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CNN Live Event/Special

CNN's Town Hall with Democratic Presidential Candidate Amy Klobuchar (D-MN). Aired 10-10:55p

Aired February 06, 2020 - 22:00   ET



LEMON: This is a CNN town hall event, live from Saint Anselm College in New Hampshire. I'm Don Lemon. Thank you so much for joining us, everyone.

The Democratic candidates are here. They're trying to win over voters before they head to the polls in five days for the first in the nation primary. It's almost here. And you just heard from Senator Sanders. You heard from Mayor Buttigieg. And now it's Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar's turn.

So please welcome to the stage Senator Amy Klobuchar.


KLOBUCHAR: Hi, everybody. Thank you. Hi. Thank you, Don.

LEMON: How are you?

KLOBUCHAR: I'm great. What a great group.

LEMON: Yeah, they're excited. So, we appreciate you joining us.


LEMON: Thank you so much. I know it's been a very busy time for you. I just want to begin with...


LEMON: Yeah. Let's talk about President Trump's impeachment. It's news of the day. We watched the president this afternoon lash out at people like Senator Mitt Romney, as dozens of Republicans applauded him...

KLOBUCHAR: At the prayer breakfast.

LEMON: At the prayer breakfast. But dozens of Republicans applauded him. Your fellow senator, Sherrod Brown, he wrote an op-ed that was titled "In private, Republicans admit they acquitted Trump out of fear." You sat with them through two weeks of arguments. Is that what you heard?

KLOBUCHAR: I heard a lot of them struggling. And I'm not going to reveal private conversations. But I think a lot of them know that what he did was wrong and they didn't have the courage to say it. And it really concerns me. Or they said it, but then they didn't have the courage to vote for impeachment.

And one of the votes that I think was the most telling was the vote about witnesses. And it was 51-49, so close, with two of the Republicans saying at least get the facts out, at least get the witnesses, so we know what's happening. And they refused to do that. And I thought that was just a really, really sad moment for our country, because we know one of them, John Bolton, actually said that he wanted to testify. He was in the room where it happened, and they refused to listen to that. So, to me, if you're innocent, you want to put people forward that work with you.

And then I'd say the second thing was just the courage that we saw in those votes. The courage of my friend, Doug Jones, the senator from Alabama, who is facing re-election and just said he knew it was the right thing to do. And he voted to impeach.

The courage of Mitt Romney, the senator from Utah and former governor of your neighboring state of Massachusetts, who also had the courage to go with his convictions.

And I think you have to remember those moments when you think about this election, because, to me, yes, this was a trial, and, yes, the result didn't turn out like I wanted or maybe some people in this room wanted, but it's really now you're going to be the jurors, right? You're going to be the jurors in an election, your primary election and the general election.

And to me, it continues, because this is a decency check. This election is an economic check, and I know a lot of the discussions we've had on the debate stage are about what's the best health care plan, what's the best college plan, something we care a lot about at Saint Anselm's. But it's also about this decency check.

And to me, you're going to have a lot of independents, particularly in this state, and moderate Republicans that aren't going to agree with everything that's said on the debate stage. I don't agree with everything that's said on the debate stage.

But what they do agree with us on this is this. They agree that America's heart is so much bigger than the heart of the guy in the White House. They agree on that. And they believe this election at its core is about decency and patriotism.

So my first thoughts after leaving that trial is we better not screw this up. We better have a candidate that can bring people with her.

LEMON: I can hear the emotion in your voice now.



LEMON: And I want to talk about that courage that you mention, because take me back to that moment in the Senate chambers when you had to vote guilty. You said that you wanted to cry. What was that like?

KLOBUCHAR: Well, it's -- first of all, you're serving as a juror and you're making a decision that's really based way back to the founding of our country when our founding fathers put these provisions in the Constitution. And it was James Madison, who I like to quote sometimes, because he was 5'4", which I think is a good height for a president.


And he is the one that said that you needed these provisions in there because he was afraid that a president would betray the trust of the American people to a foreign government. And when we took that vote, I was thinking about the history that brought us to that moment. I was thinking about my own role in this journey and how I feel so strongly that we need someone that understands that the role of a president is to unite instead of incite, that understands that you put the interests of our country before your private interests or your partisan interests, which really what this case is about.

So you have that thought, and then you also had this disappointment, of course, of looking at my colleagues, some of whom I work with all the time. I work across the aisle a lot. And it just made me sad, that part of it, it made me sad, because I know


that they know better. I know they know exactly what went on here.

And as I've said to them, the problem is this. The truth isn't going to wait to come out five years from now or even five months from now. The truth is coming out five weeks from now or five days from now. That manuscript is right out there. And that's why John Bolton, the gate-keeper to national security information for the president of the United States, had wanted to testify.

So that was my mixed feelings of knowing the historic nature of this moment, knowing that my colleagues -- I had wanted them to be better, and then knowing my role in this, and how one of the major reasons that I'm running for president, when I announced in the middle of that blizzard with four inches of snow on my head just to impress the people of New Hampshire...


... I said that day that we need to cross the river of our divides to get to a higher plain in our politics. And that still is what drives me, because I don't think our country can take another four years of Donald Trump. Our democracy can't take another four years as he bulldozes through it. Our law can't take another four years, our rule of law, as he thinks he's above it. And the American dream can't take another four years of a president who thinks he can choose who gets it.

LEMON: Let's talk about how you do that and let's go to the audience...


LEMON: ... for the folks who are going to be making the decision here. Connie Evans is standing there. She's a retired teacher. She's from Weare, a member of her local Democratic committee, and she says she's leaning towards supporting you.

KLOBUCHAR: Excellent. This is our moment, this intimate moment where we can close the deal.


QUESTION: Welcome back to New Hampshire, Senator.

KLOBUCHAR: Thank you, Connie.

QUESTION: You have said that you've had success working across the aisle to get things done with your Republican friends. Our country is very divided now, as you know. Families supporting opposing political parties are not even speaking to each other. We need someone at the helm who can bridge the divide and fix our country. How will you solve this before a civil war breaks out?

KLOBUCHAR: Well, thank you. And I first want to thank you for being a teacher, and that was -- as you probably know, my mom was a second grade teacher. And she actually taught second grade until she was 70 years old. And I have so much respect for those that are teaching our kids and teaching values to our kids.

And that is probably a good way to start, because that's what drives a lot of my interest in trying to make our government work. And it is not always easy, because there's a bunch of people on the other side of the aisle where you just want to say every day, really? But then you have to find that common ground, because I think courage is not just standing in the opposite corners of a boxing ring throwing punches. Courage is whether or not you're willing to stand next to someone you don't always agree with for the betterment of this country.

And I'm not a Pollyanna about what's going on with the outside money and what some of the Republicans have been doing. And I feel very strongly that one of the reasons I want to lead this ticket is that every time I run in a state that's a little bit like New Hampshire, has a lot of Republicans, a lot of independents, and a lot of fired-up Democrats, every time I've run, I've been able to win with fired-up Democrats, independents, and moderate Republicans, which is what I think we need to do to win big and to send Mitch McConnell packing, so that we basically, including winning Jeanne Shaheen's race here in the great state of New Hampshire, so that we're able to get all the things done that you've been hearing about tonight.

Nevertheless, I still think you have to have civility and you have to be able to work with people. When I get elected, what would I do? I would reach out to every governor in this country. I would reach out to the leaders, of course, of the House and the Senate and legislative leaders throughout our nation. And one of the ways I've done that already is by putting out 100-day

plan, with 137 things that the president can do herself without Congress that are legal. I emphasize that because what Donald Trump has done.

And so I think you set a tone that way. Some of this is introducing major legislation. And as you know, I passed over 100 bills as a lead Democrat since I've gone to Washington, more than anyone else that's in Congress that's running for this office. But it's also about building a sacred trust again that this president has broken down between the people of this country and the White House.

And I think the way you do this is being very clear about what you want to get done. And that's why you'd be surprised at what you can do. You can bring in less expensive drugs from other countries by bringing a waiver to bring down the cost of pharmaceuticals. You can do that without passing a bill.

You can close the boyfriend loophole, a bill I've been trying to pass for years for gun safety, which says that


domestic abusers who are convicted shouldn't be able to go out and get an AK-47.

LEMON: Senator...

KLOBUCHAR: A president can do that herself. So my answer to you is, work across the aisle, find common ground, but stand your ground, and make it very clear how you're going to lead.

LEMON: All right. Well, let's talk about common ground and bridging the divide, because in order to be the nominee, right, you have to be in it. And I want to turn to Iowa, the Iowa caucuses now, 100 percent of the reporting is in. You are in fifth place now, and you made it clear that your success in Iowa was critical to your overall success in this campaign, again, in fifth place. Where do you need to finish here in New Hampshire in order to keep this going, to keep moving on?

KLOBUCHAR: Well, you can decide that, I guess. You have a lot of analysts on CNN. But the way I look at it -- the way I look at it is this way. I look at it this way.

There were so many people in this race, as you know, and I am now in the top five. I think there were a lot of people that didn't predict I would get through that initial announcement speech in the middle of the blizzard. They were literally predicting that I couldn't make it through the snow.

Then they were predicting I wouldn't make it through the summer. And then it was debate by debate by debate. And every single time I have exceeded expectations.

I look at Iowa, and I look at it this way. We did well. We had a fired-up team with less money, which is why people can help me at


We had less money than some of the other opponents. I didn't have the name ID as some of the people that I'm running against. And we came very close in terms of the number of people that turned out to Vice President Biden. Look at the numbers yourself.

So we actually left Iowa with a lot of enthusiasm, if you saw my speech on caucus night. And now the point is, I'm here in New Hampshire, and New Hampshire is a primary state. It has fired-up Democrats, but a lot of independent voters. If you don't believe me that I understand independent voters, I have four words for you from Minnesota: Former Governor Jesse Ventura.

And I am -- when we landed, I remember at 4:00 in the morning, I was so heartened by what we're seeing with the public polls. I'm not going to go into it, but you can see yourself. We are surging, and we are surging because people have stepped back and said, you know what, maybe I want a candidate that's actually going to get things done, that has my back. And I've always told people, if you are tired of the extremes in our politics and you are tired of the noise and the nonsense, you have a home with me.

LEMON: We carried that moment live when you -- at 4:00 a.m. I was on the air. And I have never seen a bigger smile on your face.

KLOBUCHAR: Well, no, we had such -- we had all of our New Hampshire team was here. And one last thing I will say, I've gotten the endorsement of three major newspapers here. Seacoast Newspapers, the Union Leader, and also the Keene Sentinel, so check that out. I think those people questioned me at length and have given me their endorsement.

LEMON: A question now from Laura Landerman-Garber. She's a child psychologist from Hollis who says she is undecided. Laura?


QUESTION: Hi, nice to see you again, Senator.

KLOBUCHAR: Good to see you.

QUESTION: Welcome back to New Hampshire.

KLOBUCHAR: Thank you. It's great to be back.

QUESTION: Wonderful. We brought the snow just for you.

KLOBUCHAR: Thank you, of course.

QUESTION: You are known as the practical one, and that's quite a statement right there. I think that's a compliment to you. As you've been talking about, you are one who reaches across the aisle, you seem to do that with ease, and your amazing relationship with the late and great Senator John McCain seems to be a shining example of that. But you are also known to be tough, and you know when -- and you have

drawn lines in the sand. I would like to know what are some of the key issues where you will stand up and say, "These are the issues I'm going to draw the line in the sand"?

KLOBUCHAR: OK, that's a great question. And I think the first thing is climate change. We cannot go through another year without doing something about climate change.

We see the warming of our planet. And as you know, it is the rising sea levels and the melting of the Greenland ice sheet. But you're seeing it in northern states, like New Hampshire and Minnesota, changes to our wildlife population, changes to the oyster fishermen and the fishing business off the coast of Maine. You are seeing it throughout our country with the wildfires and the flooding.

And I think that is something where a president -- there are a number of things you can do without Congress. And that's good, getting back into the international climate change agreement, the clean power standards, the gas mileage standards. But then you're really going to have to -- in your words -- stand your ground and be tough about getting that done.

Other things. Changes that we have to make so that people in our country are able to afford childcare and prescription drugs and college.


And I think actually there's areas there where we're going to be able to get bipartisan support on economic package, and that's something that I will draw the line on. We must forward on that.

Immigration reform, I think, is another area where there can be bipartisan support, but we must move forward. So I do agree with you. You have to have a combination of reaching out to people and getting to know them and bringing them with you and actually liking people. That's a good quality to have in a president. Students, a nice thing (ph).

But I think the other piece of it is being very clear about where you're going to draw the line. And as far as being tough, I think people have seen me on the debate stage. I am nimble and I am tough. I once ran against an opponent for one of my first elected jobs. And they said to me, you are nothing but a street fighter from the Iron Range. That is where my dad grew up. And I said, thank you.


KLOBUCHAR: Because I think when you are in politics, it doesn't mean that you cross the line and act like Donald Trump. I think you all know I'm not going to be like that. I'm not going to call names. I'm not going to send out mean tweets. But you have to stand your ground or you're going to get rolled.

LEMON: OK. That's Eric Leith standing right there. He's a golf professional. a package handler from Litchfield. He says he is currently undecided as well.

KLOBUCHAR: OK, very good.

QUESTION: Welcome, Senator. Going to touch a little bit on...

KLOBUCHAR: You say you're a golf professional?

QUESTION: Yes, I have got an open hour tomorrow if you're not doing anything.

KLOBUCHAR: OK. There you go. There's a lot of snow out there.

QUESTION: We're indoors.


QUESTION: Touch a little on third rail national politics. New Hampshire is an older state and the Social Security pie is both shrinking and being cut into more and more pieces as the Boomers retire. Projections of insolvency vary from 12 to 25 years out, and one of the -- one of the proposals that you hear a lot about is the income tax -- excuse me, the income cap elimination.


QUESTION: That doesn't seem to be quite as dangerous to talk about as a politician, I think.


QUESTION: Otherwise we're going to have some reductions in benefits. There's no way around it, it's inevitable. Can you just explain what the income cap is? How eliminating it would affect available funds? And who, other than the high-income earners, would oppose it?

KLOBUCHAR: Very good. So that's a very important thing to talk about. And I know there is a lot of young people here as well. But, believe me, you're the ones that are going to get screwed if we don't do something about this. So it is not just about our seniors as we look at how we're going to keep Social Security solvent.

So, the first thing, as you point out, is that it's going to start paying out less benefits. Maybe 10 to 15 percent by 2034 if we don't do something about it. So, then, what are the solutions? There's really a pretty straightforward elegant solution. Right now you pay into the Social Security fund up until $133,000 in income. And you can just lift that cap straight up, that's one way to do it. Or you can kind of do what we call a "donut hole," not have people paying for a little and have them start again at $250,000, which is a bill that actually Senator Sanders has led, that I have co-sponsored for a number of years.

And to me, I think that that would make a lot of sense because it would keep Social Security solvent and strong. But let's go a step forward because I always like to tease my colleagues on the debate stage that they're not thinking big enough. Because I always like to look at what is going on in our economy and how can we actually connect that to our challenges.

It is not enough just to talk about Social Security. We also have to keep Medicaid strong. But one of the biggest things we could do is start tackling long-term care. Everyone in this room has someone, a grandparent or a parent or you yourself, who know that you're going to have needs for long-term care at some point.

And there's a lot of people that are taking care of their kids and their aging parents at the same time. We call it the "sandwich generation." And so I have looked at this a lot, mostly because I've had my own experience with this. My dad is 91. He's in assisted living. And for some reason he got long-term care insurance, which is great.

But I know exactly when that's going to end and it is in a year-and-a- half. And then -- and when that ends, we go into his savings, which are not as big as they should be because he got married three times, but that's another story.


QUESTION: That's another story.

KLOBUCHAR: That's for another town hall when we have more time.


KLOBUCHAR: And so then after that he goes on Medicaid. And I have talked to Catholic Eldercare, and they will take him in because the place he's in right now doesn't take Medicaid.

But our story is actually better than so many other families.


And the answer here, two big things. One is to make it easier to get long-term care insurance. And I have a way to pay for this. You can check it out on our website. But the second is just to make it less expensive to get long-term care short of Medicaid.

We have not done anything to adjust our laws to the big elephant in the room which is long-term care. And that means making it easier for people to stay in their homes, to make more housing for seniors so then free-ups housing for families that may want to move and rehab houses. I actually think it's a great opportunity.

We also have seniors, particularly in this state, as you point out, who want to work part-time or volunteer and they have to have a way to get there. I said this in Keene, New Hampshire, at a town hall. I brought up this and these two women started laughing. I go, why are you guys laughing? They said, we're the opposite, we're working and we want to retire.


KLOBUCHAR: So I just think we have to understand that not one size fits all.

LEMON: This is Elsa Voelcker. She's an undecided voter who teaches photography here at Saint Anselm. Elsa?

KLOBUCHAR: Hi there, Elsa.

QUESTION: Hi. As president, would you be willing to limit the power of the president, which appears to be out of control? How can we get checks and balances working again in our government?

KLOBUCHAR: Very good. And I'm going to take this as you meant it, which is the Congress has to have a check on this president. That's how the Constitution has been set up. And in particular, this is on my mind because we're going to be having a vote on this coming up in the Senate, and that is the power of the president when it comes to declaring war.

We're really focused right now on Iran, understandably, and some of the things this president has said and there's actually some bipartisan support for a resolution to saying that he couldn't go -- bring us into war with Iran without Congress approving it and with an -- without an authorization of military force.

And I think you've seen this president just basically blowing up a lot of our constitutional protections in how he talks about the First Amendment, something near and dear to my heart because my dad was a reporter his whole life. How he talks about Congress or the courts. It's just constant.

So for me, especially when it comes to going to war, which you do not want to do unless you have a very good reason, you have to go to Congress. And so respecting the Congress is going to be a big part of what I do. And I think that way -- by the way, if you want to build trust again with this country, what do you do? You start working with everyone and you make that clear.

I remember one of the earlier questions, people fighting at Thanksgiving dinner, not being able to look at each other. Well, a lot of that is going to have to do with a president and the tone that's set. But it's not just all talk and talking points and flowery language. It's actually having the experience to figure out how you can get things done and work with both sides and respect the power of Congress.

That's what, in part, was Mitt Romney's vote, right? He said he took an oath and his faith and the words of that oath and in his own reasonable judgment he felt that he had to do that vote because he was elected to be a check, basically, on a president, regardless of who that president is.

LEMON: All right. That's the first part. We still have more questions, all right?

KLOBUCHAR: Oh great!

LEMON: So make sure you stay with us. More from Senator Amy Klobuchar right after this.

KLOBUCHAR: Thank you.





LEMON: All right. Welcome back, everyone. We are live from Saint Anselm College in New Hampshire for a Democratic presidential town hall with Senator Amy Klobuchar. Let's get straight back to questions, shall we?

KLOBUCHAR: OK. Very good.

LEMON: Kate Marquis. Kate is a video editor. She is from Manchester, and she is still undecided.

Hi, Kate.




QUESTION: Could you please give an example of a mistake you made as a senator from Minnesota? How you grew from it? And how it impacts your decision-making today?

KLOBUCHAR: Sure. So, this was a thing that I -- you know, you don't know when you look back at it if it would have made a difference, but the stakes are so high, I look back at it a lot. And this is when we had the Affordable Care Act, which was a very close vote, if you remember. And it was a very big moment in our country and President Obama had worked on it for a year and it was a good bill.

We all know what it did. It helped protected people so they don't get kicked off their insurance if they have a pre-existing condition. So positive for so many people in New Hampshire. And it also did some things to make it easier for people to have their kids on their health insurance. And it was a big deal.

But there was a big debate at the time about pharmaceuticals. And I was one of the people that was always advocating to do something about prescription drug prices. I lead the bill on seniors unleashing their power to be able to negotiate better prices under Medicare. Something that's unbelievably pathetic that's in law that bans Medicare from negotiating better prices. And I've just done a lot of things on getting less expensive drugs.

So when I look back at it now because we were so excited, we get this bill, we're barely passing it, and you have a lot of power when you only have a bill passed by a vote. And I think if a few of us had banded together and insisted on that, maybe we could have gotten something in that bill about pharmaceutical prices.

But it was such a close vote and we were told, no, no, no, we'll do it later, right? So we're like, OK. And I just wish we had done it then, done something because right now we are where we are. And I think when you ask what I learned from that is when you have power, you better use it.

LEMON: All right. Claire Collins is here. She's from Manchester. She works on housing development. She's undecided as well.

Hi, Claire.


KLOBUCHAR: OK. Hi, Claire.

QUESTION: Good evening. Your new TV commercial offers lots of great strategies that you're going to achieve as president. And one of those is affordable housing.

And this is a particular pain point in our state, where a New Hampshire housing authority reports that there is less than 2 percent vacancy in two-bedroom apartments across the state, with 3 percent rent increases every year.

So how do you propose to create more affordable housing? And what are some of the strategies to do so?

KLOBUCHAR: That's a very good question, and I actually knew about these issues in New Hampshire. It's one of the reasons that I want to make sure, when we listed a bunch of stuff we wanted to do in the first 100 days, that was in there.

And that's because of what I've heard. I've done an event with some people about housing in New Hampshire. And I think one of the things that people around the country don't always know, it's, yes, urban areas are having a big problem with affordable housing because the rents and the cost, but there's a lot of areas like New Hampshire where mid-size towns like Manchester and actually small towns and rural areas -- there's huge housing problems.

And so this is what I would do. First of all, I would make sure that we take care of the backlog of Section 8 housing, which is affordable housing for people that can't afford it. There's this huge backlog going on right now. And it makes it really hard for people to be able to get housing.

The second thing is to create incentives for building more housing. And I've got a lot of support for this big plan that I put out when it comes to housing. And that means incentives. And that's part of what you need here because you don't have enough housing. And that -- what I talked about earlier with some senior housing, so that it doesn't have to be for seniors, but housing that seniors might want to live in, in the towns, and then that frees up their housing stock. And then the third thing is just helping people to afford housing.

And I have shown how I'm going to pay for every single thing that I do. I think that's really important because Donald Trump has been treating all of you like poker chips in one of his bankrupt casinos and building up the debt. I think it's going to be a big issue. And that's why my proposals, I show how I'm going to pay for them. And with this one, it's minimum corporate tax -- there's a bunch of companies that don't pay any taxes at all -- as well as some other changes to international tax enforcement. And you get a lot of money in that way that can be used to pay for housing.

LEMON: Michael Fazi (ph) is standing near. He is a law student from Texas. He is studying at the University of New Hampshire. He says he is undecided. Michael?

KLOBUCHAR: OK. All these undecideds. This is great.

LEMON: I know. It's your chance, right?

KLOBUCHAR: Yeah, I wish I could hang out afterwards, but I think there's another town hall after me.


QUESTION: Senator Klobuchar, I have been in college and now law school for going on six years and have accrued student debt the entire way through. I want to work for the government in the future, but I am concerned about paying back my student loans. What can you do to help me afford to pay back my loans and work for the greater good?

KLOBUCHAR: OK. That's a good story and also, as you know, a common story, because a lot of people are struggling with this right now. In fact, my husband, who is sitting four people away from you, when I met him, I had paid off my student loans and then I met him, and he had over $50,000 in student loans. And I'd start by making you feel better. I married him anyway, just to be clear.


And as I've looked at this, I've come up with this way of looking at it. First of all, on loan payback, let's start with that because that was your question. So especially if you want to go into public service, there's something we can do immediately, and that is there is someone running that student loan payment program for people who become teachers or go into government, and that person's name is Betsy DeVos.

So we don't have to wait 100 days to do this. In the first 100 seconds, I will fire Betsy DeVos. And so we can...


We can make that program work better, phase it in better, to over 10 years, and then you get your loans paid back, if you stay in some kind of public service. But it has not been working well. But I would go bigger than that. I would actually add to the loan payment program in-demand occupations. I would make it easier for students to refinance their loans.

I mean, multi-millionaires can refinance their yachts. I don't know why students wouldn't be able to refinance their student loans.

So that would be on loan payment. Then let's go on the other end, especially for the students that are here right now at Saint Anselm. Now, one of the issues for me is that I know that there is a lot of interest in the bumper sticker solution "Free college for all." I get it. I get it. I get why. But I just want us to step back a little bit and I want us to look at our economy and think, how do we connect


our economy with our education system and make it work for everyone?

So let's look first at in-demand occupations, what we're going to be seeing in this economy. We're going to have over a million openings for home health care workers. Because, in part, what we just talked about, with the aging of the population, we're going to have over 100,000 openings for nursing assistants. This is in our country, even more percentage-wise in New Hampshire.

This is over the next 10 years. We have no idea how we're going to fill them. We're going to have over 70,000 openings for electricians. We are not going to have a shortage of sports marketing degrees. Sorry, who has one out there. We are going to have a shortage of plumbers.

So how do you think about this? First of all, we know we're going to have tons of need for four-year degrees like the ones you'll get at this college. So what I would do is double the Pell Grants, because they're at $6,000 a year now. You go up to $12,000 a year and they can be used at a college like this as well as at public universities.

Then I would expand the income level that you can get one at. It's at $50,000. Go up to $100,000.

The other thing I would do is make one and two-year degrees free and I would invest heavily in K-12 and preschool, just because, when you look at what's coming down our way and the needs that we have, I think that makes the most sense, instead of using that money to pay for wealthy kids to go to college.

That is what I think. I've been to a number of the colleges in New Hampshire and I think this plan actually works. And the virtue of it is that it's a plan, and I show how I'm going to pay for it exactly, by taking the capital gains rate and bringing it closer to the personal income tax rate. That will bring in $500 billion. And I also believe we can get it done. That is the difference between a plan and a pipe dream.

LEMON: All right. Andrea Amadeo Vickory (ph) is here. She is a lawyer from Amherst, New Hampshire, and she is undecided as well.

KLOBUCHAR: OK. I liked your parade. I was in it at 4th of July.


QUESTION: Yeah, we are very famous for that.


KLOBUCHAR: Yes, it was great.

QUESTION: I've marched in it many times. And thank you for being here. And as a lawyer, I have been going crazy these last three years seeing all the federal judges that are coming through the Senate, nominated by Trump and approved, you know, very fast.

And what I would like to know is how important the appointment of judges to the federal bench is to your campaign, since the Trump administration has done more to control policy into the future by stacking the federal courts than any other president in recent history?

And many Americans don't understand the impact of this. So I was thinking that it might be your responsibility to educate the voters on this important and essential issue.

KLOBUCHAR: Thank you. And I think the best way to do that is to have people think of their lives and what court decisions have meant for their life, you know. There's famous court decisions like Brown v. Board of Education that made it so that African-American kids could go to school with their white neighbors in the same state. That happened. They were trying to block that, and that's what that court decision did.

You think of Roe v. Wade, which guaranteed reproductive rights for the women of America. And then you think of things in your own life. In my case, my grandpa worked 1,500 feet underground in the mines up in northern Minnesota his whole life. He had nine brothers and sisters, and his parents were sick and he wanted to be in the Navy, but that's what he had to do.

And he would go down every day in a cage with his lunch bucket that my grandma would pack. And the mines were really dangerous back then. The sirens would go off and everyone would run to the mine, and they didn't know if it was their husband or their brother or their kid who died. And my dad still remembers the coffins lined up in the Catholic church in town.

What changed? Well, court rulings changed. There were judges and challenges and things that happened; unions came in, and there were court decisions that protected workers and protected those mines.

And you can literally go through your lives and think of things that have happened that have been affected by court decisions. So your point is this, is that these judges and who has these jobs are very, very important.

It's one of the reasons I so vehemently opposed the two Supreme Court justices that were nominated by Donald Trump, because of their record when it came to consumer issues and safety, and when it came to their views of regulations that protect people.


And I think anyone that watched the Kavanaugh hearings remembers my role in that, when he basically went at me and I stood my ground, and he came back and apologized. And I think it gives you a little bit sense of my character and what I'll be like as president. But it should also make you understand how important appointing good judges is to me.

I had the fortune of being a relatively new senator when Barack Obama came in as president, and I got to work with his administration on putting forward some amazing judges in my own state and getting them approved. And I would look so forward and be so honored to do the same thing as president.

I think the challenges we're going to have -- I actually haven't supported about two-thirds of the nominees that Donald Trump has put forward. But I think one of the challenges that a new president is going to have is there's going to be a lot of openings right away and it's going to be filling those openings and having the skill and having the people around her that are able to filter through all the names and get it done and work with the Senate and the House on getting those names through. Because I think speed is going to be really important here with the new president.

Supreme Court, I think, when I look at the kind of nominees we should have there, I think we have some great models in Elena Kagan and Justice Breyer and in Sonia Sotomayor and, of course, the notorious RBG.


So there are some good models of the kind of justices I would put forward.

LEMON: All right. Stay right there, everyone. We have more questions for Senator Amy Klobuchar, right after this.



LEMON: Welcome back, everyone. We are live in New Hampshire with Senator Amy Klobuchar. We have these chairs. No one ever uses them. So I'm glad we get to use them now.

KLOBUCHAR: I thought I would talk to you.

LEMON: Let's bring in Leonard Morrill, a retired retail manager from Manchester. He is undecided. Hi, Leonard.

QUESTION: Good evening.


QUESTION: Do you think we need more or less military personnel in the Middle East at this time?

KLOBUCHAR: Well, overall, I think we need less. And one of my major priorities will be to bring our troops home from Afghanistan. This president has said he would do it, but he hasn't done it. And, in fact, what he did do was send out an ill-fated tweet inviting the Taliban to Camp David and then decided that wasn't a good idea.

And I think the key is to show some leadership, instead of just doing tweets. And that means the negotiations between the Ghani administration in Afghanistan and, of course, the Taliban, that's what's going to have to happen. And for me, the guide post will be keeping the democracy reforms in place, trying to do all we can to keep those gains that they've made for women's rights in Afghanistan, and, of course, working with our allies, something that this president does not seem to be able to do very well. Including India and Pakistan could be helpful in the long term when it comes to keeping some of the gains that we've seen in Afghanistan.

I think that the other parts about this is, one, I would probably keep some troops there for counterterrorism and for training. I do disagree with some of the president's decisions, like I would not have removed the 150 troops from the Syrian border with Turkey. I think already there was just a recent report that just came out showing that there has been some change with ISIS and some of their intentions. And I thought that was a big mistake to do that.

You're already seeing fighting going on in that area between the Syrian forces and then -- and the moderates. That's one of the only areas that they had held. So there are some bad things that are happening because of this president's decision.

The other thing that I would do in the Mideast, in addition to working on a two-state solution, would be to re-negotiate back into the Iranian agreement. I predicted on the first debate we had many, many debates in this presidential election, we were asked, what do you think are the biggest threats internationally? And I said when it came to the economy that it was China. And then I said when it came to world security, it was Iran, but only because of Donald Trump's moves, that he had made the world less safe.

And I think you've seen the escalation there with Iran now saying that they want to start enriching uranium to the point of potentially busting the caps. So that is something that would be a big priority for me.

So to me, it's not just about the troops. It is also about how we're going to engage with our allies and renegotiate ourselves back into international agreements and stand with our allies.

LEMON: I want to turn now to Chloe Enderton. Chloe Enderton is a transgender military officer from Danville. She does advocacy work in the LGBTQ community and is undecided, as well. Chloe?

KLOBUCHAR: Thank you.

QUESTION: Good evening, Senator. KLOBUCHAR: Thank you.

QUESTION: After over a decade of service and being wounded in combat, in 2019 a message was sent that transgender servicemembers aren't qualified to serve. If elected, will you commit to overturning President Trump's transgender military ban and providing gender- affirming health care for all trans servicemembers?



And I think we should -- I want to thank you for your service and what you've done for our country. And I just can't imagine what this is like. When you made a decision to put your life on the line,


to be there for our country, and I figure when we -- our soldiers have signed up to serve, when people sign up to serve, there isn't a waiting line. And when they come home to the United States of America, they need health care, they need education, they need a job, and including our LGBTQ trans communities, there shouldn't be a waiting line. You should get the help that you need.

So I just want to thank you for your service. I thought this was one of the most mean-spirited things, in a panoply of mean-spirited things, that this president has done. But to say this to people that simply want to serve our country is something that literally can be reversed like that, as long as you guys all vote. So, thank you.

LEMON: So we have a few minutes left, I want to get a couple more questions in. I want to bring in Margaret Andersen. Margaret Andersen is a legal secretary from Manchester, currently undecided, as well.

KLOBUCHAR: All right.

QUESTION: Good evening, Senator. Climate change is a top priority. What steps can we take to rally the country to embrace the changes necessary to succeed?

KLOBUCHAR: I like that question, because I gave a preview of what I think we need to do, the international climate change agreement, clean power rules, gas mileage standards, and then sweeping legislation, which would include energy efficiency legislation, as well as putting a price on carbon.

But what your question gets at is really the nub of the issue. I have been through this. I was on the Environmental Committee when we put forth cap and trade, and we couldn't get it through the Senate. I supported it. And so I've thought a lot about how we can get this done.

And I think it's really important to make the economic case for climate change. The fact that homeowner's insurance is going up, something you don't think about. Talk to any insurance agent, they're going to tell you that.

Making the case that it is, yes, about the rising sea levels, but it's also about the effects we're seeing, say, to snowy places like New Hampshire, what we are seeing with flooding in the middle of the country so that farmers can't plant or harvest, and really making that case.

And then the last thing -- and this is so key -- is making sure the proposal we put forward makes people understand that they're going to be kept whole when it comes to their heating bills, their cooling bills. If you have areas of your state or the country that are going to see job transitions and job changes -- we know there's going to be a bunch of new jobs added, that will be very cool because of green energy, but we also know that there's going to be jobs that are going to change.

And I want you to know -- and the reason I want to lead this ticket so much and why I want to be there as president -- is I get this. I get this not just the numbers and not just the science. I actually get this from my heart.

I mention my family a lot. Well, up in northern Minnesota, just like northern New Hampshire, things would close down, they'd open up, the mines would close, they'd open up. And it got so bad at one point that they had a billboard outside of Duluth, I remember seeing with my dad, and it said the last one to leave, turn off the lights, a billboard.

So when I look at this, I see the mayor here from Laconia who knows exactly what I'm talking about. When I look at this, I say, let's make sure that when we put this policy forward, we know that we've got a big challenge, but let's make sure it works for people. And that way, that's the only way we're going to get the votes to get this done, but it's also the right thing to do.

LEMON: A minute left. And this is the most important question, because it's my question.

KLOBUCHAR: OK, yes, Don Lemon.

LEMON: So it's been almost a year to the date, right, that you came out and it was snowing, right?

KLOBUCHAR: Yes, uh-huh.

LEMON: What is the biggest thing that you have learned that surprised you the most, one thing?

KLOBUCHAR: I have learned that I always knew I have grit, but I have learned I have more grit than I thought, and that we have been able to keep our incredible team together from the very beginning through the good times and the bad times. We have a scrappy, happy campaign. We would love you to join it. And that has just made me excited about the future and my ability to lead and move us forward.

The other thing I've learned is that I have an incredible family, which I always knew, but my husband, John, who's been there with me every step of the way, out campaigning. My daughter, who was in Iowa all last week filling in while I was at the impeachment hearing, somehow got herself on the front page of the L.A. Times. Go figure.

And that's something -- I think I would end with this. I've been reading Doris Kearns Goodwin book about leadership. And one of the things that she says defines a leader, she looks at four presidents, is resilience. It's not how you do when things are easy; it's how you do when things are bad and how you come out of it. And I can tell you, I have the resilience to be your president. And I hope you'll support me. You can join us at


LEMON: There you go. Thank you so much. Thank you. I really appreciate it.

KLOBUCHAR: Thank you, Don.

LEMON: Our thanks to Senator Klobuchar.


Up next, Dana Bash with host a town hall with former Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick. So make sure you stay with us.