Joe Biden takes on rivals, ‘Medicare for All’ during Democratic debate

The debate took place in Texas, which has been shaken by mass shootings; Beto O’Rourke of El Paso made a passionate plea for mandatory gun buybacks.
4:00 | 09/13/19

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Transcript for Joe Biden takes on rivals, ‘Medicare for All’ during Democratic debate
The baby's skeletal remains will now be released back to her. Thank you. 14 million people watching the democratic debate yesterday. The top ten candidates on the stage for the first time. Joe Biden challenged from all sides. But pushing back on Sanders and Warren, asking how they will pay for their health care plans. O'rourke on taking guns back in this country. And Castro, many asking did he go too far on attacking Biden on memory and age? Mary Bruce with Joe Biden's response. Reporter: Riding high. Joe Biden today greeting students and snapping selfies. How are you, man? Reporter: On the debate stage, Biden taking on his Progressive rivals and their calls for medicare for all. And if you notice, nobody's yet said how much it's going to cost the taxpayer. Reporter: Bernie Sanders pushing back. Let us be clear, Joe. In the United States of America, we are spending twice as much per capita on health care as the Canadians or any other major country on Earth. This is America. Yeah, but Americans don't want to pay twice as much as other countries. Reporter: Elizabeth Warren defending her vision. I've actually never met anybody who likes their health insurance company. I've met people who like their doctors. I met people who like their nurses. I've met people who like their pharmacists, I've met people who like their physical therapists. What they want is access to health care. Reporter: Warren has been rising in the polls. Campaigning with her mantra, "I have a plan for that." David pressing her on Afghanistan and her promise to pull troops out immediately. Would you keep that promise to bring the troops home starting right now with no deal with the Taliban? Yes. Reporter: The debate taking place in a state shaken by mass shootings, two in the space of a month. Beto O'rourke of El Paso making a passionate plea for mandatory gun buybacks. You know that critics call this confiscation. Are you proposing taking away their guns? And how would this work? I am. If it's a weapon that was designed to kill people on a battlefield. Hell, yes, we're going to take your ar-15, your ak-47. We're not going to allow it to be used against our fellow Americans anymore. Reporter: Kamala Harris, facing tough questions on her changing positions on criminal justice issues, including how to investigate police shootings. When you had the power, why didn't you try to effect change then? So there have been -- there have been -- I'm glad you asked me this question. I made a decision that if I was going to have the ability to reform the system, I would try to do it from the inside. Was I able to get enough done? Absolutely not. Reporter: But the most explosive moment of the night, former housing secretary Julian Castro challenging Biden on health care. Seeming to take on his age. They do not have to buy in. They do not have to buy in. You just said that. You just said that two minutes ago. You just said two minutes ago that they would have to buy in. You said they would have to buy in. Are you forgetting what you said two minutes ago? Reporter: But in fact it's not at all clear Biden misspoke. Today his team calling Castro's attack a cheap shot. Your campaign did call Castro's attacks a low blow. Is it fair for your rivals to play the age card? Sure it is. I mean, look. Last night was the closest we've came to a debate. Okay? We actually had an open debate on health care, and I felt very good about the debate on health care. And we appreciate the people at home who watched the debate. Mary, Joe Biden calling the debate a good night for him. But he also told supporters today he could do better? Reporter: He said I could have done better. But promised his supporters I will do better. Tonight, Biden is clearly looking forward to the next, more substantive phase of this campaign.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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