tv CNN Right Now With Brianna Keilar CNN July 30, 2019 10:00am-11:00am PDT
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the test. and for a number of these candidates, tonight is do or die. how they perform will determine if this is their last debate or if they'll stay in the race. ana cabrera is live for us at the debate hall in detroit. tell us, ana, where some of the candidates are starting to arrive there for their walk-throughs, what can we expect? >> reporter: well, we have marianne williamson here. she is the first candidate to aprooif for her walk-through. she'll be on the debate stage left tonight. she's already getting a little acquainted with her podium and the debate space. she's somebody who's actually been on this stage before. she lived in the detroit area for about eight years in the late '90s and early 2000s. she was a faith leader in this community. and she has spoken several times, given lectures in this theater we are told, so that gives her a little bit of a comfort level even going into these debates. every candidate tonight will get their walk-through at some point this afternoon to become more acquainted and get the final
logistics. earlier we went behind the scenes to give you an up close look. here it is. this is where all the action will happen tonight. ten candidates, ten podiums each night. before the candidates come and debate they'll get a chance to visit the theater, to get a real sense of the venue. take a look around. this place is gorgeous. this theater was built in the 1920s. when it opened in 1928, it was believed to be the second largest theater in the world. amanda, go ahead and take a seat so our viewers at home can get a sense of what the live audience will see tonight. you get a real feel for how grand this theater is. this is the flagship venue of the fox theater chain. can you imagine seeing a show on that stage? so many big names have taken that stage. big names like stevie nicks and bill and hillary clinton have signed the walls here just backstage. somewhere in here you'll finding the signatures of frank sinatra, smokey robinson, jay leno and countless others who have had their time in the fox theater spotlight. let's head onstage.
as the candidates do their walk-throughs today, they'll have a chance to stand behind their podium to take a look out at this empty sea of seats, which come debate time there will be about 2,000 live audience member, all people invited by the democratic national committee from local colleges and elsewhere. candidates will be talking to them and to those cameras up there, hoping their message connects with you. okay, so again, marianne williamson is up first. within the next hour we expect to see bernie sanders and elizabeth warren, the two candidates who will be center stage tonight. they will be joined by several others. we've got williamson, tim ryan, amy klobuchar, pete buttigieg, beto o'rourke, john hickenlooper, john delaney and steve bullock. brianna, that is the lineup for debate night one here in these presidential democratic debates from detroit. back to you. >> we are looking forward to that, ana. thank you so much for that lovely tour. we're tracking a number of key
matchups in this first of two debates tonight. arlette saenz is there. take us through some of the candidates who may be going one-on-one tonight. >> reporter: ten candidates are getting ready to battle it off and there will be major face-offs not just based on personality but also on policy. that starts off with elizabeth warren and bernie sanders. this will be the first time those two candidates are sharing debate stage. they are in sync with each other ideologically and they're also appealing to that same type of progressive voter. now, the bernie sanders and elizabeth warren camps point out that they are long-time friends and say not to expect any fireworks between the two. but you are going to hear them try to make those small policy differences clear that they have with each other. now, next up a possible matchup is mayor pete buttigieg versus former congressman beto o'rourke. beto o'rourke entered this race after the enthusiasm of his close senate race down in texas, but he's really floundered in
recent weeks. so he's looking for ways to get back into the heat of this primary debate. one way he can do that is potentially going after south bend mayor pete buttigieg, who also needs to make a mark tonight. buttigieg has a lot of money, he's raised a lot of cash, but he is in the lower tier right now of the polls. so he is also looking for moments to move up. now, there's also this policy debate that you're going see play out between the moderates and progressives. one issue that is likely going to be highlighted tonight is health care and medicare for all. you're going to have candidates like amy klobuchar, john delaney, pushing back on that medicare for all argument that's being made by bernie sanders and elizabeth warren. and then finally, there's that group of candidates kind of on the outskirts of the stage who really need to have a defining moment in this debate in order to continue on in the democratic primary. so you're going to have people like marianne williamson, tim ryan, governor steve bullock,
who's appearing on the debate stage for the first time. so there's so much at stake for these candidates and we'll see how all of this plays out in just a few hours. >> all right, arlette saenz in detroit, thank you. right now you're looking at live pictures coming to us from the debate hall. marianne williamson is doing her walk-through of the cnn debate stage. she's probably the candidate who has the biggest uphill climb to break through. but if the last debate is any indication, she will likely have some colorful moments. let's bring in jeff zeleny and kyung lah from detroit. let's start with marianne williamson. she is going to be on the edge of the stage. she's getting acclimated for what is a different -- different setting for sure than the last debate. always important for these candidates to have these moments to acquaint themselves with the stage. but let's take a look at one of her notable moments from the last debate. >> my first call is to prime
minister of new zealand, who said that her goal is to make new zealand the place where it's the best place in the world for a child to grow up of the and i will tell her, girlfriend, you are so wrong because the united states of america is going to be the best place in the world for a child to grow up. >> now, jeff, she did actually kind of break through last debate, but maybe not for exactly the right reasons or for what you would expect from a candidate. >> brianna, she certainly did. she was, i would say, the freshest candidate in terms of her voice an what she had to say, in terms of she wasn't spouting policies. i remember at that debate she sort of praised president trump by saying his slogan of make america great again was something that resonated with voters. it wasn't a 10-point policy plan. look, she is a best-selling author, she is a motivational speaker, so she is going to have her voice up there tonight, but it may also, brianna, be her last debate that she has. she is not essentially raising
much money or polling as strong low as some of the others, but we will see. i certainly look for her to perhaps bring a bit of levity to the evening and she brings out something that the other candidates don't necessarily have. >> and kyung, there are a number of candidates like her who are lower tier, trying to separate themselves from the rest of the candidates. what do they need to do tonight? >> yeah, some of these guys still suffer from who's that guy? people at home turn on their tv tonight and still don't recognize who some of these candidates are. they don't exactly know which one delaney is. so they need to try to have a moment where they break through, but they want to break through for the right reasons. they want to make sure that they have something substantive to say and that lasts. the way i'll put this is you want to keep this into context. kamala harris is still trying to get her name known. she's one of the top tier candidates. she's still in the phase of trying to introduce herself to people. someone like marianne williamson may have some name recognition,
but is she someone who is going to be remembered and remembered in a substantive way? some of these low tier candidates like tim ryan and john hickenlooper wanting to be remembered for what they believe and make it last. >> and that is marianne williamson behind the podium as she does her walk-through ahead of tonight's first night of debating. jeff, joe biden, he's not going to be on the stage tonight. do you think he's going to be there in spirit? will candidates be focusing on him? >> i think there's no question, brianna. he is still the leader in this race. he's not, of course, the front-runner that he was going into miami just based on his performance there, but he is the leader in this field. so i think as of now, he may be a place holder or he may be a firm leader. we'll know more after this debate. he'll be on tomorrow evening. there's no question that joe biden presents himself as the strongest candidate to defeat president trump. others may be raising questions
about that tonight. he definitely will be there in spirit as well as policy. the best way to get attention is for a lower tear candidate to go after the front-runner, but i do believe the conversation tonight will be about the ideological divides inside this democratic party. bernie sanders and elizabeth warren at the center of the stage, but certainly more moderate candidates filling out to either side of them. >> and kyung, kamala harris had this big moment during the last debates. is that something that will make her a target tonight? or do you think that she will be very separate from what the candidates are talking about this evening? >> well, perhaps not tonight but certainly tomorrow the campaign is expecting that. >> but i mean tonight considering she's not -- she's not going to be on the stage tonight, but she is someone who had the best moment at the last debate. so even though she's not onstage tonight, do you think that we'll see anyone trying to differentiate themselves from her, especially with this new -- she has a new health care plan out. >> yes, exactly. because of the specificity of
her health care plan, because it has been released just before this, health care is absolutely something that is going to be on the stage tonight. i think we all know what an impact it had on democratic voters in the midterms, and so absolutely. it may inform the debate tonight more than anything because harris has put herself ideologically between joe biden and bernie sanders. she's taking it from all sides. while you saw her campaign today release a number of experts who are beefing up her argument, saying that it is a legitimate plan, that this is where democrats are going to be heading. that's what we're hearing from the campaign. certainly i believe it's going to inform the debate this evening, brianna. >> all right, thank you so much to both of you. you're watching marianne williamson in the debate hall in detroit walking off the stage. she is going through her run-through so that she can have a sense of what the space is like. all of the candidates are going to be doing this, all ten candidates ahead of the debate tonight.
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detroit. senator elizabeth warren in the middle of her walk-through getting a sense of the space there. she is going to be in the middle of the stage. there is going to be a lot of focus on her and on senator bernie sanders. i want to talk now to the co-founder and managing editor at the beat d.c., tiffany cross, to discuss what we're going to be seeing center stage. we'll have elizabeth warren and bernie sanders. you could argue that they're in the same lane, right? >> right. >> they're to the left, they're progressive, they're also friends. how do they differentiate from one another? >> i don't think there's a lot of space there between the two ideologically, but i do think it's a misnomer to say she's only pulling votes away from bernie sanders. i think that's inside the beltway chatter class talk. she also resonates very well with black women which pulls away from kamala harris. she's an hbcu graduate.
people assume that would be a camp that harris would win, but warren has been speaking specifically to that voting bloc, chipping away at that. i don't know that these rematch analogies that we keep giving, i don't know that that's accurate once you get out of this space. >> and tonight -- that's a very interesting point that she can probably try to differentiate herself from a number of candidates. but doing so next to bernie sanders, considering they're cordial. they have a friendship. how do they do that tonight and remain true to that? >> look, i think that's a really good question. they can do that. the problem is america tends to want a sound bite. they tend to want to see this moment. really this is an opportunity for the candidates to speak directly to the american people. they're not competing with each other, they're competing with 20 candidates and they're competing with the false ideology that trump has created this great economy, that trump is looking out for health care, that trump has this great economic plan for
people of color. you can look at the data and see that that's not true. it's up to the candidates to tell that story to the american people. i think one thing people wanting to see, even let's say there's a moment of discord between warren and sanders. people want to see can you throw a punch at trump? that's the person they want to see can you battle. so i think it's okay if they have this intellectual discussion on policy tonight while also showing we can be cordial and more intellectual and also throw a punch at somebody who we all know can fight dirty. >> i'll be really surprised if they get into it with each other. >> i don't think they will. listen, there are a lot of issues exacting the american people. they need to focus on those. they're in detroit. education is a huge issue there. that's betsy devos' backyard. her family has bankrolled the charter school industry with billions of dollars. this is something they should focus on because a lot of families were impacted by those policies. they don't want to see them fight with each other, they want to hear who is speaking to me.
it's interesting, senator harris had a moment like that during the last debate where a lot of the people were fighting and she said, guys, the american people don't want to see a food fight. she ended up looking like the adult on the stage that night. so i think they run risks if there's too much back and forth with each other. >> they pay want to see both. >> this is the challenge of having an audience in the room. they're speaking to people with midwest issues and values but they're also talking to the entire country. there are a lot of world leaders across the globe focusing on this as well. when you have the audience in there, it can look like you're trying to sing for your supper and tap dance for a sound bite. when you lose the audience and just focus on what the candidates are saying, they're not trying to fight for applause, i think it better informs the audience at home, voters at home who don't necessarily want to see a viral sound bite but want to hear how their lives will be impacted by the next election. >> tiffany cross, thank you so, so much. you're watching live pictures from the debate hall in
detroit. senator elizabeth warren is there at the podium that she will be taking tonight in the first of two nights of this debate. this is a very important moment. some of this may seem to be, i don't know, superficial you could say, but there are a lot of lights on these candidates. they need to understand the physicality of the stage they're going to be on so that they can move forward with the message that they have been practicing now since the last debate and that they want to get out there to democratic voters. we're also waiting now for senator bernie sanders. he's going to be having a walk-through before he takes the stage next to senator elizabeth warren tonight. do they try to differentiate themselves? do we see their friendship on display? do we see differences on display? also, black lawmakers in virginia are boycotting the president's event today. we're going to talk to one of them. i used to book my hotel room on those travel sites but there was
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all right, you're looking at a live picture there inside of the debate hall in detroit. we are awaiting senator bernie sanders. he is in the building, so it's just a matter of time here as he comes onto the stage to do his walk-through. all of the candidates are doing this, taking the moment behind the podium that they will be standing behind this evening, so that they can get acclimated
physically to the space that they will be in. all right. here we have senator -- is this senator sanders? no, that's jeff weaver, that's his former campaign chairman. now you see senator sanders who is there onstage inside the debate hall in detroit as he is getting ready and gearing up for tonight. i want to bring in wolf blitzer, he is there in detroit. this is -- we just saw senator elizabeth warren, wolf, and now we're seeing senator bernie sanders. and i think this is the pair that most observers are looking at tonight, because they operate somewhat in the same lane ideologically and yet they really have a friendship, right? >> they do have a good friendship, brianna. they have been friends all these years in the senate. they agree on many, many issues. they describe themselves a bit differently, but clearly they're both going after the more progressive elements in the democratic party.
they're competing for that progressive base in the democratic party. so let's see what happens. later tonight they'll be standing in the middle of the stage, the two of them. i suspect it will be very cordial, it will be very pleasant. it's not going to be very divisive or anything like that. they both have to work together, although while they agree on so many issues, they disagree on substantive issues as well. >> and that's what i'm expecting as well, that we're not going to see any testy exchange between these two people who have a very friendly relationship. so then how do they differentiate themselves? is it that they show that they can fight when it comes to president trump but not to each other? >> well, they will -- there will be some significant contrasts not necessarily between the two of them at the center of the stage but some of the other democratic presidential candidates. there will be a total of ten each night, as you know, and several of the others have made it clear they don't necessarily support medicare for all, which
is bernie sanders -- one of his main, main policy points. and so there will be differences. for example, i'm looking at some of the other democratic candidates. i suspect john delaney, for example, one of the candidates, maybe tim ryan. beto o'rourke, maybe pete buttigieg. there will be some substantive differences that will go forward tonight. biden obviously is not in the debate tonight, he's in the debate tomorrow night. if he had been there, then there could have been a bit more fireworks. but i suspect that elizabeth warren and bernie sanders will try to be as cordial to each other as possible, even though on some of the substantive issues they disagree. she still calls herself a capitalist, as you know. he calls himself a democratic socialist. >> and again, we are watching live pictures there from inside the debate hall in detroit. bernie sanders is joined there to his right, to our left, by his wife, jane, as he is doing this walk-through ahead of this first of two nights. he'll be there in the center of
the stage among ten candidates who are debating tonight. wolf, it is interesting to picture senator sanders and senator warren in the center of this stage and as you said make taking some of this ideological incoming from people who don't agree with them on either side of the center of the stage. but when it comes to elizabeth warren and bernie sanders, even though ideologically they describe themselves differently, as you said, how different are their policy positions? >> there are some differences. there are some significant differences. when she calls herself a capitalist, she's a capitalist, but she wants to really go way beyond current policy and heavily regulate capitalism. deal with the banks, for example, the big banks, the investment firms, the credit card companies. she really wants some major, major changes in regulation. and bernie sanders has a different concept as a democratic socialist. you know, he wants the government involved in handling so many of these kinds of
issues. by the way, as we look at those pictures, you can see they're standing there at the podium. they have done these debates before, clearly, including the first presidential debate but their staffs and themselves want to make sure they feel comfortable and 2347bd what'sun what's in store for them tonight, who's going to be on the left action who's going to be on the right as far as the ten candidates are concerned. that's what's being explained to them. you see our washington bureau chief explaining some of the details and some of the rules specifically about later tonight as well. >> and, wolf, as someone -- you've been on a debate stage so many times moderating. speak to this how important it is that they have this walk-through. things sound different. things look different. there's so many lights on these candidates. and they're there to really provide a message and try to win over people and they want to make sure that they're not worried about these other
issues. >> right. it's very, very important because each debate stage, whether there are two candidates left or ten candidates, the debate stages in the different cities, they have usually different. you've got to really feel comfortable. it's one less thing they have to worry about if they have been there, they have walked around the stage, they're being told how they'll be introduced and what order they'll be introduced. they'll walk out there and have a little opening statement, they'll have closing statements at the ending of the debate. so it's something they go through with the candidates to make sure the candidates inspected what's in store for them during the course of the debate, which all of our viewers by now know starts at 8:00 p.m. eastern later tonight and tomorrow night. >> and what is so different being on the stage for a candidate versus, say, giving an interview? they're used to giving interviews on television, but this is such a different atmosphere that they're in. >> right, because there are specific rules, how long they can answer a question, if
they're attacked by another candidate how many seconds they'll have to rebut and then they'll try to interfere. the moderators usually, and i can speak with some authority on this, they'll try their best to make sure that the interference isn't too much. but there will be -- there will be some of that. and i'm sure we'll be seeing some of that going on. i don't think there will necessarily be a lot of interference between elizabeth warren and bernie sanders, but some of the other candidates who are fighting for their political lives as far as being democratic presidential candidates are concerned, i suspect they're going to be coming out very, very tough. they're going to be swinging and they're going to be going after, at least tonight, i suspect, bernie sanders and elizabeth warren. >> i definitely agree. wolf blitzer, thank you so much in detroit there for us. you can catch wolf's special coverage which is going to be starting at 4:00 p.m. today. we do have more arrivals. any moment there at the debate stage inside the debate hall in new york, including mayor pete
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to take the stage, to get an explainer of really the movements of what will happen tonight, where they will be introduced, for instance. they'll see where the moderators are. they'll get a sense of all of the lighting and the sound there in the room. and we see senator bernie sanders now behind the podium in the center of the stage, which is where he will be tonight next to elizabeth warren. we're going to keep monitoring what is going on live there at the debate hall in detroit. but this is senator sanders' walk-through right now. we're awaiting others, including mayor pete buttigieg of south bend, indiana. another story that we're covering here, a group of black state legislators in virginia boycotting president trump's event today in jamestown because of the president's persistent racist attacks on minority lawmakers. the virginia legislative black caucus says that trump's presence there tarnishes today's commemorations, which are being held to honor the 400th anniversary of representative government there, the birth of
american democracy. when asked about the boycotts earlier at the white house, trump said this. >> i am the least racist person there is anywhere in the world. they're fighting against their people, because the african-american people have been calling the white house. they have never been so happy as what a president has done. they're so happy that i pointed out the corrupt politics of baltimore. it's filthy dirty. it's so horrible. and they are happy as hell. so you may have a couple of politicians boycott, but it's all a fix, it's all a fix. the fact is african-american people love the job i'm doing because i'm working for them. i'm not working for the politicians. >> delegate lamont bagby is joining us now. delegate, tell us why you decided to boycott this event. >> well, it was a unanimous decision by the virginia
legislative black caucus not to attend the event after we got word that the invitation went out to the president. >> and what was the reasoning? >> we decided to do that by what you just laid out, the hateful rhetoric that continues to come out of the president's mouth and what you just played, just continues to show us that he is tone deaf and he is not listening to the people. put politics and politicians aside, these are people that are crying out saying listen to us. what we had -- what we ran into with the commemoration was a challenge where the individuals that were planning the commemoration weren't listening to the african-americans, the blacks that served on their planning foundation. and so those individuals like dolores mcquinn and mayor stoney
and individuals like the first african-american president of the -- excuse me, first african-american governor in the united states, doug wilder, all were trying to tell them ways that they could incorporate our history, and it's not just african-american black history, it's all of virginians and all of american history into this commemoration. and they just were all not listening. >> so you feel like they weren't representing these key black voices. do you think the president should have been in attendance at all at this event? >> when i first heard that he received an invitation, i thought it was a bad joke. i couldn't believe such a historic event, they would invite a person that continues to say to this day, to this very day, to tell individuals to go back. >> and i wonder, because he said
that trump says -- or trump says this is what we just heard him say, that african-americans have never been so happy. we know polling doesn't show that, though. how are your african-american constituents responding? what are you hearing about these racist attacks that we've been hearing from the president? >> well, i think it was a demand not by the electeds, but it was a demand by the community to say you all cannot participate in that. you cannot participate in that. and so what we did was we pulled together some alternative activities for individuals to attend and one was at the slave trail. we also laid a wreath at the general assembly where the blacks that served before reconstruction, and we also visited -- excuse me, determined
at the virginia museum. >> delegate lamont bagby, thank you so much for joining us. >> thank you so much. this was the story of the 2016 election in michigan. districts flipping from obama to trump. i'm going to talk with a mayor from one of the districts who says he regrets his vote. ♪ how do you like it, ♪ how do you like it ♪ ♪ more, more, more ♪ how do you like it, how do you like it ♪ all you can eat is back. how do you like that? applebee's. now that's eatin' good in the neighborhood. this melting pot of impacted species. everywhere is going to get touched by climate change.
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as candidates converge on detroit for the cnn debates, local leaders wanted to flag an important campaign stop, mccomb county. during the 2016 election, dozens of long-held democratic precincts were flipped there. it could be the place where one of the magic questions is answered, will voters give the president a pass for his racist rhetoric if his economic policies continue to promote growth? michael taylor hey be able to provide some insight for us. he is the mayor of sterling heights, michigan, which is in mccomb county. mayor, you voted for president obama twice. then you voted for president trump in 2016 instead of hillary clinton. you now say you regret voting for trump. why is that?
>> well, thank you, bro aianna. i will correct you, i did not vote for obama twice, but i can vote that i did vote for him once. but i voted for >> my apologies for that. tell us about your buyer's remorse. >> when i talk to voters in macomb county, they're tuned in to what's going on with the county, and their 401(k). there was a breaking point at some point with the president. while i appreciate that we have jobs and a lot of economic growth, i wish he would tone down the rhetoric, i do. >> you said economic issues are what matter to your constituents. >> right. >> what are they telling you in terms of how they are feeling economically. >> they're happy. i have to be honest. the people in sterling heights,
they see their wages going up, the property values going up, we live in a safe city, we live in a clean city, with people who have jobs, a low unemployment rate. to the people in sterling heights, which is a predictive city, that's going to be the number one concern is this an economy that's working for me right now. if it is, no matter what he says and does on his twitter feed, the voters are going to take a hard look at retaining him so they can continue and we can continue this economic success that's going on in the country. >> mayor michael taylor, thank you so much for joining us. >> my pleasure. thank you. >> mitch mcconnell defended himself. his actions in blocking bills to enhance election security have made him an asset for the
russians. mcconnell responded by calling the column modern mccarthyism. and just a short time ago president trump was asked about this and here's what he said. >> i think the washington post is a russian asset by comparison. mitch mcconnell loves our country. he's done a great job mitch mcconnell is a man that knows less about russia. and i know nothing, i think it's a disgrace. if they said that, i didn't read it. if they actually said that, that mitch mcconnell is an asset of russia, they ought to be ashamed of themselves and they ought to apologize. >> dana milbank is joining me now, are you ashamed of yourself, are you going to apologize and what did you think of the president's response? >> the president said he hadn't read the piece. perhaps he would have a different view if he had, i suspect he wouldn't. it's typical of donald trump's
responses. no puppet, no puppet. you're the puppet. >> he said mcconnell knows less about russia and russian influence than he does. he said he knows nothing. that is odd that he says that, they know nothing. mcconnell knows nothing, considering his own indel agencies have concluded that there was sweeping and systemic interference in the election by russians. >> the senate intelligence committee came out last week with this extensive report, three months after mitch mcconnell announced it case closed. others said it's not, they want to make sure they get to the bottom of this and turn over every rock, the president was trying to say mitch mcconnell hasn't done anything wrong. no one was particularly suggesting otherwise, i don't think he meant to suggest he doesn't know anything about russia. >> why do you think there's been
a backlash from mcconnell and the president on this. >> well, i think when -- look, whenever somebody said they're doing something that's unpatriotic, it's sort of -- it's difficult to have a debate, i've written that under these circumstances, the president on a daily basis is saying the press is unpatriotic. he just retweeted something saying the democrats are the true enemy of the american people. so it is interesting that mcconnell has seen a little bit of that saying a particular action was unpatriotic, not even he himself is unpatriotic, and he's reacting very angrily, i think he gets a sense of how donald trump has changed our politics and have a reasonable debate. >> do you think more people now have read this column? >> judging from the comments, i suspect that it did have the purpose of -- the effect of bringing more people to read it in the first place.
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in detroit. good to be with you it is game day. we're six hours away from the fox theater, will fill its stage with ten presidential candidates for night one of two nights. it's been a little more than a month since these democrats first faced off. a lot has happened. racist rhetoric from the president of the united states. testimony from former special counsel robert mueller, discussions that could make or break the challenges president trump in 2020. these candidates are converging off fresh poll numbers. joe biden has a double-digit lead over his rivals. senator elizabeth warren surging in this latest poll while senator kamala harris and bernie sanders has slipped.