MSNBC's Democratic Debate: Liberals Talking to Democrats About Hateful Republicans

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What was the big concern for the liberal hosts of MSNBC’s Democratic debate on Wednesday night? Dealing with the nasty Republicans and figuring out ways to convince them to support impeachment. The first half hour of the event was full of queries on impeachment, as well as fretting over being mean to Joe Biden’s son, and reminders that the GOP opposed Barack Obama. Rachel Maddow offered what could be the most obvious question for the assembled 2020 candidates. 

Rather than focus on issues, she wondered if Senator Elizabeth Warren would lobby her GOP colleagues to remove the President. Not shockingly, Warren said she would! 

 

 

Here’s the first question in full: 

There's ten candidates here tonight. No time to waste. Let's get right to it. We're in the middle of the fourth presidential impeachment proceedings in our nation's history. Ambassador Gordon Sondland delivered testimony today in the House impeachment inquiry that buttressed the case that President Trump withheld military aid to Ukraine and a White House meeting with President Zelensky because he wanted the Ukrainian president to announce investigations that would benefit President Trump politically.

Senator Warren, you have said already that you've seen enough to convict the President and remove him from office. You and four of your colleagues on this stage tonight who are also U.S. senators may soon have to take that vote. Will you try to convince your Republican colleagues in the Senate to vote the same way? And if so, how? 

Andrea Mitchell warned Joe Biden that he couldn’t possibly work with Republicans because they are being mean to his son, Hunter: 

 

 

Vice President Biden, you've suggested in your campaign that if you defeat President Trump, Republicans will start working with Democrats again. But right now, Republicans in Congress, including some of whom you’ve worked with for decades, are demanding investigations, not only of you, but also of your son. How would you get those same Republicans to work with you? 

Mitchell then reminded Mayor Pete Buttigieg that Republicans also opposed Barack Obama. (As though Democrats haven’t provided a unified front against Donald Trump or George W. Bush before him.)  

 

 

Mayor Buttigieg you have said, quote, “I will never allow us to get so wrapped up in the fighting that we start to think fighting is the point.” The Republican Party never stopped fighting President Obama in his eight years in office. So what would you do that President Obama didn't do to change that? 

Meanwhile, Kristen Welker plotted strategy with the Democrats and wondered what Medicare plan they would accept: 

Senator Warren you are running on medicare for all. Democrats have been winning elections even in red states with a very different message on health care. Protecting ObamaCare, Democrats are divided on this issue. What do you say to voters who are worried that your position on Medicare for all could cost you critical votes in the general election? 

A transcript of the first half hour of questions can be found below: 

MSNBC debate
11/20/19

9:01

RACHEL MADDOW:

There's ten candidates here tonight. No time to waste. Let's get right to it. We're in the middle of the fourth presidential impeachment proceedings in our nation's history. Ambassador Gordon Sondland delivered testimony today in the House impeachment inquiry that buttressed the case that President Trump withheld military aid to Ukraine and a White House meeting with President Zelensky because he wanted the Ukrainian president to announce investigations that would benefit President Trump politically.

Senator Warren, you have said already that you've seen enough to convict the President and remove him from office. You and four of your colleagues on this stage tonight who are also U.S. senators may soon have to take that vote. Will you try to convince your Republican colleagues in the Senate to vote the same way? And if so, how? 

...

MADDOW: Senator Warren, thank you. Senator klobuchar, you've said you support the impeachment inquiry but you want to wait for a senate trial to hear the evidence and make a decision about convicting the president. After the bombshell testimony of Ambassador Sondland today, has that view changed for you? 

...

MADDOW: Senator Sanders, I'd like to go to you. Americans are watching these impeachment hearings at the same time they're also focused on the more immediate daily and economic and family concerns. How central should the President's conduct uncovered by this impeachment inquiry be to any Democratic nominee's campaign for president? How central would it be to yours? 

...

MADDOW: Mayor Buttigieg, let me put the same question to you. How central should the President's conduct uncovered by the impeachment inquiry be to a Democratic nominee’s campaign? How central would it be to yours? 

...

ANDREA MITCHELL: Vice President Biden, you've suggested in your campaign that if you defeat President Trump, Republicans will start working with Democrats again. But right now, Republicans in Congress, including some of whom you’ve worked with for decades, are demanding investigations, not only of you, but also of your son. How would you get those same Republicans to work with you? 
...

MITCHELL: Senator Harris, your thoughts about that? 

...

MITCHELL: Senator Warren, you have cast yourself as a fighter. If you were elected, though, you would be walking into an existing fight. A country that is already very divided over the Trump presidency, among other things. Do you see that divide as permanent, or do you need to bring the country together if you become president to achieve your goals? 

...

MITCHELL: Senator Booker, do you agree with that strategy? 

...

MITCHELL: Senator Warren, you wanted to respond? 

...

MITCHELL: Let me let Senator Booker respond. 

...

MITCHELL: Senator Warren, just briefly, your last thoughts on this? 

...

MITCHELL: Mayor Buttigieg you have said, quote, “I will never allow us to get so wrapped up in the fighting that we start to think fighting is the point.” The Republican Party never stopped fighting President Obama in his eight years in office. So what would you do that President Obama didn't do to change that? 

...

KRISTEN WELKER: Let's talk about Medicare for all. Senator Warren you are running on medicare for all. Democrats have been winning elections even in red states with a very different message on health care. Protecting ObamaCare, Democrats are divided on this issue. What do you say to voters who are worried that your position on Medicare for all could cost you critical votes in the general election? 

...

WELKER: Senator Sanders, I want to bring you into the conversation. I want to ask you the question 

BERNIE: Thank you. I wrote the damn bill. 

WELKER: I want to ask you the question this way, Senator Sanders. You described your campaign, including your plans for Medicare, as a political revolution. President Obama explicitly said the country, is quote, “less revolutionary than it is interested in improvement. The average American doesn't think we have to completely tear down the system and remake it,” end quote. Is president Obama wrong? 

... 

WELKER: Vice President Biden? 

...

ASHLEY PARKER: Congresswoman Gabbard, you have criticized Hillary Clinton as the, quote, “personification of the rot that has sickened the Democratic Party.” What is the rot you see in the Democratic Party? 

...

PARKER: Senator Harris, any response? 

...

PARKER: Thank you Senator. Congresswoman Gabbard, I’ll give you a chance to respond. 

...

PARKER: I want to briefly give Senator Harris a final second to respond. 

...

PARKER: Mr. Steyer, you have denounced the special interests that pour hundreds of millions of dollars into the political process to influence it. But, in fact, you have spent over $300 million of your own money in support of your political goals. How do you respond to critics who see you as the embodiment of a special interest? 

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