Former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) will debate this evening in a near-empty studio in Washington, DC.
The debate–sponsored by CNN, Univision, and the CHC Bold PAC–was scheduled to be held in Arizona but moved to D.C. for precautionary reasons due to the coronavirus outbreak.
CNN’s Dana Bash and Jake Tapper will moderate the debate with Univision’s Ilia Calderón.
Stay tuned to Breitbart News for live updates. All times eastern
11:55 PM: Biden’s team does not seem ready for prime time:
Surprising post-debate comment from Biden senior adviser Anita Dunn: “It’s safe to say Vice President Biden showed up to a debate tonight and for two hours graciously [dealt] with a kind of protester who often shows up at campaign events, on live television.”
— Natasha Korecki (@natashakorecki) March 16, 2020
10:40 PM: On CNN, Sanders doesn’t quite answer the question when asked if there should be primaries on Tuesday. But he says it doesn’t make a lot of sense to have elderly poll workers checking registrations, etc. He points out New York postponed a primary shortly after 9/11 and two states (GA, LA) have already postponed their primaries.
Team Biden’s response:
Top Biden adviser Symone Sanders, asked on CNN about Bernie Sanders questioning whether voting should take place on Tuesday: “Democracy is extremely important, in times fo war, in times of strife.”
She points to governors in those states saying they can administer the process.
— Matt Viser (@mviser) March 16, 2020
Sanders camp wants a correction:
The only guidance we have so far is that we should not gather in groups of 50 people or more.
I’m sure it’s an honest mistake, but this is a public health crisis.
— Briahna Joy Gray (@briebriejoy) March 16, 2020
Final Breakdown: Candidates spoke for virtually the same amount of time at tonight's #DemDebate
Joe Biden — 46:40
Bernie Sanders — 46:46
— Nicole Sganga (@NicoleSganga) March 16, 2020
9:57 PM: Biden says says we have to understand that this is an all-hands-on-deck situation that is bigger than self. He says we have to listen to the science and the best science to tell us what needs to stay open and closed. He says we have to get rid of Trump because he is exacerbating every single one of the problems associated with the coronavirus.
9:55 PM: Sanders closing message on coronavirus: Sanders says his heart goes out to everyone. He says we need to move aggressively to make sure everyone with symptoms understands they will get all the health care they need. He talks about moving aggressively to get ventilators and test kits. He says in this moment of economic uncertainty, it is time to ask where the power is in America. Who owns the media? Who owns the economy? Who owns the legislative process?
Sanders says it is also a time to re-think America and create a country where we care about each other instead of a country of “greed and corruption” that only benefits the corporate elite.
I agree with Bernie.
Coronavirus reveals our rigged priorities and the utter weakness of our social safety nets:
Banks are getting tax cuts while working people are risking their health because they have no paid sick leave and can't afford a hefty medical bill.#DemDebate
— Robert Reich (@RBReich) March 16, 2020
9:48 PM: Sanders asked why his message is not resonating with African-Americans. Sanders gives a roundabout answer about winning the “ideological struggle.” He says almost every state has supported “Medicare for all.” Sanders says he is also winning the “generational struggle” in the states. Young black voters are going for Sanders. Sanders says you need “energy and excitement” to defeat Trump. Sanders is right–Democrats have to energize their young voters because Trump will energize young voters on the right.
Biden claims the “energy and excitement” has taken place for him even though he didn’t have any money to compete in the states he won.
9:46 PM: Bash asks Biden about vulnerabilities. She says Sanders is winning over Latinos and asks why his message is not resonating with Hispanics. Biden says his message is “resonating across the board.” Biden says he is winning because voters know he is a “Democrat with a capital D.”
Both just spoke about who they are winning.
Interesting and telling moment for both men.
— Yamiche Alcindor (@Yamiche) March 16, 2020
9:42 PM: Tapper asks Biden what he learned from the Iraq mistake. He says he learned not to trust a president when he says he will not use force.
9:36 PM: Calderon asks Sanders why Cubans in Florida would vote for Sanders after he praised Castro. Sanders says his life record is opposing “authoritarianism.” Sanders unforced error on 60 Minutes still haunting him. But Sanders now talks about how China has reduced poverty over the last 40-50 years.
Calderon asks Biden about Obama’s comments praising Cuba’s health care and education system. Biden says Obama was trying to change policy when asked how Obama’s comments were different from Sanders. Biden again calls out Sanders for praising the Sandinistas, Castro, today’s China.
Sanders won’t let his point on China go. And Biden asks what South Korea and other countries will think if someone like Sanders keeps talking up China’s accomplishments.
Sanders should probably give up on this China and Cuba did X Y or Z to benefit their ppl while still being awful regimes. Nuance doesn't really work in this political climate.
— Haralabos Voulgaris (@haralabob) March 16, 2020
9:25 PM: Biden again brings up Darfur when talking about climate change. Sanders keeps talking about stopping fracking and telling the the fossil fuel industry that they will stop destroying the planet.
Re-entering the Paris accord “is fine, who cares?”
That was a mistake by @BernieSanders. He can argue about whether Biden’s plan is strong enough but Paris matters.
Sanders pulls back a bit on Paris comment after @JoeBiden calls him on it.#DemDebate
— EJ Dionne (@EJDionne) March 16, 2020
9:18 PM: Calderon says Biden opposed sanctuary cities in 2007 and asks if undocumented immigrants should be turned over by police. Biden says “no.” Sanders as well.
9:16 PM: Biden at his worst talking about process again. Saying Ted Kennedy wasn’t for “slavery” and talking about a random appearance by Sanders on Lou Dobbs show. All he has to say is he understands now immigrants can be exploited to hurt American workers. Again, he just sounds like an entitled and unprepared senator trying to wing his way through this.
Biden’s campaign and the left hilariously showing how much they don’t get the concerns of American workers. And they wonder how Trump get elected.
Bernie Sanders: “[Immigration reform] would bring low-wage workers into this country in order to depress the already declining wages of American workers. With poverty increasing and the middle-class shrinking, we must not force American workers into even more economic distress.” https://t.co/L0eCcljo3P
— Corey Ciorciari (@CoreyCiorciari) March 16, 2020
51% of Democrats and those who lean Democratic say illegal immigration is a “moderately big” or “very big” problem in the country today, according to a January Pew Research Center survey. https://t.co/KzNlEgsvvU pic.twitter.com/HaCl2llcPq
— FiveThirtyEight (@FiveThirtyEight) March 16, 2020
9:12 PM: Calderon asks Biden if his administration made a big mistake in deporting so many illegal immigrants. She wants a commitment that there wouldn’t be mass deportations.
Biden says he has said that it took much too long to get it right. He says nobody will be deported at all in the first 100 days of his administration. Biden says after that only felons will get deported and everyone else will get to stay.
Sanders wants to respond to Biden’s criticisms against Sanders’ 2007 vote against McCain-Kennedy. Sanders says Obama also voted with him because we don’t need “slavery in America” with some of the guest-worker provisions in the bill that even LULAC opposed.
Sanders now going over his immigration agenda. He says no agent will grab little babies from the arms of their mothers.
Sanders says this does not send a message that when a Democrat is in the White House, the border is open.
9:09 PM: Biden says his administration will look like America and will pick a woman to be his vice president. In previous interviews, Biden seemed to indicate he was looking for someone like Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA). Sanders says, “in all likelihood,” he will.
8:59 PM: Sanders says he said the country can’t deal with a “pathological liar” who is the most dangerous president in history. Sanders says if he doesn’t win the nomination, he is willing to do anything that is humanely possible to defeat Trump.
Sanders pivots back to the Green New Deal and begins to go after Biden from taking cash from the fossil fuel industry before the debate cuts to a break.
8:58 PM: Biden is asked how he will appeal to Sanders supporters. He says he will back Sanders if Sanders is the nominee because Trump is the “existential threat.” He says he hopes Sanders will do the same. Biden says both he and Sanders agree that health care is a “right.” He also says they both agree on the “New Green Deal.”
Biden also says Trump is the one who wants to cut Social Security, Medicare.
8:54 PM: Sanders says it is “circular logic” that Biden wants to reform the bill he voted for. He says they may not have to reform it had Biden rallied around others to vote against it. Sanders now pressing Biden on gay marriage. He says he voted against the Defense of Marriage Act and Biden voted for it. He says he against the Iraq War and NAFTA while Biden voted for it. Sanders says he voted against the Hyde Amendment while Biden voted for it. Sanders says it “take courage sometimes” to do the right thing.
Biden says Sanders voted against background checks five times and is now calling out Sanders on guns. He is criticizing Sanders for voting to ensure that gun manufacturers can’t get sued. Biden also says he started a “ripple effect” when he was the first major player in the Obama administration that said he supported gay marriage.
Sanders says in this time of crisis, the people of America know his record. He says he has stood with working families and taken on every special interest that is out there for 30 years. Sanders says that is what he will do in the White House and that is a totally different record than Joe’s.
8:51 PM: Sanders says this is about leadership and says Biden wrote some of the bill. He says the bankruptcy bill prevented students from getting out of student debt. Sanders says he voted against it in the House and he was right. He says leadership is “having the guts” to take unpopular votes. Biden seems agitated and snaps and claims he didn’t help write the Bankruptcy Bill. Sanders says he’s proud of his leadership on many issues and says Joe has come around. Biden seems like someone who is entitled and doesn’t like being called out on inconsistencies. In many ways, he’s reminding Democrats of what they hate about Trump.
8:50 PM: Biden now asked about his support for the bankruptcy bill. Biden says it passed overwhelmingly and claims he improved it with two amendments. He says he did not like the rest of the bill. Biden says he talked to Warren about her proposal and this is the first chance they had to make substantial change.
8:45 PM: Sanders now calling out Biden on Social Security and Medicare. He asks if Biden ever went on the Senate floor calling for cuts to Social Security or for Bowles-Simpson. Sanders asks people to go to YouTube and wants Biden to tell the truth.
Sanders wants Biden to be “straight with the American people.” Biden says “that is not true” when Sanders asks if he has ever been on the Senate floor time and time again calling for cuts to Social Security. “Whoa, whoa, whoa,” Sanders says. He says Biden “just contradicted yourself.” Sanders says one minute he said he was not on the floor and now he’s bringing up deficit. Biden tries to weasel himself out by saying he never “voted” to cut Social Security but that is not what Sanders asked.
Sanders asks Biden for the third time. Biden denies. Sanders asks Americans to go to YouTube because he can’t deny reality.
Sanders camp tweeting this video:
— David Sirota (@davidsirota) March 16, 2020
8:39 PM: Biden says Sanders’ revolution will disrupt a lot of things and he again goes after the cost for Medicare for all. He says people want results now and not a revolution. Sanders asks why America is the only major country that doesn’t guarantee health care and doesn’t provide paid sick leave. He says it all comes down to the power structure. He says donors who control the legislative agenda have the power. He says you need to take on Wall Street, the drug companies, and the insurance companies, and the fossil fuel industries. He says you don’t take campaign contributions from them.
Biden calls for federal funding of all elections via a Constitutional amendment. Sanders doesn’t want Biden laughing after Sanders calls on Biden to condemn his Super PACs that are running negative ads against Sanders. He says he won’t give Biden a break because Biden has condemned Super PACs in the past.
8:36 PM: Bash mentions that those who are over 60 or have underlying conditions are the most vulnerable. She says Sanders is over 60 and has had a heart attack and asks what he is doing to keep safe.
Sanders says he is not shaking hands and is “very careful” about people he is interacting with. He is using a lot of soap and hand sanitizers. He is grateful he does not have any symptoms.
Biden says he is also fortunate he doesn’t have any of the symptoms. Biden says he is taking all the precautions anyone would take. He is not shaking hands. His staff is working from home. He is not doing rallies. He’s not going into crowds. He says he makes sure he doesn’t touch his face.
8:35 PM: Debate turns to immigration. Calderon asks about legal and illegal immigrants and the coronavirus.
Biden says anyone who shows up to get tested for coronavirus “would be held harmless.” Biden says it’s even the xenophobe’s interest for illegal immigrants to come forward to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
Sanders says we have this “absurd situation” in which “undocumented” people who want to do the right thing to prevent coronavirus from spreading are thinking if ICE is going to detain them. Sanders says “we have to end these terrible ICE raids” that are “terrorizing communities.” He then calls for “comprehensive immigration reform” and a “path to citizenship” for all illegal immigrants.
8:30 PM: Sanders asked if he would support bailouts for industries being harmed by the corona virus. Sanders says we need to stabilize the economy but we can’t do what we did in 2008. He says Biden voted for the Wall Street bailouts and he didn’t.
Biden, defending his bailout vote, claims if the banks wend under, all the little people Sanders cares about would have been in big trouble. But Biden says he agrees with Bernie that some of them should have gone to jail.
Biden and Sanders disagree on whether Sanders voted against the auto bailouts.
Biden swipes Bernie’s wealth tax and keeps defending the bailout (doing himself a disservice the more he keeps defending the bailouts).
8:25 PM: Sanders says the crisis (keeps saying Ebola but means corona) exposes the “cruelty” of America’s economy. He says multimillionaires will get through this but “half of our people are living paycheck to paycheck.” He says the lesson to be learned is we have to move aggressively to address the “fragility of economy” and how “unjust it is that” so few have so much.
Biden says people don’t want a revolution. He then keeps talking about “making people whole” so people don’t have “significant financial disabilities” because of the (says sars but means corona) virus.
So far, Sanders has called this coronavirus Ebola and Biden has called this coronavirus SARS
— Kathryn Watson (@kathrynw5) March 16, 2020
8:23 PM: Biden says we need a major “bailout package” that makes individuals whole and doesn’t reward corporations. Biden says the Fed will be of little consequence now because they have used all of their leverage. Biden says people need to be know their mortgages, rents will be paid and their child care will also be paid for during the coronavirus crisis. Biden again cuts himself off. Becoming more awkward each time.
8:21 PM: Sanders says this is not the time to be “punishing people” when asked about China’s role in the coronavirus crisis. He says we have to work with China, Italy, WHO, etc. Biden says he has insisted that we should have our experts in China and make it clear to China there would be consequences if we were denied access. Sanders says we must tell the big companies that this is not a time for “profiteering.”
8:19 PM: Sanders says we need to learn from the last bailout that the government only cared about Wall Street. Biden claims we have learned this lesson (terrible answer by a candidate who seems like he is also winging a lot of this). Biden’s hectoring tone is also not the most reassuring.
8:18 PM: Sanders, when asked if he would deploy the military, says he would use all disposable tools. He says the New York did the right thing calling up the National Guard. Sanders goes right back to talking about the economic fallout. He asks what happens to workers who will lose their jobs after restaurants are shut down. He says if Trump can provide $1.5 trillion to the banks, workers should get a “check” to be “made whole.”
Biden says he would call up the military “now” because they have the capacity to help hospitals with the anticipated surge.
8:16 PM: Biden doesn’t want to argue anymore on this and says this is “like a war” and “a national emergency” and “it’s like being attacked from abroad.”
8:15 PM: Biden says this is not about “co-pays” and Sanders says there are various loopholes that will still make Americans pay for treatments. Sanders says we need a “simple system” that exists in countries like Canada–if you are an American, you get the health care that you need. Sanders wonders if we have the guts to take on the health care/pharmaceutical industries that are funding Biden’s campaign.
8:11 PM: Sanders says Trump only exacerbates the health crisis (disfunction) that is obvious to anyone right now. Sanders says the experts are saying that one of the reasons we are unprepared is because “we don’t have a system” and instead the country has thousands of private insurance plans.
8:09 PM: Biden, when asked about a national quarantine, says he would call a meeting in the Situation Room of all the experts and ask them what the country has to do. Biden says there is a single-payer system in Italy and “it doesn’t work there.” But Biden says the government should ensure that nobody should have to pay for treatment. Biden says instead of doing this in the United States, he would bring together the leading experts in the world like the Obama administration did with the Ebola crisis. He says governors are making “sound decisions” in the absence of such leadership.
8:08 PM: Sanders says we aren’t prepared for this pandemic. People can’t afford prescriptions because “we have a bunch of crooks” running Big Pharma who are “ripping us off.” He says rural hospitals are shutting down and people are not insured. He says Pharma execs are salivating about profits right now and wants to ensure people that “drug companies won’t rip us off.”
8:06 PM: Biden says we have to be providing for hospitals that are going to be needed because the present system can’t handle the surge that is likely to come. He accidentally says we did this before with the coronavirus before correcting himself and talking about the H1N1 virus.
8:05 PM: Sanders says the most important he would do tonight to save American lives is to “shut this president up right now because he is undermining” doctors and scientists by “blabbering” with “unfactual conclusions.”
Sanders says every person should be assured that if they get sick with the coronavirus, they won’t have to pay for treatment and testing.
8:02 PM: Biden, when asked what he would say to Americans confronting the new reality, says his heart goes out to people who have lost loved ones and calls for a “national rallying.” Biden says we have to take care of those who have been exposed and are likely to be exposed with test kits. Second, he wants to make sure every state has at least 10 drive-thru testing centers. He talks about the need for additional hospital beds. Says Department of Defense and FEMA can set them up. Biden says we have to deal with the economic fallout. He again says that he sees his time is up in what is becoming a very awkward crutch.
Biden coughs into his hand about six works into his first response. The kind of thing we didn't notice a week ago.
— Rick Klein (@rickklein) March 16, 2020
8:00 PM: Debate is about to get started. Tapper calls this a “unique event.” Tapper says he hopes this debate becomes a “conversation.”
7:58 PM: On CNN, McAuliffe says Democrats can come out of tonight because Trump’s tweets today show that something is wrong with him. “Insanity,” he says.
7:55 PM: Biden and Sanders are on stage. They elbow-bump instead of shaking hands.
7:45 PM: Biden ready to reach out to Sanders supporters:
Senior Biden aide on tonight's debate: "Joe Biden will make it clear to Senator Sanders' supporters that there's space for them…we welcome your support, but we're also going to welcome their ideas, their passion and their commitment to the issues they care so deeply about." https://t.co/T65LylQtMe
— Johnny Verhovek (@JTHVerhovek) March 15, 2020
Tonight is Joe Biden's first time in a one-on-one debate for the office of the presidency .,. but he has debated one-on-one twice for the office of VP …. pic.twitter.com/mAaj9HnQtQ
— Howard Mortman (@HowardMortman) March 15, 2020
The stage is set for tonight's 8pm ET debate. The podiums are placed 6 feet apart, in accordance with CDC guidelines. pic.twitter.com/90UXo1Z74X
— CNN Communications (@CNNPR) March 15, 2020
This is what voters will be thinking about when assessing candidates from both parties.
Sorry in advance for the language but at times like this it becomes very easy to distinguish the people who truly care about others from the greedy selfish asshole pricks. (I blame @CSimmsQB for encouraging me to say this.)
— ProFootballTalk (@ProFootballTalk) March 12, 2020