The Latest: Warren supports removing US troops from Mideast

WESTERVILLE, Ohio (AP) — The Latest on the fourth Democratic presidential debate (all times local):

9:50 p.m.

Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren says she supports removing members of the American military from the Middle East.

Warren said Tuesday during the Democratic presidential debate: “I think we ought to get out of the Middle East. I don’t think we should have troops in the Middle East.”

Warren added that it has to happen in an appropriate, thoughtful way.

Democrats at the Democratic debate in Ohio have largely scorned President Donald Trump’s approach to foreign policy. Former Vice President Joe Biden and South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg (BOO’-tuh-juhj) are among those arguing that Trump is abandoning U.S. allies and weakening the nation’s standing around the world by abruptly pulling troops from northern Syria.


9:45 p.m.

The Democrats seeking their party’s nomination are discussing ways to check the power of Russia’s leader as part of a condemnation of President Donald Trump’s foreign policy decisions.

In Tuesday’s debate, New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker said Trump is “turning the moral leadership of this country into a dumpster fire” by “showing moral weakness” in the face of strength of leaders like Vladimir Putin.

The conversation followed on a debate about Trump’s decision to pull troops from northern Syria, something former Texas congressman Beto O’Rourke said could lead to future U.S. deployments.

Former Vice President Joe Biden stressed a focus on diplomacy, saying the U.S. currently has “an erratic, crazy president who doesn’t know a damn thing about foreign policy and operates out of fear for his own reelection.”


9:40 p.m.

South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg (BOO’-tuh-juhj) is sparring with Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard at Tuesday night’s Democratic debate, with Buttigieg calling Gabbard “dead wrong” for her earlier support of withdrawing troops from Syria.

Gabbard’s previous stance, as well as her decision to meet with Syrian President Bashar Assad, came under fresh scrutiny following President Trump’s decision to withdraw U.S. troops from the country, paving the way for Turkey to invade and kill the Kurds.

Gabbard has criticized Trump for how he’s conducted the withdrawal but said Tuesday that while Trump has “the blood of the Kurds on his hands … so do many of the politicians in both parties who supported this regime change war.”

Buttigieg says the killings are “the consequence of a withdrawal and a betrayal by this president of American allies and American values.”

Both Buttigieg and Gabbard are military veterans.


9:20 p.m.

New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker spent much of the first hour of Tuesday’s crowded Democratic presidential debate playing the role of diplomat.

In the primary, Booker has run as a happy warrior, pitching a strategy of love over hate to defeat President Donald Trump. As other candidates sparred over health care, income inequality and impeachment on Tuesday, Booker used his time to step between his opponents, calling for unity, agreeing with their points and shifting the focus back to their common enemy.

Booker cautioned against “tearing each other down because we have different plans” in response to several candidates’ criticism of Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s plans on a wealth tax and health care. He also called former Joe Biden a “statesman” in defending him after the former vice president was asked about his son’s business dealings in Ukraine.


9:15 p.m.

Former Texas congressman Beto O’Rourke is accusing Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren of sometimes being “punitive” in her policy ideas.

In Tuesday night’s Democratic debate in Westerville, Ohio, O’Rourke says Warren sometimes “is more focused on being punitive, or pitting some part of the country against the other, instead of lifting people up and making sure that this country comes together around those solutions.”

Warren says she is shocked at that notion.

Warren responded, “I don’t have a beef with billionaires,” emphasizing that fortunes are built in part by workers and benefits enjoyed by taxpayers.

Warren, a front-runner in the race, has been the target of criticism from several other candidates throughout the debate.


8:55 p.m.

Many Democrats seeking their party’s presidential nomination stress a need to improve the nation’s jobs picture, but they disagree on how to do that.

At Tuesday’s debate in Westerville, Ohio, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders defended his federal jobs guarantee, saying equalizing the economy will create the need for more teachers and doctors.

Businessman Andrew Yang, who backs a universal basic income, said people “do not want to work for the federal government.” Promoting her own plan to boost social security, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren said her proposal would cover retirement for even those in nontraditional positions, like stay-at-home caregivers.

Several, including former Texas congressman Beto O’Rourke and New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, advocated strengthening unions to keep businesses like GM from moving production to other countries.


8:40 p.m.

Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren is taking fire from her Democratic opponents for refusing to answer whether her “Medicare for All” plan would raise taxes for the middle class.

Warren has refused to directly answer when asked how she’d pay for her proposal, and during Tuesday night’s presidential debate, she once again dodged, insisting only that “costs will go down” for the middle class. South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg knocked Warren for the nonanswer, saying her failure to offer a direct answer is “why people are so frustrated with politicians” and arguing that Medicare for All would “unnecessarily divide this country.”

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who wrote the Medicare for All legislation that Warren has embraced, said it was “appropriate to acknowledge taxes will go up.” Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar also piled on, saying, “At least Bernie’s being honest” and arguing in favor of a public option instead.


8:30 p.m.

Joe Biden is defending both his actions and those of his son in dealing with Ukraine.

At Tuesday night’s Democratic debate in Westerville, Ohio, the former vice president said his son Hunter “did nothing wrong. I did nothing wrong.” Biden was answering a question about why he has pledged that no members of his family would engage in foreign deals if he were to be elected president while insisting his son’s dealings with foreign countries were above board during Biden’s vice presidency.

President Donald Trump is facing an impeachment inquiry over his effort to have Ukraine investigate Biden.

Biden urged that the focus go back on Trump, saying, “Rudy Giuliani, the president and his thugs have already proven the fact that they are flat lying.”


8:25 p.m.

The 12 Democratic presidential candidates debating in Ohio are unified in saying Congress has no choice but to begin impeachment against President Donald Trump, though not all for the same reasons.

Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren says no one is above the law. Her fellow top contenders, former Vice President Joe Biden and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, called Trump the “most corrupt president” in the course of American history.

Warren and Sanders said they found the president worthy of impeachment as a result of the Mueller report, which detailed 10 possible instances of obstruction of justice in the investigation into Russian interference into the 2016 presidential election.

New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker says it’s imperative that Congress’ decision on impeachment be “about patriotism and not partisanship.”


8 p.m.

The fourth debate of the Democratic presidential primary is underway with the largest field yet on stage together at a pivotal time in the campaign.

Twelve candidates are debating Tuesday in Ohio. At center stage are front-runners Joe Biden and Elizabeth Warren. Another top-tier candidate, Bernie Sanders, is back just two weeks after suffering a heart attack and suspending his campaigning.

It could be the last 2020 presidential debate for some candidates. Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, former Texas congressman Beto O’Rourke, former Housing Secretary Julián Castro and Hawaii congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard have not yet met fundraising and polling thresholds to participate in the November debate.

Also participating are California Sen. Kamala Harris, South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, entrepreneur Andrew Yang, New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker and billionaire activist Tom Steyer.


4:50 p.m.

A trio of Iowa officials is criticizing the Democratic National Committee for instituting polling and fundraising thresholds to participate in the presidential debates, complaining they’re artificially winnowing the field of candidates and usurping the job of Iowa caucusgoers.

Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller and Iowa DNC member Jan Bauer said on a conference call with reporters Tuesday that most Iowans are not tuning into the Democratic presidential debates and have not yet made up their minds.

The call was organized by Montana Gov. Steve Bullock’s presidential campaign. Bullock has failed to make the stage for recent debates, including Tuesday’s in Ohio.

Miller and Bauer have endorsed Bullock.

Former Iowa Democratic Party Chair and former U.S. Rep. Dave Nagle said the DNC is shutting out those without access to wealth or name recognition.


12:05 a.m.

Democrats are confronting a rapidly shifting political landscape as a dozen candidates meet on Tuesday for the most crowded presidential debate in modern history.

The House impeachment inquiry that has put President Donald Trump on the offensive has also reordered the political calculus for Democrats, especially Joe Biden. The former vice president is facing baseless — but persistent — allegations of wrongdoing overseas from Trump and his allies.

His early front-runner status is also under threat from Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren. But as she rises, Warren is also fending off new questions about her biography.

Adding to the drama, Bernie Sanders is recovering from a heart attack that raised questions about his ability to withstand a campaign and about who might win his support if he had to drop out.

Categories: National News