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Saturday December 14th, 2019 12:34AM

The Latest: Buttigieg: Sanders and Trump are very different

By The Associated Press
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MANCHESTER, N.H. (AP) — The Latest on a series of town halls with five 2020 Democratic presidential candidates (all times local):

11:50 p.m.

South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg (BOO'-tuh-juhj) says Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and President Donald Trump are "stupendously different in very, very many respects" as he tried to smooth over an earlier comparison of the two politicians.

At a CNN town hall in New Hampshire on Monday night, Buttigieg noted that anti-establishment energy "can find its way in a number of very different political directions."

He says recent history shows that voters aren't just focused on "are you close to me on a left-right political spectrum." Rather, he said, they want to know: "Are you really going to profoundly change the system that we're living in?"

Sanders and Buttigieg are among the Democrats seeking the party's nomination to take on Trump in the 2020 election.

___

11:35 p.m.

Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg (BOO'-tuh-juhj) says he doesn't believe convicted criminals in prison should be able to vote.

The South Bend, Indiana, mayor said Monday at a CNN town hall in New Hampshire that part of the punishment when someone is convicted of a crime is losing certain rights.

That stands in stark contrast to the position taken earlier Monday by Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who said he believes felons — even including people like Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev (joh-HAHR' tsahr-NEYE'-ehv) — should be able to keep their right to vote. He says the right to vote "is inherent to our democracy. Yes, even for terrible people."

California Sen. Kamala Harris said she thinks "we should have that conversation" about whether convicted criminals like Tsarnaev should be able to keep their right to vote.

Tsarnaev killed three people and injured hundreds in 2013 with a pair of pressure-cooker bombs and was sentenced to death.

___

11:20 p.m.

South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg is addressing questions about his lack of policy specifics, saying he thinks he's been "pretty clear" about where he stands "on the major issues."

At a CNN town hall Monday night in New Hampshire, the 2020 Democratic presidential candidate says he thinks it's important that candidates don't "drown people in minutia" before they show the values that "animate our policies."

He says Democrats sometimes have a habit of doing that. He says, "We go right to the policy proposals and we expect people to be able to figure out what are values must be from that."

Buttigieg is the fifth of five candidates to appear in the CNN town hall events Monday. He was preceded by Sens. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Kamala Harris of California.

___

10:55 p.m.

Democratic presidential candidate Kamala Harris has sidestepped a question during a town hall over whether convicted criminals like the Boston Marathon bomber should be able to vote.

The senator from California said Monday in New Hampshire: "I think we should have that conversation."

In the United States, people convicted of felonies cannot vote while they are in prison, on parole or on probation.

Harris' answer came after Sen. Bernie Sanders said in the previous town hall segment that he believes felons like bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev should be able to keep their right to vote. Tsarnaev and his brother killed three people and injured hundreds in 2013 with a pair of pressure-cooker bombs at the finish line of the Boston Marathon and was sentenced to death. His brother died in a shootout with police.

Sanders said: "I think the right to vote is inherent to our democracy. Yes, even for terrible people."

___

10:20 p.m.

Democratic presidential candidate Kamala Harris says she would take executive action on gun violence if Congress fails to pass comprehensive gun safety measures in her first 100 days in office.

The senator from California appeared Monday at a CNN town hall in New Hampshire along with four other 2020 candidates: Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg (BOO'-tuh-juhj).

Harris says her executive actions as president would include near-universal background checks by anyone who sells five or more guns annually; revoking the licenses of gun manufacturers and dealers that break the law; reversing President Donald Trump's change to the definition of "fugitive from justice"; and closing a loophole to prevent dating partners convicted of domestic violence from buying guns.

___

10:15 p.m.

Democratic presidential candidate Kamala Harris says she believes "Congress should take the steps towards impeachment," following the release of special counsel Robert Mueller's report regarding President Donald Trump.

Harris said Monday at a CNN town hall that there is "a lot of good evidence pointing to obstruction and obstruction of justice."

But Harris says she is also a realist when it comes to the Trump presidency and Congress.

She says, "I have also witnessed folks in the United States Congress and in particular in the GOP who have been presented with many reasons to push back against this president and they have not."

Harris said last week that she thought there was "a conversation to be had" on impeachment but first she wanted to hear from Mueller at a congressional hearing.

Mueller did not reach a verdict on whether Trump committed obstruction of justice. Trump has denied doing so.

___

9:50 p.m.

Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders is standing by his criticism of Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, saying the U.S. goal in the Middle East must be to try to bring people together and "not just support one country, which is now run by a right-wing, dare I say, racist government."

Sanders said Monday at a CNN town hall in New Hampshire that he believes the United States should "deal with the Middle East on a level-playing-field basis."

The senator from Vermont says he is "not anti-Israel" but feels Netanyahu is "a right-wing politician" who is treating the Palestinian people "extremely unfairly."

Sanders then added that he is "100% pro-Israel" and that the country has "every right in the world to exist and to exist in peace and security and not be subjected to terrorists' attacks."

___

9:30 p.m.

Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders says he supports voting rights for felons, including the Boston Marathon bomber and people convicted of sexual assault.

At a CNN town hall in New Hampshire on Monday, the senator from Vermont was asked about his position that felons should be able to vote while in prison. He was asked specifically about the Boston Marathon bomber, who killed three people and injured hundreds in 2013 with a pair of pressure-cooker bombers and was sentenced to death.

Sanders says, "I think the right to vote is inherent to our democracy. Yes, even for terrible people."

He says, "Because once you start chipping away, you say, well that guy committed a terrible crime, not going to let him vote. Well that person did that, not going to let that person vote, you're running down a slippery slope."

___

8:40 p.m.

Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren is doubling down on her call to impeach President Donald Trump in the wake of the release of the redacted Mueller report and is calling on every lawmaker in the House and Senate to vote on the president's fate.

The 2020 Democratic presidential candidate said Monday at a CNN town hall in New Hampshire: "If there are people in the House and the Senate who want to say that's what a president can do when the president is being investigated for his own wrongdoings or when a foreign government attacks our country, then they should have to take that vote and live with it."

Warren said earlier in the town hall that "if any other human being in this country had done what's documented in the Mueller report, they would be arrested and put in jail."

___

8:30 p.m.

Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren says the United States "should get rid of for-profit private prisons," calling them an outrage.

The 2020 Democratic presidential candidate said Monday at a CNN town hall in New Hampshire that when people leave the prison system, "they need to be reintegrated into their communities."

She says, "They need to be able to have a chance to get a job, to be able to find decent housing. And they need to be able to participate in the political process and that means they need the right to vote to be reinstated. They are American citizens."

Warren is among five 2020 candidates appearing at CNN town halls on Monday night. She came after Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar and will be followed by Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, California Sen. Kamala Harris and South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg (BOO'-tuh-juhj).

___

8:15 p.m.

Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren is championing her proposal to roll back student debt loan for what she said will cover roughly "95 percent of students" who have debt.

During a CNN town hall on Monday, the senator from Massachusetts told a crowd of college students that the second part of her plan is to "make sure that we never get in this mess again on student loan debt."

Warren wants to make college in the United States "universally available with free tuition and fees" while putting more money into federal Pell Grants that Warren says will help students of color and poorer students have better access to higher education.

She also wants to put "some real money" into historically black colleges and universities. She says, "This is about opportunity for everyone."

Warren also described how she would pay for the grand spending plan. She wants "an ultra-millionaires' tax" that would be 2 cents on every dollar for fortunes above $50 million.

___

8 p.m.

Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar has found herself in several awkward moments during her CNN town hall.

Klobuchar has been trying to show her sense of humor during the televised appearance but quickly drew social media attention Monday night for the moments, including one on prescription drugs in which she evoked 2008 GOP vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin.

Klobuchar says, "We should bring in less expensive drugs from other countries like Canada. We can see practically see Canada from our porch when we're up here."

At another point, after noting her electoral success in purple-state Minnesota, she quipped, "It's when you guys are supposed to cheer, OK?"

She also referenced a notable moment during a 2016 presidential debate between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, saying she could feel town hall anchor Chris Cuomo "creeping over my shoulder...not in a Trumpian manner."

___

7:35 p.m.

Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar is maintaining her reluctance to liberal Democrats' call for "Medicare for All."

At a CNN town hall in New Hampshire on Monday, Klobuchar said she wants to get to universal health care and wants to get there fast. She is calling for putting a public option in place "because then you don't have any middleman. You have competition."

She says, "That is a way you get there without suddenly dismantling the entire system, which was very difficult to do when we put the Affordable Care Act in place."

Lawmakers can work to "do no harm" and "do much better," Klobuchar said, by "getting that public option in place immediately."

___

7:30 p.m.

Democratic presidential candidate Amy Klobuchar says she does not support free college for students like fellow 2020 contender Sen. Elizabeth Warren does.

During a CNN town hall in New Hampshire on Monday, the Minnesota senator said she wishes she could hand out college diplomas to everyone, but "I have to be straight with you and tell you the truth."

She says she does have a plan when it comes to addressing the high price of student loans: refinancing, expanding Pell Grants and bringing back former President Barack Obama's plan for free community college.

She says everything she has proposed she has a way to pay for.

Warren earlier Monday announced her proposal to eliminate student loan debt for millions of Americans and to eliminate tuition and fees for two- and four-year public college degree programs.

___

7:20 p.m.

Democratic presidential candidate Amy Klobuchar says President Donald Trump should be held accountable following special counsel Robert Mueller's report, but she stopped short of calling for impeachment.

The senator from Minnesota said during a CNN town hall in New Hampshire on Monday night that impeachment proceedings are up to the House and that lawmakers there will have to make that decision for themselves.

Klobuchar said she didn't want to weigh in too much because she is in the Senate and believes "that we are the jury."

She added: "If the House brings the impeachment proceedings before us, we will deal with them."

Klobuchar's colleague in the Senate and fellow 2020 contender Elizabeth Warren has called for Trump to be impeached.

Klobuchar says other ways to hold the president accountable are through congressional investigations and defeating him in 2020.

___

5:50 p.m.

The fight for the Democratic presidential nomination moves to prime time as five White House contenders showcase their policies and personalities from the same stage for the first time.

During Monday night's town halls, the candidates will take turns fielding questions from young people in New Hampshire and CNN anchors. The forum offers voters an early look at how a select group of high-profile candidates differentiate themselves in a crowded 2020 field.

Among the likely topics: impeachment, health care, the economy, student debt and President Donald Trump himself.

Each of the five candidates gets an hour on stage beginning with Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar at 7 p.m., followed by Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, California Sen. Kamala Harris and South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg (BOO'-tuh-juhj).

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Online Headlines - Washington, AP Online Congress News, AP Elections, General Election News, General Presidential Election News, AP Elections - Political Conventions
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