Democratic debate: Candidates debate health care, gun control and more in Houston

Political News Democratic debate: Candidates debate health care, gun control and more in Houston

3dfoto/iStock(HOUSTON) — The 10 highest-polling candidates appeared for a single night of debate in Houston hosted by ABC News and Univision — the smallest roster yet in the third matchup of Democratic National Committee-sanctioned primary debates, with a field that still counts 20.

Here’s how the debate unfolded:

10:45 p.m. The debate has ended

The candidates are all smiles and Andrew Yang even blew a kiss as they left the stage.

10:42 p.m.: Klobuchar, Castro highlight family history in closing question

Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar highlighted her struggles with her father’s alcoholism as the catalyst for leading her into public service.

“My challenges and resilience have brought me up here,” she said. “I grew up with a dad who struggled with alcoholism his whole life and after his third DWI, he had a choice between jail and treatment. He chose treatment…And that made me interested in public service, because I feel like everyone should have that same right, to be pursued by grace.”

Former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro talked about growing up in a single-parent household to talk about his resiliency, “I shouldn’t be here on this stage. You know, Castro is my mother’s name and was my grandmother’s name before her. I grew up in a single-parent household on the west side of San Antonio, going to the public schools.”

He added: “There’s nobody that gets tested more in a position of public trust than the president of the United States. This president has failed that test. But I want you to know that if you elect me president, I won’t.”

10:40 p.m.: Booker reflects on his political legacy, O’Rourke invokes El Paso’s resiliency

Reflecting on resiliency, Sen. Cory Booker and former Texas Congressman Beto O’Rourke shared the stories of the communities that they call home.

“My biggest professional setback is embarrassing, because a lot of folks know about it. I, with a bunch of tenant leaders in Newark, New Jersey, in 2002 took on the political machine, and boy did they fight back,” Booker said.

“The lesson I learned of resilience is to trust people because the power of the people is always greater than the people in power. And the test of America right now is not a referendum on Donald Trump, it’s a referendum on us and who we are and who we’re going to be together,” Booker said.

O’Rourke told the story of a soccer coach who was shot in El Paso last month, and his desire to continue to do his job, and spoke to the city’s ability to come together in the face of tragedy.

“Everything that I’ve learned about resilience I’ve learned from my hometown of El Paso, Texas. In the face of this act of terror that was directed at our community, in large part by the president of the United States, that killed 22 people and injured many more, we were not defeated by that, nor were we defined by that,” O’Rourke said.

10:36 p.m.: Yang highlights his struggles with entrepreneurship

“I was an unhappy lawyer for five whole months and I left to start a business,” Andrew Yang began. “My company flopped. I lost investors, hundreds of thousands of dollars, still owed 100,000 in school debt. My parents still told people I was a lawyer.” But he said he persisted: “I kept working in small growth companies for another ten years and eventually had some success. After I had some success, I still remembered how hard it was.”

Yang pointed to one of his guests in the audience, Shawn Wynn, a young entrepreneurs who was supported by Yang’s nonprofit, Venture for America. He told him he hoped his path was a little bit easier than his own.

10:34 p.m.: Buttigieg gets candid about coming out and the struggles afterwards

South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg, who is openly gay, got candid about his decision to come out and the response he got afterwards.

“As a military officer serving under don’t ask, don’t tell, and as an elected official in the state of Indiana when Mike Pence was governor, at a certain point, when it came to professional setbacks, I’d wonder whether just acknowledging who I was, was going to be the ultimate career-ending professional setback,” Buttigieg said.

“I had no idea what kind of professional setback it would be, especially because inconveniently, it was an election year in my socially conservative community. What happened was that when I trusted voters to judge me based on the job that I did for them, they decided to trust me and re-elected me with 80% of the vote,” he added.

10:29 p.m.: Warren, Sanders and Harris show resiliency through their personal backgrounds

Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, taking the final question on personal resiliency, said, “I’ve known what I wanted to be since second grade. I wanted to be a public school teacher…By the time I graduated from high school, my family didn’t have money for a college application, much less to send me off to four years at a university…I made it as a special needs teacher.”

She continued: “Here’s resilience. I said, I’ll go to law school. I practiced law for about 45 minutes and then went back to my first love, which is teaching…the reason I’m standing here today is because I got back up, I fought back. “

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders talked about his upbringing in a rent-controlled apartment in Brooklyn, New York, and his unlikely political rise to the U.S. Senate.

“Resilience, to me, means growing up in a rent-controlled apartment in Brooklyn, New York, the son of an immigrant who came to this country without a nickel in his pocket. Professional resilience means to me, George, running for U.S. Senate in Vermont and getting 1% of the vote,” Sanders said in response to ABC News Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos’ question.

California Sen. Kamala Harris answered by ticking through her many uphill battles on her way to becoming a U.S. Senator: “I was the only black elected — woman black elected attorney general in the state, in the country. And each time, people would say, it’s not your time, it’s not your turn, it’s going to be too difficult, they’re not ready for you, and I didn’t listen.”

10:25 p.m.: Biden interrupted by protests in the debate hall

Former Vice President Biden was interrupted by protesters during an answer on what the most significant professional setback he’s faced was.

It was not immediately clear what the protesters were shouting.

“My dad had an expression. He said, Joey, it’s not a question of succeeding, whether you get knocked down, it’s how quickly you get up, and he said, you never explain and never complain,” Biden said after the protesters were removed rom the debate hall.

10:17 p.m. Who has had the most speaking time in the Democratic debate?

Former Vice President Joe Biden led the first half of Thursday night’s Democratic debate in speaking time. Biden spoke for 9:52. He spoke the most words in both previous debates, according to FiveThirtyEight.

10:19 p.m.: Booker returns to his roots in Newark to debate charter schools

Seeking to find a lane amid a debate on charter schools, New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker invoked his mayoral tenure, saying, “People are talking about raising teacher salary. We actually did it in Newark, New Jersey.”

“We didn’t stop there,” he said. “We closed poor-performing charter schools, but we expanded high-performer charter schools. We were a city that said, we need to find local solutions that work for our community.”

10:15 p.m.: Biden pressed on his record on race relations

Former Vice President Joe Biden was pressed by ABC News’ National Correspondent Linsey Davis on his record on race relations, which he defended vigorously.

“Look, there’s institutional segregation in this country. And from the time I got involved, I started dealing with that. Red lining, banks, making sure we are in a position where — look, you talk about education. I propose that what we take is those very poor schools, the Title I schools, triple the amount of money we spend from $15 to $45 billion a year,” Biden said.

Biden also used his time to answer a previously asked question about Venezuela.

“I’m going to go like the rest of them do, twice over. Okay? Because here’s the deal. The deal is that we’ve got this a little backwards. By the way, in Venezuela, we should be allowing people to come here from Venezuela. I know Maduro. I’ve confronted Maduro. Number two, you talk about the need to do something in Latin America,” Biden said.

10:10 p.m.: Warren touts her past career as a public school teacher

Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren chimed in on the debate over public education, touting her background as a public school teacher.

“I think I’m the only person on this stage who has been a public school teacher,” Warren said. “I’ve wanted to be a public school teacher since I was in second grade. And let’s be clear in all the ways we talk about this, money for public schools should stay in public schools. Not go anywhere else. I’ve already made my commitment.”

“We will have a secretary of education who has been a public school teacher,” she insisted.

10:08 p.m.: Buttigieg goes after Education Secretary Betsy DeVos as he advocates for paying teachers more

Mayor Pete Buttigieg, garnering loud cheers from the crowd, went after President Trump’s Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos.

“Step one is appoint a Secretary of Education who actually believes in public education. I believe in public education. And in order to strengthen it, some things are very complex, for preparing for a future where knowledge is at your fingertips, but we got to teach more to do with critical thinking and social and emotional learning,” Buttigieg said.

“If we want to get the results that we expect for our churn, we have to support and compensate the teaching profession. Respect teachers the way we do soldiers and pay them more the way we do doctors,” he argued.

10:06 p.m.: Yang defends his support for charter schools

Andrew Yang, one of the most vocal proponents for charter schools, said on his support, “I am pro-good school. I’ve got a kid, one of my little boys just started public school last week, and I was not there because I was running for president.

He then paused for a second, before adding, “We need to pay teachers more, because the data clearly shows that a good teacher is worth his or her weight in gold.”

“The answer is to put money directly into the families and neighborhoods to give our kids chance to learn and our teachers a chance to teach,” he concluded.

10:12 p.m.: Harris touts her plan for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs)

Sen. Harris, a graduate of Howard University, touted her plan to invest more in Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) like Texas Southern University.

“I also want to talk about where we are here at TSU, and what it means in terms of HBCUs. I have — as part of my proposal, that we will put $2 trillion into investing in our HBCUs for teachers, because — because — because, one, as a proud graduate of a historically black college and university, I will say — I will say that it is our HBCUs that disproportionately produce teachers and those who serve in these positions,” Harris said.

10:05 p.m.: Warren again casts corporate America as the culprit for lack of action on climate change, Harris calls out Republicans on the issue

The discussion on climate change continued with Senators Warren on Harris, who each cast the issue as one of the utmost importance.

“We need to work on every front on climate change. It is the threat to every living thing on this planet and we are running out of time,” Warren said.

Harris went after congressional Republicans over the issue, saying that their inaction shows a “lack of courage.”

“When I’ve been in the United States Senate for now the last two and a half years and I look at our counterparts, the Republicans in the United States Senate, they must be looking at their children and then when they look at the mirror, I don’t know what they see, but it’s a lack of courage,” Harris said.

10:02 p.m.: Klobuchar pitches a Midwesterner’s approach to climate change

Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar leaned into her Midwestern roots to outline her approach to tackling the climate crisis, “I think having someone leading the ticket from the midwest will allow us to talk about this in a different way and get it done.” She continued: “On day one, I will get us back into the international climate change agreement. On day two, I will bring back the clean power rules that president Obama had worked on.”

10:00 p.m.: O’Rourke says he will take action on climate change ‘regardless of political consequences’

Former Texas Congressman Beto O’Rourke, responding to a question on climate change, said action on the issue is crucial “regardless of political consequences.”

“We will follow through, regardless of the political consequences or who it offends, because this is the very future of our planet and our ability for our children and grandchildren to be able to survive on it,” O’Rourke said.

“We will make sure that we get to net zero greenhouse gas emissions no later than the year 2050, that we are halfway there by 2030, that we mobilize $5 trillion over the next ten years to do that, that we invest here in Houston, Texas, with pre-disaster mitigation grants to protect those communities that are vulnerable to flooding, given the fact that this town has seen three 500-year floods in just five years,” O’Rourke added.

9:52 p.m.: Sanders contrasts his Iraq war vote with Biden’s

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders called out former Vice President Joe Biden’s ‘yes’ vote on the Iraq war in 2003 – when he was a senator from Delaware.

“The big differences between you and me, I never believed what Cheney and Bush said about Iraq and I voted against the war in Iraq and help lead the opposition,” Sanders said. “I think also I am the only person up here to have voted against all three of trump’s military budgets.”

9:49 p.m.: Biden defends his record on Iraq, Afghanistan

Former Vice President Biden, who has taken criticism recently for his record on foreign policy, and his vote in favor of the Iraq War, defended his record, and said he was wrong to say he opposed the war immediately after it started.

“With regard to Iraq, the fact of the matter is that, you know, I should have never voted to give bush the authority to go in and do what he did,” Biden said.

“I said something that was not meant the way I said it. I said, from that point on. What I was arguing against in the beginning, once he started to put the troops in, was that in fact we were doing it the wrong way, there was no plan,” Biden said.

He later leaned on the trust President Obama put in him to ensure an effective end to U.S. involvement in Iraq.

“And it was later when we came into office, that Barack – the president – turned to me, he said, Joe, we have a plan to get out. He turned, he said, Joe will organize this, get the troops home..”

9:46 p.m.: Buttigieg, only military veteran on stage, advocates against ‘endless wars’

 South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg, a U.S. Navy veteran and the only candidate on stage Thursday with military experience, advocated for a drawdown of the War in Afghanistan.

“If there’s one thing we’ve learned about Afghanistan, from Afghanistan, it’s that the best way not to be caught up in endless war is to avoid starting one in the first place. And so when I am president, an authorization for the use of military force will have a built in three-year sunset,” Buttigieg said.

“By the way, we also have a president right now who seems to treat troops as props, or worse, tools for his own enrichment,” he added, taking a swipe at Trump.

9:44 p.m.: Warren takes up the issue of bringing troops home

When asked by “World News Tonight” Anchor and Managing Editor David Muir about keeping her promise to bring troops home starting now, without a deal with the Taliban, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren responded, “What we’re doing right now in Afghanistan is not helping the safety and security of the United States, it is not helping the safety and security of the world, it is not helping the safety and security of Afghanistan.”

“We need to bring our troops home,” she said. “Then we need to make a big shift. We can not ask our military to keep solving problems that cannot be solved militarily.”

During a follow up, Warren invoked her trip to Afghanistan with the late Sen. John McCain, to elevate her foreign policy credentials.

“I was in Afghanistan with John McCain two years ago this past summer,” she said. “We talked to military leaders, American and local leaders, we talked to people on the ground and asked the question…Show me what winning looks like…no one can describe it. And the reason no one can describe it is because the problems in Afghanistan are not problems that can be solved by a military.”

9:42 p.m.: Booker gives a shoutout to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and his hair

Hitting President Trump over his aggressive trade policies, including slapping tariffs on Canadian goods, Booker gave a shoutout to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

“You literally have him using a national security waiver to put tariffs on Canada. I’m the only person on this stage that finds Trudeau’s hair very menacing, but they are not a national security threat,” the famously bald Booker said.

“We cannot go up against China alone. This is a president that has a better relationship with dictators like Duterte and Putin than he does with Merkel and Macron,” Booker said, invoking President Trump’s foreign policy strategy, which Democrats charge is too cozy with authoritarian regimes.

9:40 p.m.: Moderate Biden finds commons ground with liberal Warren

In a rare moment of commodity, former Vice President Joe Biden said he agreed with Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren. Amid the debate on trade, he said, “I think Elizabeth — Senator Warren is correct, at the table has to be labor, and at the table have to be environmentalists. The fact of the matter is, China, the problem isn’t the trade deficit, the problem is they’re stealing our intellectual property.”

9:36 p.m.: Harris navigates the debate on trade

California Sen. Kamala Harris, who was asked how her trade policy would differ than former President Obama’s, said, “When we look at this issue, my trade policy, under a Harris administration, is always going to be about saying, we need to export American products, not American jobs. And to do that, we have to have a meaningful trade policy. I’m not a protectionist Democrat. Look, we need to sell our stuff. And that means we need to sell it to people overseas.”

As she has done several times throughout the debate, Harris then hit at President Trump, asserting in jest, “But the bottom line is this, 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?”

9:31 p.m.: Klobuchar says Trump is treating farmers and workers like ‘poker chips’

As she directed her criticism at President Trump, the frequent target of attacks Thursday night, Minnesota Amy Klobuchar said, “What [Trump] has done here, has assessed these tariffs on our allies, he’s put us in the middle of the trade war and treating our farmers and workers like poker chips in one of his bankrupt casinos.”

9:31 p.m.: Klobuchar says Trump is treating farmers and workers like ‘poker chips’

As she directed her criticism at President Trump, the frequent target of attacks Thursday night, Minnesota Amy Klobuchar said, “What [Trump] has done here, has assessed these tariffs on our allies, he’s put us in the middle of the trade war and treating our farmers and workers like poker chips in one of his bankrupt casinos.”

9:29 p.m.: Yang, Buttigieg criticize Trump’s trade strategy with China

Both Yang and Buttigieg criticized President Trump’s strategy in dealing with China, and the South Bend Mayor calling him an “empty chair” on the global stage.

“We have to let the Chinese know that we recognize that President Trump has pursued an arbitrary and haphazard trade policy that has had victims on both sides,” Yang said.

“Well, the president clearly has no strategy. You know, when I first got into this race, I remember president Trump scoffed and said he’d like to see me make a deal with Xi Jinping. I’d like to see him making a deal with XI Jinping. Is it just me or was that supposed to happen in like April?” Buttigieg asked rhetorically.

9:19 p.m.: Buttigieg: ‘Anyone who supports this president is supporting racism’

Fielding a question from Univision’s Jorge Ramos, South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg gave a stark answer on President Trump’s supporters when it comes to the issue of immigration.

“Anyone who supports this is supporting racism…The only people, though, who actually buy into this president’s hateful rhetoric around immigrants are people who don’t know any,” Buttigieg said.

He also said as president he will get comprehensive immigration reform done.

“We have an opportunity to actually get something done. But we cannot allow this continue to be the same debate with the same arguments and the same clever lines often among the same people since the last real reform happened in the 1980s,” he warned.

9:16 p.m.: Yang fields question on legal immigration

Entrepreneur Andrew Yang invokes his ancestry when talking about legal immigration, “My father grew up on a peanut farm in Asia with no floor and now his son is running for president. That is the immigration story.”

Yang continued: “We have to say to the American people, immigrants are positive for our economic and social dynamism, and I would return immigration to the total it was in the Obama administration.”

He also took aim at the current president, telling the crowd: “I am the opposite of Donald Trump in many ways. He says, ‘build a wall.’ I’m going to say to immigrants, ‘come to America, because if you come here, your son our daughter can run for president.'”

9:13 p.m.: Castro again expresses frustration over Obama administration’s lack of action on immigration reform, lashes Biden over invoking his former boss

After Biden defended the Obama administration’s record on immigration, Castro criticized the former Vice President for invoking his former boss only when it’s convenient.

“My problem with Vice President Biden, and [Senator Booker] pointed this out last time is, every time something good about Barack Obama comes up, he says, oh, I was there, I was there, I was there, that’s me, too, and then every time somebody questions part of the administration that we were both part of, he says, well, that was the president,” Castro said.

“I stand with Barack Obama all eight years. Good, bad and indifferent. That’s where I stand. I did not say I did not stand with him,” Biden said in defense.

9:10 p.m.: Univision Anchor Jorge Ramos questions Biden on immigration

When tasked with defending former President Barack Obama’s record on deportations, former Vice President Joe Biden said, “What Latinos should look at, comparing this president to the president we have is outrageous, number one. We didn’t lock people up in cages. We didn’t separate families.”

You didn’t answer the question,” Ramos said.

“Well, I did answer the question,” Biden responded.

“Did you make a mistake with those deportations,” Ramos posed.

“The president did the best thing that was able to be done,” Biden said.

Ramos replied, “How about you?”

Biden said: “I’m the vice president of the United States.”

9:07 p.m. Fact-checking Democratic candidates on the issues at the ABC News debate in Houston

ABC News is fact checking the Democratic Debate in Houston between Sen. Amy Klobuchar, Sen. Cory Booker, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Sen. Bernie Sanders, former Vice President Joe Biden, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Sen. Kamala Harris, Andrew Yang, former Rep. Beto O’Rourke and former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro.

9:06 p.m.: Warren reaffirms support for eliminating the filibuster for gun control

Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren pivoted from mass shootings to talk about the gun violence epidemic happening everyday in the country.

“People die from violence from suicide and domestic abuse. We have a gun violence problem in this country,” she said before reiterating her support for eliminating the filibuster to take action on gun reform. “I was in the United States Senate when 54 Senators said, ‘let’s do background checks, let’s get rid of assault weapons’ and with 54 Senators, it failed because of the filibuster. Until we attack the systemic problems, we can’t get gun reform in this country.”

9:04 p.m. Booker says action on gun control can’t wait until tragedy reaches more communities

Sen. Booker pushed an urgent response to the recent mass shootings, saying that action cannot only come after those tragic events, but also in response to violence in the communities like his (Booker resides in Newark, New Jersey).

“I’m happy that people like Beto O’Rourke are showing such courage now and coming forward and also now supporting licensing. But this is — what I’m sorry about, I’m sorry that it had to take issues coming to my neighborhood or personally affecting Beto to suddenly make us demand change,” Booker said.

“We have had more people die due to gun violence in my lifetime than every single war in this country combined from the revolutionary war until now. This is not a side issue to me. It is a central issue to me,” Booker said in response to a follow up question from World News Tonight Anchor David Muir.

8:59 p.m.: O’Rourke maps out his plan for mandatory buybacks

When asked if he would implement mandatory buybacks for assault-style weapons, former Texas Congressman Beto O’Rourke says, “I am, if it’s a weapon that was designed to kill people on a battlefield.”

O’Rourke grew more passionate, as he continued: “So many other people were shot by that AR-15 in Odessa, there weren’t enough ambulances to get to them in time. Hell yes, we’re going to take away your AR-15, your AK-47. We’re not going to allow it to be used against a fellow American anymore.”

8:57 p.m. Harris again calls back to Obama, also praises O’Rourke’s response to the El Paso shooting

Harris, as multiple candidates on stage have already done, invoked former President Barack Obama and his signature campaign slogan when discussing her ability to carry out gun control via executive order.

“Yes, we can, because I’ll tell you something. The way that I think about this is, I’ve seen more autopsy photographs than I care to tell you. I have attended more police officer funerals than I care to tell you. I have hugged more mothers of homicide victims than I care to tell you,” Harris said.

She also praised Congressman O’Rourke’s response to the mass shooting last month in El Paso, Texas.

“Beto, god love you for standing so courageously in the midst of that tragedy. You know, people asked me in El Paso, they said, you know, because I have a long-standing record on this issue,” Harris said.

8:54 p.m.: Gun control takes center stage at the third Democratic debate, with El Paso survivors in the audience

Former Vice President Joe Biden says that since Sandy Hook, gun control “went from a cause to a movement.”

He then praised former Texas Congressman Beto O’Rourke for his response to the El Paso shooting:

“By the way Beto — forgive me for saying Beto,” Biden said.

O’Rourke responded: “That’s okay. Beto’s good.”

Biden continued: “The way he handled what happened in his hometown is meaningful. To look into the eyes of those people, to see those kids, to understand those parents, you understand the heartache. But this is the problem. This is the problem.”

8:49 p.m.: Klobuchar defends her record as a prosecutor in Minnesota

When Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar was pressed on her eight-year tenure as a prosecutor in Minnesota, in which dozens of incidents where black men were killed by police, she responded, “That’s not my record … when I was there, the way we handled these police shootings, I actually took a stand to make sure outside investigators handled them.”

She added: “I will make sure we don’t just do the First Step Act when it comes to criminal sentencing, that we move to the Second Step Act.”

8:47 p.m.: Conversation turns to criminal justice reform, and Harris’ prosecutorial record comes under scrutiny

The conversation around racism then turned towards criminal justice reform, and Sen. Kamala Harris’ record as a prosecutor came under direct scrutiny, a record she defended.

“I’m glad you asked me this question, and there have been many distortions of my record. Let me be very clear. I made a decision to become a prosecutor for two reasons. One, I’ve always wanted to protect people and keep them safe and second, I was born knowing about how this criminal justice system in America has worked in a way that has been informed by racial bias,” Harris said.

“My plan is about making sure that in America’s criminal justice system, we de-incarcerate women and children, that we end solitary confinement and that we work on keeping families intact. And as President of the United States, knowing the system from the inside, I will have the ability to be an effective leader and get this job complete,” Harris added.

8:47 p.m.: Conversation turns to criminal justice reform, and Harris’ prosecutorial record comes under scrutiny

The conversation around racism then turned towards criminal justice reform, and Sen. Kamala Harris’ record as a prosecutor came under direct scrutiny, a record she defended.

“I’m glad you asked me this question, and there have been many distortions of my record. Let me be very clear. I made a decision to become a prosecutor for two reasons. One, I’ve always wanted to protect people and keep them safe and second, I was born knowing about how this criminal justice system in America has worked in a way that has been informed by racial bias,” Harris said.

“My plan is about making sure that in America’s criminal justice system, we de-incarcerate women and children, that we end solitary confinement and that we work on keeping families intact. And as President of the United States, knowing the system from the inside, I will have the ability to be an effective leader and get this job complete,” Harris added.

8:45 p.m.: Buttigieg talks up his ‘Douglass Plan’

As he followed suit with his democratic rivals, South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg addressed the system racism in the country, saying, it “preceded this president and even when we defeat him, it will be with us.”

“That’s why we need a systemic approach to dismantle it,” he continued. “It’s — it’s not enough to just take a racist policy, replace it with a neutral one and expect things will just get better on their own … This time, a Douglass plan that we invest right here at home. To make sure that we’re not only dealing with things like the over-incarceration of black Americans.”

8:43 p.m.: Booker pitches a new path forward to attack ‘systemic racism’

Booker, fielding a question from ABC News’ Linsey Davis, said a comprehensive criminal justice plan is central to combatting “systemic racism,’ in America.

“Racism exists, the question isn’t who isn’t a racist, it’s who is and isn’t doing something about racism,” Booker said.

“It’s nice to go back to slavery, but we have a criminal justice system that is so racially biased, we have more African-Americans under criminal supervision today than all the slaves in 1850. We have to come at this issue attacking systemic racism, having the courage to call it out and having a plan to do something about it,” he added.

8:41 p.m.: O’Rourke tackles racism in America standing on the stage of HBCU Texas Southern University

When asked about addressing the racial divide in the country, former Texas Congressman Beto O’Rourke said, “Racism in America is endemic. It is foundational…I’m going to follow Sheila Jackson Lee’s lead and sign a reparations bill that will allow us to address this at its foundation. But we will also call out the fact that we have a white supremacist in the white house and he poses a mortal threat to people of color all across this country.”

The other Texan on stage, former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro chimed in, first praising O’Rourke for his response to the El Paso shooting, and then arguing, “We need to root out racism and I believe we can do that, because that doesn’t represent the vast majority of Americans who do have a good heart. They need a leader to match that and I will be a president that matches that.”

8:38 p.m.: Outsider Yang injects his business background in health care debate

Amid a tense moment between some of his fellow contenders, Andrew Yang said, “We know we’re on the same team here. We know we’re on the same team. We all have a better vision for health care than our current president.”

He then continued: “I believe we’re talking about this the wrong way. As someone who has run a business, I know that our current health care system makings it harder to hire people, makes it harder to give them benefits and treat them as full-time employees. It’s harder to change jobs. It’s certainly harder to start a business. The pitch we have to make to the American people is, we will get the health care weight off of your backs and then unleash the hopes and dreams of the American people.”

8:36 p.m.: Castro goes directly after Biden, Buttigieg, Klobuchar tries to be the voices of reason

Former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro and Biden had a particularly contentious exchange, also over healthcare, with Castro accusing Biden of forgetting the details of his own healthcare plan.

“Are you forgetting what you said two minutes ago? Are you forgetting already what you said just two minutes ago? I can’t believe that you said two minutes ago that they had to buy in, and now you’re saying they don’t have to buy in. You’re forgetting that,” Castro said to gasps from the audience.

“I said anyone like your grandmother who has no money,” Biden said in defense.

“This is why presidential debates are becoming unwatchable. This reminds everybody of what they cannot stand about Washington. Scoring points against each other. Poking at each other,” Buttigieg said.

“A house divided cannot stand. And that is not how we’re going to win this,” Klobuchar said.

8:35 p.m.: Texas native O’Rourke argues some Democrats are offering a ‘false choice’

Former Texas Congressman Beto O’Rourke spoke directly to his fellow Democrats to tell them, “we’ve got to do better.” “I also think we’re being offered a false choice between those who propose an all or nothing gambit, forcing tens of millions off of insurance that they like, that works for them, to force them onto medicare and others who want to, as the vice president does, incrementally improve what we have, which will leave many, maybe millions uncared for,” he said. “We’ve got to do better.”

8:33 p.m.: Biden invokes Sanders ‘socialist’ label

“If you notice, nobody’s yet said how much it’s going to cost the taxpayer. I hear this, large savings, the president — my friend from Vermont thinks that the employer is going to give back if you negotiate as a union all these years, got a cut in wages because you got insurance. They’re going to give back that money to the employee?” Biden asked Sanders.

“As a matter of fact, they will,” Sanders responded.

“Well let me tell you something. For a socialist you got — For a socialist, you have a lot more confidence in corporate America than I do,” Biden said.

8:31 p.m.: Kamala Harris cheers Obama, slams Trump

After the second Democratic debate saw former President Barack Obama’s legacy criticized, California Sen. Kamala Harris praised him: “I want to give credit to Barack Obama for bringing us this far.”

She then took aim at the current White House occupants, President Trump, telling the crowd, “But at least five people have talked, some repeatedly on this subject, and not once have we talked about Donald Trump. So let’s talk about the fact that Donald Trump came into office and spent almost the entire first year of his term trying to get rid of the Affordable Care Act.”

8:29 p.m.: Buttigieg says he ‘trusts the American people’ on healthcare, Sanders hits back

Buttigieg also went after Medicare for All, and pitched his own plan that he dubs “Medicare for All who want it.”

“The problem, Senator Sanders, with the damn bill that you wrote, and that Senator Warren backs, is that it doesn’t trust the American people. I trust you to choose what makes the most sense for you. Not my way or the highway,” Buttigieg said.

Sanders doubled down on his plan, Medicare for All, “Medicare for All is comprehensive health care. Covers all basic needs, including home health care. It allows you to go to any doctor you want, which many private insurance company programs do not.”

8:27 p.m.: Amy Klobuchar seeks to carve out her path on health care by taking aim at Sanders

“Senator Sanders and I have worked valiantly to bring down the cost of pharmaceuticals,” said Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar. “And while Bernie wrote the bill, I read the bill. And on page eight — on page eight of the bill, it says that we will no longer have private insurance as we know it.”

“That means that 149 million Americans will no longer be able to have their current insurance. That’s in four years. I don’t think that’s a bold,” she added.”

8:25 p.m.: Warren, Sanders join forces to defend health care plans

Both Warren and Sanders again defended their health care plans after Biden pointed out the high cost of the programs they are advocating for.

“So, let’s be clear, I’ve actually never met anybody who likes their health insurance company. I’ve met people who like their doctors, I met people who like their nurses, I’ve met people who like their pharmacists, I met people who like their physical therapists. What they want is access to health care,” Warren said.

“Let us be clear, Joe, in the United States of America, we have spending twice as much per capita on health care as the Canadians or any other major country on Earth,” Sanders argued.

8:23 p.m.: Biden keeps up the fight for Obamacare by taking aim at the progressive tag team

“This is about candor, honesty,” the former vice president said. “The tax of 2% that the Senator [Warren] is talking about, that raises about $3 billion. Guess what? That leaves you $28 billion short. The senator said before, it’s going to cost you in your — there will be a deductible – in your paycheck. You’re gonna — The middle class person, someone making 60 grand with three kids, they’re going to end up paying $5,000 more.”

8:21 p.m.: Sanders forcefully defends Medicare for All after Biden’s criticism

Sanders immediately defended his Medicare for All plan, and went after Biden for pushing for “the status quo.” “Joe said that Medicare for All would cost over $30 trillion. That’s right, Joe, status quo over ten years will be $50 trillion!” Sanders said.

“We need — we need a health care system that guarantees health care to all people as every other major country does, not a system which provides $100 billion a year in profit for the drug companies and the insurance companies. I’ll tell you how absurd the system is tonight on ABC, the health care industry will be advertising, telling you how bad medicare for all is, because they want to protect their profits. That is absurd,” Sanders said.

8:20 p.m.: Warren fields question on middle class taxes going up for health care

Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren hedged when directly asked on if middle class taxes will go up under “Medicare for All” “How do we pay for it? We pay for it, those at the very top, the richest individuals and the biggest corporations, are going to pay more. And middle class families are going to pay less,” she said. “That’s how this is going to work.” When pressed again, she responded, “The answer is Medicare for All, costs are going to go up for wealthier individuals and costs are going to go up for giant corporations. But for hard-working families across this country, costs are going to go down and that’s how it should work under medicare for all in our health care system.”

8:19 p.m.: Biden pushed back on Warren and Sanders’ health care plans

Former Vice President Joe Biden kicked off the debate and pushed back on the health care plan being pitched by Warren and Sanders, Medicare for All.

“I think we should have a debate on health care. I think — I know that [Senator Warren] says she’s for Bernie, well, I’m for Barack. I think it worked,” Biden said.

“So as far, my distinguished friend, the senator on my left has not indicated how she pays for it and the senator has,” Biden said gesturing to Sanders and Warren. “In fact, come forward and said how he’s going to pay for it, but it gets him halfway there.”

8:17 p.m.: The top four candidates also give opening statements

California Sen. Kamala Harris targets President Donald Trump: “But here’s what you don’t get. What you don’t get you is that the American people are so much better than this. And we know that the vast majority of us have so much more in common than what separates us, regardless of our race, where we live or the party with which we’re registered to vote … And now, President Trump, you can go back to watching Fox News.”

Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., pitched his long-standing message of fundamental economic change to benefit the country’s working class: “It goes without saying that we must and will defeat Trump, the most dangerous president in the history of this country. But we must do more. We must do more. We have got to recognize that this country is moving into a form of society where a handful of billionaires control the economic and political life of this country.”

Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., talks up her Houston roots before touting why she should be at the top of the ticket: “I got my big opportunity about a half mile down the road from here at the University of Houston, back when it cost $50 a semester … I know what’s broken, I know how to fix it and I’m going to lead.”

Former Vice President Biden called back to a speech President John F. Kennedy gave when he launched the “Moonshot Program” to land on the moon: “We’re walking around with our heads down like “woe is me.” We’re the best-equipped nation in the world to take this on. It’s no longer time to postpone. We should get moving. There’s enormous, enormous opportunities once we get rid of Donald Trump,” Biden said.

8:12 p.m.: The next series of candidates give opening statements

Former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke invokes the shooting of El Paso in his opening remarks: “On August 3rd, in El Paso, Texas, two things became crystal clear for me … The first is just how dangerous Donald Trump is the cost and the consequence of his presidency … The second is how insufficient our politics is to meet the threat that we have right now.”

New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker struck a unifying tone in his opening statement: “That’s the story of America. At our best, we unify, we find common cause and common purpose. The differences amongst us Democrats on the stage are not as great as the urgency for us to unite as a party, not just to beat Donald Trump, but to unite America in common cause and common purpose,” Booker said.

South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg harkened back to the 18th anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks, saying he wants to focus on the future of the country: “We just marked the anniversary of 9/11. All day today I’ve been thinking about September 12th, the way it felt when for a moment, we came together as a country. Imagine if we had been able to sustain that unity,” Buttigieg said.

8:10 p.m. Andrew Yang officially announced plans to give 10 new individuals $1,000 a month

Entrepreneur Andrew Yang announced on tonight’s debate stage 10 new people to receive the “Freedom Dividend,” a $1000 a month payment, his signature campaign policy, according to a Yang campaign source. Three people already received the payment from Yang, bring the total number of people receiving the dividend to 13. The source tells ABC News he will use campaign funds to make the payment.

8:05 p.m. Klobuchar ribs Trump in her opening statement

Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar ribbed President Donald Trump in her opening statement at Thursday’s debate. “I may not be the loudest person up here, but I think we’ve already got that in the white house. Houston, we have a problem. This — we have a guy there that is literally running our country like a game show. He would rather lie than lead,” Klobuchar said.

8:03: Julián Castro kicks off opening statements

At the onset of the ABC News/Univision debate in Houston, former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro delivers his opening statement, the first of the 10 candidates on stage:

“There will be life after Donald Trump. But the truth is that our problems didn’t start just with Donald Trump and we won’t solve them by embracing old ideas. We need a bold vision,” he said. “We have to win… it’s what I can do in this race get back Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, Florida, Georgia and Arizona and finally turn Texas blue and say good-bye to Donald Trump.”

8:00 p.m.: The third Democratic debate gets underway

The third Democratic debate, hosted by ABC News and Univision, is starting from Houston’s Texas Southern University. Here’s how to watch the debate: The three-hour event airs on ABC, on Univision with a Spanish translation, locally on KTRK-TV and on ABC News Live. The streaming channel is available on the, Good Morning America and FiveThirtyEight websites and mobile phone apps, as well as on Hulu Live, The Roku Channel, Facebook Watch, AppleTV, Amazon Fire TV, YouTube, Apple News, and Twitter.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Posted On 12 Sep 2019

Andrew Yang to give $1,000 a month to 10 families as part of his campaign

Political News Andrew Yang to give $1,000 a month to 10 families as part of his campaign

Kendall Karson/ABC News(WASHINGTON) — Andrew Yang kicked off the latest Democratic debate by promising to give away more money.

During his opening remarks onstage at Thursday’s debate, the Democratic presidential candidate announced that his campaign would give an additional 10 families $1,000 per month for a year for a case study on his signature universal basic income policy.

“It’s time to trust ourselves more than our politicians. That’s why I’m going to do something unprecedented tonight. My campaign will now give a freedom dividend of $1,000 a month for an entire year to 10 American families, someone watching this at home right now,” Yang said. “If you believe that you can solve your own problems better than any politician, go to and tell us how $1,000 a month will help you do just that. This is how we will get our country working for us again, the American people.”

Yang’s campaign manager, Zach Graumann, confirmed the plan to ABC News shortly before the debate began: “The campaign is excited to work together with our supporters to help create more stories about what the Freedom Dividends means for American families. It will enable and empower citizens to pay their bills, switch jobs, take care of loved ones, and plan for the future.”

Some campaign finance experts have said the monthly gifts, dubbed “Freedom Dividends,” walk a very fine line in terms of campaign finance laws that prohibit the personal use of campaign funds.

Former FEC lawyer and Senior Director of Campaign Legal Center Adav Noti told ABC News that Yang’s plan appears to violate the federal law on its face, though it’s hard to say with 100% certainty without additional details of the payouts.

“The only way I can think of even potentially justifying it would be if the campaign were to condition the payments on recipients giving their time to the campaign — essentially as payment for services,” Noti said. “Even then, to be legal, the payments would have to be at the fair market value of the services provided in exchange. Otherwise, the campaign funds are just going to pay the day-to-day expenses of the recipients, which is exactly what the law prohibits. The personal use ban is an important anti-corruption and donor-protection law, and the Yang campaign shouldn’t be violating it so cavalierly.”

Another election lawyer, Paul S. Ryan, with Common Cause, voiced similar concerns, saying without any services from the recipients for the campaign, this could trigger the personal use ban.

One exception on the ban on personal use, Ryan said, is if the campaign funds are used to “purchase gifts or make donations of nominal value to persons other than the members of the candidate’s family.” But he added that Yang’s $1,000 monthly payment for a year is not likely to be considered of “nominal value.”

Yang’s campaign said in a statement the campaign consulted with its counsel, and that Freedom Dividends are “fully compliant with all FEC regulations.”

Yang’s showcase of his main campaign platform would consolidate some welfare programs and ultimately provide each American adult 18 or older with a $1,000 monthly check from the government. He cited Alaska as a potential model for the proposal. There, citizens receive an annual check from the state that’s supported by oil and mineral leases in the state.

As the campaign notes, there are already the three dividend recipients: Jodie Fassi of New Hampshire, Malorie Shannon of Florida, and Kyle Christensen of Iowa.

Beyond the legal questions, the announcement did have one immediate impact: surprise.

Mayor Pete Buttigieg was the next candidate to speak immediately after Yang, and he couldn’t help by react.

“It’s original,” Buttigieg said. “I’ll give you that.”

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Posted On 12 Sep 2019

Why the US spends more on health care than other countries, but doesn’t fare better: Study

metamorworks/iStockBY: DR. HECTOR FLORIMON

(NEW YORK) — Americans pay more for health care and get fewer results, according to a new analysis.

The U.S. spends more money than any other country on health care, yet life expectancy is shorter, obesity is higher, and the rate of maternal and infant death is higher as well. The study published in JAMA on Tuesday takes a closer look at how health dollars are spent, and some of the findings might be surprising.

Where is the health care money going?

Researchers at Harvard University analyzed data from international organizations on types of spending and performance outcomes between the U.S. and other high-income countries: Canada, Germany, Australia, Japan, Sweden, France, Denmark, The Netherlands and Switzerland.

By comparison, one of the main drivers of the high health care costs in the U.S.: brand name prescription drugs.

In the U.S. people spend, per person, nearly double the on pharmaceutical drugs — $1,443 — compared to the average of other countries, $749.

For example, long-acting insulin for diabetes has a monthly cost of $186 in the U.S., but costs a third of that in Canada. Crestor, a common cholesterol-lowering medication, will cost patients $86 in the U.S., but less than half in Germany.

Authors found the total spending on generic drugs in the U.S. is less than 30 percent of the total dollars spent on pharmaceuticals, suggesting that brand name medications are a major driver of costs for the U.S. health care system.

The U.S. spends more, but fewer people are covered

In 2016, while only about 90 percent of the population had health care coverage, the U.S. spent about 18 percent of its GDP on health care. Other countries spent much less of their GDP on health care, ranging from 9 percent in Australia to 12 percent in Switzerland — while they had more than 99 percent of the populations with health care coverage.

Contrary to popular belief, health care utilization, or how many go to the doctor, and social spending, or how much government spent to improve health, did not differ in the U.S. compared to these countries.

Two-thirds of the difference in health care costs between the U.S. and other countries were rolled up into medication costs, expensive tests and procedures and administrative costs.

“As the U.S. continues to struggle with high health care spending, it is critical that we make progress on curtailing these costs. International comparisons are very valuable — they allow for reflection on national performance and serve to promote accountability,” said first author Irene Papanicolas, visiting assistant professor in the Department of Health Policy and Management at Harvard Chan School.

The U.S. suffers from high prices and the same time it also deals with high volumes.

When it comes to testing, the U.S. performs more CT scans than any other country — 1.3 million per year. Each scan costs 10 times more than in The Netherlands, for example. Even procedures like a cesarean delivery cost, on average, seven times more in U.S. than in The Netherlands.

Many have questioned: Are physician salaries also to blame? Yes and no. Salaries paid to doctors and nurses in the U.S. were more than twice as much as other countries. However, researchers say “the number of physicians in the U.S. is comparatively low, offsetting the effect of high salaries.”

For example, despite Germany having almost twice as many doctors as in the United States — 4.1 doctors per 1,000 people, versus 2.6 in the U.S. — the amount spent on their salaries is essentially the same.

Dr. Hector M. Florimon is a third-year resident in pediatrics at New York Presbyterian-Columbia University Medical Center, working in the ABC News Medical Unit. This story originally ran March 13, 2018.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Nurse donates liver in life-saving transplant for 8-year-old boy

Courtesy James Auten(NEW YORK) — A young boy is living his best life four months after receiving a life-saving liver transplant from a transplant intensive care unit nurse who was touched by his story and decided to help out.

Brayden Auten, 8, was home on April 25 when he became sick with a stomach ache and diarrhea.

His parents, James and Ruth Auten of Wrightstown, Wisconsin, thought it could be the flu until they noticed Brayden’s eyes were yellow. They immediately took the third-grader at Wrightstown Elementary School to a primary care clinic, where his sickness took a turn for the worse and his skin began to turn yellow as well.

Brayden was admitted to the Children’s Hospital of Milwaukee on April 26.

After doing an ultrasound, doctors found that his liver was functioning incorrectly. As the days passed, Brayden’s liver stopped working completely.

“We were terrified. … We didn’t know what was going on for the first week,” James Auten told ABC News Thursday. “As parents, we just wanted to know what was going on with our son.”

Even though the doctors were unsure about which virus Brayden had that was causing his liver to fail, they knew that he needed a liver transplant as soon as possible. The family began scrambling to find a match for their son. Many family members and friends were tested to see whether they were a match but no one was.

Cami Loritz, a nurse who works in the transplant intensive care unit at Froedtert Hospital in Milwaukee, heard of Brayden’s situation and wanted to help in some way. She signed up to be a living donor and decided to give part of her liver to Brayden, according to ABC News Milwaukee affiliate WISN-TV.

Loritz’s surgery took place on May 14 at Froedtert Hospital. Brayden’s took place on the same day at the Children’s Hospital of Milwaukee.

James Auten told ABC News that they didn’t know Loritz because she wanted to stay anonymous, but said she “was going to meet us once the surgery was successful.”

Two weeks after surgery, the hospital set up a meeting for Loritz and Brayden to meet in the hospital where they embraced each other with hugs.

“Brayden was nervous and I don’t think fully understood what happened and what she did. … He does now though and thinks of her like a big sister,” Auten said.

“It was fun meeting him and seeing him, like, starting to feel better. I had no reason not to go through it,” Loritz told WISN-TV.

In a Sept. 4 post on Facebook, Loritz thanked her family, friends and hospital family for supporting her and Brayden.

“Now that we are almost 4 months post-transplant it’s heartwarming seeing Brayden enjoy being a kid again, no argument he’s stinkin’ cute! I am beyond thankful his family gets the chance to have their little boy back and healthy,” Loritz said. “With that said, both the Auten’s and I don’t want this happy ending to end here. … Living organ donation is a FEASIBLE concept to SAVE LIVES! On top of all the love and support we’ve received we’re asking for your help to educate the public and raise awareness about living organ donation. Help us lessen the deficit between the number of organs needed and the number of organs available. … *Special shout out and thank you to the Transplant Team, Transplant ICU, and 4NW staff (especially nurses 😉) at Froedtert Hospital for making this all possible!”

On June 4, Brayden was released from the hospital and moved to a Ronald McDonald House for a few weeks.

James Auten said that Brayden is doing great and all his vitals are stable. He said that his family still hasn’t found out Brayden’s diagnosis and that doctors told him they probably won’t ever find out.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

President Trump heads to Baltimore, a city he called a ‘rodent infested mess’

Political News President Trump heads to Baltimore, a city he called a 'rodent infested mess'

Vito Palmisano/iStock(BALTIMORE) — While Baltimore is known fondly as “Charm City” to people who live there, President Donald Trump calls it a “disgusting, rat and rodent infested mess” and on Thursday evening, he plans to venture north of Washington for a visit.

The president is scheduled to address House Republicans as part of their three-day retreat at a hotel in downtown Baltimore, near the Inner Harbor. Protests, including a “No Racists in Our Streets” rally, were planned against a visit by the president, who has called the city the “worst in the USA” and a place “no human being would want to live.”

Earlier, protesters placed a giant rat-shaped balloon with a Trump head near where the president would be stopping.

Trump’s feud with Baltimore was sparked – seemingly out of the blue – on Twitter in what appeared to be retaliation against investigations against him launched by the House Oversight Committee and its Democratic chairman, Rep. Elijah Cummings. Cummings’ district, which is mostly African American, covers part of Baltimore and is just a few blocks from where Trump is speaking.

Since late July, the president has lobbed attacks against Cummings and the city of Baltimore, a city of over 600,000.

“Rep, Elijah Cummings has been a brutal bully, shouting and screaming at the great men & women of Border Patrol about conditions at the Southern Border, when actually his Baltimore district is FAR WORSE and more dangerous. His district is considered the Worst in the USA,” Trump tweeted.

“As proven last week during a Congressional tour, the Border is clean, efficient & well run, just very crowded. Cumming District is a disgusting, rat and rodent infested mess. If he spent more time in Baltimore, maybe he could help clean up this very dangerous & filthy place.”

Cummings, who has served the area for decades, responded by saying he continues to work for his district.

“Mr. President, I go home to my district daily,” he said. “It is my constitutional duty to conduct oversight of the Executive Branch. But, it is my moral duty to fight for my constituents.”

Maryland’s GOP governor, Larry Hogan, called Trump’s comments “ outrageous and inappropriate.”

“Washington is just completely consumed with, with angry and divisive politics, the divisiveness and dysfunction. And then 14 hours later we get this tweet that sets off another fire storm of angry tweets back and forth.”

The city of Baltimore has struggled for years with crime, poverty and issues with housing. In 2018, there were a record number of homicides in Baltimore, with 309 killed according to the Baltimore Police Department. But some have pointed to issues with developers and local landlords, including Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner whose family real estate firm owns apartments and townhomes in Baltimore. In 2017, the county reported some 200 code violations in apartments owned by the Kushner family in one year alone.

Trump’s only African American Cabinet member, Housing Secretary Ben Carson, is from Baltimore and acknowledged the city’s problems.

“You know, it’s sort of like if you have a patient who has cancer,” Carson said of Baltimore. “You can dress them up and put a nice suit on them, and you can try to ignore it. But that cancer is going to have a devastating effect. You have to be willing to address that issue if you’re ever going to solve it.”

At the beginning of August, Cummings invited Trump to come visit.

“I want President Trump to visit Baltimore,” he said. “My God, I want him to come, I’ll ride with him for hours if I have to.”

The White House does not have any plans for the president to tour the city before or after his speaking engagement.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Posted On 12 Sep 2019

Terrence Howard says he’s done with acting after ‘Empire’ ends

Entertainment News  Terrence Howard says he's done with acting after 'Empire' ends


Chuck Hodes/Fox(LOS ANGELES) — Terrence Howard says he’s ready for something different after his hit FOX series Empire ends.

In an interview with Extra, Howard appeared to announce that he’s retiring from acting.

“I’m done with acting. I’m done pretending,” Howard said, referring to his plans following the upcoming sixth and final season of the series.

As far as what Howard plans to do instead of acting, the star says it’s still being figured out.

“I’m just focusing on bringing truth to the world,” he said, without explaining his “truth.”

Meanwhile, Howard — who’s also starred in notable films like The Best ManThe Butler and Hustle & Flow — says his Empire costars will always have a special place in his heart.

“I love the cast members,” he said. “I will miss them a great deal, and the crew.”

The sixth season of Empire premieres Tuesday, September 24 at 9 p.m ET on FOX.

21st Century Fox, which produces Empire, is now a part of Disney, ABC’s parent company.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Posted On 12 Sep 2019

Rapidly diversifying Texas raises Democrats’ hopes of turning the state blue

Political News Rapidly diversifying Texas raises Democrats’ hopes of turning the state blue

ABC News(HOUSTON) — Thirty miles southwest of Houston — the site of ABC’s Democratic debate Thursday — Texas Democrats are staging a coup.

Once a deep-red Republican bastion, Fort Bend County is rapidly turning purple — breaking decades of GOP domination and lifting Democratic spirits for greater influence statewide.

In 2016, Fort Bend backed Hillary Clinton for president by a nearly seven-point margin — the first Democrat to win the county since Lyndon Johnson. Last year, voters elected an Indian immigrant as county leader — their first-ever nonwhite man and first Democrat in nearly thirty years.

Now, after a longtime Republican congressman from the area, who narrowly won reelection in 2018, recently announced plans to retire; his young Democratic rival is readying to make another run in 2020.

“It is a huge change happening,” said Fort Bend County Judge K.P. George, the Democratic executive. “I believe it is going to change the way people are looking at Texas, from outside.”

As Democrats converge on Houston for the third Democratic presidential primary debate Thursday night, many are looking to the Houston suburbs for clues on how Democrats can win in red states.

Fort Bend County is a microcosm of the shifting demographics that are scrambling American politics.

The community is roughly 33 percent white, 25 percent Hispanic, 20 percent African-American and 20 percent Asian, according to the most recent Census Bureau data. Approximately one-third of all residents are foreign born — nearly double the percentage of foreign-born Texans statewide.

Stephen Klineberg, director of the Kinder Institute for Urban Research at Rice University, calls it one of the most diverse counties in the country. “One of the most consistent and consequential trends the surveys have recorded is the continuing improvements in support for immigration and the increasingly positive attitudes toward Houston’s diversity,” he writes in the 2019 Kinder Houston Area Survey.

It’s a far cry from the Texas district that former House Republican leader Rep. Tom DeLay represented. DeLay, nicknamed “The Hammer” for his hardline conservative views, was reelected eleven times, serving from 1985 until 2006, when he resigned in the face of a corruption scandal. He was never charged by the Justice Department, and in 2013, a Texas appeals court overturned a separate money-laundering conviction.

“We win by getting more people to come out to vote. More young people, more different communities; everybody involved,” said Sri Kulkarni, a former diplomat and Indian-American immigrant, who’s running as the Democratic candidate in DeLay’s old district, which includes Fort Bend. “We used to have a very low voter turnout until 2018, but we had presidential level turnout last year and it’s because people care now.”

Diversity does not automatically translate to Democratic votes, however. In 2018, Republicans won every statewide office in Texas for the 20th consecutive year. President Donald Trump remains highly popular here.

“It’s been diverse, as far as I can tell. Since I’ve been here, I don’t know if there’s any change in demographics since I’ve been here in 20 years,” said Barry Beard, a Republican city commissioner in Richmond, part of Fort Bend County. “What’s important to us is community and that we move forward and have an equal opportunity — all things that you hope communities would embrace, as opposed to just arguing with each other.”

Republican strategists dismiss the idea that growing pockets of Lone Star Democrats will dramatically alter the state’s position as an electoral-vote anchor for Republicans in presidential years.

“Republicans are more concerned about Georgia than they are Texas in 2020 because of the senate races,” said pollster Frank Luntz. But by 2024, “if I’m a Republican in Texas, I’m watching the demographics and the numbers keep changing.”

It’s not just numbers. President Trump’s rhetoric toward immigrants has weighed heavily on the immigrant communities in Texas, including those that have traditionally been inclined to support Republicans on policy issues.

“I had been voting conservative since I came here,” said Sam Nguyen, a retired Vietnamese-American who’s lived in Sugar Land, Texas, for 25 years. “But next year I don’t even know.” He blamed a new feeling of not being included in the country — and a departure from values of his Christian faith.

Democrats say they see an opening thanks to areas like the Houston suburbs, whose residents overwhelmingly backed former El Paso congressman Beto O’Rourke in 2018 in his race against Sen. Ted Cruz, and brought him within three points of unseating the red-state conservative leader.

“We’re discovering that just championing the policies that people want to see,” said Lina Hidalgo, the 28-year-old Harris County executive who is the first woman and first Latina to lead the largest county in Texas. “You talk about guns, for example; it’s clear the community wants government to be where the Democrats are. It’s not about a party. It’s not about ‘we’re blue, you’re red.’ We’re focusing on good policies before we focus on turning anything blue.”

Other local Democrats said the state hasn’t changed enough for their party to win here in 2020.

“We’re not going to be a blue state in 2020 but it will be a competitive state. It will be a purple state,” former Houston Mayor Annise Parker, now the CEO and president of the Victory Institute, a national organization that supports LGBTQ political and business leaders. (Parker was the first openly gay mayor of a major American city.)

“The reliably conservative Republican suburbs have begun to vote Democratic. It’s not that the Democrats are taking over, it’s that the Republican Party took too hard a turn to the right,” she said.

The suburban shift in Texas mirrors a trend happening around cities across the country in the Trump era, with Democrats performing increasingly well in suburbia as Republicans continue to maintain dominance in more rural areas.

“There should be no question that the changing demographics and voting trends we’ve seen in other previously reliably-red areas like Virginia, Arizona and the Mountain West are being felt in Texas as well,” Brian Walsh, a Republican strategist and former aide to Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, told ABC News. “The question is not ‘if’ but ‘when’ unless the GOP actively works to broaden its base instead of allowing nativist, anti-immigrant rhetoric to define itself.”

Cornyn, for one, is hoping to replicate his 2014 reelection campaign success, when he courted the state’s immigrant communities and ran ads in Vietnamese and Hindi.

“He takes nothing for granted and the strong position he’s in is reflected in the fact that a top tier challenger has yet to emerge against him. That being said, smart Republicans have read the tea leaves from 2018, recognize it’s going to take hard work and a lot of money to win in 2020 and you can’t simply rely on Texas’ historically-red voting trends to carry you over the finish line,” Walsh said in an email.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Posted On 12 Sep 2019

Pelosi exasperated by repeated impeachment questions

Political News Pelosi exasperated by repeated impeachment questions

Luka Banda/iStock(WASHINGTON) — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, pressed by reporters on Thursday, refused to concede that Congress is in the midst of an impeachment investigation, insisting that its oversight of the administration is one of its basic constitutional responsibilities.

Pelosi’s comment came shortly after Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee voted to expand its impeachment investigation, signaling their probe of President Donald Trump was ramping up.

“I stand by what we have been doing all along. I support what is happening Judiciary Committee because that enables them to do their process of interrogation and in their investigation and I salute them for that work,” Pelosi, D-Calif., said at her weekly news conference. “Impeachment is a very divisive measure. But if you have to go there will have to go there. But we can’t go there unless we have the facts. And we will find the facts.”

Pelosi said Democrats will make a decision on impeachment “when we are ready.”

“That’s the only question. That’s all I have to say about this subject,” Pelosi said, clearly annoyed at the persistent questioning. “And there’s nothing different from one day to the next. We’re still on our same path.”

But this week, members of the House Democratic Caucus have appeared confused by the current state of play and semantics surrounding the investigation. Reporters continued to press Pelosi, who appeared to grow agitated by reporters’ incessant focus on impeachment.

“I’ve said what I’m going to say on the subject. That’s it,” Pelosi boomed. “We are legislating. We are focusing on the work that we’re here to do for the American people. And part of our responsibility is to honor our oath of office to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States. And in doing so we are getting, seeking the facts. I’m not answering any questions on this subject. That is what we have said all along.”

 Ahead of ABC’s Democratic presidential debate Thursday night in Houston, Pelosi said her unsolicited advice for candidates would be to tout the ‘For the People’ message that resonated with voters in 2018 – not to attack the president.

“I myself would say, they’re not asking for any advice. They’re running for president of the United States. They have that confidence about their why, why they are like, what they know about their subjects, how they intend to achieve them. So what I’m looking for is how this, these leaders will emerge as the list perhaps gets smaller, maybe it won’t. But as we proceed is, who among them will connect?” she said. “Because the election is always about the future, and what that future means to America’s working family.”

Pelosi said that when Democrats won 40 seats in congressional midterm elections last fall, she discouraged members and candidates “from ever even mentioning the President’s name.”

“So I would I know that that part of the debate is who can contend with him,” Pelosi said. “But I think more importantly, it for the American people, it’s who can really connect with them, identify with their hopes and dreams and aspirations, and apprehensions, and that they – all of this vision, knowledge, judgment, strategic thinking up here, but they have to show people what is in their hearts and how they connect with the American people. So that’s what I’ll be watching.”

Asked whether she has a personal favorite yet, Pelosi laughed.

“Do I have a personal favorite? Ten or 20!” she said. “No, they’re all great, they’re all great. But my favorite button that I see across the country is ‘Democrat for President.’ That seems to have blossomed across the country, which I traveled extensively.”

At the end of her newser, a reporter took one more crack at questioning Pelosi about impeachment, asking whether she is uncomfortable with the term “impeachment inquiry.” Pelosi feigned disbelief, backing away from the podium before reiterating her position once again and taking a dig at Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell over gun control.

“We’ll follow the facts. That’s what it is,” Pelosi stressed. “Why don’t we spend some time going over to see Mitch McConnell and asking him why he doesn’t want to save lives? Why he will let every day go by what at least 100 people, large number of them children or teenagers die from gun violence. Why is it that you’re hung up on the word over here, when lives are at stake over there?”

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Posted On 12 Sep 2019

‘Saturday Night Live’ adds three new castmembers

Entertainment News  'Saturday Night Live' adds three new castmembers


NBC(NEW YORK) — Saturday Night Live has added three new cast members for the upcoming 45th season ABC Radio has learned.

Bowen Yang, who came aboard last season as a writer has been named the longrunning sketch show’s first 100% Asian American cast member. A co-host of the Las Culturistas podcast, he was seen on camera last year, playing North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Un, when Sandra Oh hosted.

Past cast member Fred Armisen is part Korean; another past cast member, Rob Schneider, is part Filipino.

Shane Gillis is a stand-up who was highlighted as a “New Face” at the the 2019 Just for Laughs Festival, and Chloe Fineman is a veteran of L.A.’s Groundlings troupe, who impressions of Game of Thrones star Maisie Williams, and Democrat presidential candidate Marianne Williamson can be seen on Instagram — and would be a natural fit for SNL.

Saturday Night Live returns on September 28 with returning host Woody Harrelson and first time musical guest Billie Eilish.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Posted On 12 Sep 2019

‘Joker’ poised to slay at the box office

Entertainment News  'Joker' poised to slay at the box office


© 2018/9 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. All Rights Reserved/Nikos Tavernise (LOS ANGELES) — Despite being an R-rated take on the Batman villain — one that doesn’t feature the Caped Crusader, to boot — industry forecasters are envisioning a heroic opening weekend for Joker.

Prognosticators say the Joaquin Phoenix film could make anywhere from $76 to $88 million when it opens October 4, according to Variety. While that’s not Avengers money, it would be one of the biggest R-rated openings in history.

The movie, which was directed by The Hangover series’ Todd Phillips, won the top prize at the Venice Film Festival, and is riding high on nearly unanimous acclaim, including Oscar buzz for Phoenix, who plays a failed stand-up comic who becomes the Clown Prince of Crime. 

What’s more, the film cost only $55 million to make, and the studio’s marketing strategy isn’t like big-budget comic book adaptations, meaning Joker could very well make its money back in the opening weekend, the trade reports.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Posted On 12 Sep 2019