MIAMI, Fla. (CBSNewYork) – For the second time in as many days, 10 Democrats shared the presidential debate stage and on Thursday the heavy hitters tried to steal the spotlight from each other.
They clashed over a number of ideas including government run healthcare and free college tuition.
This was much more of a slugfest than the first night as passions were high and snide comments a common occurrence.
Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders was center right on the debate stage, former vice president Joe Biden center left. Currently, they’re the most popular Democrats seeking the presidency in 2020. They were also the two most popular targets on the debate stage.
Sanders was targeted because he is an unabashed socialist.
“If we don’t clearly define that we are not socialists the Republicans are going to come at us every way they can,” former Colorado governor John Hickenlooper said.
Joe Biden was targeted because he’s been in politics for such a long, long time.
“Joe Biden was right when he said it was time to pass the torch to a new generation of Americans 32 years ago,” California Rep Eric Swalwell said. “He’s still right today. If we’re going to solve the issues of automation, pass the torch.”
“I’m still holding on to that torch, I want to make it clear to you,” Biden argued.
Chaos quickly ensued, with everyone talking over each other.
The debate questions ranged from the economy, free tuition and student debt, and health care. Candidates were asked for a show of hands if they support forcing Americans to give up private insurance for government Medicare-for-all.
Sanders raised his hand. New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand was a big supporter too.
“Everybody who says Medicare-for-all, every person in politics who allows that phrase to pass their lips has a responsibility to explain how you’re actually going to get from here to there,” Pete Buttigieg argued.
“The quickest fastest way is to build on Obamacare,” Biden added.
“Bernie mentioned the taxes we’d have to pay… because of those taxes, Vermont rejected Medicare-for-all,” Sen. Michael Bennett countered.
In a show of hands, all 10 candidates said their government health care plans would provide coverage for undocumented immigrants. That provoked President Trump to chime in from the G20 summit in Japan.
“How about taking care of American citizens first?” the president tweeted, adding “that’s the end of that race!”