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Colbert presses Warren on middle-class tax hike: 'You might want to defend the taxes'

Stephen ColbertStephen Tyrone ColbertLate-night hosts targeted Trump over Biden 97 percent of the time in September: study Colbert to host real-time election night special Last hurrah for the establishment media MORE pressed Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenFinal debate: War Admiral vs. Seabiscuit Biden defends his health plan from Trump attacks Progressives blast Biden plan to form panel on Supreme Court reform MORE (D-Mass.) during CBS's "Late Show" Tuesday night on whether the Democratic presidential hopeful would raise taxes on the middle class if she were to win the White House.

"You keep being asked in the debates how are you going to pay for it. Are you going to be raising the middle-class taxes?" Colbert asked. "How are you going to pay for it? Are you going to be raising the middle-class taxes?"

"So, here's how we're going to do this. Costs are going to go up for the wealthiest Americans, for big corporations," Warren replied. "And hard-working middle-class families are going to see their costs going down."

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"But will their taxes go up?" Colbert asked again.

"But here's the thing," Warren said.

"But here's the thing," an amused Colbert retorted. "I've listened to these answers a few times before and I just want to make a parallel suggestion to you that you might defend the taxes perhaps that you’re not mentioning in your sentence."

"Isn’t 'Medicare for All' like public school?" he continued rhetorically, pointing to the health care proposal advocated by progressives in the Democratic race such as Warren and Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersSanders hits back at Trump's attack on 'socialized medicine' Trump's debate performance was too little, too late Final debate: War Admiral vs. Seabiscuit MORE (I-Vt.).

"There might be taxes for it, but you certainly save a lot of money sending your kids to school, and do you want to live in a world where your kids aren’t educated? Do you want to live in a world where your fellow citizens are dying, even if it costs a little bit of money?” Colbert added.

"So I accept your point and I believe in your point," Warren responded, without directly saying taxes will be raised on the middle class. "Health care is a basic human right. We fight for basic human rights, and that’s Medicare for All. Everyone gets covered."

The back-and-forth with Colbert comes amid what appears to be an increasingly close race between Warren and former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenFacebook, Twitter CEOs to testify before Senate Judiciary Committee on Nov. 17 Sanders hits back at Trump's attack on 'socialized medicine' Senate GOP to drop documentary series days before election hitting China, Democrats over coronavirus MORE, the latter having led most national and state polls since entering the primary earlier this year.

Biden and Warren are virtually tied in a new poll of likely Iowa caucusgoers released Wednesday, with Biden at 25 percent support and Warren at 23 percent, placing her within the margin of error for the top spot. 

The poll, conducted for Focus on Rural America, a Democratic group run by former Iowa Lt. Gov. Patty Judge (D) and Iowa political strategist Jeff Link, also found South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete ButtigiegPete ButtigiegLGBTQ voters must show up at the polls, or risk losing progress Buttigieg says it's time to 'turn the page' on Trump administration Sunday shows preview: Coronavirus cases surge in the Midwest; Trump hits campaign trail after COVID-19 MORE (D) in third with 12 percent support.