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January Democratic debate live updates: Six candidates face off in Des Moines

Tuesday's debate was the smallest one yet.
Image: Former Vice President Joe Biden, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Sen. Bernie Sanders, Tom Steyer, former mayor Pete Buttigieg and Sen. Amy Klobuchar will take the state in a Democratic presidential debate on Tuesday night in Iowa.
Former Vice President Joe Biden, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Sen. Bernie Sanders, Tom Steyer, former mayor Pete Buttigieg and Sen. Amy Klobuchar will take the stage in a Democratic presidential debate on Tuesday night in Iowa.Chelsea Stahl / NBC News

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NBC News provided up-to-the-minute coverage of the seventh Democratic presidential primary debate at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa.

Tuesday's debate stage was the smallest one yet, with many of the candidates who appeared on stage in previous debates either failing to qualify or dropping out of the race.

Hosted by CNN and the Des Moines Register, the debate featured six candidates: former Vice President Joe Biden, Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, billionaire Tom Steyer, and former Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Indiana.

Read about all the highlights below.

Download the NBC News app for full politics coverage.

Live Blog

Sanders posts ad attacking Biden ahead of debate

Surf Tax America

A New York Times graphic for tonight's debate caught a bit of attention on Twitter for its surprising resemblance to Weezer's classic debut album "Weezer," which is better known as the Blue Album. 

Let's hope this means the next debate is as good as "Pinkerton."

Buttigieg tweets thanks to Mandy Moore for her support

If you're just catching up on the Sanders/Warren conflict...

Here's what you need to know about the brewing tensions between Warren and Sanders:

Warren on Sunday called on Sanders to turn his campaign "in a different direction" after it reportedly provided talking points to its volunteers instructing them to paint Warren as the candidate of elites in conversations with voters.

Read more about that here.

Warren on Monday said that in 2018 told her that he didn't think a woman could win the 2020 election — a statement the Sanders campaign had blasted as "a lie" earlier in the day.

"Bernie and I met for more than two hours in December 2018 to discuss the 2020 election, our past work together and our shared goals," Warren said in a statement. "Among the topics that came up was what would happen if Democrats nominated a female candidate. I thought a woman could win; he disagreed."

Read more about that here.

Dave Chappelle endorses Andrew Yang

Yang isn't on the debate stage tonight, but he had some good news: an endorsement from comedian Dave Chappelle.

'Who is Brianne Pfannenstiel?' and everything else Google shows us about tonight's debate

You might be wondering just who Brianne Pfannenstiel is, according to Google.

Searches for Pfannenstiel are up a whopping 4,200 percent (granted from what is probably a very small initial amount) ahead of tonight's debate. 

Pfannenstiel, 31, is the top political correspondent for The Des Moines Register and a moderator for the debate, alongside CNN's Wolf Blitzer and Abby Phillip. 

As for how the candidates stack up against each other in terms of Google searches, Bernie Sanders currently retains the top spot, followed by Warren, Biden, Buttigieg and Steyer. 

ANALYSIS: Sanders needs to light a fire now. The question is whether he can control the blaze.

Sen. Bernie Sanders has stepped up an undeclared war on his top rivals for the Democratic presidential nomination — and left himself open to counterattack — because it's do-or-die time for him.

Sanders, I-Vt., and his supporters are tangling with former Vice President Joe Biden over foreign policy, trade and race, and with Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., over policy purity, elitism and whether he said a woman can't win the presidency. The skirmishes rile up his base at the expense of alienating other Democrats.

While that's a strategy that makes more sense here and in other early primary states, where a relatively small but committed army of supporters can deliver victory, it risks a severe backlash now or over the long run.

Yet Sanders' best shot starts with his taking the Feb. 3 Iowa caucuses, following up with wins in New Hampshire and Nevada and riding a wave to a majority of delegates before the party's convention in Milwaukee in July.

That is, he needs to light a fire now. The question is whether he can control the blaze.

Read more here.

Iowa roiled by Democratic infighting weeks before first-in-nation vote

DES MOINES, Iowa — This isn't how the home stretch before the Iowa caucus was supposed to go.

Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., seemed to have been telegraphing a willingness to take on former Vice President Joe Biden for his judgment on the Iraq War, amid the escalating tensions with Iran. That was the singular focus until the conflict between Sanders and fellow progressive Sen. Elizabeth Warren bubbled into a fever pitch in the days leading up to the debate on Tuesday night here.

The very public rift marks a sea change in a winnowing Democratic field, less than three weeks before Iowans are set to caucus on Feb. 3.

And the crux of the Sanders-Warren conversation — about whether a woman can beat Trump — also highlights uncomfortable questions about perceived "electability" and brings about the specter of Hillary Clinton's 2016 loss. In conversations with a dozen Democratic operatives and aides, there appears to be little appetite for, and much hand-wringing over, these topics of conversation — on Clinton, on 2016 or on electability and gender.

Read more here.

January Democratic debate: Everything you need to know

The seventh Democratic presidential debate is set for Tuesday night, and it will be the smallest — and least diverse — debate to date.

The field of candidates has been shrinking, and the front-runners' campaigns have been taking on a tougher tone with one another, with even old friends Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren butting heads.

The debate is the last before the Iowa caucus on Feb. 3. The two candidates who've been sniping at each other the most in recent weeks, former Vice President Joe Biden and Sanders, the independent senator from Vermont, will be standing side by side on center stage.

Here's what you need to know.