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.
Fact check: Gabbard claims Buttigieg would send troops to Mexico
The two veterans on the stage — Gabbard and Buttigieg — sparred over the South Bend mayor’s recent comments on troops in Mexico. Gabbard said that the mayor had made a “careless statement about how you, as president, would be willing to send our troops to Mexico to fight the cartels.”
Buttigieg said his remarks were taken out of context.
"I was talking about U.S.-Mexico cooperation. We’ve been doing security cooperation with Mexico for years, with law enforcement cooperation and military cooperation that could continue to be developed with training relationships, for example. Do you seriously think anybody on this stage is proposing invading Mexico?" he said.
Gabbard retorted: “That’s not what I said!”
Here's what the mayor actually said at California event recently, according to The Sacramento Bee, responding to a question related to gang and drug violence.
"There is a scenario where we could have security cooperation," Buttigieg said, adding, “I’d only order American troops into conflict if American lives were on the line and if it was necessary to meet treaty obligations.”
ANALYSIS: 2020 candidates tried to connect with black voters
Former Sen. Claire McCaskill and Eugene Robinson discuss the 2020 Democratic candidates' efforts to connect with black voters, and former VP Joe Biden's strength in that area.
Amy Klobuchar: We'll unite the Democratic Party
Booker reflects on how Rep. John Lewis inspired him to run
Who talked the most at the debate? Here's how the night flowed in under 15 seconds
10 candidates, 10 different ways of closing
The 10 candidates on stage hit different notes in their closing statements.
Booker used his to pay homage to his hero, Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., and to deliver a plea for support, because he hasn’t yet qualified for the next debate, on Dec. 19.
“Keep me on this stage,” he said.
Gabbard spoke of respect, while Steyer said he was pushing for “structural change in Washington.” Yang stressed making the U.S., and the world, a better place for “our kids.”
Klobuchar, citing Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman’s impeachment testimony yesterday, said “in this country, you can tell the truth and you’ll be fine,” before saying her presidency would represent an “economic check,” a “patriotism check,” a “values check” and a “decency check” on the Trump administration.
Harris made her closing about how “we’re in a fight” for the rule of law, democracy and the U.S. system of justice. Buttigieg referred to former Atlanta Mayor Maynard Jackson as a pinnacle example of how “local leaders have shown great leadership” before pledging to “launch the era that must come after Trump” — one he said will be marked “not by exclusion, but by belonging.”
Sanders talked about being the son of an immigrant and vowed to “fight against all forms of discrimination,” while Warren’s entire statement revolved around fighting corruption.
The government, she said, “works for the top, and no one else,” she said.
Biden, the last to speak, fired off a series of platitudes, each with increasing volume.
He said the U.S. should lead the world “not by the example of our power, but by the power of our example.” He urged people to “take back this country and lead the world again.”
And he closed by yelling, “Get up and take it back.”
Fact-checking the fifth Democratic debate in Atlanta live
Do Harris' statistics on the gender pay gap hold up? Are Tulsi Gabbard's claims about past presidents and 'regime change wars' true? Did Amy Klobuchar really pass more than 100 bills?
Here are the claims from the 10 candidates on stage that hold up — and the ones that don't.
Final tally: Joe Biden was the most-attacked candidate in this debate
Biden was attacked the most on the debate stage tonight, with six attacks. Yang wasn't attacked at all.
Other noteworthy targets: Democratic candidates attacked Donald Trump 40 times, Mitch McConnell 2 times, Wall Street and corporations 7 times, and the “ultra-rich” 4 times.