Jan. 14 debate
January 14, 2020

While people will likely be talking about Tuesday's post-Democratic debate handshake-that-wasn't between Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) for quite a while, the early takeaway is that all six candidates took it pretty easy on one another during the debate itself.

Several observers think former Vice President Joe Biden, in particular, was let off the hook. Biden, despite various gaffes, has remained the frontrunner since he jumped into the race last year, and his lead is steady, if not overwhelming. But the sense after the debate was that his opponents are still waiting for him to stumble on his own and therefore missed a chance to go after his resume and chip away at the polling deficit.

And, well, not losing might be just as valuable as a standout performance for the former vice president, who appears to have emerged without much more than a scratch. Tim O'Donnell

January 14, 2020

So Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) didn't get into a public fight on the Democratic debate stage. But whatever transpired afterward sure didn't look friendly.

The two progressives' friendship has encountered a rough patch as Warren maintains Sanders told her in a 2018 meeting that a woman couldn't beat President Trump while Sanders denies it. Sanders denied the report again during Tuesday night's Democratic primary debate, and Warren said she wasn't going to pick a fight with Sanders over it.

Yet after the debate, things didn't exactly seem resolved between the two candidates. During the perfunctory hand-shaking that happens after every debate, Sanders extended his hand to Warren, but she didn't accept it. Instead, what looked like a tense exchange ensued before Tom Steyer successfully inserted himself into the situation. Kathryn Krawczyk

January 14, 2020

The Washington Post's polling director is hitting back at Pete Buttigieg's assertion that "the black voters who know me best are supporting me."

Buttigieg made the statement during Tuesday night's Democratic debate in Iowa, after being asked about polls showing that he has next to no support from African Americans. Buttigieg, the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, said that "among elected black officials in my community who have gotten into this race, by far most of them are supporting me." He's also "proud that my campaign is co-chaired by a member of the Congressional Black Caucus" and that he has the backing of prominent black elected officials in Iowa.

The Post's Scott Clement tweeted that Buttigieg's claim that "as African Americans get to know him, he will gain more support" is undercut by a recent Washington Post-Ipsos national poll where he "receives only 3 percent support among black voters who are familiar with him." The poll, published Saturday, also shows Buttigieg standing at "2 percent among Democratic black voters nationally." Former Vice President Joe Biden came out on top of the poll with 48 percent, followed by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) with 20 percent. Catherine Garcia

January 14, 2020

There's one big thing every 2020 Democrat debating Tuesday night can agree on.

When asked about America's child care system, every one of the six Democrats onstage Tuesday made it clear they believe something needs to change. "It makes no sense for child care to cost two-thirds of somebody's income," former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg said, kicking off a spree of candidates calling for access to affordable and even free child care.

Buttigieg has announced a $700 billion investment into child care before kindergarten, and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) continued his conversation by calling for a free universal child care program for 4- and 5-year-olds. Beyond that, Warren said, America needs to "stop exploiting the people who do this valuable work, largely black and brown women" by raising wages for child-care workers and preschool teachers. Sanders continued her call for free universal child care, saying "our current child-care system is an embarrassment."

Former Vice President Joe Biden also said there should be a system for free infant care, pointing out that "I was a single parent too" when his first wife and daughter died and he was in his early days in the Senate. Kathryn Krawczyk

January 14, 2020

It was the moment most people watching Tuesday night's Democratic debate had been waiting for: Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) was asked about comments he made during a private meeting he had with Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) in 2018.

CNN reported, and Warren later confirmed, that during their conversation, Sanders said he did not believe a woman could win the presidential election. "I didn't say it," Sanders responded. Warren shot Sanders a look, as he continued on. "I don't want to waste a whole lot of time on this," Sanders said. "This is what Donald Trump and maybe some of the media want. Anyone who knows me knows that it's incomprehensible that I would think that a woman could not be president of the United States."

Sanders said there are videos on YouTube showing him 30 years ago saying a woman could be president. "Hillary Clinton won the popular vote by three million votes, how could anybody in a million years not believe that a woman could become president of the United States?" he said. Warren responded that she "disagreed" with Sanders, but he is "my friend and I'm not here to fight with Bernie. But look, this question about whether or not a woman can be president has been raised and it's time for us to attack it head on."

She then pounced, not just on Sanders, but on every male candidate on the stage — former Vice President Joe Biden, billionaire Tom Steyer, and former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg. "I think the best way to talk about who can win is by looking at a person's winning record," she said. "So can a woman beat Donald Trump? Look at the men on this stage. Collectively they have lost 10 elections. The only people on this stage who have won every single election they've been in are the women, [Sen.] Amy [Klobuchar] and me." This was met by cheers from the audience. Catherine Garcia

January 14, 2020

Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) might want that one back.

In response to a question about the electability of a woman presidential candidate during Tuesday's Democratic debate, Klobuchar was noting a few women who defeated their male opponents in gubernatorial races around the country. One shoutout was saved for the governor of Kansas, who the senator said she was "proud to know." She doesn't seem to know her that well, though, since Klobuchar couldn't quite remember Gov. Laura Kelly's name.

Kansas' primary is a ways off, however, so if Klobuchar is still in the running by then, there's a chance no one will remember. Tim O'Donnell

January 14, 2020

A Sanders-Warren fight was in the forecast for Tuesday's Democratic debate, and a Sanders-Warren fight did happen.

But not much actually stemmed from when Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) was asked about reportedly telling Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) a woman couldn't be president. Instead, the two progressives' biggest disagreement actually came from one of their biggest policy disagreements, over the United States-Mexico-Canada trade agreement.

Warren got a question about the USMCA first, and she reiterated her support for the bill that came out of the House with support from both Democrats and President Trump, calling it a "modest improvement" over the North American Free Trade Agreement it's set to replace. Yet Sanders challenged the compromise trade agreement, saying it doesn't take climate change into consideration despite it being "the greatest threat facing this planet."

Sanders did get a question about his alleged comments to Warren later in the debate, but he denied it ever happened, and Warren didn't exactly affirm that it did. Kathryn Krawczyk

January 14, 2020

Foreign policy took center stage early in Tuesday's Democratic presidential debate.

It's not much of a surprise considering the tensions that have been bubbling between the United States and Iran following President Trump's decision to kill Iranian Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani in Iraq earlier this month. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) made it clear that he disapproved of the move, warning that a war in Iran could be "even worse" than the wars in Vietnam and Iraq, which Sanders considers "the two great foreign policy disasters of our lifetimes."

The one major thing the two conflicts had in common in Sanders' mind? They were both "based on lies." And he's worried Trump's lying his way to a round three.

During the foreign policy-heavy opening stretch, Sanders and other candidates gave a shout out to Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) for being the lone voice to oppose the Authorization for Use of Military Force in Afghanistan in 2002, hinting that its repeal is a priority. Tim O'Donnell

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