All 3,520 Words Spoken by Julián Castro and Beto O'Rourke at First Democratic Presidential Debate

WASHINGTON -- Texans Julián Castro and Beto O'Rourke were among the Democratic contenders to get the most air time on Wednesday in the first 2020 presidential debate, thanks in part to a heated clash they had over immigration policy.Here's every word -- all 3,520 of them -- that the former U.S. housing secretary and the former El Paso congressman spoke on the Miami debate stage, per an NBC News transcript.O'Rourke on taxesMODERATOR: Congressman O'Rourke, what we've just been discussing and talking about is how much fundamental change to the economy is desirable and how much is actually doable. In that vein, some Democrats want a marginal individual tax rate of 70 percent on the very highest earners, those making more than $10 million a year. Would you support that? And if not, what would your top individual rate be?O'ROURKE: This economy has got to work for everyone. And right now, we know that it isn't. And it's going to take all of us coming together to make sure that it does.(SPEAKING IN SPANISH)O'ROURKE: Right now, we have a system that favors those who can pay for access and outcomes. That's how you explain an economy that is rigged to corporations and to the very wealthiest. A $2 trillion tax cut that favored corporations while they were sitting on record piles of cash and the very wealthiest in this country at a time of historic wealth inequality.A new democracy that is revived because we've returned power to the people, no PACs, no gerrymandering, automatic and same-day voter registration to bring in more voters, and a new Voting Rights Act to get rid of the barriers that are in place now...MODERATOR: Congressman O'Rourke...O'ROURKE: That's how we each have a voice in our democracy and make this economy work for everybody.MODERATOR: Congressman, that's time, sir. I'll give you 10 seconds to answer if you want to answer the direct question. Would you support a 70 percent individual marginal tax rate? Yes, no, or pass?O'ROURKE: I would support a tax rate and a tax code that is fair to everyone. Tax capital at the same right...MODERATOR: Seventy percent?O'ROURKE: ... that you -- you tax ordinary income. Take that corporate tax rate up to 28 percent. You would generate the revenues...MODERATOR: OK, that's time.O'ROURKE: ... you need to pay for the programs we're talking about.Castro on pay equityMODERATOR: Secretary Castro, the next question is for you. Democrats have been talking about the pay gap for decades. What would you do to ensure that women are paid fairly in this country?CASTRO: Thank you very much for that question, Lester. You know, I grew up with a mother who raised my brother, Joaquin, and me as a single parent. And I know what it's like to struggle. I know what it's like to rent a home and to worry about whether you're going to be able to pay the rent at the first of the month and to see a mom work very, very hard and know that moms across this country are getting paid less simply because they're women.I would do several things, starting with something we should have done a long time ago, which is to pass the Equal Rights Amendment finally in this country. And also pursue legislation so that women are paid equal pay for equal work in this country. It's past time that we did that. And, you know, we have to do this. If we want to be the most prosperous nation in the 21st century, we need to make sure that women are paid what they deserve.O'Rourke on health care, including a clash with de BlasioMODERATOR: Congressman O'Rourke, when you ran for Senate, you also praised a bill that would replace private insurance. This year, you're saying you're no longer sure. Can you explain why?O'ROURKE: My goal is to ensure that every American is well enough to live to their full potential because they have health care. In Laredo, Texas, I met a young man, 27 years old, told me that he'd been to a doctor once in his life. And on that visit, he was told he had diabetes, he was told he had glaucoma, and he was told untreated -- because he doesn't have health care -- he'll be dead before the age of 40.So getting to guaranteed, high-quality, universal health care as quickly and surely as possible has to be our goal. The ability to afford your prescriptions and go to a primary care provider, to be -- the ability to see a mental health care provider. In Texas, the single largest provider of mental health care services is the county jail system today.And health care also has to mean that every woman can make her own decisions about her own body and has access to the care that makes that possible.Our plan says that if you're uninsured, we enroll you in Medicare. If you're insufficiently insured, you can't afford your premiums, we enroll you in Medicare. But if you're a member of a union that negotiated for a health care plan that you like because it works for you and your family, you're able to keep it.MODERATOR: Your time is up.O'ROURKE: We preserve choice by making sure everybody has care.MODERATOR: Your time is up, Congressman, but I do want to ask a follow-up on this. Just to be very clear -- I'll give you 10 seconds -- would you replace private insurance?O'ROURKE: No. I think the choice is fundamental to our ability to get everybody cared for...NEW YORK CITY MAYOR BILL DE BLASIO: Wait, wait, wait. Congressman O'Rourke, Congressman O'Rourke, private insurance is not working for tens of millions of Americans when you talk about the co-pays, the deductibles, the premiums, the out of pocket expenses. It's not working. How can you defend a system that's not working?O'ROURKE: That's right. So for those for whom it's not working, they can choose Medicare. For the...(CROSSTALK)DE BLASIO: Congressman...O'ROURKE: ... who I listen to...DE BLASIO: ... you've got to start by acknowledging the system is not working for people.O'ROURKE: ... they're able to keep them.DE BLASIO: Why are you defending private insurance to begin with?Castro on abortionMODERATOR: Secretary Castro, this one is for you. All of you on stage support a woman's right to an abortion. You all support some version of a government health care option. Would your plan cover abortion, Mr. Secretary?CASTRO: Yes, it would. I don't believe only in reproductive freedom, I believe in reproductive justice.And, you know, what that means is that just because a woman -- or let's also not forget someone in the trans community, a trans female, is poor, doesn't mean they shouldn't have the right to exercise that right to choose. And so I absolutely would cover the right to have an abortion.More than that, everybody in this crowd and watching at home knows that in our country today, a person's right to choose is under assault in places like Missouri, in Alabama, in Georgia. I would appoint judges to the federal bench that understand the precedent of Roe v. Wade and will respect it and in addition to that, make sure that we fight hard as we transition our health care system to one where everybody can get and exercise that right.O'Rourke on opioid crisisO'ROURKE: Tonight in this country, you have 2.3 million of our fellow Americans behind bars. It's the largest prison population on the face of the planet. Many are there for nonviolent drug crimes, including possession of marijuana, at a time that more than half the states have legalized it or decriminalized it.And yet despite what Purdue Pharma has done, their connection to the opioid crisis and the overdose deaths that we're seeing throughout this country, they've been able to act with complete impunity and pay no consequences, not a single night in jail.Unless there's accountability and justice, this crisis will continue. In my administration, we will hold them to account. We will make sure that they pay a price, and we will help those who've been victims of this malfeasance in this country get them treatment and long-term care.Castro on immigrationMODERATOR: We want to turn to an issue that has been in the news, especially this week. There are undocumented children being held alone in detention, even as close as Homestead, Florida, right here, less than 30 miles from where we are tonight. Fathers and mothers and children are dying while trying to enter the United States of America.We saw that image today that broke our hearts, and they had names. Oscar Martinez and his 23-month-old daughter, Valeria, died trying to cross the river to ask for asylum in this country. Last month, more than 130,000 migrants were apprehended at the southern border.Secretary Castro, if you were president today, what would you specifically do?CASTRO: Thank you very much, Jose. I'm very proud that in April I became the first candidate to put forward a comprehensive immigration plan. And we saw those images, watching that image of Oscar and his daughter, Valeria, is heartbreaking. It should also piss us all off.If I were president today -- and it should spur us to action. If I were president today, I would sign an executive order that would get rid of Trump's zero-tolerance policy, the remain in Mexico policy, and the metering policy -- this metering policy is basically what prompted Oscar and Valeria to make that risky swim across the river. They had been playing games with people who are coming and trying to seek asylum at our ports of entry. Oscar and Valeria went to a port of entry, and then they were denied the ability to make an asylum claim, so they got frustrated and they tried to cross the river, and they died because of that.MODERATOR: On day one. Sorry, I'm just going to ask...CASTRO: On day one, I would do that executive order that would address metering. And then I would follow that up in my first 100 days with immigration reform that would honor asylum claims, that would put undocumented immigrants, as long as they haven't committed a serious crime, on a pathway to citizenship.And then we'd get to the root cause of the issue, which is we need a Marshall Plan for Honduras and Guatemala and El Salvador so that people can find safety and opportunity at home instead of coming to the United States to seek it.More Castro on immigrationCASTRO: ... if I might -- if I might, very briefly, and this is an important point. You know, my plan -- and I'm glad to see that Senator Booker, Senator Warren, and Governor Inslee agree with me on this. My plan also includes getting rid of Section 1325 of the Immigration and Nationality Act, to go back to the way we used to treat this when somebody comes across the border, not to criminalize desperation, to treat that as a civil violation.And here's why it's important. We see all of this horrendous family separation. They use that law, Section 1325, to justify under the law separating little children from their families.(UNKNOWN): Thank you.(UNKNOWN): Jose...CASTRO: And so I want to challenge every single candidate on this stage to support the repeal of Section 1325.O'Rourke and Castro clash on immigrationMODERATOR: If I could, I'm sorry. (SPEAKING IN SPANISH) What would you do, Congressman, day one at the White House??O'ROURKE: (SPEAKING IN SPANISH) We would not turn back Valeria and her father, Oscar. We would accept them into this country and follow our own asylum laws. We would not build walls. We would not put kids in cages. In fact, we would spare no expense to reunite the families that have been separated already...(CROSSTALK)O'ROURKE: ... and we would not criminally prosecute any family who is fleeing violence and persecution...(CROSSTALK)CASTRO: ... repeal of Section 1325.O'ROURKE: We would make sure...MODERATOR: Secretary, let him finish. And I will give you...(CROSSTALK)MODERATOR: But let him finish. Let him finish.O'ROURKE: We would not detain any family fleeing violence, in fact, fleeing the deadliest countries on the face of the planet today. We would implement a family case management program so they could be cared for in the community at a fraction of the cost. And then we would rewrite our immigration laws in our own image, free Dreamers forever from any fear of deportation by making them U.S. citizens here in this country, invest in solutions in Central America, work with regional stakeholders so there's no reason to make that 2,000 mile journey to this country.MODERATOR: Thank you.(CROSSTALK)Secretary, I'll give you 30 seconds.CASTRO: Let's be very clear. The reason that they're separating these little children from their families is that they're using Section 1325 of that act which criminalizes coming across the border to incarcerate the parents and then separate them.Some of us on this stage have called to end that section, to terminate it. Some, like Congressman O'Rourke, have not. And I want to challenge all of the candidate to do that.(CROSSTALK)CASTRO: I just think it's a mistake, Beto. I think it's a mistake. And I think that -- that if you truly want to change the system, that we've got to repeal that section. If not...MODERATOR: Thank you.(CROSSTALK)CASTRO: ... then it might as well be the same policy.O'ROURKE: Let me respond to this very briefly. As a member of a Congress, I helped to introduce legislation that would ensure that we don't criminalize those who are seeking asylum and refuge in this country.CASTRO: I'm not talking about -- I'm not talking about the ones that are seeking asylum.O'ROURKE: If you're fleeing -- if you're fleeing desperation, then I want to make sure...CASTRO: I'm talking about -- I'm talking about everybody else.O'ROURKE: ... I want to make sure you are treated with respect.CASTRO: I'm still talking about everybody else.O'ROURKE: But you're looking at just one small part of this. I'm talking about a comprehensive rewrite of our immigration laws.CASTRO: That's not true.O'ROURKE: And if you do that, I don't think it's asking too much for people to follow our laws when they come to this country.CASTRO: That's actually not true. I'm talking about millions of folks -- a lot of folks that are coming are not seeking asylum. A lot of them are undocumented immigrants, right? And you said recently that the reason you didn't want to repeal Section 1325 was because you were concerned about human trafficking and drug trafficking.But let me tell you what: Section 18, title 18 of the U.S. code, title 21 and title 22, already cover human trafficking.(CROSSTALK)CASTRO: I think that you should do your homework on this issue. If you did your homework on this issue, you would know that we should repeal this section.Castro on school shootingsMODERATOR: Secretary Castro, I'd like to talk to you about something that Senator Booker just mentioned there, the idea of active shooter drills in schools, as school shootings seem like an almost everyday or every week occurrence now. They don't make a complete news cycle anymore, no matter the death toll.As parents are so afraid as their kids go off to school that their kids will be caught up in something like this, next to nothing has changed in federal law that might affect the prevalence of school shootings. Is this a problem that is going to continue to get worse over our lifetimes? Or is there something that you would do as president that you really think would turn it around?CASTRO: You know, Rachel, I am the dad of a 10-year-old girl, Carina, who's here tonight. And the worst thing is knowing that your child might be worried about what could happen at school, a place that's supposed to be safe.The answer to your question is no. We don't have to accept that. And I believe that, on January 20, 2021, at 12:01 p.m., we're going to have a Democratic president, a Democratic House, and a Democratic Senate.And the activists of Parkland, folks from Moms Demand who have risen up across the United States and inspired so many people, you know, we may not have seen yet legislative action, but we're getting closer. The House took a vote. In the Senate, the question often is, if the decision is between 60 votes, a filibuster, or passing commonsense gun reform, I'm going to choose commonsense gun reform. So I believe that we're going to be able to get that done in 2021.O'Rourke on gun controlMODERATOR: Congressman O'Rourke, you're a Texan who's campaigned -- you campaigned all over the state in 2018 in the most conservative parts there. What do you tell a gun owner who may agree with you on everything else, OK, but says, you know what, the Democrats, if I vote for them in there, they're going to take my gun away, and even though I agree with you on all these other issues -- how do you have that conversation?O'ROURKE: Here's how we have that conversation in Texas. I shared with them what I learned from those students who survived the Santa Fe high school shooting, a young student named Bree. Her friend, Marcel, who survived another shooting, the mother of a victim who lost her life, Rhonda Hart, they talked about universal background checks, where you close every loophole. We know that they save lives.We talked about ending the sales of assault weapons into our communities. Those weapons of war were designed to kill people as effectively and as efficiently as possible. They should belong on the battlefield and not in our communities.Red flag laws, so if someone poses a danger to themselves or to someone else, they're stopped before it's too late. And what I found in each one of those 254 counties is that Democrats and independents and Republicans, gun-owners and non-gun-owners alike, agreed.But this effort must be led by the young people that you referenced at the beginning of this issue. Those students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas led the charge here in Florida, and they've been able to change those laws. They're making our democracy work, ensuring that our values and our interests and our priorities are reflected in the laws that we pass.O'Rourke and Castro on climate changeMODERATOR: Congressman O'Rourke, you also put out a big climate change plan from your campaign. You want some big changes in a pretty short period of time, including switching to renewable energy, pushing to replace gas-powered cars in favor of electric ones.What's your message to a voter who supports the overall goal of what you're trying to do, but suddenly feels as if government's telling them how to live and ordering them how to live? What is that balance like?O'ROURKE: I think you've got to bring everybody in to the decisions and the solutions to the challenges that we face. That's why we're traveling everywhere, listening to everyone.We were in Pacific Junction, a town that had never meaningly flooded before, just up against the Missouri River in Iowa. And every home in that community had flooded. There were farms just outside of Pacific Junction that were effectively lakes, those farmers already underwater in debt, their markets closed to them by a trade war under this administration, and now they don't know what to do.We in our administration are going fund resiliency in those communities, in Miami, in Houston, Texas, those places that are on the front lines of climate change today. We're going to mobilize $5 trillion in this economy over the next 10 years. We're going to free ourselves from a dependence on fossil fuels, and we're going to put farmers and ranchers in the driver's seat, renewable and sustainable agriculture, to make sure that we capture more carbon out of the air and keep more of it in the soil, paying farmers for the environmental services that they want to provide.If all of us does all that we can, then we're going to be able to keep this planet from warming another 2 degrees Celsius, and ensure that we match what this country can do and live up to our promise and our potential.MODERATOR: Thirty seconds, Secretary Castro, does -- who pays for the mitigation to -- to climate, whether it's building sea walls, for people that are perhaps living in places that they shouldn't be living? Is this a federal government issue that needs to do that? Do they have to move these people? What do you do about that, where maybe they're building a place someplace that isn't safe? Who pays to build that house? And how much should the government be bailing them out?CASTRO: Well, I don't think that that represents the vast majority of the issue. In fact, you know, my first visit after I announced my candidacy wasn't to Iowa or New Hampshire. It was to San Juan, Puerto Rico.Because people should know that if I'm elected president, everybody will count. And, you know, I'm one of the few candidates in this race with executive experience, with a track record of getting things done. When I was mayor of San Antonio, we moved our local public utility, we began to shift it from coal-fired plants to solar and other renewables, and also created more than 800 jobs doing that.And when I was HUD secretary, we worked on the National Disaster Resilience Competition to invest in communities that were trying to rebuild from natural disasters in a sustainable way. That's the way that we're going to help make sure that we're all safer in the years to come and that we combat climate change.MODERATOR: Thank you.CASTRO: And if I'm elected president, the first thing that I would do, like Senator Klobuchar also has said, is sign an executive order recommitting us to the Paris Climate Accord so that we lead again.Castro on the Latino voteMODERATOR: Senator, thank you very much. Thirty-second follow-up to you, Secretary Castro. This is a 70 percent Latino city here in Miami. You are the only Latino Democrat who is running here this year in the presidential race. Is that enough of an answer, what Senator Klobuchar is describing there, an economic justice agenda? Is that enough to mobilize Latino voters to stand with the Democratic Party in a big way?CASTRO: Well, I also think that we have to recognize racial and social justice. And, you know, I was in Charleston not too long ago, and I remembered that Dylann Roof went to the Mother Emanuel AME church, and he murdered nine people who were worshipping, and then he was apprehended by police without incident.Well, but what about Eric Garner and Tamir Rice and Laquan McDonald and Sandra Bland and Pamela Turner and Antonio Arce? I'm proud that I'm the only candidate so far that has put forward legislation that would reform our policing system in America and make sure that no matter what the color of your skin is, that you're treated the same, including Latinos who are mistreated too oftentimes by police.O'Rourke on foreign relationsMODERATOR: And I'm over here, Chuck. Thanks. We asked voters from across the country to submit their questions to the candidates. Let me read one now. This comes from John in New York who submitted this question.He asks, does the United States have a responsibility to protect in the case of genocide or crimes against humanity? Do we have a responsibility to intervene to protect people threatened by their governments even when atrocities do not affect American core interests? I would like to direct that question to Congressman O'Rourke.O'ROURKE: John, appreciate the question. The answer is yes, but that action should always be undertaken with allies and partners and friends. When the United States presents a united front, we have a much better chance of achieving our foreign policy aims and preventing the kind of genocide to which you refer, the kind of genocide that we saw in Rwanda, the kind of genocide we want to stop going forward.But unfortunately, under this administration, President Trump has alienated our allies and our friends and our alliances. He's diminished our standing in the world and he's made us weaker as a country, less able to confront challenges, whether it's Iran or North Korea or Vladimir Putin in Russia, who attacked and invaded our democracy in 2016, and who President Trump has offered another invitation to do the same.He's embraced strongmen and dictators at the expense of the great democracies. As president, I will make sure that we live our values in our foreign policy. I will ensure that we strengthen those alliances and partnerships and friendships and meet any challenge that we face together. That makes America stronger.O'Rourke and Castro on the greatest geopolitical threatO'ROURKE: Our existential threat is climate change. We have to confront it before it's too late.CASTRO: China and climate change.O'Rourke on the Mueller reportMODERATOR: Congressman O'Rourke, Special Counsel Robert Mueller's report outlines multiple instances of potential criminal behavior by President Trump. House Speaker Pelosi has publicly and privately resisted any move toward impeachment in the House. If the House chooses not to impeach, as president, would you do anything to address the potential crimes that were outlined in Mr. Mueller's report?O'ROURKE: Yes, and I'll tell you why.MODERATOR: How, by the way? If the answer is yes.O'ROURKE: One of the most powerful pieces of art in the United States Capitol is the Trumbull painting of General George Washington resigning his commission to the Continental Congress, at the height of his power, submitting to the rule of law and the will of people. That has withstood the test of time for the last 243 years.If we set another precedent now that a candidate who invited the participation of a foreign power, a president who sought to obstruct the investigation into the invasion of our democracy, if we allow him to get away with this with complete impunity, then we will have set a new standard, and that is that some people, because of the position of power and public trust that they hold, are above the law. And we cannot allow that to stand.So we must begin impeachment now so that we have the facts and the truth and we follow them as far as they go and as high up as they reach and we save this democracy. And if we've not been able to do that in this year or the year that follows, and under my administration, our Department of Justice will pursue these facts and ensure that there are consequences, there is accountability, and there is justice. It's the only way that we save this country.Castro closing statementCASTRO: Me llamo Julian Castro, y estoy postolando por presidente de los Estados Unidos.The very fact that I can say that tonight shows the progress that we have made in this country. Like many of you, I know the promise of America. My grandmother came here when she was 7 years old as an immigrant from Mexico, and just two generations later, one of her grandsons is serving in the United States Congress and the other one is running for president of the United States.If I'm elected president, I will work hard every single day so that you and your family can get good health care, your child can get a good education, and that you can have good job opportunities, whether you live in a big city or a small town. And on January 20, 2021, we'll say adios to Donald Trump.O'Rourke closing statementO'ROURKE: Our daughter, Molly, turned 11 this week. I'm on this stage for her, for children across this country, including some her same age who've been separated from their parents and are sleeping on concrete floors under aluminum blankets tonight.If we're going to be there for them, if we're going to confront the challenges that we face, we can't return to the same old approach. We're going to need a new kind of politics, one directed by the urgency of the next generation, those climate activists, who are fighting not just for their future but for everyone's, those students marching not just for their lives but for all of ours.We'll need a movement like the one that we led in Texas. It renewed our democracy by bringing everyone in and writing nobody off. That's how we beat Donald Trump. That's how we bring this great country together again. Join us. This is our moment. And the generations that follow are counting on us to meet it.  Continue reading...

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