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Democrats clash in first US presidential debate

Senator Warren speaks at the first U.S. 2020 presidential election Democratic candidates debate in Miami
Senator Warren speaks at the first U.S. 2020 presidential election Democratic candidates debate in Miami Copyright Reuters
Copyright Reuters
By Pascale Davies with Reuters
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Democratic presidential hopefuls clashed over healthcare and border controls in the first TV debate.


The battle to decide the Democratic candidate who will take on Donald Trump in the November 2020 presidential race has begun.

Ten Democrats went head to head in the first TV debate on Wednesday with discussions from health care to immigration.

The topic to take down the current US president took centre stage. Candidates attacked Trump's economic policies, which they said benefit the wealthy at the expense of working Americans, and called his border policies heartless.

“On January 20, 2021, we’ll say ‘Adios’ to Donald Trump,” said former Housing Secretary Julian Castro.

Donald Trump took to Twitter and gave his view on the debate in a single word.

More than 20 Democrat candidates are currently running to be the party's nominee. A second debate, with 10 other candidates, including favourites Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders, will go ahead on Thursday night.

US Senator Elizabeth Warren took centre stage. She said private insurance was taking advantage of Americans and said gun violence should be treated as a healthcare crisis. She is surging in popularity polls and supports a sponsored Medicare-for-All.

"What they are really telling you is they just won’t fight for it. Healthcare is a basic right, and I will fight for it,” she said.

US Senator Cory Booker, US Senator Elizabeth Warren and former US Rep. Beto O'RourkeReuters

However, the former US Representative John Delaney, who is a critic of Medicare-for-All said Democrats should not throw away a system that some Americans are happy with.

“I think we should be the party that keeps what’s working and fixes what’s broken,” Delaney said

Candidates also turned their fire on each other. Much of the fire was aimed at former US representative Beto O’Rourke, who in turn targetted Julian Castro on border policy and New York Mayor Bill de Blasio on healthcare.

Read more: Hard-hitting highlights from the first night of the Democratic debate

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