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Who won last night’s Democratic debate?

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Democrats debate
Democrats debate

Democrat debate in Iowa

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Democrats debate

Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders clash while Joe Biden emerges relatively unscathed

One-Minute Read
Wednesday, January 15, 2020 - 6:37am

The final Democratic presidential debate before the pivotal Iowa caucuses was held last night, with six candidates facing off for two hours in Des Moines.

Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren clashed over disputed reports that Sanders had privately told Warren in December 2018 that a woman could not realistically become president.

“Well as a matter of fact I didn’t say it,” Sanders insisted last night. Warren then observed that the four men on the stage had lost 10 races while the two women on stage - she and Amy Klobuchar - had never lost a race.

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The Guardian says that thanks to the “media oxygen” that will be devoted to that exchange, Joe Biden will remain the frontrunner by default. “The debate was largely inconsequential,” it says. “That will suit the national front runner just fine.”

USA Today also felt that nothing happened to shake up the pack, saying: “In short, the top candidates avoided major blunders and didn't do anything that would substantially diminish their current standing in the top tier of candidates.”

It adds that Biden was “concise with many of his answers and laid out his points more clearly than he has in past debates”. The BBC feels that the smaller debate stage has “benefited” Biden. “He’s far from a lock for the nomination, but he's keeping his ship afloat,” it concludes.

However, CNN says Biden put in a bad shift, saying “he consistently seemed to forget or misstate a point, forcing him to go back and restate it to make sure he got it right. It made for a halting performance”.

It suggests that Pete Buttigieg proved “he is the best debater in this field,” saying that in the first 30 minutes, he “showed a competency, steadiness and depth of knowledge coupled with personal experience that should help him pass the commander-in-chief test in the eyes of voters”.

The Independent said there was an air of desperation at the debate, as “the candidates could clearly sense that time is running out to make an impression”. Tom Steyer was “much less of a focus than the front-runners,” it says, adding that Klobuchar “sought to attract moderate votes”

Meanwhile, Donald Trump was speaking at a campaign rally in Milwaukee as the debate began. He criticised some of the Democratic hopefuls, describing Bernie Sanders a “nasty guy” who was “surging”. He also referred to “Elizabeth Pocahontas Warren and “Sleepy Joe Biden”.

For a round-up of the most important stories from around the world - and a concise, refreshing and balanced take on the week’s news agenda - try The Week magazine. Start your trial subscription today 

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