The Democratic Presidential Debates

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The Democratic Presidential debates happened last week in Westerville, Ohio, on the campus of Otterbein College.  This Democratic Presidential debate had 12 candidates that met the qualifications to participate – the most ever at one time on stage.  

They were: Former Vice President Joe Biden, New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro, Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, California Sen. Kamala Harris, Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, businessman Tom Steyer, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren and businessman Andrew Yang 

During the debate, there were no formal questions concerning college-aged students, which was surprising as it was held on a college campus, and many of the 1500+ attendees were college students.  

However, During a question about the economy, Sanders and Warren agreed on free public college for everyone, whereas Mayor Pete agreed to “making college free for low- and middle-income students.”   

Warren and Sanders also spoke on student loan debt forgiveness.  

Sanders remarked, “you’ve got hundreds of thousands of kids who cannot afford to go to college, and millions struggling with the oppressive burden of student debt,” and he plans on “making public colleges and universities tuition fee and canceling student debt.”  

Warren’s plans, stated during the debate, are more expansive. She wants to “provide universal childcare for every baby in this country, age zero to five, universal pre-K for every child, raise the wages of every childcare worker and preschool teacher in America, provide for universal tuition-free college, put $50 billion into historically black colleges and universities… and [to] cancel  student loan debt for 95 percent of the people who have it.” 

Most questions focused on President Trump, the economy, gun laws, the opioid crisis, and women’s rights. Breaking up monopolies like Google, Amazon, and Facebook were also discussed.  

An unexpected question at the end of the debate was about Ellen and her unlikely friendship with former President George W. Bush.  

Anderson Cooper asked the candidates, “Last week, Ellen DeGeneres was criticized after she and former President George W. Bush were seen laughing together at a football game. Ellen defended their friendship, saying, we’re all different, and I think that we’ve forgotten that that’s OK that we’re all different. So, in that spirit, we’d like you to tell us about a friendship that you’ve had that would surprise us and what impact it’s had on you and your beliefs.” 

Most candidates came up with the name of a friend that was unexpected and discussed that friendship while a few spoke about general friendships and how important it is to create friendships with people who are different.  

Written By: April Johnson

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