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Democratic Debate Night One: Buttigieg Says 'Racial Divide Lives Within Me'

South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg gives an update to the common council during the investigation into the police shooting death of South Bend resident Eric Logan.

(Justin Hicks/IPB News)

Here is a summary by topic of some of the points Pete Buttigieg made during the Democratic debate in Detroit Tuesday night:

RACE

Pete Buttigieg says that as mayor of the diverse town of South Bend, Indiana, "the racial divide lives within me."

During Tuesday's debate, Buttigieg was asked how he would convince black voters that he should be the Democratic presidential nominee.

Buttigieg, who is white, says he didn't become mayor "to end racism," but he had worked on issues of race, crime and poverty affecting communities of color.

Buttigieg has been criticized for his handling of a police-involved shooting that took him off the campaign trail last month. He came home to a black community that was frustrated and outraged nearly five years after the Black Lives Matter movement was born amid increased awareness about the shootings of unarmed black men by police.

AGE

Some Democratic presidential candidates aren't eager to make age an issue in the 2020 nominating fight. Mayor Pete Buttigieg is the youngest candidate in the Democratic field at age 37. But he turned a discussion of age at Tuesday's debate into an attack on congressional Republicans for continuing to support President Donald Trump. Bernie Sanders is the oldest candidate on the debate stage. But the 77-year-old Vermont senator says Democratic voters must look for a candidate with "vision."

FACT CHECKING CLIMATE CHANGE

PETE BUTTIGIEG, mayor of South Bend, Indiana: "Science tells us we have 12 years before we reach the horizon of our catastrophe when it comes to our climate."

THE FACTS: Scientists don't agree on an approximate time frame, let alone an exact number of years, for how much time we have left to stave off the deadliest extremes of climate change.

A report by the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, drawn from the work of hundreds of scientists, uses 2030 as a prominent benchmark because signatories to the Paris climate change agreement have pledged emission cuts by then. But it's not a last-chance, hard deadline for action, as it has been interpreted in some quarters.

"The hotter it gets, the worse it gets, but there is no cliff edge," James Skea, co-chairman of the report, told The Associated Press 

The report forecasts that global warming is likely to increase by 0.5 degrees Celsius or 0.9 degrees Fahrenheit between 2030 and 2052 "if it continues to increase at the current rate." The climate has already warmed by 1 degree C or 1.8 degrees F since the pre-Industrial Age.

As much as climate scientists see the necessity for broad and immediate action to address global warming, they do not agree on an imminent point of no return.

THE GOP

Buttigieg called on his party to stop the infighting.

"It is time to stop worrying about what the Republicans will say," Buttigieg declared. "It's true that if we embrace a far-left agenda, they're going to say we're a bunch of crazy socialists. If we embrace a conservative agenda, you know what they're going to do? They're going to say we're a bunch of crazy socialists. So let's just stand up for the right policy, go out there and defend it."

AFGHANISTAN

Pete Buttigieg pledged to withdraw from Afghanistan — where he served — by the end of his first year in the White House.

The South Bend, Indiana, mayor also advocated for a three-year sunset provision for authorizations of the use of military force, noting that those deployed to Afghanistan will soon be too young to have been alive during the Sept. 11 attacks.

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