Democrats gathered for a second straight night in Florida for the next big step in the 2020 race for President, as ten more candidates will be on stage for the second half of the party's first official debate, this one featuring four of the top five Democrats running for the White House.
After a first debate which didn't seem to do much to shake up the Democratic field, Thursday night provided a different possibility, with top tier candidates Bernie Sanders, Kamala Harris, Pete Buttigieg, and Democratic front runner Joe Biden.
"Joe Biden will have a target on his back," said Republican pollster Frank Luntz, who predicted that this would be a 'much more aggressive' debate.
Here are the highlights from Thursday night's debate:
11:05 pm - If you missed it, here is the Harris-Biden exchange. You can determine who got the better of each other.
10:57 pm - Biden finishes by saying he's running for President to 'restore the soul of this nation' - "this President has ripped it out"
10:55 pm - This debate is going to be marked mainly by the Harris-Biden exchange.
10:49 pm - Closing statements now - 45 seconds each.
10:45 pm - Just before the final break, Biden is asked about his vote to go to war with Iraq. Sanders points out that he voted against the war. No one else gets a word in on the issue.
10:40 pm - Democrats go into a series of statements about gun violence. Swalwell repeatedly tries to interrupt Sanders; that's been Swalwell's game plan tonight in a number of exchanges, to try to mix it up and get noticed.
10:30 pm - Just before one more break, NBC's Chuck Todd asks everyone to name the one issue they would work on first.
10:22 pm - The debate moves into climate change. Biden harkens back to actions by the Obama Administration on the issue. Biden says there is a need to bring the rest of the world along. Sanders says action is needed immediately, as he turns his fire on President Trump.
10:18 pm - Four years ago, we saw how the GOP pre-debate debates were quickly forgotten, once the main debate began. Now we're seeing how the second debate is going to overwhelm the first night here in Miami.
10:14 pm - Michael Bennet takes shots at Biden as well. So, it's clear most of the candidates on the stage are not afraid to swing at the Vice President in this debate. Biden has not been in this type of situation for some time.
10:06 pm - Kamala Harris goes after Joe Biden hard on race, bringing up his past record in the Congress regarding busing and school segregation. This will likely be “the” story out of this debate.
10:00 pm - We're at the halfway point. This debate just seems more lively than the first night. Here's the time breakdown being done by the New York Times:
9:54 pm - Republicans are watching the debate as well. And as one might expect, they are not that impressed.
9:48 pm - The Democrats are being asked individually if they would deport illegal immigrants who have committed no crime - other than coming to the U.S. Harris notes that she differed with deportation policies of the Obama Administration.
9:45 pm - Biden talks about his past work to funnel aid to Central America, in order to slow down illegal immigration. “I did it. I did it,” Biden said.
9:43 pm - Marianne Williamson complains about a lack of action on foreign policy in Central America by other Democrats. The moderators and other candidates go on like it never happened.
9:34 pm - The first segment ends just as Biden was getting himself into a bit of a verbal cul-de-sac on health care.
9:31 pm - A health care show of hands question on health care plans and coverage for illegal immigrants.
9:25 pm - This debate has a more serious feel about it than last night. I don't know why. But I feel it here in the press filing center. And Democrats feel it as well evidently.
9:23 pm - Biden mentions the death of his first wife and a daughter in a car wreck just before he took office as a Senator after the 1972 election. It's a fact probably most people have forgotten, or don't know about.
9:22 pm - More on health care. Buttigieg says while he understands the call for Medicare For All, he suggests “Medicare For All who wants it.”
9:20 pm - After a lengthy time of cross talk with candidates talking over each other, Kamala Harris scolds her colleagues:
"Guys, America doesn't want to witness a food fight, they want to know how we're going to put food on their table"
9:19 pm - Eric Swalwell swings at Joe Biden, recounting how Biden talked about the need to 'pass the torch' to a new generation, clearly bringing up Biden's age.
Biden: "I've still got that torch"
9:15 pm - Entrepreneur Andrew Yang gets his first question of this debate, and talks about his proposal for a Value Added Tax. He's also proposed giving Americans $1,000 a month for daily costs of life.
9:12 pm -Just like last night, the first differences among Democrats start to seep out over health care and the idea of Medicare for All. Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO) takes a few jabs at Sanders over the issue.
9:07 pm - Kamala Harris turns a question about how will Democratic plans be paid for into a shot at Republicans over the cost of the Trump tax cut. She also steers into her basic stump speech.
9:05 pm - Joe Biden is back in a debate for the first time since 2012, when he ran for re-election with President Obama. Biden takes on President Trump multiple times in his first answer.
9:03 pm - Bernie Sanders gets the first question, as he segues into his stump speech about changes he wants in health care, education and more.
9:00 pm - Toe meets leather as the NBC broadcast begins. Night number two of round one of the Democratic Party debates.
8:58 pm - History again being made tonight on stage in Miami.
8:55 pm - The candidates are now at their podiums. Andrew Yang is not wearing a tie.
8:45 pm - Look back to last night to realize how little some of the debate participants might speak tonight. Jay Inslee had just 5 minutes - I saw 4:57 as one final total for the Governor of Washington.
8:30 pm - Like the first day, the press filing center and the spin room area feels 'flat' to me. Maybe it's just that I've been to dozens of these, but I think it is more a question of how the race is just coming into focus right now. Here is what it looks like from our seats - we are in a completely different building than where the debate is taking place. In other words, we are watching it on TV like everyone else.
+ 8:25 pm - You can't tell the players without a program. Here's a reminder of who is in this second debate, another ten candidate stage:
8:15 pm - The name which wasn't mentioned on Wednesday night - Joe Biden - will be front and center tonight. It's sparked all kinds of speculation on how other candidates should deal with Biden - either attack him, ignore him, or see if you can get under his skin. And then there is the question of what Biden should do when someone else goes after him - both candidates, and the moderators.
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