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Democrats Clash Over Health Care, Castro Suggests Biden 'Too Old' to Lead

09-13-2019
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Former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MASS) listen to Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-VT) during the third Democratic debate held in Houston, Texas Thursday night. (Image credit: ABC News)
Former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MASS) listen to Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-VT) during the third Democratic debate held in Houston, Texas Thursday night. (Image credit: ABC News)

The top ten Democrats running to challenge President Trump for the White House jockeyed to distinguish themselves in a third face-off. 

Wedged in between the two most liberal candidates, Senators Bernie Sanders (D-VT) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MASS), front runner Joe Biden case himself as a practical progressive painting Medicare for all as out of touch.

"This is about candor, honesty, big ideas. Well, let's have a big idea. The tax of 2% the senator is talking about - that raises about $3 billion dollars. Guess what. that leaves you about $28 billion dollars short. The senator said before it's going to cost you. There will be a deductible in your paycheck," argued former Vice President Joe Biden.

"Let us be clear Joe. In the United States of America, we are spending twice as much per capita on healthcare as the Canadians or any other major country on earth," said Sanders waving his hands in his signature way.

"This is America," quipped Biden.

"Yeah but Americans don't want to pay twice as much as other countries," responded Sanders.

And while Biden tossed a few arrows he took twice as many. The sharpest came from former Obama Housing Secretary Julian Castro.

"He wants to take credit for Obama's work, but not have to answer to any questions," said Castro.

"I stand with Barack Obama all eight years good, bad and indifferent," Biden responded.

Castro struck another blow still reverberating among Democrats when he played into speculation about Biden's mental acuity. It came as Castro worked to differentiate his health care plan from Biden's.

"My plan would do that. Your plan would not," Castro said.

"They do not have to buy-in. They do not have to buy-in," Biden responded. 

"You just said that. You just said that two minutes ago. You just said two minutes ago that they would have to buy in. You said they would have to buy in. Are you forgetting what you said two minutes ago?  Are you forgetting what you just said two minutes ago?" Castro said to boos as Biden tried to figure out what Castro had said.

Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) made a name for herself by going after Biden in the first debate, but this time she kept her focus on the president.

"Donald Trump in office on trade policy, you know, he reminds me of that guy in the Wizard of Oz. You know, when you pull back the curtain it's a really small dude," she said with a smile as the audience laughed.

During a passionate moment on gun violence, Beto O'Rourke gave the NRA ample ammunition to fire up its base.

"Yes. We're gonna take your AR-15's, your AK-47's. We're not gonna allow it to be used against our fellow Americans anymore," said O'Rourke to applause.

The big question candidates are asking today: will any of their performances move the needle in the polls?

Time will tell.

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