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Live Updates Ahead of Tonight’s Democratic Debate Live Updates Ahead of Tonight’s Democratic Debate
(30 minutes later)
How to watch: You can watch live analysis on nytimes.com. The debate is co-hosted by The Des Moines Register and CNN.How to watch: You can watch live analysis on nytimes.com. The debate is co-hosted by The Des Moines Register and CNN.
Moderators: Wolf Blitzer and Abby Phillip of CNN and Brianne Pfannenstiel of The Register.Moderators: Wolf Blitzer and Abby Phillip of CNN and Brianne Pfannenstiel of The Register.
Candidates: Former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, Former Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Ind., Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, the billionaire Tom Steyer.Candidates: Former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, Former Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Ind., Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, the billionaire Tom Steyer.
With less than three weeks before Iowa’s caucuses, tensions are rising among the top-tier candidates. The de facto truce between Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts has evaporated in recent days, Mr. Sanders has attacked former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., and former Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Ind., remains the object of scorn from his top rivals.With less than three weeks before Iowa’s caucuses, tensions are rising among the top-tier candidates. The de facto truce between Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts has evaporated in recent days, Mr. Sanders has attacked former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., and former Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Ind., remains the object of scorn from his top rivals.
For the first time in the 2020 campaign, there’s a real chance of a four-way battle royale live on the debate stage.For the first time in the 2020 campaign, there’s a real chance of a four-way battle royale live on the debate stage.
The strategy comes with significant risks. Iowans tend to dislike it when candidates go negative, and progressives are already blanching at the prospect of a prolonged Sanders-Warren conflict, given that many of them believe either candidate would be preferable to the more moderate Mr. Biden and Mr. Buttigieg.The strategy comes with significant risks. Iowans tend to dislike it when candidates go negative, and progressives are already blanching at the prospect of a prolonged Sanders-Warren conflict, given that many of them believe either candidate would be preferable to the more moderate Mr. Biden and Mr. Buttigieg.
Yet candidates and their supporters remain on edge. The Sanders team has been caught off guard by a report, which Ms. Warren confirmed on Tuesday night but Mr. Sanders has denied, that Mr. Sanders told her in a private 2018 meeting that a woman could not win the presidency. Yet candidates and their supporters remain on edge. The Sanders team has been caught off guard by a report, which Ms. Warren confirmed on Monday night but Mr. Sanders has denied, that Mr. Sanders told her in a private 2018 meeting that a woman could not win the presidency.
The conflict makes for good television — and CNN in past debates has sought out tensions between the candidates — but it doesn’t always lead to more affection from voters. The trick for candidates Tuesday night will be navigating attacks and counterpunches without undermining Democratic unity and voters’ all-encompassing desire to defeat President Trump. The conflict makes for good television — and CNN in past debates has sought out tensions between the candidates — but it doesn’t always lead to more affection from voters. The trick for candidates Tuesday night will be navigating attacks and counterpunches without undermining Democratic unity and catering to voters’ all-encompassing desire to defeat President Trump.
Mr. Biden often claims he’s not engaging in “hyperbole” — but as Democratic candidates work to appeal to voters of color, that’s exactly what he did as he highlighted his standing with those constituencies in an interview published Tuesday, hours before the candidates would gather in a debate for which only white candidates qualified. Mr. Biden often claims he’s not engaging in “hyperbole” — but as Democratic candidates work to appeal to voters of color, that’s exactly what he did as he highlighted his standing with those constituencies in an interview published Tuesday, hours before a debate for which only white candidates qualified.
“I get more support from black and brown constituents than anybody in this race. That’s where I come from. I come from the African-American community,” Mr. Biden, who is white, told The Sacramento Bee. “That’s my base. We’re the eighth largest black population (as a percentage) in the United States in my state. That’s how I got started.”“I get more support from black and brown constituents than anybody in this race. That’s where I come from. I come from the African-American community,” Mr. Biden, who is white, told The Sacramento Bee. “That’s my base. We’re the eighth largest black population (as a percentage) in the United States in my state. That’s how I got started.”
Those remarks came in response to a question about the all-white debate stage, a disappointment to many Democratic voters and activists who were energized by the diversity of the field at the outset of the campaign.Those remarks came in response to a question about the all-white debate stage, a disappointment to many Democratic voters and activists who were energized by the diversity of the field at the outset of the campaign.
“I think there’s some really qualified people, but it’s the way, you know, the way the polls are running, the way things are moving,” Mr. Biden said. “I’m not sure this whole debate setup has made any sense anyway to begin with. But it is what it is. But I tell you what: If I’m elected president, I promise you my administration is going to look like America.”“I think there’s some really qualified people, but it’s the way, you know, the way the polls are running, the way things are moving,” Mr. Biden said. “I’m not sure this whole debate setup has made any sense anyway to begin with. But it is what it is. But I tell you what: If I’m elected president, I promise you my administration is going to look like America.”
The debate comes a day after Senator Cory Booker, Democrat of New Jersey, dropped out of the race, leaving just one black person — Deval Patrick, the former governor of Massachusetts — in the Democratic contest.The debate comes a day after Senator Cory Booker, Democrat of New Jersey, dropped out of the race, leaving just one black person — Deval Patrick, the former governor of Massachusetts — in the Democratic contest.
Polls do show Mr. Biden with a commanding lead among African-American voters over all, though the contest for younger black voters, as well as for Latino voters, is far more competitive, and Mr. Sanders in particular has shown strength with those constituencies.Polls do show Mr. Biden with a commanding lead among African-American voters over all, though the contest for younger black voters, as well as for Latino voters, is far more competitive, and Mr. Sanders in particular has shown strength with those constituencies.
Reporting was contributed by Nick Corasaniti, Michael M. Grynbaum, Stephanie Saul, Matt Stevens and Marc Tracey. Ms. Warren’s top aides and her new surrogate Julián Castro have been telegraphing a message of unity, promoting Ms. Warren as the candidate who can bridge the party’s progressive and moderate wings.
That’ll be hard if she’s stoking a war with Mr. Sanders.
Ms. Warren is going to try anyway, having already adopted most of Mr. Sanders’s platform without some of his harder edges. She’s sure to be asked about reports in recent days that Sanders volunteers disparaged her election chances in calls to Iowa Democrats and the report, followed by her confirmation, that Mr. Sanders told her a woman could not be elected president.
There’s little evidence that Sanders supporters can be moved away from the Vermont senator, but it is incumbent upon Ms. Warren to demonstrate to moderate and undecided Iowans that she can appeal to all elements of the party and, as she often says in her remarks, win Republican votes for proposals like her wealth tax.
Reporting was contributed by Nick Corasaniti, Michael M. Grynbaum, Stephanie Saul, Matt Stevens and Marc Tracy.