The first head-to-head debate of the Democratic presidential primary between former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders focused on the government’s response to the novel coronavirus outbreak. We sorted through competing claims the two front-runners made about the pandemic, as well as other topics including Social Security, super PACs and bailouts.
- Biden denied Sanders’ claim that he ever talked on the Senate floor “about the necessity” of “cutting Social Security.” In 1984, Biden called for a one-year spending freeze that would have included Social Security, and he boasted about that position from the Senate floor in 1995. But Sanders went too far in claiming Biden has a history of “advocat[ing]” for such cuts.
- Biden misleadingly claimed that he “did not” help write a 2005 bankruptcy bill that made it easier for credit card companies to collect debt, but decided it was better to work with Republicans to improve the bill because a Republican president was expected to sign it.
- Biden said Sanders has “nine super PACs” and Sanders said, “I don’t have any.” Sanders may not have nine super PACs supporting his campaign, but he has some.
- Biden said Sanders “voted against the bailout to the automobile industry,” when in fact Sanders supported a $15 billion aid package for automakers in 2008.
- Sanders alternatively said that “at least 30,000” and “up to 60,000” people die in a year due to lacking health insurance. There’s insufficient evidence to pin down an exact figure, though several studies have estimated that thousands of deaths annually are related to lacking coverage.
- Biden said he had a “100% rating” from the abortion-rights group NARAL. That’s true of some of his years as a senator, but not all, as a line of questioning by Sanders pointed out.
- Sanders correctly noted that average inflation-adjusted wages are close to what they were 45 years ago. But that masks the fact that wages haven’t been flat over that time: They dropped from their peak in the early 1970s and have been on a general upward trend since hitting bottom in 1996.
- In speaking about climate change, Biden incorrectly stated that his home state of Delaware “is 3 feet above sea level.” While parts of Delaware are that low-lying, most of the state is not, and the average elevation is 60 feet above sea level.
Posted by The non-Conformist