The Latest: Warren: US should nix for-profit private prisons

MANCHESTER, N.H. (AP) — The Latest on a series of town halls with five 2020 Democratic presidential candidates (all times local):

8:30 p.m.

Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren says the United States “should get rid of for-profit private prisons,” calling them an outrage.

The 2020 Democratic presidential candidate said Monday at a CNN town hall in New Hampshire that when people leave the prison system, “they need to be reintegrated into their communities.”

She says, “They need to be able to have a chance to get a job, to be able to find decent housing. And they need to be able to participate in the political process and that means they need the right to vote to be reinstated. They are American citizens.”

Warren is among five 2020 candidates appearing at CNN town halls on Monday night. She came after Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar and will be followed by Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, California Sen. Kamala Harris and South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg (BOO’-tuh-juhj).

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8:15 p.m.

Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren is championing her proposal to roll back student debt loan for what she said will cover roughly “95 percent of students” who have debt.

During a CNN town hall on Monday, the senator from Massachusetts told a crowd of college students that the second part of her plan is to “make sure that we never get in this mess again on student loan debt.”

Warren wants to make college in the United States “universally available with free tuition and fees” while putting more money into federal Pell Grants that Warren says will help students of color and poorer students have better access to higher education.

She also wants to put “some real money” into historically black colleges and universities. She says, “This is about opportunity for everyone.”

Warren also described how she would pay for the grand spending plan. She wants “an ultra-millionaires’ tax” that would be 2 cents on every dollar for fortunes above $50 million.

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8 p.m.

Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar has found herself in several awkward moments during her CNN town hall.

Klobuchar has been trying to show her sense of humor during the televised appearance but quickly drew social media attention Monday night for the moments, including one on prescription drugs in which she evoked 2008 GOP vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin.

Klobuchar says, “We should bring in less expensive drugs from other countries like Canada. We can see practically see Canada from our porch when we’re up here.”

At another point, after noting her electoral success in purple-state Minnesota, she quipped, “It’s when you guys are supposed to cheer, OK?”

She also referenced a notable moment during a 2016 presidential debate between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, saying she could feel town hall anchor Chris Cuomo “creeping over my shoulder…not in a Trumpian manner.”

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7:35 p.m.

Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar is maintaining her reluctance to liberal Democrats’ call for “Medicare for All.”

At a CNN town hall in New Hampshire on Monday, Klobuchar said she wants to get to universal health care and wants to get there fast. She is calling for putting a public option in place “because then you don’t have any middleman. You have competition.”

She says, “That is a way you get there without suddenly dismantling the entire system, which was very difficult to do when we put the Affordable Care Act in place.”

Lawmakers can work to “do no harm” and “do much better,” Klobuchar said, by “getting that public option in place immediately.”

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7:30 p.m.

Democratic presidential candidate Amy Klobuchar says she does not support free college for students like fellow 2020 contender Sen. Elizabeth Warren does.

During a CNN town hall in New Hampshire on Monday, the Minnesota senator said she wishes she could hand out college diplomas to everyone, but “I have to be straight with you and tell you the truth.”

She says she does have a plan when it comes to addressing the high price of student loans: refinancing, expanding Pell Grants and bringing back former President Barack Obama’s plan for free community college.

She says everything she has proposed she has a way to pay for.

Warren earlier Monday announced her proposal to eliminate student loan debt for millions of Americans and to eliminate tuition and fees for two- and four-year public college degree programs.

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7:20 p.m.

Democratic presidential candidate Amy Klobuchar says President Donald Trump should be held accountable following special counsel Robert Mueller’s report, but she stopped short of calling for impeachment.

The senator from Minnesota said during a CNN town hall in New Hampshire on Monday night that impeachment proceedings are up to the House and that lawmakers there will have to make that decision for themselves.

Klobuchar said she didn’t want to weigh in too much because she is in the Senate and believes “that we are the jury.”

She added: “If the House brings the impeachment proceedings before us, we will deal with them.”

Klobuchar’s colleague in the Senate and fellow 2020 contender Elizabeth Warren has called for Trump to be impeached.

Klobuchar says other ways to hold the president accountable are through congressional investigations and defeating him in 2020.

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5:50 p.m.

The fight for the Democratic presidential nomination moves to prime time as five White House contenders showcase their policies and personalities from the same stage for the first time.

During Monday night’s town halls, the candidates will take turns fielding questions from young people in New Hampshire and CNN anchors. The forum offers voters an early look at how a select group of high-profile candidates differentiate themselves in a crowded 2020 field.

Among the likely topics: impeachment, health care, the economy, student debt and President Donald Trump himself.

Each of the five candidates gets an hour on stage beginning with Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar at 7 p.m., followed by Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, California Sen. Kamala Harris and South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg (BOO’-tuh-juhj).

Categories: National News