Ten of the Democrats competing for the party's nomination for the 2020 U.S. presidential election took part in a two-hour debate Wednesday night that included discussion of several topics such as health care, immigration, climate change and how the country should engage with the rest of the world. Here is a key quote from each of the participants as they tried to convince voters they are the person who should compete against President Donald Trump next November:
Bill de Blasio
"The way that American citizens have been told that immigrants somehow created their misery and their pain and their challenges, for all the American citizens out there who feel you're falling behind or feel the American dream is not working for you, the immigrants didn't do that to you. The big corporations did that to you. The 1% did that to you. We need to be the party of working people, and that includes a party of immigrants."
"We're talking about this as a health care issue, but in communities like mine - low-income communities - it's an education issue because kids who don't have health care are not going to succeed in school. It is an issue for jobs and employment because people who do not have good health care do not succeed at work. It's even a retirement issue because in my community African Americans have a lower life expectancy because of poorer health care. And so where I stand is very clear: Health care, it's not just a human right, it should be an American right."
"On Day 1, I would do that executive order that would address metering, and then I would follow that up in my first 100 days with immigration reform that would honor asylum claims, that would put undocumented immigrants - as long as they haven't committed a serious crime - on a pathway to citizenship. And then we'd get to the root cause of the issue, which is we need a Marshall Plan for Honduras and Guatemala and El Salvador so that people can find safety and opportunity at home instead of coming to the United States to seek it."
"I do think no one is above the law, and this president - who is lawless - should not be above the law. But I will tell you, Rachel, the one thing when you're out doing as much campaigning as I've done - 400 events, all 99 counties in Iowa - this is not the #1 issue the American people ask us about. It's not. They want to know what we're going to do for health care, how we're going to lower pharmaceutical prices, how we're going to build infrastructure, what we're going to do to create jobs in their communities."
"Trudi and I have three grandchildren, we love them all, and when I was thinking about running for president I made a decision. I decided on my last day on Earth I wanted to look them in the eye and tell them I did everything humanly possible to protect them from the ravages of the climate crisis. And I know to a moral certainty that if we do not have the next president who commits to this as the top priority, it will not get done."
"For too long, our leaders have failed us, taking us from one regime-change war to the next, leading us into a new Cold War and arms race, costing us trillions of our hard-earned taxpayer dollars and countless lives. This insanity must end. As president, I will take your hard-earned taxpayer dollars and instead invest those dollars into serving your needs, things like health care, a green economy, good-paying jobs, protecting our environment and so much more."
"I would make sure that if there is any possibility of conflict - and we're having this debate in Congress right now - that he comes to Congress for an authorization of military force. I would do that. And this president is literally, every single day, 10 minutes away from going to war, one tweet away from going to war, and I don't think we should conduct foreign policy in our bathrobe at five in the morning, which is what he does."
"We would not detain any family fleeing violence, in fact fleeing the deadliest countries on the face of the planet today. We would implement a family case management program so they can be cared for in the community at a fraction of the cost. And then we would rewrite our immigration laws in our own image. Free Dreamers forever from any fear of deportation by making them U.S. citizens here in this country. Invest in solutions in Central America, work with regional stakeholders so there's no reason to make that 2,000 mile journey to this country."
"We have a perception problem with the Democratic Party. We are not connecting to the working class people in the very states that I represent in Ohio, in the industrial Midwest. We've lost all connection. We have got to change the center of gravity of the Democratic Party from being coastal and elitist and Ivy League, which is the perception, to somebody from the forgotten communities that have been left behind for the last 30 years, to get those workers back on our side so we can say we're going to build electric vehicles, we're going to build solar panels."
"I would make certain that every woman has access to the full range of reproductive health care services, and that includes birth control, it includes abortion, it includes everything for a woman. And I want to add on that. It's not enough for us to expect the courts to protect us. Forty-seven years ago, Roe v. Wade was decided, and we've looked to the courts all that time as state after state has undermined Roe, has put in exceptions, has come right up to the edge of taking away protection. We have now an America where most people support Roe v. Wade. We need to make that federal law."