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tv   Joe Biden Climate Town Hall  CNN  September 4, 2019 5:00pm-5:40pm PDT

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. welcome to our viewers in the united states and around the world. i'm anderson cooper. if our planet warms more than 2.7 degrees fahrenheit. 1.5 degrees celsius, we're facing massive and dangerous tipping points. flooded coastal cities and island nations and the destruction of coral reefs. tonight cnn is dedicating an entireight to the climate emergency and how the top ten democratic presidential candidates plan to address this urgent threat. we're coming to you tonight as hurricane dorian, the strongest
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storm anywhere on the planet this year has decimated parts of the bahamas and threatening the east coast. ahead, we'll speak with bernie sanders and elizabeth warren joining me on stage former vice president joe biden. [ applause ] >> nice to see you, sir. >> so welcome, going to have an audience question in a minute. broad strokes here, your climate plan calls for zero, net zero emissions by the year 2050. there is a lot of policy makers out there that say look, it's got to be done faster talking ten, 12 years. your climate change plan talks about spending 1 .7 trillion. there is other candidates talking about spending $16 trillion. is your plan aggressive enough? that's the question. >> yes, i think it is aggressive enough and gotten good reviews for most of the environmental community. it's been rated very highly and
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i think that it is aggressive enough. look, science and technology will change. and as it changes, we learn more and can do more. i'd love to do it by 2030. i'd love to do it by 2035. in terms of net zero emissions but i've known no scientists that say that's able to be done right now but one thing we have to do, we have to start quickly, we have to start and do things that we know can be done immediately and progress from there and just keep moving. there is a lot we have to do by 2030 to set in place a set of institutional structures that mean you can't turn it around like this president has done the few things that were in fact in place. >> i want to go to the audience. i want you to meet katy from shorewood, wisconsin. she's 19 years old and the executive director of future collisia collision. >> good for you, katy. >> good evening. my question for you is older generations have continued to fail our generation by
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repeatedly choosing money and power over our lives and futures so how we can trust you to put us the future over the wants of large corporations and wealthy individuals? >> because i've never done it. i've never made that choice. my whole career. simple. i mean, look, i got involved back in 1986. i introduced a climate change plan that was said to be a game changer. i've been involved in everything from making sure we go with back in the '90s, everything i've done has been done to take on the polluters and take on those who are in fact decimating our environment. i mean, it's been my career. >> would you support a carbon tax, some other candidates say they would? >> i would. here is what we have to do. the bottom line of this is what we have to do is understand that you need to be able to bring
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people and countries and interests together to get anything done. you can have plans are great, but executing on those plans is very different. we make up, it's the threat of not this generation but the whole world, the threat that exists. we don't move on it number one. >> you said this is a threat. >> it is a threat. there is no doubt about that. and the fact of the matter is that we make up 15% of the problem. the rest of the world makes up 80%, 85% of the problem. if we did everything perfectly, everything and we must and should in order to get other countries to move, we still have to get the rest of the world to come along and the fact of the matter is we have to up the ante considerably and i have great experience in leading collisions at home and internationally and i can do that better than anybody, no matter what their plans are. >> that's one thing president trump said about the climate change accord, the i greeagreem
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other countries are going to be following it. >> he's dead wrong across the board on basically everything. i'm not being facetious. we have to choose since ovcienc fantasy here. the fact of the matter what he did by removing the united states as the leader, the paris climate accord, he in fact dissipated the enthusiasm across the board, the rest of the country says wait a minute. why are we engaged in this if the united states is stepping down? we're in a position where we put that together and i was the one that suggested to president obama, i don't want to confuse presidents here, president obama that china would be part of this effort after i came back from a long meeting with ping. as we have pulled out there is no leadership. i was president today, i would
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at the g 7 made sure this was the topic. there would be no empty chair. i would be pulling the g 7 together. i would be down with the president of brazil saying enough is enough. this is what we're going to do and this is what is going to happen if you don't do it. this is to bring the world together. folks, look, this is such an urgent problem we need to be able -- first thing i'd do as president of the united states is call a meeting of all the nations who signed onto the court in washington d.c. to up the ante because we have learned so much just in the last three years about the science of what has to happen quicker and the world knows it and we should be in a position where we generate support around the rest of the world and those who don't do their part, don't participate, then in fact they face consequences. they face consequences. >> i want to ask you more about that in a minute. i want to introduce you to the phd candidate studying synthetic biology, which honestly, i don't
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know what that is. >> it's awesome. >> he supports bernie sanders but you can change his mind tonight. isa isaac? >> it doesn't look like i'd do that. >> senator biden, i'm 27 years old half of all greenhouse emissions have been released in my lifetime despite the well-documented fact that 40 years ago, scientists at exxon and shell knew and reported to their bosses that burning fossil fuels was warming the planet and would destabilize the climate. fossil fuel corporations, their executives and trade and industry organizations and their think tank front groups have waged a decade's long campaign of lying to the public about the science and brought us to a crisis that threatens the entire human race. i know you signed the no fossil fuel money pledge but i have to ask how can we trust you to hold the corporations and executives accountable for their crimes
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against humanity when we know tomorrow you are holding high dollar fundraiser hosted by andrew gold mman, a fossil fuel executive. >> he's not a fossil fuel executive -- [ applause ] >> he was not a fossil fuel executive and the fact of the matter is what we talk about is what are we going to do about those corporations? have we done? everywhere along the way, for example, i've argued and we pushed for us suing those executives who are engaged in pollution, those companies engaged in pollution. i never walked away from that. i've been a person who when i was chairman of the foreign relations committee, got involved in plans to be able to join people together in order to take on these cooperate interests. when back in 1986 one of the first climate plans that existed, it was said to be a game changer. i've been engaged in this from the beginning. >> let me inform our audience about details that everyone was talking about. it's important a lot of people
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don't know about the studies you cited 2017 there was a study that examined public and private communications from exxonmobil. for 40 years while the company publicly was raising doubts about climate change and the dangers of it internally, exxonmobil scientists and executives were acknowledging the threat to the planet. there was 2018 a dutch news organization that uncovered internal communications from royal dutch shell showing they understood the impacts of climate change and the company's contribution back to the '80s. let me point out that in response to harvard, exxon said our statements are consistent with the understanding of climate science and shell said the position is a matter of public record for decades. we strongly support the paris edition on climate change. will you hold fossil fuel corporations and executives that lied to the public accountable? >> yes, like we did the tobacco indust industry. >> how do you do that?
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>> try to change the law. you go after them and try to change the law. >> to his other question about this fundraiser, there is a fundraiser tomorrow night it's given by andrew goldman, he's a -- he does hedge funds and stuff but also as a company called western l and g and the biggest project was announced in 2018 a floating facility for natural gas off the coast of british columombia and provide s to northern asia. what andrew is saying, if you're going to a fundraiser given in part by this company that is pulling up natural gas, are you the right guy? >> i didn't realize he does that. if you look at the scc filings, he's not listed as an executive. that's what we look at. the scc filings. who are those executives? i kept that pledge. period. >> so is that -- are you going to look at that tomorrow night? >> i'll look at what you told me and find out if that's accurate, yes. >> i think it's pretty accurate.
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isaac, i called you aaron, apologize. thank you for your question. i apologize for taking up so much time but thought it was important to give context. i want to go to fr. >> every one of my fundraisers is open to the press. there is nothing done behind closed doors. every single fundraiser i've had. >> do you ever regret that? >> not at all. >> i'm kidding. >> here is francine strike. >> my 24-year-old daughter jessie and her friend jacob were killed in super storm sandy by falling trees. and many others were killed that night by rising waters. since then there have been worldwide super storms, severe weather impacting hundreds, thousands, we seen an example of that tonight. what specific steps and i mean step would you take, you said something before, but what
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specific steps would you take in your first year regarding policies, funding, safe communities, jobs that would help mitigate the impact of climate change in your first year and then what would you want to have accomplished at the end of your first term if elected? >> first of all, we have to do is go back and turn back all of the changes that in fact the president has made from cafe standards to moving in the direction that we in fact deal with providing people who get displaced opportunities to have jobs by sending them back to school, by doing continued education. a whole range of things. i would see to it immediately moving towards, you know, we are in fact in a position now that if in fact we dealt with mitigation across the board, guess what we did in the last administration and before leading to a standard that we provide efficiency for appliances, that saves billions of gallons of gasoline, billions
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of, $2.3 i think billion worth of, excuse me, $500 billion in savings and 2.something billion met trick tons of co 2 going in the air. we should do it across the board. we should -- i propose we have 500,000 charging stations in the new green economy. we should own, we should own the electric vehicle market. we should raise the cafe standards back to where they were that would save 12 billion gallons of oil to begin with and move beyond. i think we should be in fact doubling what we're doing immediately with regard to solar and wind. i would make sure that we -- and i'd go on from there but the bottom line is to set in place standards that cannot be walked away from when in fact the next president if someone else comes along does what trump tries to do. >> that's an important point. how do you -- what can you do that president obama couldn't to
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make sure these things aren't able to be reversed by executive fiat -- >> you're looking at it right now. these people right here it's like a lot of things people didn't know when he became president until they started to take it away and wait a minute, man, look what that's done. we changed the cafe standards. that means boom. that means bang. everybody knows now. knows what he has done and it's raised the ante significantly. no one can any longer, i remember when i introduced that bill back in 1986, what are you talking about biden? what's the crisis? it wasn't -- we didn't have super storm sandy at the time. we didn't have all these things that are occurring that people now know and were predicted they would occur. we weren't losing species that in fact we find are not going to be able to -- they will never return. i mean, there is a whole range of things.
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look what is happening in the amazon. the amazon is a natural carbon sink. it absorbs more co 2 in the air from the air than if we took every single automobile off the road in the united states of america. what is going on? nothing. nothing. we're talking about $2 million. we should be organizing the world, demanding the change. that's -- there are things i have done internationally. we need a diplomat in chief, as well to be able to put this together. that's in my wheelhouse. i've done that my whole career. >> i want to introduce you by video to sue mitchell, a retired teacher from grand junction, colorado. this is her question. >> even though president obama knew of the seriousness of the climate crisis back in 2008, he chose to spend his political capital on health care and then wasn't able to enact the kind of systemic changes needed to
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prevent climate catastrophe. how will you prioritize climate change action if you become president? >> first of all, in defense of president obama, everything landed on his desk but locus. we were heading toward, we had the greatest financial catastrophe in the world short of a depression. nothing occurred like that before. it was getting america out of a ditch. we were in real, real trouble. we began a period of economic growth. he moved on on health care because he thought it was so important that it happened at the time. what from the beginning he also moved to deal with cafe standards, he pushed very hard, he's the reason why we have the paris climate accord. that's how we got it. no other president came close to doing anything like that. but there is much, much more that need be done. at the time that accord was signed, we talked about well, we'll reach by 40% by this. the fact is we've learned a great deal more, the sciences
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accumulating so rapidly but this president pays no attention to it. so what are we doing? is going on right now? >> i want to ask you about the green new deal . in your plan you say it's a crucial frame work for meeting the challenges we face and two basic truths we need to combat with ambition on an epic scale and the environment and economy are in your words completely and totally connected. you're not saying you support everything in the original green new deal. does it go too far? is it unrealistic. >> it doesn't have a lot of specifics but exactly what we'll do with regard to greenhouse gases and it doesn't have specifics of what programs you will initiate to be able to deal with getting net zero emission. what are the things we should be doing. where should the focus be?
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it doesn't talk about the 85% of the rest of the world in fact, we could do -- we're not. we have to. we could do everything perfectly well. everything. and we're still going to have a catastrophe nationally, internationally and around the world. because 85% of the problem, 85% is the rest of the world. and so the idea, i think the green new deal deserves an enormous amount of credit for bringing this to ahead in a way that it hasn't been before. it hasn't been. but the reason i don't know, i'm not opposed to the green new deal, what i did, i thought beyond at least in more detail what the green new deal is calling for, how to do the things we need to do. when they have to be done. how quickly we should move. how much we should invest. et cetera. it's based on science and look, i just look at all the organizations, that many of you belong to and how they raided my
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plan. on balance b plus or beyond that by every organization. so the idea -- you're shaking your head no but that's true. the fact of the matter is that where are we? >> for you and your thinking, how much do you take into consideration jobs for folks in ohio and pennsylvania and how much is, you know, thinking for seven generations out for the population of the world? >> it's all about seven generations out but you got to deal with what is going on with jobs. this is an enormous opportunity. an enormous opportunity. we can create over 10 million jobs, they are making $25 an hour. we're not talking about jobs you're going to get a minimum wage. we can do so much if we invest the kind of money -- for example, i call for immediately investing $400 billion in research and development now. and go -- i mean, so the idea that we're not going to -- look,
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what bothers me most about what is going on in the country today, we're walking around with our heads down like what will we do? we're in such great trouble. this is the united states of america. there is not a thing we've not been able to accomplish once we set our mind to it. we have the best scientists in the word and when we resolve what we're going to do and because of all of you in the studio audience and all those organizations that i've been associated with, they have decided enough is enough is enough. we have to act. and so that -- i mean, i just am -- we can create enormous opportunity. pennsylvania and minnesota in california across the board. just think what happens. if we are able to move in a direction we have 500,000 charging stations for electric vehicles, what does that do? well, that gives us a corner on the electric vehicle market. that will create thousands of good jobs in the automobile
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industry. we will own the market. own the market. and we will be in addition to that transferring the technology that we come up with, more than any other country in the world with our capacity selling it to the rest of the world. we'll be creating jobs. and i just -- the idea that now the one thing you have to do in my view, some people will be displaced, some will be more displaced than others and you can't just say well, what we're going to do is automatically you're going to all of a sudden make solar panels or because, you know, when you look at when they say they are the two biggest job creators coming down the road solar and wind. well, look what happened to our administration. we cut by an enormous amount of -- an enormous percentage the efficiency of being able to generate wind and solar energy.
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it's about what we can generate to set our minds to it. we walk around like what are we going to do? this is terrible. >> we'll have more questions coming up and senator bernie sanders and elizabeth warren. we'll be right back. if you have moderate to severe psoriasis,
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welcome back to "cnn climate crisis town hall." let's continue with former vice president joe biden. i want to introduce you to barbara. retired business owner from pennsylvania. barbara? >> good evening, mr. vice president. i live in rural pennsylvania in the bull's eye of the shale. the county i live in is home to 1,600 plus permitted franked cks wells. i've witnessed the destruction of our beautiful forest and pennsylvania wild. our democratic governor is all in for fracked gas. as president, what can you do to change the direction of the catastrophic climate change policies and future plans at the state level? >> i just want to point out to the viewers, the shale is a rock
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formation under ground, enormous, it's approximately two-thirds of pennsylvania and new york, west virginia and maryland is the natural gas field in the u.s. >> i know that. [ laughter ] >> that was for -- >> no, no, no, thank you. appreciate the help. number one, i think the way we deal with state lands is we have less, we have less latitude. what we say we can and cannot do. i've argued against any more oil drilling or gas drilling on federal lands that we can stop that. i think we should in fact be looking at what exists now and making a judgement whether or not the -- those in fact that are there, those wells that are there whether or not they are dangerous, whether or not they have already done the damage and what we can do from there by trying to change the attitude of the members of the governors and
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the state legislatures. we could pass national legislation, but i don't think we'd get it done in terms of getting the votes to get it done to say all fracking goes away now unless there is physical security need or worried about explosions, et cetera. but i would not allow any more. >> i want to point out in fairness to the governor of pennsylvania, he stopped short. he's moved to regulate and limit some fracking, stop short of calling for a statewide ban. to be clear, you would not call for a ban statewide on fracking or nationwide. you said stop new oil and gas drilling on federal lands? >> yes. >> okay. >> i would also go back and look at what's out there now to determine whether or not it is safe physically safe. there are earthquakes and the like. that's what i would do. >> our next question -- >> there used to be an epa.
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[ laughter ] >> no, you think i'm kidding. it's almost not there now but anyway. >> our next question is from daniel sweeney, a student at colombia law school that voted for president trump. he plans to change parties and vote for a democrat in the next election. daniel, welcome. >> china is current -- [ laughter ] >> china is currently the largest emitter of co 2. how, if at all, would you get china to lower emissions as president? >> i would make it clear we have to bring around the rest of the world. we have to reconfigure what is going on. what we did the paris account that they signed on to, it was agreed that we would constantly up the ante, the nations would agree to contention upon what the science dictates and the extent of the problem. it has to be, we have to up the ante what's going on number one. number two, any nation that doesn't do that for example, what china is doing, they are exporting, they are exporting coal technology and building coal plants on their road area. they are moving in a way that
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they are in fact making the environment much, much worse. they, in fact, have increased 4.5%. they have increased the emissions from china and so there has to be a price that they pay if they do that and that's why i would talk about dealing with how we deal with them in terms of tariffs relating to their products being sold, if in fact, they are involved in continuing to export, export this climate change. that's what they are doing. but you got to get the rest of the world in on the deal to do it. that's how you get it done and that's why it's important for us to meet the standards we say we're going to meet because it went up 2.5% in the united states it increased emissions. just in the last couple years under this president. it levelled out about 17 and now it's up 2.5%. and so we can't, you can't very well preach to the choir if in fact you can't sing.
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i mean, we have to be able to demonstrate what we are prepared to do, what we will do, what we have done and call the rest of the world to account. >> let me ask you about that. the united states is projected to be a net energy exporter by next year largely because of crude oil and natural gas. should the u.s. ban fossil fuel exports as some other candidates are calling for? >> i think we should in fact depending on what it is they are exporting for what they are replacing. everything is increate mental. you talked about transportation. i've been pushing for mass transit and rail. we can take millions of vehicles off the road if we have high-speed rail. i've been the champion of that for 25 years. we know where we can do that. it would take millions of vehicles off the road. but you have to have a rail system that makes people say if i get on that rail, i will get there as fast as i would have gotten had i driven and i can
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afford to do it relative to the coast of my driving. there is a direct correlation. this is something i spent the bulk of my career on trying to save amtrak and transportation but there are things we can do now, now that can begin to change the ark in a significant way and as we in fact invest in the science and the technology and the changes that are available and will cop to fruition, in fact, we can make it significantly better. >> should -- will there be a point or would you like there to be a point and if so when, everybody drives an electric car or has to? >> that will be based upon whether or not we can make it economically feasible. it is economically feasible because guess what? everybody knows where the world is going. just like we set out the rules for what kind of plant, colburnico coal burning plants. we have to shut down the ones we
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have but nobody is going to build a new one. guess what? they are not efficient relative to what else is available to be done. that's why people are going to move and that's why it's going to create so many new jobs for us. we have to vehicles off the road as quickly as we can but that create a significant number of jobs and opportunities for people. >> bill is here. he has a question for you. >> thank you, around sorendersa. as we keep an eye on dorian, a lot of folks are thinking about life and safety and probably insurance. there were $1 14 accepseparate
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billion-dollar storms but it seems reasonableb to assume at some point insurance companies will start covering in vulnerable regions. if that happens, it could tank real estate values and gut out property values and the tax base that so many communities depend on, so as president, how would you be honest with the american people when it comes to the dangers of this without feeding into this kind of an economic spiral? >> like i did at home. my stage is three feet above sea level. okay? on the southern part of the state. and guess what? we know what's going to happen if we don't make significant change. and so we'll be telling people don't build in these places here. >> what about the people already there? >> the people already there are going to be in real trouble. they will be in real trouble because you're right, eventually what will happen is you'll have insurance companies come along and say i can't insure that because the prospect that is going to be blown away is overwhelming, and so we have to, you know, be in a position where
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when we build back, we don't build back to normal, we build back to what is necessary and so there is a whole range of things that are going on now in terms of, you know, anyway. i'm taking too long. sorry. >> i want to introduce you to john cecal from new jersey. the vice president for stewardship at the new jersey auto bond society. >> families, businesses, we're experiencing the effects of it now. we had unprecedented rain. in the south we see storms coming through and the western united states, the devastating fires. this is disruptive to people, families, businesses. my question for you is a personal one. how has climate change aif he canned -- affected you and your family? >> i was raised in a small town in delaware. more oil refineries takes care of 10 million people.
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prevailing winds are south and southeast. i remember when i was a kid getting up and going to school, the little catholic high school, grade school i went to and getting a car and my uncle would drive us up and turn on the windshield wiper and oil on the window. i don't know if that's why i have asthma but a reason why delaware at one point was rated as having a disproportionally high rate of cancer cases because of what was going on. that's why we pushed hard to make sure we in fact, required mitigatiigation to be taken on plants, some of which we've shut down. it's affected my family in way and my state in a way that's been real, more than it's affected jersey. more than it's affected jersey. i understand what is going on. look at the pine barons. you have a lot to worry about in terms of fires and drought but the flip of it is, look what happened in the midwest. we have a number of significant
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bases that relate, military bases relate to our national security that in fact were rendered almost useless including, i can't go into great detail to say it but my point t is, it significantly reduced. we went over to what they call and some of your military women and men, over to the tank in the pentagon and sat down and got the briefing on the greatest danger facing our security. you know what they told us it was, the military. climate change. climate change. the single greatest concern for war and disruption in the world. short of a nuclear exchange immediately and so where are we? look what happened in dar four.
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the desert because of the change in climate no longer had enough area land. indonesia are talking about moving the capital because it's going to sink. what happens if you get 10, 12, 13, 14, 100 people on the move? that causes wars. it's well beyond whether or not it affects me personally, which it does and it did my family and still does just like your families. this is personal. it's personal. every one of you probably have a story that can talk about what has happened to something you care greatly about whether it's a species or your son or daughter coming down with cancer because of it. so it -- but we can do something. we have to act. now. now. >> mr. vice president, isaac earlier mentioned the fundraiser, i want to clarify andrew gold man, tman, the co-s
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of the fundraiser had a company he was co-founder of a company called western l and g. he currently doesn't have day to day responsibilities. >> when i was told by my staff is that he did not have any responsibility related to the company and not involved in the company at all. if that turns out to be true, i will not in any way accept his help. my point of the fact is that the point i was told by my staff and we check every single contribution. that's why we don't send, we don't list them imminently. we go through every contribution to make sure we are not accepting money from people we said we wouldn't or we shouldn't. >> so the colllarification, he doesn't have updated responsibility. thank you very much. >> senator bernie sanders coming up next. he proposed a $6.3 trillion plan
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