Senator Bernie Sanders and former Vice President Joe Biden faced off in their first one-on-one debate Sunday. The debate took place in CNN’s studio in Washington, D.C., with no live audience. It was originally scheduled to take place in Arizona ahead of the state’s primary on Tuesday but was canceled due to the coronavirus outbreak. The candidates greeted each other with an elbow bump as they took the stage, and sparred over healthcare, climate change, campaign funding, Social Security, their past voting records and how best to fight pandemics like the coronavirus.
CNN anchor Jake Tapper asked the candidates about whether a revolution was the best path forward for the country.
Joe Biden: “We have problems we have to solve now. Now. What’s a revolution going to do? Disrupt everything in the meantime? Look, Bernie talks about — excuse me, the senator talks about his Medicare for All, and he still hasn’t told you how he’s going to ever get it passed. He hasn’t told you how, in fact, there’s any possibility of that happening. He hasn’t told you how much it’s going to cost. He hasn’t told you how it’s going to apply. It doesn’t kick in for four years even after it passes. If we want a revolution, let’s act now. Pass the Biden healthcare plan, which takes Obamacare, restores all the cuts made to it, subsidizes further, provides for lower drug prices, makes sure that there’s no hidden bills, makes sure that we invest what I want to invest, $50 billion in dealing with underlying diseases that are of great consequence — diabetes, Alzheimer’s and cancer — makes sure that we have a Medicare option that’s in a public option providing Medicare for us. We can do that now. I can get that passed.”
Sen. Bernie Sanders: “If you want to create an economy that works for all, not just the few, if you want to guarantee quality healthcare to all, not make $100 billion in profit for the healthcare industry, you know what you need? You need to take on Wall Street. You need to take on the drug companies and the insurance companies and the fossil fuel industry. You don’t take campaign contributions from them. You take them on and create an economy that works for all.”
Four states are set to vote Tuesday. Ohio, Arizona, Florida and Illinois have all said they plan to go ahead with their primaries despite the pandemic. Louisiana and Georgia have postponed their states’ primaries as part of efforts to combat the spread of the coronavirus. Puerto Rico also said it plans to postpone its primary to next month. In Arizona, officials in Maricopa County — by far the largest county in the state, making up over half of Arizona’s population — announced over one-third of polling stations will be closed due to concerns related to COVID-19. We’ll have more on last night’s debate and the presidential primaries after headlines.