What to watch for in ABC News’ Democratic debate

ABC News’ Cecilia Vega and political Analyst Matthew Dowd analyze the high stakes of the debate in Houston and what to expect.
2:31 | 09/12/19

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Transcript for What to watch for in ABC News’ Democratic debate
Yeah, Mary, thanks very much. Let's talk about that with our team, Cecilia Vega, Matthew dowd. Let me start with you, Cecilia. You know the president comes and goes on watching the Democrats. He did say even though he's having a rally he might be watching some of this. He says I might be watching. He said that about past ones. I imagine we can expect to see tweets in realtime. He will do counterprogramming in Baltimore. You remember the history he's had there. Calling it rat infested. We've been told the campaign will fly a banner over the Houston debate hall and they're going hard after this one. This comes at a time when we've been talking about all week that poll of our that shows his approval ratings stagnant at 38%. He's not climbing and then on top of that those head-to-head match-ups with some candidates on stage beating him by double-digit numbers. Five of the ten beating him. Matthew, you prepared for debates. You've covered them. Looking at the ten tonight, what do you expect? Where do you see the face-offs coming? I think people have this idea that it's going to somehow be between Biden and Elizabeth Warren or Biden or someone else. To me the most important thing to watch is if Bernie Sanders figures out Biden isn't his main competition. His main competition, Bernie Sanders is stagnating because of Elizabeth Warren's rise. So far they've have a non-aggression pact. If that continues it is to Elizabeth Warren's benefit so I think that's what I want to watch the Warren versus Sanders. The candidates that are in the lower tier in this who need to figure out how to finish in the top three or four in Iowa, new Hampshire have to get themself in play in that's the tricky thing for anybody out there on the wings. On the one hand they might have to launch an attack but sometimes that backfires. I think the problem with the Democrats is every leading candidate is extremely popular among democratic primary voters so you get yourself in play by attacking but also democratic primary voters react when you. After Biden and when you go after Warren, when you go after Sanders. They have to figure out how to create conflict by using Donald Trump or the Republican party to create conflict with the other The president is coming up with nicknames. We've had pocahontas, sleepy Joe Biden. Who do you think they're most worried about? I think you have to go with those candidates the president has targeted the most and it's Warren, Biden and Sanders. He says I'm willing to take on anybody. You know him, a lot of it is rhetoric and bluster but I think he firmly believes there's no one on the stage that can beat him and the campaign says that too. Back to New York, Amy. Thank you.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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