Amy Klobuchar emphasized her electability and more moderate policies at Wednesday night’s Democratic debate. On state with ten other candidates, Klobuchar also enjoyed a standout moment, drawing large applause.
The Minnesota senator was involved in the first of two live Democratic primary debates, taking to the stage along with the likes of Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Cory Booker and former Rep. Beto O'Rourke.
Perhaps Klobuchar’s biggest moment came as Washington Gov. Jay Inslee explained he was the only candidate to have passed legislation protecting abortion rights in health insurance.
“There’s three women up here who have fought for a woman’s right to choose,” Klobuchar rebutted. This moment drew some of the largest applause of the night.
She was also one of the few candidates to take an explicit shot at President Donald Trump, making this remark about his foreign policy.
To kick off the debate, Klobuchar was asked if higher education proposals like tuition-free college were "unrealistic," as she’s stated before.
The Senator responded with her proposal to make community college tuition-free and provide financial aid to “everybody else besides that top percentile.” Making student loan repayment easier is also part of her plan, she said.
These policies run counter to some of her opponents such as Warren, who recently rolled out a proposal to make all public colleges and universities tuition-free.
Klobuchar took a similar approach to healthcare, going against Warren and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio who support a Medicare-for-All model. Instead, Klobuchar said she would allow Americans to keep private insurance while offering a public option in what she called an “bold approach.” Allowing negotiations under Medicare, challenging large pharmaceutical companies and bringing in drugs from other countries are bigger healthcare issues, Klobuchar said.
“I am concerned about kicking half of Americans off of their health insurance in four years,” she said.
Warren criticized this rhetoric, stating politicians who oppose the Medicare-for-All model, which has also been proposed by Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, “just won’t fight for it.”
Former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julián Castro was asked about his proposal to make crossing the border without documentation a civil offense, instead of a crime. While former Texas Congressman Beto O’Rourke raised concerns about human trafficking under such a proposal, Castro argued laws are already in place to prevent that.
Klobuchar shared similar concerns about decriminalizing crossing the border without documentation, stating she’d want provisions in place to go after human traffickers. She also pushed immigration as an “economic imperative.”
“This president has literally gone backwards at a time when this country needs immigrants,” she said.
Kobuchar drew on her Midwest background when the topic of guns came up, stating proposals like a gun buy-back program and an assault weapons ban don’t hurt her “Uncle Dick in a deer blind.”
To round out the debate, Klobuchar emphasized her ability to win in red districts and work across the aisle, even if she “doesn’t make all the promises everybody else makes” in her closing remarks.
“I’m someone that can win and beat Donald Trump,” she said. “I have won in the reddest of districts, ones Donald Trump won by 20 points.”