The Latest: Bush-DeGeneres friendship prompts final question

The Latest: Bush-DeGeneres friendship prompts final question

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WESTERVILLE, Ohio (AP) — The Latest on the fourth Democratic presidential debate (all times local):

11:15 p.m.

The final question at the fourth Democratic presidential debate challenged candidates to share examples of surprising friendships they've had and how it's affected them.

The question on Tuesday was prompted by what many saw as an unlikely friendship between TV host Ellen DeGeneres and former GOP President George W. Bush, who sat next to each other at a football game together recently.

Two candidates named Republican Sen. John McCain: Sen. Amy Klobuchar and former Vice President Joe Biden, who delivered the eulogy at McCain's funeral.

Others also mentioned GOP colleagues. Sen. Bernie Sanders said Utah Sen. Mike Lee; Sen. Kamala Harris said Sen. Rand Paul; and Rep. Tulsi Gabbard said former Rep. Trey Gowdy.

Billionaire Tom Steyer said Deanna Berry, a black woman from South Carolina who serves as a community organizer for his campaign.


10:50 p.m.

Former Vice President Joe Biden is arguing that he's the only Democratic presidential candidate with major accomplishments.

Asked if the ideas of Sens. Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren could defeat President Donald Trump, Biden told a debate audience Tuesday he was "the only one on this stage who's gotten anything really big done," suggesting his achievements make him best prepared to take office.

The former vice president also accused Sanders and Warren of being vague on proposals like "Medicare for All."

Warren noted her role in the creation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Biden retorted, "I went on the floor and got you votes," to which Warren noted she was "deeply grateful" to President Barack Obama for his support. Her response made Biden laugh.


10:35 p.m.

Some Democratic presidential candidates are offering a variety of ways to maintain a woman's right to an abortion, despite the issue being largely in the hands of a Supreme Court with a conservative tilt.

California Sen. Kamala Harris says her Department of Justice would review state restrictions and stop them by executive order if they violate the Constitution. The policy harkens to enforcement of the Civil Rights and Voting Rights acts, though there is no federal statute protecting abortion.

Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar says she would propose and enact such legislation, although that would require Democratic majorities in Congress, a stylistic departure for Klobuchar who touts bipartisanship.

New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker says he would try to codify the right, as well as establish a White House-level Office of Reproductive Freedom.


10:10 p.m.

The three oldest candidates in the Democratic presidential field are facing questions over their age during Tuesday night's debate.

Bernie Sanders is the oldest candidate at 78 and just returned to the campaign trail after suffering a heart attack. He declined to answer when asked how he would reassure Americans of his good health, saying only that he would run a "vigorous campaign all over this country."

Seventy-six-year-old Joe Biden argued that his experience and wisdom are assets because "I know what has to be done" as president. He also promised to release his medical records before the first nominating contest in Iowa in February.

And Elizabeth Warren, who's 70 years old, promised to outwork, out-organize and outlast anyone, including the Republicans.


10:05 p.m.

Many of the Democrats seeking the White House say they would lead administrations that would go after drug companies that manufacture addictive opioid medications.

California Sen. Kamala Harris said during Tuesday's presidential debate that she would prosecute pharmaceutical executives as "high-level dope dealers" for peddling what they knew to be dangerously addictive medications. Former Obama Housing Secretary Julián Castro said drug companies need to "be held accountable."

That sentiment was backed by Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who said the companies' actions are evidence of "what unfettered capitalism is doing to this country" by way of the massive profits made by pharmaceutical companies.

Businessman Andrew Yang and former Texas congressman Beto O'Rourke said they support decriminalizing small amounts of opioid drugs as a way to promote safe use.


10 p.m.

Former Texas Rep. Beto O'Rourke and South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg (BOO'-tuh-juhj) exchanged sharp words over O'Rourke's proposed mandatory buyback of assault rifles.

Buttigieg last week criticized the idea as a "shiny object" that distracts from more achievable efforts such as universal background checks and banning the sale of the weapons and high-capacity magazines.

At Tuesday's Democratic presidential debate in Ohio, Buttigieg criticized O'Rourke as not having a plan for how the buyback would work.

O'Rourke said the different ideas are not mutually exclusive. He says gun violence "is a crisis and we gotta do something about it." O'Rourke says candidates should listen to victims, not polls, consultants and focus groups.

Buttigieg shot back, saying, "I don't need lessons from you on courage, political or personal."


9:55 p.m.

Former U.S. Housing Secretary Julián Castro says that "police violence is also gun violence" and that he would not give officers "another reason to go door to door" by supporting mandatory surrender of assault weapons.

Castro was the first candidate on Tuesday's 2020 Democratic primary debate stage to raise last weekend's shooting death of Atatiana Jefferson, killed in Castro's home state of Texas after a neighbor called 911 requesting a welfare check on her Fort Worth home because the front door was ajar. Jefferson was playing video games early Saturday with her 8-year-old nephew when Fort Worth police officer Aaron Dean fatally shot her within seconds of arriving at her house.

Castro's remarks were met with applause by the audience.


9:50 p.m.

Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren says she supports removing members of the American military from the Middle East.

Warren said Tuesday during the Democratic presidential debate: "I think we ought to get out of the Middle East. I don't think we should have troops in the Middle East."

Warren added that it has to happen in an appropriate, thoughtful way.

Democrats at the Democratic debate in Ohio have largely scorned President Donald Trump's approach to foreign policy. Former Vice President Joe Biden and South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg (BOO'-tuh-juhj) are among those arguing that Trump is abandoning U.S. allies and weakening the nation's standing around the world by abruptly pulling troops from northern Syria.


9:45 p.m.

The Democrats seeking their party's nomination are discussing ways to check the power of Russia's leader as part of a condemnation of President Donald Trump's foreign policy decisions.

In Tuesday's debate, New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker said Trump is "turning the moral leadership of this country into a dumpster fire" by "showing moral weakness" in the face of strength of leaders like Vladimir Putin.

The conversation followed on a debate about Trump's decision to pull troops from northern Syria, something former Texas congressman Beto O'Rourke said could lead to future U.S. deployments.

Former Vice President Joe Biden stressed a focus on diplomacy, saying the U.S. currently has "an erratic, crazy president who doesn't know a damn thing about foreign policy and operates out of fear for his own reelection."


9:40 p.m.

South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg (BOO'-tuh-juhj) is sparring with Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard at Tuesday night's Democratic debate, with Buttigieg calling Gabbard "dead wrong" for her earlier support of withdrawing troops from Syria.

Gabbard's previous stance, as well as her decision to meet with Syrian President Bashar Assad, came under fresh scrutiny following President Trump's decision to withdraw U.S. troops from the country, paving the way for Turkey to invade and kill the Kurds.

Gabbard has criticized Trump for how he's conducted the withdrawal but said Tuesday that while Trump has "the blood of the Kurds on his hands ... so do many of the politicians in both parties who supported this regime change war."

Buttigieg says the killings are "the consequence of a withdrawal and a betrayal by this president of American allies and American values."

Both Buttigieg and Gabbard are military veterans.


9:20 p.m.

New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker spent much of the first hour of Tuesday's crowded Democratic presidential debate playing the role of diplomat.

In the primary, Booker has run as a happy warrior, pitching a strategy of love over hate to defeat President Donald Trump. As other candidates sparred over health care, income inequality and impeachment on Tuesday, Booker used his time to step between his opponents, calling for unity, agreeing with their points and shifting the focus back to their common enemy.

Booker cautioned against "tearing each other down because we have different plans" in response to several candidates' criticism of Sen. Elizabeth Warren's plans on a wealth tax and health care. He also called former Joe Biden a "statesman" in defending him after the former vice president was asked about his son's business dealings in Ukraine.


9:15 p.m.

Former Texas congressman Beto O'Rourke is accusing Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren of sometimes being "punitive" in her policy ideas.

In Tuesday night's Democratic debate in Westerville, Ohio, O'Rourke says Warren sometimes "is more focused on being punitive, or pitting some part of the country against the other, instead of lifting people up and making sure that this country comes together around those solutions."

Warren says she is shocked at that notion.

Warren responded, "I don't have a beef with billionaires," emphasizing that fortunes are built in part by workers and benefits enjoyed by taxpayers.

Warren, a front-runner in the race, has been the target of criticism from several other candidates throughout the debate.


8:55 p.m.

Many Democrats seeking their party's presidential nomination stress a need to improve the nation's jobs picture, but they disagree on how to do that.

At Tuesday's debate in Westerville, Ohio, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders defended his federal jobs guarantee, saying equalizing the economy will create the need for more teachers and doctors.

Businessman Andrew Yang, who backs a universal basic income, said people "do not want to work for the federal government." Promoting her own plan to boost social security, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren said her proposal would cover retirement for even those in nontraditional positions, like stay-at-home caregivers.

Several, including former Texas congressman Beto O'Rourke and New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, advocated strengthening unions to keep businesses like GM from moving production to other countries.


8:40 p.m.

Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren is taking fire from her Democratic opponents for refusing to answer whether her "Medicare for All" plan would raise taxes for the middle class.

Warren has refused to directly answer when asked how she'd pay for her proposal, and during Tuesday night's presidential debate, she once again dodged, insisting only that "costs will go down" for the middle class. South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg knocked Warren for the nonanswer, saying her failure to offer a direct answer is "why people are so frustrated with politicians" and arguing that Medicare for All would "unnecessarily divide this country."

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who wrote the Medicare for All legislation that Warren has embraced, said it was "appropriate to acknowledge taxes will go up." Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar also piled on, saying, "At least Bernie's being honest" and arguing in favor of a public option instead.


8:30 p.m.

Joe Biden is defending both his actions and those of his son in dealing with Ukraine.

At Tuesday night's Democratic debate in Westerville, Ohio, the former vice president said his son Hunter "did nothing wrong. I did nothing wrong." Biden was answering a question about why he has pledged that no members of his family would engage in foreign deals if he were to be elected president while insisting his son's dealings with foreign countries were above board during Biden's vice presidency.

President Donald Trump is facing an impeachment inquiry over his effort to have Ukraine investigate Biden.

Biden urged that the focus go back on Trump, saying, "Rudy Giuliani, the president and his thugs have already proven the fact that they are flat lying."


8:25 p.m.

The 12 Democratic presidential candidates debating in Ohio are unified in saying Congress has no choice but to begin impeachment against President Donald Trump, though not all for the same reasons.

Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren says no one is above the law. Her fellow top contenders, former Vice President Joe Biden and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, called Trump the "most corrupt president" in the course of American history.

Warren and Sanders said they found the president worthy of impeachment as a result of the Mueller report, which detailed 10 possible instances of obstruction of justice in the investigation into Russian interference into the 2016 presidential election.

New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker says it's imperative that Congress' decision on impeachment be "about patriotism and not partisanship."


8 p.m.

The fourth debate of the Democratic presidential primary is underway with the largest field yet on stage together at a pivotal time in the campaign.

Twelve candidates are debating Tuesday in Ohio. At center stage are front-runners Joe Biden and Elizabeth Warren. Another top-tier candidate, Bernie Sanders, is back just two weeks after suffering a heart attack and suspending his campaigning.

It could be the last 2020 presidential debate for some candidates. Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, former Texas congressman Beto O'Rourke, former Housing Secretary Julián Castro and Hawaii congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard have not yet met fundraising and polling thresholds to participate in the November debate.

Also participating are California Sen. Kamala Harris, South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, entrepreneur Andrew Yang, New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker and billionaire activist Tom Steyer.


4:50 p.m.

A trio of Iowa officials is criticizing the Democratic National Committee for instituting polling and fundraising thresholds to participate in the presidential debates, complaining they're artificially winnowing the field of candidates and usurping the job of Iowa caucusgoers.

Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller and Iowa DNC member Jan Bauer said on a conference call with reporters Tuesday that most Iowans are not tuning into the Democratic presidential debates and have not yet made up their minds.

The call was organized by Montana Gov. Steve Bullock's presidential campaign. Bullock has failed to make the stage for recent debates, including Tuesday's in Ohio.

Miller and Bauer have endorsed Bullock.

Former Iowa Democratic Party Chair and former U.S. Rep. Dave Nagle said the DNC is shutting out those without access to wealth or name recognition.


12:05 a.m.

Democrats are confronting a rapidly shifting political landscape as a dozen candidates meet on Tuesday for the most crowded presidential debate in modern history.

The House impeachment inquiry that has put President Donald Trump on the offensive has also reordered the political calculus for Democrats, especially Joe Biden. The former vice president is facing baseless — but persistent — allegations of wrongdoing overseas from Trump and his allies.

His early front-runner status is also under threat from Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren. But as she rises, Warren is also fending off new questions about her biography.

Adding to the drama, Bernie Sanders is recovering from a heart attack that raised questions about his ability to withstand a campaign and about who might win his support if he had to drop out.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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