Democratic debate live updates: Candidates spar in October debate in Ohio

Image: Twelve candidates will take the stage in a Democratic presidential primary debate in Columbus, Ohio, on Oct. 15, 2019.
Twelve candidates will take the stage in a Democratic presidential primary debate in Columbus, Ohio, on Oct. 15, 2019.Adrian Lam / NBC News

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NBC News' live blog tracked the ups, downs and confrontations of the fourth Democratic primary debate of the 2020 presidential election cycle, co-hosted by CNN and The New York Times.

The largest group of candidates took the stage Tuesday night at Otterbein University in Westerville, Ohio. They included front-runners Joe Biden and Sen. Elizabeth Warren; Sen. Bernie Sanders, who returned to the campaign after having a heart attack two weeks ago; billionaire activist Tom Steyer, who appeared in his first debate of the cycle; and Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, who missed the September go-round after failing to qualify.

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Live Blog

Fact check: Who gets credit for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau?

Biden and Warren got into it in the third hour of the debate when the former vice president took some credit for getting Warren’s brainchild — the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau — passed into law.

"I agreed with the great job she did, and I went on the floor and got you votes. I got votes for that bill. I convinced people to vote for it. So let's get those things straight too," Biden said, earning a steely and careful response from Warren that she was "deeply grateful to President Obama" for getting the agency created.

Before she ran for Senate, Warren conceived of the regulatory agency to police the financial industry in the wake of the economic downturn. It was created by the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, which was signed into law in 2010.

Biden, who has been criticized for close ties to the banking industry during his decades in the Senate, was undoubtedly supportive of the legislation — it was a key priority of the Obama administration. But both former Sen. Chris Dodd and former Rep. Barney Frank told The New York Times they do not recall the former vice president being a key or significant player in getting Dodd-Frank passed, undercutting his claims here. 

Fact check: Yang exaggerates manufacturing job losses in 2016 swing states

In his closing remarks, Andrew Yang referenced the loss of "4 million manufacturing workers here in Ohio and Michigan and Pennsylvania and Wisconsin and Iowa" as a symptom of the "fourth industrial revolution." 

His figure is way off. According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, those five states lost a combined 1.09 million manufacturing jobs between the peak of national manufacturing employment, 2000, through October 2016. 

There’s no data on cause, but it's clear Yang's got his numbers wrong. Nationwide, the country lost 4.9 million manufacturing jobs during the same period. 

Castro dings final question

The former housing secretary wasn't pleased with what he heard.

Here's who attacked President Trump in the debate

The Trump Show it was not.

A question about impeachment kicked off the debate, and while President Trump was a presence here and there, by the final hour Trump had all but disappeared from candidate talk.

Tallying 30-plus attacks over the fourth debates three hours, Trump was only attacked seven times in the last sixty minutes, compared with 31 times in the first two hours. Andrew Yang gave (Microsoft search engine) Bing as much grief as he gave Trump.

Here are the numbers on candidate attacks on Trump throughout the fourth Democratic debate.

See the candidate attacks in the fourth Democratic debate, by the numbers.

Here's how the candidates answered that friendship question

A question aimed at a controversy involving Ellen Degeneres and George W. Bush got many groans online, but drew a variety of answers on stage. Asked who they are friends with who are not like them or did not view things as they do, candidates dropped names like John McCain, Chris Christie, Rand Paul and Jim Inhofe. Some candidates chose not to name anyone specifically, however.

Love is all you need.

Fact check: Sanders gets his numbers right on job losses due to trade deals

Bernie Sanders, in attacking Joe Biden, said the former vice president was responsible for helping to put into effect "trade agreements like NAFTA and PNTR with China," which, Sanders said, "cost us 4 million jobs.”

Sanders made this claim during the September debate. It was true then, and it's true now— according to several reputable analyses. 

As NBC News’ Carrie Dann reported in February during President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address, job losses resulting from NAFTA tend to be overstated — but one major study found that more than 850,000 jobs were displaced by the pact. 

Robert E. Scott of the pro-labor Economic Policy Institute found that about 851,700 U.S. jobs were displaced by the U.S. trade deficit with Mexico between 1993 (shortly before NAFTA was implemented) and 2014. That’s a data point that was cited by Sanders during his 2016 campaign, when he frequently decried job losses due to NAFTA. (Other studies, however, have found the job losses to be far less.)

When it comes to granting PNTR (“permanent normal trade relations” status) to China, which President George W. Bush formally did in 2001 after China entered the World Trade Organization, U.S. job losses have been larger, according to studies.

The nonpartisan Congressional Research Service wrote in 2018, citing a 2014 study by the Economic Policy Institute, that “growth in the U.S. goods trade deficit with China between 2001 and 2013 eliminated or displaced 3.2 million U.S. jobs (three-fourths of which were in manufacturing).”

If you add the 851,700 figure with the 3.2 million figure, you would see a figure that approximates the 4 million figure that Sanders referred to.

Baseball and donut shops: What the other candidates are doing on debate night

The half dozen candidates who didn’t qualify for tonight’s debate instead spent the evening watching baseball and livestreaming their messages to supporters on social media. 

Former Maryland Rep. John Delaney got to watch the Washington Nationals play the St. Louis Cardinals in Game 4 of the National League Championship Series, while keeping an eye on the debate on his phone.

“These questions about age are inappropriate in my judgement,” he tweeted.

Montana Gov. Steve Bullock was watching the debate with his family, according to a spokesperson. 

Rep. Tim Ryan of Ohio had a similar plan, saying in a text message that he was watching “some” of the debate while also “reading to my five-year-old.”

Meanwhile, in New Hampshire, retired Adm. Joe Sestak was livestreaming his answers to the debate questions over on Facebook, “live from a Donut shop in New Hampshire,” he announced on Twitter. 

And self-help author Marianne Williamson was speaking in Encinitas, California, which she too livestreamed online, where she said America needs to “know who we are and claim the power of knowing who we are.” 

The final question is about friendship

Buttigieg says his Supreme Court plan is more than 'packing' courts

Buttigieg referred to his plan to change the Supreme Court, which he said could be done without a Constitutional amendment. 

He said it wasn’t just “packing” the court, however, since his plan would involve restructuring the court to include justices backed by both parties rather than just expanding it.

Under his proposal, the court would have 15 justices, five supported by Republicans, five by Democrats, and five chosen by the 10 partisan justices. He talked to NBC News about his plan earlier.