tv Bernie Sanders CNN Town Hall CNN February 24, 2020 6:00pm-7:00pm PST
all right, live from charleston, south carolina. this is a cnn town hall event. good evening, i'm chris cuomo, so we're just five days away from the south carolina primary. this is the last major test before super tuesday. the leading contenders are on stage this week making their case to south carolina voters. tonight they will question pete buttigieg and tom steyer, but please welcome the front runner vermont senator bernie sanders.
>> shall we dance? >> yes. >> so you are the front runner. you had the results, you clearly had energy, and now along with it you'll have the target. a representative of the bloomberg campaign said one person matters on the debate stage tomorrow night and that is bernie sanders, are you ready for that pressure? >> absolutely. given the fact that i have been in opposition in my career, taking on every special interest, it is funny to find myself a so called front runner. but we will enter this debate with the full knowledge that tens of millions of americans want fundamental change in terms of what is going on in this country. they're tired of a president who
is a pathological liar. >> who is running a corrupt administration, she a rhe is a and a sexist. i think the democratic nominee not only has a good chance to beat trump, i think we have a chance to defeat them very badly. because i think there subpoenis growing revulsion. people want to turn on the television and not be embarrassed about who is the president. we want to believe in our constitution. not one trying to under mine american democracy. i'm feeling good and i think we
have a good shot to win this thing. let's bring in aj, from goose creek, he was friends with tawanza sanders who was the youngest victim of the church shooting in south carolina. sorry, aj is a recent graduate with a business degree. he helped create a sclholarship to help local minorities. he is currently undecided, but he has a question for you tonight, thank you. >> thank you for having me, my question for you this evening, let me start again, about five years ago we lost nine people in the charleston emanuel nine massacre. they were attending bible study. the youngest was a phenomenal friend. since then nationwide there has
been massacre after massacre. i want to know what your plan is about gun laws, background checks and how they're being addressed or resolved. how can we minimize the chances of this happening again. >> thank you, a.j., thank you for the work you do. >> a.j. is raising an issue i hear from coast to coast. people are horrified and disgusted every time we turn on the tv and we hear about another shooting. i informs el paso the other day where 22 people were murdered, and the sick person was targeting latinos. to answer your question, first point, my administration will do what the american people, not what the nra wants.
what is very clear to me is there is growing consensus in the country. there is a growing consensus between gun owners, nongun owners reason rural states, and not rural states. number one we need universal background checks. people who have a violent past including domestic violence should not be owning guns. number two we have to end the so-called gun-show loophole that allows people to legally purchase guns while avoiding a background check. number three we have to end the strawman provisions that allows you to legally walk in and buy as many guns as you want and sell them to criminal elements.
it is a distribution of assault weapons in this country. i am proud that i have a d minus voting record from the nra and i suspect as president it will get worse. >> as you probably know, vice president biden came after you and calling your position immoral. he also called in for the no votes on the brady bill. >> that was in 1993. it takes away that exemption. bottom line is i think what we all know, is what a.j. is
saying. we have seen too many times these horrible, horrible shootings. it's not only the loss of life, we have 40,000 people a year that die from gun violence. a woman says bernie, what should i tell my daughter when she wants me to buy her a bullet proof backpack for christmas. how horrible is that. unlike trump, unlike the republican leadership, i won't let the nra call the tune on this issue. >> a social worker, sheryl, she a social worker, health care management from north charleston, she is leaning
toward supporting. >> welcome to charleston, we're so glad you're here. can you please share how you will relay the fears of those who see you as too extreme? how will you respond to americans more than we need extreme political policies. >> thank you for that question if you're quite right. not only all democrats, some republicans understand that it is defeat this extremely dangerous situation, almost all of the poles have me defeating trump. if you look at poles that came out three days ago, i'm beating michigan in pennsylvania,
wisconsin, and i think we're tied in florida. and i think we have the energy and the excitement to create the largest voter turnout in the history of this country which is exactly what we need in order to defeat trump. to what our campaign is doing, and i think doing quite well, i think you saw that in iowa, new hampshire, and nevada is reaching out to working people who are becoming very disillusioned with the political process. they're hurting and we're reaching out big time to young people. if we can bring young people. young people, into the political
process. it will be extraordinary. the last point they want to make, i know if you look at the media and they say benny's idea is radical and extreme, let me just ask is making minimum wage $15 an hour a radical idea? >> no. >> are we making community college tuition free a radical idea? >> no. >> is doing what every other major country in the world doing too much? we live 50 miles from canada, they can guarantee health care
to everyone a radical idea? is addressing climate change a radical idea? >> no. >> i rest my case. >> the criticism as you know about your ideas is about also the campaigns you're competing against. former mayor buttigieg will be after you tonight. he said not only are the ideas radical, but that you're inflectionble and you can be polarizing and anal guising that idea to trump. >> the difference between compete and i, and i have a lot of respect for him, his ideology may be shaped from raising a lot of money from 40 or 45 billionaires. when you raise money from billionaires you develop a certain point of view. we don't raise money from billionaires. we have raised more, received more individual campaign
contributions from more americans than any candidate in the history of the country. that's where we come from. but about the polarizing nation. >> that is total nonsense. when i was in the u.s. house of representatives there was a period of a number of years where i passed more role call amendments than anyone else. i wrote a veteran's bill that was up with of the most sweeping in recent history. we just last year for the first time manages to utilize the war powers act to get the united states, get our troops out of the war in yemen.
so i the idea that i can't work with salespeople a myth that keeps popping up as the election day gets closer. >> an teern frattorney from mou wilson. >> the topic of health care is especially relevant to me right now because i'm seven months pregnant. when you think of government run divisions, they're not exactly models for efficiency, innovation, and quality of services. when tom people picture their health care being run like the dmv it can be a scary thought bhap can you do to make sure the quality of services do not go down and the wait times go up.
>> we're not talking about government run health care. that's not what we're talking about. right now the most popular health insurance program is medicare. that's what it is. i want to expand medicare to include dental care, eyeglasses, hearing aides, and home health care. under medicare because those are basic health care needs. as you know, you can go to any doctor you want, it's not government run. you can go to any hospital you want. and we continue what is changing is that instead of having thousands of private health insurance programs in which we spend hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of millions to administer, we expand it over a
four-year period to provide health care to every man, woman, and child in this country. this is what i want to say, right now we are spending twice as much per person on health care as any other country. twice as much, you would think wow, what an incredible health care system we have. we don't. we have 87 million americans uninsured or underinsured. 30,000 people in our country die each year because they don't have insurance they don't get to the doctor when they should. in america everybody knows we pay bay for the highest prices
in the world for prescription drugs. we have a corrupt pharmaceutical country. i want you to all hear this one in is an indication of hue rule this system is. in america today, half a million people go up because of unrelated medical bills. when you're struggling with cancer which should be enough to keep you occupieoccupied, your faces financial ruin. that is a disgrace. all we are doing th-- this is ne
a radical proposal when you get rid of the profiteering, the incredibly complicated administrative system, everybody here had to argument with the insurance company about what should have been covered or not. >> next comes from emanuel ferguson, he is the second vice chair of the charleston county democrats. >> good evening, sir, i'm really excited about getting a democrat in office. when i hear you speak i get
excited. but trump excited voters with building a wall but with now plan to pay for it. how is your plan for free college different from what trump did. >> oh, i think -- given the fact they spent my entire adult life fighting against everything that trump stands for, trust me we're a little different. here is what i want to do, i'm going to give this to you. i thought that might give up, this is a list that will be on our website tonight of how we pay for every program that we have developed. but let me give you some examples. you asked a good question, here is the answer. you're right i believe that we
should make public colleges and universities tuition free. in the year 2020, i want all of our kids to be able to get that higher education, college, or trade schools. by the way i also believe we should cancel all student debt in america. okay, now you're smiling and you're saying that is a great idea, how does he pay for it, did i read your mind on that one? okay, and the answer is i will tell you exactly how, through a rather modest tax on wall street speculation. that's how we pay for that, all right? congress bailed out the crooks on wall street, i think a modest task on wall street speculation right now to make sure our kids have the ability and the desire
to get the education they want to, that is something we should do. >> you're slick giving me this piece of paper. >> the criticism is that there is a lot of detail on the website. it's not matching the price tag that some put at about 30,000. >> there was a study, chris, i don't know if you saw it -- >> $30 trillion over ten years. >> whoa. a study came out from a number of epidemiologists published in a major medical journal. what they said is when you get rid of all of the administrative waste that we have now, having to administer -- can you believe the thousands and thousands of sprat plans. you have a $5,000, you have $10,000, you this prescription, you have that -- it is a disaster.
when you get rid of all of that administrative waste which other countries do, when you get rid of the profiteering of the drug companies, we can pay for medicare for all in substantially lower costs for the average american worker. how are we going to pay for it. very briefly, for the average person, how do we pay for it today? you know how? the average family in america makes about $60,000 a year. that family is paying premiums, deductibles with b out of pocket deductibles and expenses. they're paying $12,000 for health care. that is outrageous. 20% of the family's income. what we do is the same. you're that average $60,000 a year family, you're going to pay a 4% tax exempting the first
$29,000 leaving $31,000 of taxable resulting in $12,000 a year. we have a payroll tax on employers. no more premium for the worker or the employer, no more out of pocket expenses, no more deductibles, nor more out of pocket expenses and because we're taking on the greed of the pharmaceutical companies, no one pays more than $200 a year for prescription drugs. >> the point was just the math, but this is something for you to decide. >> matthew, your question? >> senator sanders, how will you approach the democratic convention if you do not have
the necessary delegates to win on the first ballot, but you do have an overwhelming polarity among the candidates. >> thank you, that is a good question. who knows what is going to happen, but if i or anybody else goes into the democratic convention with a substantial polarity, i believe that individual, me or anyone else, should be the candidate of the democratic party. i will tell you why, matthew. it will be incredible for the democratic party if a candidate who has won the support of people all over the country dlsh this is a hard fought process. all of the candidates are working really hard. if one candidate comes out on top to say to the country you
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>> i don't see it that way, i think if there is a candidate that loves mr. putin, that sees him as his best friend, that is the president of the united states, not me. i happen to believe that putin is a dangerous autocrat. i think he meddled very heavily in the 2016 election, and if by any chance mr. putin is watching this show, you're not going to meddle in our elections when i'm president of the united states. and second of all, there are differences in opinion, but there is no question that in 2016 they meddled in our election. and you know what they do? the ugliest thing they try to do
is divide us up. they know those points that can bring people apart. my job in this county industry to bring us together, not to continue this i ddivisiveness. >> you suggested that some of the harassment from the so-called bernie bros might be russian interference. >> here is what it is, we have millions of followers, i'm not going to tell you that we don't have some jerks out there. i want to say to those folks we don't want your support if you think that your campaign is about making ugly attacks own other candidates. i want to say also, because i see one of our main surrogates
here, and you could speak to her later about the ugly and racist attacks that came into our campaign. if you think is just our campaign you're dedsly mdeadly wrong. we had a disagreement with the culinary workers union. we disagrees on health care finishes. i have perhaps the strongest pro union voting record of any member of the congress, does anyone really think that we can, with a supporter of mine, that we would make those ugly attacks. >> it's feshy so you say it might be. >> might be. and and you say if it is just people saying -- this is the
99.9% of our supporters are fantastic people, go to the rallies, they're people standing up for justice, racial justice, economic justice, environmental justice, they're great people. i get inspired, we just came the other day, there was 13,000 people, but if we have people who are ugly and attack in a vicious way, we don't want your support. a web designer and developer from north charleston has supported you in the past, and this time he is undecided. >> hey, bernie, it seems like democrats get out poxed year after year by marketing and messages, do you regret wrapping your views around socialism, and
would you be more paletteable by dropping the world socialism. >> the policies that we're dropping are ones that exist all over the world. okay? and i happy to believe as a democratic socialist that health care is a human right. all of our people deserve coverage. i belief that in the richest country in the history of the world, education is a human right if is a disgrace. we have a child careness that is dysfunctional. it is unaffordable for so many working families, so i believe in universal high quality child care. i believe in tripling funding for low title one schools so we have the best public education in the world. >> okay.
>> i believe in those things. i belief in a nation with many more nm inequincome inequality r half a million people should not be sleeping on the streets. in many respects we're living in a socialist society today. what is the difference, when donald trump was a private real estate developer in new york city he got $800 million in subsidies and tax breaks, that is called corporate socialism. amazon, amazon is a corporation that made $will will billion in prompt last year.
anyone want to know how much they paid in federal income taxes? they paid zero. the walton family owns walmart. they are the wealthiest family in america. they pay their workers starvation wages. many are forced to go on medicaid, food stamps, and public housing. you're subsidizing the wealthiest family in america. that is corporate socialism. i want a democratic socialism that works for working families, not just billionaires. >> i will take one more step down the road from the stigma from some of your fellow democrats. it is unfair to say that everything is bad with the way that fidel castro ruled in cuba. they're attacking your comment as absolutely unacceptable,
singing the praises of a murderous tyrant. >> when castro first came to power he initiated a major literacy program. there was a lot of folks in cuba that was illiterate. he formed a brigade that went out and helped people learn to w write. i think teaching people to read and write is a good thing. i have been extremely consistent of awe authoritarian regimes all over the world including cuba, nicaragua, saudi arabia, including russia. i happen to believe in democracy, not authoritarianism. china is an authoritarian
country becoming more and more authoritarian. can anyone deny? they have taken more people out of extreme poverty than any country in history. i get criticizes, but that is the truth. >> so the democrats who say you don't say good things about him, he played picks and winners and losers -- >> truth is truth. all right? if you want to disagree with me, if somebody wants to say that -- and by the way all of the congress people you mentioned just so happy to be supporting other candidates, but you know, the truth is the truth. and that is what happened on the first of the castro regime. >> okay, recently push lishing a
book, he recently ported julian castro, now he is undecided. >> confederate symbols are controversial right now, and here in charleston it remains a current issue here. what is your take, and how do we improve race relaces. >> thank you for that question. >> a lot about donald trump sickens me, but maybe at the top of the list, is him trying to divide us up. as you know before he became president he was a leader of the so-called birther movement. do you remember that? it was a disgusting effort to
try to delegitimatize our first african-american president. i see especially coming after trump the most important thing that we can do as a nation is everything possible to end all fompls of discrimination in this country. right now, we're dealing with, as everybody knows, we're daeing with systemic racism. we have a wealth gap in this country, white families are now worth ten times more than black families, black women are three times more likely to die in child birth. the infant mortality rate is higher, there is discrimination in housing and in education. okay? and clearly one of the main
goals and one of the main priorities of a sanders administration is to do everything possible to end racism in america, to end sexism. we are one people, dr. martin luther king reminded us in a very profound way that we judge human beings not by the color of their ski, but look at people, but judge people based on their character. that is the goal of my administration. >> the role of statues and icons of confederates what do they
mean to you? >> that is what is does mean now, i support -- i think these relics may be placed in museums, but i don't want a come coming out to look at a statue of someone that believed in slavery. those are not -- you know i understand history and you quite wipe out history and i don't want to. in those places -- they should be placed in historical locations, but on town greens, we want kids to look up and say wow, this was someone who was a great leader for liberation. someone who fought for working people. someone that believed in women's rights, those are the people we want our kids to learn from. >> let's bring in vicky howard,
a supporter of yours. >> good evening senator sanders. given your recent health scare, do you plan on announcing your choice of running mate soon as it may alleviate some of your fears about your ability to hold office and also to announce any of the -- all right, as you know i had a heart attack. the bottom line is i'm feeling fine. follow me around on the campaign trail, we did three rallies yesterday, i'm feeling very, very good, but your question is about a vice presidential part of the ticket. the answer is yes, we will do
that, but it is a little presumptuous right now. i will tell you one thing, that person will not be an old white guy. that i can say definitively. and i do want to say this and in all seriousness, our cabinet will very intentionally look like america. so when you turn on -- i think it is important that our people see themselves reflected in the administration of the president of the united states and we will absolutely do that. >> all right, let's take a quick break and we will have more with senator bernie sanders after this. ♪ things are getting clearer, yeah i feel free ♪ ♪ to bare my skin ♪ yeah that's all me.
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try to win by attacking, now, we know the trump strategy- distorting, dividing. mr. president: it. won't. work. newspapers report bloomberg is the democrat trump fears most. as president, universal healthcare that lets people keep their coverage if they like it. a record on job creation. a doable plan to combat climate change. i led a complex, diverse city through 9-11 and i have common sense plans to move america away from chaos to progress! i'm mike bloomberg and i approve this message.
welcome back to charleston, south carolina. joe biden's campaign released an add criticizing you -- >> they're quote "when it comes to building on obama's legacy, bernie sanders cannot be trusted, did you consider that? >> joe is a friend of mine, you know what happens in campaigns? at the end of the season it's called silly season and people say things they should not say. in 2012 i was very busy running for reelection for senate for the state of vermont. i campaigned for obama and i'm a strong supporter of everything that barack obama accomplished. >> "the atlantic" says harry
reed had to talk you into it. i'm a senator from a small state and i did not give any consideration to running for president of the united states until 2015. and that was i was looking around and i thought that the working families in the country needed a working vote. there was a lot of discussion about elizabeth warren, and she said she was not going to run, and i did run, the idea of running in 2012 is untrue. >> i asked you on "new day" if you blooif in this so stronger why don't you run for president and you yelled at me. >> there you go. >> dillon harris who was supported andrew yang is
undecided. >> the answer is that right now we do not know how to get rid of that is out there. waste that will be around for a very long time. as you know the congress thought about the mountain in nevada. i don't believe that will happen. we have nuclear waste alopg side a plant that has been shut down by the connecticut river. not a good place for it. you have waste which is stored in ways in places that are not particularly safe. i don't know how we can build more nuclear plants when we don't know how to get rid of the wae we have. in terms of the construction of new nuclear plants they are far more expensive than investing in
wind solar and other sustainable energy. >> all right our next question is from izzy smith. we have all kinds of people lined up. who do you want? good to have you. a former middle schoolteacher turned law student. supporter of yours. thank you for being patient. what's your question? >> thank you. senator sanders, this may i will be graduating from law school with over $250,000 in student loan debt. the majority from my under graduate education. what is your plan to help students like mae with student loan debt and how do you plan to pay for it? >> our campaign is asking the american people to think outside
of the box. what beverly just described is insane. what crime did she commit? she wanted to get an education. this is the wealthiest country on earth people shouldn't have to go a quarter of a million dollars in debt to get an education. that is why i have proposed and will fright for a proposal that imposes a modest tax on wall street speculation. we bail those guys out 12 years ago and a modest tax on wall street speculation will pay for making public colleges and universities tuition free and cancelling all student debt.
>> quick question. cost of college, real issue. cost of financing and what rules they can have. what do you say to the families who say we worked really hard, we stretched so our kitds didn't have to take the same amount of loans or and you're asking me to help pay when i didn't take them. >> this is a tax on wall street speculation and exempts all those middle income people who might be impacted. here is maybe the bottom line of the whole discussion. today in america we have massive levels of income and wealth inequality. top 1% owning more wealth than the bottom 92%. we don't talk about it too much. it's true. you have three people owning more wealth than the bottom half. and i happen to believe, i say
this unapologetically. wall street gets nervous. wages for the last 45 years have been flat. average american worker and inflation not making a nickel more than 45 years ago. over the last 30 years top 1% have seen a $21 trillion increase in wealth. i do believe it is time to tax the very very rich. and to tax large corporations for making big profit. that's what i believe. >> i want to get to another question. it's important. a student at the college of charleston a supporter of yours. >> as a young jewish person the rise of a historic political figure like you're is awe inspiring. what does your jewish mean to you and what would it mean to be the first jewish president in the history of the nation?
>> the media knows i don't like to get into personal stuff too much. i can remember very vividly as a kid looking at picture books about what happened in the holocaust. it happens my father's family was wiped out by hitler. my brother and i and our wives went to poland to the town he was born in. he fled terrible poverty and antisemitism. they took us to a place where the nazis had had the people dig a grave and shot them all. 300 people. i think the lesson that i learned from that and the neighborhood i grew up there were people with tattoos on their arms for having been in concentration camps. i learned that early age if you like white nationalism which is what naziism is in the extreme. is about. at a very early age i learned
that it is absolutely em pertive that all of us do everything we can to end all forms of racism and white nationalism. that is i think what my experience how it has impacted me. >> senator sanders, thank you very much. thank you from vermont. coming up next. buttigieg will join don lemon. i'll be back with tom steyer. stay with cnn. ♪ if you have moderate to severe psoriasis... or psoriatic arthritis, little things, can become your big moment.
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