PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Democrats running for president came face-to-face on Friday night for the first time since the impeachment trial and the Iowa caucuses. Philadelphia is playing a major role in campaign 2020.
New Hampshire’s primary is on Tuesday. While Pennsylvania’s isn’t until April, it’s now seen as increasingly important and so far, just a few Democratic candidates have invested here.
“Politics that say it’s my way or the highway,” former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg said, referring to Sen. Bernie Sanders.
Sanders found himself on the early debate defense on Friday on the topic of healthcare.
“It’s not real Bernie because two-thirds of the Democrats in the Senate are not on your bill,” Sen. Amy Klobuchar said.
“Bernie’s plan costs double of what the taxpayers are paying for every single program we spend on in the United States of America,” former Vice President Joe Biden said.
“If we do what Joe wants, we will be spending some $50 trillion on healthcare over the next 10 years,” Sanders said.
The Democratic presidential hopefuls were also divided in how to move on from President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial.
“The countries that have thrown presidents into jail have generally been developing countries and unfortunately, that’s a pattern that is very hard to break,” candidate Andrew Yang said.
“We need to re-establish the rule of law in this country,” Sen. Elizabeth Warren said.
Of the seven candidates who qualified for the debate stage in New Hampshire, two have established campaign office sin Philadelphia.
“If they are still in the game, then having made that early investment in a field office and campaign headquarters makes great sense,” David Thornburgh said.
Thornburgh, the head of Philadelphia’s Committee of 70, a nonpartisan civic leadership organization, spoke with CBS over the phone from Manchester ahead of the debate.
“It’s a practical campaign. They go where the votes are,” Thornburgh said.
Biden opened up his national headquarters in Philadelphia in July.
Warren launched her West Philly office last month.
Four additional Democratic candidates did not qualify for Friday’s debate, including former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
Bloomberg’s campaign has notably ignored places like Iowa and New Hampshire — instead focusing his efforts on states like Pennsylvania.
In December, Bloomberg opened up his first office in the state, located in Old City.
Trump has already established his re-election efforts in Pennsylvania with a focus on November.
Pennsylvania’s primary is on April 28.