January Democratic debate live updates: Six candidates face off in Des Moines
Tuesday's debate was the smallest one yet.
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.
Biden aides say he intends to stay out of Warren-Sanders fray
There's at least one candidate who will not be getting into the fray at all between Warren and Sanders: Biden. Even though he will literally be standing between both of them, three Biden aides say that the former VP will do his best to stay out of the spat between the two most progressive candidates in the race.
Biden again avoided reporters’ questions about the Warren-Sanders feud at a stop in Des Moines on Monday night (he hasn’t held a formal gaggle with his traveling press corps in weeks). And his campaign opted not to hold its usual debate day briefing with reporters Tuesday in part to avoid being drawn into the fray.
Aides say Biden is prepared, however, to once again answer charges about his Iraq War record since they expect Sanders to bring it up during the debate. In recent weeks, Biden has been quick to dismiss Sanders’ jabs about the former vice president on Iraq and Biden’s inability to excite the party. Though Biden has largely avoided responding to Sanders directly, he has offered more than a few sarcastic asides lately, which he hasn’t done as much with other Democratic opponents in the race.
Biden really hasn’t gone after Warren in recent weeks, besides pointing out generally that some candidates like her have attacked him for what they believe is an unrealistic ability to unite the party.
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13d ago / 1:06 AM UTC
Sanders posts ad attacking Biden ahead of debate
When you look at my record vs. Joe Biden's record, I just don't think that Biden's record is going to bring forth the energy that we need to defeat Trump. pic.twitter.com/Y8UJYJT6wT
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.
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."
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.