The Note: Front-runner-less Iowa race comes into view

After Tuesday's debate, it’s harder to see moments that will clarify the race.

The TAKE with Rick Klein

We're fast approaching a phase of the campaign where it's appropriate to say that nobody knows anything.

It's also appropriate to say that nobody is the front-runner in Iowa.

Now, with the only Iowa debate done and an impeachment trial set to start, it's harder to see moments that will clarify the race before caucusing begins.

Tuesday night's was a status quo debate in a world where a whole bunch of campaigns like their status. Four candidates have realistic shots at winning Iowa, while others are still hoping to make a mark; polling stability has actually created uncommon fluidity 19 days out.

One reason there were so few zingers at the last debate before voting starts: The candidates are selling themselves at this point more than they are any one-liners. Each is pitching him or herself as the right matchup against President Donald Trump based on who they are more than what they say.

These next 19 days won't be uneventful. But for now, the major candidates are comfortable with who and where they are -- to a point.

The RUNDOWN with MaryAlice Parks

It was a strong moment for the women onstage, a compelling argument in their case that they are best suited to beat Trump, and a line Sen. Elizabeth Warren clearly wanted to land.

"Since Donald Trump was elected, women candidates have outperformed men candidates in competitive races. And in 2018, we took back the House, we took back state houses because of women candidates and women voters," Warren said during Tuesday's debate to huge applause.

Sen. Amy Klobuchar enthusiastically agreed and jumped in, "When you look at the facts, Michigan has a woman governor right now and she beat a Republican, Gretchen Whitmer. Kansas has a woman governor right now and she beat Kris Kobach."

Warren on Tuesday night seemed to go out of her way to underscore and remind people of the historic nature of her campaign and argue she would finish the job for women this time.

"Our moment when we build the movement to make real change. Hope and courage. That is how I will make you proud every day as your nominee and as the first woman president of the United States of America," she said.

It's true, female candidates in 2018 had strong track records and many ran in direct response to Trump. In total, 125 female candidates won in 2018's congressional, senate and gubernatorial races. The lines at Tuesday's debate were a reminder of how moving it can be when female politicians talk about being women.

The TIP with Benjamin Siegel

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will reveal on Wednesday morning the team of lawmakers who will prosecute the House's impeachment case against President Donald Trump in the upcoming Senate trial.

Known as managers, the members will be the public face of the Democrats' charges. Just 20 lawmakers in U.S. history have served as managers for presidential impeachment trials -- seven in the trial of President Andrew Johnson and 13 in the trial of President Bill Clinton roughly two decades ago.

While it's unclear who Pelosi will select beyond House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff and House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler -- who led the impeachment investigation in the House -- the speaker is expected to put together a team that represents the most diverse House majority in American history. "Our diversity is our strength," Pelosi is fond of saying of her caucus.

She's had no shortage of candidates to draw from: Dozens of members across committees and with various legal backgrounds, have expressed interest in serving as managers. Some have even made their case with Pelosi directly, and submitted letters to her office highlighting their credentials.


ABC News' "Start Here" Podcast. Wednesday morning's episode features ABC News' Trish Turner, who previews Wednesday's House vote on sending the articles of impeachment over to the Senate. Then, ABC News Political Director Rick Klein recaps Wednesday night's Democratic debate in Iowa.

ABC News' "Powerhouse Politics" podcast. Former Sen. Trent Lott, the Senate majority leader during President Bill Clinton's impeachment trial, talks with ABC News Chief White House Correspondent Jonathan Karl on the "Powerhouse Politics" podcast. And ABC News Political Director Rick Klein joins Karl to talk about Tuesday night's Democratic debate in Iowa.

FiveThirtyEight Politics Podcast. In this installment, the FiveThirtyEight politics crew updates their thinking about who is likely to win in Iowa and how that could affect the rest of the primary. They also discuss Sen. Cory Booker's decision to drop out of the Democratic primary and recent polling showing Tom Steyer gaining significantly in Nevada and South Carolina.


  • Former New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg appears on ABC's "The View." He then holds a "Women for Mike" event in New York City starting at 6 p.m.
  • President Donald Trump and Vice Premier Liu He of China hold a signing ceremony of a partial trade deal at 11:30 a.m. at the White House.
  • The House meets at noon and will take up a resolution appointing impeachment managers. The vote will allow the House to transmit impeachment articles to the Senate to kick off trial proceedings.
  • Former Vice President Joe Biden attends a campaign event in Des Moines, Iowa, at noon (CST). He then attends a board meeting of the National Baptist Convention in Arlington, Texas, at 8 p.m. (CST).
  • Former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg has four events in Iowa (all times Central): a town hall in Newton at 12:10 p.m., a meet-and-greet event in Tama County at 2 p.m., a town hall in Cedar Falls at 4 p.m. and a town hall in Mason City at 6:50 p.m.
  • Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, holds a town hall in Derry, New Hampshire, at 6 p.m. (CST).
  • Former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick participates in a roundtable discussion in Chicago at 3:30 p.m. (CST).
  • Andrew Yang appears on "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert."
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    The Note is a daily ABC News feature that highlights the day's top stories in politics. Please check back tomorrow for the latest.