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undefined undefined/iStock(WASHINGTON) --  Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Elizabeth Warren said she will put out a plan in the next few weeks that details how she intends to pay for Medicare for All, answering a long-asked question about whether or not raising middle class taxes would be an inevitable part of the proposed health care plan.

"I didn't get a question today about Medicare for All, but I want to say a word about it before we go any further, and that is this -- every single person who is running for president of the United States, on the Democratic side right now, knows that families are getting crushed by the cost of health care. They also know that the cheapest possible way to make sure that everyone gets the health care that they need is Medicare for All," she began, speaking to a crowd of supporters on the campaign trail in Iowa.

"That's why I support Medicare for All," she said. "What I see, though, is that we need to talk about the cost. And I plan, over the next few weeks, to put out a plan that talks about, specifically, the cost of Medicare for All and specifically, how we pay for it," Warren said.

She offered up the news about the incoming plan at the end of her speech and after taking a few questions from voters in the crowd.

Warren has repeatedly been asked how she intends to pay for Medicare for All if elected, but so far has only offered the answer that total costs would go down for middle class families. Sen. Bernie Sanders, the 2020 candidate from Vermont who wrote the Senate bill outlining the single-payer, government-run health care system, has said that middle class taxes would go up but premiums, deductibles and co-payments would be eliminated, reducing total costs.

In Iowa on Sunday, Warren said her campaign had been working on the question about "what's possible" and "how you pay for it" for months. Over those months, she has hedged on the question of raising middle class taxes dozens of times, always saying that costs will go up for the wealthy, but costs will go down for middle class families, despite Sanders' clear answer on the question.

Warren's announcement comes on the heels of the fourth Democratic debate, where her 2020 opponents attacked her for a lack of details on whether taxes will go up for middle class families under her version of the plan. Warren ducked direct answers by saying her plan would overall "lower costs for middle class families."

"I think there are, have been, many estimates about what the cost would be and many different payment streams, and I've been working on how to get the exact details to make that work," Warren said Sunday. "I've been a co-sponsor of Medicare for All from the beginning. You know, one of the things that happens when you do lots of selfie lines, is you get to hear from a lot of different people, and what they talk about is how the cost of health care is crushing their families."

In the recent debate, Sanders noted that he thinks it’s "appropriate to acknowledge that taxes will go up."

"Well at least that's a straightforward answer," responded South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, who supports a health care plan with both public and private options. "But there’s a better way."

It has previously been reported that her campaign was looking into different options to pay for the health care plan, including Sanders' option laid out in the bill. Warren, however, disclosed for the first time Sunday that they were nearing a plan about pay-fors that will soon be in writing.

She maintained that it was not a change in her support of Medicare for All, but a piece of the plan she'd been working on for a long time.

"And I’m getting close. It’s just got a little more work that it needs on it before it’s released," Warren told reporters Sunday.

T.J. Ducklo, spokesperson for fellow front-runner Joe Biden, chided Warren in a statement following her announcement.

"It's mystifying that for someone who has put having a plan for everything at the center of her pitch to voters, Senator Warren has decided to release a health care plan only after enduring immense public pressure for refusing to do so," Ducklo said. "We hope her plan will be straight with the American people about how much middle class taxes will go up to pay for the $30 trillion it will take to fund Medicare for All."

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Poligrafistka/iStock(BALTIMORE) -- Thomas D'Alesandro III, the brother of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, has died at the age of 90.

"My husband Paul and our entire family are devastated by the loss of our patriarch, my beloved brother, Thomas D'Alesandro III," Pelosi wrote in a statement.

The former mayor of Baltimore died Sunday due to stroke complications, according to The Baltimore Sun.

 Tommy was the finest public servant I have ever known," Pelosi wrote in her statement. "His life and leadership were a tribute to the Catholic values with which we were raised: faith, family, patriotism. He profoundly believed, as did our parents, that public service was a noble calling and that we all had a responsibility to help others."

My brother Tommy was the finest public servant I have ever known. All his life, Tommy worked on the side of the angels. Now, he is with them. https://t.co/OmokI0piw3

— Nancy Pelosi (@SpeakerPelosi) October 20, 2019

D'Alesandro served as the mayor of Baltimore from 1967 to 1971 and Pelosi described him as a "champion of civil rights" and he "worked tirelessly for all who called Baltimore home."

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan said in a statement, "Baltimore lost another devoted public servant today in Thomas "Young Tommy" D'Alesandro III. As the city's 42nd mayor from 1967 to 1971, he will long be remembered for his leadership in divisive times, and for his efforts to root out disctimination and rebuild the city he loved."

My statement on the passing of Former Mayor Thomas D’Alesandro III: pic.twitter.com/aOeA5IAjVr

— Governor Larry Hogan (@GovLarryHogan) October 20, 2019

He is survived by his wife Margaret, his five children and grandchildren who "are praying for him at this sad time," according to Pelosi's news release.

D'Alesandro's death also comes as the city of Baltimore was already mourning the death of long-time U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings. The 68-year-old died on Thursday.

Cummings will lie in state at the U.S. Capitol on Thursday ahead of a funeral service in Baltimore on Friday.

Funeral arrangements for D'Alesandro were not immediately available.

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iStock(WASHINGTON) -- White House acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney dug in on his claim that he had not admitted there was a quid pro quo in regard to U.S. military aid for Ukraine and investigating Democrats.

The admission days earlier, during a Thursday press briefing, had contradicted President Donald Trump's consistent denials about a key subject of the House impeachment inquiry.

"That's not what I said," Mulvaney said on "Fox News Sunday." "That's what people said that I said."

But at a press briefing at the White House on Thursday, Mulvaney had recounted that the president told him he didn’t want to send Ukraine "a bunch of money and have them waste it, and have them spend it, have them use it to line their own pockets."

"Those were the driving factors," Mulvaney told reporters in the White House briefing room. "Did he also mention to me in the past that the corruption related to the DNC server? Absolutely, no question about that. But that’s it and that’s why we held up the money." (The "server" reference is to a debunked conspiracy theory that Trump has long clung to: that the Democratic National Committee’s hacked email server was being held in Ukraine -- and that individuals in Ukraine were behind an effort to sabotage his 2016 election. Last month, Trump’s own former homeland security adviser called the theory "completely false.")

"So the demand for an investigation into the Democrats was part of the reason that he ordered you to withhold funding to Ukraine?" ABC News Chief White House Correspondent Jonathan Karl asked.

"'Look back to what happened in 2016,' certainly was part of the thing that he was worried about in corruption with the nation," Mulvaney said. "And that is absolutely equivalent."

"What you described is a quid pro quo," Karl pressed. "It is: funding will not flow unless the investigation into the Democrats’ server happens as well."

"We do that all the time with foreign policy," Mulvaney answered.

Mulvaney issued a statement later Thursday evening after his admission set off a political firestorm, in which he claimed the press had decided to "misconstrue" what he had said -- despite reporting using the actual words he spoke in the White House briefing room hours earlier.

On Sunday, Mulvaney pointed out that he himself never used the term "quid pro quo."

"Reporters will use their language all the time," he said. "So my language never said quid pro quo."

Trump said Friday he thought Mulvaney had "clarified" his initial remarks. "I think he clarified it," Trump said when a reporter asked him about Mulvaney's comments, before pivoting to off-topic comments about a visit to Texas the day before.

On Sunday, Mulvaney also said he had listed just two reasons the Trump administration had held up aid for Ukraine -- misgivings about corruption and concerns other countries had not contributed enough of their own aid to Ukraine. On Thursday, though, he had actually listed a third reason: wanting Ukraine to cooperate with the Department of Justice investigation into the 2016 election.

Mulvaney said he was referring to the DOJ's investigation into the origins of special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election. He suggested that the DOJ's look at the origins, led by U.S. attorney John Durham, was examining the debunked conspiracy theory about the DNC server. The DOJ has not said it was looking into the issue of the DNC's server, despite what Mulvaney said, and on Thursday, a senior DOJ official said that, “If the White House was withholding aid in regards to the cooperation of any investigation at the Department of Justice, that is news to us."

On Sunday, Mulvaney said that the look at the DNC server was not linked to aid. "It wasn't connected to the aid, and that's why I think that people got sidetracked," Mulvaney said.

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iStock(WASHINGTON) -- Two days after the White House said that President Donald Trump had directed next year's Group of Seven summit to be held at Trump National Doral Miami resort, the president tweeted late Saturday that no, actually, it will not.

While Trump blamed the media and Democrats for having to make the switch, he had come under blistering criticism from across the political spectrum, including fellow Republicans, for pushing for government money to be spent at a resort owned by his own company -- a violation, critics said, of legal restrictions against the president benefiting financially from the office.

"I thought I was doing something very good for our Country by using Trump National Doral, in Miami, for hosting the G-7 Leaders," Trump tweeted. "I announced that I would be willing to do it at NO PROFIT or, if legally permissible, at ZERO COST to the USA. But, as usual, the Hostile Media & their Democrat Partners went CRAZY!"

White House acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney said Sunday morning that Trump had been "surprised at the level of pushback" and had "wanted to put on a show" and "take care of folks" by holding next year's G-7 summit at his own resort.

"At the end of the day, you know, he still considers himself to be in the hospitality business, and he saw an opportunity to take the biggest leaders from around the world, and he wanted to promote the absolute best show, the best visit that he possibly could," Mulvaney said on "Fox News Sunday." "He was very comfortable doing that at Doral."

Trump, in his Saturday night tweets, listed Camp David as a possible replacement and said that the search for a new site was beginning "immediately."

But the president's acting chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, who announced the selection of Trump Doral on Thursday, said at that time that there had already been an extensive search process that narrowed an initial list of about a dozen sites to four finalists: one in Hawaii, two in Utah and Trump's resort in Miami.

It was unclear if the search would be limited to the three remaining finalists, and the White House did not respond to a request for comment Sunday morning. On Thursday, Mulvaney had criticized Camp David as a potential host site -- noting that "they said it was a complete disaster" when a previous summit had been held there.

Mulvaney told reporters that Trump had been the one who initially suggested the Trump Organization-owned property to host the leaders of most of the world's largest economies -- and a White House spokesman told ABC News that the president had signed off on the final decision, too.

Trump's about-face was a rare reversal for a president who does not like to admit mistakes.

Republicans on Capitol Hill had made clear the decision did not sit well with them, adding to a rising tide of anger with the president over his decision to pull back support for the United States' Kurdish allies and increasing concern over his administration's handling of military aid to Ukraine.

"I think it’s not a good thing to have the appearance -- you know, in the law, there’s a canon that says, 'Avoid the appearance of impropriety,'" Rep. Francis Rooney, R-Fla., said, according to The Washington Post. "I think that would be better if he would not use his hotel for this kind of stuff."

Democrats in the House of Representatives, meanwhile, introduced a bill Friday to specifically block Trump from holding the summit at Trump Doral, potentially forcing a vote that would have put Republican support -- or disapproval -- on the record. The decision to hold the summit at Trump's resort was also going to be added to a lawsuit alleging Trump has illegally financially benefited from his office, a Democratic senator said.

Mulvaney said Thursday that Trump Doral would host the summit "at cost" -- without defining exactly how the "cost" would be calculated -- to argue that Trump would not profit. But the summit, which is scheduled to be held from June 10 to June 12 next year, would fill up Trump's South Florida resort during the otherwise lagging off-season, according to statistics from the local taxpayer-funded tourism bureau.

The acting chief of staff also denied the diplomatic gathering -- attended and supported by thousands of diplomats, journalists and law enforcement members, and receiving global media coverage -- would present a marketing opportunity for Trump. He said the president's brand was "probably strong enough as it is."

However, a branding expert told ABC News that exposure for Trump hotels and resorts has in the past resulted in a boost for those properties.

"You want to know who benefits? The president benefits. His properties benefit," said Robert Passikoff, the founder and president of Brand Keys, Inc. "And this is proven out over and over again in actual market studies."

Democrats and ethics watchdogs harshly criticized the initial decision to hold the summit there.

"President Trump's behavior in office is a continuing affront to the Constitution's Foreign Emoluments Clause," Elizabeth Wydra, president of the ethics watchdog group Constitutional Accountability Center, told ABC News in a statement. "By treating the G7 summit like a commercial for his businesses, inviting foreign governments to line his pockets and hold their next meeting at his Doral, FL golf course next year, he mocks the Constitution he swore to uphold."

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ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on ABC's "This Week" that he never saw the kind of quid pro quo that acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney referred to on Thursday with regard to the decision-making process he was involved in on Ukraine.

"The conversation was always around what were the strategic implications," Pompeo told ABC News Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos on Sunday. "Would that money get to the right place or would there be corruption in Ukraine and the money wouldn't flow to the mission that it was intended for."

After repeated denials by the administration -- including by the president himself -- Mulvaney did not dispute to ABC News' Chief White House Correspondent Jonathan Karl that there was a quid pro quo in the Ukraine affair. He has since walked back the comments he made on Thursday during a White House briefing, writing in a statement that the press has "decided to misconstrue" his earlier comments.

When asked if he wanted to clarify on Friday, President Donald Trump said, "I think (Mulvaney) clarified it."

 When Stephanopoulos asked Pompeo on Sunday if it would be appropriate to put conditions on aid to Ukraine, Pompeo said he would not comment on a hypothetical.

"The chief of staff said it did," Stephanopoulos said.

"George, it -- you asked me if this happened," Pompeo said after a pause. "It's a hypothetical. I have told you what I observed, what I saw, the process related to this very funding."

 Pompeo also would not comment Sunday on the role in Ukraine policy of Trump's personal attorney Rudy Giuliani, including his potential conflicts of interest, citing his policy of not commenting on internal deliberations in the administration.

"But -- but this was different," Stephanopoulos pressed. "This was not a member of the administration. This is the president's personal lawyer, who was pursuing this as -- at the president's direction and -- and going around the normal State Department procedures."

"George, private citizens often are part of executing American foreign policy," Pompeo said, referring to past envoys such as former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson who worked overseas on behalf of Democratic administrations. "You know that."

He also said that he did not review Giuliani's dossier of materials from Ukraine, instead passing it on to the appropriate people within the State Department.

Separately, Pompeo said he would not comment on the circumstances around former Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch's removal, but noted that she was only withdrawn from her post a few weeks early and still works at the State Department.

"Ambassadors serve at the pleasure of the president, and when a president loses confidence in an ambassador -- it's not in that ambassador, the State Department or America's best interest for them to continue to stay in their post," he said.

When Pompeo was asked about his former senior adviser Michael McKinley 's testimony on Wednesday, that he left the State Department over her removal, the secretary of state said, "I never heard him say a single thing about his concerns with respect to the decision that was made … not once."

When Stephanopoulos asked Pompeo about the testimony of several State Department officials, Pompeo said it wouldn't be appropriate to comment on personnel decisions.

"George, in good time all of the facts surrounding each of these incidents will become clear. But it's not appropriate for me to comment on all of the things that happen inside of personnel decisions -- none -- none of our foreign service officers would welcome the secretary of state talking about why someone stayed, why someone was removed, why someone was transferred. It wouldn’t be appropriate," he said.

Pompeo did disagree with Mulvaney's commenting that State Department officials who have testified as a part of the impeachment inquiry were doing so because they disagreed with the president's politics.

"Each of us has a solemn responsibility to defend the Constitution and to speak the truth," Pompeo said on "This Week." "I said this the other day, I hope those officers who go to Capitol Hill will speak truthfully, that they'll speak completely."



He did, however, call Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff's investigation a "kangaroo court," and pushed back on information released from closed-door testimonies as "leaked reporting from Democrats."

ABC News has reported on disgruntled career State Department employees, upset over the treatment of Yovanovitch and other perceived lack of support.

"We've done great things for these officers," Pompeo responded. "I see these stories about morale being low, I see things precisely the opposite. I see motivated officers."

Last month, the secretary was subpoenaed as a part of the impeachment inquiry against Trump and he has accused Democrats of attempting to "bully" State Department officials. He was listening to the July call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy -- which is at the center of the complaint -- ABC News reported earlier this month.

When asked Sunday if he would testify as a part of the inquiry if called to do so, Pompeo said "I've said all along, I'll do everything I'm required to do by law."

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ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said he never saw the kind of quid pro quo that acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney referred to on Thursday with regard to the decision-making process he was involved in.

"The conversation was always around what were the strategic implications," Pompeo said on ABC's "This Week" on Sunday. "Would that money get to the right place or would there be corruption in Ukraine and the money wouldn't flow to the mission that it was intended for."

.@GStephanopoulos on suspending aid: "You saw Mr. Mulvaney right there say that one of the reasons was indeed this idea that Ukraine had to pursue these political investigations."

Pompeo: "I'll leave to the chief of staff to explain what it is he said" https://t.co/U9kwy49CzI pic.twitter.com/uaH4MWQigc

— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) October 20, 2019

After repeated denials by the administration -- including by the president himself -- Mulvaney told ABC News' Chief White House Correspondent Jonathan Karl during a briefing on Thursday that there was a quid pro quo in the Ukraine affair. He has since walked back those comments, writing in a statement that the press has "decided to misconstrue" his earlier comments.

When asked if he wanted to clarify on Friday, President Donald Trump said "I think (Mulvaney) clarified it."

Last month, Pompeo was subpoenaed as a part of the impeachment inquiry against Trump and he has accused Democrats of attempting to "bully" State Department officials. He was listening to the July call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy -- which is at the center of the complaint -- ABC News reported earlier this month.

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ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- The Trump administration betrayed its allies when it announced its withdrawal of U.S. troops from Syria, Senate Foreign Relations Committee Ranking Member Sen. Bob Menendez said on ABC's "This Week."

"I think (Secretary of State Mike Pompeo) lives in a parallel, alternate universe," the New Jersey Democrat said, following a separate interview with Pompeo on "This Week" Sunday. "What the president did was a betrayal of the Kurds, who fought and died along side us on the pursuit of ending the threat of ISIS."

Sen. Bob Menendez on Syria: "The president unleashed this disaster and I think that there's going to be a real threat to the Kurds of ethnic cleansing" https://t.co/caqNl5RxyW pic.twitter.com/BOsilSfCxY

— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) October 20, 2019

Menendez has strongly criticized Trump's Oct. 7 announcement withdrawing U.S. troops from northern Syria, saying in a news release that the decision "set off a cascade of destabilizing and chaotic events."

Along with the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Sen. Jim Risch, R-Idaho, Menendez has introduced bipartisan legislation calling for sanctions against Turkey after the country launched a military operation against Kurdish militias soon after the U.S. troop withdrawal.

"I think there's going to be a real threat to the Kurds of ethnic cleansing," Menendez told ABC's Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos on Sunday. "If we send a global message, George, that, in fact, we will abandon those who have fought alongside with us, then others in the world, when we are asking them to fight with us or for us, will say, why should I do that, when you're -- when you're finished using me, you're going to let me die on the battlefield?"

The senator argued the administration's actions in Syria risked giving increased influence to Russia in the Middle East.

"It's a betrayal of our foreign policy to the Russians, who are the big winners of this," Menendez said.

The senator's comments come after Russia mediated an agreement between the Kurds and the Bashar al-Assad-led Syrian regime on Oct. 14.

"All roads lead to Russia with the president," he said. "Every time that there is an issue or a conflict it seems Russia ends up winning."

Menendez then pivoted to Wednesday's raucous meeting at the White House on Syria.

He criticized what he sees as the administration's retreat from global diplomacy saying, "I was at that White House meeting, and have to tell you, when the president of the United States says we shouldn't worry about something that's 7,000 miles away and those terrorists there. Well, on Sept. 11, they traveled those 7,000 miles and ultimately did the worst attack in our nation's history."

Congressional Democrats walked out of the White House meeting after participants say Trump began insulting House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, calling her a "third-rate politician" and suggesting she should like ISIS because the terrorist organization contains some ex-communists.

The meeting between Trump and Pelosi was the first since House Democrats began an impeachment inquiry into the president. Menendez told Stephanopoulos that he would not comment on the investigation. However, he said Trump's actions were "extraordinary and extraordinarily wrong."

"The president extorted or was seeking to extort President (Volodymyr) Zelenskiy of Ukraine," he added.

Responding to Pompeo's separate interview on "This Week," the New Jersey senator said he laughed when he heard the secretary say he would cooperate if called upon by Congress to testify.

"The secretary and the state department have done everything humanly possible to impede, to obstruct and not to provide information," Menendez said.

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ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- The spotlights at the fourth Democratic debate beamed down on the 12 candidates on stage, but Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., faced an especially hot glare getting her first taste of what it really means to be a front-runner.

She faced sharp questions from the moderators -- and from rivals -- fending off attacks about how she would pay for "Medicare for All", her wealth tax and, generally, the infrastructure of her plan-heavy brand. Many of the remaining 2020 Democrats accused her of being "evasive" on some of the core points that buttress the narrative of her candidacy and her origin story.

Center stage and in her rivals' crosshairs, Warren met their salvos in turn.

And while the sometimes fiery exchanges highlighted salient questions about her policy prescriptions, experts noted, and polling indicates, a deeper undercurrent to the conversation -- and caveats to her ascendant star.

"We are accustomed to seeing a particular model of what it looks like to be a candidate for the presidency," Kelly Dittmar, a professor of political science at Rutgers University-Camden and scholar at the Center for American Women and Politics, told ABC News. "When it comes to perceptions of who is best to beat Donald Trump, voters make assumptions about who's won before."

She's got a plan for that

A former Republican, she's also a woman, as was the last Democratic nominee, former Secretary of state Hillary Clinton, the first woman nominated by a major party to top a ticket. Clinton won the popular vote vs. Trump but lost in the electoral college.

But Clinton espoused more centrist ideals than Warren's progressive platform. Moreover, this election cycle, Warren shares the primary ballot with other female candidates.

Still, Warren has surged in the polls, largely on voters' enthusiasm for her ethos and ideology.

"Warren has an idea and she knows how she's going to get there," Lauren Polkier of Providence, Rhode Island, told ABC after meeting Warren at a recent primary state convention, citing how relatable she finds the candidate's origin story.

"I think the biggest thing that inspires me is that she comes from this background very similar to mine -- tight-knit family, lower-middle class -- and she's beat the odds -- she's come up and she's made something for herself," Polkier said. "She's very charismatic, she has a clear and concise plan for every policy and every issue. ... She's very inspiring for me, and I want to see a woman in the White House, and I'm very excited to see that."

People often drive hundreds of miles across state lines for one of Warren's town halls, to see her, meet her, take a selfie with her. Warren's thousandth selfie was a young mother with two little girls.

Melinda wore a bright red shirt that said, "Impolite arrogant women make history."

"She inspires us, she gives us hope for the future -- and we're here because of our girls," Melinda told ABC News.

Voters repeatedly say they're fueled by how she's a fighter, and they feel she'll fight for them, that she's not just a woman, she's a woman with a plan. But at Tuesday's fourth debate, as Warren's stock rose, her 2020 rivals took aim at those plans -- and at perceived gaps in them.

The fourth Democratic debate, at Otterbein University in Ohio, was the first time Warren faced other contenders after leading a major poll. That polling reflects her rise: She's neck and neck with former Vice President Joe Biden, even topping him in some.

And her onstage rivals didn't shy away from hammering Warren on her signature promises. She often grabs about "having a plan for that" -- for everything -- but onstage, her rivals pilloried her for the lack of detail, especially when it came to her most expensive, most expansive plan, Medicare for All, which, ironically, isn't even hers and which Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., originated. Then, at times, she was accused of being in turns dishonest, punitive, naive and that she offered a "pipe dream" ethos of leadership.

Warren refused to say the word "taxes" when it came to paying for her version Medicare for All, as she's consistently avoided.

Yet in immediate post-debate polling, she did well, scoring high in her performance grade.

"Remember, a lot of Democrats come in liking Warren in the first place," FiveThirtyEight's Galen Druke noted in the wake of Tuesday's debate. Warren came in with high net-favorability rating. "And so Democrats come in kind of wanting to think the debate went well for Warren, so if it was kind of ambiguous, it might come out fine for her."

Voters like her energy, her enthusiasm, and how she links her personal history to her policy ideas. She's become a flesh-and-blood metonym for her plan-fertile platform.

High marks in most polls, so why don't voters think she can win?

Recent polling reflects people think she does have the "best" ideas -- by a wide margin.

Quinnipiac University's poll, released the day before the fourth debate, found that Democrat and Democratic-leaning voters expressed they think Warren has the best policy ideas by a wide margin: 40% of respondents giving her that nod compared with just 16% for Biden's ideas. However, those same voters said that when it comes to the imperative question of who has the best chance of beating Trump, Biden outpaced Warren by far, 48% to 21%.

When it comes to that crucial vote of confidence, Warren doesn't win. Why?

"The expectation of who is both capable and likely to lead in presidential office has historically been associated, not only just with men, but with white men," Dittmar said. "Candidates have had to do additional labor to push back against those expectations."

Voters cast ballots based on whoever seems most likely to win, based on the statistics from the last go-round, converging on a middle ground and sweetening the odds for a candidate on whom both sides can compromise.

"That's based on whether or not people assume other people have bias about who can and should lead and if they have certain perceptions of what other people will accept," Dittmar said.

Facing 'othering' as a female front-runner


Warren may also face an additional undercurrent of "othering" as a female front-runner.

However, the issue of perception of which candidates voters say they think their friends or neighbors will cast ballots for is not new to the 2020 primary.

In 2008, then-Sen. Barack Obama faced questions about his race that were coupled with concerns over his being a relative newcomer to Washington and his campaign's gamble on "hope" and "change."

Hillary Clinton, by contrast, was highly experienced but a hard sell to some as "electable" in her quest to shatter the "highest, hardest glass ceiling."

Even Donald Trump, a billionaire and proverbial Washington outsider, was not considered a politically serious option well into his campaign that promised to "Make America Great Again," a message targeting many of those hit hardest by the recent recession.

But this time, a historically diverse group of Democrats is lining up against the man who promised to drain the swamp, and a flurry of women and minorities, young candidates and old candidates, may challenge voters' very notions of electability.

'How she weathers attacks to come matters all the more now'


Questioning candidates' honesty is no novel territory, but it's an even bigger issue for women.

Warren's been scrutinized especially of late on several serious subjects, including discrepancies in her origin story told on the stump and whether she'd have to raise taxes to pay for her health care plan. Both are issues of her own making -- moreso the more she hedges -- and exacerbated as many Democrats seek a surefire winner over Trump.

"People have the belief and stereotype that women are supposed to be more honest -- well, then, when a woman gets caught in a lie, it's even more damaging," said Michelle Swers, a professor of American government at Georgetown University. "If they start on a virtue pedestal, people assume better of them. But then if they're knocked off that pedestal, the fall is longer and harder than it might be for men."

It's happened before: In 2016, when questions arose over Clinton's ethics and honesty, that's when the moniker "Crooked Hillary" stuck.

"Electability has often been interpreted through a gendered lens," Swers said, with women "usually needing to prove themselves even more qualified -- more credentialed."

When it comes to Warren, Swers added, that shows in spades: "The whole premise of 'I have a plan for that' is to show, 'I'm serious -- I'm not just making it up on the fly.'"

"Any candidate will have to go up against the clear discrepancy that women and people of color face, but this was the first time Warren really weathered any attacks and it was really quite fascinating," Democratic strategist Arshad Hasan said of Warren's latest debate performance. "You could see her get a bit impatient, but it was clear she was really conscientious that if she's seen as stern or angry, that would have an entirely different effect than for male candidates."

Warren weathered her rivals' wallops with composure, choosing her words very carefully. In a particularly prickly exchange with Biden over who deserves credit for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau -- Warren's signature effort -- Biden grew visibly heated, gesturing widely into Warren's podium space.

"I agree with the great job she did, and I went on the [Senate] floor and got you votes!" Biden said, his tone rising. "I got votes for that bill. I convinced people to vote for it -- so let's get those things straight, too."

Warren stood stock still, letting him finish, and responded in a measured tone: "I am deeply grateful -- to President Obama, who fought so hard to make sure that agency was passed into law. And I am deeply grateful to every single person who fought for it, and who helped pass it into law."

"There was Joe Biden, not only attempting to take credit for Elizabeth Warren's signature accomplishment, but then also to take her space. You don't have to be a body language expert -- any woman could see that Elizabeth Warren was being very considered in her reaction to Biden getting in her space and getting in her literal accomplishment," Hasan told ABC News.

"You saw her slow down and be very considerate about her words - she said, 'I. Am. Very grateful. For all the support -- that I got from Barack Obama," Hasan continued. "I mean, like, we all saw what she was doing -- the way that she said it, she was controlling herself and she was being so deliberate. It was a very clear, cutting comment to say, 'Do not -- do not! -- take my signature accomplishment, and take it over."

Any "attack" for female candidates -- taking it or giving it -- must be wielded as a finely tuned, finely sharpened weapon. "It's not as easy for you to just be purely angry, you have to be more strategic. Now, multiple female candidates on the stage show different elements of what is 'allowed,' and it's widening the circle of what's permissible behavior," Swers said.

When her opponents onstage, and even some pundits post-debate, grew visibly frustrated with some of her artful dodges, Warren stayed mostly tempered, even as she ducked the questions.

"Claire Mckaskill called her petulant," Dittmar said of the post-debate analysts. "You could say that about any of the candidates, but think about the effect when talking about a woman, who have historically been infantilized. So, will that cue play into existing negative stereotypes about women more easily?"

McCaskill, a former centrist democrat Missouri senator turned political analyst, knocked Warren for her tactics. But how will those affect voters' perceptions?

"Voters and viewers have certain expectations about dynamics between men and women -- about stereotypes of male dominance -- men have to worry about coming across as a bully," Dittmar said. "For Biden, he risks cuing some of those negative reactions, especially among women viewers, to see that sort of aggression and invasion of personal space as something that they themselves have experienced."

Warren played the moment to her advantage, Dittmar said, let the pauses be pregnant -- leaning back while Biden leaned in.

"She did that very well, she almost amplified his emotion, his aggression, by simply standing there very stoically. She played up the contrast in her body language and her tone," Dittmar added.

But friction between female candidates played out differently. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., called Warren explicitly by her first name.

"It's just the slightest slight," Hasan said, an index of familiarity, while still coming after Warren's policies sharply, that perhaps a male candidate couldn't have pulled off.

"We spend a lot of time thinking about how women engage on the trail, but it's equally as important to think about how gender functions for men," Dittmar added. In the wake of #MeToo "we've seen, and I think will see, men have to answer to this more than they have before."

The contrast of a woman onstage versus Trump this time, with so much happening since 2016, may yet prove advantageous for a well prepared female candidate.

"This is Warren's first day really at the top," Hasan said. "And I think this is going to play out a lot more: She's always been a woman, but she's never been a front-runner before… and the question now is where that room to grow goes."

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ABC News(NEW YORK) --Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders returned to New York City on Saturday for a large rally marking his return to the campaign trail after suffering a heart attack on Oct. 1.

At the rally dubbed the “Bernie’s Back Rally," New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez introduced the senator, announcing her support of his candidacy in front of the thousands who gathered for the event at Queensbridge Park along the East River in Queens. Although she didn’t offer a full-throated endorsement from the rally stage, Sanders said the congresswoman will be traveling around the country to campaign for him.

“It wasn’t until I heard of a man by the name of Bernie Sanders that I began to question, and assert, and recognize my inherent value as a human being that deserves health care, housing, education, and a living wage," she said, at the park just miles from her district.

She outlined the issues she said are most important to her and her constituents -- public housing, climate change, environmental justice, her support for a living wage and easier access to health care -- , all aligning with Sanders’ platform.

During her remarks, Ocasio-Cortez framed Sanders as the leader of the progressive movement.

“Bernie Sanders did not do these things because they were popular," she said. "He fought for these aims and these ends when they came at the highest political cost in America. No one wanted to question this system."

Ocasio-Cortez first served as a political surrogate for Sanders during his 2016 presidential run, and the two have introduced bold climate change plans. Two senior sources from the Sanders campaign told reporter's after the Oct. 15 debate of a potential endorsement from the New York congresswoman.

Before introducing Sanders, Ocasio-Cortez warned that this election is not just about defeating President Donald Trump, but also about creating transformative change within U.S. institutions.

 Sanders first thanked his supporters for their well wishes in the aftermath of his hospital stint.
“I am happy to report to you that I am more than ready, more ready than ever, to carry on with you the epic struggle that we face today,” Sanders said. “I am more than ready to assume the office of president of the United States.”

He added, “To put it bluntly, I am back."

After thanking Ocasio-Cortez and addressing his health, Sanders’ remarks returned to policy.

"Please remember that unbelievably the richest people in our country live 15 years longer than the poorest people. In other words, poverty is a death sentence," he said. "And we’re going to end that death sentence."

He spoke directly to racial disparities in wealth, health outcomes and criminal sentencing, strengthening labor unions and targeting those with massive wealth and corporations.

Other members of the so-called squad -- or liberal freshman congresswomen of color -- have been tied to Sanders’ presidential bid. Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar announced her endorsement of Bernie Sanders with a video earlier this week. Michigan Rep. Rashida Tlaib hasn’t endorsed Sanders, but is slated to tour her district with the senator later this month.

The rally comes at critical time for the Sanders campaign. Despite raising $25.3 million during the third quarter, national polling data compiled by ABC affiliate FiveThirtyEight shows Sanders backsliding in many of the polls, falling just short of Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren and former Vice President Joe Biden.

Results from an Oct. 14 Quinnipiac University poll showed primary voter support for Sanders fell around 11%, compared to Biden's 27% and Warren's 30%.

This is Sanders’ first campaign event -- aside from the Oct. 15 Democratic debate -- since his heart attack in Nevada and it could serve as a means to reinvigorate his campaign.

Sanders spent the first couple moments on stage looking out into the cheering crowd, claiming they had to turn people away because more than the permitted 20,000 attendees had come to the park.

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ABC News(ORANGEBURG, S.C.) -- Students at historically black colleges and universities such as Charles C. Patton, the sixth "Mr. South Carolina State University", say they'll only cast ballots for a 2020 presidential candidate willing to "come here and speak to us.”

Like many young voters, the 22-year-old physics major who acts as an ambassador for his HBCU campus, has not yet decided which presidential candidate he's supporting.

"We've had Beto O'Rourke come to our campus, we've had Cory Booker, we've had Kamala Harris, we've had Mayor Pete [Buttigieg]," Patton said, listing off the names of candidates who have held campaign events at his school.

The influx of 2020 candidates flocking to South Carolina to court black voters -- a demographic making up more than 60% of the Democratic electorate in the primary election -- gives students a front row seat to speak with the presidential hopefuls about the issues that matter most to them.

The Palmetto State has some of the fastest growing student debt in the country, jumping between $5.6 billion and $23.1 billion from 2008-18, according to an Experian report that came out earlier this year.

Nationally, the average white student loan borrower has roughly $30,000 of student loan debt, while African-Americans have an average of nearly $34,000, according to data from the Center for Responsible Lending.

The disparities only grow after graduation. A 2017 report from the Brookings Institution found student debt among black college students to be at "crisis levels. The report showed black students graduating with a Bachelor's degree were defaulting at five times the rate of their white counterparts.

As historically black colleges and universities continue to struggle with limited federal funding, students attending these institutions -- with families that tend to have a lower income -- are left with limited financial resources, causing them to amass larger amounts of debt in hopes that higher education will lead to a more successful future.

In a focus group with ABC News, Patton was one of six student leaders at South Carolina State to sound off on the recent visits from the 2020 candidates, expressing their need for a candidate who will be a champion for one of their top issues: student loan debt.

"We are getting hit the hardest," said Shamari Knighton, an African American first-generation college student majoring in biology and acting as first lieutenant to Mr. South Carolina State. Despite having already amassed around $82,000 in debt, Knighton said he still plans to attend grad school, potentially leaving him with upwards of $100,000 of loans.

"I didn't come from money, so I didn't have a lot of money saved up." Knighton said, acknowledging that with few scholarships under his belt, student loans were his only option.

"I wasn't as fortunate to have my mother know that much about [the loan process]. She worked two and three jobs to take care of me and my siblings," he explained. "She's not tech savvy, so she didn't know about the application process so I kind of went through that alone."

It's that same financial trajectory that leaves South Carolina State senior Jaelyn McCrea feeling unsure about pursuing her dreams of going to film school after graduation. She told ABC News that she would like candidates to focus on financial literacy in combination with debt relief.

"We need mandatory financial literacy for high school students," McCrea said, flagging a hole in the Democratic solution to address student loan debt among low income students.

"Some people are blessed and go to school where they have those opportunities, some people aren't," she said. "We need to make it a point to reach every school -- low income to private school -- to make sure every student is educated on scholarships, financial aid and what student loans really are. Start early [so students] aren't stuck when they get to college."

Several 2020 hopefuls have proposed comprehensive education reform, with debt relief detailed as a top priority. Both Booker, the senator from New Jersey and O'Rourke, a former Texas congressman, have detailed plans to forgive all student loan debt for public school teachers; while businessman Andrew Yang, former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro and former Vice President Joe Biden have pledged to provide income-based student loan refinancing.

Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren met with student's privately before she took the stage during a student debt town hall on Wednesday Oct. 9, promoting her own student loan bill. Her proposal, co-sponsored by South Carolina Rep. James. Clyburn, would make four-year colleges and universities free and provide student debt relief for over 42 million Americans, eliminating up to $50,000 of student loan debt for borrowers who have an annual income of less than $100,000.

"One of the things that I like about Elizabeth Warren is that she's acknowledging the problems, but she's also backing them up with realistic solutions," said Richlyn Williams, a sophomore majoring in speech pathology and audiology who participated in the discussion.

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders proposed his own ambitious plan to provide universal higher education and forgive all $1.6 trillion of student loan debt, but SCSU students who participated in the focus-group were not confident in the proposal.

"I like the idea, but I think it's been a pattern with Sen. Sanders to have these grandeur plans to certain things, but it doesn't feel rooted in reality," Patton said. "[But] I appreciate his passion and his yearning to fix a lot of things."

Patton said while he supports Sanders' agenda, he isn't sure the senator's plans to achieve them would receive the necessary support from Congress.

"Right now, we do not have time for someone to give us promises while not seeing actual steps to move towards solutions, especially going against [President Donald] Trump in the 2020 election," he said. "We need to go with a candidate that that we can actually get behind with stuff that is rooted in reality."

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ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- The history of country music offers Americans a "new perspective" on the nation's own complex story, providing a different way to understand the diverse diaspora that it is today, documentary filmmaker Ken Burns told ABC News.

"Country music has all of these influences from all these diverse places from the beginning, and proceeds to then add many more influences," said Burns, who sat down for an ABC News Live interview with "Powerhouse Politics" host and political director, Rick Klein. "So in some ways, it tends to sort of neutralize the simplistic binary arguments we get into today."

Over the course of 16 hours and eight episodes, Burns traces the evolution of the genre in his latest work, "Country Music," released on PBS in September. From its genesis with hillbilly songs to post-war America's bluegrass to rockabilly and country pop, the film crosses every intersection the genre takes with other musical forms.

"We're all looking for stories that are complicated and a wonderful way to talk to us about who we are, and country music is that," he said, sitting feet away from the stage at the Hill Country Barbecue restaurant in downtown Washington, D.C.

His selection of country music -- following his storytelling of American history through his other films "The Vietnam War," "Baseball," "Prohibition," "Jazz" and "The Civil War" -- comes from his passion for stories. It also stems from his attraction to the genre's history, which was born out of the roaring '20s and developed throughout the turbulent 20th century, mirroring heartache, loss, love and redemption along the way.

"We pick our topics because they are good stories," he said. "This one happens to help us come to terms from a new perspective of the very complicated 20th century. This is music born, at least for commercial purposes, in the 1920s and we take it up to the end of the millennium. It's a new way to see us, both the U.S. and us in that intimate way."

Burns shared details from the film, like how the stories of country legends weave together. That included Merle Haggard's life crossing with Johnny Cash's while he was an inmate at San Quentin State Prison and Dolly Parton's rise from extreme poverty in eastern Tennessee to notoriety as a revered member of the country family.

The famed filmmaker also conveys the universality of the genre, which is as multifaceted as the country and reflects what he says is every American's story.

"I can think of no better story that reminds us that we're all in the same boat ... than the universal truths that emanate not out of just the songs, the art, but of the story of the people who made those songs," he said. "What is a country song but expressing kind of universal human emotions, like loss and love and seeking redemption?"

In his effort to explore the soundtrack of the genre, Burns also sought to push back on some of the misconceptions of country music -- particularly the perception that it is comprised of only "conservative, rural, or Southern" artists despite its decades of African American influences.

"I think too often in our culture, we abbreviate something and we sort sort of categorize it. And country music has never been a one thing," he said. "It has always been a really complicated mixture of influences. ... And then you just proceed through these amazing characters decade after decade who tell us a lot about who we are."

He added, "There's an African American dimension in every one of our eight episodes, and the music is infused with the African American experience, even though it seems to come down to us as essentially a white music, which we then transfer as being conservative, rural, Southern. It's all types of things."

In detailing what he learned about America from his eight years of work on the film, he also asserted that while it appears as though everything in modern American culture "is in opposition. Everything's red state, blue state. It's young or old, it's rich or poor, white or black," like country music, every American story is a "combination, a mixture, an alloy."

Sitting in the nation's capital and keenly aware of another historical event less than a week away -- the 2019 World Series -- Burns also weighed in on the impending battle between the Washington Nationals and either the Houston Astros or the New York Yankees.

"The historian in me is completely repressed by the Boston Red Sox baseball fan in me, in which I root for the Boston Red Sox -- who are, by the way, the reigning world champions until they're not -- and anyone who's playing the Yankees," he said.

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ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- Maryland Rep. Elijah Cummings will lie in state in National Statuary Hall at the U.S. Capitol on Thursday, ahead of funeral service at his church of nearly four decades in his home district of Baltimore.

There will be a public viewing in the two-story chamber following a formal ceremony for members of Congress, the Cummings family and invited guests on Thursday morning, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced.

A wake and funeral for Cummings will be held at New Psalmist Baptist Church in Baltimore on Friday, Oct. 25. The wake will begin at 8 a.m., followed by the funeral at 10 a.m, according a church spokeswoman. Bishop Walter S. Thomas Jr., the church's pastor since 1975, is scheduled to deliver the eulogy.

He predicts the 4,000-seat sanctuary will overflow with people paying respects as lawmakers from both political parties are expected to attend.

"For all who pass through these doors, it has been very somber," Thomas told The Baltimore Sun on Thursday. "We’ve lost a friend, a loved one, a member, a role model. You can roll out the whole list of nouns. He steps into all of them with big shoes."

On Wednesday, Oct. 23, Cummings will lie in repose at Morgan State University, where he served on the Board of Regents. Following the viewing, there will be a community-wide celebration of the congressman at the university's Murphy Fine Arts Center from 6-8:30 p.m.

Morgan State University President Dr. David Wilson said in a statement on Thursday that the university is "deeply saddened by the loss of one our fiercest advocates and supporters."

"Rep. Cummings was not only a dear friend to Morgan, he was family. His wisdom, wise counsel and superb leadership will be greatly missed," Wilson wrote. "The City of Baltimore, the State of Maryland, and our nation, will forever be indebted to the legacy of this great public servant."

Cummings, the son of sharecroppers who became the first African American in Maryland history to be named Speaker Pro Tempore, later rose to become Chairman of the U.S. House Oversight and Reform Committee.

Just five months ago, he delivered the commencement address at the historically black research university in Maryland.

"Your lives are in front of you," Cummings told the graduating class in May. "And so I beg you to go out and stand up for this democracy."

Cummings died Oct. 17 at the age of 68, due to complications concerning longstanding health challenges, according to a statement from his office. In lieu of flowers, the Cummings' family has suggested the public make donations to The Elijah Cummings Youth Program.

House votes originally scheduled for next Thursday will be held late Wednesday night -- as it’s customary to cancel voting when a dignitary has the rare honor of lying in state in the U.S. Capitol.

The last persons to lie in state were former President George H. W. Bush last December and the late Arizona Sen. John McCain, in August 2018.

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Twitter/@rickklein(WASHINGTON) -- Former Ohio Gov. John Kasich said if he were in the House of Representatives today, he would vote to impeach President Donald Trump.

"I have no problem with the president of the United States withholding aid if it's related to policy, but to withhold aid because you want some political operation to occur, I just think is dead wrong, and it just goes too far for me," Kasich said on ABC News' "Powerhouse Politics" podcast. "So if I were in the House, I would vote to impeach."

Kasich, who sought the 2016 GOP presidential nomination and has been a frequent critic of Trump, said that while coming to the decision that an impeachment inquiry was necessary was "a piece of cake for" him, the decision to support impeaching the president was something he'd been struggling with.

While he said he didn't really see the quid pro quo "at the time," acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney's comments Thursday, "compounded by so many other things," finally led Kasich to a decision.

"The final, final act was Mulvaney saying, 'Yes, we did withhold this aid, because we wanted this investigation done about the 2016 election,'" he told ABC News Chief White House Correspondent Jonathan Karl and Political Director Rick Klein.

On Thursday, in an exchange with Karl during a press briefing, Mulvaney admitted there was a quid pro quo as it relates to Ukraine, saying that part of the reason Trump withheld military aid was to put pressure on the foreign government to investigate a debunked conspiracy theory from 2016 involving a hacked email server that belonged to the Democratic National Committee.

While Mulvaney said that the "driving factors" in Trump's decision were his distaste for foreign aid in general -- especially if it's used in a corrupted way -- and that he didn't think European nations were giving enough financial assistance to Ukraine, he added, "Did he also mention to me in pass the corruption related to the DNC server? Absolutely. No question about that. But that's it. And that's why we held up the money."

Karl pressed for clarity: "But to be clear, what you just described is a quid pro quo. It is: Funding will not flow unless the investigation into the Democratic server happens as well."

Mulvaney replied, "We do that all the time with foreign policy."

Later, he claimed the media "decided to misconstrue" what he said, saying in a statement: "There was absolutely no quid pro quo between Ukrainian military aid and any investigation into the 2016 election. The president never told me to withhold any money until the Ukrainians did anything related to the server. The only reasons we were holding the money was because of concern about lack of support from other nations and concerns over corruption."

"I've now concluded there was a quid pro quo that was absolutely unacceptable," Kasich told the hosts.

While Kasich supports impeaching the president, he hasn't been happy with the way House Democrats have gone about conducting the investigation, taking issue with there not having been a formal vote, calling it a political move.

"When you're going about impeaching a president, investigating a president, we don't have time for politics," he said, but added that he does think the House will move on impeachment.

As far as the timeline of the investigation goes, and contrary to others who have spoken out, the former lawmaker doesn't think there should be a rush to get this done.

"I don't think they should be in any hurry. I think they ought to do their job the right way," Kasich said. "This is our country. There's an investigation. Do it right. You shouldn't have some calendar. You shouldn't worry that you're going to put your vulnerable members at risk. Tough. If you can't do that then you shouldn't have started this thing, OK? Plain and simple."

When asked if he thought Republicans would ever vote to remove Trump from office, Kasich said he's "not a fortune teller," but referred back to his time in the House during the impeachment of former President Bill Clinton, which he voted in favor of. He said that back then, the fact that Clinton was likely to be acquitted wasn't the issue for him in making his decision.

And he noted that the impeachment inquiry into Trump is just starting.

"There's going to be lots of hearings that are going to continue, more witnesses. Who knows what's going to come out? Every day, there's another -- I mean, almost another bombshell, so I can't predict what's going to happen next week. ... Next week, who knows what's going to happen?" he said.

Klein and Karl also asked Kasich about Tuesday's Democratic debate, which was held in the Ohioan's hometown, Westerville.

He said that debates are a "silly way to pick a president."

"You want to pick a president based on the sound bites? I mean, that's what we're doing," he said. "These debates are pushing everybody to extremes to come up with a snarky answer, and it's just -- it's just, you know, what's there to watch?"

He took a shot at "Medicare for All," a signature proposal for top-polling 2020 Democratic candidates Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, saying the American people don't want to give up their private insurance for a government-run option. He also criticized a wealth tax supported by Warren, Sanders and billionaire candidate Tom Steyer, and made a slight pass at former Texas Rep. Beto O'Rourke's proposal to institute a mandatory buy-back program for assault weapons, like a AR-15s and AK-47s.

"The way it's going right now, they're going hard left, which means they can't win," Kasich said of the Democratic primary field.

Karl asked Kasich if his political days were behind him, and while he threw cold water on getting into this presidential election, he left open the possibility for trying to run again in the future.

"The only thing I really have an interest in is president, and I see no path at this point in time," he said. "I'll be younger when the next election comes around than all these top front runners running for president today."

Kasich ended with this question, "Can somebody who doesn't hold public office have a big enough voice to move the public? Is there a way to do it?"

Citing all many methods of communication now used -- podcasts, YouTube, TV, Twitter -- Kasich said voices are what matter.

"We'll see," he said. "All of my options are on the table."

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Martin Holverda/iStock(WASHINGTON) -- Former Democratic presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, without naming names -- and just ahead of the debate -- said that a female 2020 candidate is a “favorite of the Russians”--comments that picked up steam on Friday on social media.

“They’re also going to do third-party again. And I’m not making any predictions, but I think they’ve got their eye on somebody who is currently in the Democratic primary and are grooming her to be the third-party candidate. She’s the favorite of the Russians, they have a bunch of sites and bots and other ways of supporting her so far...” Clinton told David Plouffe on “Campaign HQ”, a podcast run by the 2008 Obama campaign manager.

Clinton does not mention Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard by name and there are five Democratic women running for president this cycle: Gabbard, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Minnesota Sen. Amy Kloubuchar, California Sen. Kamala Harria and author Marianne Williamson. However, the comment appeared to be aimed at Gabbard.

Gabbard fired back on Twitter on Friday afternoon.

 

Great! Thank you @HillaryClinton. You, the queen of warmongers, embodiment of corruption, and personification of the rot that has sickened the Democratic Party for so long, have finally come out from behind the curtain. From the day I announced my candidacy, there has been a ...

— Tulsi Gabbard (@TulsiGabbard) October 18, 2019

... powerful allies in the corporate media and war machine, afraid of the threat I pose.

It’s now clear that this primary is between you and me. Don’t cowardly hide behind your proxies. Join the race directly.

— Tulsi Gabbard (@TulsiGabbard) October 18, 2019


The Hawaiian lawmaker recently addressed criticism that her campaign is being aided by Russian propaganda efforts-- a narrative that has appeared recently in such places as the New York Times. The news outlet reported last week that some Democrats worry about Russian bot influence due to Gabbard's apparent popularity on and mentions in Russian news media and on such places as 4chan, an online message board popular with right-wing groups.

Clinton's spokesman Nick Merrill told CNN in response to a question about whether the former secretary of state was referring to Gabbard: "If the nesting doll fits."

"This is not some outlandish claim. This is reality," Merrill told CNN. "If the Russian propaganda machine, both their state media and their bot and troll operations, is backing a candidate aligned with their interests, that is just a reality, it is not speculation."

Gabbard addressed speculation about being boosted by Russia on ABC's "This Week" in May, after being asked about an article published in The Daily Beast titled "Tulsi Gabbard's Campaign Is Being Boosted by Putin Apologists."

The Daily Beast article said that Gabbard's campaign was being "underwritten by some of the nation's leading Russophiles," and highlighted donations from supporters of Russian President Vladimir Putin. The piece says that those donors' views are likely to align more closely with Gabbard's on subjects like Syria. As a member of Congress, she has met with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and criticized a U.S. strike against the Syrian government, receiving backlash from other Democrats in Congress.

"You know, it's unfortunate that you're citing that article, George, because it's a whole lot of fake news," Gabbard said. "What I am focused on is what is in the best interest of the American people. What is in the best interest of our national security. Keeping the American people safe."

Clinton's team has not responded to a request from ABC News for comment.

ABC News has also reached out to Gabbard's campaign for a response.

Gabbard has previously said on multiple occasions that she will not run as a third-party candidate should she fail to net the Democratic presidential nomination.

Last week, Gabbard threatened to boycott the fourth Democratic debate, hosted by CNN and the New York times, accusing them of “rigging” the 2020 election.

"I am seriously considering boycotting October 15 debate to bring attention to DNC/corporate media's effort to rig 2020 primary," she tweeted.

Last Saturday, Gabbard tweeted, “As if to prove my point, NYT just published a “greatest hits” smear piece. All your favorite hits in one article! These are the folks who will be acting as the “neutral” questioners/ moderators of Tuesday’s debate lol”

Gabbard ended up joining the other candidates on the stage Tuesday night.

Clinton also said on the podcast interview with Plouffe that Jill Stein, the 2016 Green Party presidential nominee, was a "Russian asset."

"And that's assuming Jill Stein will give it up, which she might not, 'cause she's also a Russian asset," Clinton said during the podcast interview referring to Stein's third party status. " I mean, totally. They know they can't win without a third-party candidate, and so I don't know who it's going to be, but I will guarantee they'll have a vigorous third-party challenge in the key states that they most need it."

Stein, in a response to ABC News on Friday evening, said: "Instead of addressing the crises working people face, the DNC is painting progressives as the enemy. It's as if they're trying to lose to Trump again...In light of the latest slanderous allegations from Hillary Clinton, I challenge her to a debate. It's past time to give the American people the real debate they deserved in 2016, but were denied by the phony DNC/RNC-controlled Commission on Presidential Debates."

 

Some of Gabbard's Democratic competitors weighed in on Twitter, too. New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker tweeted a GIF in response to Gabbard.

 

https://t.co/wS8OHq1au0 pic.twitter.com/3l6GEm3Wa2

— Cory Booker (@CoryBooker) October 18, 2019

 

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Toshe_O/iStock(WASHINGTON) -- Former Ohio Gov. John Kasich said if he were in the House of Representatives today, he would vote to impeach President Donald Trump.

"I have no problem with the president of the United States withholding aid if it's related to policy, but to withhold aid because you want some political operation to occur, I just think is dead wrong, and it just goes too far for me," Kasich said on ABC News' "Powerhouse Politics" podcast. "So if I were in the House, I would vote to impeach."



Kasich, who sought the 2016 GOP presidential nomination and has been a frequent critic of Trump, said that while coming to the decision that an impeachment inquiry was necessary was "a piece of cake for" him, the decision to support impeaching the president was something he'd been struggling with.

While he said he didn't really see the quid pro quo "at the time," acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney's comments Thursday, "compounded by so many other things," finally led Kasich to a decision.

"The final, final act was Mulvaney saying, 'Yes, we did withhold this aid, because we wanted this investigation done about the 2016 election,'" he told ABC News Chief White House Correspondent Jonathan Karl and Political Director Rick Klein.

On Thursday, in an exchange with Karl during a press briefing, Mulvaney admitted there was a quid pro quo as it relates to Ukraine, saying that part of the reason Trump withheld military aid was to put pressure on the foreign government to investigate a debunked conspiracy theory from 2016 involving a hacked email server that belonged to the Democratic National Committee.

While Mulvaney said that the "driving factors" in Trump's decision were his distaste for foreign aid in general -- especially if it's used in a corrupted way -- and that he didn't think European nations were giving enough financial assistance to Ukraine, he added, "Did he also mention to me in pass the corruption related to the DNC server? Absolutely. No question about that. But that's it. And that's why we held up the money."

Karl pressed for clarity: "But to be clear, what you just described is a quid pro quo. It is: Funding will not flow unless the investigation into the Democratic server happens as well."

Mulvaney replied, "We do that all the time with foreign policy."

Later, he claimed the media "decided to misconstrue" what he said, saying in a statement: "There was absolutely no quid pro quo between Ukrainian military aid and any investigation into the 2016 election. The president never told me to withhold any money until the Ukrainians did anything related to the server. The only reasons we were holding the money was because of concern about lack of support from other nations and concerns over corruption."

 "I've now concluded there was a quid pro quo that was absolutely unacceptable," Kasich told the hosts.

While Kasich supports impeaching the president, he hasn't been happy with the way House Democrats have gone about conducting the investigation, taking issue with there not having been a formal vote, calling it a political move.

"When you're going about impeaching a president, investigating a president, we don't have time for politics," he said, but added that he does think the House will move on impeachment.

As far as the timeline of the investigation goes, and contrary to others who have spoken out, the former lawmaker doesn't think there should be a rush to get this done.

"I don't think they should be in any hurry. I think they ought to do their job the right way," Kasich said. "This is our country. There's an investigation. Do it right. You shouldn't have some calendar. You shouldn't worry that you're going to put your vulnerable members at risk. Tough. If you can't do that then you shouldn't have started this thing, OK? Plain and simple."

 When asked if he thought Republicans would ever vote to remove Trump from office, Kasich said he's "not a fortune teller," but referred back to his time in the House during the impeachment of former President Bill Clinton, which he voted in favor of. He said that back then, the fact that Clinton was likely to be acquitted wasn't the issue for him in making his decision.

And he noted that the impeachment inquiry into Trump is just starting.

"There's going to be lots of hearings that are going to continue, more witnesses. Who knows what's going to come out? Every day, there's another -- I mean, almost another bombshell, so I can't predict what's going to happen next week. ... Next week, who knows what's going to happen?" he said.

Klein and Karl also asked Kasich about Tuesday's Democratic debate, which was held in the Ohioan's hometown, Westerville.

He said that debates are a "silly way to pick a president."

"You want to pick a president based on the sound bites? I mean, that's what we're doing," he said. "These debates are pushing everybody to extremes to come up with a snarky answer, and it's just -- it's just, you know, what's there to watch?"

 He took a shot at "Medicare for All," a signature proposal for top-polling 2020 Democratic candidates Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, saying the American people don't want to give up their private insurance for a government-run option. He also criticized a wealth tax supported by Warren, Sanders and billionaire candidate Tom Steyer, and made a slight pass at former Texas Rep. Beto O'Rourke's proposal to institute a mandatory buy-back program for assault weapons, like a AR-15s and AK-47s.

"The way it's going right now, they're going hard left, which means they can't win," Kasich said of the Democratic primary field.

Karl asked Kasich if his political days were behind him, and while he threw cold water on getting into this presidential election, he left open the possibility for trying to run again in the future.

"The only thing I really have an interest in is president, and I see no path at this point in time," he said. "I'll be younger when the next election comes around than all these top front runners running for president today."

Kasich ended with this question, "Can somebody who doesn't hold public office have a big enough voice to move the public? Is there a way to do it?"

Citing all many methods of communication now used -- podcasts, YouTube, TV, Twitter -- Kasich said voices are what matter.

"We'll see," he said. "All of my options are on the table."

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

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