CNN Treats Senator Elizabeth Warren to a Cakewalk Town Hall

NewsBusters has been monitoring CNN’s town halls with the Democratic presidential hopefuls for 2020, and Monday’s event with Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren at Jackson State University in Jackson, Mississippi, hosted by Jake Tapper, was arguably the easiest for any candidate so far.

Out of the 31 total questions asked, 22 of them were from the audience, only three of them were from the right (none from Tapper), and only one of them offered criticism of the Senator. The prescreened questions from the audience also included six from a neutral position (8 from Tapper), but 12 from the left (1 from Tapper).

The first question was from Jackson State University doctoral candidate Christopher Lane who asked Warren about how she was going to convince white Republicans to vote for her when they were to dumb to vote in their own interest:

Mississippi is a deeply red state and one of the poorest states in the country. Yet many white poor and working-class citizens continue to vote against their economic interests. What message, if any, do you have that may resonate with them that may encourage them to vote for you?

The next two questions were from women who wanted to know about how Warren planned to unify the country after President Trump brought about an increase in hate crimes, and what her plan was for some form of reparations.

The first question from the right came from high school history teacher Paul Buckley:

Conservatives are using the socialist label as a means of attack. So how and to what degree will your policies encourage the traditional value of self-reliance offering financially challenged a hand up but not a handout.

 

 

Among some of the easiest questions for her involved her go to talking points:

LATOYA HUBBARD: Do you have any plans of relieving federally funded overwhelming student loan debt burdens, being that many middle class and poor individuals obtained those loans to create a better future but are having issues doing that?

(…)

ARREONE HILL: Hi. With Jackson, Mississippi having a very high homicide rate will there be any revisions to gun control to help ensure less killings throughout the metropolitan city?

(…)

MARY CRUMP: Thank you, Senator Warren, for being here. How do you plan to make sure the extremely rich pay their fair taxes?

Of course, there was the obligatory, “What is your position on the impeachment of Donald Trump?”

Warren also got a question from the audience about encouraging alternative energy. It was one of the few questions Tapper asked a follow up for and it was to tee her up to promote increasing the gas tax. “And as you know, the federal gas tax has not been raised since 1993, leaving many states to fend for themselves to maintain the roads and bridges. Would you support theoretically raising the gas tax to pay for the infrastructure needs?” Warren was not for it because it disproportionally landed on poorer folks.

A question Tapper refused to ask a follow up for was this scorcher from lawyer and U.S. Army Reserve Officer Brennan Breeland:

Good evening, Senator. How do you respond to people who think that, regardless of the underlying facts, the way you handled the question of your Native American heritage was tone deaf, offensive, and indicative of a lack of presidential tact?

Tapper really should have pressed Warren because in her answer she suggested she never received any career benefit from her claims of Native American heritage, when we know that to false.

The final question of the night was this softball question from Tapper himself:

I have one final question for you, Senator. Faith is very important to many people across the country. It's very important to many people in Mississippi. What role does faith play in your life, your public life and your private life?

Tapper and CNN definitely had their kid gloves on for this town hall.

The transcript is below, click "expand" to read:

CNN Presidential Town Hall: Elizabeth Warren
March 18, 2019
9:02:03 p.m. Eastern

(…)

CHRISTOPHER LANE: Good evening Senator, my question is: Mississippi is a deeply red state and one of the poorest states in the country. Yet many white poor and working-class citizens continue to vote against their economic interests. What message, if any, do you have that may resonate with them that may encourage them to vote for you?

(…)

KHALITA HICKS: Good evening. Since the election of Donald Trump, the number of hate crimes has increased and white supremacists have become more embolden online and in public. What are your plans to unite the country?

(…)

GEORGIA COHRAN: Please, please, describe to me what a public apology for 400 years of free labor in the south, especially Mississippi, will look like in the African American community in the new election? In the new administration.

(…)

PAUL BUCKLEY: Conservatives are using the socialist label as a means of attack. So how and to what degree will your policies encourage the traditional value of self-reliance offering financially challenged a hand up but not a handout.

(…)

JAKE TAPPER: You talk about how your family stood at the brink of financial disaster through a good part of your childhood. How has that shaped your life in the Senate?

(…)

LATOYA HUBBARD: Do you have any plans of relieving federally funded overwhelming student loan debt burdens, being that many middle class and poor individuals obtained those loans to create a better future but are having issues doing that?

(…)

BRENNAN BREELAND: Good evening, Senator. How do you respond to people who think that, regardless of the underlying facts, the way you handled the question of your Native American heritage was tone deaf, offensive, and indicative of a lack of presidential tact?

(…)

ARREONE HILL: Hi. With Jackson, Mississippi having a very high homicide rate will there be any revisions to gun control to help ensure less killings throughout the metropolitan city?

(…)

MARY CRUMP: Thank you, Senator Warren, for being here. How do you plan to make sure the extremely rich pay their fair taxes?

(…)

MAGGIE SPITZ: Presently the state of Mississippi imposes a special tax on owners of electric and hybrid vehicles as a penalty for paying less in gas taxes. Do you believe this is the right approach considering the warnings about climate change, and what would you propose to encourage the increased use of alternative energy?

(…)

TAPPER: Senator, I just want to follow up on Maggie's question because she talked about the gas. And as you know, the federal gas tax has not been raised since 1993, leaving many states to fend for themselves to maintain the roads and bridges. Would you support theoretically raising the gas tax to pay for the infrastructure needs?

(…)

ALLY MACK: What is your position on the impeachment of Donald Trump?

(…)

DANIEL BAMRICK: As a veteran, I've seen the amazing capability of our armed forces. But I was also shocked to see the lack of clearly defined goals and objectives coming down from the highest level. It also worries me that military service itself is becoming a very uncommon experience for the U.S. population at large. So as president, my question is what would you do to provide clear, achievable goals for our military and to broaden the participation rate of American citizens in what is their government's largest organization?

(…)

TAPPER: I have one final question for you, Senator. Faith is very important to many people across the country. It's very important to many people in Mississippi. What role does faith play in your life, your public life and your private life?

(…)

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