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A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

Video: December Democratic Debate Claims


In this video, we explore several claims made by Democratic presidential candidates in the Dec. 19 debate:

  • South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg talked about his “capacity to win,” citing his 80% mayoral reelection victory. But Sen. Amy Klobuchar was correct when she countered that Buttigieg lost by 20 points (actually 24.9 points) in his earlier bid in a statewide race to be Indiana’s treasurer. 
  • Sen. Elizabeth Warren criticized Buttigieg for holding a glitzy fundraiser “in a wine cave” in Napa, claiming, “He had promised that every fundraiser he would do would be open door, but this one was closed door.” It was partly open-door: A pool reporter was allowed to cover the mayor’s remarks.
  • Klobuchar said on trade: “95% of our customers are outside of our borders.” Americans make up only about 5% of the world’s population, but many others can’t afford American goods. Nearly half of all U.S. exports are sold to 20 countries that make up around 6% of the rest of the world’s population, according to the Chamber of Commerce.
  • Warren undersold the impact of her proposed wealth tax, saying “I have a two-cent wealth tax proposed for millionaires and billionaires.” Households would pay an annual 2% tax on all assets — net worth — above $50 million, but the plan calls for triple that rate, a 6% annual tax, on all wealth over $1 billion.
  • Buttigieg claimed Trump has not made “a peep” in support of “folks out there standing up for democracy” in Hong Kong. While some have been critical of the president for not being outspoken enough in support of Hong Kong protesters, Trump last month signed two bills in support of the protesters, over the objections of the Chinese government.

For more on these claims and others from the debate, see our story “FactChecking the December Democratic Debate.”