Updated Jun 27, 2019

Highlights from 1st Democratic presidential primary debate

Screenshot via MSNBC

The first Democratic debate of the 2020 cycle has ended, capping two hours dominated by criticisms of big corporations, a spirited exchange on health care and sections on immigration, gun control and climate change — along with a new level of prominence for transgender issues on a presidential debate stage.

The biggest winner was punchy Julián Castro of Texas, the HUD secretary under President Obama, who dominated the immigration exchange and had the best quote about the border: He said the photo of the drowned father and daughter, Oscar and Valeria Ramirez, "is heartbreaking. It should also piss us all off."

Other takeaways, via Axios' Alexi McCammond at the debate, managing editor David Nather and Zach Basu:

  • The biggest loser was Beto O'Rourke, who got no new traction, was often interrupted, and was much more demure and less jovial than he is on the trail. 
  • Three candidates spoke Spanish.
  • Transgender rights were brought to the national stage.
  • Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey owned the gun debate. Ron Brownstein said on CNN that Booker could get a second look after his strong night.
  • New York Mayor Bill de Blasio was an attack dog, positioning himself to the left of most of the pack.
  • No one laid a glove on the field's top three: Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who kept up her populist jabs; Joe Biden (never mentioned); or Bernie Sanders.

More highlights

  • On big businesses and Trump: Candidates spent more time attacking big business than attacking Trump. Go deeper.
  • On health care: Sen. Elizabeth Warren and New York Mayor Bill de Blasio were the only candidates on the Democratic debate stage who said they would eliminate private insurance. Go deeper.
  • On abortion rights: Washington Gov. Jay Inslee claimed he is the "only candidate" at the first primary Democratic debate Wednesday "who has passed a law protecting a woman's right of reproductive health and health insurance," prompting laughter from Sen. Amy Klobuchar. "I just want to say there are three women up here that have fought pretty hard for a woman's right to choose," Klobuchar said. Video.
  • On immigration: Some Democratic presidential candidates on stage were asked what they'd do on immigration on Day 1 as president. Go deeper.

The greatest threat to the U.S.:

  1. John Delaney: "The biggest challenge is China. The biggest geopolitical threat remains nuclear weapons."
  2. Jay Inslee: "The biggest threat to the security of the United States is Donald Trump. No question about it."
  3. Tulsi Gabbard: "The greatest threat we face is the fact that we are at greater risk of nuclear war today than ever before in history."
  4. Amy Klobuchar: "Economic threat: China. But our major threat right now is what's going on in the Mideast with Iran."
  5. Beto O'Rourke: "Our existential threat is climate change."
  6. Elizabeth Warren: "Climate change."
  7. Cory Booker: "Nuclear proliferation and climate change."
  8. Julian Castro: "China and climate change."
  9. Tim Ryan: "China without a question. They are wiping us around the world economically."
  10. Bill de Blasio: "Russia because they are trying to undermine our democracy and they are doing a damn good job of it and we need to stop them."

The bottom line: All attention will now turn to this evening, when four of of the five highest-polling candidates take the stage. Elizabeth Warren was the only candidate on stage in the top five.

Go deeper: Read our bios of the candidates on stage from the first night...

Go deeper

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 10 p.m. ET: 1,014,673 — Total deaths: 52,973 — Total recoveries: 210,335Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 10 p.m. ET: 244,678 — Total deaths: 5,911 — Total recoveries: 9,058Map.
  3. 2020 updates: The Democratic National Committee said its July convention will be postponed until August because of the coronavirus. A federal judge declined to delay Wisconsin's April 7 primary election.
  4. Jobs latest: Coronavirus unemployment numbers are like a natural disaster hitting every state.
  5. Public health latest: Anthony Fauci called for all states across the U.S. to issue stay-at-home orders. The FDA will allow blood donations from gay men after 3-month waiting period, citing "urgent need."
  6. Business latest: Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said oil companies are eligible for aid from new lending programs the Federal Reserve is setting up, but not direct loans from his department.
  7. U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt: Navy removes captain of aircraft carrier who sounded alarm about coronavirus.
  8. 1 future thing: In developing countries, consequences of COVID-19 could be deeper and far more difficult to recover from.
  9. What should I do? Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk.
  10. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

Subscribe to Mike Allen's Axios AM to follow our coronavirus coverage each morning from your inbox.

Mark Meadows considers new White House press secretary

Photos: Alyssa Farah, Defense Department; Stephanie Grisham, Alex Wong/Getty Images; Kayleigh McEnany, Scott W. Grau/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

White House chief of staff Mark Meadows has privately discussed bringing on Pentagon spokeswoman Alyssa Farah or Trump campaign spokeswoman Kayleigh McEnany as a new White House press secretary, two sources familiar with the talks tell Axios.

Why it matters: Meadows' start on Tuesday as Trump's new chief — and televised coronavirus briefings that feature President Trump himself — present a chance to overhaul a press shop that's kept a low profile since President Trump ended the tradition of daily press secretary briefings.

CNN: Fauci advises all states issue stay-at-home orders

Dr. Anthony Fauci listens to President Trump speak during a briefing on April 1. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Anthony Fauci recommended on Thursday that all states across the U.S. implement stay-at-home orders, at a CNN town hall.

Why it matters: The recommendation stands in contrast to President Trump's calls for "flexibility." Nearly 4o states have issued stay-at-home orders to promote social distancing as a way to combat the novel coronavirus — but the orders vary in strictness and duration.

Go deeperArrow2 hours ago - Health