Local presidential candidates square off in first democratic debate

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BURLINGTON, Vt.- The 2020 presidential campaign is well underway. 20 democrats took center stage this week for their first debate.

“That was fun. That was fun to watch. Very lively and very contentious,” said Garrison Nelson, author and former UVM political professor.

On the stage were two local politicians vying for the White House.

“We have got to pass a Medicare-for-all single payer system,” said Sen. Bernie Sanders, I- Vermont during Thursday night’s debate.

“A family bill of rights that include a national paid leave plan,” said Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D- New York.

Nelson says both failed to stand out. He says the blemish for Sanders is his push Medicare-for-all.

During the debate, the senator admitted middle-income Americans would pay more in taxes. But “less in healthcare for what they get.”

“There are more victims. More people are taxed to benefit fewer people on the other end. That’s a policy that is going to lose,” said Nelson.

Gillibrand continued to criticize President Donald Trump during the debate. The senator pledged to stand up and protect Roe V. Wade if elected.

“There is going to be room for one woman on the ticket and it’s going to be Kamala,” said Nelson.

Nelson was impressed by California Senator Kamala Harris and Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren.

“There is still kind of a residual Hillary factor,” he said.

According to a number of polls, Joe Biden is leading the pack. But a recent misstep by the former vice president could tarnish the future of his campaign.

“It was hurtful to hear you talk about the reputations of two United States senators who built their reputations and careers on the segregation of race in this country,” Harris told Biden during the debate.

“She wasn’t fair to Biden but Biden opened himself up,” said Nelson.

On Twitter, the president declared victory in 2020 but Nelson says, not so fast.

“You know his base is completely committed to him, there is no question about that. But the problem is he’s never reached beyond his base,” he said.

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