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 and Gabbard take the first question about race and white supremacy
The first question about race was asked, but only Yang and Gabbard got to answer.
Gabbard said that it’s important for a leader to recognize racial bigotry and correct racial injustices in the country. Yang said that he would first order the DOJ to designate white supremacist violence as domestic terrorism.
Fact check: Is Pete Buttigieg financially worth the least of those on stage?
Buttigieg claimed to have the least assets of anyone on the stage. According to Forbes' assessment, he's right.
With just $100,000 in estimated assets, he's significantly less well off than billionaire Tom Steyer or even millionaire Andrew Yang.
Sanders and Biden have spoken the most tonight, Yang the least
As of 10:30 p.m., Sanders and Biden are nearly tied at who's gotten the most speaking time at the debate. Yang trailed all the other candidates.
Buttigieg hits on security and artificial intelligence
Buttigieg warns the U.S. is falling behind on artificial intelligence, and that this poses a serious national security risk. Those fears are bolstered by warnings from people like the former head of U.S. Naval Special Warfare Command.
This is the kind of argument that has built momentum in recent years, particularly as China has invested aggressively in the technology. And while that has sparked some comparisons to the Cold War nuclear arms race with the U.S.S.R., some academics that follow China closely warn that the country’s AI expertise is getting overblown.
Fact check: Harris takes on the gender pay gap
Raising a point about the ineffectiveness of the Equal Pay Act, Harris noted, “Women are paid 80 cents on the dollar, black women — 61 cents, Native American women — 58 cents, Latinas — 53 cents.”
Harris appears to be drawing these numbers from a 2019 report by the American Association of University Women, which compared the earnings of women across several racial demographics to the earnings of white men.
Her data is just slightly off, according to the AAUW’s report. According to the report, women are paid 82 cents for every dollar men earn. Black women make 62 cents on the dollar, Native American women make 57 cents and Hispanic women, 54 cents.
Biden offers a difference on Obama foreign policy — and it’s Saudi Arabia
Biden was asked a question earlier on where he’d differ from Obama on foreign policy and deflected to points on where he’d differ with Trump.
Soon after, he did offer a policy difference — on Saudi Arabia. It was in response to a question on whether he’d punish the Saudi royals for the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
"Yes, and I said it at the time,” he said, adding he thinks the killing happened at Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s order.
Biden said he would stop U.S. weapons sales and that there was “very little social redeeming value” to the country.
Stopping weapons sales to the Saudis would certainly be a break from the Obama administration, which offered the country more than $115 billion in weapons, military equipment and training, according to a Reuters report from 2016. At the time, it was the most of any U.S. administration in the more than 70 years of the U.S.-Saudi alliance.
Castro's fans remind Twitter he's still in the running
Even though Julián Castro didn’t make it to the debate stage, his supporters tried to keep him visible with the hashtag the campaign adopted for the night, #JulianDebates.
Castro’s backers and the campaign made the hashtag a top trending hashtag by posting positions Castro has taken on issues that were raised in the debate. His campaign also used it as an opportunity to raise donations.
Castro used the hashtag in his posts too, including when debate moderators asked candidates about housing, an issue he has been pushing debate organizers to include in their questions.
“Finally, housing question,” Castro tweeted. “Wonder who could have answered that?”
Fact check: Gabbard's claims about past presidents and 'regime change wars'
Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, said there was an "ongoing Bush, Clinton, Trump foreign policy doctrine of regime change wars, overthrowing dictators in other countries."
This is mostly false. President Donald Trump hasn’t started any wars that can be considered regime change wars — he’s actually focused more on getting out of military engagements. President Bill Clinton didn’t start what could be considered "regime change wars," either, though he did order some military strikes in Iraq and support a policy of ousting Saddam Hussein, the country's president. But it was President George W. Bush who famously launched a war in Afghanistan and one in Iraq, which resulted in the removal and execution of Hussein.
It’s possible Gabbard is referring to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who served under President Barack Obama, but that's not clear, and wouldn't be correct. The secretary of state — while crucially involved in foreign policy — is not the decision maker, the president is.
Lots of praise for the moderators tonight
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.