Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders cast themselves as ‘best-positioned’ to lead through coronavirus outbreak
Photo Credit: AFP

Former US Vice President Joe Biden and progressive senator Bernie Sanders return to the debate stage in first one-on-one debate of the Democratic primary amid the rapid spread of COVID-19.

Biden and Sanders sought in Sunday's debate to cast themselves as best-positioned to lead the nation through a global pandemic. During the debate Biden pledged to deploy the military to help with recovery efforts, on the other hand Sanders used the coronavirus crisis to pitch his long-sought overhaul of the country's health care system. During the debate, both, Biden and Sanders, called for increased testing for the virus and economic relief for Americans who will suffer.

"One of the reasons that we are unprepared, and have been unprepared, is we don't have a system. We've got thousands of private insurance plans. That is not a system that is prepared to provide health care to all people in a good year, without the epidemic," said Sanders.

Biden, who is leading Sanders in the race for the Democratic nomination, argued that a pandemic was not a moment to attempt to push through an overhaul of the American health insurance system. "This is a crisis. We're at war with a virus. It has nothing to do with copays or anything," Biden said.

On the other hand, Joe Biden has committed to picking a woman as his vice presidential candidate should he win the Democratic nomination. "If I'm elected president, my cabinet, my administration, will look like the country, and I commit that I will in fact appoint a woman to be vice president," Biden, himself a former vice president, said during a debate against his leftist rival Sanders on Sunday.

"There are a number of women who are qualified to be vice president tomorrow. To me, it's not just nominating a woman. It is making sure that we have a progressive woman and there are progressive women out there," Biden said.

After the debate, President Donald Trump slammed Biden and said that the debate was very boring. “I must say, that was a VERY boring debate. Biden lied when he said I want to cut Social Security and Medicare. That’s what they ALL said 4 years ago, and nothing happened, in fact, I saved Social Security and Medicare. I will not be cutting, but they will. Be careful!," Trump tweeted.

The debate was the first head-to-head faceoff between Biden and Sanders, who are vying to become the Democratic presidential nominee. Just two Democrats - former Vice President Joe Biden and Vermont Sen. Five other candidates who joined them on stage in the February 25 debate in South Carolina have dropped out, with many rallying behind Biden's surging candidacy.

(Inputs from Agencies)

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