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 says he’d consider pardoning Trump
Andrew Yang said he does not think Trump should be facing criminal charges and would consider pardoning Trump if he were in fact prosecuted.
"We do not want to be a country that gets in the pattern of jailing past leaders," Yang said, adding that "there's a reason why Ford pardoned Nixon."
"I'd actually go a step further and say not just, hey, it's up to my [Attorney General]. I would say that the country needs to start solving the problems on the ground and move forward."
"Would you consider a pardon then?" NBC News asked.
"I would," Yang said.
Kamala Harris: 'Lot of evidence' on grounds for impeachment
New Hampshire voters react to debate
NBC News' New Hampshire team checked in with voters from around the state throughout and at the conclusion of tonight’s debate. Here are some highlights and impressions from those text conversations.
Shared views among multiple voters:
- Memorable moments: Gabbard/Buttigieg exchange, Booker suggesting Biden was high when he said he wouldn't support marijuana legalization, Buttigieg saying there’s over 100 years of Washington experience and look where it’s gotten us, Harris/Booker/Biden on black support
- Candidates who struggled: Gabbard, Biden, Harris
- Candidates who stood out: Buttigieg, Klobuchar, Booker, Warren
- Topics: happy that voting rights/voter suppression was discussed, surprised by lack of confrontation over Buttigieg given his recent polling surges
Marianne Williamson chimes in
Atlanta mayor defends Biden after Harris criticism
Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, a top Biden supporter, said the clash between Harris and Biden was being blown up too much.
She said it was clear he meant the first black woman in the Senate, not the only black woman.
Fact check: Do most Democrats oppose 'Medicare for All'?
"The fact is that right now the vast majority of Democrats do not support 'Medicare for All.' It couldn’t pass the United States Senate right now with Democrats. It couldn't pass the House," Biden claimed on Wednesday.
The veracity of this one may depend on whether Biden is talking about lawmakers or registered members of the party surveyed about their views. In a poll released earlier Wednesday, 77 percent of Democrats polled by the Kaiser Family Foundation said they supported Medicare for All. A Gallup poll last year saw 65 percent of Democrats and Democratic-leaning voters supported a government-run health care system.
But Biden is correct to note that support among legislators is decidedly lower. Currently, Democrats control the House but haven't passed a Medicare for All bill. A Medicare for All bill would definitely not pass the current Senate, which is controlled by Republicans.
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.