Watch Live: Ted Cruz and Beto O'Rourke face off in first debate
Re-election this, is volatile, I think, our best days are ahead. I want Texas, to lead this country and, getting back on the right track, together, we, will keep Texas, bright. Tonight. Senator, Ted Cruz and Congressman, Beto O'Rourke faced off in their first high stakes debate and in the past year and a half we've, been delivering, real. Results, there, are places that have been written off there are people who have been taken for granted from. Nbc5 the, Dallas Morning News and SMU. Live. From the SMU campus in, Dallas. The. First Texas, Senate debate I'm Julie fine from NBC, 5 along with gromer Jeffers from, the Dallas Morning News here, are the rules for tonight's, 60, minute debate once. A question is asked, the candidate, will have 90 seconds. To answer his. Opponent, will have 60, seconds for a response, and then, the candidate, will have another 30 seconds, for rebuttal we've asked the audience not, to applaud or react, during, the debate that is except, for now as we welcome the candidates. Republican. Incumbent Ted, Cruz. Representative. At all. And. With that gentlemen let's begin, congressman, don't work you drew the first question, so we're going to start with you because you drew the first question, you said last week representative, that you want citizenship. For dreamers today, and yet others who have applied to come to America, continue, to wait senator. Cruz has said he doesn't support a path to citizenship, for dreamers which means they could be sent back to a country they've. Never known who's. Right representative. First. Of all let me say thank you to NBC. 5 to, the Dallas Morning News to. SMU, and the people of Dallas for having us here at this debate tonight let, me thank senator Ted Cruz for, participating. In this I'm looking forward to the discussion, my, wife Amy and I were. In Booker Texas we've traveled to each one of the 254. Counties one, of the the reddest communities, in the state and we were surprised as we were going door-to-door to. Hear that the number one concern from people in that community was. The fate of dreamers there are nearly 200,000. In the, state of Texas, and the salutatorian from, Booker high school had just been deported back to his, country of origin and everyone there was, concerned, about his welfare but they're also concerned about the fact that he'd just been sent back to a country whose, language he didn't speak where he no longer had family. Connections where. If he was successful against those long odds he'd be successful, there for, that place and not here for, Texas there, is no, better people, than those, of us here in the state Republicans. And Democrats, independents, alike, the, defining border experienced. The defining immigrant experience and state to, rewrite, our immigration, laws in our, own image and to ensure that we begin by freeing, dreamers, from, the fear of deportation by. Making them US citizens, so they can contribute to their full potential, to the success not just of themselves, and their, families, but to this country the economists who've studied it have said that we will lose hundreds, of billions of dollars to the negative if we deport them we, will gain hundreds, of billions to the positive if we keep them here senator. Cruz has promised, to deport, each and every single dreamer that cannot be the way the Texas leads on this important issue senator. Cruz, well. Good evening and welcome you. Know this issue presents. A stark divide between, congressman O'Rourke, and me my, views on immigration are, simple and and I've summed them up many times in just four words, legal. Good. Illegal. Bad I think. The vast majority of Texans agree with that I think when it comes to immigration we, need to do everything humanly. Possible to secure the border that means building, a wall that, means technology. That means infrastructure. That means boots on the ground and we. Can do all of that at the same time, that, we are welcoming. And celebrating. Legal. Immigrants, there is a right way to come into this country you wait in line you, follow, the rules like my father did in 1957. When he came from Cuba he fled oppression, and he came to Texas he came seeking, freedom we, are a state and we're a nation, built by immigrants, but it's striking, that that, congressman, O'Rourke over and over and over again his focus seems to be on fighting, for illegal, immigrants, and forgetting, the millions, of Americans, you know Americans, are dreamers also, and granting.
US Citizenship. To, 12 million people who are here illegally I, think is a serious. Mistake I think congressman O'Rourke, is out of step with Texas on that representative, I'll. Tell you about being out of step with Texas, senator, Cruz has sponsored. Legislation that, would have this country build a 2,000. Mile wall 30, feet high at a cost of 30 billion dollars and that wall will not be built on the international, border between, the United States and Mexico which is a centerline of the Rio Grande it'll, be built on someone's farm someone's, ranch someone's, property someone's. Homestead, using the power of eminent domain to take their property at a time of record security. And safety on the border Senator, John Cornyn and I introduced. Legislation that. Would invest in our ports of entry with a vast majority of everyone and everything that, comes into this country first crosses knowing, who and what come in here makes us safer, it allows us to lead on the issues of immigration reform representative. Quick follow-up for you you've addressed the dreamers do you think anyone, who is undocumented, living, here should, have a path to citizenship. There. Are millions of people in this country who are working the, toughest jobs and we were in roscoe at a cotton gin with 24 jobs, every single one of them worked by someone who came to this country not, a person born in Roscoe, or nearby Sweetwater, willing. To do that work that's the story of Texas, and of this country we need to bring people out of the shadows allow them to get right by law and yes, there should be an earned path, to citizenship. The alternative, as senator, Cruz has proposed, is to deport, 11, million, people from. This country imagine, the cost, imagine, the stain on our conscience going forward for the generations, who look back at this moment representative. That's your time thank you. Senator. Cruz, this question is to you this. Month in Dallas, officer amber, Geiger shot, Ultem, John a black man in his own apartment why. Did you call, representative. Orc, and others not to jump to conclusions in, this, case when, the Texas Rangers, and the Dallas County District, Attorney says, she committed manslaughter. What. Happened to mr. John was horrific nobody. Should be in their own home and be shot and killed in their own home, it, was tragic now. The officer, as I understand, it has contended, that it was a tragic, mistake it was a case where she thought she, was in her own apartment she thought he was an intruder right. Now today I don't. Know what happened that evening congressman, O'Rourke doesn't know what happened that evening but. He immediately called, for firing the officer, that's. A mistake look we had a criminal justice system a criminal, justice system that will determine what happened that night if she violated, the law if she did that intentionally she'll, face the consequences, but, without knowing the facts before a trial before, a jury's, heard the evidence congressman. O'Rourke is ready. To, convict, her ready, to fire her and I'll. Tell you it's it's a troubling, pattern over. And over again congressman, O'Rourke, when faced with an issue about police and law enforcement he, sides against, the police so. In the United States Congress he voted against, allowing, funds, to go to body armor for sheriff's, when. It comes to Immigration and Customs Enforcement. He has said he's open to abolishing, that law enforcement agency and just. This week.
Congressman. O'Rourke, described. Law, enforcement, described police officers, as. Modern-day. Jim. Crow. Let, me say something I have. Gotten to know police officers all across this state that is offensive. Just, today Fort, Worth is burying. Officer, Garrett Hall with his wife Sabrina and two kids who was shot in the head risking, his life here, today. Officer. Brian Graham, and Arlington SWAT officer who was shot in the head, he. Is here in every day police officers, risked their lives for us officer. Graham is standing, there his two kids he took a bullet in the head protecting. Us and let, me say right now I think it is offensive, to call police, officers, modern-day. Jim Crow that, is not Texas. Please. Please audience please no, applause. What. Senator Cruz said is simply, untrue, I did not call police officers, modern-day. Jim Crow and I. As, well as senator Cruz and everyone here mourn, the passing of, officer Hall in Fort. Worth my uncle, Raymond was a sheriff's deputy you know pass in fact he was the captain of the El Paso County. Jail he's the one who taught me to shoot and the, responsibility. And accountability that. Comes with owning, a gun but he also taught me what, it means to serve everyone. To be sworn to protect and, serve everyone in a community not just some, people with. The tragic, shooting, death of, both. I'm John you. Have another, unarmed, black man killed. In this country by, law enforcement now no member of law enforcement wants that to happen no member, of this community wants that to happen but we've got to do something better than what we've been doing so far if African Americans represent. 13%. Of the, population in, this country that they represent, one third of those who are shot by law enforcement we have something wrong if we have the largest prison population on, the, face of the planet and it is disproportionately comprised. Of people, of color we have something, wrong in this country Republicans, and Democrats should be able to work together with law enforcement and members, of the community for, real lasting, meaningful, criminal. Justice reform and that's your time a quick, follow-up to you senator Cruz do, you agree that police violence, against unarmed Africa, Americans, is a problem, and if so how would you fix it I believe. Everyone's rights should be protected, regardless of, your race regardless of your ethnicity but. I'll tell you something, I've. Been to too many, police. Funerals, I, was. Here in Dallas when five police officers were gunned down. Because. Of irresponsible and, hateful rhetoric I, was. At the funeral in Houston at Second Baptist Church, where deputy Goforth had been shot in the back of the head at a service station, because. Of irresponsible, and hateful rhetoric just now congressman O'Rourke, repeated, things he knows aren't true he stated for example, white police officers, are shooting unarmed. African American children The Washington Post fact-checked. That claim and conclude. Congressman, O'Rourke was wrong but, I'll tell you something that, rhetoric does damage that, rhetoric divides, us on race it inflames hatred, we should be bringing people together instead, of suggesting the police are risking, their lives to protect all of us to protect African Americans to protect Hispanics, and turning. People against the police Senate I think is profound, Lee there is why, people don't like Washington, DC you just said something that I did not say what did you not read it to me, what.
If You're not I'm not gonna I'm not gonna repeat I'm not, going to repeat the. Station. Know this this is your trick in the trade to. Confuse, and to incite based on fear and not, to speak the truth this is a very serious issue and it warrants the truth in the FAL right representative. O'Rourke this, question is for you it's about the, national anthem, protests. Polls. Show that most Americans don't, think that. NFL players should be nearly during. The national anthem even. If they believe that they have the right to to, do so. But. You have said there's nothing more American than protesting. For your rights what, do you say to people who claim that you're out of step with most Texans on this issue I, mentioned. Just a minute ago members of law enforcement are, not sworn to serve and to protect only some people they're sworn to protect and, serve everyone. In a given community those. Service, members who put their lives on the line who are serving tonight in Afghanistan, and Iraq in Syria, they, swear not to a man, to a group of people in this country but, they swore to support and, to defend the Constitution, of the United States of America the Constitution, for, all of us the, civil rights marchers, who took their lives into their hands crossing, the Edmund Pettus Bridge in, Selma, Alabama some. Beaten to within an inch of their, lives those. Who lost their lives in the deep south to the racism, of America. At the time those, Freedom Riders who had the audacity to take Greyhound, buses in the deep south using, the bathrooms, or the water fountains, of their choice knowing, full well that it would in them it would it would end up in the, Mississippi, State Penitentiary, parchment, as it did for, John Lewis they marched not just for themselves but for everyone, and when, now we have injustice, in this, country two sets of criminal, justice systems, depending, on your, race your ethnicity and, your, color that prison population, that I talked about that, is disproportionately. Comprised of people, of color too many unarmed. African-american, men, losing, their lives in this country to peacefully. Protests. That injustice. Non-violently. And to call attention to that to prick the conscience, of this, country so that those in positions, of public trust and power, will finally, do something standing. Up not just for your rights but everyone's, rights in this country there's nothing more American than that that's your time congressman.
I'm. Gonna have to ask again for the audience, to please please, refrain, from. Reacting. And applause okay we need to get through a lot of questions here. Senator. Cruz you know congressman O'Rourke gave a long soliloquy, on the civil rights movement, and I'll tell you one of the reasons that I'm a Republican is, because, civil, rights legislation. Was, passed with the overwhelming. Support of Republicans, and indeed the. Dixiecrats. Who were imposing, Jim. Crow the Dixiecrats, who were beating those protesters, were Democrats, and that's. One of the reasons I'm proud, to, be a member, of the party of Lincoln a member that stands for equal, rights for everyone regardless of, what race what ethnicity every. Human being is a creation. Of God that, our Constitution. Protects but. Nowhere, in, his answer did. He address the fact that when. You have people during the national anthem taking, a knee, refusing, to stand for the national anthem that you're disrespecting. The, millions, of veterans the millions, of soldiers, and sailors and airmen and Marines that risk, and fight and die to protect that flag and to protect our Liberty to be clear everyone. Has a right to protest you have a right to speak but. You could speak in a way that, doesn't disrespect. The flag that doesn't respect, the national anthem and I'll, tell you those civil rights protesters, would be astonished. If the protests, were manifesting. And burning the flag dr.. King that's not something, dr. King stood for he stood for justice, without disrespecting. The men and women who fight for this. You. Heard senator Cruz's answer, first of all he again tried to mislead, you by taking a peaceful protest during. The national anthem to burning a flag no one here myself, included has suggested, that anyone should be doing that he also grounded his answer in partisanship. Talking about the GOP, being, better than the Democrats listen, I could care less about either. Party, at this moment at this deeply divided highly. Polarized time, in our history this, moment, calls for all of us regardless of party or any other difference of race or sexual. Orientation how, many generations you've been here or whether you've just got here yesterday we, need to come together for, this country that we love so much and. We're, moving on here the next question for senator Cruz details. Are still being worked out but dr. Christine, Blasi Ford may testify about her allegations, of attempted sexual assault against, Judge Brett Kavanaugh, is there anything you could hear from her that could make you change your vote well, absolutely, and, listen I very much hope dr. Ford comes next week and testifies, before the Judiciary, Committee I publicly. Called for her to be given an opportunity to testify I urge my colleagues, the, allegation, she's raised are serious and they deserve, to be treated with respect and, I, hope that she comes and has a full opportunity, to pretend, a. Way that is respectful but I also think judge Kavanagh deserves a full opportunity to defend himself and to let the American people listen, and come, to an assessment of what happened, we don't know right now but we need to give them a full hearing I will. Say though more broadly than this this. Issue whether it is Judge Cavanaugh whether it is Neil Gorsuch, whether it is other Supreme Court nominee, these reflects. One of the many massive, divides on, policy. And substance, and record between me and congressman O'Rourke, congressman. O'Rourke doesn't want judge Kavanaugh confirmed he said that before, these allegations, he said that after these allegations, he didn't want the ill Gorsuch confirmed, congressman. O'Rourke agrees with Hillary Clinton he. Wants liberal, judicial activists, on the court who. Will impose their, particular policy, view I have. Devoted virtually, my entire life to defending, the Constitution, and Bill of Rights I think one of the major issues the, American people had before, us in 2016. Was what vision of the court do you want and I believe Texans, want, constitutionalist. On the Supreme Court who.
Will Defend the First Amendment, will defend free speech it will defend religious, liberty religious, liberty one of the fundamental, liberties that's been under assault who. Will defend the Second Amendment and I would note the justices, that Congressman O'Rourke would insist upon like Hillary Clinton our justices. That would undermine, and effectively, write the Second Amendment out of the Constitution those are radical, views and they're not views consistent, with the overwhelming majority of Texans thank you senator that's your time representative, the. Senator has a a troubling, history of the kinds of nominees that he supported, someone like Jeff, metier to, the federal bench someone who believes in. Conversion. Therapy who's described, transgender. Children as part of Satan's plan people, like Andrew Oldham who could not say whether the landmark, school. Integration. 1954. Brown versus the Board of Education was. Correctly decided, people. Like Brent Talley who has never tried a case before. Dr.. Ford's. Allegations. Should be investigated, by the FBI .. There's, precedent for that that's the right thing to do given the gravity of the, accusations, but, the senator is right in this regard judge. Kavanagh does not meet the bar for Texas to serve on the Supreme Court in a state that is now 50th, in voter, turnout. Judge. Kavanaugh has a troubling, history on voter, rights protections, in a, state that is the epicenter, for the maternal mortality crisis, three times as deadly for African American women judge. Cavanaugh has a troubling, history in agreeing. That Roe vs. Wade is the decided, law of the, land and in. A state where you can be fired for being gay his. Support, for civil rights is in question we need a Supreme, Court justice who, will decide in favor of, people, and for, their rights that have been established by precedents, and under the Constitution and in Brent Cavanaugh we do not have that just about, your time with senator Cruz you know. It was striking he didn't dispute that, he supports, liberal activists, who, would impose the policy, he wants it's. Not a judge's job to him to impose policy, and he also didn't dispute that he wants justices, that, would undermine the Second Amendment we, talked for a moment about the case Heller versus District of Columbia it's a landmark, case that, upheld the individual, right to keep and bear arms under the Second Amendment I represented, Texas and 30, other states winning, a landmark, 5-4, victory upholding, your right to keep and bear arms. Congressman. O'Rourke like Hillary Clinton wants justices, who would overturn, that and let me tell you the position of the dissenters the, dissenters, and Heller said that no individual, no, American, whatsoever, has any right, to keep and bear arms whatsoever. That's a radical, position it's an extreme, position and that's what congressman O'Rourke wants to see the Supreme, Court doing writing, the Second Amendment out of the Bill of that's not true.
And. We are moving on here. I. Support, the Second Amendment. In. What way in what respect. And name one judge you've ever supported, who would actually you. May not, understand how the house and the Senate work but it's your job in the Senate to decide if you're going to support or, not support a given dollar sorry Clinton not not not endorse, Hillary Clinton that has nothing to do it does because Hillary promised. She. Would appoint, I. Fully support the second time gentlemen let's, move on here this question goes to representative, our work representative. You believe in universal, background checks, and an assault weapons ban in a very gun friendly, state a poll, from Quinnipiac University, shows. That about half of Texans, do support, stronger, gun laws well, forty five percent do, oppose, them is Texas. Ready for a senator, who, wants to rollback gun rights, like. Texas, is ready for a senator, who will defend. The Second Amendment but also ensure, that we can protect, the lives within. Our lives. Both, senator and Cruz senator, cruz and i were able, to visit with students. Who survived the shooting at santa fe high school to meet with some of those parents. There and. Students. Like bree who, argued, that we should have universal, background checks, because, it makes our communities, and our states demonstrably. Safer we know that from those states that have adopted them that, have seen a near 50%, reduction, in serious. Gun violence fewer gun, crimes committed against law enforcement fewer, boyfriends, killed by their girlfriends, girlfriends, killed by their boyfriends and it, is supported, by most, people in texas gun owners non-gun. Owners alike, republicans. And democrats and. Listening. To those who've served this country put their life on a line like the Vietnam veteran that, I met in Wichita. Falls, who said shortly, after the Parkland, shooting. Massacre there, in that school that that, young man was better armed, in that school against defenseless children, then. He was in the jungles of Vietnam when. I listened to the emergency room doctors who tell me that a handgun wound if. It is treated in time if it doesn't hit a major artery, or your heart will be able to save your life but. A weapon designed for the express purpose of killing people as, effectively. As efficiently, and as great a number as possible. The high impact high velocity, round from, an ar-15, will blow a hole the size of an orange out your back you will bleed to death before anyone, can get to and that's exactly what it was designed to do weapons, of war belong, on the battlefields, not in our schools or our churches our concerts, or our public life senator. You. Know all. Of us have been horrified, as we've seen these school shootings. Santa. Fe High School is about a half hour from my house I, was. Home that morning at 7:30 in the morning when the shooting happened I jumped in a truck and headed down there I spent. The entire time, at Santa Fe high school that entire day with students with teachers with, first responders with, parents. It. Is horrific and let me say is the father of two daughters there, is something deeply wrong that. We have these shootings there are a lot of things behind it that have nothing to do with government they have things to do with, with, things like removing God from the public square, like. Losing, the moral foundation, of, much. Of our society. Like losing the bat the binds of community. And family, but. I'll tell you that afternoon government, governor Abbott and I were in a hospital visiting with a young man who was shot there were probably a dozen other students, in that room and we asked, we said what's the answer to this and we just kept our mouth shut and listened, every. One of those dozen Santa Fe students, who had just been in that shooting they said almost word for word they said gun, controls not the answer they, said you know what if you take our guns you're not gonna make us any safer you're.
Just Gonna mean that the killers and murderers have, guns we asked but what do you do then that the number one answer I heard from the students and parents and teachers at Santa Fe is more, armed, police officers, in schools to, keep our kids safe we can make our schools safer by, having, officers, protect the senator that's your time representative. We. Had a town hall meeting in, Graham Texas, where, I met a an educator, named Holly she's been teaching for 29. Years so she understands, what goes on in schools and in the classroom, she's, also the adviser, to, the clay target, team she's probably the best marksman in that, community maybe of anyone here at this auditorium today and she. Said from her experience, in the classroom from her experience as a marksman bringing, a firearm, into, that classroom is not going to make those, children, safer listening to Rhonda Hart who, lost her daughter Kimberly, in the Santa Fe shooting she tells me bringing, weapons into those classrooms would not have saved her, daughter's life it will not make us safer thoughts and prayers senator Cruz are just not going to cut it any more the people of Texas the children of Texas deserve, action. Hold. On a second let me be very clear, more, aren't police officers, in our schools is not thoughts, and prayers I'm sorry that you don't like thoughts and prayers I will pray for anyone, in harm's way but. I'll also do something about it and my very first year in the Senate I led the way introducing, legislation that. Would have provided 300, million dollars in additional funding for school safety to, harden our schools to put metal detectors, to have more police officers and, unfortunately. Your, party, in the Senate the Democratic, Party filibustered. That legislation, because, they're only focused, politically, was trying to undermine the second Amendment rights of law-abiding. This. Question is for you senator Cruz the, last time you stood for election. Was in, sixteen you were the runner-up. In the Republican, primary for president, ran, against president, there, in New York businessman, Donald, Trump, Donald. Trump as you remembered, of July and Ted he. He, took swipes at your wife and father you. In turn called him a pathological. Liar and quite frankly there, are so many insults, between the two of you it, would take the rest of his shoulder, to go through them all but. Now now that he's president you. You, guys have become friendly, to the point where you praise them in Time magazine, how. Do you respond, to critics who say that as it relates to President, Trump you've lost your dignity. Well. There, is no doubt 2016. Was an election unlike, any others and there, were some hard shots thrown, I'll tell you my. Dad who's here tonight anyone, who knows me knows my father has been my hero every day of my life and Heidi.
And My daughters who were here as well anyone, who knows me knows heidi is my best friend in the world I think she is the most beautiful woman on the face of the planet I am blessed, from God to be married to Heidi Cruz. Now. After. The election in 2016 I faced. A choice. Donald. Trump had been elected president and, we had an opportunity an opportunity, to do something extraordinary I made. A conscious choice to. Do the job I've been elected to do which is to represent 28. Million Texans I've got a responsibility. Which is to fight for every person here and every person in this state and, so. I have worked hand in hand with the President on, substance. And we have delivered remarkable. Victories the biggest tax cut of a generation, we've seen four million new jobs created since Trump was elected and we and we cut taxes and cut regulations we're, seeing record low unemployment, Texans. Lives are better so yes I could, have chosen to. Make it about myself to be selfish and say you know what my feelings are hurt so, I'm gonna take my marbles and go home but I think that would have been not, doing the job I was elected to and every. Single day in the Senate has been my job to fight for, jobs jobs, jobs, and to fight for 28, million Texans, I've done that and if, the people of Texas reelect, me I will continue to fight each and every day for jobs and economic. For text a short-time. Representative. Or war. Farmers. And ranchers that I meet all across the state as I visit each one of the 254. Counties of Texas wonder, where their junior senator is as this president interest trade Wars and, imposes, tariffs that are going to hurt no state more than Texas, average, citizens from both, parties and independents. Alike wonder, where our junior senator is when. You have a president who may or may not have tried to collude with Russia in 2016, but to quote the conservative, columnist George Will on that stage in Helsinki, as he defended Vladimir. Putin instead of the United States of America that was collusion in action, listen, if the. President attacks, you personally, your, wife your, father how, you respond, is your business, but when the president attacks, our institutions, this country allows a foreign, power to, invade our democracy, that is our business we need a u.s. senator who will stand up to this president where we must work with him where we can but, ensure that 242.
Years Into, this audacious experiment. That we are still a nation of laws and not one of men. So. Let me say two things number one congressman O'Rourke, and invoked, farmers, and ranchers I'll tell you I'm incredibly, privileged to have the support of farmers and ranchers across the state indeed the Texas Farm Bureau has endorsed, my reelection, because I've been fighting for farmers and ranchers for six straight years and on, policy, congressman O'Rourke's position, are dramatically. Out of touch with farmers and ranchers he, supports, President, Obama's, waters, of the United States rule he's voted in favor but multiple, times, puts massive, burdens on farmers and ranchers he's, voted, in favor of the death tax keeping, it broad sucking. Farmers, and ranchers and small businesses, into it that's not good for farmers, and ranchers but but. You know where his question ended it ended on an attack on Donald Trump and the modern Democratic, Party is just consumed, with, hatred for, Donald Trump that's why congressman, O'Rourke is the only Democratic. Senate nominee in the country, to explicitly, commit, to voting, to impeach, President. Trump that is a street child that doesn't reflect us. Satire. Representative. O'Rourke you. Were you ever dressed your, 1998. DWI. Arrest numerous, times during your public career but not this question, as, the Houston Chronicle pointed, out recently a witness, said in that, accident that, you tried to lead the scene of the accident. Did. You and Cher voters be concerned about this incident yeah I I. Did not try to leave the scene of the accident though, driving. Drunk which, I did is a, terrible, mistake for which there is no excuse, or justification, or, defense, and I will not try to provide. One I can, only tell you that I was able to have a second, chance in my, life was able to start a small business with good friends in El Paso was able to meet a me on blind, date before tinder, raised. Three amazing kids with her Ulysses, Molly and Henry. Serve my community on the El Paso City, Council and represent. 750,000, people from my community in the United States Congress I've made the most that I could with, my second, chance in my opportunity, what I do, know is that. As a, white man in this country there's a privilege, that I enjoy that, many African, American men and women do. Not they. Do not have that second, chance they're forced to check that box on an employment application form, that makes it harder for them to get a job they're, ineligible for the Pell grants that would allow them to attend, SMU. Or TCU, or any institution in this, area and their, choices are, narrowed their options, are constrained. In their lives everyone, deserves. A second chance and if my, experience, can. Contribute to an understanding, that allows me to work with Republicans and Democrats alike. On real, and meaningful. Criminal. Justice reform to ensure that everyone, is able to live to, their full potential and no one's mistake, defines. Them for the rest of their lives and, that will be something good something good in in, whatever meaningful, way it is that, has come out of that, terrible decision on my part. Senator. You, know I don't intend to get into congressman O'Rourke's personal, history but, I will keep the focus on issues and substance and record and I say as a member of Congress he introduced legislation that. Would make it easier, for those, with drug convictions, to get driver's licenses I, think. That that that's a real mistake and it's part of a pattern there's, a consistent, pattern when it comes to drug use that in almost every single, instance congressman, O'Rourke supports. More of it so when he was on the El Paso City Council he's one of the leading advocates in the country for legalizing, marijuana he wrote a book about that now, legalizing.
Marijuana Is actually a question on which I think reasonable, Minds can differ I'm I've always had a libertarian, bent, myself I think it ought to be up to the states I think Colorado can decide one way I think Texas can decide another but. I'll tell you congressman O'Rourke didn't stop with marijuana he, introduced, sand he advocated, for a resolution. In the El Paso City Council, calling for a national debate on legalizing. All narcotics. That includes heroin, and fentanyl and cocaine and let me say that is not I believe a reasonable. Issue on which people can disagree and I suspect, congressman Rucker say was just calling for a debate on it well we're on a debate stage now I will tell you I think it would be a profound, mistake to. Legalize, all more narcotics and it would hurt the children of this country that would be a serious mistake senator, that's your time I agree, with representative. To. Be clear I don't want to legalize heroin. And, cocaine, and fentanyl. But. What I do want to ensure, is that, we're. In this, country most, states have decided that marijuana will be legal at some form for medicinal purposes, for recreational. Purposes or at a minimum will be decriminalized, that, we don't have another, veteran in this state prescribed, and opioid, because. The doctor. At the VA would rather prescribe, medicinal, marijuana but it's prohibited by law from doing that another. Older. Woman with fibromyalgia. Who's not able to use medicinal cannabis because it's, against the law here and another, african-american, man, because more likely than not that's who will be arrested, for possession, of marijuana to, rot behind bars, instead, of enjoying his freedom and the opportunity to contribute to the greatness of this country yes I want, to end the war on drugs and specifically, want, to end the prohibition, on marijuana and. Grover and let me point out he didn't dispute that as nine years ago as an elected, member of the El Paso, City Council, he, introduced, and advocated. For, ethically. Debating. Ending. The prohibition, on all narcotics, on everything he says he doesn't agree with that now but that was only nine years ago and I'll, tell you when it comes to this this is an issue that's personal, to me. My. Older sister Miriam. Died. Of a drug overdose. People. All across the state of Texas, 70,000, people a year, are dying of drug, overdoses, in this country we have an opioid crisis, and. I think talking about legalizing. All narcotics. I think. That is profoundly. Dangerous and. It doesn't. Represent the, interest of Texas, that's. Your time and senator Cruz you get the next question you fought for the repeal of the Affordable Care Act but Texas has the highest, rate of uninsured, people in the nation and more than a million residents, signed up through the federal marketplace this, year how, do you propose, addressing, the health care needs of Texans, I believe. Obamacare. Has hurt millions, of Texans it, was sold to the people of this country on a promise, from President Obama if you like your health insurance plan you can keep it if you like your doctor you can keep it PolitiFact. The left-leaning Organization, rated, that 2013's. Lie of the year as millions. Of Americans had, their health insurance canceled. Against their will but. The biggest reason people are unhappy with Obamacare, is it's made their premiums skyrocket. I hear from Texans all over this state I can't, afford health, insurance President. Obama promised, the average family's premiums would drop twenty-five. Hundred dollars a year in fact, they, have risen over five thousand dollars a year that when, Obamacare, was implemented. The. Most inexpensive, plan, for a 30-year old healthy, man here, in the Dallas area was. 363, dollars a year, today. In this. Zip code where all of us are right now a bronze. Plan, for a 30-year old healthy man is about three thousand, dollars a year a silver. Plan is over forty four hundred a year that's, going from three hundred and sixty three dollars to in just a few years increasing.
Over Tenfold that's, not right what do we need to do we need to lower premiums, for everyone how do we do that we can protect, pre-existing. Conditions, and even you need to understand everyone, agrees we're going to protect pre-existing, conditions. But we also need, more choices more competition, more options, so that prices, drop so, that young people coming, out SMU, are coming out of schools across this country can afford health insurance instead. Of facing the disaster, that Obamacare, has done to our health care system and that's your time senator representative. I don't. Know how you're going to repeal every single word of the Affordable Care Act and keep. Protections, for pre-existing, conditions keep. Protections, for victor who's the son of our. New friend Laura Lehman who we met Victor, has cerebral palsy has, uncontrolled. Seizures is incredibly. Expensive, medically. To, keep alive he's a medically, complex child, but his life is worth just as much as anyone else's, life in this, country I want. To make sure that we keep those pre-existing condition, protections, for Victor I want to make sure that we improve and stabilize, the Affordable, Care Act I want to make sure that never meet another young man like. Joey in Laredo twenty nine years old has. Diabetes, now has glaucoma does, not have health care and so, the one time that he did see a doctor that doctor said you will be dead before, you are the age of 14 as he gets closer to death and takes, himself to the emergency room as a suffering becomes too, great the outcomes will not be as good as they would have been otherwise if we'd invested upfront and the care will be disproportionately. More. Expensive. I want to make sure that we also expand, Medicaid this state left 100. Billion, dollars on the table that could have provided care for people in this community introduced, Medicare, as an option on the exchanges, and then get to universal, guaranteed, high quality health care for every child for, every woman for every man in this state and every state in the Union that's. Your time senator Cruz you know, it was striking the congressman O'Rourke didn't have a word to say to the millions of Texans whose premiums of skyrocket, he, talked about pre-existing, conditions, but everyone of us agrees, pre-existing.
Conditions, Must be protected and indeed when we were debating Obamacare, I introduced legislation called, the consumer freedom amendment that, would protect pre-existing. Conditions, but that the Health and Human Services Agency ran, the numbers and found the consumer freedom amendment allowing people to purchase the health insurance that you want would, reduce annual premiums about five thousand, dollars a year we've, got a lower premiums, and congressman O'Rourke has voted sixty, seven times to, keep Obamacare. He hasn't then there to fix the people that are getting hurt that are forced into part-time jobs instead, his answer is socialized. Medicine socialized. Medicine medicine. Is a mistake and it would hurt the people of Texas okay. And our next question is about trade this goes to representative, a work both of you have expressed concern over changes, in trade and tariffs and their impact, here in Texas. What, could you realistically. Do to rein in President Trump on trade why, should voters believe, that you would be more successful getting him to change course than, senator Cruz who actually has a working relationship with, him. Understand. The the impacts, of this firsthand in El Paso community. I represent, where we're raising our children a trading. Community one about out of every four jobs is connected. To us-mexico. Trade in our, community I understand, it from listening to the people of Texas unlike, the senator I've shown up to every single County in the state being, in Seminole listening. To a pecan growers who's seen the tariffs on his pecans go from seven percent to forty. Seven percent no one's buying his pecans around, the world right now and though he said these trade wars might, end these tariffs, might, come down those. Purchasers, and those other countries will find other countries. From, whom to buy his, farm will no longer be sustainable. Anymore. When. Has this country ever gone to war without allies that's precisely, what we're doing by levying two hundred billion dollars in tariffs. Against, China and alienating. The, EU and Canada and. Our traditional, trading, partners this state with. Its farming, and ranching and producing, and manufacturing. And export. Based economy, needs, a senator who will work with the president, where we can and stand. Up to him where, we must I met, with the president Secretary, of Commerce Wilbur, Ross I met with his United, States Trade, Representative. Representative. Light Heiser and this is the case that I made to them not, only does this does. This state depend, on trade and we must protect those. Trading, relationships, that we have but if we are to improve NAFTA our relationship, with Mexico specifically. Let's, ensure that those Mexican, workers also have the ability to organize to, demand higher wages which, will make the United States worker a little, bit more competitive in the draft that I've seen so far of this latest, agreement that, is. Included within it so it shows that I'm able to stand up to the president where it counts and able to work with him where it will do the most good that's, your time senator Cruz free. Trade is good for Texas it's good for Texas farmers, and ranchers it's good for Texas businesses, I have. Made the case to president Trump directly and personally dozens, of times that we should be expanding, our access, to foreign markets opening, up the Mexican energy markets is expanding our access to Canada if. You look at the EU it was interesting, that that congressman. Tobruk referenced, the EU we've actually seen real breakthroughs, in trade with the EU that the European Union is now talking about sitting down with America and looking, at zero tariffs, lowering, their tariffs, and, I thought it was interesting congressman, O'Rourke brought up pecan, farmers, because I've made the case directly to the administration that. They should work on India, to lower their tariffs, on pecans, so that we can export to India but. The difference is I've, made that case repeatedly, to the president, over, and over again I've worked hand in hand with the President on policy, wins for the people of Texas as far, as I know congressman O'Rourke has never spoken to the president other, than to publicly, call for his impeachment. That. Doesn't suggest a relationship, in the state of Texas when you are leading the. Extreme. Left wing wanting, to impeach the president and attacks the president, that that's not setting you up to have victories, for the people of Texas, representative. I'll.
Work With anyone, anytime. Anywhere and, that includes the President of the United States worked. With Republican, colleagues to expand, access to, mental, health care there were half a million veterans who put their lives on the line for this country who. By law because of the status of their discharge were unable to go into a VA and see, the psychiatrist or psychologist who, would save their lives I was, able to bury the differences, between myself, and, a Republican, colleague who had a similar proposal, we, introduced it got it passed in the house there was a similar bill passed, in the Senate signed into, law by President Trump. That's saving lives of veterans, in this state and throughout this country right now so whether it's veterans, servicemembers, farmers ranchers, Americans. I'll stand, up for everyone and work, with anyone including the president to make sure that we do better for, this country. Senator. Cruz this question, is about Texas values, you campaign, on the, fact that you, present, Texas's. Values, but. If you look at the polls. You. Day, four lower taxes, lower, rate ends in more jobs. You. Right. We have a real, rate in the state of Texas the hard left is energized. They're angry, many of them are fill them or for them or for them. You. You. Know only one of us has been to each county in Texas and would have an idea of, what Texas values and interests are. Within. Months, of being sworn to serve as your senator Ted, Cruz was not in Texas, he was in Iowa, he visited every single, one of the, 99 counties of I he went to New Hampshire he went to South Carolina he went to the Republican presidential primary states, instead. Of being here he shut down your, government for. 16, days in 2013. Because out too many people were getting too much health care in the United States of America. And in 2015. He missed one quarter, of the, votes in the United States in the United States Senate in, 2016. He missed one half of the, votes in the United States Senate you tell me who can miss half the days at work, and then be rehired, for the same job going. Forward that's not what Texans want they don't want somebody who's, captured by corporations, and political. Action committees and special, interests because that's where Ted Cruz gets, his money our campaign, is the largest grassroots, campaign this state has ever seen funded. By people and only people in every single one of the counties of Texas every single day congressman, that's your time. You, know gromer congressman O'Rourke doesn't seem to understand, that representing, Texas is, not doing. A photo op in each County in Texas with reporters, in tow but it's, actually, standing, up and fighting for the people of Texas and I can tell you in the six years I've represented Texas. I have been there on the ground in West Texas, when the explosion, happened I was on the ground with the families of the first responders, who were killed when hurricane, Harvey hit this state I was on the ground in my hometown of Houston but also in Victoria. And Rockport, and Port Aransas and Aransas Pass and, refugio, and Beaumont and Port Arthur and Orange in Nederland oh not, once not twice but three four five times on, the ground with the people of Texas when, Sutherland, Springs saw the worst church shooting in the history of this country I was on the ground representing.
Texas Is being, there for Texans but actually standing up and fighting, for Texans, not George, Soros not big liberal interest, by fighting for the, the people of technique and. The. Next question goes to representative. A work the Texas business community, overwhelmingly. Supported, the tax overhaul that you voted against last year how can you effectively represent. That important, constituency. When, you have such a fundamental. Disagreement. Generations. From now people looking back at this moment will not be able to believe that a country, twenty, one trillion, dollars in debt, with, the greatest levels of income, disparity that we've seen since the last gilded age of more than, a hundred years ago would find is its solution to the problem two, trillion, dollars in tax breaks that disproportionately, flow, to, corporations, that are already sitting on record, piles of cash and the arty wealthy in this, country a tax. Bill written, by, the lobbyists, for those very, corporations, in fact in one draft in the margins, written by those lobbyists, so that their corporate, bosses could. See the text before the senators could vote on it and in, the days before and just after senator, Cruz voted. For this massive, giveaway to. The already wealthy, he. Received more than a hundred and twenty thousand, dollars from, the political action, committees that represent, those who benefited, from these tax breaks I believe. Not in investing, in corporations. And in, special interests I believe in investing. In people, in universal. Pre-k, for every child so everyone has the same starting. Line in life, in health, care for every Texan and every Americans so they're well enough to, be their best the ability to attend Community, College or SMU. So that you can better yourself and, do better for everyone else in your life in your community and in, this country I believe in investing in broadband. Internet and the fifty percent of rural Texas that today cannot, reliably get, online I believe in investing in communities. And its people not. In corporations. Special, interests and political action committees you. Know, there is a consistency, in congressman, O'Rourke's record over, and over and over again he supports higher taxes, when, he was on the El Paso City Council he voted three times to increase property taxes, in El Paso he. Voted in favor of a quote rain, tax, which I don't even know what that is I guess attacks on rain but I'm not sure he voted in favor of a pool tax. As a member of Congress, he has voted in favor, of the death tax he voted against, the tax cut and by the way this, tax cut, has.
Cut Taxes, on Americans, all across Texas, it doubled, the child tax credit if you're a parent it doubled, it from $1,000, a child to $2,000. A child that's real money and by the way that's refundable, and you in your pocket and yet his answer, is he doesn't want to cut taxes he wants to raise your taxes, so understand, what bata O'Rourke is promising, you if he's. Elected, he will fight to raise your taxes, that is not consistent. With what the people of Texas want. Representative. Those, six, years I was on the El Paso City Council every single year we, balanced the budget we didn't see each other as Republicans, or Democrats we, saw each other as El Paso's, with a common, interest in delivering, for the taxpayers, in our committee only one of us on this stage has. Started, and run a small business had, to meet payroll, every single. Week had to go before the. Bank and try to get a loan to expand that business had to go out and hustle for, new customers and make sure that we kept, those who we already had happy, going forward, that. Required, balance in a budget and understanding. How to make ends, meet I want to make sure that again we're not given away to corporations. In special interest that's, what senator Cruz would do thanks to the, contributions, that he's received, from those political action. Committees, he's working for the clampdown and the corporations and the special interest he's not working for the people of Texas represented presentative our work we'd like to end this for both of you on a very positive note and we'd like to ask you to tell us something that you admire about your opponent. Senator. Cruz and I were both elected to the United States Congress in the same year, 2012. We both have young. Children I know how, hard he, works I know how much time he has spent away. From his, kids I know what a sacrifice, that is to his family I know that he's doing it for, one reason he wants to serve this. Country and he's trying to do as best we may have differences, of opinions, on what. Our destination, might be and how we're going to get there but. I have no question that senator. Cruz wants to do the, best for, American he does so at great sacrifice to his, family, and to his kids and so I thank you senator for your public service thank. You and you know I actually. Agree with those sentiments I would express the very same sentiments, back at congressman O'Rourke, you're right being a dad of young kids is hard I know. The sacrifice, you're putting in my girls every day when I leave for the campaign trail it's hard there, are a lot of tears in the Cruz household, I'm sure there are in the O'Rourke household - that is the single, hardest part of doing, this and let me say beyond that look, i-i-i, think congressman, O'Rourke, is passionate. He, is energetic he, believes in what he's fighting for in fact very much the same sentiments, you know last year I did three debates with Bernie Sanders and I expressed this at all three debates that Bernie Sanders, believes. In what he's fighting for he believes in socialism, now, I think what he's fighting for doesn't work but I think you are absolutely sincere like burning that, you believe in in expanding. Government in higher taxes and I commend, you for fighting. For what you believe in as you noted we disagree, on the outcome, but, you're fighting for the principles you believe in and I respect, that true.
To Form. Before. We bring. Come. On or before, we bring the debate to a close each. Candidate, will have a 90, second. 90. Seconds for a closing statement. Senator. Cruz let's start with you. In. November, there. Gonna be a lot of things on the ballot. Both. Congressman O'Rourke and I'll be on the ballot but there's gonna be a lot more than that, jobs. Will be on the ballot we've. Seen in the last two years four, million new jobs all, across this country. Paychecks. Will be on the balance we've. Seen Texas employers like American, Airlines, like, Southwest Airlines, like AT&T. Giving. Bonuses. And pay raises. Your. 401k. And your savings, will, be on the, ballot as we've. Seen the pensions, of millions of Texans going up you. Know Texas understands. A very simple formula when you cut taxes, when you simplify the tax code when you lift the burden on small businesses, it's. Good for Texas it expands, jobs it expands, opportunity. And there is a fundamental. Choice, in. This election it's a choice between we're. Seeing nationally socialists. Like, Bernie Sanders like, Alexandr occasi Cortez and indeed, congressman. Bata will work advocating for those same policies full. On socialized, medicine which by the way they, call Medicare, for all, and. Let me say to all the seniors in Texas, Medicare, you paid into it your whole life you're counting. On it for your health care what they're proposing is putting every, single person in this country including. Illegal aliens, everyone, in this country in, the Medicare, without paying for it that, would bankrupt, Medicare, there. Is a choice, for this country you know there. Are also states that implement, the kind of policies, Congressman O'Rourke's O'Rourke's supports high taxes, high regulations. Open, border states you look at California which, is hemorrhaging, population. You. Know the cost of a, one-way u-haul, from. California. To Texas is, more. Than three hundred percent, the cost the other way around, in, Texas, we understand. That, if you get government off the backs of small businesses, Texans, do well I've fought for that for six years I've. Kept my promise and I. Will always stand and fight for 28 million Texans. Let. Me again begin by thanking SMU. Nbc5. The Dallas Morning News for making, this possible tonight. Let, me thank everyone here. And everyone who's watching right now who, has invited me to your communities, who, has invited me into your home's who's invited me into, your lives into, your hopes and your dreams and, the very high expectations. That we are together setting, right, now for, this country at this deeply divided.
Highly. Polarized moment. You have reminded me that before, we are Republicans. Or Democrats or. Independents we. Are Texans, we are Americans, we are human beings and we're gonna start acting that way. President. Harry Truman. Reminded. Us that this country, was, not founded, on fear. Instead. We are founded, on courage, on, imagination. And an unstoppable, determination. To. Do the job at hand I've never heard a better description than that one for the people of Texas that I met in each one, of the. 254. Counties, we are not running against anyone, not. Running against anything we're not running against another political, party we are running for this, country, by and for each and every single one of us we are going to use the challenges, that we face being the least insured state in the country where the number one provider of mental health care services, is the County Jail system today to, a state that leads away to ensuring everyone is well enough to live to their full potential a state, where 50%, of the teachers are working a second or a third job, just to make ends meet instead, of being able to focus on those children before them we're gonna lead the way and having their backs and making sure that we don't privatize, public education, money and send, it to a private school whatever the challenge, is I know that we are up to the task and I want to thank you for, inspiring me, giving me confidence giving, me hope encouraging. Me like no time in my life I am grateful. We'd. Like to thank both of our candidates. For hosting tonight's some, 140 days to keep in mind the, last day to register to, vote in October. Night early. Voting is open from October, 22nd. To November 2nd Election Day November 6. You.