From Harris and Biden's face off to Williamson's words of wisdom: Here's how the 2nd night of Democratic debate unfolded
Former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Kamala Harris sparred.
During the second night of the first Democratic debates the second group of ten 2020 candidates took the stage in Miami in the crucial battleground state of Florida.
Here's how the night unfolded.
11:06 p.m.: ABC News Political Commentator Cokie Roberts: "The stars of the evening were clearly the women"
Night two of debates showed us Democrats not only ready to go after President Donald Trump but also after each other on everything from age, to race, to nuances of public policy.
The man who seemed confused and out of sorts was frontrunner Former Vice President Joe Biden. He kept harking back to the days of Obama which now seem long ago and far away. It didn’t take the somewhat unpleasant attacks of California Rep. Eric Swalwell about Biden’s age to show the former vice president as mired in the past.
Similarly Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders' call for a revolution where millions of Americans will rise up to create a fairer economy and a health care system for all seemed like a rehash of all of his 2016 speeches.
The rest of the men blurred into an amalgam of candidates ready to do something about guns, immigration, climate change, health care, income inequality and foreign policy—in ways that were not very different from each other.
The stars of the evening were clearly the women.
New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand forcefully put forward what could be an appealing proposal for a Family Bill of Rights and emphasized her defense of women and the importance of having a woman in the room as major decisions are made.
But it’s California Sen. Kamala Harris who dominated the stage. She was personal but authoritative, and her concrete stories illustrated her policy positions in an accessible fashion. Much better than reciting bills that she had worked on, as most legislators do endlessly.
Even the odd Marianne Williamson made a point that gets to the heart of the race ahead. As she said, Donald Trump didn’t win on plans.
She reminded us that he won by promising that he would make America great again. What do the Democrats say that has the same appeal?
No matter which of these candidates emerges in the end, that question will hang over the election ahead.
10:59 p.m.: The 10 Democrats deliver closing remarks
Here are the highlights:
California Rep. Eric Swalwell: "When I'm not changing diaper, I'm changing Washington. Most of the time, the diapers smell better."
Marianne Williamson: "Mr. President, if you're listening I want you to hear me please. You've harnessed fear for political purposes and only love can cast that out. So I have a feeling you know what you're doing. I'm going to harness love for political purposes. I will meet you on that field, and sir, love will win."
Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet: "I believe we need to build a broad coalition of Americans to beat Donald Trump and build a new era of American democracy and American opportunity."
Former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper: "I'm the one person up here who's actually done the big progressive things everyone else is talking about. If we turn towards socialism we run the risk of helping to re-elect the worst president in American history."
New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand: "Now is not the time to play it safe. Now is not the time to be afraid of firsts. We need a president who will take on the big challenges even if she stands alone."
Andrew Yang: "I am that candidate, I can build a much broader coalition to beat Donald Trump. It is not left, it is not right. It is forward. And that is where I'll take the country in 2020."
California Sen. Kamala Harris: "This is about your hopes and your dreams and your fears and what wakes you up at 3:00 in the morning ... when I think about what our country needs, I promise you I will be a president who leads with a sense of dignity, with honesty, speaking the truth, and giving the American family all that they need to get through the end of the month in a way that allows them to prosper."
South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg: "I'm running because the decisions we make in the next three or four years are going to decide how the next 30 or 40 go. And when I get to the current age of the current president in the year 2055 I want to be able to look back on these years and say my generation delivered climate solutions, racial equality and an end to endless war."
Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders: "If we don't have the guts to take them on, we'll continue to have plans, we'll continue to have talk, and rich will get richer and everybody else will be struggling."
Former Vice President Joe Biden: "I think we have to restore the backbone of America, the poor and hardworking middle class people ... we've got to unite the United States of America. If we do, there's not a single thing the American people can't do. This is the United States of America."
10:52 p.m.: ABC News Political Analyst Matthew Dowd compares the two debates
Quite a difference 24 hours makes:
Last night there was little mention of Donald Trump, which is the main organizing principle of the Democratic Party which vehemently opposes, and tonight the candidates figured out tying their answers to policy to criticism of President Trump is very effective.
Senator Kamala Harris has been the most effective advocate on this stage so far tonight, followed closely by Mayor Pete Buttigieg. They are clear and concise in their answers and carry passion and directness well in this debate format. And Harris’s line about “we don’t need a food fight, we need to help put food on the tables of average Americans” was a huge hit with the audience.
One of the lessons that was badly learned by these candidates was interrupting. There is way too much talking over each other and it makes this debate at moments appear out of control. If Democrats want to beat President Trump, the way forward is the opposite of him, they need to be calm cool and collected.
Vice President Joe Biden, who was expected to be the center of attention, has largely been a non-factor thus far. Since he has a lead in the polls, this is probably helpful in the short-term. But he is going to have to step it up in the long term when the stage gets less crowded and he has to debate the likes of Warren, Harris, and Buttigieg more directly.
10:42 p.m.: Sanders and Swalwell spar over gun control
California Rep. Eric Swalwell, who has made gun violence a cornerstone of his campaign, when asked how he would approach the issue in red states, said, "Keep your pistols and rifles and shotguns, but we can take the most dangerous weapons from the most dangerous people."
"We must be a country who loves our children more than we love our guns," he added.
Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders was pressed by the moderators on a 2013 interview he gave, in which he said, "my own view on guns is everything being equal, states should make those decisions."
"That's a mischaracterization," he replied, despite being corrected that it was a quote, before adding, "In 1988, Rachel, when it wasn't popular, I ran on a platform of banning assault weapons."
Sanders added that the United States is facing a "gun crisis" and spoke on his record of pushing for a ban on assault weapons.
Swalwell called out Sanders' plan, saying, "Your plan leaves them on the streets," before pushing Sanders on if he would support a gun buy-back program.
"If the government wants to do that and people want to," Sanders said.
"If you are the government, will you buy them back," Swalwell asked again.
"Yeah," Sanders said.
South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg jumped in on the debate, "This is tearing communities apart. If more guns made us safer, we would be the safest country on Earth. It doesn't work that way."
10:30 p.m: Trump weighs in on Democratic debate from Japan
ABC News White House producer Jordyn Phelps writes from Osaka, Japan that President Trump may be halfway around the world meeting with world leaders at the G20 summit in Japan, but he caught a glimpse of the debate in between meetings and offered his own critical commentary.
“Just passed a television set on the way here and I saw that healthcare and maximum health care was given to 100% of illegal immigrants coming into the country by the Democrats,” Trump said.
The president's remarks followed up on a tweet blasting the candidates for expressing support for health care for undocumented immigrants.
"All Democrats just raised their hands for giving millions of illegal aliens unlimited healthcare. How about taking care of American Citizens first!? That’s the end of that race!" he tweeted.
The president remarked that last night's debate was boring and concluded: “They definitely have plenty of candidates that’s about it.
"So I look forward to spending time with you rather than watching the debate,” Trump said to German Chancellor Angela Merkel, with whom he was having a bilateral meeting.
10:31 p.m: The view from Iowa debate watch parties
Myskal Kanietova hosted a Bernie Sanders watch party in the community room of her apartment building in downtown Des Moines. Wednesday, she hosted a watch party for Warren in the same space as she is torn between the two candidates. She described herself as hopeful about 2020 because, as she said, so many Democratic candidates “are in a way running on a platform of Bernie Sanders—that he had for so many years…They are bold, they’re brave, and I just want to say I’m proud of them.”
Ten minutes away in a quiet residential neighborhood, Nancy Bobo was also hosting her second watch party of the week. She is deciding between Cory Booker and Joe Biden, both of whom called her personally before they launched their campaigns in Iowa. Cars were parked up and down her street as about 30 people sat around the two TVs she had set up. Explaining why she is drawn to Biden, she said: “If the next administration does nothing more than straightening this country out and get our democracy back and working, that will be a huge accomplishment.”
10:25 p.m: Climate change gets its moment in the spotlight
In the first question on climate change, California Sen. Kamala Harris immediately corrected the moderators, saying, "I don't call it climate change, it’s a climate crisis. It is an existential threat to us as a species. The fact that we have a president who embraced science fiction over science fact is to our collective peril."
She then continued her assault on Trump, adding, "We talked about whether you asked what is the greatest national security threat to the United States, it's Donald Trump. I am going to tell you why. Because I agree. Climate change represents an existential threat. He denies the science."
South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg also weighed in on the issue, pointing to the significance of rural communities to combat climate change: "We have to look at the leadership of local communities. The networks of mayors and cities not waiting for the national governments to catch up. We should have a Pittsburgh summit as well as rejoining the Paris agreement."
Former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper was then asked to defend his position on making oil and gas companies partners in the fights to combat climate change.
"We have to recognize that only by bringing people together, businesses, nonprofits-- We can't demonize every business. If we're not able to do that, we will be doomed to failure. No way of doing this."
Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders slammed the "old ways" of approaching climate change.
"The old ways are no longer relevant," he said. "The scientists tell us we have 12 years before there is irreparable damage to the planet."
10:23 p.m.: Sanders says he'll only appoint SCOTUS justices that support Roe v. Wade
Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand weighed in on reproductive rights and the landmark Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade after multiple states around the country passed laws seeking to restrict abortion access.
"A woman's right control her own body is a constitutional right," Sanders said. "Government and politicians should not infringe on that right. We will do everything we can to defend Roe vs. Wade."
Sanders said he would have a "litmus test" for nominating Supreme Court justices, saying he would only nominate ones who supported the Roe decision.
"Medicare for all guarantees every woman in this country the right to have an abortion if she wants it," he added.
Gillibrand took the opportunity to take on President Donald Trump.
"Women's reproductive rights are under assault by President Trump and the Republican party," Gillibrand followed up. "We need to stop playing defense and start playing offense."
10:22 p.m.: Michael Bennet condemns the Supreme Court's decision on gerrymandering
After the Supreme Court ruled that the courts can not police partisan gerrymandering, Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet lambasted the decision, "We need end gerrymandering in Washington and the court today said they couldn't do anything about it. We need to overturn Citizens United. The court gave us Citizens United and the attack on voting rights. That's something we need to deal with."
10:19 p.m. ABC News Deputy Political Director MaryAlice Parks analyzes how Biden has to defend Obama's legacy twice
Maybe it's a sign of how far left the party has lurched or just a line of questioning meant to expose whether the former vice president has ideas any different than Obama's.
Either way, already twice tonight, Biden has been asked to defend President Obama's legacy. On both occasions, he seemed a little unprepared.
First, was when he said he would let undocumented immigrants buy health care on Obamacare marketplaces, though the ACA originally did not allow that.
Second, when he tentatively raised his hand about decriminalizing border crossings and then did not really answer the followup.
Going forward – will Biden is going to have to get comfortable with the idea of criticizing Obama? Saying bluntly that he would do things differently?
10:02 p.m. Kamala Harris and Joe Biden square off on race.
Sen. Kamala Harris chimed in saying that she wanted to shift the conversation to race, and took the time to come to the defense of former Vice President Joe Biden who has faced recent controversy that he praised his working relationship with two segregationists at a fundraiser.
"I will direct this at vice president Biden, I do not believe you are a racist and I agree with you when you commit yourself to the importance of finding common ground, but I also believe and it's personal and it was hurtful to hear you talk about the reputations of two United States senators who is built their reputations and career on the segregation of race in this country," Harris said.
Biden immediately responded, "It's a mischaracterization of my position across the board. I do not praise racists. That is not true. Number one."
He added, "Number two if we want to have this litigated on who supports civil rights, I'm happy to do that," before hitting back. "I was a public defender. I was not a prosecutor."
The debate turned into more of a scuffle, with Harris invoking Biden's track record on bussing when she asked, "But do you agree today that you were wrong to oppose bussing in America then? Do you agree?"
He replied: "I did not oppose bussing in America."
Harris hit back: "There was a failure of states to integrate public schools in America. I was part of the second class to integrate Berkeley, California public schools almost two decades after Brown v. Board of Education."
Then Biden said: "Because the federal government made that decision."
Harris then replied, to loud applause, "And the federal government must step in and pass the Equality Act and need the pass the ERA. There are moments in history where states fail to preserve the civil rights of all people."
10:02 p.m. Pete Buttigieg talks about race issues in South Bend, Indiana and faced attacks from rivals as the conversation turns to race.
Mayor Pete Buttigieg was faced with questions about a black man who was fatally shot by a white police officer in South Bend, Indiana. The police force is 6% black in a city that is 26% black, and he was asked why that has that not improved over his two terms as mayor.
"Because I couldn't get it done," Buttigieg.
"Until we move policing out from the shadow of systemic racism and whatever this teaches us, there is a wall of mistrust put up one racist act at a time not from what happened in the past, but what happened in the present," he added.
Rep. Eric Swalwell came out swinging at Buttigieg for not firing the officer involved in the shooting.
"You’re mayor, you should fire the chief," Swalwell.
10:01 p.m.: Sen. Bennet gets personal when talking about family separations
A little earlier in the night, Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet invoked his mother, who was separated from her parents during the Holocaust, amid a conversation about family separations.
It was a powerful and personal moment from the Colorado senator, whose mother and grandparents survived the Holocaust in Warsaw, Poland during World War II.
He said: "I would like to answer the other question before this as well. When I see these kids at the border, I see my mom because I know she sees herself. She was separated from her parents for years during the Holocaust in Poland. For Donald Trump to be doing what he is doing to children and their families at the border accident I say to somebody who wrote the immigration bill in 2013 and created a pathway to citizenship for 11 million people in this country and had the most progressive Dream Act that ever has been conceived, much less passed."
--Johnny Verhovek reports from Miami, Florida
10:00 p.m.: Marianne Williamson introduced herself to the American People on the debate stage
As front-running candidates sparred over healthcare insurance and big pharma, Marianne Williamson seized the moment to distinguish herself from the more politically experienced opponents on the stage, arguing that a healthcare system that doesn’t invest in preventative care would be a system of "superficial fixes."
“Ladies and gentlemen, we don't have a health care system in the United States. We have a sickness care system in the United States. We wait until somebody gets sick and talk about who is going pay for the treatment and how they will be treated. What we need to talk about is why so many Americans have unnecessary chronic illnesses compared to other countries,” she said.
--Briana Stewart reports from Miami, Florida
9:54 p.m.: Nearing the first-hour mark, the primary target on the stage is Trump
The 2020 Democrats on stage at the second night of the Democratic debates have made their target of the night clear: President Donald Trump.
According to an ABC News' analysis, the president's name has been directly mentioned 19 times.
9:51 p.m.: Candidates talk how they would "stand up to China" for its trade practices, but say Russia is bigger threat
"The president has been right to push back on China, but has done it in completely the wrong way," Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet said. "We should mobilize the entire rest of the world who all have a shared interest in pushing back on the trade policies and I think we can do that."
Political newcomer Andrew Yang said China does "power intellectual property, but the tariffs and the trade war (imposed by President Donald Trump) are punishing businesses and producers on both sides."
"China is using technology for the perfection of dictatorship," South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg said. "But their fundamental economic model isn’t going to change because of tariffs."
However, both Bennet and Yang said that Russia is the greater threat to the United States than China because of its interference in U.S. elections.
9:44 p.m.: Amid the clash over immigration, 2020 Democrats weigh in with harsh words for the Trump adminstration
"I will also immediately put in place a meaningful process for reviewing the cases for asylum and release children from cages and get rid of the private detention centers and ensure that this microphone that the president of the United States holds in her hand is used in a way that is about reflecting the values of our country and not about locking children up, separating them from their parents," California Sen. Kamala Harris said on immigration.
She then launched into an attack on President Trump: "A mother who pays a coyote to transport her child through the entire country of Mexico facing unknown peril to come here, why would that mother do that? I will tell you. Because she has decided for that child to remain where they are is worse. But what does Donald Trump do? He says go back to where you came from. That is not reflective of our America and our values and it's got to end!"
9:39 p.m.: Candidates show unity in favor of health care plan covering undocumented immigrants
All 10 candidates on stage raised their hands in support of a health care plan that would offer coverage to undocumented immigrants living in the United States.
"Our country is healthier when everybody is healthier," South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg said.
"You cannot let as the mayor said, people who are sick no matter where they come from and whatever their status go uncovered," Former Vice President Joe Biden added. "It's the humane thing to do."
9:37 p.m. Katy Perry offers Sen. Harris three snaps in a z formation
In a throwback reference to a famous skit from the 90s era sketch comedy show "In Living Color," singer Katy Perry offers Sen. Kamala Harris "three snaps in a z formation."
"America does not want to witness a food fight. They want to know how we will put food on their table," Sen. Kamala Harris said to applause.
9:24 p.m. Second round of candidates weigh in on demolishing private insurance and health care
The candidates were asked, once again, who would be in favor of demolishing private insurance companies. Sens. Bernie Sanders and Kamala Harris raised their hand in favor.
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand weighed in on her stance on Medicare for all.
"I believe we need to get to universal health care as a right and not a privilege to single payer," said Gillibrand
Mayor Pete Buttigieg followed Kirsten with an attack on Medicare for all.
"Everybody who says Medicare for all and every person in politics who is allows that phrase to escape their lips has a responsibility to explain how you are supposed to get from here to there," Buttigieg said.
Amid debate over Medicare-for-All amongst his rivals, the former vice president turned to the signature issue of his former boss's presidency, the Affordable Care Act.
"This is very personal to me," he began. "The fact is that the quickest fastest way to build it is build on Obamacare and do what we did. Secondly, to make sure that everyone does have an option."
"I'm against any Democrat who takes down Obamacare and any Republican who wants it," he added.
9:21 p.m.: Eric Swalwell focuses his fire on Biden for his age
"I was 6 years old when a presidential candidate came to the California Democratic convention and said it's time to pass the torch to a new generation of Americans. That Candidate was then-senator Joe Biden," he said. "Joe Biden was right when he said that 32 years ago. He is still right today. If we are going to solve the issue, pass the torch. If we are going to solve climate chaos, pass the torch."
Biden quipped, "I would. I'm still holding on to that torch."
9:20 p.m.: Harris calls out other candidates for interrupting each other
After former Vice President Joe Biden made his pitch for reforming education, saying we need to be "focusing on schools in distress," other candidates, including South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, California Sen. Kamala Harris fought through the noise to say Americans don't want to see bickering.
"America does not want to witness a food fight. They want to know how we put food on their table," she said, to loud applause.
"I meet people working two and three jobs," Harris said, noting that President Donald Trump often touts "his great economy," the low unemployment numbers and strong stock market, but she said that's not enough.
"People are working, but working two and three jobs," she said. "In our America no one should have to work more than one job to have a roof over their head and food on their table!
9:19 p.m. Yang makes his introduction to the American people
Entrepreneur Andrew Yang made his case for president focusing on issues with big tech.
"We need to put the American people in the position to benefit from all these innovations and other parts of the economy," Yang said. "We automated away four million manufacturing jobs and we are about to do the same to millions of retail jobs and call center jobs and fast food and truck driver jobs"
9:17 p.m. Mayor Pete Buttigieg is the first candidate of the night to speak Spanish
Kicking off his answer on college affordability, South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg first spoke in Spanish, and then launched into his stance on college affordability: "So college affordability is personal for us. Chasten and I have six-figure student debt. If you can refinance your house, you ought to be able to refinance your debt. I believe in free college for those for whom cost could be a barrier. I just don't believe it makes sense to ask working-class families to subsidize even the children of billionaires."
Swalwell then jumped in, following up to Buttigieg's response, telling the audience, "You can't count on people around when this problem was created to solve it. Will be the 40 million of us who can't start a family and can't buy our first home. This is the generation that will solve student loan debt. This generation is ready to lead."
9:17 p.m. Fact-checking candidates on the issues: Democratic debate night 2
Here's ABC News' fact check of the second of two Democratic presidential debates in Miami between former Vice President Joe Biden, Sen. Bernie Sanders, Sen. Kamala Harris, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Sen. Michael Bennet, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, former Gov. John Hickenlooper, Rep. Eric Swalwell, author Marianne Williamson and entrepreneur Andrew Yang.
9:10 p.m. The Democrats take on Trump early
California Sen. Kamala Harris weighed in on the ambitious plans proposed by the sprawling Democratic field, particularly how they will pay for them and turned towards criticizing the current occupant of the White House.
She immediately condemned Republicans and President Donald Trump for passing the GOP tax cuts in 2017, telling the moderators, "I hear that question, but where was that question when the Republicans and Donald Trump passed a tax bill that benefits."
Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders also chimed in, when asked about the criticisms of nominating a socialist, he replied, "I think the response is that the polls have us 10 points ahead of Donald Trump because the American people understand that Trump is a phony. Trump is a pathological liar and a racist and that he lied to the American people during his campaign. He said he was going to stand up for working families. Well, President Trump, you are not standing up for working families."
9:09 p.m.: O.J. takes to Twitter for second night of Democratic debates
O.J. Simpson is tweeting about the debates again tonight. Speaking in a video on Twitter with chopsticks in his hand, he said he's “trying to finish dinner” so he can get home to watch the second night of the debates.
He said some candidates “completely unknown” to him surprised him last night. He said viewers should make up their mind about how candidates did on their own, and not listing to the “political pundits.”
“With your vote, you’re the expert,” he concluded.
9:07 Joe Biden takes the next question and makes first mention of President Donald Trump
Former Vice President Joe Biden took the second question of the night in which he was asked to explain comments on not wanting to demonize or punish the rich. He was also the first candidate of the night to bring up President Donald Trump.
"What I meant by that is, look, Donald Trump thinks Wall Street built America. Ordinary, middle-class Americans built America," Biden said.
9:05 p.m. The first question of the night goes to Bernie Sanders
Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders was first up in the second round of debates, taking a question on taxes for the middle class.
When asked will taxes go up for the middle class in a Sanders' administration, he responded, "People who have healthcare under Medicare for all will have no premiums, no deductibles, no co-payments, no out of pocket expenses, yes, they will pay more in taxes but less in healthcare for what they get."
9:00 p.m. Welcome to the second night of the Democratic presidential debate
8:55 p.m. The second debate in Miami kicks off
The second slate of 2020 candidates at the first Democratic debates are taking the stage. Here's the linup tonight:
8:33 p.m.: Who are the 2020 candidates appearing on night two of the Democratic debate?
There will be over 153 years of political experience on the debate stage.
The candidates include:
1 Vice President: Biden4 Senators: Harris, Sanders, Bennet, Gillibrand1 Congressman: Swalwell1 Mayor: Buttigieg1 entrepreneur: Yang1 author & activist: Williamson
8:30 p.m.: The second batch of 2020 candidates are 30 minutes from taking the stage
Former Vice President Joe Biden is setting a cordial tone an hour before he is set to compete against his Democratic opponents in the Thursday's debate.
"I'm about to take the debate stage in Miami alongside nine other incredible Democratic candidates," he wrote in an email to supporters. "I'm proud to be representing you, and millions of other Americans, and our shared vision for the country. I hope I make you proud, too."
Entrepreneur Andrew Yang, a political newcomer, expressed his sentiments just before he is about to join the other nine candidates on stage, writing in a tweet, "I never thought as a kid I’d be anywhere near here. But now that I’m here it feels right. Let’s do it."
Before his wife, California Sen. Kamala Harris, takes the stage tonight, Douglas Emhoff tweeted some kinds words, "Dear @KamalaHarris: I love you, I believe in you, and I’m so proud of you. The whole country is going to see what I get to see every day. You are amazing."
8:10 p.m. ABC News' Deputy Political Director MaryAlice Parks shares tales from the road in 2016
In 2016, Senator Bernie Sanders's staff reserved him a large hotel suite ahead of an early debate for practice and rest. They regaled to reporters months later that the senator was furious and said it was a waste of money. After that, when hotels around the country would try to upgrade the candidate, staff would deflect and take the nice room.
Sanders' most memorable debate moment in 2016 came at the very first debate. He bellowed to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the moderators, "Enough with your damn emails."
The Democratic audience loved it.
In a way, it looked like he was rushing to her defense as she faced yet another round of questioning on the topic. But the line from Sanders also revealed what truly gets under his skin. A good debate (or rally or dinner party even maybe) with Sanders is one that focused on policies he is interested in and little else.
7:55 p.m. Here's the lineup for Thursday night's debate
But Thursday's debate will give everyone on the next slate of 10 candidates their first nationally-televised chance to break out from the crowd as some appeared to do on Wednesday. They'll be able to pitch a wide array of policy prescriptions on issues from climate change, gun control, health care, foreign policy, immigration and criminal justice reform.
The second 10 candidates are:
7:42 p.m. ABC News Political Director Rick Klein on Biden and debates
With all eyes on Biden tonight, I’m reminded of a few interactions I had with him at long-ago debates. He may or may not be looking forward to this evening, but he used to love the format. I interviewed him shortly after a 2007 debate ABC News hosted in Iowa, and he was practically giddy – working the spin room and gladly engaging with all comers. And, at the 2012 vice presidential debate moderated by Martha Raddatz, I remember him lingering backstage after the debate – as the sitting vice president – saying he wished he could debate Paul Ryan five or six more times.
If his campaign breaks the way he hopes, tonight will be the first of 12 debates he’s part of. We’ll see how much he enjoys the experience this time around.
7:13 p.m.: ABC News partner FiveThirtyEight seeks to answer "Who won the debates"
6:42 p.m.: Less than 24 hours since the first debate, de Blasio facing backlash after invoking Che Guevara at Miami rally
At the end of a rally for striking workers at Miami International Airport, Mayor Bill de Blasio shouted the phrase, “Hasta la victoria Siempre!”
That refrain is a mantra for Argentine Marxist Che Guevara, a prominent figure from the Cuban Revolution associated with Fidel Castro.
The New York City mayor, who appeared on the first night's debate stage, took to Twitter to apologize, writing: "I did not know the phrase used in Miami today was associated with Che Guevara & I did not mean to offend anyone who heard it that way. I certainly apologize for not understanding that history. I only meant it as a literal message to the striking airport workers that I believed they would be victorious in their strike."
--Averi Harper reports from Miami, Florida
6:37 p.m.: Trending on Twitter: "Elizabeth Warren always"
Some debate viewers took to Twitter Wednesday night and Thursday morning to commend Sen. Elizabeth Warren for being a combination of polite, respectful and efficient on stage during the first night of debates. The tweets spanned from comparing Warren to the kind of person who has her Starbucks order ready to go when she gets to the front of the line so as not to hold anyone else up to the kind of person who always throws her water out or has her shoes off before she goes through airport security.
Some examples of the tweets:
Elizabeth Warren always knows exactly what she wants when she gets to the front of the Starbucks line and never holds everyone else up.
Elizabeth Warren never takes up too much space on the sidewalk or the subway. She checks her own privilege and shares public space.
6:27 p.m.: Trump campaign betting on Sanders attacking Biden
In the hours leading up to the second night of the first Democratic debates, the Trump campaign is betting on Sen. Bernie Sanders going after front-running Joe Biden, and brushing off Julián Castro's first-night performance as just another "flash in the pan."
The Trump campaign told ABC News that it plans to take a similar strategy responding to Thursday night's Democratic debate. "We anticipant a replay of last night. Everyone will be on the left, there is no moderate lane. Every time someone dips their toe in lake moderate they get their whole leg chopped off. You'll see more of that tonight," Trump communications director Tim Murtaugh.
5:10 p.m.: Fast facts about the candidates appearing on Thursday's debate stage
There will be over 153 years of political experience on the debate stage Thursday.
Oldest candidate: Sen. Bernie Sanders (77 years old) Youngest candidate: Mayor Pete Buttigieg (37 years old)
Mayor Pete Buttigieg will be the lone candidate on the stage tonight who has served in the United States military.
--Kelsey Walsh reports from New York City
4:10 p.m.: Hours before debate, Biden's team briefs reporters on the VP's strategy
The key strategy thinking is let Joe Biden be Joe Biden, his campaign team said during a briefing.
The former vice president did watch the debate last evening, and took notes on it, though officials said they didn’t see anything that required a change in strategy.
Biden’s team was tight-lipped about their debate prep strategy, saying they have 11 more debates to get ready for. But they did say Biden is ready to take the debate stage along with nine of his fellow candidates Thursday night and has learned a lot about their records and what they have been talking about — which require more learning for some than others.
Biden is not expected to introduce new policy, but will discuss what the campaign considers progressive plans on healthcare, climate and immigration, and talk broadly about his vision for transformational change in American politics. The campaign also did not shut the door on more changes in his past policy positions going forward, saying things that were effective in the 70s might not be the best way to handle things now, but said they don’t expect any major changes to be announced tonight.
Ahead of the debate, Biden will be resting and enjoying some downtime with family (Jill and some of his granddaughters are here.) Biden’s team said that his decision not to visit Homestead was due to scheduling conflicts, but the Vice President will visit the facility in the future.
And of course, when asked if the VP planned to eat ice cream, an official said "there is always ice cream."
--Mary Bruce, Molly Nagle and Averi Harper report from Miami, Florida
1:56 p.m.: Julian Castro joins the co-hosts of ABC's "The View" to discuss his debate performance
Earlier in the day, Julian Castro, fresh off a strong performance in Wednesday's night's 2020 Democratic presidential debate in Miami, appeared on ABC's "The View" on Thursday, telling the hosts, "I knew coming into the debate I needed to introduce myself to a lot of people who haven't heard of me. I think I did that last night."
Castro said he wants to end family separation at the border, and once again hit opponent, and fellow Texan, former Rep. Beto O'Rourke, over immigration, saying O’Rourke’s plan would allow separations.
He said that the topic was something he wanted to bring up at the debate, telling "The View" that O’Rourke wants to keep Section 1325 of U.S. immigration law and that “if you keep that in place, the ability to separate families stays in place.”
Castro also told reporters in Miami that his campaign has the best single night of fundraising last night. He also added that Sen. Elizabeth Warren sent Castro a text, "just saying congratulations, you did a good job."
--Chris Donato reports from New York City, Jeffrey Cook reports from Miami, Florida
1:45 p.m.: ABC News catches up with Biden, Sanders, and Buttigieg
Before the heavyweights take the stage Thursday, ABC News caught up with a few of them around the debate site.
When former Vice President Joe Biden arrived at the debate hall to do a walk-through and preview his place on the stage, he said he’s ready for tonight, but laughed when asked by ABC News' Mary Bruce what his strategy is. “We’ll see,” he said, chuckling.
Asked on the way out how he plans to respond if his opponents go on the attack tonight, Biden told me his strategy: “hug em!”
Your plan is to kill them with kindness?
He just smiled and said, “Nice to see ya'.”
A short while later, Mayor Pete Buttigieg said, "It’s a great day for a debate!”
Earlier today as he stopped by the Homestead Facility, Sanders refused to comment on whether he plans to go after Biden and his opponents directly tonight, telling Bruce, “If I tell you, you’ll tell them!”
--Molly Nagle, Sarah Kolinovsky, Johnny Verhovek, Briana Stewart, Lissette Rodriguez, Armando Garcia, and Mary Bruce report from Miami, Florida
1 p.m.: Democratic candidates detour to migrant facility in between debates
After the first slate of Democrats showed their different stripes on immigration at the opening night debate, before the next batch takes the stage tonight, four of the contenders headed 30 miles south of Miami to the Homestead Migrant Detention Facility, including Sen. Bernie Sanders, former Congressman Beto O'Rourke, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and Hawaii Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbad
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio was the first 2020 Democratic candidate to visit the Homestead Migrant Detention Facility this morning, expressing his disgust for the conditions and calling it “a prison camp”
“It’s almost impossible to believe it's happening in our time. And in our name. And this is this is not what the American people signed up for, that we're somehow treating innocent kids like burglars who didn’t do anything wrong. This has to end,” de Blasio told reporters outside of the facility.
Just moments after exiting his vehicle and with the gates of the detention center just on the other side of the road, Sanders told reporters the U.S. should not be holding minors in detention centers who have viable guardians in the country.
"All that I can say is that in the United States of America, I think most of us would agree, you do not lock up thousands of children, including kids who are eight, nine or 10 years of age. Especially when these kids in most cases, as I understand it, have relatives in the United States who would like to take them in. That’s the simple truth."
O'Rourke told reporters and other residents here, "Donald Trump has done this, but it's up to us to change, who's in the White House going forward. It's up to us right now to apply the pressure to form the political will to see if we can get them to change these practices."
--Johnny Verhovek, Lissette Rodriguez, Armando Garcia reported from Homestead, Florida
12 p.m. How are the Democrats preparing for the debate?
At center stage Thursday night is a clash of higher-polling front-runners: Biden and Sanders, who are expected to bump elbows as they seek to grab a lead.
For Sanders, as one of the most liberal contenders on stage, he'll likely be seeking to reiterate his ideological purity among a more progressive field than he saw in 2016, especially as he's competing now against Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren for a similar cohort of voters on the party's left flank.
The second night also will be the first opportunity for the other nine candidates on stage to interact directly with Biden on the heels of his various missteps. Most recently, the former vice president was criticized by his rivals, particularly New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, for praising segregationist senators at a fundraiser.
But Biden and Sanders, both over 70 years old, will be flanked by Harris, 54, and the 37-year old Buttigieg in a stark generational contrast that will be hard to ignore.
The former vice president is prepping for the debates by focusing on his own record, as he will have to communicate his vision for the country in 60 seconds or less.
"He has been focused on how he will best communicate his plan and vision to the American people," a Biden adviser told ABC News about the former vice president's debate preparation.
When asked about reports Biden was getting to know Sanders' debate style from previous debates, the adviser said, "The VP has not been focused on senator Sanders' debate style."
As for Sanders, he told reporters as he left the Knight Concert Hall on Wednesday, he is "absolutely" ready for his appearance on Thursday's debate stage.
He specifically pointed to his Medicare for All plan, work at the Capitol to increase the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour, and recently announced a bill to wipe out all student loan debt and make public colleges and universities tuition-free as several focus areas.
A campaign adviser for Harris told ABC News she's been prepping all week for the debates in both Washington, D.C., and Miami, and enjoying Cuban and Caribbean food while in Florida.
But others are taking a much more lighthearted approach to debate prep: Williamson posted a video of her dancing a day before her debate appearance.
A day before the first debate, NBC announced that each night will be split into five segments with four commercial breaks over the two hours. Throughout each segment, candidates will have 60 seconds to answer questions and 30 seconds to respond to follow-ups.
In order to qualify for the debates in June and July, candidates must earn at least 1% support in three separate national or early-state polls conducted from Jan. 1 to two weeks before the given debate, or receive donations from at least 65,000 people across 20 different states, with a minimum of 200 unique donors per state. The number of debate participants has been capped at 20 by the Democratic National Committee.
There are three declared candidates who will not appear on either stage after failing to meet the DNC's qualification standards for the first debate: Montana Gov. Steve Bullock, Massachusetts Rep. Seth Moulton, Miramar, Florida, Mayor Wayne Messam.
ABC News' Lissette Rodriguez, Zohreen Shah, Claire Potter, Erica King, Olivia Chilkoti, Johnny Verhovek, Jordyn Phelps, Kelsey Walsh, Brianna Stewart and Molly Nagle contributed to this report.