The First Question of the Democratic Debate was a Challenge to Elizabeth Warren. She Didn’t Back Down.

The senator from Massachusetts planned for this moment.

Wilfredo Lee/AP

The highest polling Democratic candidate on stage during NBC’s first televised debate of the presidential season got the first question on Wednesday night. Host Savannah Guthrie asked Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) about the difficulty of implementing her many economic plans and securing the nomination, when most Americans, including most Democrats, think the economy is performing well.

Warren tore into her campaign talking points—with a notable reference to “LatinX” Americans, a word that perhaps no other presidential candidate has ever used on a debate stage.

“The economy is doing great for a thinner and thinner slice at the top,” the Massachusetts senator said. “It’s doing great for giant drug companies. It’s not doing great for people who are trying to get a prescription filled.”

Warren added that the economy is working for “people who want to invest in private prisons. Just not for African-Americans and LatinX whose families are torn apart, lives destroyed, communities ruined.”

Watch the exchange below:


In 2014, before Donald Trump announced his run for president, we knew we had to do something different to address the fundamental challenge facing journalism: how hard-hitting reporting that can hold the powerful accountable can survive as the bottom falls out of the news business.

Being a nonprofit, we started planning The Moment for Mother Jones: A special campaign to raise $25 million for key investments to make Mother Jones the strongest watchdog it can be. Five years later, readers have stepped up and contributed an astonishing $23 million in gifts and future pledges. This is an incredible statement from the Mother Jones community in the face of the huge threats—both economic and political—against the free press.

Read more about The Moment and see what we've been able to accomplish thanks to readers' incredible generosity so far, and please join them today. Your gift will be matched dollar for dollar, up to $500,000 total, during this critical moment for journalism.

We Recommend


Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.


Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.


We have a new comment system! We are now using Coral, from Vox Media, for comments on all new articles. We'd love your feedback.