All The Key Moments From The 3rd Democratic Presidential Debate

Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images.
Welcome to the third Democratic presidential debate! After the Democratic National Committee (DNC) upped its threshold for qualification and several candidates dropped out, the number of people on stage is down to just 10.
Here are the candidates taking the stage: former Vice President Joe Biden; Sen. Bernie Sanders; Sen. Elizabeth Warren; Sen. Kamala Harris; Mayor Pete Buttigieg; former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke; Sen. Cory Booker; Sen. Amy Klobuchar; former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julián Castro; and Andrew Yang.
Ahead, all the key moments from the third Democratic debate.

Progressives vs. centrists battled over healthcare.

While all of the candidates on stage are proponents of universal healthcare, they come to it from different viewpoints. Sanders reiterated that he "wrote the damn bill" on Medicare for All, while Warren made an impassioned argument that M4A would let middle-class families pay less for their health insurance. Sanders argued that single-payer would cost less money than the "status quo," while Biden hammered him on how he would pay for his plan and defended his own by saying it would give people the choice to keep their private insurance plans. Buttigieg sided with Biden, saying, "I trust the American people to make the right choice for them, why don't you?"


Yang unveiled his surprise announcement to give 10 random American families $1,000 a month for a year to pilot his universal basic income plan. His supporters (a.k.a. the #YangGang) loved it, but it got mixed reviews elsewhere.
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The candidates tried to outdo each other on gun reform.

In the middle of a heated discussion on gun reform — on the heels of a month of mass shootings, including in El Paso, TX — Biden criticized Harris' proposed executive actions on guns, saying, "Let's be constitutional." She retorted, "Hey, Joe, instead of saying, ‘No, we can’t,’ let’s say, ‘Yes, we can.’" One moment of unity? When Harris thanked O'Rourke on his leadership after the El Paso shooting: "Beto, God love you for standing so courageously in midst of that tragedy." O'Rourke had an applause-worthy line when he said he would require citizens to turn in their military-style weapons: “Hell yes, we’re going to take your AK-47.” 

Joe Biden pivoted when Jorge Ramos asked him about deportations.

Univision moderator Jorge Ramos asked Biden about Obama-era deportations. “Are you prepared to say tonight that you and President Obama made a mistake on deportations?” Ramos asked. “Why should Latinos trust you?” Biden pivoted to talking about the Trump administration's human rights abuses at the border and the Violence Against Women Act, not entirely answering the question. Continuing his trend of attacking Biden tonight, Castro snarked, "He wants to take credit for Obama's work, but not answer any questions!"

At the halfway point, Joe Biden, Cory Booker, and Elizabeth Warren have spoken the most so far.

Biden is outspeaking everyone.

Did Kamala Harris just make the first Wizard of Oz reference on a presidential debate stage?

Hammering Trump on his trade policy, Harris said, "He reminds me of the guy in the Wizard of Oz… When you pull back the curtain, it's a really small dude."

This debate is very foreign policy-heavy.

While discussing the potential withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan, Warren said the U.S. needs to stop using its military might to address problems that cannot be solved militarily. Sanders went after Biden for voting to authorize the 2003 invasion of Iraq, and pointed out that he is the only candidate onstage to have voted against all of Trump's military budgets. "We don't even know who our enemy is." Buttigieg, the only veteran onstage, accused Trump of using troops as "props." He made a chilling point: "Today, September 12, 2019, means today you could be 18 years old, old enough to serve, and not been alive during 9/11. We have got to put an end to endless war."

Climate change entered the conversation, as expected.

The candidates got an opportunity to discuss their climate change plans. Last week, six of the candidates — Klobuchar, Warren, Castro, Booker, Harris, and Buttigieg — rolled out their plans to address the global threat. Harris brought up her baby nieces, one-and-a-half and 3 years old, to hit the point home in a personal way.

Beto's campaign echoed Elizabeth Warren's catchphrase to double down on his anti-gun stance.

While the candidates argued about education, Warren reminded us she's the only one who's been a teacher.

"You know, I think I'm the only one on this stage who has been a public school teacher...and money in public schools should stay in public schools," said Warren.

Joe Biden faced tough questions on segregation — again.

Moderator Linsey Davis asked Biden about his 1975 comment that he didn’t “feel responsible for the sins of my father and grandfather” when it came to segregation. He was previously criticized for his opposition to government-mandated busing in order to racially integrate schools. “There is institutional segregation in this country,” Biden responded. Then, he oddly pivoted to Venezuela and other issues.

Things got personal.

The candidates shared personal stories after being asked about their biggest professional setbacks. Biden talked about grief, Warren addressed being discriminated against as a teacher because she was pregnant, Harris remembered being discouraged from running for office because she is African-American, Buttigieg talked about coming out as a gay man, and Klobuchar told the audience about her dad's alcoholism and being kicked out of the hospital when her newborn daughter had severe health issues.

There wasn't one mention of reproductive rights the entire debate.

A former advisor to Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, who dropped out of the race in August, took notice.

An anti-socialism ad with a burning image of AOC sparked controversy.

Paid for by the group New Faces GOP, the ad painted Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez as the "new face of socialism" and drew plenty of outrage.

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