Days before primary, Democrats in CNN Town Hall unanimous on their ability to defeat Trump

CNN Town Hall brought eight candidates to Manchester, New Hampshire days before the primaries. Photo courtesy of CNN.

By Lillian Eden and Kendall Tamer
BU News Service

Hours before the second CNN Town hall event in New HampshireThursday night, Pete Buttigieg and Bernie Sanders were both still declaring victory in the Iowa Caucus.  

The two candidates are among four who answered questions at Saint Anselm College in Manchester, New Hampshire. Sanders, Buttigieg, Amy Klobuchar and Deval Patrick each had an hour for remarks. 

Sanders claimed a win in the popular vote. Buttigieg, who held a narrow lead over Sanders, will likely be awarded 14 delegates and Sanders will receive 12, according to the Iowa Democratic Party.

Bernie Sanders

Sanders began his opening statement reiterating his popular vote win in Iowa and politely criticized the Iowa Democratic Party for “screwing up the counting process.”

“Our campaign is the working class of this country. By the working class, for the working class,” Sanders said.

He stood up for his Socalist ideologies, arguing even Trump was a Socialist in his last career. 

“He is a Socialist who believes in Socialism for mass corporations and the rich,” Sanders said. “He himself received some $800 million in tax breaks and subsidies to build luxury condominiums. That’s called Socialism for the rich.”

Sanders said that he could not commit to naming a woman or person of color as a running mate at this time, in response to questioning by CNN’s Anderson Cooper.

“It is my inclination to say yes,” he said instead, and promised that his administration would be more like America should be in terms of gender and racial equality than any other administration in the past.

Sanders said he “gets a kick” out of Trump’s immigration policies and called him a “fraud and a liar.” 

“He hired hundreds and hundreds of undocumented people at his resorts in low wages,” Sanders said. “Trump rants and raves about outsourcing… What do you think he did as a businessman? He manufactured his products in China, Bangladesh and Turkey.” 

Sanders argued for increased funding for public education, noting that he has spoken to teachers who make $29,000 a year.

Sanders said that we live in a country that can pay millions of dollars to athletes, and yet teachers are having to leave their jobs due to inadequate salaries.

He also wants to freeze federal funding to charter schools.

“I think charter schools are able to do things that public schools can’t,” Sanders said. “They’re taking money away from public education.”

Pete Buttigieg

Mayor Pete Buttigieg was given the breaking news after stepping on stage that 100% of Iowa precincts were finally reported, three days after the caucus results were expected. 

Buttigieg seemed happily surprised to apparently be ahead, but when asked about recanvassing or re-counting the results, added that he supported whatever the decision Democratic leaders in Iowa would suggest.

“Whatever they need to do to make sure the information is clear and verified,” he said. “Nothing can take away what happened on Monday.”

He stumbled on the statistics when asked about his plans for better access to mental health care, but he promised to provide better access in rural areas. 

“Mental health struggles affect every family, it’s one in four or one in five people who face it,” Buttigieg said when asked about mental health reform. “We’ve got to create a culture where it’s as acceptable to talk about bipolar disorder as it is to talk about cancer.” 

Buttigieg said that he has a different take on religion and faith than the president does.

“There’s a whole lot of scripture about the dangers of pride and arrogance and the importance of humility,” he said. 

He also called for reforming the Department of Veterans Affairs, referring to his own time in the military. He said that he wants to ensure that communities find a better way to go beyond “Thank you for your service.”

“Trust in people of all backgrounds is an experience that everyone needs,” Buttigieg said, in reference to how he was treated in the military. “They did not care if I was a Democrat or a Republican. They didn’t care if I had a boyfriend or a girlfriend or where my father came from.”

Buttigieg also addressed the issue of teacher salaries.

“I would argue that if we could honor our teachers a little more like we do our soldiers and pay our teachers a little bit more like we do our doctors, we would have a better country,” he said. 

Buttigieg spoke about the difficulty he had coming to terms with his sexual orientation.  

“I would have done anything, anything, at a certain time in my life to not be gay,” he said.

He said that he is running to be a president for everyone, not just to be a gay president. 

His message for the LGBT community was optimistic. 

“Yes, you belong, and this country has a place for you,” Buttigieg said.

Near the end of his statements, the former Indiana mayor thanked his husband Chasten Buttigieg for standing next to him on the campaign trail. 

“He’s been a partner in this whole thing and I quite simply couldn’t do it without him,” he said. 

Amy Klobuchar

Senator Amy Klobuchar promised to be the most moderate candidate, something she said a state like New Hampshire prioritizes. 

“If you are tired of the extremes in our politics, if you are tired of the nonsense, you have a home with me,” she said.

Klobuchar promised to reach across party lines and cited her success passing more than 100 bills while in office. 

“I think courage is not just standing in the opposite corner of a boxing ring throwing punches. Courage is standing next to someone you don’t agree with for the betterment of our country,” she said. 

Klobuchar thanked Alabama Senator Doug Jones and Utah Senator Mitt Romney for voting to hear witnesses during the impeachment trial, which she called a sad moment for the country. 

“The role of the president is to unite instead of incite,” she said. “Our democracy can’t take another four years of Donald Trump’s bulldozing.” 

Climate change and immigration reform are musts for Klobuchar, as well as healthcare reform with a focus on long-term health care. She referred to herself as part of the sandwich generation, people who are taking care of their aging parents and their children.

Klobuchar addressed housing issues in rural areas of New Hampshire.

She said she was aware of a shortage of vacancies, and that unlike current president, she planned to do something about it. 

“Donald Trump has been treating you all like poker chips in one of his big casinos,” she said. 

Her newest commercial running in the state catalogues her goals for the first 100 days of presidency. 

“In the first 100 seconds, I will fire Besty Devos,” she pledged.

Klobuchar promised to make refinancing student loans as easy as it is for “multimillionaires to finance their yacht.” 

Deval Patrick

“I’ve been thinking a lot about democracy,” Deval Patrick said, stepping on stage as the final candidate to speak at CNN’s Town Hall in Manchester.

Patrick proposed a universal national service, as a way to bring people from different parts of the country and different backgrounds to work alongside each other. He wants Americans to get past categorizing people. 

“Most of the people I know don’t fit in a box,” he said. 

Much of the conversation referenced his wife Diane’s cancer diagnosis. He paused multiple times to check in with her in the crowd before divulging private information.

“That’s why I’ve been married for 35 years, I ask permission,” he said. 

Patrick believes that investment in research for chronic and disabling diseases is important for the country in the long term. 

He also accused the president of bringing out the worst in voters. 

“The way to beat Donald Trump isn’t to act like Donald Trump,” he argued.

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