Read Live Updates From The 4th Democratic Presidential Debate

Twelve candidates face off in the largest presidential primary debate in American history.
Democratic presidential candidates onstage at Tuesday's Democratic presidential primary debate hosted by CNN and The New York Times at Otterbein University in Westerville, Ohio.
Democratic presidential candidates onstage at Tuesday's Democratic presidential primary debate hosted by CNN and The New York Times at Otterbein University in Westerville, Ohio.

Twelve 2020 Democratic presidential hopefuls face off Tuesday at a debate hosted by CNN and The New York Times. The debate can be streamed live at CNN’s website.

The debate, taking place at Otterbein University in Westerville, Ohio, will feature the following candidates:

  • Former Vice President Joe Biden

  • New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker

  • South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg

  • Former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro

  • California Sen. Kamala Harris

  • Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar

  • Former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke

  • Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders

  • Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren

  • Entrepreneur Andrew Yang

  • Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard

  • Billionaire philanthropist Tom Steyer

The winner of the Democratic primary is expected to face President Donald Trump in the general election.

Read live updates on the debate below. (You may need to refresh the page to see the latest updates.)

11:08 p.m. ET

And that’s a wrap for the fourth Democratic presidential primary debate. Thanks for following along, and be sure to check out even more coverage on HuffPost.

― Paige Lavender

11:02 p.m. ET

Also missing tonight: Questions on immigration.

― Sarah Ruiz-Grossman

10:54 p.m. ET

Sanders and Castro both mentioned homelessness of their own accord, but there were no questions tonight about affordable housing.

The lack of affordable housing is a nationwide crisis. On a given day in January 2018, more than 500,000 people were homeless in the U.S.

Trump went on a tear last month about homelessness in California, which has one of the highest rates of homelessness in the U.S., and complained about how people living in tents were ruining the “prestige” of San Francisco and Los Angeles.

― Sarah Ruiz-Grossman

10:53 p.m. ET

Klobuchar says her most surprising friendship was with the late Republican Sen. John McCain, whom she says she misses “every day.”

She shares a quote from him: “There is nothing more liberating in life than fighting for a cause larger than yourself.”

― Nina Golgowski

10:50 p.m. ET

Castro says he agrees with Ellen DeGeneres’ message of practicing kindness but that he also believes we should hold people accountable for what they have done.

“I think we can do both things,” he says.

― Nina Golgowski

10:47 p.m. ET

The final question of the night is about... Ellen DeGeneres?

She caused a stir last week after being spotted palling around with former President George W. Bush at an NFL game. She was criticized for joking with Bush, and then fiercely defended her friendship with him on her show.

Despite the cultural relevance, it feels like a weird question to end a debate that had zero questions about climate change.

― Paige Lavender

10:44 p.m. ET

Biden accuses Warren of pursuing vague ideas. Warren responds by touting the Obama administration’s push for the consumer protection agency she recommended.

“I convinced people to vote for it,” Biden says to Warren, who then thanks Barack Obama.

Biden interjects, telling Warren she did a “hell of a job at your job.”

“Thank you,” Warren replies ― coolly.

― Ja’han Jones

10:42 p.m. ET

Warren and Sanders make the pitch for their “bold” policy plans over more centrist reform policies.

Warren says: “People who are struggling to pay health care are fighting today. ... People who are getting stopped by police because of the color of their skin are in a fight today. ... Anybody who doesn’t understand that Americans are already in these fights is not in a position to win them.”

Sanders says: “We need bold action if we’re gonna save this planet. … The way you win an election in this time in history is not with the same old, same old.”

― Sarah Ruiz-Grossman

10:33 p.m. ET

Biden tries to tout his accomplishments, saying, “I’m the only one on this stage who has actually gotten anything really big done.”

Sanders is not having it.

“You know what you also got done? ― and I say this as a good friend ― you got the disastrous war in Iraq done,” Sanders says.

― Paige Lavender

10:32 p.m. ET

In response to a rare debate question about packing the Supreme Court, Biden and Castro say they would not pack the court and Buttigieg floats the idea of term limits for justices.

― Sarah Ruiz-Grossman

10:29 p.m. ET

Harris, Booker, Gabbard, Biden and Warren all say they would codify Roe v. Wade to protect reproductive rights. It’s pointed out that they’re in Ohio, one of several states that has banned abortions after just six weeks into pregnancy — policies that Booker likens to “people trying to punish poverty,” considering how wealthier women typically have the means to circumvent state abortion bans.

― Sara Boboltz

10:23 p.m. ET

For the first time this primary season, the moderators ask a question about abortion and reproductive rights.

― Paige Lavender

10:21 p.m. ET

Yang, on data rights, says, “Right now our data is worth more than oil.” He questions when Americans received an actual check in the mail for it.

― Nina Golgowski

10:16 p.m. ET

Harris urges her fellow contenders to “join” her in calling for Trump to be removed from Twitter.

― Sarah Ruiz-Grossman

10:14 p.m. ET

Steyer touts his business success as an advantage over Trump in 2020. He says Democrats need a candidate who can show Trump to be “a failure as a businessperson, and a fraud and a failure as a steward of the American economy.”

― Ja’han Jones

10:12 p.m. ET

Booker, speaking as “the only vegan on the stage,” argues against questioning any of the Democratic candidates about their health, saying Trump is the unhealthiest person running for president in 2020.

― Paige Lavender

10:11 p.m. ET

Yang criticizes Warren’s plan to break up giant tech companies such as Google in the name of enforcing antitrust laws. He says political leaders “have to be realistic that competition doesn’t solve all the problems.”

Then, a zinger: “There’s a reason nobody’s using Bing today. Sorry, Microsoft, but it’s true. So it’s not like breaking up these big tech companies will revive Main Street businesses across the country.”

― Sara Boboltz

10:08 p.m. ET

Gabbard, a 38-year-old military combat veteran, would be the youngest president, if elected. When asked about it, she argues that it’s “not fair” to question the oldest three candidates about their health and fitness and not the other candidates.

― Nina Golgowski

10 p.m. ET

Front-runners Biden, Sanders and Warren were all asked questions about their age.

Biden says, “One of the reasons I’m running is because of my age and my experience,” and points to his yearslong record in the Obama White House and the “wisdom” that comes with years.

Warren comes out strong: “I will out-work, out-organize and out-last anyone ― and that includes Donald Trump or whoever the Republicans get stuck with.”

― Sarah Ruiz-Grossman

9:58 p.m. ET

As O’Rourke talks about medical marijuana’s potential to help alleviate Americans’ dependence on opioid medications, Yang offers some commentary. “Yes! Preach, Beto!” he shouts, turning his gaze up to the ceiling.

― Sara Boboltz

9:57 p.m. ET

When asked about his recent heart attack, Sanders insists he’s healthy and invites people to an upcoming rally. He thanks people for their prayers and well-wishes while he was hospitalized.

― Paige Lavender

9:55 p.m. ET

O’Rourke agrees with Yang on decriminalizing opioid use and touts medical marijuana as an alternative treatment for patients.

Here’s more from O’Rourke’s plan on legalizing marijuana nationwide and what weed company owners in Oakland, California, told him last month about his plan.

― Sarah Ruiz-Grossman

9:52 p.m. ET

Steyer and Yang both blame big corporations and a lack of oversight from the government for the opioid crisis. Yang goes a step further, arguing safe injection sites should be open around the country and opioid addicts should be referred to counseling and rehab instead of prison. He also repeats an argument he’s made before that opiates should be decriminalized for personal use.

― Paige Lavender

9:48 p.m. ET

Klobuchar says the people who should pay for treatment for those affected by the opioid epidemic are the people “who got them hooked and killed in the first place.”

― Nina Golgowski

9:46 p.m. ET

Castro brings Atatiana Jefferson into the gun violence debate, saying, “Police violence is also gun violence, and we need to address that.”

― Sara Boboltz

9:44 p.m. ET

Booker and Harris assume roles they’ve assumed in previous debates, speaking ― solitarily ― about gun violence as it relates to Black communities, which experience gun death disproportionately. “The leading cause of death of young Black men in America is gun violence,” Harris says.

― Ja’han Jones

9:41 p.m. ET

Booker, Buttigieg and O’Rourke go at it again on gun control, with O’Rourke arguing for a mandatory assault weapons buyback and Buttigieg responding to O’Rourke: “I do not need lessons from you on courage ― political or personal.”

Booker jumps in to mention the issue of everyday gun violence.

― Sarah Ruiz-Grossman

9:39 pm. ET

Klobuchar, addressing foreign interference in our elections, highlights her Honest Ads Act that would prohibit social media companies from running paid political ads without disclosing the sponsor. She adds that paper ballots need to be available in every voting precinct.

― Nina Golgowski

9:38 p.m. ET

Proving that women can tell corny jokes, too, Klobuchar cracks one about foreign interference in the 2016 election: “This wasn’t ‘meddling.’ That’s what I do when I call my daughter on a Saturday night and ask her what she’s doing.”

She adds: “Sorry.”

― Sara Boboltz

9:34 p.m. ET

O’Rourke dodges a question about how he would enforce a mandatory gun buyback, an idea he floated in the last presidential debate.

“I expect my fellow Americans to follow the law,” he says, arguing “we don’t go door to door” to enforce any law in the U.S. He argues certain weapons should be considered “too dangerous to sell,” and by that logic, “too dangerous to own.”

― Paige Lavender

9:28 p.m. ET

O’Rourke says: Because the U.S. turned its back on the Kurds, “it makes it more likely that we will have to send another generation of soldiers to fight our battles there.”

― Nina Golgowski

9:25 p.m. ET

Castro says Trump has made a “total disaster in Syria.” He also draws a line between what’s happening there and the Trump administration’s border policies.

“This president is caging kids on the border and letting ISIS prisoners run free,” he says.

― Paige Lavender

9:24 p.m. ET

Harris on Trump’s volatility in the middle east: “Dude gotta go, and when I’m commander in chief we will stop this madness.”

― Ja’han Jones

9:23 p.m. ET

Several of the candidates call out Trump for reversing yearslong policy by withdrawing troops from Syria, saying it sends a signal to allies that the U.S. can’t be trusted.

Buttigieg, who served in the military, says when he was deployed, one of the things “keeping me safe” was that the U.S. flag on his uniform was trusted.

Sanders says: “What country in the world will trust the word of the United States?”

― Sarah Ruiz-Grossman

9:19 p.m. ET

A few moments later, Gabbard (a veteran) tries to get Buttigieg (another veteran) to say he supports endless wars, as he shakes his head and visibly sighs. The mayor responds: “What we were doing in Syria is keeping our word. Part of what gets people to put their lives on the line to work with us is to stand by our word.”

― Sara Boboltz

9:17 p.m. ET

Gabbard addresses conflict in the Middle East, taking time to call claims she is a “Russian asset” and Bashar Assad apologist “completely despicable.” After saying both parties are responsible for the conflict in the region, Gabbard vows to end U.S. involvement in “regime change.”

― Ja’han Jones

9:13 p.m. ET

Biden says Trump withdrawing troops from Syria is the “most shameful thing” he’s ever seen in foreign policy. “This is shameful, shameful what this man has done,” Biden says.

― Sarah Ruiz-Grossman

9:10 p.m. ET

Steyer’s campaign releases a statement arguing that he was the first presidential candidate to call for a wealth tax ― back in October of 2018.

“Under my own proposal,” he says, “I would pay more than an additional $10 million annually in taxes and have also called for closing the carried interest tax loophole.”

― Nina Golgowski

9:06 p.m. ET

Castro makes the second mention of homelessness of the night, saying he’s visited homeless people in Las Vegas who are sleeping “in the shadows of hotels worth hundreds of millions of dollars.”

Here’s a look at his visit to homeless encampments in Oakland, California, last month.

― Sarah Ruiz-Grossman

9:05 p.m. ET

Booker chimes in with a call for unity: “Tearing each other down because we have a different plan, to me, is unacceptable.”

― Sara Boboltz

9:03 p.m. ET

Yang criticizes Warren for her plan to tax wealth, arguing that a value-added tax ― similar to ones implemented in Germany and Denmark ― are more suitable for the United States.

“If we give the American people a tiny slice of every Amazon sale, every Google search,” he says, billions of dollars will be funneled to them.

― Ja’han Jones

9:01 p.m. ET

“The rich are not like you and me,” Warren says, noting that a wealth tax would yield more than an income tax. (She plans to introduce a wealth tax.) “The really, really billionaires are making money off their accumulated wealth, and it just keeps growing. ... I think that as democrats we will succeed when we dream big and fight hard.”

Klobuchar has harsh words for Warren in response, slamming her rival’s progressive, detailed policies. “I think simply because you have big ideas doesn’t mean that you’re fighting for regular people,” Klobuchar says.

― Sara Boboltz

8:59 p.m. ET

Harris touts her proposed tax credits for lower-income Americans as a solution to poverty and income inequality. She mentions her single mother who raised her and her sister, saying she would put them to bed and then “sit up at the kitchen table trying to figure out how to make it all work.”

― Sarah Ruiz-Grossman

8:52 p.m. ET

Sanders talks about the need to raise taxes on billionaires, saying it’s an “outrage” that a handful of the richest Americans make more than the bottom one-third of Americans. He also makes the first mention of homelessness on stage tonight, lamenting the “half a million Americans sleeping out on the street today.”

Steyer then chuckles when the moderator points out he’s the only billionaire on the stage.

“There have been 40 years when corporations have bought this government,” Steyer says. “The results are as shameful as Senator Sanders says. It’s absolutely wrong, and it’s absolutely undemocratic and unfair.” He then touts his wealth tax.

Warren jumps in.

“Why does everyone on this stage think it’s more important to protect billionaires than to invest in an entire generation of Americans?” she asks.

― Sarah Ruiz-Grossman and Sara Boboltz

8:48 p.m. ET

General Motors, whose workers are currently striking in the biggest auto industry work stoppage in decades, prompts a discussion about unions and living wages.

― Paige Lavender

8:46 p.m. ET

Booker takes a swipe at Yang’s universal basic income platform, saying it’d be better to raise the minimum wage and put “the dignity back in work.”

― Nina Golgowski

8:43 p.m. ET

Castro, like Sanders, says he would create jobs by investing in infrastructure and a Green New Deal.

― Nina Golgowski

8:41 p.m. ET

Warren reiterates her argument that corporate greed, not automation, is the leading cause of job loss in the U.S. She argues for greater worker representation on corporate boards and stronger unions.

― Ja’han Jones

8:39 p.m. ET

Booker quotes Yogi Berra and says he’s “having deja vu all over again” listening to his peers debate health care and Hunter Biden. He also argues women shouldn’t be the only ones fighting for reproductive rights.

― Paige Lavender

8:38 p.m. ET

Sanders vows to put Americans to work by fixing infrastructure, hiring more teachers, canceling student debt, and creating 20 million jobs through his proposed Green New Deal.

― Nina Golgowski

8:36 p.m. ET

Harris jumps into the fierce debate on health care to call attention to the issue of women’s reproductive health. She says there has been “not nearly one word” on the topic during previous debates, even as there is a “full-on attack” on abortion access in some states.

“Poor women, women of color will die. … People need to keep their hands off of women’s bodies and let women make the decisions about their own lives,” Harris says, to loud cheers.

― Sarah Ruiz-Grossman

8:29 p.m. ET

Sanders hits back amid a fierce debate on stage on “Medicare for All”: “As somebody who wrote the damn bill … premiums are gone, co-payments are gone, deductibles are gone. ... The overwhelming majority of people will save money on their health care bills.” He also adds that “it is appropriate to acknowledge that taxes will go up.”

― Sarah Ruiz-Grossman

8:27 p.m. ET

Buttigieg, taking his first swipe at Warren over her support for “Medicare for All,” says the senator has a plan for everything except how to pay for her health care bill.

― Ja’han Jones

8:26 p.m. ET

Asked to clarify whether her health care plan will raise taxes for the middle class, Warren says she won’t sign a bill into law “that does not lower costs for middle-class families.”

“Costs will go up for the wealthy and big corporations; for hardworking middle-class families costs will go down,” she says.

― Paige Lavender

8:23 p.m. ET

Biden answers a question on his son Hunter’s business dealings with Ukraine while Biden was vice president. (The moderator notes there was no evidence of wrongdoing.) “Look, my son did nothing wrong. I did nothing wrong,” Biden says, adding that the issue should be “Trump’s corruption ― that’s what we should be focusing on.” He points repeatedly to statements Hunter Biden made earlier on Tuesday.

― Sarah Ruiz-Grossman

8:19 p.m. ET

During his first remarks, O’Rourke praises Gabbard and Buttigieg for serving in the military.

― Paige Lavender

8:18 p.m. ET

Yang says he supports impeachment but argues Democrats are losing “when we’re talking about Donald Trump” instead of discussing policies the candidates hope to advance.

― Ja’han Jones

8:17 p.m. ET

Buttigieg, on impeachment, says that “presidents 10 years or 100 years from now will look back on this moment to see whether the president is above the law.” He adds, though, that he’s running to unify the country.

― Sara Boboltz

8:16 p.m. ET

Gabbard, the only member of the House on tonight’s debate stage, says if the Senate doesn’t vote to impeach Trump he will feel “exonerated.”

― Nina Golgowski

8:15 p.m. ET

Warren: “Impeachment is the way that we establish that this man will not be permitted to break the law over and over without consequences.”

Sanders: “I look forward to not only a speedy and expeditious impeachment process, but Mitch Mcconnell has got to do the right thing and allow a free and fair trial in the Senate.”

― Nina Golgowski

8:14 p.m. ET

Klobuchar mentions some of Trump’s recent controversies, saying she’d like to know how abandoning Kurdish allies and asking the Ukrainian president to investigate Biden will “make America great again.”

― Paige Lavender

8:13 p.m. ET

Harris says Trump has “committed crimes in plain sight.”

“On this issue with Ukraine, he’s been selling out our democracy. ... I don’t think this impeachment process is gonna take very long, because as a former prosecutor, I know a confession when I see it.”

— Sarah Grossman

8:12 p.m. ET

Booker on impeachment: “This must be fair” and must be about “patriotism, not partisanship.”

— Ja’han Jones

8:10 p.m. ET

MarianWilliamson would like to remind everyone she’s still in the race.

— Sara Boboltz

8:06 p.m. ET

Warren on impeachment: “Sometimes there are issues that are bigger than politics and I think that’s the case with this impeachment inquiry. ... No one is above the law, and that includes the president of the United States.”

— Sarah Ruiz-Grossman

8:03 p.m. ET

The candidates are all officially on the stage and the debate has begun.

— Sara Boboltz

Go To Homepage

Before You Go

Popular in the Community