The first round of the Democratic debate has officially come to an end. On Wednesday night, 10 presidential candidates from the Democratic Party gathered in Miami, Florida, to debate each other on immigration, labor, reproductive health care, gun control, and much more. At the end of the debate, each presidential hopeful had 45 seconds to deliver their last remarks.
All the Democratic debate closing statements were arguably the 2020 candidates' biggest shot yet to make a lasting impression on the American people.
first round of the debate, 2020 presidential hopefuls Bill de Blasio, Tim Ryan, Julián Castro, Cory Booker, Elizabeth Warren, Beto O'Rourke, Amy Klobuchar, Tulsi Gabbard, Jay Inslee, and John Delaney had 60 seconds to answer questions from hosts Chuck Todd, Lester Holt, Rachel Maddow, Savannah Guthrie, and Jose Diaz-Balart. But the last segment of the debate was their one opportunity to talk freely about why they deserve your vote.
Each vowed to transform the United States for better in their last remarks of the evening. The debate went on for two hours that seemed to fly by. According to a transcript from NBC News, the first round of the debate was divided up into five segments with four commercial breaks.
"Like many of you, I know the promise of America," Castro stated on Wednesday night. "My grandmother came here when she was 7 years old as an immigrant from Mexico and just two generations later, one of her grandsons is serving the United States Congress and the other one is running for the president of the United States."
"If I'm elected president," Castro vowed, "I will work hard every single day so that you and your family can good health care, your child can get a good education, and that you can have good job opportunities, whether you live in a big city or a small town."
"And on Jan. 20, 2021," Castro stated, "we'll say adios to Donald Trump."
"There's nothing worse than not being heard," Ohio Congress member Tim Ryan said in his closing remarks. "There's nothing worse than not being seen and I know that because I've represented for 17 years in Congress a forgotten community."
"They've tried to divide us," Ryan added. "Who's white, who's black, who's gay, who's straight, who's a man, who's a woman, and they ran away with all the gold because they divided the working class. It's time for us to come together."
"I don't know how you feel but I'm ready to play some offense," Ryan went on to say. "I come from the middle of industrial America, but these problems are all over our country. There’s a tent city in LA, there’s homeless people, and people around our country who can’t afford a home. It’s time for us to get back on track."
"The teacher in Texas, the nurse in New Hampshire, the waitress in Wisconsin, all of us coming together. Playing offense with an agenda that lifts everybody up," the 2020 presidential hopeful added. "I will only promise you one thing, when I walk into that Oval Office every morning, you will not be forgotten. Your voice will be heard."
"Fifty years ago this month," New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker said in his closing remarks, "my family moved into the town I grew up in because, after being denied a house because of the color of their skin, it was activists, mostly white activists, that stood up and fought for them. That's the best of who we are as America. Why, when I got out of law school, I moved into the inner-city of Newark to fight as a tenant lawyer for other people's rights."
"I've taken on bullies and beat them," Booker stated. "I've taken on tough fights and we won. We win those fights not by showing the worst of who we are, but rising to who's best. Donald Trump wants us to fight him on his turf and his term. We will beat him. I will beat him by calling this country to a sense of common purpose again."
The senator added, "This is a referendum on him and getting rid of him, but it's also a referendum on us. Who we are and who we must be to each other. It's time we win this election, and the way I'll govern is by showing the best of who we are because what's what this country needs and deserves."
Jay Inslee Joe Raedle/Getty Images News/Getty Images
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee stated in his closing statement, "I have three grandchildren; we love them all. When I was thinking of running for president, I made a decision. I decided that on my last day on earth, I wanted to look them in the eye and tell I did everything humanly possible to protect them from the ravages of the climate crisis."
"And I know to a moral certainty, if we do not have the next president who commits to this as the top priority, it won't get done," Inslee declared. "And I am the only candidate who has made this commitment to make it the top priority."
"If you join me in that recognition of how important this is, we can have a unified national mission," Inslee vowed. "We can save ourselves. We can save our children. We can save our grandchildren. And we can save the life on this planet. This is our moment."
"Our nation was founded on the principles of service above self," Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard stated. "People who fled kings, who literally prospered on the backs and the sacrifices of people, coming here to this country instead putting in place a government that is of, by, and for the people."
"But that's not what we have," Gabbard said. "Instead we have a government that is of, by, and for the rich and powerful. This must end."
"As president, our White House will be a beacon of light, providing hope and opportunity, ushering in a new century where every single person will be able to get the health care they need, where we will have clean air to breath and clean water to drink, where we will have good paying jobs, and a new green economy," Gabbard vowed.
"Join me in ushering this new century," Gabbard urged her audience, "with peace, prosperity, opportunity, and justice for all."
Amy Klobuchar Joe Raedle/Getty Images News/Getty Images
"Three things to know about me," Klobuchar kicked off her closing statement. "First, I listen to people and that's how I get things done. That is my focus. I have a track record of passing over 100 bills where I'm the lead Democrat. And that is because I listened and I acted. And I think that's important in a president. Everything else just melts away."
"Secondly, I'm someone that can win and beat Donald Trump. I have won every place, every race, and every time. I have won in the reddest of districts, ones that Donald Trump won by over 20 points. I can win in states like Wisconsin and Iowa and in Michigan."
"Finally, yeah, I am not the establishment party candidate. I've got respect, but I'm not that person. I am the one that doesn't have a political machine, that doesn't come from money. And I don't make all the promises that everyone up here makes. But I can promise you this. I am going to govern with integrity. I'm going to govern for you."
Bill De Blasio Joe Raedle/Getty Images News/Getty Images
"It matters in this fight for the heart and soul of our party that we nominate a candidate who has seen the face of poverty and didn't just talk about it, but gave people $15 minimum wage," de Blasio said.
"It matters that we nominate a candidate who saw the destruction wrought by a broken health care system and gave people universal health care. It matters that we choose someone who saw the wasted potential of our children denied pre-K and gave it to every single one of them for free.
"These things really matter. And these are the things that I've done in New York and I want to do the same for this whole country, because putting working people first, it matters. We need to be that party again. Let's work together. With your help, we can put working people first again in America."
John Delaney Joe Raedle/Getty Images News/Getty Images
"Together we are on a mission," Delaney said. "We're on a mission to find the America that's been lost, lost through infighting, lost through inaction. We're so much better than this. We're a country that used to do things. We saved the world. We created the American dream for millions of people like myself, the grandson of immigrants, the son of a union electrician who went on to become a successful business leader and create thousands of jobs.
"But we did these things with real solutions, not with impossible promises. Those are the roots that we have to get back to. I'm running for president to solve these problems, to build infrastructure, to fix our broken health care system, to invest in communities that have been left behind, to improve public education.
"I just don't want to be your president to be your president. I want to be your president to do the job. This is not about me. This is about getting America working again."
On Wednesday night, Warren said, "Thank you. It's a great honor to be here. Never in a million years did I think I would stand on a stage like this. I was born and raised in Oklahoma. I have three older brothers. They all joined the military.
"I had a dream growing up. And my dream was to be a public school teacher. By the time I graduated from high school, my family — my family didn't have the money for a college application, much less a chance for me to go to college."
"But I got my chance. It was a $50 a semester commuter college. That was a little slice of government that created some opportunity for a girl. And it opened my life.
"I am in this fight because I believe that we can make our government, we can make our economy, we can make our country work not just for those at the top. We can make it work for everyone. And I promise you this: I will fight for you as hard as I fight for my own family."
"Our daughter Molly turned 11 this week," O'Rourke said in his closing remarks. "I'm on this stage for her, for children across this country, including some of the same age who have been separated from their parents and are sleeping on concrete floors under aluminum blankets tonight.
"If we're going to be there for them, if we're going to confront the challenges we face, we can't return to the same old approach.
"We're going to need a new kind of politics. One directed by the urgency of the next generation, those climate activists who are not just fighting for their futures but for everyone's, those students marching not just for their lives but for all of ours. We'll need a movement like the one that we led in Texas. It renewed our democracy by bringing everyone in and writing nobody off.
"That's how we beat Donald Trump. That's how we bring our great country together again. Join us. This is our moment and the generations that follow are counting on us to meet it."
Eric Swalwell Drew Angerer/Getty Images News/Getty Images
In his closing remarks, California Rep. Eric Swalwell began by noting that he wasn't just a lawmaker but also a father of an infant. "When I'm not changing diapers," Swalwell said, "I'm changing Washington. Most of the time, the diapers smell better."
"I went to Congress at 31," he added. "I found a Washington that doesn't work for people like you and me. It's made of the rich and the disconnected. I was the first of my family to go to college and have student loan debt. So I have led the effort to elect the next generation of members of Congress and we have a moment to cease."
"This is a can-do generation," the representative urged. "This is the generation that will end climate chaos. This is the generation that will solve student loan debt. This is the generation that will say, 'Enough is enough' and end gun violence. This generation demands bold solutions. That's why I'm running for president."
Marianne Williamson Drew Angerer/Getty Images News/Getty Images
"I'm sorry we didn't get to talk tonight about how we're going to beat Donald Trump," Williamson began. "I have an idea about Donald Trump. Donald Trump is not going to be beaten just by insider politics talk. He is not going to be beaten by somebody who has plans. He's going to be beaten by somebody who has an idea what this man has done."
"This man has reached into the psyche of American people and he's harnessed fear for political purposes," Williamson said. "So, Mr. President, if you're listening, I want you to hear me, please. You have harnessed fear for political purposes and only love can cast that out."
"So I have a feeling you know what you're doing," she said. "I'm going to harness love for political purposes. I will meet you on that field and, sir, love will win."
Michael Bennet Drew Angerer/Getty Images News/Getty Images
The Colorado senator started his closing remarks by saying, "My mom and her parents came to the United States to rebuild their shattered lives. Three hundred years before that, my parents' family came searching for religious freedom. The ability for one generation to do better than the next is severely at risk in the United States, especially among children living in poverty like the ones I work for in the Denver public schools."
"That's why I'm running for president," he said. "I've had two tough races in Colorado by bringing people together, not by making empty promises. And I believe we need to build a broad coalition of Americans to beat Donald Trump, end the corruption in Washington, and build a new era of American democracy and American opportunity."
"This is going to be hard to do," he said. "But it's what our parents would have expected. It's what our kids deserve. I hope you'll join me in this effort."
John Hickenlooper Joe Skipper/Getty Images News/Getty Images
"I'm a small business owner who brought that same scrappy spirit to big Colorado, one of the most progressive states in America," Hickenlooper said. "We expanded reproductive health to reduce teenage abortion by 64%. We were the first state to legalize marijuana and we transformed our justice system in the process."
"We passed universal background checks in a purple state," he said. "We got to near universal health care coverage. We attacked climate change with the toughest method in regulations in the country. For the last three years, we've been the number one economy in America."
"You don't need big government to do big things," he added. "I know that because I'm the one person up here who's actually done the big things everyone else is talking about. If we turn toward socialism, we run the risk of helping to reelect the worst president in American history."
Kirsten Gillibrand Drew Angerer/Getty Images News/Getty Images
"Women in America are on fire," Gillibrand said. "We've marched, we've organized, we've run for office. We've won."
"But our rights are under attack like never before by President Trump and Republicans who want to repeal Roe v. Wade, which is why I went to the frontlines in Georgia to fight for them," she said. "As president, I will take on the fights that no one else will. I stood up to the Pentagon and repealed Don't Ask, Don't Tell. I've stood up to the banks and voted against bailout twice. I've stood up to Trump more than any other senator in the U.S. Senate. And I have the most comprehensive approach for getting money out of politics with publicly-funded elections to deal with political corruption."
"Now is not the time to play it safe," Gillibrand said. "Now is not the time to be afraid of firsts. We need a president who will take on the big challenges even if she stands alone. Join me in fighting for this."
"First I want to thank everyone who put me on this stage tonight," Yang said. "I am proof that our democracy still works. Democrats and Americans in the country, you have one question for the nominee: Who can beat Donald Trump in 2020? That is the right question."
"And that right candidate to beat Donald Trump will be solving the problems that got Donald Trump elected," Yang said. "[That person] will have a vision of a trickle-up economy that is already drawing thousands of disaffected voters, conservatives, independents, and libertarians as well as Democrats and progressives. I am that candidate."
"I can build a much broader coalition to beat Donald Trump. It is not left, it is not right, it is forward and that is where I'll take the country in 2020," Yang said.
"I just want to leave you with a couple of things," Harris started. "One: We need a nominee who has the ability to prosecute the case against four more years of Donald Trump and I will do that. Second: This election is about you. This is about your hopes and your dreams and your fears and what wakes you up at three o'clock in the morning."
"That's why I have what I call a 3:00 a.m. agenda," she said. "That is about everything from what we need to do to deliver health care to how you'll be able to pay the bills at the end of the month. And when I think about what our country needs, I promise you I will be a president who leads with a sense of dignity, with honesty, speaking the truth, and giving the American family all that they need to get through the end of the month in a way that allows them to prosper."
"So I hope to earn your support," Harris said. "Please join us at kamalaharris.org."
Joe Biden Drew Angerer/Getty Images News/Getty Images
"Thank you very much," Biden began,
according to . "I'm ready to lead this country because I think it's important we restore the soul of this nation. This president has ripped it out. It's the only president in our history who has equated racists and white supremacists with ordinary and decent people. He's the only president who has, in fact, engaged and embraced dictators and thumbed their nose at our allies. The Washington Post's transcript
"I'm, secondly, running for president because I think we have to restore the backbone of America, the poor and hardworking middle class people. You can't do that without replacing them with the dignity they once had.
"Last thing, we’ve got to unite the United States of America, as much as anybody says we can’t. If we do, there’s not a single thing the American people can’t do. This is the United States of America. We can do anything if we’re together, together. So God bless you all and may God protect our troops."
Bernie Sanders Drew Angerer/Getty Images News/Getty Images
"I suspect people all over the country who are watching this debate are saying, these are good people, they have great ideas," the Vermont senator said,
according to . "But how come nothing really changes? How come for the last 45 years wages have been stagnant for the middle class? How come we have the highest rate of childhood poverty? How come 45 million people still have student debt? How come three people own more wealth than the bottom half of America? The Washington Post's transcript
"And here is the answer, nothing will change unless we have the guts to take on Wall Street, the insurance industry, the pharmaceutical industry, the military-industrial complex, and the fossil fuel industry. If we don't have the guts to take them on, we'll continue to have plans, we'll continue to have talk, and the rich will get richer, and everybody else will be struggling."
Pete Buttigieg Sean Rayford/Getty Images News/Getty Images
"Nothing about politics is theoretical for me," the Democrat said, according to
a transcript from . "I've had the experience of writing a letter to my family, putting it in an envelope marked 'just in case,' and leaving it where they would know where to find it in case I didn't come back from Afghanistan. The Washington Post
"I've experienced being in a marriage that exists by the grace of a single vote on the U.S. Supreme Court. And I have the experience of guiding a community where the per capita income was below $20,000 when I took office into a brighter future.
"I'm running because the decisions we make in the next three or four years are going to decide how the next 30 or 40 go. And when I get to the current age of the current president in the year 2055, I want to be able to look back on these years and say my generation delivered climate solutions, racial equality, and an end to endless war. Help me deliver that new generation to Washington before it's too late."