who think significant change can be dangerous.” She says the economy is not doing great for someone who is trying to get a prescription filled. “It’s corruption” Warren says, when the rich are doing better, but the middle class is not.
A historic moment
8:59 p.m. ET June 26, 2019: When the debate begins tonight, it will be the first time in U.S. history that more than one woman candidate will be on the presidential debate stage.
Moderators are getting ready
8:57 p.m. ET June 26, 2019: Lester Holt, Chuck Todd, Savannah Guthrie, Rachel Maddow and José Diaz-Balart will moderate the debates from the Adrienne Arsht Center in Miami.
8:54 p.m. ET June 26, 2019: The candidates have come out for a group photo.
8:48 p.m. ET June 26, 2019: The Associated Press will be fact-checking statements made at the debate.
From inside the press center / spin room here in Miami, it's been pretty quiet so far. The DNC chair just had a scrum, but other than that, it's been oddly calm for a debate day pic.twitter.com/LdTxXXBDK4— Jamie Dupree (@jamiedupree) June 26, 2019
The structure of the debate
8:40 p.m. ET June 26, 2019: The two-hour debate will be made up of five segments separated by four commercial breaks.
8:33 p.m. ET June 26, 2019: The rules for the debate were announced last week. There will be no opening statements tonight, but candidates will be allowed a closing statement. Candidates will have 60 seconds to answer questions and 30 seconds to respond to follow-ups.
Who would have made it had the bar been higher?
8:20 p.m. June 26, 2019: From Mary Astor of the New York Times:
Fun fact: If the polling threshold for the first #DemDebate had been a single percentage point higher — that is, if candidates had to reach 2 percent instead of 1 percent in three qualifying polls — only nine candidates would have qualified.— Maggie Astor (@MaggieAstor) June 26, 2019
The nine candidates who would have made it: Biden, Booker, Buttigieg, Castro, Harris, Klobuchar, O'Rourke, Sanders and Warren.
Warren is ready
8:06 p.m. ET June 26, 2019: Tweeted from Warren minutes ago:
What questions are asked
8 p.m. ET June 26, 2019: From Time’s Up, this tweet about what questions are asked during debates:
New #TIMESUP2020 report: For two full decades, primary debate moderators have failed to ask America’s presidential candidates about issues that deeply impact women. https://t.co/9fARWlvaO9 #DemDebate pic.twitter.com/RUpXO896OP— TIME'S UP (@TIMESUPNOW) June 25, 2019
Warren is top polling candidate tonight
7:40 p.m. ET June 26, 2019: Warren is the only candidate who is polling in double digits of those debating tonight. The lowest polling candidate tonight is Ryan at 0.6 percent support. Warren is at 12.6 percent support in the Real Clear Politics average of polls.
Booker says “love” – Bingo!
7:15 p.m. ET June 26, 2019: As you get ready to watch tonight’s debate, you may be looking for ways to make what can be dry, a little more fun. Check out The New York Times Democratic Debate Bingo card here. Hear the phase and mark off your box!
Two hours away now
7 p.m. ET June 26, 2019: The debate starts in about two hours.
Candidates visit detention center
6:55 p.m. ET June 26, 2019: Elizabeth Warren and Amy Klobuchar visited a center in Homestead, Florida, prior to Wednesday’s debate. The center, near Miami, houses undocumented migrant children. Many other Democratic candidates have said they intend to visit the for-profit detention center that holds around 2,300 children from the ages of 13 to 17.
Live updates begin
6:50 p.m. ET June 26, 2019: Welcome to live updates of the first primary debate of the 2020 presidential election.