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CNN Live Event/Special

Climate Crisis Town Hall with Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), Presidential Candidate. Aired 11:20p-12a ET

Aired September 04, 2019 - 23:20   ET



DON LEMON, CNN HOST: And welcome back everyone to a CNN Climate Crisis town hall. We've heard from nine top presidential candidates so far but we have one final candidate left. The scientists say that humans only have 11 more years to avoid the catastrophic consequences of this crisis. Food shortages, rising sea levels, more extreme weather events, like Hurricane Dorian which is turning toward the Carolinas as we speak. To discuss, much more, joining me now is New Jersey Senator Cory Booker. Welcome Senator Booker.



LEMON: Good to see you.

BOOKER: Good to see you too.

LEMON: Right off the bat to everybody. First thing you would do to deal with the climate crisis?

BOOKER: Well first of all, I just got to give a lot of credit to the audience here. Most people watching at home don't realize you all have been in these seats for about four hours. Man, I just want to say. I'm grateful. And I want to just say number one I want to give a lot of credit to CNN. This is historic, never before. I've watched presidential campaigns have we ever had a forum like this discussing what it is for humanity as has been said by every single candidate, the most existential crisis to our country and to the planet earth. So thank you very much.

LEMON: Thank you. What would you do first?


BOOKER: So, first I'm going to do as president of the United States is go right to action. Climate is not a separate issue. It is the issue, the lens, through we must do everything that we do. It is an every day mission. That means everyone of my departments, every one of my agencies, everyone of my cabinet members from the Secretary of Defense to the Secretary of Agriculture has to be coming up with an aggressive climate plan. I'm going to use the power of my pen to write away. Go after the executive orders that Donald Trump did to unravel the things that Obama did. I'm going to make sure I go further than that. Banning extractive oil fracking from public lands. Going after the drilling and licensing, stopping from our coasts. Making sure that we're setting standards to put ourselves on a mission to have zero emission electricity by 2030 and a carbon neutral country by 2045. We can do these things and we'll do them and we'll get them done together.

LEMON: All right. Let's kick our audience questions off with this - - you see what he does. It's right there on his shirt. His name is Anthony Ciampa. He is a registered nurse in New York City and is on the leadership team of his union, the New York State Nurses Association. Welcome Anthony.


BOOKER: Anthony, God bless you. Everyone who's had a family with a health crisis knows how incredible unsung heroes nurses are so thank you.

ANTHONY CIAMPA: Thank you Mr. Booker. Registered nurses are - - are furious (ph) advocates for our - - our community and the climate crisis is something of particular interest to all of us. When Super Storm Sandy hit our city, we experienced something none of us were prepared for, along with many, many others I lost my home. Our new reality is that these storms are getting more frequent and more devastating.

What is your administration planning on doing to make sure that as a nation, we are as prepared as we can be for these unnatural disasters?

BOOKER: So, first of all, I'm sorry for your loss. And I was the mayor of the city of Newark at that time and not only did I have my neighbors and others lose their homes, but we lost lives in the city of Newark, and I know you did here in New York City as well. These are nightmares that were still recovering from in New Jersey, still trying to put a lot of the pieces back together. And vulnerable communities, often urban communities, these are folks, they see the most kind of -- not only devastation, but life dislocation.

And so having been through that experience, power for -- no power for days, senior citizens whose life depends upon having electricity to pump oxygen into their lungs, these are crises that we have to be prepared for and doing the things necessary to make sure that they're not coming with this kind of fierce increasing nature that they are right now. So, so much of what I'm going to do is going to be about climate

resiliency as well. Making the kind of investments we need in making sure that communities are not as susceptible to flooding, whether that's the flooding in the Mississippi or sea level rise that's affecting cities like Atlantic City. It means making sure that we're investing in the kind of emergency preparedness and not have the kind of backwards reality that I see in Washington where every time there's a natural disaster, you have to work through Washington, D.C., politics just to get the resources a community needs to recover. Enough of that.

I will set up permanent funds to make sure that politicians aren't making this decision. That we're making it with our heart. We're Americans, we take care of our own.

DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: Senator, I want to ask you a similar question that I asked the former congressman earlier. You know sea levels are rising because of climate change. Do you think there's some coastal communities, perhaps even in your home state of New Jersey, where people should -- they need to move inland until -- because this is going to get worse -- until things get better?

BOOKER: So a lot of people have this misperception that we're not already seeing climate refugees. I was down in Louisiana meeting with proud Native American community who is already having to move because -- it's not for flooding. It's that the sea level is rising above now their low-lying communities, ancestral communities. And so we have to make really tough decisions. I think we have to invest in resiliency to protect Miami, to protect Atlantic City and a lot of other cities. But we have to make tough choices as well. We have to begin to create the right kind of incentives in a community that have building and investment going on in places that are on higher ground.

But resiliency, resiliency, resiliency. I cannot -- we cannot be a anymore that, to use this metaphor, that puts our servers in the basement. We have to prepare for what is coming. Even if we do solve this crisis, we're going to see weather events like we've seen for the last five years from the fires to the floods to the storms. We have to be prepared.

LEMON: All right. Here, this is Anuja Pharasi. She is a student at Columbia University. She previously worked on the Hillary Clinton campaign in 2016. Currently now though, she is undecided.

BOOKER: All right.

LEMON: So there you go, Anuja.

BOOKER: Anuja, how are you? ANUJA PHARASI, AUDIENCE MEMBER: Thank you. I'm doing very well. Senator Booker, you recently unveiled a $3 trillion plan to tackle climate change, specifically meant to support low income individuals and communities of color. Born and raised in Iowa, I have seen first hand the effects of climate change on agriculture. Iowan farmers saw an immense amount of flooding this summer, which destroyed a large portion of their crops. So my question to you is, how will your plan support Iowans and the Midwest in protecting the domestic agriculture industry? BOOKER: So, first of all, we need to be honest. This problem didn't just happen. A lot of the questions we should be dealing with is what are folks already doing? When you're running for president, it's easy to tell people what you're going to do. I've already put in legislation to help farmers and ranchers deal with what we're seeing is an increasing crisis, not only on bigger issues of climate but also other issues that are affecting family farmers right now, the independent family farmers on a crisis because of corporate consolidation and these massive factory farms that are gobbling up a lot of our heritage.

And by the way, that is not only an issue of antitrust and the monopolization of our society, which must be stopped, but it also has powerful impacts on our climate, especially as these corporations get bigger and bigger and pump more money, thanks to Citizens United, into the corrupting of Washington. And that's why so much of our heritage is under attack from the very fundamentals of our democracy, which is the person that gets the most votes to go to office. Well with gerrymandering and voter suppression, we see things that are undermining our democracy and allowing corporate interests to prevail in Washington in a way that is hurting real people.

So my climate stewardship plan right away understands that in this, we can't leave sectors of our society out of the solutions to this crisis. This has to be a unifying call. And farming, we have to understand that farmers are a part of the solution. They're a necessary, indispensable part of the solution.And so...

When I drive through Iowa, and by the way, people might not know this. I'm a Northeastern guy, but my grandma born and raised in Des Moines, and when I've been going out there, what I've loved seeing since I've been going out there for family reunions is the emergence of windmills and other things on farm land where farmers are getting new sources of revenue.

Well, my plan is going to do -- have farmers be incentivized through hundreds of billions of dollars we're going to be putting into a fund that's going to incentivize practices. Whether that's cover crops that are going to pull carbon out of the air or whether that is just common sense stuff like ranching practices that help to preserve the soil and minimize the carbon footprint. We can do this and farmers don't get hurt by that. Actually, family farmers will be able to create new sources of revenue by doing practices that preserve our heritage, enrich our environment, and help to deal with this larger crisis.

LEMON: So you're a vegan? And --

BOOKER: I thought you were a vegan too, man. LEMON: No, we don't want to go there. You're a vegan and when you've talked about being a vegan in the past --


LEMON: -- And I want to quote you. Let me get it right. You said, that you don't want to preach to anybody about their diets. So my question is, your administration wouldn't have any programs to encourage healthy diets if it also combat climate change?

BOOKER: Oh my gosh. So let's go right at this because I hear about it all the time. Booker wants to take away your hamburger.

LEMON: Well.

BOOKER: That is the kind of lies and fear-mongering that they spread out there, that somehow the Democrats want to get rid of hamburgers. Look, I am a vegan. I take my diet very seriously. I actually became a vegetarian when I was still a college football player coming out of playing college football. But this is the point.

We live in a society right now, going back to the corporate consolidation that we're seeing, where the farming practices are becoming so perverse. I've been to a place called Duplin, North Carolina. My dad is from the state and I -- activists asked me to come down there. And you see this massive factory farms where the farmers themselves are living like sharecroppers, deeply in debt. Their lives now are -- they're not making great money.

These large companies like Smithfield now, international companies, I think Chinese-owned at this point, are doing practices that where they have -- treatment of farm animals in ways that is contrary to what I see farmers in Iowa, they put them in these massive -- they don't want people to see what's going on so they cover them. All that pig refuse is going into massive lagoons and then they spray it over fields.

And I went there and I stood there in a black community. I watched how the stuff fell on the fields but misted into the black community. I sat in a room packed with activists who said, look, we can't open our windows. We can't put our clothing on the line. We can't run our air conditioning. We have respiratory diseases, asthma. Our creeks, because when storms come through they pull that stuff out and pollute creeks and rivers.

There's not a person in our country seeing that misery that wants to take a part in that. But yet, we have -- thanks to the corporate lobby of these big companies, we're incentivizing those kinds of farm practices and not the kind that represent our heritage and support independent family farmers. And so this is something, I'm sorry, I'm not going to be a president that's giving tax breaks to people who are polluting folks, causing cancers, destroying our environment as well.

And so let me tell you where we've got to go as a country. We -- freedom is one of the most sacred values. Whatever you want to eat, go ahead and eat it. But when I come to you right now from the only person in this entire campaign, only person in the Senate that lives in an inner city, black and brown, low-income community, you know what we're furious about in my community? Communities all across this country, is that we don't have access to fresh and healthy foods. We live in food deserts. There's a guy -- you would love this guy and you should interview him. He's -- one of the best TED talks I've listened to is a guy named Ron Finley. They call him the Guerrilla Gardener.

LEMON: He's producing for me now.

BOOKER: Yes, he should. He has this saying about South Central. He says, in South Central we have drive-bys and drive throughs and more people are getting killed by the drive throughs than the drive-bys.


BOOKER: We live in a country right now, and we've battled this when I was mayor. We got our first supermarkets built in decades. We turned entire city blocks into urban gardens, gave guys coming home -- men and women coming home from prison jobs on the farms. It helped with our heat island that we had. All helping our environment but giving access to fresh and healthy foods.

Because I'm sorry. Corporations like McDonald's who oppress their workers, do not pay living wages, and are the only option in communities feeding things to folks that are making them ill, that is not a healthy food system.

If I am your president, all of these issues -- already in the first 10 minutes, we've talked about corporate corruption, campaign finance, agriculture, environmental justice. All of these things are interrelated. You can't separate them out. And so I'm going to be the president (who says), when we talk about healthcare, let's not just talk about doctors and nurses. Let's talk about healthy food systems and the toxins that are in our food.And so I always be about the freedom to eat what you want, but we are going to have to make sure our government is not subsidizing the things that make us sick and unhealthy and hurt our environment. And then start to incentivize the practices that get farming and get agriculture and get the health of our communities back. We need to especially be looking at communities that are low income and vulnerable and investing in those communities so that they can have health and wellbeing as well.

LEMON: I want to talk about nuclear energy. Because you say nuclear energy is key to fighting climate change. But you know there are inherent risks in that, and that's a possibility of disasters like Fukushima, like Chernobyl, like Three Mile Island. The fact is there are currently no safe ways or permanent ways to dispose of the most dangerous radioactive waste. What would you do to help mitigate those dangers?

BOOKER: So this is where study is actually -- and science is really important. So let's deal with the facts and the data. When I was mayor of the city of Newark, I used to have strong people come in with strong opinions, strong emotions. I used to say, in God we trust, but everybody else bring me data. And we need to look at the numbers right now.

So my plan says that we need to be -- are -- at a zero carbon electricity by 2030. That's 10 years from the time that I will win the presidency of the United States of America. And right now, nuclear is more than 50 percent of our non-carbon causing energy. So people who think that we can get there without nuclear being part of the blend just aren't looking at the facts.

But here's something that I want to tell you right now. The disasters in -- from Chernobyl to Japan. Trust me, when you live in a community as New Jersey does with nuclear plants -- and my mom who lives in Nevada and all this stuff, all the fights, righteous fights to protect what they plan to do at Yucca Mountain, I'm very aware of these things. And so I decided, you know what? I'm going to double down. I'm going to read everything I can about nuclear, I'm going to visit with nuclear scientists, I'm going to talk to folks, and this is the exciting thing. Next generation nuclear, where the science is going, is to me, at first it sounded like science fiction.

We're talking about historic plants, but what -- where the science is going right now is new nuclear actually portends of exciting things where you have no risk of the kind of meltdowns we're seeing, where they eat spent fuel rods. We actually can go to the kind of innovations that make nuclear safer or safe. And so this is the point I'm making. I'm a competitor. I'm a baller. I played football in the Pac-10. Go

Stanford. Now Pac-12. And I'm a competitor.

This is something that really ticks me off. We used to have the most R&D-intensive economy on the planet. We are no longer the research -- in terms of percentage of our GDP that we invest in R&D -- we're no longer there. We're falling behind. Other countries want to out- innovate us for the ideas of the future. That's unacceptable to me. Call it pride or call it just confidence that if America can compete, we can win.

So government needs to step up in a much more significant way. That's why my plan has a massive moonshot-like investment in the technologies of the future, which range from everything from battery storage technology to the aviation industry all the way to nuclear. The future we need to not be fearful of. We need to embrace the possibilities and nuclear, I believe if we start doing the research, making the investments -- I've already been in Washington working across the aisle to clean up a regulatory regime that's made for the nuclear reactors of the '70s to prepare for the possibilities of the future. We've got to get people excited about what's there, and we as a society, as Americans must make the investment so that we lead humanity to the innovations, to the breakthroughs, to the jobs of the future.

LEMON: And by R&D you mean research and development.

BOOKER: Research and development, yes.

LEMON: All right, thank you, Senator.


LEMON: We're going to be right back with more questions for the senator in just a moment.

BOOKER: All right. Thank you.


LEMON: Welcome back to CNN's Climate Crisis Town Hall. We're going to continue on now with Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey.

I want to bring in Joseph Sarno who's standing right here in front of you. He's from Huntington, New York. He's the president of the Huntington Young Democrats and a member of the Suffolk County Democratic Committee. Joseph, welcome.

BOOKER: Can I be a young Democrat in spirit still?

JOSEPH SARNO, AUDIENCE MEMBER: Yes, you're young in heart.

BOOKER: All right, young in heart.

SARNO: How will you communicate effectively to the skeptics on climate change in order for them to realize the urgency and need for everyone to act?

BOOKER: I appreciate that question. So first of all, let's understand the reality we're in right now is young Republicans, millennial Republicans are really with us. I'm not one of these people that wants to vilify an entire party. The reality is the people that need to be vilified are Republicans in Congress who are the only major political party on the planet Earth. Remember in Europe, there are right wing parties, left wing parties. This is the only major political party whose leadership on the planet Earth denies the science of climate change.

We have the majorities for so many of the things that we're talking about, Republican and Democrat. And I -- before I decided to run for president, I went through a period where I was making a point of going out to sit down at a table. I'm a big fan of Brene Brown. She says, you can't hate up close, so pull people in. So I went out to look for Republicans. I went out to Midwestern states. Back then, my staff wouldn't let me go into Iowa because they thought there'd be a suspicion that I would run for president. But I went to western Illinois, I went to Nebraska -- met with farmers that were Republicans. And I was amazed that once they got through the skepticism of a Democrat from the northeast sitting down with them, we found common cause and common purpose on the strategies that work.

The battle we have right now is the obstruction that is going on by the Congressional Republican Party. And what is important, and this is why I praise this, is that this is as much a cultural battle as it is a political battle, which is letting folks know who aren't with us.

I'm a child of civil rights activists. And this was a period where we faced an impotency of empathy in America, where folks just didn't understand the crisis and the reality of families in places like Alabama or even places in the northeast. But the activists there, like I see in the Sunshine Movement and other climate activists, they were artists of activism. What they did was they were able to expand the moral imagination of this country, and there are good people here that then responded and we created new American majorities for the civil rights movement.

This is no less urgent of a cause now, and we all have to take responsibility. I'm going to warn folks right now. If you elect me your president, I'm going to ask more from you than any other president in your lifetime because I grew up from parents who taught me if there is no struggle, there is no progress. I'm not going to ask you to put up with more, turn on the TV and be embarrassed of your president more.

But what I'm going to ask you to do is to be involved in a larger movement for justice in this country because we've seen that in my grandparents' generation. My grandmother bragged about her victory gardens. My grandfather working on assembly lines. My parents' generation were civil rights activists. If more of us get active more, we can -- we could ignite that moral imagination of this country and we can deal with this problem. As big as it may seem, it's not bigger than who we are as a people together. And by the way, I know the Chinese symbol for crisis, as you know, is

danger and opportunity. This is a crisis. There is danger. But if we do the right things, we have tremendous opportunity to expand millions of jobs to boost our economy, to give pathways out of poverty, to deal with environmental injustice. This actually is a crisis that presents a chance to deal with restorative justice issues as well.

That's the kind of president I'm going to be and if I'm president, I need us to be who we really are -- Americans that understand that democracy is a verb and we must all act. LEMON: I want to ask you a couple of questions -- a couple of quick

questions. Very important. Would you ban offshore drilling?

BOOKER: Absolutely yes. I will ban offshore drilling. Why? Because again, where have we seen these leases that -- this is why I've been fighting, doing demonstrations on the Jersey Shore to stop new licenses. Why? Because when we know they drill, they spill. Ask Alaska. Ask California. Ask the Gulf Coast. Destroying the environment. If my goal is to get our electricity zero carbon emission, that means phasing off of fossil fuels. If we're going to get there to -- by -- zero -- net zero carbon emissions by 2045 for our whole nation, we have to get off of fossil fuels. So why would I allow new leases? But this is not just -- this is not just offshore drilling. This is

things like fracking on public lands --

LEMON: That was my next question. Would you ban fracking?

BOOKER: Listen. Right away on public lands. Absolutely yes. And then we need to set --

LEMON: Wait, wait. Just on public lands?

BOOKER: No, no, no. Let me finish.

LEMON: All right.

BOOKER: Because as I just talked to somebody from Iowa on a virtual town hall who talked about the injustice of turning on your water. I know this in Newark. We have millions of Americans who turn on their faucet and can't get access to clean water because we have not dealt with these issues. And so we will transition off of fossil fuels, natural gas, coal, oil. We must transition off so that those things are something of the past and the innovations and the breakthroughs in technologies lead us into a future where we dealt with (those).

LEMON: What about the export of fossil fuels from the United States? Would you ban that?

BOOKER: Again, again.

(UNKNOWN): Do it!

BOOKER: Thank you. This is what I'm used to being close to Jersey, is people that tell me exactly what they mean. Absolutely. We must get to that point. Absolutely.

LEMON: All right. Our chief climate change correspondent is Mr. Bill Weir.

BOOKER: I can see him.

LEMON: Climate correspondent, I should say, as he's there looking at you. Go ahead.

BILL WEIR, CNN CHIEF CLIMATE CORRESPONDENT: You and I feel good. We're in prime time.

BOOKER: That's --

WEIR: In Hawaii.

BOOKER: I want to say hello to all the Hawaiians out there.

WEIR: Wait till the last. Wait for everybody else to make a mistake. Is (that it)?

Senator, so many folks around the world watching horror recently as the Amazon burned, and a lot of folks are blaming the policies of what some call the Tropical Trump, President Bolsonaro of Brazil down there. His promises to mine and farm and deforest the Amazon by some estimations would be the equivalent adding another China and a half to the global carbon footprint.

And next door, I've seen firsthand how illegal gold miners are ripping up the Peruvian Amazon. Just right under the noses of the government there, so as the commander-in-chief, how would you save something as vital as the Amazon when it is under the control of leaders who either don't believe in climate science or just don't have the means to enforce conservation?

BOOKER: And - - and let's just go further because remember, the crisis, we may be noticing the fires but the crisis of the disappearing of rainforest on this planet have been happening every single day. More and more rainforest is being torn down, principally by the way for grazing lands and large international corporate animal agriculture and more. We have a crisis at a time that my plan calls for the planting of billions and billions of trees from urban areas that desperately need them to all throughout our nation. And by the way, they hear that number and they say, oh, he's a big dreamer. We did it under FDR which was the last time we had the most massive period of reforestation from something that I'm going to reinvigorate called the Civilian Conservation Corps.

So one, before we turn - -


BOOKER: - - before we turn in a self righteous way and preach to others, let's make sure that we are also getting our own house in order and showing this. That we are going to lead by example because we've got to be the change we want to see in the world. And then number two, let me tell you, I - - I and forgive me if it sounds like I'm criticizing my party but I listen to people giving applause for saying I'm going to rejoin the Paris Climate Accords. I'm sorry. That is like a cost of entry even to run for president or talk about the presidency if you're - - if you're not doing that.


BOOKER: But - - so I'm going to tell you this. I've already told you. Everything that I do will be done through a green lens in the urgency of climate change. So every lever that I have on foreign policy, every single one - -

WEIR: Including military action?

BOOKER: No, sir. Let me tell - - I want to get to that because that is such a deep point but let me give you all the levers a - - a president has. Number one, I see our president meeting with world leaders. I mean, he meets with Putin and won't even bring up the fact that he's attacking our elections right now but that soft power you can make it a priority - - everybody you talk with. You have billion of dollars of foreign aid going to countries all around this planet that should be contingent on doing things on climate. You have your - - your trade deals. Labor and climate should be the center of any trade deal we do right now. You have alliances as well.


BOOKER: But let's talk about military because a U.N. report just came out talking about what's going on in Yemen and America's role in this. We are ramping up militarization in this country in ways that not only violate our Constitution but violate our morals and we think we're going to solve problems by dropping bombs. In the case of Yemen, we didn't drop the bombs. We just fueled the planes that dropped the bombs and the bombs were American made bombs. We need to understand that as we ramp up and make such massive investments thinking we can solve problems with military interventions that often cause problems. Hello Iraq War. Hello Yemen.

We - - we need to start to understand that this incredible amount of resources we're pouring into our military. We need to begin to have a dividend or pool resources and start plowing it in to dealing with the climate change problem which will not just bleed our economy trillions of dollars spent in wars overseas. But it will actually fuel our economy by investing in things that create a multiplier effect benefit in terms of economic growth, in terms of jobs, new industries, expansion in manufacturing and more and that's the kind of president I will be.

LEMON: All right. You see this gentleman standing in front of you.


LEMON: He's from New Jersey. You know where Manasquan is? He's from Manasquan, New Jersey his name is Alan Robock. He is a professor of - -

BOOKER: I probably couldn't pronounce Manasquan.

LEMON: Oh come on. Philly.

BOOKER: All right. Oh yeah, I forgot.

LEMON: Yes. That's right. He's a professor of climate science at Rutgers University, Professor Robock.

BOOKER: Hold on. Hold on. Where exactly because you say it with pride and bass, put some bass in your voice when you say that university.

ROBOCK: Rutgers University.

BOOKER: Scarlet Knights.

ROBOCK: I've been a climate scientist for more than 40 years and I'd like to echo your praise of CNN for having a - - a whole evening on climate. That's good.


ROBOCK: Senator Booker, here's my question. Do you support research into climate intervention also known as geo-engineering? Do you think we have to e informed about the potential benefits and risks of blocking the sun with a cloud in the upper atmosphere if - - to cool Earth if global warming gets too dangerous despite our best efforts at mitigation and adaptation?

BOOKER: Sir, I - - I - - I have to say. I don't know if it's cheating or not but I - - I - - I listened to a lot of the other people who came out here and by the way incredible array of my colleagues, many of them my friends who talked about these issues and they deserve a lot of respect for being out here and moving the national conversation as they are. So I heard about the geo- engineering question. I have to say it's an area of science I don't know much about sir. My plan calls for a massive investment, not only in expanding the technologies we know of but what I call R & D, research and development, moon shots in every single state.

And so when you see states are already becoming hubs of new innovations. Pittsburgh, for example, is now the autonomous vehicle - - autonomous vehicle capitals. I believe that every state we can use this research and development for state university, on farming practices, on battery storage, on the aviation industry which must be addressed and what kind of innovations we can do. So I'm a big believer in R & D and doubling down on R & D and this is a commitment I'll make to you is I'm going to read a lot more about geo-engineering which is something I'm just not familiar with besides what I saw in Star Trek. Because I am a bit of a Trekie and I've watched them go to planets and help them out with these situations and issues. That - - that might just be the headline coming out of this. Booker confesses that he is a Trekie.

LEMON: You might get a role. Live long and prosper. Thank you I wish I could do that. Thank you Senator. BOOKER: Thank you.

LEMON: Thank you Senator for joining us. Thanks to all 10 of our candidates who participated in tonight's unprecedented event and thanks to our studio audience - -


LEMON: - - for your questions of course. Listen to this. CNN is partnering with the Human Rights Campaign Foundation for our next series of presidential town halls on issues that are important to the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer communities. So make sure you tune into that. That's going to be next month. It will be in Los Angeles. So that's it for us. My colleague Anderson Cooper's standing by, he's going to pick up our coverage right after this (inaudible)