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ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT

Warren, Sanders Go Head-to-Head Tonight; Michigan Governor Speaks On Debate Stage. Aired 7-8p ET

Aired July 30, 2019 - 19:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: As the program begins, just moments from now. And kicking things off is our most excellent group of analysts and experts. All of you here with me.

OK. So, look, you have the focus tonight, Van. Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren side by side, but he's, according to the Quinnipiac poll, dropped sharply. This is a big night for Bernie.

VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: It's a big night for Bernie. And again, for him, his great strength has become his weakness in a way. In other words, the reason you love Bernie Sanders four years ago he can say, "I was saying this in 1832. I've always said this. I believe this stuff."

The thing about it is four years later you're like, "Yes, we've heard all of that before." Tonight, if he does something different, anything different. He gets personal. He's on my show once and he spoke personally about his parents and it was it was transformative. It was arresting.

If he doesn't just send the same hologram that's been saying the same thing out tonight and does anything beautiful, he could get back in the lead.

BURNETT: Well, that's what he really need. Jess McIntosh, of course, you spent a lot of time with the Clinton campaign.

JESS MCINTOSH, FORMER DIRECTOR OF COMMUNICATIONS OUTREACH, CLINTON 2016 CAMPAIGN: I did.

BURNETT: Who has to break out tonight? Because I think we should make it clear to viewers. The next debate is not going to have 20 people. It's going to have half of that. A lot of these people are going away.

MCINTOSH: I mean, we are going to be a near single digits, if not single digits, by the September debate. So that means everybody who isn't one of those top five candidates tonight and tomorrow really needs to have a moment. The two biggest ones tonight, I think are Beto and Amy Klobuchar.

Amy started out as, I mean, she's one of the most liked, beloved senators in the country.

JONES: Accomplished. MCINTOSH: She's frequently number one or two in those rankings.

She's a moderate. She's really good at talking about middle class issues and the economy. She hasn't really had a breakout moment yet. She doesn't like mixing it up. She doesn't like causing anybody - I mean, you don't ...

JONES: She could be the Castro. She could be the Castro.

MCINTOSH: She could, but you don't get favorability numbers like that by making enemies and she doesn't like to wrap it up. But I hope that she gets in there tonight. Otherwise, we might not see her sticking out until September.

BURNETT: And Kirsten, you think this is also a big night for her?

KIRSTEN POWERS, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes, absolutely. I mean, she's somebody also who, during the Kavanaugh hearings, I think people were really taking a second look at her. She was really impressive and it was big for Kamala also.

Kamala has really been able to capitalize on that and has risen in the polls with a great debate performance. And so I think that Amy Klobuchar needs to do that. And I think what's looming over all of this, of course, if you are in the moderate lane is Joe Biden.

So it's also like why you and not Joe Biden. So you sort of have to establish why, A; we need to have a moderate and B; why you're the moderate that we should choose.

BURNETT: And on that point, Governor, I feel like there were a lot of people who are at 1 percent or below who were thinking, well, if Joe Biden goes away, for some reason, the last debate performance wasn't ...

FORMER GOVERNOR JENNIFER GRANHOLM (D-MI): Yes. They're all praying that he - that somehow he collapses.

BURNETT: ... then I am here.

GRANHOLM: Yes.

BURNETT: OK. But that hasn't worked.

GRANHOLM: No, it hasn't worked obviously.

BURNETT: So they have to make a breakthrough now.

GRANHOLM: That everybody who is not in the top three spots up there, they have got to have a breakout moment and they've all been practicing them. Everybody is going to try to do it. You talked about Amy Klobuchar. She's naturally super funny.

JONES: She can do it.

GRANHOLM: So she could totally come out with a humorous moment. And if you're not naturally funny, like Bernie Sanders is not naturally funny, you don't try to do something like that. But if you have a knack for it, of course, you do that.

Let me say the person I think - I just done polling that has a breakout moment, I know you love the govs, we all love the govs. Right, Gov?

FORMER GOVERNOR TERRY MCAULIFFE (D-VA): Yes, so do you.

GRANHOLM: I do. I totally love the govs. But here's one ...

MCAULIFFE: They get things done.

GRANHOLM: I'm going to let you talk about the govs because I want to talk about the guy from the Midwest, Tim Ryan.

JONES: Oh, yes.

GRANHOLM: He had his lunch handed to him last time by Tulsi Gabbard. But this time, he is - we're in the middle of a state and, of course, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, the industrial Midwest. We care deeply about jobs. I want to hear him give a full-throated push job policy that keeps jobs in America.

BURNETT: And Governor quickly, your breakout moment must be for who?

MCAULIFFE: Well, first of all, before I say that, I just want to give the Warren folks credit. They have worn the sign ...

(CROSSTALK)

MCAULIFFE: ... campaign. If I pull up an event and I didn't when they assign where I have my campaign manager on the phone ...

GRANHOLM: You're mad.

MCAULIFFE: I'm telling you ...

GRANHOLM: You get out there with your sign.

MCAULIFFE: I'm telling ...

(CROSSTALK)

MCAULIFFE: ... I'll get out there myself. But big night tonight for the governors for Bullock and Hickenlooper. They've got to do it ...

BURNETT: Bullock's first time. This is his first time on the stage.

MCAULIFFE: Sure. So great opportunity for him to come out and shine. Governors are at a disadvantage in presidential campaigns. Senators, Congress, they can transfer their money from their federal account. We can't do that. Also you have a Barr hearing, a Kavanaugh hearing, a Mueller hearing, 10s of millions of people are watching.

They're not watching governors. We don't get that exposure. Erin, you weren't calling me asking me how I was doing fixing route 495 in Virginia. BURNETT: Why? Why?

MCAULIFFE: You weren't doing it. It wasn't sexy for you. That's why they got to - tonight is their night. Governors your night tonight ...

(CROSSTALK)

[19:04:58] BURNETT: All right. Guys, all of you, thank you. As we get ready here, of course, for this program tonight. Look, we don't often take music debates here, music breaks here on - we're going to do that in a minute because we have an amazing choir here, of course, from the State of Michigan.

But when it comes to Bullock, you think this - he's not a household name. He is in a state though, of course, that voted for Trump.

GRANHOLM: Right. He can make that base.

BURNETT: And he has won in a red state. Can he make that case in a way that has him breakout?

GRANHOLM: Totally. I mean, he's going to try to make it, a lot of the other ones are going to try to make it too, but he's got a unique case because it went for Trump by, what, 20 points, 30 points.

BURNETT: Yes, and he still won.

GRANHOLM: Yes. And he still won. So he's got an advantage in his story in that way.

BURNETT: And then you also say Beto has (inaudible) ...

JONES: Look, listen, Beto has a rare opportunity. Trump has been so racially offensive and Beto came on the scene as the white guy who was good on race. He's willing to stick up for Colin Kaepernick and all that stuff tonight. Tonight, also, Mayor Pete had that glory moment, but then he slipped on the banana peel of a race in his own town. So there's a moment that Beto could reassert himself. We'll see if he doesn't.

BURNETT: All right. I was getting very excited for this because I know that you've said this choir is amazing. So it is truly special as we get ready for this debate and as I said, we don't often take the music as part of a debate, but when it comes to America the Beautiful, an exception will be made tonight on stage right now, Pastor Marvin Winans and Perfecting Church.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: ... Pastor Marvin Winans and the Perfecting Church Choir to perform America the Beautiful.

(MUSIC)

BURNETT: The multiple Grammy winning Perfecting Church Choir, beautiful, led by Pastor Marvin Winans from right here in Detroit. We are going to take a very quick break. The anticipation building here for the debate. Anderson, will be back next with some late reporting from some of the best political analysts and journalists that we know.

That and so much more as we count you down to the first CNN DEMOCRATIC DEBATE of the 2020 campaign.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[19:13:41] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: And welcome back, CNN debate night in Detroit. There could be better place for it. This is the Fox Theater. And no exaggeration, it is one of the most beautiful venues in the entire world that began life as a movie palace, tonight a different kind of drama with, obviously, high stakes for all 10 players, not just Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren who are going to be center stage.

With me right now David Axelrod, Nia-Malika Henderson, Gloria Borger and John King. John, when you look at Senator Warren and Senator Sanders, what do you anticipate between them? I mean, how did they thread this needle?

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, they say they will be friendly. They say they will be allies. They may be forced to be allies tonight, because the moderates to their left and right on the stage. You have the two progressives at center stage. That's a bit of an oxymoron.

But they are trying to lead what is the defining base in the Democratic Party. Can we go big? Can we go bold? Can we go way more liberal than Barack Obama? Way, way, way more liberal than Bill Clinton and win a national election. It's an untested proposition.

They say in the age of Trump, the rules have been broken, do Medicare for All, do Green New Deal, do free college tuition, do even more on a liberal agenda. Trying to sell any one of those things, David, could tell you this, Barack Obama would have said, "Can I win?" David Axelrod would have said, "Sir, I don't know if you can win."

They are betting the rules have changed. One of these moderates needs to break out. I think that's a big question. That's just one break out or they all pile on.

[19:15:00] But Sanders and Warren are defending this progressive agenda that is a big untested risk for the Democratic Party. It doesn't mean they're wrong. But there's no data to back it up, because it's never happened before.

COOPER: And David, I mean, back then you had Republicans who cared about a deficit and some Democrats, I mean, that seems (inaudible) ...

DAVID AXELROD, FORMER SENIOR ADVISER, OBAMA ADMINISTRATION: Yes, I'm old enough to remember that. Yes. But the question about John's, and I think your analysis is exactly right, there's a flipside to their passionate advocacy for these programs and for these values. And that is it is always sort of sheathed in the sort of language of battle and combat. We're going to fight blood and teeth on the floor and so on.

And the question is whether the country is in the mood for that after two and a half years of Donald Trump, which has been constant warfare. And so Democrats want someone who's strong enough to stand up to Trump, but they also want someone who's going to restore some sense of comedy to our politics.

And so there is a danger for these people on the left as to whether they're pugilistics is what people are really looking.

COOPER: And also Gloria, if somebody is too far to the left, does that turn off any potential person who supported Trump the last time and may be on the fence.

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Sure. Called an independent voter, yes. It might and I think that's a big question as John was saying in this whole election which is are Democrats and Independents ready for revolution in this country which is what Bernie Sanders talks about and Elizabeth Warren talks about. Or do they just want to have Donald Trump out of the Oval Office.

And I think that's the question that Democrats have to answer and that's a question that those moderates have to answer on the stage tonight by saying, "You know what, these ideas sound great, but we can't get elected with them."

COOPER: We're expecting to hear very shortly from organized labor in a state where union jobs are big. Onstage right now, about to come onstage right now is the Michigan Governor and Democrat Gretchen Whitmer. She will be followed by Richard Trumka who's the President the AFL-CIO.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Please welcome to the stage, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer.

GOVERNOR GRETCHEN WHITMER (D-MI): Thank you. Thank you. All right. Good evening, everybody. Welcome to the fabulous Fox Theater in the great city of Detroit in the fabulous state of Michigan. I'm Governor Gretchen Whitmer.

I wanted to take the time to welcome all of the Democratic presidential candidates to Michigan for the debates tonight and tomorrow night. Now, I'm biased but I know Michigan is the greatest state in the country, right? Michigan was home to legends like Aretha Franklin, Joe Louis, Rosa Parks and it is that great diversity of migrants and immigrants. That's one of our greatest strengths.

And we are the state that put the world on wheels. People move to Michigan from around the world for opportunity. A job in the auto industry, where you could get paid well enough that you could raise a family. Our labor movement built the middle class. Or you could get a good job and you knew you would be treated with respect.

When people move to Michigan, they knew that they could raise their family, send their kids to a local public school that was great and drop them off safely without blowing a tire or having to replace a windshield on the driving our roads. And they knew that the state that's home to 21 percent of the country's fresh surface water, you could give your kids a glass of water at the dinner table and it would be safe for them.

Twenty-one percent of the world's fresh surface waters in and around Michigan. Now, I ran for governor because I think we need to solve problems in the state and in this country to build bridges literally, politically and figuratively. Michiganders like Americans everywhere believe that this is the greatest country in the world. We believe in hard work. We believe in level playing fields and we believe in one another.

[19:20:03] We believe this election more than any other will impact our ability to get ahead to raise our families and to ensure that our kids have a higher quality of life than we do. We need a president who can get stuff done, who's going to solve these fundamental problems.

We deserve a president who is going to help us improve education, protect our fresh water, clean up our drinking water, close the skills gap so we can get into higher wage jobs and yes help us fix the damn roads. So we in Michigan are thrilled to be the host of this important debate, because the world now knows that the path to the presidency goes through the Great Lakes State, the great State of Michigan.

So our heartfelt welcome to all of the candidates who will grace the stage tonight and tomorrow night. All of the people who have traveled to Detroit for this important event, we welcome you and we hope you're coming back soon. Thank you and have a great night.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And ladies and gentlemen, please welcome to the stage AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka.

RICHARD TRUMKA, PRESIDENT, AFL-CIO: Good evening. My name is Rich Trumka and I'm president of the 12.5 million member, 55-union AFL-CIO. And our organization's mission is very simple. We raised the voices of working people. The 99 percent of Americans who make a living by getting up and putting in a hard day's work.

We're everywhere. We make this country run. We are this country. Yet more and more, the economic and political rules have been rigged against us. Today, right here in Michigan, an auto worker woke up with a pain in her stomach, terrified that she'll be the next to lose her job to NAFTA.

A single mother heard pundits talk about our great economy and wondered when that greatness would reach her paycheck. An immigrant worker was exploited and threatened with deportation for daring to speak up for safety on the job. A nurse watched another patient walk away from medical care that they couldn't afford and a coal miner worried about the urgent threat of climate change and the urgent threat to his hard-earned pension.

You see today in small towns and big cities, in factories and in offices, co-workers joined together trying to make things better, fighting to organize a union only to find their voice is silenced by unrestrained corporate greed and a century-old labor laws. America's working people even with all of our differences are united by a common dream.

We don't measure success by election results. Our pursuit of happiness is defined by working hard to live well. By passing something better on to our children and retiring with dignity and security. Yet day after day, year after year, decade after decade, we sacrificed suffered countless injustices, countless insults to our dignity, also that the wealthiest CEOs could get even wealthier.

Our economic rules have cheated us and too often our leaders have failed us. That must stop now.

You see, workers are on the move protesting, organizing and bargaining for a better life. And we're ready to do everything in our power to elect a leader who will make our cause their cause.

[19:25:00] Tonight, all across America will be listening for a candidate who will use the presidency to make our country work for working people. A candidate who will defend and strengthen our right to join a union and a candidate who will finally bring the era of corporate government to an end. And we're not settling for anything less, thank you.

COOPER: That was Richard Trumka. The president of the AFL-CIO. We saw one campaign fold soon after the last Democratic debates with the first votes coming in less than 200 days. Now, every moment tonight matters back with our political team and soon the debate stage, the candidates all ahead. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[19:30:12] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: And welcome back. We are just minutes away from the first night of the CNN Democratic presidential debates.

And at this point in the 2008 race, Hillary Clinton was leading Barack Obama by nearly double. These debates could tell us if the ground is about to shift for these Democrats. We're going to have two more people speaking on the stage and then we'll have more from our panel.

Let's go to the stage where the chair of the Democratic Party in Michigan, Lavora Barnes, is about to speak followed by DNC chair Tom Perez.

(APPLAUSE)

LAVORA BARNES, MICHIGAN DEMOCRATIC PARTY CHAIR: Hello, hello. Welcome to Detroit, Michigan, the Motor City.

My name is Lavora Barnes and I'm the proud chair of the Michigan Democratic Party.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

Once the heartbeat of America, Detroit is now the pulse of the nation, telling us that it is time to remember who we are as a people and what we stand for as Democrats. That's why we are thrilled to be hosting the Democratic presidential

debates here in Michigan, a state that has shown us how to go from blue to red and back again.

(APPLAUSE)

In two years, Michigan went from narrowly giving its electoral votes to the man in the White House to overwhelmingly electing Democrats up and down the ballot in 2018.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

Including our amazing governor, Gretchen Whitmer.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

Our hard working promise keeper, Attorney General Dana Nessel.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

And our amazing U.S. senator, Debbie Stabenow.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

While the voters of Michigan and across the country get ready to hear from our presidential candidates, I want to take this opportunity to say thank you to all of them for spending time in Michigan. Here now, here again next week, here again the week after. Keep coming back.

We know we are a battleground state and the road to the White House clearly runs right through Michigan. I have traveled up and down and throughout this great state the last six months talking and listening to voters. Hearing their concerns.

And I can tell you this. Michigan is ready for 2020. Michigan Democrats are paying attention. They are engaged and they're ready to get rid of Donald Trump.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

Y'all are ready too.

Michigan has been at the forefront of the comeback states, but we keep things real here and not all of us have benefitted from the rising tide. We still have serious challenges with our schools in urban areas and rural towns throughout the state. Our infrastructure is ranked the worst in the nation. The Great Lakes are still under threat, and the people of Flint continue to go without safe drinking water.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

All the while we still have people working two and three jobs to make ends meet because that minimum wage is not enough. It's not enough to survive on or support a family. But real talk doesn't mean we aren't on the right track. Michigan is

now truly on the comeback trail with Governor Whitmer, Lieutenant Governor Garland Gilchrist, Attorney General Dana Nessel. I'm going to name them all.

Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson. Senator Stabenow and the man we return to the U.S. Senate, Senator Gary Peters.

These are great progressive leaders who know where wove been, know just how far we can go if we are united as Democrats and work together toward a better state for our people and a more perfect union for all of us. Let's get to work.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

Now its my honor and pleasure to welcome the chair of our National Democratic Committee, Tom Perez.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

TOM PEREZ, DNC CHAIRMAN: Good evening, Democrats!

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

Good evening, Democrats.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

All right. Welcome to Detroit for our second Democratic presidential primary debate. It is great to be back here in the Motor City and the great state of Michigan. Detroit is a city of grit, the city that never gives up. It's a city frankly transformed our nation from the remarkable sounds of Motown heard right in these remarkable halls to struggle for civil rights, the unfinished business of America, to the labor movement and the resilience.

[19:35:02] Thank you, Rich Trumka. Thank you to the labor movement. Thank you for bringing us the weekend.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

Thank you for bringing us the middle class. Thank you for all you do day in and day out.

But, folks, over the next two nights, you're going to hear from 20 extraordinary men and women, the most diverse field of candidates in our nation's history, folks.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

That's what you're going to hear. And they're going to share their vision, their inclusive vision for America.

And as you know, everything we stand for is on the ballot. And the differences between our candidates and this president are night and day. Democrats have your back on the issues that matter most, while this president has had a knife in your back.

Democrats are fighting to make sure if you have diabetes or some other preexisting condition, you can keep your coverage. We're fighting to bring down the sky rocketing costs of prescription drugs. Meanwhile, this president wants to take health care away from you and just gave big pharma a big fat tax cut.

It's not who we are. Democrats want to protect auto workers while this president has made a series of broken promises.

When President Obama took office in 2009, the auto industry was on life support. And you know what the Republicans said, pull the plug. Democrats said, not on our watch! That will not happen, folks.

(APPLAUSE)

We rescued the auto industry because I learned early in Buffalo, New York, you should never bet against the American worker. I will take that bet any day of the week.

And while Barack Obama and Democrats rescued the auto industry, this president promised repeatedly, including just not far away from here in Warren, Michigan, he promised in Warren, he promised in Grand Rapids, he promised in Ohio, he promised in Pennsylvania, there will never be a plant closure on my watch, and I quote.

Well, folks, auto industry cut -- the job cuts in the auto industry are the fastest since the great recession. The next job -- the next plant closure scheduled to occur in two days right here in Michigan. Another broken promise.

He said he would take care of America's farmers, then he turned his back on them. A few weeks ago I was with the party chair of Wisconsin with dairy farmers. When he was there a few weeks ago, he said farmers are, quote, over the hump.

Folks, farmers -- he is raking them over the coals. The farm foreclosure capital of the United States unfortunately is America's dairy land, Wisconsin. Wisconsin currently leads America in farm bankruptcies.

That's not who we are. Presidents are supposed to be uniters, not dividers. Presidents should inspire, not exhaust us. Presidents should make our lives better, not worse.

And so in addition to being incredibly divisive and addition to singling out faith leaders in a remarkably racist way, Reverend Sharpton, thank you for your leadership.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

Thank you for standing up for not simply African-American communities. Thank you for standing up for everybody.

In addition to his division, distraction, this president has been single early ineffective. He violates the Hippocratic Oath of policy making every day. Do no harm.

He does harm the auto workers, he does harm to farmers. He's doing harm at the border. We're less safe as a nation.

Canada is our friend. Russia is our foe. Get the memo!

Folks, our democracy --

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

Our democracy is on fire and it's a five-alarm blaze. And yet, folks, I come to you with unrelenting optimism. Because I know our candidates are all on your side. They've got your back.

We've got a remarkably deep bench of candidates. And I encourage you to continue to get to know them. Kick the tires. Speed date. Date the same people -- date multiple people at the same time.

I don't recommend that for other aspects of your live. But I do recommend that for this. Fall in love, fall in love with multiple people. But in the end of the day, we will have one nominee.

And, folks -- one thing is clear.

[19:40:06] Our unity is our greatest strength as a party and it's our greatest strength as a nation. And in order to govern -- if you want to govern, we must first win.

I just saw my favorite campaign button last week when I was in Chicago. Here is what it said. Pretty simple. Democrat for president!

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

I couldn't agree more.

Folks, I'm proud to be a Democrat, my friends. I was proud to stand with Congressman Kildee talking about the trail of broken promises. It's time for Democratic leadership because Democrats I learned are the party of dreamers and doers. We dreamed of a New Deal in which seniors could retire with dignity and workers form a union and created Social Security.

Democrats dreamed of putting a man on the moon, and we did just that. We dreamed of a Great Society and we built it. We dreamed that seniors and people with disabilities and people who are poor could get access to health care.

And 54 years ago today, President Johnson signed Medicaid and Medicare into law.

(APPLAUSE)

Folks -- and I will note parenthetically, what did Republicans who opposed call the laws? Socialism. Yes, this is a class exercise. Socialism. Ronald Regan said and I quote, Medicare will lead to socialize

medicine. Medicare will lead to socialism in America. That's what he says. He was full of it then and these folks are full of it now when they try to distract you.

(APPLAUSE)

When you puts Democrats in charge we put values into action. We believe if you work a full-time job, you ought to earn a full-time wage. One good job should be enough.

(APPLAUSE)

We believe that health care is a right for all and not a privilege for a few. We believe that when women succeed, America succeeds.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

We believe that women should have the right to control their bodies.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

We stand with Planned Parenthood.

We believe in building an economy as Rich Trumka where everybody gets a fair shake not just the wealthy and well-connected. We believe that ending poverty in America is a moral and economic imperative.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

We believe that secretary of education ought to believe in public education.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

And our EPA administrator ought to get the memo on climate change, because climate change is an economic crisis, it's a public health crisis, it's a moral crisis, it's threatening our universe and we must take action now.

We believe that civil rights is the unfinished business of America. We believe that we can be a nation of laws and a nation of immigrants. We can secure our borders. We can secure our values. We can do both.

We believe that clean drinking water, whether it's 70 miles away in flint or 2,000 miles away in Puerto Rico is a basic human right.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

And, folks, as a proud Marylander I'm hear to say to you we believe in Baltimore.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

And cities like Baltimore.

We believe in Elijah Cummings. And we believe in knows -- those attacks are being spirited, they're racially motivated.

And you know what? People say sticks and stones can break my bones but words will never hurt you. When you use divisive words it should not come as a surprise when people put the hate-fueled words into action. I know that because I ran the civil rights division. And I saw the increase in hate crimes.

When you set the tone at the top, it affects things. That's not who we are as a nation.

(APPLAUSE)

These are our values. This is what we are fighting for. These are the values of the Democratic Party. And I'm darn proud of these values.

And we're going to put those into action. That's how we won here in Michigan, we won in Pennsylvania, we won in Wisconsin, we won all over the country in 2018 and we're going to do this again.

I can't tell you how excited I am to be partnering tonight with CNN. I want to thank them for making this debate a remarkable success. They have put on a professional show. This is a remarkable theater.

And if you want updates on any of our upcoming debates, text the word debate to 43367.

[19:45:00] That is debate to the number 43367.

Thank you so much. Enjoy the debate. And make sure you get out and vote.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

And get your friends out. Thank you.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

COOPER: And that was DNC chair Tom Perez as we get ready to hear from candidates themselves. We're going to hear from our political team next. We have a short break. More ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ERIN BURNETT: All right. The big event is coming very soon. And before the break you heard Democratic chair Tom Perez impassioned, fire up the crowd.

The real question though, of course, is which candidate tonight will do the same for primary voters, as Tom Perez said, he wants everybody to say, I'm the Democratic Party, I'm for a Democrat. But at some point, those Democrats have to pick a person. Not a team.

OK. Thanks to all of you.

So, Jess, let me start with you. We have new reporting Jeff Zeleny saying Bernie saying he knows to be more present.

[19:50:01] He spent more time preparing. He may invoke Elizabeth Warren.

But in the question of electability, that's more than some might have thought.

JESS MCINTOSH, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes, I think he probably does need to draw some sort of contrast with her, considering that her momentum seems to be eating away at his.

I just want to point out that the fact that we are looking at a Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren title card matchup really speaks to the fact that the Democratic electorate is more progressive than we are usually given credit for. These are two very progressive candidates and they are standing in the middle of the stage tonight, because they have the most support right now, and that's an exciting time for the party.

BURNETT: Although, when you heard Tom Perez there, Van, it sounds like he was trying to say socialism is not where we are, like some are in the Democratic primary.

VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Some are. Listen, I'm proud to be a Democrat tonight. I'm also proud to be a progressive Democrat. It has been a very long time coming to have Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, willing to take on some of these tougher fights, I think sometimes we kind of pooh-pooh this stuff.

The insurance industry has ripped off America for a long time to have people willing to say enough is enough is a very important moment I think in this country, and it's a very important moment for the Democratic Party. And I also think it's going to be one of the opportunities that you have people like Klobuchar who is a beloved person, she's a moderate. She's going to have to stand toe to toe with Elizabeth Warren.

BURNETT: Well, she's got to break out, right?

JONES: You're going to have on the same stage two of the most beloved women in the party. Opposite sides of the arguments making their best case. That's going to make this party stronger, but as a progressive Democrat, I'm proud tonight.

BURNETT: Who must break out?

KIRSTEN POWERS, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: I think Beto and I think Amy Klobuchar have to break out tonight. But I think it's interesting the way you just said that he's going to go, that Bernie is going to go after Elizabeth Warren on electability?

BURNETT: That he may. He may. That's what --

POWERS: That's a very strange decision if that's what he's going to do because I think the biggest question surrounding Bernie is, in fact, electability. And maybe that's it. Maybe he'll just go all in and just -- and take it on and answer the question. But I think when you look at two of them, I think the reason she's rising is because she has a lot of his policies but she's more electable.

BURNETT: And the president says he's going to watch tonight, Governor Granholm.

JENNIFER GRANHOLM, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes.

BURNETT: He says he sees four or five that's drawing the line at 6 percent because he wants to know who he is running against.

GRANHOLM: Yes, well, good, I'm glad. I hope they punch him really hard so he knows and feels the pain.

My guess is, this -- I want to go back to what you were talking about just one second ago about this issue of electability. Democrats are freaked out by this president. We are fed up with this president, and Tom Perez' appeal to us to date a lot of people but in the end, there is going to be one name as a Democrat and we've all got to come together and let's be really clear about that.

That to me is a really important message for us all. I will vote for the Democrat for president.

JONES: I do want to say one thing, though. There is this idea that the progressives are not electable, and I just want to say that from this side of the party, we are having a hard time understanding why the moderates say they are electable having watched Kerry, having Gore, having watched Hillary Clinton.

And so, the electability argument from the progressives is we can get people fired up --

GRANHOLM: I don't know that I like the idea of this --

BURNETT: Governor, do independents say they'd stay home if you end up with a progressive on a ticket? They may not vote for Donald Trump, some of them, but --

TERRY MCAULIFFE, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: No, absolutely not. But, you know, this is the argument I hate that you all get into progressive. I hate it.

At the end of the day, these folks tonight are watching on television. Give me a plan, I'm a father of a family of four. How will you reduce my prescription drug prices?

They want to hear answers to these questions and no offense, you get into these leads and labels. They worry about paying their mortgage.

BURNETT: But labels aren't leads. Labels matter. I mean, they do. Don't they, governor? They define people.

MCAULIFFE: The people sitting at home, they don't. They want to know how are you going to help my life? How are you going to --

(CROSSTALK)

MCAULIFFE: Whoa, whoa.

I'm not done, yes. How are my kids going to get a quality education? We got inferior schools in this country. You want to talk race issues? We still have inequality, inequities in school today. How are we going to fix that?

Trump promised infrastructure. He hasn't done anything. He gave a tax cut to the richest Americans, our debt is going up, no one is talking about it.

BURNETT: OK.

MCAULIFFE: My point is, bringing health care cost down, prescription drug costs down, dealing with education, you want to deal with it, that's what people want to hear.

BURNETT: OK, I want to give a very quick --

GRANHOLM: Quickly, the progressives actually a lot of the moderates have really progressive policies. I mean, Delany has a price on carbon, a fee and dividend. I mean, so does Hickenlooper. The bottom line is we --

JONES: All I'm saying is I don't like the labels either. They are put in the category of we can't win and that's not fair to them.

(CROSSTALK)

BURNETT: OK. Thank you to all.

I want to go with Anderson inside the Fox Theater with your fantastic group -- Anderson.

[19:55:01] COOPER: Erin, thanks very much. Nia-Malika, do these labels matter? The governor there was saying, look, don't focus on labels.

NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER: Right.

COOPER: It's table top issues.

HENDERSON: Yes, yes, and you heard Tom Perez obviously say, you know, everybody is going to be a Democrat on the stage at some point. The party needs to come together.

I'm interested in as we talk about the splits in the party, we're going to see a real generational split tonight, as well. We've got Pete Buttigieg on stage. You've got Beto O'Rourke on stage. Also, Tim Ryan from Ohio.

What sort of argument do they make in terms of where the party should be? You saw in the last debate Eric Swalwell trying to make it in a clumsy way, basically shouting at Joe Biden pass the torch, didn't go well for him. He's not on the stage anymore. He actually dropped out of the race.

So, that will be interesting. Those folks had some shine. They haven't had much traction going forward in a lot of the polls.

So do they have a moment? Is it about going after each other or going after the sort of older folks?

COOPER: The argument about progressives or moderates, I mean, the essential thing for Democrats is winning against Donald Trump and who --

DAVID AXELROD, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well --

COOPER: Is it just reaching out to new voters or is it getting people who voted for the Trump the last time feeling comfortable.

AXELROD: This is a hot debate within the Democratic Party but I think that you have to do a little of both. I think the theory of the moderates is that Democrats are going to be motivated against Donald Trump, but it's not enough to win particularly in these battle ground states, which are holder and whiter and that was the argument for -- is the argument for Joe Biden who, by the way, is sitting there now with 45 percent of the vote of Democrats who call themselves moderate and conservatives, one of the reasons why he sits atop this field.

So, you know, I think what you heard from our friends across the way is a little bit of what you're going to hear on the stage. There are two theories how Democrats should proceed. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren represent one and there will be people on stage who actively challenge them on issues like Medicare for all. This is -- we're going to hear this play out tonight.

COOPER: It's like Tom Friedman wrote in the article in "The Times", say, look, do you really need -- why do you have to have a revolution now? How about just getting elected and going down that road.

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Look, this will be the defining debate and this debate will go on for a long time. It's 187 days until anybody votes in Iowa.

So, this is part of the pregame, if you will, but it's a critical part in the pregame, in the sense that this debate about -- can the party go big and bold? Does the party need to be more pragmatic? You know, is it a Biden or Buttigieg? Somebody from the center? Or is it a Sanders or a Warren? Somebody from the left?

This is going to go on, and because the Democratic Party changed the rules and you don't have the big superdelegate, and you have more proportional delegation, this could go on for a long time but with who? That is why tonight and tomorrow is so important. This field is going to get cut at least in half, at least in half by September.

So, you got 20 on the stage now, we'll probably have one debate come September. You'll probably have ten or fewer by then. So, if you want to be part of this defining debate about the future of the Democratic Party, if you want to stay in that debate, tonight and tomorrow are critical.

(CROSSTALK) GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: You know, it's hard for Democrats because they want somebody that makes them comfortable and they feel is stable. On the other hand, they want someone that can punch Donald Trump. And so, those two things are difficult to find in the same person.

AXELROD: Well, the other thing, for all the discussion that we heard, most of the gains that Democrats made in 2018 were in suburban areas with center left candidates, moderate candidates. So there is some evidence that that is where the growth potential is.

COOPER: So, the battle over health care, we'll probably hear a fair amount about that tonight. The idea of taking away, you know, people who have --

KING: A hundred eighty million people get their health insurance through their employer, 180 million people in America. Bernie Sanders wants to sell the country on forget about that. The government is going to do it. We're going for Medicare for All.

He's a purist. He believes he's right on this issue. And Bernie Sanders way, that's how we would have started, you wouldn't have had an Obamacare debate. This would have been done years ago.

If you're Joe Biden, you're saying, look at the blood and sweat and tears we had to use to pass Obamacare. Let's fix it, let's strengthen it, let's not go through that disruption again. Remember, all that disruption cost the Democrats in the 2010 to 2014 midterms.

In the end, in 2018, the voters said, huh, actually, Obamacare isn't so bad, but the disruption is one of the arguments Biden is going to make, why? Why go through this? Why try to sell that through the country?

But again, that's part of this defining debate.

BORGER: That's the Tom Friedman argument. Do you want a revolution or do you just want somebody who can win and worry about these later because the differences among the Democrats are not that large.

AXELROD: One of the questions is what does Elizabeth Warren do? In the last debate, you seemed to embrace fully Medicare for All as Sanders proposes it. Will she stick to that tonight? Will she say, yes, we should eliminate, as she did in the last debate, private insurance, or will she seek a more moderate ground on that?

COOPER: I want to thank everybody for this discussion. I want to remind everyone, we'll be up late tonight, very late. As soon as the debate is over, we'll be on at least until 2:00 a.m. and further than that, talk about everything we're about to see on this stage behind me.

The CNN Democratic debate live from Detroit starts right now.