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Democratic debate brings fewer candidates to the stage as some stand-outs emerge

Dec 20, 2019, 5:53 AM
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - DECEMBER 19: Former Vice President Joe Biden and  Vermont Sen. Bernie San...
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - DECEMBER 19: Former Vice President Joe Biden and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders speak during the Democratic presidential primary debate at Loyola Marymount University on December 19, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. Seven candidates out of the crowded field qualified for the sixth and last Democratic presidential primary debate of 2019 hosted by PBS NewsHour and Politico. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
(Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Many Utahns were watching Thursday night’s Democratic presidential debates held at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles.  One of them, KSL NewsRadio web content editor Curt Gresseth, says there were some strong showings, including 37-year-old South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, who, Gresseth says, was a big target Thursday night.

“He was a target for both Senators Elizabeth Warren and Amy Klobuchar.  Warren went after his fundraising efforts involving some bottles of wine at an event.  Apparently each bottle went for $900.00, so she hammered him on that, but he was ready with a comeback – saying HE was the only candidate on that stage who was not a millionaire or a billionaire. The billionaire reference was most likely aimed at candidate Tom Steyer,” recalled Gresseth.

Competing health care plans were debated in a back-and-forth between former Vice President Joe Biden and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders.  Sanders’ health care plan would run between $20 and $40 trillion, according to Biden.  Biden’s plan would be more compatible with Obamacare, which is more affordable and would be an easier sell to the American people than Sanders’ Medicare for all.

Gresseth says one of the more interesting candidates in Thursday night’s debate was entrepreneur Andrew Yang.  One of his key issues was climate change, sounding the alarm that it might be too late, and people may now need to move to higher ground.  Yang raised some eyebrows by being the only candidate on the stage that believed nuclear power should still be an option.  That drew the attention of billionaire Tom Steyer, who said nuclear power was too risky, with the better option being wind and solar.

Another standout on the campus of Loyola Marymount Thursday night, according to Gresseth, was Amy Klobuchar, who he said was “on fire.”  He says she came on pretty strong, relating her strengths as a Midwesterner.

“She stressed that somebody from the Midwest is going to understand more about things like trade for farmers and climate change,” says Gresseth.

Gresseth says Senator Elizabeth Warren, who he says once again Thursday night came out guns blazing, got some time to push her 2-percent wealth tax.  She says with that, Americans could be able to afford child care and would also help eliminate student debt.  Rival Senator Bernie Sanders touted his plan for Medicare for all, a plan to raise the minimum wage and cancel student debt, which he said he would fund with a tax on billionaires on Wall St.

The debate came a day after a highly contentious vote to impeach President Donald Trump. With the Republican-controlled Senate likely to acquit him, the stakes are high for Democrats to select a challenger who can defeat Trump in November.

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Democratic debate brings fewer candidates to the stage as some stand-outs emerge