Advertisement
  1. Florida Politics
  2. /
  3. The Buzz

Elizabeth Warren gets first, and last, word in debate

Warren quickly set the tone for the evening with a succinct answer during Wednesday night’s debate.
Elizabeth Warren [Miami Herald]
Published Jun. 27

Before she even began to speak — and she did quite a bit of that Wednesday night — Elizabeth Warren stood out among her fellow Democratic presidential candidates in a more visual way. In a row of dark-colored suits and ties, the liberal firebrand’s purple blazer caught one’s eye from center stage.

Then the questions started rolling in, and it became clear that the Massachusetts senator would dominate at least a portion of the evening. Warren, the only candidate speaking at the first Democratic presidential debate who is polling in double digits nationally, was the first candidate to speak. And her policy proposals were referenced in the opening questions to other candidates, too.

After rattling off the several detailed policy proposals that have brought her nationwide attention, the moderators questioned the candidates to Warren’s left and right on their positions on Warren’s stances.

“You have many plans,” began moderator Savannah Guthrie. “Free college, free child care, government healthcare, cancellation of student debt, new taxes, new regulations, the breakup of major corporations. ... What do you say to those who worry this kind of significant change could be risky to the economy?”

Warren quickly set the tone for the evening with a succinct answer.

“When you’ve got a government, when you’ve got an economy that does great for those with money and isn’t doing great for everyone else, that is corruption pure and simple,” Warren said. “We need to call it out. We need to attack it head on, and we need to make structural change in our government, in our economy and in our country.”

None of her opponents openly disagreed with her or moved to jab her on the more progressive portions of her plan.

Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, who once called programs like free college something she might pass if she were a “magic genie,” said she was concerned about student debt and the price of college.

“I don’t think I disagree,” said Booker, when asked whether he supported Warren’s plan to break up tech monopolies. “I think we have a serious problem in our country with corporate consolidation.”

Warren is polling at about 12 percent nationally, according to an analysis of polling data through June 20 by The New York Times. Six of the 10 candidates on stage Wednesday at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts in downtown Miami are polling below 1 percent.

The other headliners Wednesday — former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke, New Jersey Sen. Corey Booker and Klobuchar — are polling at 3 percent, 2 percent and 1 percent, respectively, according to the Times’ analysis.

Warren was the sole representative of the top five polling candidates. The other four will debate Thursday night.

Warren’s plans include raising taxes on the nation’s most profitable companies and wealthiest individuals, wiping out student loan debt for millions of Americans, investing $2 trillion in clean energy research and manufacturing, and ending the private detention of undocumented child migrants captured crossing the U.S.-Mexico border.

After speaking first, Warren got the closing words as well. And the closing cheers.

“I am in this fight because I believe that we can make our government, we can make our economy, we can make our country work,” she said. “Not just for those at the top. We can make it work for everyone. And I promise you this: I will fight for you as hard as I fight for my own family.”

Less than 50 miles south of the site of the 2018 school shooting in Parkland — and 30 miles north of the Homestead child migrant detention center — the performing arts center was a truly central location. And the candidates were questioned on gun control and immigration.

Warren said the federal government should treat gun violence as a public health emergency and conduct research into the disproportionally high levels of gun fatalities in the United States. Apart from passing universal background checks and banning assault weapons, she said, researchers need to present data to the government that instructs further action.

“We need to treat this like the virus that’s killing our children, treat it like a serious research problem [and] bring data to bear,” she said. “Gun violence is a national health emergency in this country and we need to treat it as such.”

She called climate change the main, existential threat the country is facing.

Asked about how she would deal with a Republican-controlled Senate as president, Warren said her fight would not end in 2020.

“Do you have a plan to deal with Mitch McConnell?” asked moderator Chuck Todd.

“I do,” she said, to laughter and applause.

“We are a democracy. And the way a democracy is supposed to work is the will of the people matters. Now, we for far too long have had a Congress in Washington that has just completely dismissed what people care about across this country,” she said. “Short of a Democratic majority in the Senate, you better understand the fight still goes on. It starts in the White House, and it means that everybody we energize in 2020 stays on the front lines come January 2021.”

-- Martin Vassolo

ALSO IN THIS SECTION

  1. Rep. Geraldine Thompson, D-Orlando, urges the Florida Board of Education to hold schools accountable for teaching the Holocaust and African-American history, as required by lawmakers in 1994. The board was considering a rule on the matter at its Sept. 20, 2019, meeting in Jacksonville. The Florida Channel
    School districts will have to report how they are providing the instruction required in Florida law.
  2. The Mar-a-Lago Resort in Palm Beach. JOE RAEDLE  |  Getty Images
    It wasn’t immediately clear how much Mar-a-Lago would charge to host the Marine Corps Birthday Ball — or even if it might do so for free.
  3. In this March 24, 2018, file photo, crowds of people participate in the March for Our Lives rally in support of gun control in San Francisco. JOSH EDELSON  |  AP
    ‘Guns are always a volatile topic in the halls of the legislature,’ one Republican said.
  4. Pasco County school superintendent Kurt Browning says Fortify Florida, the new state-sponsored app that allows students to report potential threats, is "disrupting the education day" because the callers are anonymous, many of the tips are vague and there's no opportunity to get more information from tipsters. "I have an obligation to provide kids with a great education," Browning said. "I cannot do it with this tool, because kids are hiding behind Fortify Florida." JEFFREY SOLOCHEK  |
    Vague and anonymous tips often waste law enforcement’s time and disrupt the school day, says Kurt Browning, president of Florida’s superintendents association.
  5. Tonight's LGBTQ Presidential Forum is hosted by Angelica Ross of FX's Pose. Twitter
    A live stream of the event and what to watch for as 10 candidates meet on stage in Iowa.
  6. In this April 11, 2018, file photo, a high school student uses a vaping device near a school campus in Cambridge, Mass.  [AP Photo | Steven Senne] STEVEN SENNE  |  AP
    "The department does not appear to have the authority to do anything.”
  7. Clearwater Mayor George Cretekos listens to a speaker share an opinion about a city matter during a city council meeting at Clearwater City Hall in Clearwater, Fla. on Thursday, April 20, 2017.  On Thursday, the Clearwater City Council rejected the mayor's resolution urging lawmakers to ban assault weapons.  [Times files] TIMES FILES  |  Tampa Bay Times
    However, the city did pass a resolution calling for more modest gun control measures.
  8. Maurice A. Ferré at his Miami home earlier this year. JOSE A. IGLESIAS  |  Miami Herald
    He served as mayor for 12 years and set the stage for Miami to become an international city.
  9. Rep. Susan Valdes, D-Tampa, during a Feb. 7, 2019, meeting of the House PreK-12 Appropriations subcommittee. [The Florida Channel]
    ‘One test should not determine the rest of your life,’ Rep. Susan Valdes says.
  10. Vice President Joe Biden, right, talks to supporters as former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist, left, stands near during a campaign stop at at Century Village in Boca Raton, Fla., Monday, Oct. 13, 2014. Crist is locked in a tight race against Gov. Rick Scott in one of the most negative gubernatorial campaigns in Florida history. The two disagree on most major issues, including health care, the minimum wage, Cuba policy, gay marriage and medical marijuana. (AP Photo/Alan Diaz) ORG XMIT: FLAD102 ALAN DIAZ  |  AP
    The Florida Republican-turned-Democrat said Biden’s ‘record of getting things done speaks for itself.’
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement