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The Gloves Are Off: Healthcare and Immigration Spark Fierce Debate Among Democrats

(AP Photo)
(AP Photo)

Democrat presidential candidates feuded over health care and immigration last night in the first half of the party's first debate, each fighting to stand out from the crowd.

Ten of the 24 Democrat candidates took to the crowded stage for 2020's first round. Besides occasional shots at the frontrunner Joe Biden they've worked to stay above the fray, but on Wednesday night, the gloves came off.
"There are a lot of politicians who say it's just not possible," charged Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA). "What they're really telling you is they just won't fight for it."
NBC News moderators hit on the top issues like healthcare but it was division over "Medicare for All" that gave viewers the first spark of the evening.
"It's not working. How do you defend a system that's not working?" asked New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio.

"I think that we should be the party that keeps what's working and fixes what's broken," challenged Rep. John Delaney.   
It took nearly 15 minutes before any mention of the name Donald Trump, but the administration's current policies, like Iran, soon took center stage.

"This president and his chicken hawk cabinet have led us to the brink of war with Iran. I served in the war in Iraq at the height of the war in 2005, a war that took over 2,000 of my brothers and sisters in uniform's lives. The American people need to understand that this war with Iran would be far more devastating," said Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI).
The candidates took shots at each other on immigration and recent calls by Julian Castro and Warren to decriminalize illegal border crossing.  
"The reason that they're separating these little children from their families is that they are using section 1325 of that act which criminalizes coming across the border to incarcerate the parents and then separate them. Some of us on this stage have called to end that section, to terminate it, others like Congressman O'Rourke have not," accused Castro.

"You are looking at one small part of this, I am looking at a comprehensive rewrite of our immigration laws," Rep. Beto O'Rourke (D-TX) replied.
When it comes to abortion and keeping Roe v. Wade in place, the presidential contenders stood firm.
"I will make sure that every woman has access to the full range of reproductive services, and that includes birth control, it includes abortion, it includes everything for a woman," said Warren.
"I would appoint judges to the federal bench that understand the precedent of Roe v. Wade and will respect it," said Castro.
Lesser known candidates such as Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan worked hard to appeal to moderates.

"We can talk about climate, we can talk about guns, we can talk about all these issues that we all care about. We have a perception problem with the Democratic Party, we are not connecting to the working class people," said Ryan.  

"If you want to beat Mitch McConnell, this better be a working class party," he continued.
The only biblical reference of the night came from Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) during his rebuke of gun violence.

"I'm tired of hearing people, all they have to offer are thoughts and prayers. In my faith people say faith without works is dead," said Booker.
With this round in the books, Warren received early praise and former HUD Secretary Julian Castro saw Google trends spike 2,400 percent.  

Now it's time to get out another scorecard as the other 10 candidates, including front runners Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), take the stage tonight.


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