Thursday night's Democratic National Convention debate could not be any more different from the debate the night before.
Whereas on Night One, the candidates were mostly polite and avoided sparring with one another, while on Night Two featured candidates lashing out at one another and at President Donald Trump as they also talked over each other to be heard.
- Joe Biden, Kamala Harris duke it out on race relations
- SEE BELOW: Go Inside The Spin Room ▼
While it was expected that former Vice President Joe Biden and Vermont U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders would dominate the stage in Miami, it was U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris who had several breakout moments, demonstrating poise and precision that cut through some of the noise created by candidates around her.
During the first Democratic National Convention debate on Wednesday, the first half of the 20 candidates invited to the debates exchanged verbal jabs, but the second debate was far different.
The 10 candidates at the NBC-hosted debate verbally elbowed each other to make their voices heard as they spoke about the issues that are important to Americans.
Taxes and the Economy
The evening started with Sanders being asked if taxes would go up for the middle class if he is elected and if so, how would he sell that to voters.
Sanders replied that healthcare is a human right and that the government needs to pass the Medicare For All single-payer system. He says the vast majority of people would pay significantly less than they are now for healthcare under such a system.
When asked if taxes will go up under his healthcare plan, Bernie Sanders said they would. But he claims people’s expenses would go down. #DemDebate LIVE UPDATES: https://t.co/3ACf1R4WeF pic.twitter.com/PZq7QTMh5H— Spectrum News 13 (@MyNews13) June 28, 2019
He also said that public colleges and universities could be made tuition-free and student debt eliminated by taxing Wall Street.
However, when pushed about raising taxes for the middle class, he admitted that they would be paying more in taxes but less in healthcare for what they get.
Biden opened his comments on the economy by saying that it wasn't Trump that built America, but the middle class. He said too many in the middle class and the poor have suffered, and that the middle class needs to have affordable insurance and clean air to breathe.
He also said he would eliminate Trump's tax cuts for the wealthy.
Harris echoed Biden's pledge to end Trump-era tax cuts, and also proposed changing the tax code.
Former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, when asked about Sanders's policies and his self-iidentification as a "democratic socialist," said Democrats could not expect to eliminate private health insurance for people who want to keep it.
He then pivoted to touting his accomplishments in his state in terms of the environment and reproductive rights that scaled down teen pregnancy to 54 percent.
"I have done what pretty much what everyone else up here is still talking about doing," Hickenlooper said.
On Socialism vs. Capitalism vs. Greed
Later, Sanders was asked about how a socialist running against Trump might actually ensure the Republican president's win.
He responded by pointing to the last poll he'd seen, where he was 10 points ahead of Trump, and called the president a phony, a liar and a racist.
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York pushed her way in at that point, disagreeing with both Hickenlooper and Sanders. She tried to delineate the difference between "healthy capitalism" and "corrupted capitalism," epitomized by the greed of the NRA and the gun manufactures or the greed of drug companies.
Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg was asked why he does not support free college. He responded with his belief in reducing student debt, saying that if a person can refinance his or her house, that person should be able to refinance her or his student debt.
Buttigieg does not support free college.— Greg Angel (@NewsGuyGreg) June 28, 2019
"I believe in reducing student debt. if you can refinance house you should be able to refinance student loans." Supports free college for low and middle income students, but says low income shouldn't subsidize college for billionaires
While he believes in free college for low and medium income students, he said it should be affordable to go to college and not go to college. He says the medium wage should be raised to $15.
One of the few non-politicians in the debate, Andrew Yang, a businessman and philanthropist, took the opportunity to push his vision that every adult should be given $1,000 a month with no questions asked, which would be about $3.2 trillion a year.
When asked how he would pull that off, he says it is tough to do when companies like Amazon pay nearly zero in taxes and are closing other stores.
He suggested that even a half of a value-added tax like what is done in Europe would generate $800 billion in new revenue, calling it a "trickle-up economy" that would generate more money and lower crime.
Rep. Eric Swalwell called for America to be a country where technology should be creating new jobs instead of replacing them.
At this point, nearly everyone on stage started speaking over one another to be heard on the issue. It was Harris, in one of the more memorable moments of the night, who dropped the hammer down.
"Guys, you know what? America does not want to witness a food fight. They want to know how we're going to put food on their table," she declared.
With 10 candidates talking over one another, Sen. @KamalaHarris drew applause from the crowd -- and Vice President Joe Biden -- with this line. #DemDebate https://t.co/3ACf1R4WeF pic.twitter.com/Nyli5dtPlz— Spectrum News 13 (@MyNews13) June 28, 2019
Harris then attacked the president for focusing too much on stocks when touting the success of the current economy, pointing out that many Americans do not have stocks, and while the job numbers are high, she said that is because many have two or three jobs.
When asked who would abolish private insurance and have universal health care, only Harris and Sanders raised their hands.
Biden, who was a co-creator of the Affordable Health Care Act, or "Obamacare," said he has to build on what Obamacare did and that people should be able to buy into a Medicare-like plan, regardless if they already have health insurance or not.
Q to @JoeBiden:— Taylor Popielarz (@TaylorPopielarz) June 28, 2019
After Obamacare, where do we go from here?
"The quickest, fastest way to do it is build on Obamacare. To build on what we did."
He says it's important that everyone have an option.
Says he against any Democrat who wants to do away with Obamacare. #DemDebate
Author Marianne Williamson, who until that point had avoided trying to shout over the other candidates, was asked a question about how she would lower cost of prescription drugs.
She only said the government should never had made a deal with "Big Pharma" where it could not negotiate.
Then she attacked the other candidates for their plans as "superficial fixes," and said the U.S. does not have a health care system, but a sickness care system.
Bennet, who had prostate cancer recently, said that his plan is to build on Obamacare and he attacked Sanders' plan to eliminate private insurance.
Sanders fired back, saying that his plan would stop the greed of the insurance companies and that under his plan, people could go to any doctor or hospital they want.
When asked if any of their government plans would provide coverage for illegal immigrants, all the candidates' hands went up.
Both Buttigieg and Biden said it would be inhumane to not give health care to people, no matter where they came from.
At this point, Harris was asked about what she might do on "Day One" of her presidency, should she be elected.
She said she would reinstate DACA status and protection to children of illegal immigrants, and extend protection for their parents from deportation, as well as help U.S. veterans on the first day in office.
"I would release the children from cages. I would get rid of the private detention centers," she declared.
Hickenlooper said he could not believe that in his lifetime children were being placed in cages and subsequently put up for adoption, adding that in his state they call that "kidnapping."
He said there would be facilities in place where women and children were kept together and that ICE would be reformed.
Williamson took that opportunity to wade in again, saying what is happening to the children by the U.S. government is a crime and said the president has attacked America's moral core of the country of helping a stranger.
Buttigieg later attacked Republicans and called out their hypocrisy of being Christians and yet smiling when families are separated at the border.
"For a party that associates itself with Christianity, to say that it is OK, to suggest that God would smile on the division of families at the hands of federal agents, that God would condone putting children in cages, has lost all claim to ever use religious language again," he said.
Many of the candidates said if the only crime an immigrant committed was coming into the U.S. illegally, that immigrant should be welcomed in the U.S.
But arguably the most emotionally charged moment of the night came when Harris directly challenged Biden, saying she was hurt that he touted accomplishments in the Senate he achieved working with notorious segregationists and did not oppose busing to desegregate public schools in the 1970s.
Kamala Harris to Biden: "I do not believe you are a racist.” But she says it was "hurtful" to hear him talk about segregationist senators.— Samantha-Jo Roth (@SamanthaJoRoth) June 28, 2019
Biden fired back, saying that the senator mischaracterized his position and saying that he has supported the equal rights act for 25 years in office.
He said that he gave up his job at a law firm to go into public service and that "I ran because of civil rights."
The Spin Room
Right in the Ziff Opera House in Miami, Democratic and Republican leaders sat in the Spin Room to give their analysis and counterpoints of what the candidates said during the second debates on Thursday night.