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Andrew Yang Has A Debate Warning For Trump ― And A Bold Prediction For Biden



Former Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang has a warning for President Donald Trump ahead of any debates with former Vice President Joe Biden. 

“Joe’s going to clean his clock,” predicted Yang. “Nothing will hold him back from doing that.”

The Trump campaign has tried to sell a narrative of a diminished Biden, but Yang ― who noted he’s been on the debate stage with Biden ― warned that’s going to backfire. 

“When the American people see the contrast between Joe Biden and Donald Trump, it’s going to be a very tough case for the president to make,” Yang said: 

The presidential debates are currently scheduled for Sept. 29, Oct. 15 and Oct. 22, with a vice presidential debate set for Oct. 7. However, last June, the Trump camp tried to alter the debate schedule and moderator selection ― a move the Biden camp indicated was a nonstarter.

Yang, who built his campaign around a universal basic income, also shared his frustration with the Republican plan to reduce the expanded unemployment benefits for people unable to work due to the COVID-19 closures: 





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San Francisco’s camp sites for homeless spark debate amid Covid-19 outbreak


Frustrated business owners and residents alike, already under enormous stress from the economic shutdown caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, have found their patience tested as tents spring up in doorways and human waste becomes an ever-present concern in parts of the city.

Facing legal action from some residents, San Francisco recently opened its first “Safe Sleeping Site” in the shadow of City Hall, providing a supervised and physically distanced area where unsheltered residents can legally camp in tents. A second designated site has also been selected and is expected to open soon.

With the added dangers of a virus spreading unchecked through the city’s shelters, officials have been forced to reduce capacity out of a need to create physical distancing, leaving many with nowhere else to go but on the street. And while the city has also secured more than 2,000 hotel rooms to house the unsheltered, the effort to craft a more long-term solution has opened a new battle among those tasked with solving the problem.

“It’s already been really, really hard. This has been our reality for many years and this is just making everything more challenging,” said Kelly Cutler of the Coalition on Homelessness, an advocacy group.

City’s residents frustrated

Some of the city’s residents, however, are increasingly disturbed by what they’re seeing on the streets.

“It’s unsafe. It’s unsanitary. Whatever is going on here, it’s inhumane,” said Mike Abuyashi, owner of an auto shop in the city’s Tenderloin district. “It’s like, you know, you come to work and you want to focus on what you’re here for. Then you have all the craziness going on.”

The US already had a housing crisis. Covid-19 has only made it worse

An emergency ordinance proposed earlier this month that would require the San Francisco Parks and Recreation Department to submit a list of city properties to potentially host sanctioned homeless tent encampments, was met with fervent opposition.

Opening up the city’s parks, including parking lots and other vacant space, for temporary shelter would help address the urgent need for space, said city Supervisor Sandra Lee Fewer.

The parks department oversees 11% of city-owned land, according to Fewer, who noted that other cities across the West, including Los Angeles, Phoenix, and Eugene, Oregon, have also adopted the concept of safe sleeping sites.

‘Safe sleeping villages’ met with opposition

Many San Francisco residents, however, submitted letters of opposition, and the proposal was met with pushback by Senator and former San Francisco Mayor Dianne Feinstein, who wrote a letter to Board of Supervisors President Norman Yee on May 4 arguing that there are many other suitable alternatives for housing the burgeoning homeless population.

“San Francisco has numerous options to deal with the critical shortage of safe shelter: continuing the Mayor’s hotel program, enforcing social distancing and healthy conduct in group housing and shelters, and expanding the RV programs and temporary shelters,” Feinstein said.

“This could include tents on unused parking lots and closed schoolyards, as well as public facilities such as the Cow Palace and Port property. These locations are available, have utilities, and can be more easily restored to original uses than can park lands.”

But the mayor’s office pushed back on Feinstein’s idea, citing concerns about the virus spreading through the city’s unsheltered population.

“Due to Covid-19, many of the ways that the City normally helps people out of homelessness have had to be severely scaled back. Our shelter capacity has had to be reduced by 76% to allow for physically distancing, and as a result we are seeing an increase in tents on the street,” said Andy Lynch, a spokesman for Mayor London Breed.

“We’ve announced two safe sleeping villages as an interim way to provide safety, sanitation, and services to people in these encampments and we’re continuing to look for additional sites that could work. This does not require legislation from the Board of Supervisors.”

Fewer’s proposal was ultimately tabled this week after the city parks department indicated it would work with real estate officials to provide a list of potential encampment sites — which could extend beyond the borders of the city’s parks — by June 2.

“It is time San Francisco looked for a long-term solution to this problem,” Fewer said.

Cutler, from the homelessness coalition, agreed.

“What I am seeing that’s different are more tents, and it’s what the city calls ‘visible homelessness,’ and visible homelessness is not the issue,” she said. “The issue is that people don’t have access to alternatives. There are no alternatives.”



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Democratic primary debate: Bernie Sanders shows no sign of giving up as he challenges front-runner Joe Biden’s record



After a series of crushing defeats in the two Super Tuesday contests, Sanders has fallen far behind Biden in the critical race for delegates. But the champion of the party’s progressive wing sought to draw out the ideological contrasts with Biden as the former vice president argued that Americans are “looking for results, not a revolution.”

“If I’m elected president, my Cabinet, my administration will look like the country and I commit that I will, in fact, appoint — pick a woman to be vice president,” Biden said. “There are a number of women who are qualified to be president tomorrow. I would pick a woman to be my vice president.”

Both Biden and Sanders said half their Cabinet advisers would be women to match the makeup of the nation, and when pressed Sanders said he would probably also pick a female vice presidential running mate.

“In all likelihood, I will,” Sanders said. “For me, it’s not just nominating a woman. It is making sure that we have a progressive woman and there are progressive women out there. So my very strong tendency is to move in that direction.”

A debate in surreal times

The two men met for their first one-on-one debate Sunday night at a time when many Americans are staying at home in an unprecedented national effort to slow the spread of novel coronavirus, which has infected more than 3,400 people in 49 states and led to at least 65 deaths.

Underscoring the extraordinary moment in this nation’s history, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued new guidance moments before the two men took the stage in CNN’s Washington bureau — urging Americans to cancel or postpone in-person gatherings that consist of 50 or more people for the next eight weeks.

Biden, with a grin, offered his elbow as a greeting to Sanders before the two men took their place behind the podiums, which were spaced more than six feet apart in keeping with government’s guidelines for social distancing.

As they both outlined their respective plans to take on the coronavirus, they agreed that government should cover not only the health care costs of those who get sick, but also any lost wages, missed rent or mortgage payments and childcare costs incurred as a result of the illness.

Beyond that, however, the debate illustrated the stark disagreements between the Vermont senator and the former vice president on how far they would go in attempting to restructure government to address income inequality in America.

Casting himself as a champion of working people, Sanders argued that the pandemic has exposed “the fragility” of the US economy by illuminating the fact that “half of our people are living paycheck to paycheck.”

“We’ve got people who are struggling, working two or three jobs to put food on the table. What’s going to happen to them?” Sanders said.

But Biden argued that most Americans are in no mood for revolution, as they look to their commander-in-chief to marshal all of the resources of government stop the pandemic and keep their families safe.

Alluding to plans Sanders supports — like a wealth tax and “Medicare for All” — Biden said the current crisis is “not going to be solved by a change in tax policy now. It’s not going to be solved by how we deal with health care,” and then pivoted to his plans for emergency hospitals, enhanced coordination with other nations and his agenda for expanding the nation’s testing capacity.

The former vice president said he would make sure every state in the union had 10 places where Americans could access drive-through testing, while also engaging the Defense Department and Federal Emergency Management Agency to set up emergency 500-bed hospital sites to triage patients.

He added that he would try to swiftly deal with the economic fallout from the crisis by helping Americans cover their mortgages and allowing small businesses to borrow interest-free loans.

If he had the power to act immediately, Sanders said he would move aggressively to make sure that every person in the country who becomes infected would know that they would not lose income, and assure them that “all payments will be made.” He also touted his plan for Medicare for All as a critical part of the safety net in the midst of this crisis.

“I want every person in this country to understand what when you get sick, you go to the doctor. When you get sick, if you have the virus, that will be paid for,” Sanders said, explaining what he would want to occur under his administration.

Sanders challenged Biden’s record

Coming at a moment of national uncertainty, the debate underscored the very different positions the two candidates find themselves in right now as Biden has surged ahead of Sanders in delegates. Sanders was the aggressor throughout the night, repeatedly challenging Biden’s lengthy Senate record and suggesting the former Delaware senator had acted for political expediency instead of taking more controversial positions that Sanders did.

An hour into the debate, Sanders reeled off a list of difficult votes that both candidates took in Congress, noting that he and Biden voted differently on the Defense of Marriage Act, the bankruptcy bill and the war in Iraq, which he has said raised questions about Biden’s judgment.

“I voted against the war in Iraq, which was also a tough vote. You voted for it,” Sanders said. “I voted against the disastrous trade agreements like (North American Free Trade Agreement), which cost this country over 4 million good-paying jobs. You voted for it. I voted against the Hyde Amendment, which denies low-income women the right to get an abortion. You have consistently voted for it. I don’t know what your position is today. … We can argue about the merits of the bill. It takes courage sometimes to vote and do the right thing.”

Biden, with a lighter touch, faulted Sanders for voting against the Brady Bill, which contained measures to try to prevent gun violence like enhanced background checks and noted that Sanders voted against legislation that prevented gun manufacturers from being sued. Still, Sanders pointed to his consistency, which is what has endeared him most to his supporters.

“We can argue this or that bill, but what I’m suggesting is that in this time of crisis when we are living in a really, really unsettling world — economically, from a health care perspective with the coronavirus — the people of America know my record,” the Vermont senator said.

Biden’s priority at this time, however, is to try and persuade Sanders supporters to back him if he becomes the Democratic nominee, and he often noted areas where they agreed on Sunday — including his new support for the bankruptcy plan of Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren and a new announcement that he’ll support free college tuition for students in households making less than $125,000.

“Character of the nation is on the ballot,” Biden said. “Sen. Sanders and I both agree we need — health care should be a right, not a privilege. We both agree we have to deal with student debt. We both agree we have to deal with education and access to education. We both agree that we have a New Green Deal to deal with the existential threat that faces humanity. We disagree on the detail of how we do it. But we don’t disagree on the principle. We fundamentally disagree with this president on everything.”

A race transformed

Some of their sharpest exchanges were over electability. Noting the youth and energy of his supporters, the Vermont senator argued that Biden would not be able to muster the kind of excitement that would be need among his backers to take on Trump.

Sanders framed his coalition as a multiracial, multi-generational grassroots movement, acknowledging Biden’s advantage in the delegate count but pointing to the energy of his supporters.

“Joe has won more states than I have. But here’s what we are winning,” Sanders said. “We are winning the ideological struggle. Even in Mississippi where Joe won a major victory, it turns out that a pretty good majority of the folks there believe in Medicare for All. That’s true in almost every state in this country.”

“We are winning the generational struggle. Depending on the state, we’re winning people 50 years of age or younger. Big time — people 30 years of age and younger,” Sanders said. “Look if I lose this thing — Joe wins — Joe, I will be there for you. But I have my doubts about how you win a general election against Trump — who will be a very, very tough opponent — unless you have energy, excitement, the largest voter turnout in history.”

In one of his more cutting retorts, Biden pointed to his victories and the rise in turnout in many of the states where he has done well, arguing that his message “is resonating across the board.”

“Let’s get this straight. The energy and excitement that’s taken place so far has been for me,” Biden said. “Seventy percent turnout increase in Virginia. I can go down the list. … And I didn’t even have the money to compete with this man in those states.”

In one of the more human moments, both candidates were asked how they were confronting the unique risks facing Americans of advanced age with the coronavirus.

Biden and Sanders have both suspended their rallies, directed their aides to work from home and have avoided shaking hands.

Sanders, who is 78 and had a heart attack last year, said he’s “very careful about the people I am interacting with.”

“I’m using a lot of soap and hand sanitizers to make sure that I do not get the infection,” the Vermont senator said. “And I have to say, thank God right now I do not have any symptoms and I feel very grateful for that.”

Biden, who is 77, pointedly noted that he does not have underlying conditions and said he was in good health.

“I wash my hands God knows how many times a day,” Biden said. “I carry with me, in my bag outside here, hand sanitizer. I don’t know how many times a day I use that. I make sure I don’t touch my face and so on. I’m taking all the precautions we’re telling everybody else to take.”

This story has been updated with additional developments throughout the debate.

CNN’s Annie Grayer and Eric Bradner contributed to this report.



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How to watch the Democratic debate live: Time, channels, candidates



The debate will air live at 8 p.m. ET from CNN’s studio in Washington, DC.

The debate will air exclusively live on CNN, CNN en Español, CNN International and Univision.

It will stream live in its entirety, without requiring log-in to a cable provider, on CNN.com’s homepage, across mobile devices via CNN’s apps for iOS and Android, and via CNNgo apps for Apple TV, Roku, Amazon Fire, Chromecast and Android TV, as well as Univision’s digital properties.

To follow live updates and read analysis of the debate, go to CNN’s live coverage here.

If I miss the debate Sunday night, can I watch it the next day?

Yes. The full debate will be available exclusively the day following its airing on demand via cable/satellite systems, on CNNgo (at CNN.com/go on your desktop, smartphone, and tablets, and via CNNgo OTT apps), and CNN mobile apps on iOS and Android.

Who is debating?

Biden and Sanders will debate. In accordance with CDC guidelines, their podiums will be placed 6 feet apart.

Who is moderating?

CNN’s Dana Bash and Jake Tapper and Univision’s Ilia Calderón will moderate.

How was the stage decided?

To make the March 15 debate stage, candidates needed to have been allocated at least 20% of the total number of pledged delegates allocated across all of the following contests: Alabama, American Samoa, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Democrats Abroad, Guam, Idaho, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, North Dakota, Northern Mariana Islands, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Vermont and Washington. The allocations need to have been made by by 9 a.m. ET on March 15.

The total delegate allocation was determined by adding together all of the delegates allocated to candidates by CNN or the Associated Press, according to the Democratic National Committee. The number of delegates needed to qualify for the debate was determined by multiplying the total delegate allocation by 0.20 and rounding the result to the nearest whole number.

The candidates’ delegate percentage was calculated by dividing the number of pledged delegates allocated to them by CNN or AP by the total delegate allocation and rounding the result to the nearest whole number.

Who did not make the debate stage?

Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, the only other Democratic candidate still running for president, did not qualify for the debate stage. Gabbard has won a total of two delegates from the nominating contests.

What happened at the last debate?

The last debate took place before the South Carolina primary and the Super Tuesday contests. At the time, the candidates were attempting to knock Sanders off the course of claiming the party’s nomination. Many candidates have dropped out since then, and Biden has since taken the delegate lead in the race, after picking up wins in South Carolina and key Super Tuesday states.



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Joe Biden expected to make overtures to Bernie Sanders’ supporters in first one-on-one debate


Biden will do this while also presenting his case for why he should be the Democratic nominee and why he is best positioned to beat President Donald Trump, the aide said.

The expected effort showcases one of the tasks Biden faces as he works to secure the Democratic presidential nomination — making the case for his brand of politics while not alienating Sanders’ fervent supporters, which the former vice president would need to win over heading into a general election.

Biden previewed one possible overture Friday when he announced his endorsement of Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s bankruptcy proposal, which includes student loan debt relief in bankruptcy. Biden called the proposal “one of the things that I think Bernie and I will agree on.” As CNN previously reported, a Biden campaign aide said the former vice president would likely say more about his support of the proposal in the debate Sunday night.
3 things to watch in the first one-on-one debate between Biden and Sanders

On Wednesday, Sanders previewed some of the issues he plans to press Biden on, including health care, climate change and economic inequality.

The debate takes place against the backdrop of the coronavirus pandemic as both Biden and Sanders have criticized the Trump administration for its response and offered their approaches for tackling the crisis.

Sunday’s debate marks the first time Biden is going against an opponent one-on-one this cycle, meaning he will have significantly more time in the spotlight compared to previous debates where he had limited speaking time and delivered uneven performances.

But it’s not his first experience in this one-on-one debate format. His vice presidential debates against Sarah Palin in 2008 and Paul Ryan in 2012 are considered to be among his strongest performances — though those were against Republicans and occurred roughly a decade ago.



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Jif settles the great debate with a GIF peanut butter jar



The purpose is to “settle the great debate” over how to pronounce the looping image format that has overtaken in the internet, J.M. Smucker Company (SJM), the brand’s manufacturer, said in a press release.
Although Jif is obviously pronounced with a “soft G,” people often mispronounce the word “GIF,” which is short for Graphics Interchange Format. It’s said with a “soft G like the peanut butter and not a “hard G.” That’s according to creator Steve Wilhite, who made the declaration in 2013 while accepting a Webby Award.
Regardless of the official ruling, the internet has remained divided. Jif is partnering with GIPHY, a GIF search engine, to “put a lid on this decade-long debate”: Both GIF and the peanut butter are pronounced “Jif.”
The limited edition jars are on sale for $10 on Amazon, just in time to celebrate National Peanut Butter Lover’s Day on March 1. (The typical price of the same-sized jar for regular peanut butter costs roughly half of that.)
Smucker’s is the latest brand to tap into the power of the internet for viral fame. Planters, owned by Kraft Heinz (KHC), recently shook up Twitter when it killed off its mascot Mr. Peanut in an accident. However, the ad faced minor backlash, and Heinz was forced to dial back promotion of the stunt following the death of NBA star Kobe Bryant.
Burger King also ignited the internet’s ire when it promoted a moldy Whopper, and Wendy’s regularly uses its Twitter account to lash its rivals.
Smuckers owns a number of consumer brands, including Folgers coffee, Meow Mix and Crisco. It reported better-than-expected earnings in November, but sales of its consumer foods slightly declined. Smucker’s recently said lower prices at supermarkets for peanut butter and coffee are hurting its bottom line.

Shoppers are also increasingly shifting their preferences toward more nutritious foods that are lower in calories. That poses a problem for peanut butter that’s packed with sugar. Competition is growing from innovative upstarts selling organic and natural products.



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Fact check of the January Democratic debate



The debate was hosted by CNN and the Des Moines Register at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa. It included six candidates who met the party’s qualification criteria, the smallest number to date.

The candidates were former Vice President Joe Biden; Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders; Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren; former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg; Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar; and businessman Tom Steyer.

Sanders repeated a previous claim about the amount of money the US spends on health care.

“We are now spending twice as much per person on health care as do the people of any other country. That is insane,” Sanders said.

Facts First: This is an exaggeration. The US does not spend twice as much per capita as “any” other country on health care, though it does spend more than twice the average for the members of the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development, a group of 36 countries with large market economies.

Switzerland, at $7,317 per capita, and Norway, at $6,187 per capita, were well above half the US level, $10,586 per capita, in 2018, the last year for which international data is available. Germany ($5,986), Sweden ($5,447), Austria ($5,395) and Denmark ($5,299) were also above half though more narrowly.

The OECD average for 2018 was $3,992 per capita, so Sanders would be correct if he had said the US spends more than twice the average for wealthy countries. But he has been using his incorrect wording since at least 2009, when fact-checkers at PolitiFact first noted that it wasn’t true. You can read a longer version of this fact check here.

It is possible that the health spending numbers were different in 2019 than they were in 2018 and in years prior, but that data is not yet available.

– Daniel Dale

Klobuchar on Obamacare’s affordability

In defending her plan to build on the Affordable Care Act instead of pushing for the more sweeping Medicare for All plans proposed by her rivals, Klobuchar pointed out that more people support Obamacare than approve of President Donald Trump.

“I would also note practically, that the Affordable Care Act right now is 10 points more popular than the president of the United States,” the Minnesota Democrat said at CNN’s debate on Tuesday night.

Facts First: While no poll directly compares the two, it’s true that Obamacare is better liked. Polls done in November show Obamacare with a 10-point advantage over Trump. Subsequent polls also show former President Barack Obama’s health reform law being more popular than the current president.

A November poll by the Kaiser Family Foundation, which has tracked public opinion on the Affordable Care Act since it was passed in 2010, found that 52% of American adults had a favorable opinion of the law.

By contrast, a CNN poll conducted by SSRS in November found that 42% approve of Trump’s job as president. That figure stayed essentially the same in a December CNN poll, which found Trump’s favorability rating was 43%, but it was within the margin of error.

– Tami Luhby

Sanders on wages of US childcare workers

Sanders said America’s childcare system “is an embarrassment, it is unaffordable,” claiming that childcare workers take home lower paychecks than people working at McDonald’s.

“Childcare workers are making wages lower than McDonald’s workers,” Sanders said.

Facts First: While some childcare workers undoubtedly make less than some McDonald’s workers, US government data from 2018 shows that childcare workers took home a higher mean hourly salary than fast food workers.

Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, says the average wage for fast food and counter workers was $22,260 in May 2018. That’s a mean hourly salary of $10.70.
US childcare workers make on average $24,610 a year, the 2018 BLS data showed, more than the fast food workers. That corresponds to mean hourly wages of $11.83.
A proxy statement from McDonald’s, a worldwide company, filed in 2018 with the Securities and Exchange Commission, shows that the company’s median employee made $7,017 in 2017. What this number doesn’t say is that McDonald’s median employee is a part-time restaurant crew member in Poland, according to the proxy statement.

– Anneken Tappe

Biden on Trump weakening sanctions on North Korea

Biden claimed President Donald Trump “weakened” sanctions against Pyongyang in his pursuit of meetings with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un.

“The President showed up, met with him, gave him legitimacy, weakened the sanctions we have against him,” Biden said.

Facts First: Trump has not weakened the sanctions his administration has placed on North Korea to date, and has in fact ratcheted them up from the Obama administration. Although Trump did once spark mass confusion among his aides when he tweeted he was ordering the removal of sanctions on Pyongyang that had not yet been imposed or even announced.

Biden’s claim that Trump offered Kim Jong Un the “legitimacy” North Korea has long craved echoes a widespread criticism of the President’s approach to dealing with the Hermit Kingdom.

In March of last year, Trump tweeted that he had “ordered the withdrawal” of “additional large scale sanctions” he claimed the Treasury Department had announced earlier that day. But his announcement sent White House officials scrambling. Many aides quickly concluded that the President was referring to sanctions targeting two Chinese shipping companies that have allegedly helped North Korea skirt sanctions imposed by the United Nations. Those new actions were fulfilled under existing sanctions authority. But two sources familiar with Trump’s tweet said it was in fact not about those sanctions, but instead about additional large-scale sanctions targeting North Korea that had been in the works.
During an Oval Office meeting a month later with his South Korean counterpart, Trump claimed he believed sanctions are at a “fair level” and acknowledged the dust-up, saying he “had the option of significantly increasing them” but decided he “didn’t think it was necessary.”
The Trump administration ratcheted up sanctions even as the President has met with Kim Jong Un three times without preconditions. In the past, the Trump administration has offered to provide relief from these sanctions only if Pyongyang completely denuclearizes, an outcome that has looked increasingly unlikely as Kim Jong Un has in recent days threatened to restart nuclear testing.

So although some lawmakers have criticized Trump’s decision to embrace diplomacy with the brutal North Korean leader while extracting no concessions, loosening sanctions has not been part of this administration’s policy toward Pyongyang.

– Sarah Westwood and Zachary Cohen

Warren on female electability

During an exchange about electability and whether a woman can win the presidency, Warren compared the political careers of the men on the debate stage with the women.

“Can a woman beat Donald Trump?” Warren said. “Look at the men on this stage. Collectively, they have lost ten elections. The only people on this stage who have won every single election that they’ve been in are the women. Amy and me.”

Facts First: Warren has the facts right. She and Klobuchar are undefeated, and their male opponents have lost a total of 10 elections during their political careers. But Warren’s talking point ignores the fact that Sanders, Biden and Buttigieg have also prevailed in more than two dozen elections since 1970.

It’s true that Warren and Klobuchar have won all their races. The statistics are more impressive for Klobuchar — she’s been in politics since 1998, while Warren has only competed in two races since 2012.

During the 1970s and 1980s, Sanders waged several third-party and independent campaigns for governor and for US Senate. He also lost the Democratic presidential primary to Hillary Clinton in 2016. But in addition to these losses, Sanders has won more than a dozen political campaigns, including successful campaign for mayor of Burlington, Vermont, and representing the state in the US House and Senate.

Biden waged two unsuccessful presidential campaigns in 1988 and 2008. But he also had a successful career in the Senate — winning elections 7 times starting in 1972 — and two victorious national campaigns alongside Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012.

Some of these campaigns were waged before Buttigieg was born. During his political career, he won two campaigns for mayor of South Bend, Indiana, and lost a statewide race for treasurer of Indiana in 2010.

The only other man on the race, Steyer, has never been a candidate for public office.

The bottom line is that Warren’s talking point was accurate. But the men on the stage actually won more elections than they’ve lost over the years, undercutting Warren’s electability argument. And some of their losses at the polls were decades ago, so it’s not clear how relevant they are to the 2020 race.

Later in the debate, Sanders followed up another comment from Warren, where she said she was the only candidate who defeated a Republican incumbent in the past three decades. Sanders touted his 1990 campaign for US House, exactly 30 years ago, when he unseated Republican Rep. Peter Smith.

– Marshall Cohen

Buttigieg on Trump administration admitting Iran deal worked

Former Mayor Pete Buttigieg asserted during the debate on Tuesday that the Trump administration admitted that the Iran nuclear deal was working before pulling out of it.

Buttigieg said, “By gutting the Iran nuclear deal, one that, by the way, the Trump administration itself admitted was working, certified that it was preventing progress toward a nuclear Iran, by gutting that, they have made the region more dangerous and set off the chain of events that we are now dealing with as it escalates even closer to the brink of outright war.”

Facts First: This is basically true. By repeatedly recertifying the nuclear deal and waiving sanctions against Tehran as a result, the Trump administration effectively acknowledged that Iran was abiding by the terms of the deal even as the President publicly criticized it.

The terms of the nuclear deal required the US president to reauthorize it every 120 days to keep sanctions from kicking in. Trump didn’t leave the deal until May 2018 and reauthorized it a handful of times after taking office.
CNN previously reported that the President promised to kill the deal on the campaign trail but was persuaded by cabinet members and allies several times to recertify Iran’s compliance. Former Defense Secretary James Mattis told the Senate Armed Services committee in April 2018 that the verification provisions in the pact were “pretty robust” though he did not publicly back the deal. Despite his criticism of the deal, neither Trump nor his aides had been able to say that Iran was violating the terms of the agreement.

– Caroline Kelly and Zachary Cohen

Sanders on cost of NAFTA and permanent normal trade relations with China

Sanders repeated his claim that NAFTA and permanent normal trade relations with China have cost the US “some 4 million jobs.”

“I am sick and tired,” said Sanders as he drew a contrast with former Vice President Joe Biden, pointing to large multinational corporations that he says have reaped the benefits.

Facts First: This is likely an overestimate of the impact trade agreements can have on the country’s employment.

It’s difficult to measure the overall economic impact of the North American Free Trade Agreement since trade and investment trends can be affected by a number of factors, including economic growth, inflation and even a weakening dollar, according to the Congressional Research Service.

Most estimates find that NAFTA had little if any impact on national employment levels, though the effect was uneven across regions and industries.

The left-leaning Economic Policy Institute found that between 1993 and 2013, the US trade deficit with Mexico and Canada increased from $17 billion to $177.2 billion and displaced 851,700 US jobs.
By contrast, the entry of China into the World Trade Organization in 2001 likely had a much larger impact because of sudden competition from cheaper imports. But even the high end of job loss estimates from EPI found that the change in trade status for China caused a loss of 3.4 million jobs between 2001 and 2017.
Another estimate, from a 2016 study by economists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, found that normalizing trade relations with China cost the US between 2 million and 2.4 million jobs between 1999 and 2011.

– Donna Borak

Biden on Iraq War stance

Biden repeated his false claim that he opposed the war in Iraq from the moment the war began.

Biden said he made a “mistake” in casting a 2002 vote, as a senator from Delaware, to give President George W. Bush the authority to go to war in Iraq. But he said he cast the vote because the Bush administration had said “they were just going to get inspectors” into Iraq to check for weapons of mass destruction — and that, once Bush actually went to war, he became immediately opposed: “From that point on, I was in the position of making the case that it was a big, big mistake.”
Facts First: As fact checkers have repeatedly noted, Biden did not oppose the war in Iraq from the point it started in March 2003. He did begin calling his 2002 vote a “mistake” in 2005, two years into the war, but he was a vocal public supporter of the war in 2003 and 2004. And he made clear in 2002 and 2003, both before and after the war started, that he had known he was voting to authorize a possible war, not only to try to get inspectors into Iraq.
CNN’s Facts First team has debunked various versions of Biden’s claim that he opposed the war from the moment it started. Read longer articles on that here, here and here.
Here are a few representative Biden quotes. In a February 2003 speech in Delaware, he said, “Let everyone here be absolutely clear: I supported the resolution to go to war. I am NOT opposed to war to remove weapons of mass destruction from Iraq. I am NOT opposed to war to remove Saddam from those weapons if it comes to that.”

It’s true that Biden criticized Bush’s approach to diplomacy in the lead-up to the war, warned in the lead-up to the war that Bush was not being honest about how hard the war would be, and he criticized Bush’s handling of the war from its first weeks on. But Biden made clear that he supported the war despite that criticism.

In a July 2003 speech at the Brookings Institution, Biden said: “Nine months ago, I voted with my colleagues to give the president of the United States of America the authority to use force and I would vote that way again today. It was the right vote then and would be a correct vote today.”

During the debate on Tuesday, Biden also offered a confusing timeline of his positions on the war, saying, “I said 13 years ago it was a mistake to give the president the authority to go to war if, in fact, he couldn’t get inspectors into Iraq to stop — what thought to be — the attempt to get a nuclear weapon. It was a mistake. And I acknowledged that.”

When Biden said “13 years ago,” he appeared to be referring to how, in 2006 and 2007, he was calling his 2002 vote a mistake. The vote itself was more than 17 years ago.

– Daniel Dale and Nate McDermott

Biden on threat to US embassies

Biden said that President Donald Trump “flat-out lied” when he claimed the US killed Iran’s top military general because he was targeting four US embassies.

“Quite frankly, I think he’s flat-out lied about saying that the reason he went after — the reason he made the strike was because our embassies were about to be bombed,” Biden said.

Facts First: Trump has yet to provide evidence backing up his claim that Iranian Gen. Qasem Soleimani was actively planning new attacks against four US embassies and top administration officials have struggled to defend the President’s comments. But there is no way to know if Trump “flat-out lied” without seeing the underlying intelligence, which remains classified.

Trump claimed at an Ohio rally last week that Soleimani “was actively planning new attacks.” He later told Fox News, “I believe it probably would’ve been four embassies,” naming Baghdad as one.

Senior administration officials have repeatedly pointed to danger facing US embassies in the Middle East.

Defense Secretary Mark Esper said this past weekend he “didn’t see” a specific threat against four embassies in the intelligence.

“What the President said with regard to the four embassies is what I believe as well. He said that he believed that they probably, that they could have been targeting the embassies in the region,” Esper added.

Similarly, Trump’s national security adviser Robert O’Brien said in an interview on Sunday with ABC’s “This Week” that it was unclear whether embassies or US military bases would be targeted, but insisted Trump’s claim about four embassies being threatened was “consistent with the intelligence.”

Citing two State Department officials, CNN reported on Monday that State Department officials involved in US embassy security were not made aware of imminent threats to four specific US embassies and didn’t issue warnings about specific dangers to any US embassy before the administration targeted Soleimani.

The State Department sent a global warning to all US embassies before the strike occurred, a senior State Department official said and the department spokesperson confirmed, but it was not directed at specific embassies and did not warn of an imminent attack.

– Zachary Cohen

This is a breaking story and will be updated.





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Iowa debate: Warren makes the case a woman has the best chance to beat Trump



“Can a woman beat Donald Trump? Look at the men on this stage,” Warren said.

“Collectively, they have lost 10 elections. The only people on this stage who have won every single election that they’ve been in are the women: Amy and me,” she said, referring to the only other woman who qualified for the debate stage: Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar.

“So true,” Klobuchar interjected. “So true.”

In interviews over the past year, many Democratic voters have voiced anxiety about the prospect of watching Trump take on another female candidate after they witnessed the misogyny and degrading rhetoric that consumed the 2016 campaign.

Warren had a clear opening to address that invisible barrier for female candidates Tuesday night after CNN reported this week that four sources said her longtime ally, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, told her in a private 2018 meeting that a woman couldn’t win the presidency during a discussion about the 2020 election.

Though Sanders has insisted he never made that comment, Warren sought to brush their differing recollections aside during the debate — “Bernie is my friend, and I am not here to try to fight with Bernie,” she said — and focused on the hesitation within the broader electorate that she must dispel in order to win the nomination.

“Here’s the thing. Since Donald Trump was elected, women candidates have out-performed men candidates in competitive races,” Warren said. “In 2018, we took back the House; we took back statehouses, because of women candidates and women voters.”

“Look, don’t deny that the question is there,” Warren continued. “Back in the 1960s, people asked, ‘Could a Catholic win?’ Back in 2008, people asked if an African American could win. Both times the Democratic Party stepped up and said, ‘Yes,’ got behind their candidate and we changed America. That’s who we are.”

Sanders emphatically denied that he made the comment in their private 2018 meeting and a chilly confrontation between the two rivals on stage after the debate — in which Warren pulled her hand back as Sanders extended his — suggested their disagreement over the content of their conversation will continue.

“I didn’t say it,” Sanders said. “Anybody knows me knows that it’s incomprehensible that I would think that a woman cannot be president of the United States. … Hillary Clinton won the popular vote by 3 million votes. How could anybody in a million years not believe that a woman could become president of the United States?”

In a later exchange, Sanders also inexplicably quibbled with Warren’s assertion that she was the only person on the stage who had beaten an incumbent Republican anytime in the past 30 years.

“Just to set the record straight, I defeated an incumbent Republican running for Congress,” Sanders said to Warren.

“When?” Warren replied.

“1990, that’s how I won — beat a Republican congressman,” Sanders said.

Warren briefly looked up as though she was doing the math from 1990 to 2020 in her head, and responded: “30 years. … I said I was the only one who’s beaten an incumbent Republican in 30 years.”

“Well, 30 years ago is 1990, as a matter of fact,” Sanders said, seeming to miss her point.

Last chance to debate before caucuses

While both the Sanders and Warren campaigns had signaled that they were looking to move past their disagreement, their exchange on gender in politics unquestionably overshadowed the sparring on other issues at the CNN/Des Moines Register debate at Drake University.

Sanders, Warren, former Vice President Joe Biden and former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg are tightly clustered at the top of the Democratic field in recent polling. In interviews, Iowa voters have expressed a profound sense of indecision — driven largely by the size of the field and what they perceive as the complexity of defeating Trump in November.

All of the candidates tried to focus on their closing arguments to voters in the last televised debate before the Iowa caucuses, while doing their best to explain how they would overcome the biggest challenges facing their campaigns.

Buttigieg insisted that he would be able to build up his scant support among black voters. Sanders argued that his unpopular embrace of socialism would not be off-putting to a broader electorate. Despite his millions of dollars of spending on television ads, businessman Tom Steyer said it would not be his wealth that was important to voters, but rather his ability to take on Trump on the issue that matters most to them: the economy.

The six candidates also engaged in vigorous ideological debates over foreign policy, trade, health care and whether free college should be extended to all Americans.

The debate started with the candidates tangling over who was best positioned to keep the country safe as they face voters who are increasingly anxious about another conflict in the Middle East after Trump ordered the targeted killing of Iranian commander Qasem Soleimani.

As expected, Sanders faulted Biden for voting in 2002 to authorize the use of force in Iraq while he was a senator for Delaware. Sanders noted that he and Biden listened to the same intelligence from former President George W. Bush and his aides claiming that Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, but they voted differently on the Iraq War Resolution.

“The war in Iraq turned out to be the worst foreign policy blunder in the modern history of this country,” Sanders said. “Joe and I listened to what (former Vice President) Dick Cheney and George Bush and (Secretary of Defense Donald) Rumsfeld had to say. I thought they were lying. I didn’t believe them for a moment. I took to the floor. I did everything I could to prevent that war. Joe saw it differently.”

Biden argued that he made a mistake in voting for the Iraq War Resolution — something he acknowledged as early as 2005– but he emphasized that President Barack Obama tasked him with developing plans to withdraw the US from that conflict when he became vice president.

“I said 13 years ago it was a mistake to give the President the authority to go to war if, in fact, he couldn’t get inspectors into Iraq to stop what was thought to be the attempt to get a nuclear weapon. It was a mistake,” Biden said Tuesday night. But once Obama was elected, he said, “he turned to me and asked me to end that war.”

The Iraq War has created a bind for the former vice president because, at a time of heightened tensions with Iran, he has argued that his decades of foreign policy experience in the Senate and as vice president have made him the most prepared candidate to handle crises abroad. But his rivals, including Sanders and Buttigieg have used the vote to question Biden’s judgment.

As a veteran in the US Navy Reserve who served one tour in Afghanistan in 2014, Buttigieg has called Biden’s vote authorizing military force in Iraq “the worst foreign policy decision made by the United States in my lifetime.”

On Tuesday night, Buttigieg highlighted his military experience but did not directly attack Biden on that point, instead pivoting to a critique of Trump.

“The very President who said he was going to end endless war, who pretended to have been against the war in Iraq all along — although we know that’s not true — now has more troops going to the Middle East,” Buttigieg said.

He recalled how one of his fellow lieutenants gathered the strength to leave his one-and-a-half-year-old son, who had no idea that his father was leaving for war.

“That is happening by the thousands right now, as we see so many more troops sent into harm’s way,” Buttigieg said. “And my perspective is to ensure that that will never happen when there is an alternative as commander-in-chief.”

CNN moderator Wolf Blitzer asked Warren how she would deal with the fact that a third of her supporters say her ability to lead the military is more of a weakness than a strength, according to a new CNN/Des Moines Register poll. She noted her work on the Senate Armed Services Committee and her visits to troops around the world.

“I fight for our troops, to make sure they get their pay and the housing and medical benefits that they’ve been promised, that they don’t get cheated by giant financial institutions,” she said, noting that she has three brothers who served in the military.

Candidates clash over the ambition of their plans

The candidates engaged in a now familiar debate over the varying costs of their health care programs, particularly the “Medicare for All” plan embraced by Sanders and Warren. Klobuchar, who supports building on the Affordable Care Act, called Medicare for All a “pipe dream.”

Sanders insisted his campaign proposals would not bankrupt the country even though it would double federal spending over the next decade and insisted that his transition fund would ease the pain of likely job losses in towns like Des Moines where the insurance is central to the economy.

Warren challenged Buttigieg on his plans to make Medicare for All one among many options.

“The numbers that the mayor is offering don’t add up,” she said.

Buttigieg, in response, rejected the notion that his plan was too small.

“We have to move past Washington mentality that suggests that the bigness of plans only consists of how many trillions of dollars they put through the Treasury,” he said.

Buttigieg and Klobuchar also raised their objections to Warren’s and Sanders’ respective plans providing free college for everyone.

Klobuchar argued that the money would be better directed to job training for the professions that will face shortages in the future, like home health care, nursing assistants and electricians.

“We have to target the tax dollars where they will make the biggest difference,” Buttigieg said. “I don’t think subsidizing children of millionaires to pay zero in tuition of public college is the best use of the scarce taxpayer dollars.”

Businessman Tom Steyer was asked — as a billionaire — whether he would have supported free college for his children.

“No,” Steyer answered simply, noting that he has supported a wealth tax for more than a year. “I was one of the people who talked about a wealth tax almost a year-and-a-half ago. I believe that the income inequality in this country is unbearable, unjust, and unsupportable, and the redistribution of wealth to the richest Americans from everyone else has to end.”

This story has been updated with the events of Tuesday’s debate.



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How to watch the Democratic debate: Time, channels, lineup



CNN, in partnership with The Des Moines Register, is hosting the seventh primary debate at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa.

The debate will be the final face-to-face gathering of the candidates before the February 3 Iowa caucuses. Six candidates are set to appear: former Vice President Joe Biden, former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, businessman Tom Steyer and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren.

The debate is the first meeting of the candidates since Iran fired more than a dozen ballistic missiles at two Iraqi military bases housing US troops. The attack last week was retaliation after Iran’s top general Qasem Soleimani was killed in a US airstrike in Baghdad. The debate will provide an opportunity for the candidates to focus on foreign policy as they make their presidential case to the American people.

The debate will air live at 9 p.m. ET on CNN.

How can I watch it?

The debate will air exclusively on CNN, CNN en Español, CNN International and CNN Airport Network and will stream live in its entirety, without requiring log-in to a cable provider, exclusively to CNN.com’s homepage, across mobile devices via CNN’s apps for iOS and Android, and via CNNgo apps for Apple TV, Roku, Amazon Fire, Chromecast and Android TV. The debate will also air live at DesMoinesRegister.com and Democrats.org, and can be heard on CNN’s SiriusXM XChannels and the Westwood One Radio Network.

Who is debating?

  • Former Vice President Joe Biden
  • Former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg
  • Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar
  • Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders
  • Businessman Tom Steyer
  • Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren

Who is moderating?

CNN’s Wolf Blitzer and Abby Phillip as well as The Des Moines Register’s Brianne Pfannenstiel will moderate.

Who didn’t make the cut?

Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet

Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg

Former Maryland Rep. John Delaney

Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard

Former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick

Businessman Andrew Yang

How was the stage decided?

In order to qualify for the debate, candidates needed to meet both polling and fundraising minimums. For the polling criteria, candidates needed to receive 5% in at least four DNC-approved national or early state (Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina) polls, or receive 7% in two early state polls.

Candidates also needed to receive donations from at least 225,000 unique donors, and a minimum of 1,000 unique donors per state in at least 20 different states.

What happened at the last debate?

The last Democratic presidential debate in December took place in California, but it was all about Iowa. Buttigieg, Klobuchar and Warren are banking on a strong performance there on the path to the nomination.

Buttigieg faced the kind of sustained criticism he had largely avoided during his rise to the top of the polls in Iowa. Warren and Buttigieg had been circling each other for weeks leading up to the debate. Warren highlighted a recent Napa Valley fundraiser Buttigieg held in a “wine cave,” where the mayor talked to donors under a chandelier with 1,500 Swarovski crystals. Buttigieg responded by pointing out that Warren had held high-dollar fundraisers as a Senate candidate, and that her decision to no longer do so is a new one.

After a series of unsteady debates, Biden was the most comfortable that he’s been on the debate stage to date, a sign of renewed confidence in his status at the top of the Democratic pack nationally — and that the smaller debate stage suits him.

Yang also proved he belonged on the stage — particularly because of his ability to cut through politics and policy in humanizing terms. This was clearest when he was asked about being the only person of color on the stage, something that happened after New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker and former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro failed to qualify for the debate and California Sen. Kamala Harris dropped out of the race.

He said: “It’s both an honor and disappointment to be the lone candidate of color on the stage tonight.”

CNN’s Eric Bradner and Dan Merica contributed to this report.



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With pressure on in Iowa, Democratic debate carries higher stakes


WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Six Democratic presidential contenders on Tuesday face perhaps the most pressure-packed debate yet, with voters in Iowa set to kick off the 2020 nominating contest in just weeks.

FILE PHOTO: Former Vice President Joe Biden laughs as Senator Bernie Sanders speaks at the 2020 Democratic campaign debate at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, California, U.S., December 19, 2019. REUTERS/Mike Blake/File Photo

The Feb. 3 caucuses set the tone for the primary race and often dictate whether a campaign is viable going forward into other early voting states such as New Hampshire and South Carolina. Polls show the race in Iowa is tight.

Here’s a look at the stakes for the candidates on stage in Des Moines:

JOE BIDEN

National polls still land the former vice president atop the 13-member Democratic field, and recent state polls have him more competitive in Iowa than he had been. The heightened tensions between the United States and Iran have played to Biden’s argument that his deep experience would make him a steady hand in the wake of the global turmoil brought about by volatile U.S. foreign policy. Expect him to tout his national security credentials. Biden may see more incoming fire than in previous debates, as his rivals look to soften his lead before voting begins. So far, that hasn’t worked.

BERNIE SANDERS

Call it the Bernie-assance. Seemingly written off months ago after a heart attack and becoming a progressive afterthought to then-rising Elizabeth Warren, Sanders has gathered strength and set himself up as the top threat to Biden for the nomination. The U.S. senator from Vermont is rolling in money and promises to be in the race for the long run. His challenge on Tuesday will be to show skeptics that he is more than a niche candidate with a fervent following. At some point, Sanders has to make a case for himself as the nation’s chief executive and more than a protest vote against the establishment.

PETE BUTTIGIEG

The most intriguing story of the 2020 race might be that the 37-year-old gay former mayor of a small Indiana city remains on track to finish strong in both Iowa and New Hampshire – and make a real run at the nomination. So far, ceaseless attacks from the party’s progressive wing have failed to slow his stride. That could change on Tuesday, when both Sanders and Warren may feel a more urgent need to take Buttigieg down. While Buttigieg so far has parried effectively, voters likely will be watching more closely than ever to see if he has the chops to leap from the South Bend mayor’s office to the White House’s Oval Office.

ELIZABETH WARREN

Perhaps no candidate on the stage will be under more pressure than Warren. After peaking as the perceived front-runner last fall, she has tumbled to a step below the top-tier candidates. Warren needs a strong showing in Iowa to avoid heading to a showdown in New Hampshire in a weakened position. That may mean the Massachusetts senator will have to abandon her practiced “I have a plan for that” approach and make a more forceful case that she is the best candidate to take on Trump in November. The conflict with Iran offers Warren a chance to make a case for her national security skills in a more prominent way. And she may need to come up with a stronger rebuttal to what critics such as Biden argue – that she is more interested in picking fights with Democratic moderates than uniting the party.

AMY KLOBUCHAR

Klobuchar, a U.S. senator from neighboring Minnesota, has put it all on the line in Iowa. A poor finish there would doom her candidacy. While she earns positive reviews on the trail, has shown herself to be a steady fundraiser and earns praise from the pundit class, Klobuchar has yet to truly break out as a player in the nominating race. Her moderate stances place her in competition with Biden and Buttigieg, but her campaign also sees her as a rival to Warren for the votes of women. It could make sense for her to go after Warren on issues such as healthcare to differentiate herself. She will likely talk a lot about her electoral strength in the Midwest. Plus, she’ll probably make the best jokes.

TOM STEYER

Steyer, a billionaire from California who has swamped the airwaves in Iowa and elsewhere with ads, was a surprise last-minute addition to the debate after gaining ground in polls. The big question is whether his rivals and the debate moderators will take him seriously as a threat. The mere fact that Steyer qualified for the debate over such candidates as U.S. Senator Cory Booker suggests he can translate spending into results – something that can keep him in the race long-term. His task will be to frame himself as more than a curiosity and offer an effective response should Sanders or Warren assail him for buying his way onto the stage.

Reporting by James Oliphant; Editing by Colleen Jenkins and Cynthia Osterman



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