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Last Week in Washington

  • Health care was a leading issue during the first Democratic presidential primary debate, and "Medicare for All" further emerged as a point of division between candidates, with just two of the candidates present - New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (Mass.) - advocating for elimination of the private insurance market in favor of a federally run health plan. Others, such as Sen. Amy Klobuchar (Minn.) and former Texas Rep. Beto O'Rourke, did not go so far, cautioning against moving people off their current insurance and advocating for approaches maintaining a role for employer-sponsored plans. (Kaiser Health News)
  • Several contenders for president were posed climate change questions at last night's first official Democratic debate, with Washington Gov. Jay Inslee warning that this generation is "the last that can do something about it" and former Rep. Beto O'Rourke of Texas noting his $5 trillion clean energy investment plan. Four of the 10 Democrats - O'Rourke, Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey and former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro - said climate change is the No. 1 geopolitical threat to the United States, though two of those candidates (Booker and Castro) also listed an additional top threat. (Bloomberg)
  • Maine House Speaker Sara Gideon announced her campaign for the Democratic nomination to take on Sen. Susan Collins (R) next year. Collins, the only Republican in Congress from any of the six New England states, has leaned on her bipartisan credentials in the past, but Democrats believe they may have been tarnished by her crucial vote for Brett Kavanaugh's Supreme Court confirmation. (CNN)
  • California Sen. Kamala Harris saw her first-choice support double, from 6 percent to 12 percent, according to Morning Consult polling conducted after the first round of Democratic debates. First-choice support for front-running former Vice President Joe Biden dropped 6 points, to 33 percent.
  • Biden repeatedly came under attack during Thursday's debate over his long record and personal history, including a dramatic exchange with Harris over his comments about working with segregationists in the Senate. The ascendant left wing of the Democratic Party - manifested in Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders' presence on the stage - was also on defense, with moderate candidates led by Biden expressing concern about the party's embrace of the far-left ideas.
  • Harris said she misinterpreted a question about abolishing private health insurance at last night's Democratic debate after she raised her hand when the 10 candidates were asked if they'd eliminate it in favor of a government-run plan. In an interview, Harris - who joined only Sanders in raising hands - said she thought moderator Lester Holt asked if she'd be willing to give up her own private insurance.
  • Trump endorsed Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) for re-election, giving him a boost as he races a well-funde more

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