The TAKE with Rick Klein
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Former Vice President Joe Biden sought to reframe the race around the Obama legacy while brushing aside questions about his sharpness.
And Sens. Cory Booker and Kamala Harris delivered in ways that should reassure their donors while opening up potential new opportunities.
The debate had no clear winner or losers. The Democratic Party's future is no more or less settled -- though the terms of the race are better defined than ever.
The RUNDOWN with MaryAlice Parks
Not only was the third debate a turning point in this race, it was a turning in the debate over gun safety reforms.
O'Rouke did not hesitate when asked head-on about his mandatory gun buyback plan.
"You know that critics call this confiscation. Are you proposing taking away their guns?" ABC News "World News Tonight" Anchor and Managing Editor David Muir asked the El Paso, Texas, native.
"I am. If it's a weapon that was designed to kill people on a battlefield," he replied and then received some of the loudest applause of the night.
Just six weeks after the domestic terror attack in El Paso, the moment felt especially powerful.
Democrats went further than they have in decades in the push to take assault weapons off the streets and showed that the political winds on the issue have shifted.
The TIP with Kendall Karson
At the Detroit debates, several Democrats took aim at former President Barack Obama's legacy -- both directly and indirectly -- on the key issues of health care and immigration. Among the 10 top contenders on the stage in Houston, some appeared to course correct Thursday night - either praising the most popular figure in the Democratic Party or redirecting their ire at President Donald Trump.
Before launching into her defense of Medicare for all -- which is seen as a comprehensive replacement for Obama's signature piece of legislation, the Affordable Care Act -- Warren said, "We all owe a huge debt to President Obama, who fundamentally transformed health care in America."
Harris, who co-sponsored Medicare for all, echoed that sentiment, telling the crowd, "I want to give credit first to Barack Obama for really bringing us this far." She later added, "But at least five people have talked -- some repeatedly on this subject -- and not once have we talked about Donald Trump. So let's talk about the fact that Donald Trump came into office and spent almost the entire first year of his term trying to get rid of the Affordable Care Act."
The one candidate who directly criticized Obama's record in July, particularly on deportations -- Castro -- struck a different chord at the ABC News debate, saying, "We owe a debt of gratitude to President Barack Obama."
ABC News' "Start Here" Podcast. Friday morning's special edition of "Start Here" features a full wrap-up of Thursday night's Democratic debate in Houston with ABC's Powerhouse Political team and a trip inside the spin room to hear from the candidates themselves. http://apple.co/2HPocUL
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