Feb 22, 2017

The most heated moments at the Republican town halls

Steve Helber / AP

Town halls across the country last night erupted as U.S. citizens expressed their opinions and discontent with the political scene and demanded answers from their Congressman. Here are videos of recent hot moments.

At Dave Brat's town hall, the crowd laughed after one member asked if Brat thought everything was running smoothly, as Trump has claimed.

Here's a good example of the rowdiness/frustration at Rep. Dave Brat's town hall tonight. He took over 30 Qs, got lots of pushback. pic.twitter.com/L3kHyDUNKw — Ashley Killough (@KilloughCNN) February 22, 2017

At a town hall with Mitch McConnell, a woman demanded to be answered about what would happen with Obamacare.

Chuck Grassley's town hall attendees complained that they wouldn't be able to afford health insurance without Obamacare.

Angry constituents confront Chuck Grassley in Iowa: “If it wasn't for Obamacare, we wouldn't be able to afford insurance!" pic.twitter.com/vrbhbOiBMM — Bradd Jaffy (@BraddJaffy) February 21, 2017

Tom Reed got booed late last week when he told the crowd Obamacare would be repealed.

Republican Rep. Tom Reed met with chorus of boos as he discusses repealing Obamacare at town hall: https://t.co/Ob8D9pdCla pic.twitter.com/c92uYCb9eZ — ABC News (@ABC) February 18, 2017

In Iowa, the crowd started chanting "Do your job!" at Joni Ernst when the town hall came to an abrupt end.

Crowd erupts at Joni Ernst event in rural Iowa pic.twitter.com/cSd829Q4YC — Bradd Jaffy (@BraddJaffy) February 22, 2017

Ted Cruz did not hold a town hall...

And protesters let an absent Darrell Issa have it.

.@DarrellIssa Over 2000 of your constituents were looking for you at a #townhall they hosted for you tonight. #WhereIsIssa pic.twitter.com/DXXC0C4TtS— TashiLynn (@TashiLynnCA) February 22, 2017

Background reading: Why Republicans should be nervous about repeal, and inside the new effort from a McConnell-linked group to push back on conservative hardliners.

Go deeper

Debate night: Candidates' last face-off before Super Tuesday

Sanders, Biden, Klobuchar and Steyer in South Carolina on Feb. 25. Photo: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

Sen. Bernie Sanders wants to keep his momentum after winning contests in New Hampshire and Nevada, while former Vice President Joe Biden hopes to keep his own campaign alive. The other five candidates are just trying to hang on.What's happening: Seven contenders for the Democratic presidential nomination are in Charleston, South Carolina, for the tenth debate, just days before the South Carolina primary and a week before Super Tuesday. They're talking about health care, Russian interference in the election, the economy, gun control, marijuana, education, and race. chevronGo deeper# of Words

  • Of note: Within two debates, Michael Bloomberg has emerged as a lightning rod for candidates hungry to distinguish themselves as challengers to President Trump, the other New York City billionaire in this race. A third billionaire, Tom Steyer, returns to the debate stage after a bye in Nevada.
Foreign policy

What they're saying:

  • Bloomberg and Biden said they would not allow Chinese firms to build critical U.S. infrastructure.
  • Bloomberg advocating for placing U.S. troops overseas to combat terrorism.
  • Buttigieg, in response: "I don't think we need to have ground troops anywhere terrorists can gather because terrorists can gather everywhere in the world."
  • Klobuchar did not say whether she would close the border to Americans who have been exposed to the coronavirus. On North Korea she said she would meet with leader Kim Jong-un, "but I would do it with our allies."
  • Biden touted his experience dealing with the Ebola outbreak: "I was part of making sure that pandemic did not get to the United States."
  • Steyer: "If you look at the biggest threats to the United States, we're talking right now about coronavirus that cannot be solved within the borders of the United States, we're talking about climate change which is a global problem where we need U.S. leadership for countries around the world."
  • Warren, on moving the U.S. Embassy from Jerusalem back to Tel Aviv: "We should let the parties determine the capitals themselves."
  • Sanders: U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East should focus on "absolutely protecting the independence and security of Israel but you can not ignore the suffering of the Palestinian people.”

Catch up quick: Biden's foreign policy centers around restoring America's global leadership and alliances, while Sanders is more likely to condemn American imperialism and Warren contends that America has hurt itself by promoting globalization, Axios' Dave Lawler writes on top Democrats' plans for foreign affairs.

Russian interference in U.S. elections

What they're saying:

  • Former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg: "The Russians want chaos."
  • Sanders: "Putin, if I'm president of the United States, you're not going to interfere in any elections."
  • Biden: "The fact of the matter is we didn't have the information in the end," he said,of the 2016 election. The Obama administration theoretically could have done more to respond to reports of Russia interfering in the 2016 election, he added, advocating for imposing sanctions on Russia now.

Catch up quick: Sanders told reporters at a campaign stop last week that he was briefed by U.S. officials "about a month ago" on Russia's attempts to assist his 2020 presidential campaign, AP reports. "It was not clear what role they were going to play," he added.


What they're saying:

  • "You're not going to take it away," Bloomberg said on states that have already legalized marijuana — but he insisted that with kids in their late teens, "it may be damaging their brains."
  • Sanders would "legalize marijuana in every state in the country" and help African Americans, Native Americans, Latinos "to start businesses to sell legal marijuana."

What they're saying:

  • Warren: "My secretary of education will be someone who has taught in public schools," she said. "People across this country are being crushed by student loan debt."
  • Sanders pledged to "triple funding for low-income Title 1 schools, make public colleges and universities tuition-free" and improve teachers' wages.
  • Buttigieg: "We don't have an adequate mental health system to support kids," he said, also denouncing that teachers are expected to "somehow transform themselves into highly armed guards" in school shooting situations.

Catch up quick: Buttigieg supports free tuition at four-year public colleges for families earning up to $100,000. Biden has proposed a $750-billion plan to provide free tuition for community and technical college only, and Warren has pitched a $640-billion plan for public and private student-loan-debt cancellation.


What they're saying:

  • Buttigieg said that Bloomberg's stop-and-frisk policy was "in effect" racist.
  • Sen. Amy Klobuchar agreed.
  • Buttigieg: "I’m conscious of the fact that there’s seven white people on this stage talking about racial justice."
  • Warren: "We can no longer pretend that everything is race-neutral," she said on creating affordable housing. "It is important to recognize the role the federal government played for decades and decades in discrimination against African Americans having an opportunity to buy homes."
  • Biden said he would "go after people" causing gentrification. "We've got to deal with the institutional racism."
  • Steyer said he believes he is the only person on-stage who supports reparations.

Catch up quick: The retired U.S. District Court judge who ruled in 2013 that New York's stop-and-frisk policy violated the rights of people of color refuted Bloomberg's statements during the last debate.

Gun control

What they're saying:

  • Biden, on Sanders's vote for a 2005 bill that shields gun makers and sellers from lawsuits: "That has caused carnage on our streets,"
  • Buttigieg: "A second school shooting generation has now been produced," adding that the weaponry he trained to use for war has "no business" being sold near U.S. schools or businesses.
  • Warren emphasized that pushing gun safety legislation relies on rolling back the filibuster.

Catch up quick: A chronic lack of gun violence research and data inaccuracies have hindered change to gun laws in the U.S. Mass shootings are also becoming deadlier: 10 years ago the deadliest shooting left 16 people dead; in 2017 a shooting at a Las Vegas hotel killed 59.

Health care

What they're saying:

  • Sanders, when asked to do the math to pay for Medicare for All's major components: "How many hours do you have?"
  • Biden: "That's the problem."
  • The candidates all jumped in, talking over each other to denounce the plan's cost.

Catch up quick: The Urban Institute, a nonpartisan Washington think tank, estimates the cost of Medicare for All to be between $32 trillion to $34 trillion over the first 10 years.


What they're saying:

  • Sanders, on how he would convince voters that a Democratic socialist can do better than President Trump with the economy: "Well, you're right. The economy is doing really great for people like Mr. Bloomberg and other billionaires."

Catch up quick: Trump claims to have revolutionized the U.S. economy as the job market expands. But, prospective homeowners are finding it harder to find houses, and if federal debt continues to grow at its current pace, incomes will drop and interest payments to foreign debt holders will increase.Go deeper: What to watch in tonight's Democratic debate

Coronavirus spreads to Africa as U.S. soldier in South Korea tests positive

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens.

A 23-year-old American soldier stationed at Camp Carroll in South Korea has tested positive to the novel coronavirus, as the outbreak spreads to more countries.

The big picture: COVID-19 has killed more than 2,700 people and infected over 80,000 others, mostly in mainland China. Public health officials confirmed Tuesday the U.S. has 57 people with the novel coronavirus, mostly those repatriated from the Diamond Princess cruise ship.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 1 hour ago - Health

Bloomberg denies telling a pregnant employee to "kill it"

Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images.

Former Mayor Michael Bloomberg on the debate stage Tuesday denied telling a former employee to terminate her pregnancy.

Catch up quick: Per the Washington Post, a former saleswoman has alleged workplace discrimination against Bloomberg and his company and says Bloomberg told her to "kill it" when he learned she was pregnant. Bloomberg denied the allegation under oath and entered a confidential settlement with the woman.