NBC News' live blog tracked the fifth Democratic primary debate of the 2020 presidential election cycle, co-hosted by MSNBC and The Washington Post.
With the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump taking center stage,the 2020 candidates clashed over their visions to replace him. South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg escaped unscathed after it was expected he'd draw heavy fire as the newly minted front-runner, while former Vice President Joe Biden stumbled with gaffes on women, marijuana and race.
Yang on his first phone call with Putin: ‘Sorry I beat your guy’
Yang seemed taken aback by one of the rare questions he’s gotten in the debate when he was asked what he’d say in his first call with Putin as president.
After a pause, he said: “First I’d say I’m sorry I beat your guy,” earning some laughs in the crowd.
He went on to say he’d push back on Russian interference in U.S. domestic politics and discussed his data policies.
Lots of praise for the moderators tonight
Fact check: Klobuchar's boast about bills
“I am the one who has passed over 100 bills as the lead Democrat in that gridlock in Washington," Klobuchar said on Wednesday night.
This claim, one she's made during several previous debates, appears to be true. When asked by NBC News for proof of Klobuchar’s claim that she was a sponsor or co-sponsor of 100 bills that were ultimately enacted, her campaign produced a list of 101 bills and amendments that were enacted or that were consolidated into other bills that were later enacted.
Kamala Harris loves to attack Trump. She's not alone.
So far tonight, Donald Trump has been attacked more times than any of the other candidates have attacked each other, combined. This isn’t quite new: Trump has received double-digit numbers of attacks in every Democratic presidential debate this year.
In the previous debates, Kamala Harris has attacked Trump a total of 18 times, the most of any candidate. Julián Castro and Amy Klobuchar trail Harris with 16 attacks on Trump each.
A scene from USC
Harris: Trump got punk'd on North Korea
First climate question — everyone agrees it’s a priority
Gabbard got the first climate change question of the night and said that it’s an issue that transcends political party and everyone should come together to break the hyperpartisanship to get climate policies passed
Steyer called out Biden and Warren — two of the front-runners — saying it is a No. 1 priority for him unlike those two. He said that, on Day One of his presidency, he would declare a state of emergency and make climate change part of his foreign policy.
Biden shot back saying that he has been on the front line of climate change and attacked Steyer for operating coal mines while he was working on climate policy. Steyer responded by saying everyone on the stage lived in an economy based on fossil fuels and he came to a conclusion to avoid them a decade ago.
Sanders says that he would go directly after the fossil fuel industry and said they are criminally liable because they had “evidence” that their products hurt the environment.
Steyer hasn't talked much, but he's firing off attacks
An hour and change into the Democratic debate, Tom Steyer has made 6 fiery attacks. He's only spoken for 5 minutes.
His latest: "I’m the only person on this stage who will say that climate is the No. 1 priority for me. Vice President Biden won’t say it. Senator Warren won’t say it."
No one laying a hand on Mayor Pete
Conventional wisdom heading into Wednesday’s debate was that the candidates, who had started to telegraph hits on Buttigieg along the campaign trail, would go after the surging candidate.
But as polls show Buttigieg rising to first in Iowa and New Hampshire, no one’s taken a direct shot at him in the debate’s first hour. Even Klobuchar, asked about her previous criticism of Buttigieg, demurred.
But of note, there’s been little fighting on stage through the debate so far.