Full transcript: Ninth Democratic debate in Las VegasComments
The full transcript of the ninth Democratic primary debate, Wednesday, February 19, 2020, in Las Vegas. Transcript provided by ASC Services on behalf of BGOV.
HOLT: Good evening, everyone. I'm Lester Holt. Welcome to Las Vegas.
Everything is on the line tonight, with just three days before the critical Nevada caucuses. Here with me on the stage tonight, NBC News political director and moderator of "Meet the Press," Chuck Todd. And NBC News chief White House correspondent and MSNBC anchor Hallie Jackson. Also joining us is Telemundo senior correspondent Vanessa Hauc. And editor of the Nevada Independent Jon Ralston, who has covered Nevada politics for more than three decades.
The rules are this tonight. Candidates will get a minute and 15 seconds to answer each question and 45 seconds for follow-ups. Now that the stage is narrowed to six candidates, we encourage each of you to directly engage with each other on the issues.
So let's get to our first question. Since the last time you all shared the stage, Senator Sanders, a self-described democratic socialist, has surged into the lead nationally in the Democratic race. And there's a new person on the stage tonight, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, a former Republican who spent millions of his own dollars to run in this race.
What hasn't changed: a majority of Democratic voters still say their top priority is beating President Trump. Senator Sanders, the first question to you. Mayor Bloomberg is pitching himself as a centrist who says he's best positioned to win in November. Why is your revolution a better bet?
SANDERS: In order to beat Donald Trump, we're going to need the largest voter turnout in the history of the United States. Mr. Bloomberg had policies in New York City of stop and frisk which went after African-American and Latino people in an outrageous way. That is not a way you're going to grow voter turnout.
What our movement is about is bringing working-class people together, black and white and Latino, Native American, Asian American, around an agenda that works for all of us and not just the billionaire class. And that agenda says that maybe, just maybe, we should join the rest of the industrialized world, guarantee health care to all people as a human right, raise that minimum wage to a living wage of $15 bucks an hour, and have the guts to take on the fossil fuel industry, because their short-term profits are not more important than the future of this planet and the need to combat climate change.
Those are some of the reasons we have the strongest campaign to defeat Donald Trump.
WARREN: So I'd like...
HOLT: Mayor Bloomberg, can Senator Sanders beat President Trump? And how do you want to respond to what else he said?
BLOOMBERG: I don't think there's any chance of the senator beating President Trump. You don't start out by saying I've got 160 million people I'm going to take away the insurance plan that they love. That's just not a way that you go and start building the coalition that the Sanders camp thinks that they can do. I don't think there's any chance whatsoever. And if he goes and is the candidate, we will have Donald Trump for another four years. And we can't stand that.
HOLT: Senator Warren?
WARREN: So I'd like to talk about who we're running against, a billionaire who calls women "fat broads" and "horse-faced lesbians." And, no, I'm not talking about Donald Trump. I'm talking about Mayor Bloomberg.
Democrats are not going to win if we have a nominee who has a history of hiding his tax returns, of harassing women, and of supporting racist polls like redlining and stop and frisk.
Look, I'll support whoever the Democratic nominee is. But understand this: Democrats take a huge risk if we just substitute one arrogant billionaire for another.
This country has worked for the rich for a long time and left everyone else in the dirt. It is time to have a president who will be on the side of working families and be willing to get out there and fight for them. That is why I am in this race, and that is how I will beat Donald Trump.
BUTTIGIEG: We've got to wake up...
HOLT: Senator Klobuchar -- Senator Klobuchar, what do you think the path is from this stage to the White House? What works?
KLOBUCHAR: I think the path is a high voter turnout. I'm the one on this stage that had the highest voter turnout of any state in the country when I led the ticket, as well as bringing in rural and suburban voters. And I've done that, as well. And I'm the only one with the receipts to have done that in Republican congressional districts over and over again.
But I want to say this: I actually welcomed Mayor Bloomberg to the stage. I thought that he shouldn't be hiding behind his TV ads, and so I was all ready for this big day. And then I looked at the memo from his campaign staff this morning, and it said that he actually thought that three of us should get out of the way. That is what his campaign said because we should "pave the way" for him to become the nominee.
You know, I have been told as a woman, as someone that maybe no one thought was still going to be standing up on this stage, but I am because of pure grit and because of the people out there, I've been told many times to wait my turn and to step aside. And I'm not going to do that now, and I'm not going to do that because a campaign memo from Mayor Bloomberg said this morning that the only way that we get a nominee is if we step aside for him.
I think we need something different than Donald Trump. I don't think you look at Donald Trump and say we need someone richer in the White House.
HOLT: Thank you. Mayor Bloomberg, there's a lot for you to respond to there, so here's your opportunity.
BLOOMBERG: I think we have two questions to face tonight. One is, who can beat Donald Trump? And, number two, who can do the job if they get into the White House? And I would argue that I am the candidate that can do exactly both of those things.
I'm a New Yorker. I know how to take on an arrogant conman like Donald Trump, that comes from New York. I'm a mayor or was a mayor. I know how to run a complicated city, the biggest, most diverse city in this country.
I'm a manager. I knew what to do after 9/11 and brought the city back stronger than ever. And I'm a philanthropist who didn't inherit his money but made his money. And I'm spending that money to get rid of Donald Trump, the worst president we have ever had. And if I can get that done, it will be a great contribution to America and to my kids.
HOLT: Vice President Biden, I'll let you weigh in here.
BIDEN: In terms of who can beat Donald Trump, NBC did a poll yesterday. It says Joe Biden is best equipped to beat Donald Trump.
That's what your poll said. And it said that I can beat him in those toss-up states, too, those states we have to win. I'm ahead by eight points across the board. So in terms of being able to beat Donald Trump, I'm better positioned, according to your poll, than anybody else to beat Donald Trump, number one.
Number two, the mayor makes an interesting point. The mayor says that he has a great record, that he's done these wonderful things. Well, the fact -- the fact of the matter is, he has not managed his city very, very well when he was there. He didn't get a whole lot done. He had stop and frisk, throwing close to 5 million young black men up against a wall. And when we came along in our administration, President Obama, and said we're going to send in a moderator to -- a mediator, stop it, he said that's unnecessary.
So I -- we're going to get a chance to talk about the mayor's record. But in terms of who is best prepared to beat Donald Trump, look at your poll and what it says.
HOLT: Mayor Buttigieg, you'd like to weigh in.
BUTTIGIEG: Yes, we've got to wake up as a party. We could wake up two weeks from today, the day after Super Tuesday, and the only candidates left standing will be Bernie Sanders and Mike Bloomberg, the two most polarizing figures on this stage.
And most Americans don't see where they fit if they've got to choose between a socialist who thinks that capitalism is the root of all evil and a billionaire who thinks that money ought to be the root of all power.
Let's put forward somebody who actually lives and works in a middle-class neighborhood, in an industrial Midwestern city. Let's put forward somebody who's actually a Democrat. Look...
We shouldn't have to choose between one candidate who wants to burn this party down and another candidate who wants to buy this party out. We can do better.
HOLT: Senator -- Senator Sanders, are you polarizing?
SANDERS: If speaking to the needs and the pain of a long-neglected working class is polarizing, I think you got the wrong word. What we are trying finally to do is to give a voice to people who after 45 years of work are not making a nickel more than they did 45 years ago. We are giving a voice to people who are saying we are sick and tired of billionaires like Mr. Bloomberg seeing huge expansions of their wealth while a half-a-million people sleep out on the street tonight.
And that's what we are saying, Pete, is maybe it's a time for the working class of this country to have a little bit of power in Washington, rather than your billionaire campaign contributors.
BUTTIGIEG: All right, look, first of all -- look, my campaign is fueled by hundreds of thousands of contributors.
SANDERS: Including 46 billionaires.
BUTTIGIEG: Among the hundreds of thousands of contributors. And, look, we've got to unite this country to deal with these issues. You're not the only one who cares about the working class. Most Americans believe we need to empower workers.
As a matter of fact, you're the one who is at war with the Culinary Union right here in Las Vegas. We can solve these issues...
SANDERS: We more union support than you have ever dreamed of. We have the support of unions all across this country.
BUTTIGIEG: Yeah, but the vision I'm putting forward has the support of the American people. We can actually deliver health care without taking it away from anyone. We can actually empower workers and lift wages without further polarizing this country. And we can build a movement without having legions of our supporters online and in person attacking Democratic figures and union leaders alike.
WARREN: I think it is important here...
JACKSON: Senator Warren, I have a question for you. On Sunday, on "Meet the Press," Vice President Biden accused Senator Sanders' supporters of bullying union leaders here with, quote, "vicious, malicious, misogynistic things." You said Democrats cannot build an inclusive party on a foundation of hate. Are Senator Sanders and his supporters making it harder for Democrats to unify in November?
WARREN: Look, I have said many times before, we are all responsible for our supporters. And we need to step up. That's what leadership is all about.
But the way we are going to lead this country and beat Donald Trump is going to be with a candidate who has rock-solid values and who actually gets something done. When Mayor Bloomberg was busy blaming African-Americans and Latinos for the housing crash of 2008, I was right here in Las Vegas, literally just a few blocks down the street, holding hearings on the banks that were taking away homes from millions of families.
That's when I met Mr. Estrada, one of your neighbors. He came in to testify, and he said he thought he'd done everything right with Wells Fargo, but what had happened? They took away his house in a matter of weeks. This man stood there and cried while he talked about what it was like to tell his two little daughters that they might not be in their elementary school, that they might be living out of their van.
I spent the next years making sure that would never happen again. Wall Street fought us every inch of the way on a consumer agency. They lost, and I won. We need a candidate with unshakable values and a candidate who can actually get something done for working people.
JACKSON: Thank you, Senator.
WARREN: That's why I'm in this race, and that's how I'll beat Donald Trump.
JACKSON: Senator Sanders?
SANDERS: We have over 10.6 million people on Twitter, and 99.9 percent of them are decent human beings, are working people, are people who believe in justice, compassion, and love. And if there are a few people who make ugly remarks, who attack trade union leaders, I disown those people. They are not part of our movement.
But let me also say what I hope my friends up here will agree with is that if you look at the wild west of the internet, talk to some of the African-American women on my campaign. Talk to Senator Nina Turner. Talk to others and find the vicious, racist, sexist attacks that are coming their way, as well.
So I would hope that all of us understand that we should do everything we possibly can to end the viciousness and ugliness on the internet. Our campaign is about issues. It's about fighting for the working families and the middle class. It is not about vicious attacks on other people.
JACKSON: Senator, thank you.
BUTTIGIEG: Senator, when you say that you disown these attacks and you didn't personally direct them, I believe you.
SANDERS: Well, thank you.
BUTTIGIEG: But at a -- but at a certain point, you got to ask yourself, why did this pattern arise? Why is it especially the case among your supporters that this happens?
SANDERS: I don't think it is especially the case, by the way.
BUTTIGIEG: That's just not true. Look, people know the way your supporters treat them.
SANDERS: Well, Pete, if you want to talk to some of the women on my campaign, what you will see is the most ugly, sexist, racist attacks that are -- I wouldn't even describe them here, they're so disgusting.
And let me say something else about this, not being too paranoid. All of us remember 2016, and what we remember is efforts by Russians and others to try to interfere in our election and divide us up. I'm not saying that's happening, but it would not shock me.
I saw some of those tweets regarding the Culinary Workers Union. I have a 30-year 100 percent pro-union voting record. Do you think I would support or anybody who supports me would be attacking union leaders? It's not thinkable.
BUTTIGIEG: But leadership is about what you draw out of people. It's what -- it's about how you inspire people to act.
And right now, we're in this toxic political environment. Leadership isn't just about policy. I think at least in broad terms, we're largely pulling in the same direction on policy, but leadership is also about how you motivate people to treat other people.
I think you have to accept some responsibility and ask yourself what it is about your campaign in particular that seems to be motivating this behavior more than others, because in order to turn the page on the Trump era, we're going to need a president, not just a candidate who can win, but a president who can move us forward.
KLOBUCHAR: I have an idea -- I have an idea of how we can stop sexism on the internet. We could nominate a woman for candidate for president of the United States.
I think that might go a long way if we showed our stuff as a party.
And the other thing I'm going to talk about is really what is at the core of this issue between Senator Sanders and the Culinary Union, and that is this. These are hard-working people, housekeepers like Elizabeth and I met with last night, who have health care plans that have been negotiated over time, sweat and blood. And that is the truth for so many Americans right now.
JACKSON: Senator, thank you.
KLOBUCHAR: There are 149 million Americans that would lose their current health insurance under Senator Sanders' bill. That's what it says on page 8.
JACKSON: Senator, thank you.
KLOBUCHAR: And I don't think we should forget that.
JACKSON: On that note, I want to turn it over to my colleague, Chuck Todd.
TODD: Senator Sanders, I'm going to stay on this topic, on this issue with the Culinary Union. Obviously, their leaders are warning their members about -- that your health care plan will take away their health care plan, take away private insurance completely. There are some Democrats who like you a lot but worry that this plan, Medicare for all, is going to take away private insurance and that it goes too far. Are they right?
SANDERS: No. Let me be very clear, two points. For a hundred years, from Teddy Roosevelt to Barack Obama, this country has been talking about the need to guarantee health care for all people. And yet today, despite spending twice as much per capita, Chuck, twice as much as any other major country on Earth, we got 87 million who are uninsured or underinsured, we got over 60,000 people who die every year because they don't get to a doctor on time.
We're getting ripped off outrageously by the greed and corruption of a pharmaceutical industry, which in some cases charges us 10 times more for the same drugs because of their price-fixing, 500,000 people go bankrupt every year because they can't afford medical bills.
So let me be very clear to my good friends in the Culinary Workers Union, a great union. I will never sign a bill that will reduce the health care benefits they have. We will only expand it for them, for every union in the America, and for the working class of this country.
TODD: Senator Warren, you were all in on Medicare for all, and then you have since came up with a transition plan. Is it because of the impact on unions?
WARREN: So I want to be clear. I've been to the Culinary Union's health care facilities. They're terrific. You don't want to shut them down. You want to expand them. You want to see them all across Nevada and all across this country.
But we need to get everybody's health care plan out here. Mayor Buttigieg really has a slogan that was thought up by his consultants to paper over a thin version of a plan that would leave millions of people unable to afford their health care. It's not a plan. It's a PowerPoint.
And Amy's plan is even less. It's like a Post-It note, "Insert Plan Here."
Bernie has started very much -- has a good start, but instead of expanding and bringing in more people to help, instead, his campaign relentlessly attacks everyone who asks a question or tries to fill in details about how to actually make this work. And then his own advisors say, yeah, probably won't happen anyway.
Look, health care is a crisis in this country. We need -- my approach to this is we need as much help for as many people as quickly as possible and bring in as many supporters as we can. And if we don't get it all the first time, take the win and come back into the fight to ask for more.
TODD: Guys, I'm going to get everybody in.
WARREN: People need our help on this.
TODD: I got you. Mayor Buttigieg, I think she name-checked you first. I'll let you go first.
SANDERS: She name-checked me second.
TODD: Yes, well, OK. I think Amy second.
BUTTIGIEG: I'm more of a Microsoft Word guy. And if you look at my plan, I don't know if there are any PowerPoints on it, but you can definitely find the document on peteforamerica.com. And you'll see that it is a plan that solves the problem, makes sure there is no such thing as an uninsured American, and does it without kicking anybody off the plan that they have.
This idea that the union members don't know what's good for them is the exact kind of condescension and arrogance that makes people skeptical of the policies we've been putting forward. Here we have a plan that the majority of Americans support. Do you realize how historic that is? That the American people are ready in a way far beyond what was true even 10 years ago and what was available to President Obama at the time. There's a powerful American majority ready to undertake the biggest, most progressive reform we've had in health care in 50 years, just so long as we don't force it on anybody. What is wrong with that?
WARREN: Could I respond to that?
TODD: Let me go Senator Klobuchar, and then I'll have you respond.
TODD: All right, Senator Klobuchar.
SANDERS: I was (inaudible) through there.
TODD: Well, I think the Post-It note came first, Senator. I don't know.
I do think the Post-It note came first.
KLOBUCHAR: I must say, I take personal offense since Post-It notes were invented in my state, so...
TODD: (inaudible) 3M.
KLOBUCHAR: OK. So my plan is a public option. And according to all the studies out there, it would reduce premiums for 12 million people immediately. It would expand coverage for about that same number. It is a significant thing. It is what Barack Obama wanted to do from the very beginning.
And the way I look at it, since we're in Vegas, when it comes to your plan, Elizabeth and Bernie's, on Medicare for all, you don't put your money on a number that's not even on the wheel. And why is Medicare for all not on the wheel? Why is it not on the wheel? Because two-thirds of the Democratic senators are not even on that bill, because a bunch of the new House members that got elected see the problems with blowing up the Affordable Care Act. They see it right in front of them.
And the truth is that when you see some troubled waters, you don't blow up a bridge, you build one. And so we need to improve the Affordable Care Act, not blow it up.
TODD: You name-checked three of them. Let me get Senator Sanders in there.
SANDERS: I'm also attacked here.
TODD: Go ahead, Senator Sanders.
SANDERS: We'll get you in. We got a lot of people in here.
SANDERS: Some -- it's my turn, yeah?
TODD: Yes, sir.
SANDERS: Somehow or another, Canada can provide universal health care to all their people at half the cost. U.K. can do it. France can do it. Germany can do it. All of Europe can do it. Gee-whiz, somehow or another, we are the only major country on Earth that can't do it. Why is that?
And I'll tell you why. It's because, last year, the health care industry made $100 billion in profits. Pharmaceutical industry, top six companies, $69 billion in profit. And those CEOs are contributing to Pete's campaign and other campaigns up here.
BUTTIGIEG: Let's clear this up right now.
SANDERS: So maybe it is finally time that we said as a nation, enough is enough, the function of a rational health care system is not to make the pharmaceutical industry and the drug companies rich. It is to provide health care to all people as a human right, not a privilege.
TODD: Mr. Vice President, you got it.
SANDERS: No premiums, no copayments, no deductibles.
TODD: Mr. Vice President, go ahead, and then Senator Warren.
Mr. Vice President and Senator Warren.
BIDEN: Hey, I'm the only one on this stage that actually got anything done on health care, OK?
I'm the guy the president turned to and said, go get the votes for Obamacare. And I notice what everybody's talking about is the plan that I first introduced. That is to go and add to Obamacare, provide a public option, a Medicare-like option. It cost -- and increase the subsidies. It cost a lot of money. It cost $750 billion over 10 years. But I paid for it by making sure that Mike and other people pay at the same tax rate their secretary pays at.
That's how we get it paid, number one. Number two, you know, from the moment -- from the moment we passed that signature legislation, Mike called it a disgrace, number one. Number two, Trump decided to get rid of it. And, number three, my friends here came up with another plan.
But they don't tell you, when you ask Bernie how much it costs, the last time he said that -- I think it was on your show -- he said we'll find out, we'll find out or something to that effect. It cost over $35 trillion bucks. Let's get real.
TODD: Senator Warren, you get the final word on this one and then we go to another question.
SANDERS: And your plan costs $50 trillion.
TODD: Go ahead, Senator Warren.
BLOOMBERG: What am I, chicken liver?
WARREN: So I actually took a look at the plans that are posted. Mayor Buttigieg, there are four expenses that families pay, right, premiums, deductibles, co-pays, and uncovered medical expenses. Mayor Buttigieg says he will put a cap only on the premiums.
BUTTIGIEG: It's not true.
WARREN: And that means families are going to pick up the rest of the costs. Amy, I looked online at your plan. It's two paragraphs. Families are suffering, and they need...
KLOBUCHAR: OK, that's it.
WARREN: You can't simply stand here and trash an idea to give health care coverage to everyone without having a realistic plan of your own. And if you're not going to own up to the fact either that you don't have a plan or that your plan is going to leave people without health care coverage, full coverage, then you need to say so.
WARREN: I just want to say on this one, I was in Reno when I met a man who said he had diabetes. He gets his insulin through the V.A. But his sister and his daughter also have diabetes, no way to pay for their insulin. Three human beings right here in Nevada who are struggling.
BIDEN: My plan takes care of that.
WARREN: They share one insulin prescription. That should not happen in America.
TODD: Mayor Bloomberg, is Vice President Biden right, you weren't a fan of Obamacare?
BLOOMBERG: I am a fan of Obamacare. At the beginning...
BIDEN: Since when, Mr. Mayor?
BLOOMBERG: Mr. Vice President, I just checked the record, because you'd said one time that I was not. In '09, I testified and gave a speech before the mayors' conference in Washington advocating it and trying to get all the mayors to sign on. And I think at that time I wrote an article praising Obamacare. It was either in the New York Post or the Daily News. So the facts are I was there.
BIDEN: Didn't you call it a disgrace, though, Mr. Mayor?
BLOOMBERG: Let me finish, thank you. I was in favor of it. I thought it didn't do -- go as far as we should. What Trump has done to this is a disgrace. The first thing we've got to do is get the White House and bring back those things that were left and then find a way to expand it, another public option, to having some rules about capping charges. All of those things. We shouldn't just walk away and start something that is totally new, untried.
TODD: OK, Vice President Biden, go ahead.
BIDEN: The mayor said, when we passed it, the signature piece of this administration, it's a disgrace. They're the exact words, it was a disgrace. Look it up, check it out. "It was a disgrace." And I covered, by the way, my plan, you do not have surprise billing, you bring down drug prices, people are not -- and give people all the things we were just talking about. I guess we've not got the time to do it, but I'll get a chance to talk about...
TODD: Thank you, sir. Lester?
HOLT: All right.
HOLT: Mayor Bloomberg, at the beginning of this debate, you took some incoming fire on this next topic, so let's get into it. In 2015, this is how you described your policing policy as mayor. Quote, "We put all the cops in the minority neighborhoods." And you explained that as, quote, "Because that's where all the crime is."
You went on to say, "And the way you should get the guns out of the kids' hands is to throw them against the wall and frisk them." You've apologized for that policy. But what does that kind of language say about how you view people of color or people in minority neighborhoods?
BLOOMBERG: Well, if I go back and look at my time in office, the one thing that I'm really worried about, embarrassed about, was how it turned out with stop and frisk.
When I got into office, there were 650 murders a year in New York City. And I thought that my first responsibility was to give people the right to live. That's the basic right of everything. And we started -- we adopted a policy, which had been in place, the policy that all big police departments use, of stop and frisk.
What happened, however, was it got out of control. And when we discovered -- I discovered that we were doing many, many, too many stop and frisks, we cut 95 percent of it out. And I've sat down with a bunch of African-American clergy and businesspeople to talk about this, to try to learn. I've talked to a number of kids who'd been stopped.
And I'm trying -- was trying to understand how we change our policy so we can keep the city safe, because the crime rate did go from 650, 50 percent down to 300. And we have to keep a lid on crime. But we cannot go out and stop people indiscriminately.
HOLT: All right, Mayor...
BLOOMBERG: And that was what was happening.
HOLT: Let me go to Vice President Biden on this. You want to respond to that, react to it?
BIDEN: Yes, let's get something straight. The reason that stop and frisk changed is because Barack Obama sent moderators to see what was going on. When we sent them there to say this practice has to stop, the mayor thought it was a terrible idea we send them there, a terrible idea.
Let's get the facts straight. Let's get the order straight. And it's not whether he apologized or not. It's the policy. The policy was abhorrent. And it was a fact of violation of every right people have.
And we are the one, my -- our administration sent -- sent in people to moderate. And at the very time, the mayor argued against that. This idea that he figured out it was a bad idea, he figured out it was a bad idea after we sent in monitors and said it must stop. Even then, he continued the policy.
HOLT: All right. Mayor, would you like to make a quick response to that?
BLOOMBERG: Yes, I would. I've sat, I've apologized, I've asked for forgiveness, but the bottom line is that we stopped too many people, but the policy -- we stopped too many people. And we've got to make sure that we do something about criminal justice in this country.
There is no great answer to a lot of these problems. And if we took off everybody that was wrong off this panel, everybody that was wrong on criminal justice at some time in their careers, there'd be nobody else up here.
HOLT: Senator Warren?
WARREN: So I...
SANDERS: Let's be clear -- I'm sorry, who did you call on?
HOLT: Senator Warren.
WARREN: I think this -- he called me. I do think that this really is about leadership and accountability. When the mayor says that he apologized, listen very closely to the apology. The language he used is about stop and frisk. It's about how it turned out.
No, this isn't about how it turned out. This is about what it was designed to do to begin with.
It targeted communities of color. It targeted black and brown men from the beginning. And if you want to issue a real apology, then the apology has to start with the intent of the plan as it was put together and the willful ignorance, day by day by day, of admitting what was happening even as people protested in your own street, shutting out the sounds of people telling you how your own policy was breaking their lives. You need a different apology here, Mr. Mayor.
HOLT: Senator, thank you. Chuck?
TODD: Let me get Senator Klobuchar. We're staying on this topic. We're going to stay on this topic, but I want to get something in here with Senator Klobuchar.
When you were the top prosecutor in Minneapolis, Senator, there were at least two dozen instances where police were involved in the deaths of civilians. None of those officers were prosecuted. You did prosecute a black teenager who was sentenced to life in prison, despite what are now serious doubts about the evidence.
Now, the Minneapolis chapter of the NAACP has recently called for you to suspend your campaign over that case because some new evidence has come out since. Big picture, why should black and Latino voters trust your judgment now if it appears you may have gotten it wrong then?
KLOBUCHAR: First, I'll start with that case. It is very clear that any evidence, if there is new evidence, even old evidence, it should be reviewed by that office and by the county attorney. That must happen. I have called for that review.
This was a case involving an 11-year-old African-American girl named Tyesha Edwards who was shot doing her homework at her kitchen table. Three people were convicted. One of the cases is the one that is being investigated, was investigated by a journalist. And I think it's very important that that evidence come forward.
In terms of the police shootings that you noted, those went to a grand jury, every single one of them. And I have made very clear for months now that, like so many prosecutors, I think those cases in my time, they were all going to the grand jury. It was thought that was the best way to handle them in many, many jurisdictions.
TODD: Do you think you should have spoke up? You didn't speak up at the time. Should you?
KLOBUCHAR: Did -- I actually did speak up on something very similar. And that was when our police chief in Minneapolis tried to take the investigations of police shootings into his own hands. And I strongly said I disagreed with that. Now I do believe also that a prosecutor should make those decisions herself.
And the last thing I will say, because you asked the question about voting, I have the support of African-Americans in my community in every election. I had strong support and strong support of leadership. And that's because I earned it.
And this is going to be on me to earn it. You earn it with the -- what you stand for when it comes to equal opportunity. You earn it with the work that I have done, the leadership I've shown on voting rights, and, yes, you earn it with the work that must be done on criminal justice reform.
TODD: OK, thank you, Senator. Hallie Jackson?
JACKSON: I want to talk about transparency here, because many Democrats, including most of you on stage, have criticized President Trump for his lack of transparency. But, Senator Sanders, when you were here in Las Vegas in October, you were hospitalized with a heart attack. Afterwards, you pledged to make, quote, "all your medical records public." You've released three letters from your doctors, but you now say you won't release anything more. What happened to your promise of full transparency?
SANDERS: Well, I'll tell you. Well, I think we did. Let me tell you what happened. First of all, you're right. And thank you, Las Vegas, for the excellent medical care I got in the hospital for two days.
And I think the one area maybe that Mayor Bloomberg and I share, you have two stents, as well.
BLOOMBERG: Twenty-five years ago.
SANDERS: Well, we both have two stents. It's a procedure that is done about a million times a year. So we released the full report of that heart attack.
Second of all, we released the full -- my whole 29 years in the Capitol, the attending physician, all of my history, medical history.
And furthermore, we released reports from two leading Vermont cardiologists who described my situation and, by the way, who said Bernie Sanders is more than able to deal with the stress and the vigor of being president of the United States. Hey, follow me around the campaign trail, three, four, five events today. See how you're doing compared to me.
JACKSON: Mayor Buttigieg, you've been critical about transparency on this stage and people needing to do better. Is that response from Senator Sanders enough for you?
BUTTIGIEG: No, it's not, because, first of all, let me say, we're all delighted that you are in fighting shape.
SANDERS: Thank you.
BUTTIGIEG: And at the same time, transparency matters, especially living through the Trump era. Now, under President Obama, the standard was that the president would release full medical records, do a physical, and release the readout. I think that's the standard that we should hold ourselves to, as well.
Now, President Trump lowered that standard. He said just a letter from a doctor is enough. And a lot of folks on this stage are now saying that's enough. But I am certainly prepared to get a physical, put out the results. I think everybody here should be willing to do the same.
But I'm actually less concerned about the lack of transparency on Sanders' personal health than I am about the lack of transparency on how to pay for his health care plan, since he's said that it's impossible to even know how much it's going to cost, and even after raising taxes on everybody making $29,000, there is still a multi-trillion-dollar hole.
As a matter of fact, if you add up all his policies altogether, they come to $50 trillion. He's only explained $25 trillion worth of revenue, which means that the hole in there is bigger than the size of the entire economy of the United States. The time has come to level with the American people on matters personal and on matters of policy.
JACKSON: Thank you. Senator Sanders, quickly.
SANDERS: Let's level. Let's level, Pete. Under your plan, which is a maintenance continuation of the status quo...
BUTTIGIEG: That's untrue.
SANDERS: Can I finish? The average American today is paying $12,000 a year. That's what that family is paying, 20 percent of a $60,000 income, $12,000 a year, highest prices in the world for prescription drugs.
Just the other day, a major study came out from Yale epidemiologist in Lancet, one of the leading medical publications in the world. What they said, my friends, is Medicare for all will save $450 billion a year, because we are eliminating the absurdity of thousands of separate plans that require hundreds of billions of dollars of administration and, by the way, ending the $100 billion a year in profiteering from the drug companies and the insurance companies.
BUTTIGIEG: This is really important.
JACKSON: Mayor Bloomberg, I want to go to you on this.
SANDERS: Your plan, by the way, will increase costs.
BUTTIGIEG: He said my plan is the status quo, and that's false. Look, if my plan is the status quo, why was it attacked by the insurance industry the moment it came out? And on issue after issue after issue, this is what Senator Sanders is saying. If you're not with him, if you're not all the way on his side, then you must be for the status quo. Well, you know what? That is a picture that leaves most of the American people out.
JACKSON: I want to go to Mayor Bloomberg on this, the transparency issue.
JACKSON: Very briefly on transparency, Mayor Bloomberg, your campaign has said that you would eventually release your tax records.
JACKSON: When it comes to transparency, but people are already voting now. Why should Democratic voters have to wait?
BLOOMBERG: It just takes us a long time. Unfortunately or fortunately...
KLOBUCHAR: Could I comment on that...
BLOOMBERG: Fortunately, I make a lot of money, and we do business all around the world. And we are preparing it. The number of pages will probably be in the thousands of pages. I can't go to TurboTax. But I put out my tax return every year for 12 years in City Hall. We will put out this one. It tells everybody everything they need to know about every investment that I make and where the money goes.
And the biggest item is all the money I give away. And we list that, every single donation I make. And you can get that from our foundation any time you want.
JACKSON: Senator Klobuchar?
KLOBUCHAR: OK, yeah, I'm just looking at my husband in the front row that has to, like, do our taxes all the time. We probably could go to TurboTax.
And the point of this is, I believe in transparency. I had a physical, by the way. It came out well. We might all be surprised if my blood pressure is lower than Mayor Pete's. That might really shock everyone out there. And I think you should release your records from your physical.
Secondly, when it comes to tax returns, everyone up here has released their tax returns, Mayor. I think -- and it is a major issue, because the president of the United States has been hiding behind his tax returns, even when courts order him to come forward with those tax returns.
And I think -- I don't care how much money anyone has. I think it's great you've got a lot of money. But I think you've got to come forward with your tax returns.
JACKSON: Senator, I want to get to you in a second. Mayor Bloomberg, quick response to Senator Klobuchar?
BLOOMBERG: We'll releasing them. They'll be out in a few weeks. And that's just as fast as I can do it. Remember, I only entered into this race 10 weeks ago. All of my associates here have been at this for a couple of years.
BUTTIGIEG: That's right, we have. Engaging with voters and humbling ourselves to the backyards and diners.
JACKSON: Let me ask about something else, Mr. Mayor, because, Mayor Bloomberg -- let me ask about something else.
WARREN: ... 10 weeks ago, pay overtime, and get it done.
BLOOMBERG: I wish it were that simple.
JACKSON: I'll let you get in here, but, Mayor Bloomberg...
BLOOMBERG: It would save me a lot of money.
JACKSON: Let me ask you about something else. Several former employees have claimed that your company was a hostile workplace for women. When you were confronted about it, you admitted making sexually suggestive remarks, saying, quote, "That's the way I grew up." In a lawsuit in the 1990s, according to the Washington Post, one former female employee alleged that you said, quote, "I would do you in a second." Should Democrats expect better from their nominee?
BLOOMBERG: Let me say a couple of things, if I could have my full minute and a quarter, thank you. I have no tolerance for the kind of behavior that the "Me, Too" movement has exposed. And anybody that does anything wrong in our company, we investigate it, and if it's appropriate, they're gone that day.
But let me tell you what I do at my company and my foundation and in city government when I was there. In my foundation, the person that runs it's a woman, 70 percent of the people there are women. In my company, lots and lots of women have big responsibilities. They get paid exactly the same as men. And in my -- in City Hall, the person, the top person, my deputy mayor was a woman, and 40 percent of our commissioners were women.
I am very proud of the fact that about two weeks ago we were awarded, we were voted the most -- the best place to work, second best place in America. If that doesn't say something about our employees and how happy they are, I don't know what does.
JACKSON: Senator Warren, you've been critical of Mayor Bloomberg on this issue.
WARREN: Yes, I have. And I hope you heard what his defense was. "I've been nice to some women." That just doesn't cut it.
The mayor has to stand on his record. And what we need to know is exactly what's lurking out there. He has gotten some number of women, dozens, who knows, to sign nondisclosure agreements both for sexual harassment and for gender discrimination in the workplace.
So, Mr. Mayor, are you willing to release all of those women from those nondisclosure agreements, so we can hear their side of the story?
BLOOMBERG: We have a very few nondisclosure agreements.
WARREN: How many is that?
BLOOMBERG: Let me finish.
WARREN: How many is that?
BLOOMBERG: None of them accuse me of doing anything, other than maybe they didn't like a joke I told. And let me just -- and let me -- there's agreements between two parties that wanted to keep it quiet and that's up to them. They signed those agreements, and we'll live with it.
BIDEN: Come on.
WARREN: So, wait, when you say it is up to -- I just want to be clear. Some is how many? And -- and when you -- and when you say they signed them and they wanted them, if they wish now to speak out and tell their side of the story about what it is they allege, that's now OK with you? You're releasing them on television tonight? Is that right?
WARREN: Is that right, tonight?
BLOOMBERG: Senator, the company and somebody else, in this case -- a man or a woman or it could be more than that, they decided when they made an agreement they wanted to keep it quiet for everybody's interests.
BIDEN: Come on.
BLOOMBERG: They signed the agreements and that's what we're going to live with.
BUTTIGIEG: You could release them now.
WARREN: I'm sorry. No, the question is...
BLOOMBERG: I heard your question.
WARREN: ... are the women bound by being muzzled by you and you could release them from that immediately? Because, understand, this is not just a question of the mayor's character. This is also a question about electability.
We are not going to beat Donald Trump with a man who has who knows how many nondisclosure agreements and the drip, drip, drip of stories of women saying they have been harassed and discriminated against.
That's not what we do as Democrats.
JACKSON: Mr. Vice President?
BIDEN: Look, let's get something straight here. It's easy. All the mayor has to do is say, "You are released from the nondisclosure agreement," period.
We talk about transparency here. This guy got himself in trouble saying that there was a non -- that he couldn't disclose what he did. He went to his company...
BUTTIGIEG: Just to be super-clear, that was about the list of clients, so nobody gets the wrong idea.
BIDEN: No, no, no. Yeah, I'm sorry.
BUTTIGIEG: I know what you mean. No, you're right.
BIDEN: But he said -- he went to the company and said I want to be released, I want to be able to do it. Look, this is about transparency from the very beginning, whether it's your health record, whether it's your taxes, whether it's whether you have cases against you, whether or not people have signed nondisclosure agreements.
You think the women, in fact, were ready to say I don't want anybody to know about what you did to me? That's not how it works. The way it works is they say, look, this is what you did to me and the mayor comes along and his attorneys said, I will give you this amount of money if you promise you will never say anything. That's how it works.
JACKSON: Mayor Bloomberg, final word to you?
BLOOMBERG: I've said we're not going to get -- to end these agreements because they were made consensually and they have every right to expect that they will stay private.
BIDEN: If they want to release it, they should be able to release themselves. Say yes.
SANDERS: Can I add a word to this? You know, we talk about electability, and everybody up here wants to beat Trump, and we talk about stop and frisk, and we talked about the workplace that Mayor Bloomberg has established and the problems there.
But maybe we should also ask how Mayor Bloomberg in 2004 supported George W. Bush for president, put money into Republican candidates for the United States Senate when some of us -- Joe and I and others -- were fighting for Democrats to control the United States Senate.
BIDEN: And didn't support Barack.
SANDERS: Maybe we can talk -- maybe we can talk about a billionaire saying that we should not raise the minimum wage or that we should cut Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. If that's a way to beat Donald Trump, wow, I would be very surprised.
JACKSON: Thank you, Senator. Vanessa, to you.
HAUC: Senator Klobuchar, you're running on your Washington experience. But last week in a Telemundo interview, you could not name the president of Mexico or discuss any of his policies. Last night, you defended yourself saying, quote, "This isn't 'Jeopardy!'"
But my question to you is, shouldn't our next president know more about one of our largest trading partners?
KLOBUCHAR: Of course.
Of course. And I don't think that that momentary forgetfulness actually reflects what I know about Mexico and how much I care about it. And I first want to say greetings to President Lopez Obrador.
Secondly, I -- what I meant by the game of "Jeopardy!" is that I think we could all come up with things. You know, how many members are there in the Israeli Knesset? One hundred twenty. Who is the president of Honduras?
HAUC: Senator Klobuchar...
HAUC: Senator Klobuchar.
KLOBUCHAR: But when it comes to Mexico, I am the one person on this stage that came out first to say I was for the U.S.-Mexican-Canadian Trade Agreement. That is going to be one of the number-one duties of a president is to implement that.
HAUC: Senator Klobuchar, my colleague specifically asked you if you could name the president of Mexico and your response was no.
KLOBUCHAR: Yes, that's right. And I said that I made an error. I think having a president that maybe is humble and is able to admit that here and there maybe wouldn't be a bad thing.
HAUC: Mayor Buttigieg, your response?
KLOBUCHAR: But if you could let me -- if you could...
BUTTIGIEG: Yeah, I wouldn't liken this to trivia. I actually didn't know how many members were in the Knesset, so you got me there.
KLOBUCHAR: Well, there you go.
BUTTIGIEG: But you're staking your candidacy on your Washington experience. You're on the committee that oversees border security. You're on the committee that does trade. You're literally in part of the committee that's overseeing these things and were not able to speak to literally the first thing about the politics of the country to our south.
KLOBUCHAR: Are you -- are you trying to say that I'm dumb? Or are you mocking me here, Pete?
BUTTIGIEG: I'm saying you shouldn't trivialize that knowledge.
KLOBUCHAR: I said I made an error. People sometimes forget names. I am the one that -- number one, has the experience based on passing over 100 bills...
HAUC: Thank you, Senator.
KLOBUCHAR: If I could respond, this was a pretty big allegation.
HAUC: Quickly, please.
KLOBUCHAR: He's basically saying that I don't have the experience to be president of the United States. I have passed over 100 bills as the lead Democrat since being in the U.S. Senate. I am the one, not you, that has won statewide in congressional district after congressional district.
And I will say, when you tried in Indiana, Pete, to run, what happened to you? You lost by over 20 points to someone who later lost to my friend, Joe Donnelly. So don't tell me about experience. What unites us here is we want to win. And I think we should put a proven winner in charge of the ticket.
HAUC: Quick response, Mayor Buttigieg.
BUTTIGIEG: This is a race for president. This is a race for president. If winning a race for Senate in Minnesota translated directly to becoming president, I would have grown up under the presidency of Walter Mondale. This is different.
And the reason that I think we need to talk about Washington experience is that we should ask what that experience has led to. Experience and certainly tenure is not always the same thing as judgment. If we're going to talk about votes in the Senate in Washington, let's talk about it.
KLOBUCHAR: Let's talk about a major policy...
HOLT: Hello, hello, hello, hello. Thank you. Senator Warren and Mayor Bloomberg, this question is for you.
HOLT: I want to talk about -- maybe this is appropriate here.
WARREN: Can I just defend Senator Klobuchar for a minute? This is not right. I understand that she forgot a name.
It happens. It happens to everybody on this stage. Look, you want to ask about whether or not you understand trade policy with Mexico? Have at it. And if you get it wrong, man, you ought to be held accountable for that. You want to ask about the economy and you get it wrong? You ought to be held accountable. You want to ask about a thousand different issues and you get it wrong? You ought to be held accountable.
But let's just be clear. Missing a name all by itself does not indicate that you do not understand what's going on. And I just think this is unfair.
BIDEN: Let me say something.
HAUC: You're right. But Senator Klobuchar could not discuss Mexican policy, either.
BIDEN: I'm the only one who knows this man and met with him.
KLOBUCHAR: I do have to respond.
BIDEN: Come on, man.
SANDERS: I called him up.
KLOBUCHAR: You have just invoked my name again, and I ask you to look at the interview I did directly after the forum, which we went into great detail on Latin American policy.
And I want to say one thing about Mayor Pete where we just disagree. He was asked on a debate stage about the Mexican cartels, which are bad, bad criminal organizations. He said that he would be open to classifying them as terrorist organizations. I actually don't agree with that. That is a very valid debate to have. I don't think that would be good for our security coordination with Mexico, and I think you got that wrong.
BUTTIGIEG: Well, at least that's a substantive...
BIDEN: I've spent more time in Mexico than anybody. Could I get a chance to say something?
BUTTIGIEG: Well, hold on.
HOLT: Mr. Vice President?
BIDEN: Si, thank you.
SANDERS: Si, si.
BIDEN: Look, I'm the only one who's spent extensive -- hundreds of hours in Latin America. I've met with this president. I've met with the last president, the one before that. I've been deeply involved in making sure that we have a policy that makes more sense than this god-awful president we have now.
I'm the guy that put together $750 million to provide help for those Latin American countries that are the reason why people are leaving, because there's nothing for them to stay for. I've spent hours and hours and hours. And so you want to talk about experience in Washington, it's good to know with whom you're talking. It's good to know what they think. It's good to know what you think. And it's good to be able to have a relationship. That's what it's about.
HOLT: All right. Well, we -- clearly everybody is warmed up. We're going to take a short break and kick off the next hour with a topic many voters have said is top of mind, the climate crisis. We're back in a moment.
HOLT: Welcome back. We received hundreds of questions from Democratic voters, and many of them were about the climate crisis. It's an issue that uniquely impacted Nevadans.
Jon Ralston from the Nevada Independent kicks us off now.
RALSTON: So y'all ready to play some Nevada trivia now? I'm only half-joking here. Let's talk about this issue, because it's up there in polls. Voters are really concerned about it, as you all know.
What you might not know is that Las Vegas and Reno are the vibrant economic engines for the state of Nevada and are also two of the fastest warming cities in the country. In certain months of the year, the heat is already an emergency situation for residents and for tourists walking up and down the Strip.
So I'm going to start with you, Mr. Vice President. What specific policies would you implement that would keep Las Vegas and Reno livable, but also not hurt those economies?
BIDEN: It is the existential threat humanity faces, global warming. I went out to tech -- you have a facility where you have one of the largest, largest solar panel arrays in the world. And it's -- when the fourth stage is completed, it will be able to take care of 60,000 homes for every single bit of their needs.
And what I would do is, number one, work on providing the $47 billion we have for tech and for -- to making sure we find answers is to find a way to transmit that wind and solar energy across the network in the United States. Invest in battery technology.
I would immediately reinstate all of the elimination of -- of what Trump has eliminated in terms of the EPA. I would secondly make sure that we had 500,000 new charging stations in every new highway we built in the United States of America or repaired. I would make sure that we once again made sure that we got the mileage standards back up which would have saved over 12 billion barrels of oil, had he not walked away from it. And I would invest in rail, in rail. Rail can take hundreds of thousands, millions of cars off the road if we have high-speed rail.
RALSTON: Thank you, Mr. Vice president. I want to get some of the rest of you in on this because y'all have plans. Mayor Bloomberg, let me read -- let me read what you've said about this issue. You said you want to intensify U.S. and international actions to stop the expansion of coal. How exactly are you going to do that?
BLOOMBERG: Well, already we've closed 304 out of the 530 coal-fired power plants in the United States, and we've closed 80 out of the 200 or 300 that are in Europe, Bloomberg Philanthropies, working with the Sierra Club, that's one of the things you do.
But let's just start at the beginning. If you're president, the first thing you do the first day is you rejoin the Paris Agreement. This is just ridiculous for us to drop out.
Two, America's responsibility is to be the leader in the world. And if we don't, we're the ones that are going to get hurt just as much as anybody else. And that's why I don't want to have us cut off all relationships with China, because you will never solve this problem without China and India, Western Europe, and America. That's where most of the greenhouse...
RALSTON: I just...
BLOOMBERG: Let me just finish one other thing. I believe -- and you can tell my whether this is right -- but the solar array that the vice president is talking about is being closed because it's not economic, that you can put solar panels in into modern technology even more modern than that.
RALSTON: All right. Mayor, I just -- I want to let Senator Warren jump in here, just because you've said something that's really specific to Nevada. And the tension here in this state is between people who want renewable energy and people who want conservation on public lands.
Eighty-five percent of Nevada is managed by the federal government. You have said that you were going to have an executive order that would stop drilling on public lands, stop mining, which is a huge industry here. You've got to have lithium, you've got to have copper for renewable energy. How do you do that?
WARREN: So, look, I think we should stop all new drilling and mining on public lands and all offshore drilling. If we need to make exceptions because there are specific minerals that we've got to have access to, then we locate those and we do it not in a way that just is about the profits of giant industries, but in a way that is sustainable for the environment. We cannot continue to let our public lands be used for profits by those who don't care about our environment and are not making it better.
Look, I'm going to say something that is really controversial in Washington, but I think I'm safe to say this here in Nevada. I believe in science.
And I believe that the way that we're going to deal with this problem is that we are going to increase by tenfold our investment in science.
There's an upcoming $27 trillion market worldwide for green. And much of what is needed has not yet been invented. My proposal is, let's invent it here in the United States and then say, we invent it in the U.S., you've got to build it in the U.S.
TODD: We're going to...
WARREN: That's a million new manufacturing jobs.
TODD: We're going to stick to this topic. But, Senator Sanders, I'm going to move to fracking. You want a total ban on natural gas extraction, fracking, in the next five years. The industry, obviously, supports a lot of jobs around the country, including thousands in the battleground state of Pennsylvania.
One union official there told the New York Times, quote, "If we end up with a Democratic candidate that supports a fracking ban, I'm going to tell my members that either you don't vote or you vote for the other guy." What do you tell these workers, it's supporting a big industry right now, sir?
SANDERS: What I tell these workers is that the scientists are telling us that if we don't act incredibly boldly within the next six, seven years, there will be irreparable damage done not just in Nevada, not just to Vermont or Massachusetts, but to the entire world.
Joe said it right: This is an existential threat. You know what that means, Chuck? That means we're fighting for the future of this planet.
And the Green New Deal that I support, by the way, will create up to 20 million good-paying jobs as we move our energy system away from fossil fuel to energy efficiency and sustainable energy. This is a moral issue, my friends. We have to take the responsibility of making sure that the planet we leave our children and grandchildren is a planet that is healthy and habitable. That is more important than the profits of the fossil fuel industry.
TODD: I want to keep this going. Senator Klobuchar, you're not on the same page on a total ban of fracking. You call it a transitional fuel. But scientists are sounding this alarm now. Do you take these warnings that maybe fracking is a step backwards, not a step forward, not a transition?
KLOBUCHAR: I have made it very clear that we have to review all of the permits that are out there right now for natural gas and then make decisions on each one of them and then not grant new ones until we make sure that it's safe. But it is a transitional fuel.
And I want to add something that really hasn't been brought up by my colleagues. This is a crisis, and a lot of our plans are very similar to get to carbon neutral by 2045, 2050, something like that. But we're not going to be able to pass this unless we bring people with us.
I'm looking at these incredible senators from Nevada -- Catherine Cortez Masto and Jacky Rosen -- and I'm thinking that they know how important this is. And you can do this in a smart way. One, get back into that international climate change agreement. Two, clean power rules, bring those back. And the president can do this herself without Congress, as well as the gas mileage standard.
But when it comes to putting a price on carbon -- this is very important, Chuck -- we have to make sure that that money goes back directly as dividends to the people that are going to need help for paying their bills. Otherwise, we're not going to pass it.
TODD: Senator Warren...
KLOBUCHAR: So there has to be a heart to the policy to get this done.
TODD: Senator Warren, address the worker issue, if you don't mind, as well. Can you address the worker issue?
WARREN: Yes. We can have a Green New Deal and create jobs. We need people in infrastructure who will help build. We have manufacturing...
TODD: They could lose that job tomorrow, though. That's what they're concerned about.
WARREN: Yes, those jobs are for tomorrow. Those are the ones we need to be working on to harden our infrastructure right now. But listen to Senator Klobuchar's point. She says we have to think smaller in order to get it passed. I don't think that's the right approach here.
Why can't we get anything passed in Washington on climate? Everyone understands the urgency, but we've got two problems. The first is corruption, an industry that makes its money felt all through Washington.
The first thing I want to do in Washington is pass my anti-corruption bill so that we can start making the changes we need to make on climate. And the second is the filibuster. If you're not willing to roll back the filibuster, then you're giving the fossil fuel industry a veto overall of the work that we need to do.
TODD: Thank you. Vanessa -- Senator, thank you, Vanessa has got the next question.
KLOBUCHAR: Can I respond? She mentioned me.
HAUC: Vice President Biden, you have said that you want to hold oil and gas executives accountable for their role in harming our planet. You have even suggested that you might put them in jail. Which companies are you talking about? And how far are you willing to go?
BIDEN: I'm willing to go as far as we have to. First of all, I would eliminate all the subsidies we have for oil and gas, eliminate it, period. That would save millions and millions -- billions of dollars.
Number two, I think that any executive who is engaged -- and by the way, minority communities are the communities that are being most badly hurt by the way in which we deal with climate change. They are the ones that become the victims. That's where the asthma is, that's where the groundwater supply has been polluted. That's where, in fact, people, in fact, do not have the opportunity to be able to get away from everything from asbestos in the walls of our schools.
I have a trillion-dollar program for infrastructure. That will provide for thousands and thousands of new jobs, not $15 an hour, but $50 an hour, plus benefits, unions, unions being able to do that.
And what it does is, it will change the nature -- look, here's the last point I want -- and my time is going to run out. Here's the last point I want to make to you. On day one, when I'm elected president, I'm going to invite all of the members of the Paris Accord to Washington, D.C. They make up 85 percent of the problem. They know me. I'm used to dealing with international relations. I will get them to up the ante in a big way.
HAUC: Vice President Biden, you didn't answer my questions.
BIDEN: I thought I did. I'm sorry.
HAUC: What would you do with these companies that are responsible for the destruction of our planet?
BIDEN: What would I do with them? I would make sure they, number one, stop. Number two, if you demonstrate that they, in fact, have done things already that are bad and they've been lying, they should be able to be sued, they should be able to be held personally accountable, and they should -- and not only the company, not the stockholders, but the CEOs of those companies. They should be engaged.
And it's a little bit like -- look, this is the industries we should be able to sue. We should go after -- just like we did the drug companies, just like we did with the tobacco companies. The only company we can't go after are gun manufacturers, because of my buddy here. But that's a different story...
HOLT: We're going to stay on the topic. My question is to Mayor Bloomberg. Mayor Bloomberg, your business is heavily invested in China. I think you mentioned that a few questions back. The number one producer in the world of carbon emissions. How far would you go to force China to reduce those emissions and tackle the climate crisis?
BLOOMBERG: Well, you're not going to go to war with them. You have to negotiate with them and try to -- and we've seen how well that works with tariffs that are hurting us. What you have to do is convince the Chinese that it is in their interest, as well. Their people are going to die just as our people are going to die. And we'll work together.
In all fairness, the China has slowed down. It's India that is an even bigger problem. But it is an enormous problem. Nobody's doing anything about it. We could right here in America make a big difference. We're closing the coal-fired power plants. If we could enforce some of the rules on fracking so that they don't release methane into the air and into the water, you'll make a big difference.
But we're not going to get rid of fracking for a while. And we, incidentally not just natural gas. You frack oil, as well. It is a technique, and when it's done poorly, like they're doing in too many places where the methane gets out into the air, it is very damaging. But it's a transition fuel, I think the senator said it right.
We want to go to all renewables. But that's still many years from now. And we -- before I think the senator mentioned 2050 for some data. No scientist thinks the numbers for 2050 are 2050 anymore. They're 2040, 2035. The world is coming apart faster than any scientific study had predicted. We've just got to do something now.
HOLT: Mayor Buttigieg, your thoughts.
BUTTIGIEG: Let's be real about the deadline. It's not 2050, it's not 2040, it's not 2030. It's 2020. Because if we don't elect a president who actually believes in climate science now, we will never meet any of the other scientific or policy deadlines that we need to.
So first of all, let's make sure we're actually positioned to win, which, once again, if we put forward two of the most polarizing figures on this stage as the only option, it's going to be a real struggle.
Now, I've got a plan to get us carbon neutral by 2050. And I think everybody up here has a plan that more or less does the same. So the real question is, how are we going to actually get it done?
We need leadership to make this a national project that breaks down the partisan and political tug of war that prevents anything from getting done. How do you do it? Well, first of all, making sure that those jobs are available quickly.
Secondly, ensuring that we are pulling in those very sectors who have been made to feel like they're part of the problem, from farming to industry, and fund as well as urge them to do the right thing.
And then global climate diplomacy. I'm a little skeptical of the idea that convincing is going to do the trick when it comes to working with China. America has repeatedly overestimated our ability to shape Chinese ambitions. But what we can do is ensure that we use the hard tools...
HOLT: All right, Mayor Buttigieg.
HOLT: Senator Warner?
BUTTIGIEG: ... to enforce what has to happen...
WARREN: Yes, I want to make sure that the question of environmental justice gets more than a glancing blow in this debate...
... because for generations now in this country, toxic waste dumps, polluting factories have been located in or near communities of color, over and over and over. And the consequences are felt in the health of young African-American babies, it's felt in the health of seniors, people with compromised immune systems.
It's also felt economically. Who wants to move into an area where the air smells bad or you can't drink the water?
I have a commitment of a trillion dollars to repair the damage that this nation has permitted to inflict on communities of color for generations now. We have to own up to our responsibility. We cannot simply talk about climate change in big, global terms. We need to talk about it in terms of rescuing the communities that have been damaged.
HOLT: Senator Warren, thank you. Hallie?
JACKSON: Vice President Biden, I want to ask you about something else that is important to people here. I want to ask you about Latinos, owning one out of every four new small businesses in the United States. Many of them have benefited from President Trump's tax cuts, and they may be hesitant about new taxes or regulations. Will taxes on their small businesses go up under your administration?
BIDEN: No. Taxes on small businesses won't go up. As a matter of fact, we're going to make sure there's more money available for small businesses in the Latino community and the black community to be able to get the capital to start businesses.
And at the Treasury Department, there's going to be a window available where we significantly increase the amount of money available so people can borrow the money to get started. They have demonstrated they're incredibly successful. We should not be raising taxes on them. We should start rewarding work, not just wealth.
That's why we have to change the tax code the way it is. That's why the wealthy have to start to pay their fair share. And that's why we have to focus on giving people the ability to garner wealth, generate wealth.
And that's why this whole idea of red-lining, lending to people in areas wasn't the cause of Wall Street failing. The greed of Wall Street was the reason why it occurred, not red-lining.
And lastly I want to say, look, the idea of China, China is -- and their Belt and Road proposal, they're taking the dirtiest coal in the world mostly out of Mongolia and spreading it all around the world. It's clear. Make it clear when you call them to Washington in the first 100 days, if you continue, you will suffer severe consequences because the rest of the world will impose tariffs on everything you're selling because you are undercutting the entire economy.
JACKSON: Thank you. Thank you, Mr. Vice President.
Mayor Buttigieg, will taxes on those businesses go up under you?
BUTTIGIEG: Not if they are small businesses. I mean, what we've got to do is level the playing field, where a company like Amazon or Chevron is paying literally zero on billions of dollars in profits and it puts small businesses, like the ones that are revitalizing my own city, often Latino-owned on our west side, at a disadvantage.
We need to recognize that investing in Latino entrepreneurship is not just an investment in the Latino community, it is an investment in the future of America. And it is time for a president who understands the value of immigration in lifting up all of our communities and our country. We're getting the exact opposite message from the current president.
And it is time to recognize not just the diversity of the Latino community, but the importance of issues like economic empowerment, like health care, as well as immigration.
SANDERS: We have a tax system...
WARREN: We have an entrepreneurship gap in America. And that is a gap between white entrepreneurs and black and Latino entrepreneurs. And the principal reason for this is they don't have the money for equity to get the businesses started.
It's about a $7 billion gap. We want to have real entrepreneurship and a level playing field. I have a plan to put the $7 billion in to have the fund managed by the people...
JACKSON: Senator, thank you.
WARREN: ... who are routinely cut out.
SANDERS: When we talk...
WARREN: It can't just be about taxes.
JACKSON: Thank you, Senator.
WARREN: We need to make an investment to level the playing field and end the black and white wealth...
TODD: Look, I want to get into something. Mayor Bloomberg, the vice president talked about red-lining.
BLOOMBERG: As the only one here that started a business, maybe you...
TODD: Mayor Bloomberg, you seemed to imply that red-lining and stopping that is -- that stopping red-lining has somehow contributed to the financial crisis.
BLOOMBERG: No, that's exactly wrong.
TODD: And that was the implication that came out in your quote, so I want to give you a chance to clarify this.
BLOOMBERG: I've been well on the record against red-lining since I worked on Wall Street. I was against during the financial crisis. I've been against it since.
The financial crisis came about because the people that took the mortgages, packaged them, and other people bought them, those were -- that's where all the disaster was. Red-lining is still a practice some places, and we've got to cut it out. But it's just not true.
What I was going to say, maybe we want to talk about businesses. I'm the only one here that I think that's ever started a business. Is that fair? OK.
What we need is -- I can tell you in New York City, we had programs, they're mentoring programs for young businesspeople so they can learn how to start a business. We had programs that could get them seed capital. We had programs to get branch banking in their neighborhoods, because if you don't have a branch bank there, you can't get a checking account. You can't get a checking account, you can't get a loan. You can't get a loan, you can't get a mortgage. Then you don't have any wealth. There's ways to fix this. And it doesn't take trillions of dollars. It takes us to focus on the problems of small businesses.
TODD: Senator Sanders, 45 seconds, and then we're going to move on. Senator Sanders, 45 seconds.
SANDERS: You know, when we talk about a corrupt political system, bought by billionaires like Mr. Bloomberg, it manifests itself in a tax code in which not only is Amazon and many other major corporations, some owned by the wealthiest people in this country not paying a nickel in taxes, we have the insane situation that billionaires today, if you can believe it, have an effective tax rate lower than the middle class. So maybe, just maybe...
BLOOMBERG: But you're re-writing the tax code. Why are you complaining? Who wrote the code?
SANDERS: You did. You and your campaign...
BLOOMBERG: You and the other 99 senators.
SANDERS: You and your -- not me.
BLOOMBERG: Oh, come on.
SANDERS: You and your campaign contributions electing people who represent the wealthy and the powerful, those are the folks...
BLOOMBERG: Yes. Those are the Democrats, thank you.
SANDERS: Well, and Republicans, too. And George W. Bush, as well.
TODD: Senator Klobuchar, let me -- let me address...
KLOBUCHAR: I was just...
KLOBUCHAR: I was thinking there was going to be a boxing rematch on Saturday in Vegas and those guys should go down there.
TODD: Senator Klobuchar, I actually want to get you to something about -- Senator Sanders tweeted last year, "Billionaires should not exist."
TODD: What say you?
KLOBUCHAR: I believe in capitalism, but I think our -- the goal of someone in government and a president of the United States should be a check on that. I'm not going to limit what people make, but I think right now our tax code is so tilted against regular people and that is what's wrong.
I was thinking of your question about small businesses. The small businesses I talked to, they have trouble getting employees because their employees don't have childcare. We should have universal childcare.
And we have not been talking enough about Donald Trump and -- let's just talk about Donald Trump, because he signed that tax bill that helped the wealthy, and he went down to Mar-a-Lago and he said to all his friends, "You just got a lot richer." That is Exhibit A.
And I can tell you, the hard-working people in Nevada were not in that room. So the key to me is to not limit what people can make, but make sure that we have a government that is fair for everyone.
TODD: So, Senator Sanders, what did you mean that you don't think they should exist?
SANDERS: I'll tell you what I mean.
TODD: What did that mean?
SANDERS: We have a grotesque and immoral distribution of wealth and income. Mike Bloomberg owns more wealth than the bottom 125 million Americans. That's wrong. That's immoral. That should not be the case when we got a half a million people sleeping out on the street, where we have kids who cannot afford to go to college, when we have 45 million people dealing with student debt.
We have enormous problems facing this country, and we cannot continue seeing a situation where, in the last three years, billionaires in this country saw an $850 billion increase in their wealth -- congratulations, Mr. Bloomberg -- but the average American last year saw less than a 1 percent increase in his or her income. That's wrong.
TODD: Mayor Bloomberg, should you exist?
BLOOMBERG: I can't speak for all billionaires. All I know is I've been very lucky, made a lot of money, and I'm giving it all away to make this country better. And a good chunk of it goes to the Democratic Party, as well.
TODD: Is it too much? Have you earned too much -- has it been an obscene amount of -- should you have earned that much money?
BLOOMBERG: Yes. I worked very hard for it. And I'm giving it away.
TODD: All right, thank you. Hallie?
JACKSON: Mayor Buttigieg, Senator Sanders has a proposal that will require all large companies to turn over up to 20 percent of their ownership to employees over time. Is that a good idea?
BUTTIGIEG: I think that employee ownership of companies is a great idea. I'm not sure it makes sense to command those companies to do it. If we really want to deliver less inequality in this country, then we've got to start with the tax code and we've got to start with investments in how people are able to live the American dream, which is in serious, serious decline.
As a matter of fact, last time I checked, the list of countries to live out the American dream, in other words, to be born at the bottom and come out at the top, we're not even in the top ten. Number one place to live out the American dream right now is Denmark.
And as the, I think, lone person on this stage who's not a millionaire, let alone a billionaire, I believe that part of what needs to change is for the voices of the communities that haven't felt heard on Wall Street or in Washington to actually be brought to Capitol Hill.
It's why I am building a politics designed around inclusion, designed around belonging, because the one thing that will definitely perpetuate the income inequality we're living with right now is for Donald Trump to be re-elected, because we polarized this country with the wrong nominee.
JACKSON: Senator Sanders, it's your policy.
SANDERS: Can I -- to me, right?
JACKSON: It is your policy.
SANDERS: Thank you, it is my policy, and I'm very proud of that policy. All right? What we need to do to deal with this grotesque level of income and wealth inequality is make sure that those people who are working -- you know what, Mr. Bloomberg, it wasn't you who made all that money. Maybe your workers played some role in that, as well.
And it is important that those workers are able to share the benefits, also. When we have so many people who go to work every day and they feel not good about their jobs, they feel like cogs in a machine. I want workers to be able to sit on corporate boards, as well, so they can have some say over what happens to their lives.
JACKSON: Mayor Bloomberg, you own a large company. Would you support what Senator Sanders is proposing?
BLOOMBERG: Absolutely not. I can't think of a ways that would make it easier for Donald Trump to get re-elected than listening to this conversation.
It's ridiculous. We're not going to throw out capitalism. We tried. Other countries tried that. It was called communism, and it just didn't work.
WARREN: So let me make a proposal that will work, that has not only support from a majority of Democrats, but also from a majority of the independents and a majority of Republicans. And that is a two-cent wealth tax on all fortunes above $50 million. You hit a billion, you've got to pay a few pennies more.
This is a tax on the top one-tenth of one percent in America. And it permits us to start to restructure our economy. It means we can afford universal childcare for everybody baby in this country age zero to five. It means we can have universal pre-K for every child in America. It means we can raise the wages of every childcare worker and preschool teacher and stop exploiting the black and brown women who do this work.
It means we can put $800 billion into our public schools, quadruple funding for Title I schools. And as a former special education teacher, we could fully fund IDEA so children with disabilities would get the full education they need.
We can do college. We could put $50 billion into our historically black colleges and universities. And we could cancel student loan debt for 43 million Americans.
HOLT: Senator, thank you.
WARREN: That's something a majority of Americans support, a two-cent wealth tax. It is a question of values. Do we want to invest in Mr. Bloomberg? Or do we want to invest in an entire generation of young students?
HOLT: Senator Sanders, my next question is for you. Senator Sanders, our latest NBC News-Wall Street Journal poll released yesterday, two-thirds of all voters said they were uncomfortable with a socialist candidate for president. What do you say to those voters, sir?
SANDERS: What was the result of that poll? Who was winning?
HOLT: The question -- the question is to you.
SANDERS: The question was that I was winning, and I think by a fairly comfortable margin. Might mention that.
But here is the point. Let's talk about democratic socialism. Not communism, Mr. Bloomberg. That's a cheap shot. Let's talk about -- let's talk about what goes on in countries like Denmark, where Pete correctly pointed out they have a much higher quality of life in many respects than we do. What are we talking about?
We are living in many ways in a socialist society right now. The problem is, as Dr. Martin Luther King reminded us, we have socialism for the very rich, rugged individualism for the poor.
BLOOMBERG: Wait a second.
SANDERS: When Donald -- let me finish. When Donald Trump gets $800 million in tax breaks and subsidies to build luxury condominiums, that's socialism for the rich.
BLOOMBERG: Wait a second.
SANDERS: When Walmart -- we have to subsidize Walmart's workers who are on Medicaid and food stamps because the wealthiest family in America pays starvation wages, that's socialism for the rich.
I believe in democratic socialism for working people, not billionaires, health care for all, educational opportunities for all.
HOLT: All right, Senator, Senator, thank you.
SANDERS: Creating a government that works for all, not just for Mr. Bloomberg.
HOLT: The question was about socialism.
BLOOMBERG: What a wonderful country we have. The best known socialist in the country happens to be a millionaire with three houses. What did I miss here?
SANDERS: Well, you'll miss that I work in Washington, house one.
BLOOMBERG: That's the first problem.
SANDERS: Live in Burlington, house two.
BLOOMBERG: That's good.
SANDERS: And like thousands of other Vermonters, I do have a summer camp. Forgive me for that. Where is your home? Which tax haven do you have your home?
BLOOMBERG: New York City, thank you very much, and I pay all my taxes. And I'm happy to do it because I get something for it. And let me say, I thought the senator next to me was half right.
BLOOMBERG: I agree we should raise taxes on the -- I disagree with the senator on the wealth tax but I do agree with her that the rich aren't paying their fair share. We should raise taxes on the rich. I did that as mayor in New York City. I raised taxes. And if you take a look at my plans, the first thing I would do is try to convince Congress, because they've got to do it, we can't just order it, to roll back the tax cuts that the Trump administration put in with the -- through Congress.
HOLT: All right, Vice President Biden, weigh in on this question of Americans' feeling about socialist candidates.
BIDEN: Well, look, let me weigh in on -- you know, for 36 years and as vice president, I was listed as the poorest man in Congress. I made money when I wrote a book about my son and it surprised me how much it sold. First time I've ever made any money.
And here's the deal. The fact is that we ought to start rewarding work, not just wealth. The idea that we have a tax rate for corporate America at 21 percent is ridiculous. It should be at 28 percent. That would raise almost $800 billion a year.
The idea that we have companies not paying anything at all, they should have a minimum tax of 15 percent. That would raise another $740 billion a year.
The idea that you're able to have a capital gains tax that you pay at the rate of 20 percent if you are -- if you're Mike Bloomberg or whomever that has a whole lot of money, and someone else who's paying at -- your staffer is paying at 25 percent is wrong. That would raise another $800 billion.
We should be rewarding work, not just wealth. And the American people, the middle class is getting killed, and the poor have no way up.
HOLT: All right, Vice President Biden, thank you. Chuck?
TODD: Mayor Buttigieg, I want to get you in on this, because, you know, in 2000, you wrote an award-winning essay. You praised Senator Sanders. You specifically praised him for embracing socialism. You have now since said that you are concerned about his policies.
But I am curious about this. Are you out of touch with your own generation, millennials by a big chunk embrace his version of democratic socialism, you do not. Are you out of touch with your generation?
BUTTIGIEG: No. Look, it's true that I was into Bernie before it was cool.
SANDERS: Thank you.
BUTTIGIEG: He was a congressman at the time. And the qualities I admired then are qualities I still respect a great deal. I never said that I agree with every part of his policy views, then or now. But I appreciate that at least he's straightforward and honest about them. He's honest about the fact that taxes will go up on anybody making more than $29,000 to fund his health care plan, although, again, a little bit vague about how the rest of that gets...
SANDERS: You're not being honest. Premiums would be eliminated.
BUTTIGIEG: But you're still raising those taxes. And when you do it...
SANDERS: But we're saving people money because they don't pay any premiums, out-of-pocket expenses, co-payments, or deductibles. They're going to be much better off.
BUTTIGIEG: But where is -- where is the other $25 trillion supposed to come from? At a certain point, you've got to do the math.
SANDERS: Well, we got it all up there on the internet. It's a payroll tax -- a payroll tax...
BUTTIGIEG: Well, no, but even after the payroll tax, you still have a hole.
SANDERS: Because we have a wealth tax. Elizabeth has a good one. Ours is a little bit tougher on Mr. Bloomberg than hers. We're going to raise it in a progressive way, which deals with income and wealth inequality, and makes certain, finally, that health care in this country is a human right, not a privilege.
KLOBUCHAR: Could I...
TODD: Forty-five seconds. Senator Warren, I'm just going to close it out here. You went out of your way -- you went out of your way to call yourself a capitalist, to separate yourself...
WARREN: Yes, because I am.
TODD: ... from him. Why?
WARREN: Yes, because I am. Look, Democrats want to beat Donald Trump, but they are worried. They are worried about gambling on a narrow vision that doesn't address the fears of millions of Americans across this country who see real problems and want real change. They are worried about gambling on a revolution that won't bring along a majority of this country.
Amy and Joe's hearts are in the right place, but we can't be so eager to be liked by Mitch McConnell that we forget how to fight the Republicans.
WARREN: Mayor Buttigieg has been taking money from big donors and changing his positions.
BUTTIGIEG: That's just not true.
WARREN: So it makes it unclear what it is he stands for, other than his own...
TODD: Senator, thank you. Senator Klobuchar, go ahead. You've got -- Senator Klobuchar -- Senator Klobuchar, go ahead, you've got the floor for 45. Go.
KLOBUCHAR: Thank you. Number one, I have repeatedly said that we have to win big. And the way we win big is winning states like Nevada, but also winning the Senate races in Arizona and in Colorado and beyond.
And the reason we want to do that is to send Mitch McConnell packing. And I think, when you look at my history, I am the one that has done that. I am the one that can lead this ticket. And just because I am willing to talk about common ground, that's where America is. It is not with Mitch McConnell, who has 400 bills on his desk that should pass if we get rid of him.
It is because I am willing to work...
WARREN: May I respond?
KLOBUCHAR: ... with people and find common ground, and that's what we want in a president, Elizabeth.
KLOBUCHAR: We don't want someone that looks at just plans. The difference between...
HOLT: Senator, thank you. We need to take another break here. We'll return to the Paris Las Vegas in just a moment.
HOLT: Welcome back to Las Vegas and the Democratic presidential debate. To kick off our next round of questioning, here's Hallie.
JACKSON: Mayor Buttigieg, to you. In 2018, Mayor Bloomberg was the biggest outside spender helping Democrats running for Congress. He's also donated billions toward causes like climate change, gun safety, education. If his money wasn't a problem then, why is it a problem now?
BUTTIGIEG: Oh, I think he should absolutely be doing everything in his power to defeat Donald Trump. I just don't think that has to result in him becoming the president of the United States.
Look, our party has values. We were built around values like making sure we protect working people. But Mayor Bloomberg opposed raising the minimum wage. Our party has a tradition that includes excellent presidents like Barack Obama, who Mayor Bloomberg opposed.
At the end of the day, it's not just about how much money you've got. It's what you stand for. And we are living in a moment when Americans are so deeply frustrated with the way that both Wall Street and Washington seem to have overlooked our lives.
The view from the porch of my one house in Indiana...
... is that they can't even see us sometimes. And if we're going into the election of our lives against a president who rose to power by cynically exploiting the frustration of ordinary Americans feeling like leaders weren't speaking to them, then I think that turning to someone like Mayor Bloomberg, who thinks he can buy this election, is no better a way to succeed than turning to somebody like Senator Sanders who wants to burn the house down.
JACKSON: Mr. Vice President?
BIDEN: You know, if you excuse a point of personal privilege, they used to say, it was said that I was in the pocket of Mitch McConnell. I'm the only person on this stage that's beaten Mitch McConnell on four major, major cases. Let me finish.
Let me finish. And Mitch McConnell -- I've been the object of his affection and the president's affection, the way he's gone after me, this new Republican party, after me, after my son, after my family. I don't need to be told I'm a friend of Mitch McConnell's. Mitch McConnell has been the biggest pain in my neck in a long, long time. And so that's number one.
Number two, we have to have somebody who understands what it's like for ordinary people. Ordinary people come up. They have to understand, like my dad made that longest walk up a short flight of stairs and said, "I don't have a job, honey, we have to move. You've got to move with Grandpa." How long it took to buy a house, how long it took to get back in the game again.
They have to understand the needs of ordinary people. And they are getting killed, no matter what people say about this economy, how good it is. And the good part of the economy, this -- it's only 60 seconds. It's not up yet.
And the fact is that we are in a situation where you have, Mayor, the -- excuse me, the president making clear that he doesn't want any part of me being his opponent. He's spending $125,000 this week to keep me from being the opponent. I wonder why.
JACKSON: Thank you, Mr. Vice President. Vanessa, to you.
WARREN: So can I respond to the vice president?
HAUC: Thank you, Hallie.
WARREN: He's identifying me specifically in this.
JACKSON: Forty-five seconds to you, Senator.
BIDEN: I was identified. I was responding to an accusation.
WARREN: So, no, the point is different. Here's what happened. According to the New York Times," the last time that Mitch McConnell was on the ballot, the vice president stood in the Oval Office and said, "I hope that Mitch gets reelected so I can keep working with him." Well, Mitch did get -- Mitch did get re-elected.
BIDEN: That's totally out of context.
WARREN: He did not have an epiphany. Instead, he blocked nearly everything that Barack Obama tried to pass.
BIDEN: Did you ever win anything?
WARREN: And he stole a Supreme Court seat from Democrats.
BIDEN: Come on.
WARREN: The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
HAUC: Thank you, Senator. Thank you, Senator.
Our next question goes to Senator Klobuchar. About 700,000 young people known as Dreamers, or Sonadores, who were brought to this country as children, are currently protected from deportation because of a program that is now under the review by the Supreme Court. If the court sides with the Trump administration, which is eager to end this protection, what exactly is your plan to protect the Dreamers permanently?
KLOBUCHAR: To win, to beat Donald Trump. The best way to protect the Dreamers is to have a new president. There are the votes there to protect the Dreamers. And I have been working on this since I got to the United States Senate. In my first campaign, I actually had a bunch of ads run against me because I was standing up for immigrants.
And when I think of Dreamers -- and I try to explain it to my state -- I found a 99-year-old Hispanic war veteran who was a Dreamer when he was brought over to this country. And back then, he just went to Canada for a night and came back and he was a permanent citizen, because they needed him to serve in World War II. Now, not so easy.
The Dreamers are our future. The Dreamers are so important in Nevada. And the best way we can get this done is to beat Donald Trump, but it is to pass comprehensive immigration reform, which creates a path to citizenship to so many hard-working people, will bring down the deficit by $158 billion, and will bring peace for these Dreamers.
HAUC: Thank you so much, Senator.
KLOBUCHAR: They know no other country but our own.
HAUC: Thank you.
BUTTIGIEG: If you're going to run based on...
HAUC: Mayor Pete?
BUTTIGIEG: If you're going to run based on your record of voting in Washington, then you have to own those votes, especially when it comes to immigration. You voted to confirm the head of Customs and Border Protection under Trump, who is one of the architects of the family separation policy. You voted to make English the national language. Do you know the message that sends in as multilingual a state as Nevada to immigrants?
You have been unusual among Democrats, I think the Democrat among all of the senators running for president most likely to vote for Donald Trump's judges, who we know are especially hostile to Dreamers and to the rights of immigrants.
Now, in South Bend, it was not always easy to stand up in a conservative place like Indiana on immigration. But we delivered. We created a municipal ID program so that Dreamers and others who were undocumented were able to navigate everyday life. We stood up for those rights and stood with members of our community with the message that they were as American as we are. (speaking Spanish)
HAUC: Thank you. Gracias, gracias, Mayor Pete.
KLOBUCHAR: I wish...
HAUC: Senator Klobuchar?
KLOBUCHAR: I wish everyone was as perfect as you, Pete. But let me tell you what it's like to be in the arena. Number one, do the math. If my friend, Andrew Yang, was up here, that's what he'd say.
In fact, I have opposed, not supported, two-thirds of the Trump judges, so get your numbers right. And I am in the top 10 to 15 of opposing them.
Number two, when it comes to immigration reform, the things that you are referring to, that official that you are referring to was supported by about half the Democrats, including someone in this room. And I will say this: He was highly recommended by the Obama officials. Do you know why? Because Trump had so few career people.
I did not one bit agree with these draconian policies to separate kids from their parents. And in my first 100 days, I would immediately change that. And I would add one more thing. I have been in the arena.
HAUC: Thank you, Senator.
KLOBUCHAR: Ted Kennedy -- he had made a pretty big allegation against me again, and I think I should have a right to respond. He had...
BUTTIGIEG: I'm stating the facts, because these are votes that you took, and those votes set you alone among the Democrats running for president.
KLOBUCHAR: That is just...
BUTTIGIEG: No other -- is it true or is it false that no other Democrat from the Senate running for president voted that way?
KLOBUCHAR: First of all, it is -- what you've said about the judges are false. You are comparing me to two colleagues up here on this stage, and you are forgetting one thing.
BUTTIGIEG: Well, I would say anybody who ran for president this cycle, Senator Harris, Senator Booker saw through this.
KLOBUCHAR: You know what, Pete? If you could let me finish, since I've been in the arena. Ted Kennedy asked me to work on the first immigration bill. We were able with President Bush to at least get that bill to a vote. I'm sorry that Senator Sanders actually opposed that bill, and I worked on it. And if we had gotten that bill done, there would have been a path to citizenship for so many people.
Then I worked on the 2013 bill. I'm actually so proud of the work I have done on immigration reform. And you know what? You have not been in the arena doing that work. You've memorized a bunch of talking points and a bunch of things, but I can tell you one thing.
What the people of this country want, they want a leader that has the heart for the immigrants of this country, and that is me.
BUTTIGIEG: You know, maybe leading a diverse city that was facing ruin doesn't sound like the arena to you. I'm used to senators telling mayors that senators are more important than mayors, but this is the arena, too. You don't have to be in Washington to matter. You don't have to be on Capitol Hill for your work to be significant.
WARREN: Can we talk more...
TODD: Guys, guys, we are at the end here. We are at the end here. I've got to let that one go.
We are less than two weeks away from a national primary. And I want to ask all of you this simple question. There's a very good chance none of you are going to have enough delegates to the Democratic National Convention to clench this nomination, OK?
If that happens, I want all of your opinions on this. Should the person with the most delegates at the end of this primary season be the nominee, even if they are short of a majority? Senator Sanders, I'm going to let you go last here, because I know your view on this.
So instead, I will start with you, Mayor Bloomberg.
BLOOMBERG: Whatever the rules of the Democratic Party are, they should be followed. And if they have a process, which I believe they do...
TODD: OK, I'm trying to do this yes or no to make it fast.
BLOOMBERG: ... everybody else -- everybody can...
TODD: So you want the convention to work its will?
TODD: Senator Warren?
WARREN: But a convention working its will means that people have the delegates that are pledged to them and they keep those delegates until you come to the convention.
TODD: Should the leading person?
WARREN: All of the people.
TODD: OK. All righty. Vice President Biden?
BIDEN: Play by the rules.
TODD: Yes or no, leading person with the delegates, should they be the nominee or not?
BIDEN: No, let the process work its way out.
TODD: Mayor Buttigieg?
BUTTIGIEG: Not necessarily. Not until there's a majority.
TODD: Senator Klobuchar?
KLOBUCHAR: Let the process work.
TODD: Senator Sanders?
SANDERS: Well, the process includes 500 super-delegates on the second ballot. So I think that the will of the people should prevail, yes. The person who has the most votes should become the nominee.
TODD: Thank you, guys. Five noes and a yes.
HOLT: We are not done yet. We're back with more from Las Vegas after a short break.
HOLT: Welcome back, everyone. It is time for closing statements. Each candidate will have one minute. And we begin with Senator Klobuchar.
KLOBUCHAR: This has been quite a debate.
And what I want everyone out there watching to remember is that what unites us is so much bigger than what divides us and that we need a candidate that can bring people with her.
Yes, a fired up Democratic base, but also independents and moderate Republicans. And I have done that every single time. I have won every race down to fourth grade. A lot of boasting up here, so thought I'd add that.
Secondly, you need someone who can govern. And I have passed over 100 bills as the lead Democrat.
And, third, you need someone that has the heart to be the president. They were talking a lot about heart conditions up here. We have a president right now that doesn't have a heart.
I love the people of this country. And I ask for the vote of the people of Nevada, because this state gets it. They get that maybe you don't agree with every single thing that's said on this debate stage, but we understand that the heart of America is bigger than any heart that guy has in the White House.
HOLT: Senator Klobuchar, Senator Klobuchar, thank you.
KLOBUCHAR: I ask you to join me at amyklobuchar.com. Thank you.
HOLT: Senator Klobuchar, thank you.
JACKSON: Mayor Bloomberg, to you.
BLOOMBERG: Well, you can join me at mikebloomberg.com, too, if you want, but I'm not asking for any money.
Look, this is a management job, and Donald Trump's not a manager. This is a job where you have to build teams. He doesn't have a team so he goes and makes decisions without knowing what's going on or the implications of what he does. We cannot run the railroad this way.
This country has to pull together and understand that the people that we elect -- and it's not just the president of the United States -- they should have experience, they should have credentials, they should understand what they're doing and the implications thereof.
And then we should as a society try to hold them accountable so the next time they go before the voters, if they haven't done the job, we shouldn't just say, oh, nice person, gives a good speech. We should say, didn't do the job and you're out of here.
JACKSON: Mr. Mayor, thank you.
TODD: Mayor Buttigieg, one minute.
BUTTIGIEG: Nevada, I'm asking for your vote because America is running out of time and this is our only chance to defeat Donald Trump. If you look at the choice between a revolution or the status quo and you don't see where you fit in that picture, then join us. And, yes, go to peteforamerica.com and help out, because we need to draw everybody that we can who believes that we need to empower workers, who believes in climate science, who believes in doing something about gun violence and recognizes that the only way we can do this is to create a sense of belonging in this country that moves us out of the toxic and polarized moment that we are living in today.
I already see an American majority ready to do these things. Now we have a responsibility to galvanize, not polarize, that majority. We cannot afford to lean on the same Washington playbook. We cannot afford to alienate half the country. We must step forward into the future in order to win and in order to govern a country that will be facing issues the likes of which we barely thought of just a few years ago. I'm asking you to join me so that we can deliver that future together.
HAUC: Senator Warren?
WARREN: I grew up fighting. I grew up out in Oklahoma, and I learned it probably from my mother. I watched when my daddy had a heart attack and didn't have any money coming in, when our car was lost and when we were on the edge of losing our home. I watched my mother fight to save our family. And I grew up fighting to save our family, my family.
I eventually made it through school and spent my life as a teacher, and looking into why it is that so many families across this country are struggling and why it gets worse year after year after year.
I for years have fought for unions to say the way we're going to restructure this economy is we're going to get -- make it easier to join a union and get more power into unions. To fight for students who have been cut out of opportunity over and over because of the rising cost of an education.
Look, for me, I am -- of all the people on this stage, I have been a politician the shortest time, but I've been the one out fighting for families the longest time. I promise you this: Give me a chance, I'll go to the White House and I'll fight for your family.
HAUC: Thank you, Senator.
RALSTON: Vice President Biden?
BIDEN: I'm running because so many people...
HOLT: Give us a moment. We'll clear the room and let -- and let -- Senator -- Senator Biden, you have one minute.
BIDEN: Look, I'm running because so many people are being left behind. People I grew up with in Scranton, when my dad lost his job, lost his house, had to move. We moved to Claymont, we found ourselves in a position where we had little ability to get anything done. And my dad worked like hell.
I've learned a lot. I've been knocked down a whole hell of a lot. I know what it's like to be knocked down. But I know we have to get back up. We have to provide some safety and security for the American people.
Right here in Nevada, the site of the most significant mass murder in American history, guns. Our kids are getting sent to school having to hide under desks, learning how to run down corridors to avoid being shot. It's immoral. I'm the only one that's beaten the NRA nationally, and I beat them twice.
With regard to health care, it also is something that is a right. Obamacare has to be expanded. It can be, in fact, cover everybody.
And lastly, I think it's important that on day one, day one, we deal with sending an immigration bill to the desk. The only person in here that has a worse record on immigration is Bernie, because Bernie voted against the 2007 bill.
HOLT: All right.
RALSTON: Thank you, thank you.
BIDEN: Had, in fact, that immigration bill passed, there would be -- 6 million members would be now American citizens.
HOLT: All right. Senator Sanders, you have one minute for your closing remarks.
SANDERS: Unfortunately, LULAC, among other groups, Latino groups, saw that bill having provisions akin to slavery, Joe.
But the bottom line is, all of us are united in defeating the most dangerous president in the modern history of this country. That we agree on. But where we don't agree, I think, is why we are today the only major country on Earth not to guarantee health care to all people, why three people own more wealth than the bottom half of America, when 500,000 people sleep out on the street, why hundreds of thousands of bright young kids can't afford to go to college, and 45 million remain in student debt.
Bottom line here: Real change never takes place from the top on down, never takes place from an oligarchy controlled by billionaires. We need to mobilize millions of people to stand up for justice. That's our campaign. Join us as berniesanders.com. Thank you.
HOLT: Senator, thank you. Folks, thank you. That concludes tonight's debate. Our thanks to my fellow moderators, to the candidates, and of course, to all of you, the audience here and at home. The Nevada caucuses are this Saturday with the South Carolina primary just one week later. Then the big prize, Super Tuesday, on March 3rd. We'll be following it all for you.
For now, for all of us at NBC News, I'm Lester Holt. Good day.