ABC News breaks down 2020 Democratic candidates ahead of debate

ABC News contributors and political analysts discuss what to look for ahead of the third Democratic debate.
8:18 | 09/12/19

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Transcript for ABC News breaks down 2020 Democratic candidates ahead of debate
Good evening and welcome to an incredible night of politics the first democratic debate. We're all major candidates will be on the same stage on one night. We're just one hour from the start of this debate at Texas Southern University. As you can see right here at this stage is set. Thousands watching from inside the debate hall. Millions all across the country and tonight around the world. I'm Tommy Ellis luck in Houston right here in the spin room here is the final line up of all the candidates that multiplied. Vice president Joseph Biden walking in just right now as we are moments away from this debate but as we mentioned the first time all ten top contenders are there. Vice president Joseph but in. Flanked by senator Bernie Sanders from Vermont senator Elizabeth Warren from Massachusetts think public ambassador from California near people who did judge self defense mayor. To drew bully pulpit from New Jersey Andrew. He ought to put nor. That'll work the former representative from El Paso who young Castro former Hud secretary as senator Amy Klobuchar from Minnesota. Many of the candidates already in place getting ready getting coach for this many will be watching pulp vice president Joseph Biden faces off with senator Elizabeth Ward. Put the force on the Tubal cheered the scene staged senator were Elizabeth Warren walking in with her husband earlier tonight. And right there as well senator Bernie Sanders near the top of the polls and ahead in the latest poll. At a New Hampshire but it is still so early it's also a night for candidates like senator Kabul Harris and senator Booker to make their mark in really. Make an argument they deserve a shot at this nomination it may also be lot shop for some of the candidates who. Who barely made on the stage senator Klobuchar Andrew gain better World War II should they can fight another day. We have our power. Powerhouse penalty in the spin room I want to start with a bomb Emanuel the former mayor of Chicago chief of staff to President Obama and someone who knows Vice President Biden very well if your it is here tonight what are you telling him. You and energy. Passion. And you gotta come alive in that area and you get B also lied about it. In a sense that you're going to be between Bernie you're going to be between Elizabeth they're gonna tag team you and if you can show that it doesn't gets you. That'll be as much as and anything forget remember this is three hours. You gotta be. You have to have that energy in that impact. All three hours not the first two so be it. He vixens and you have the holes of the progressive wing of the party from a manual is your colleague but you guys have two very stark views on who should be the nominee at this point what do progressive voters want right now. You know they want to see senator Warren they wanna see Bernie Sanders they wanna see how things stand up here right so you've got. Elizabeth Warren next Joseph Biden for the first time ever I did she take the bait right or does she. Focused on a plan focused on what's important to her you've got Bernie Sanders who might be feeling like who has worn is taking him over how does he get the reins again. And also don't forget about Pamela Harris I mean she is a progressive and has been supported by the progressives so does she take this moment you really showed that she cares about the future of our country former senator Heidi hi camp you won your right state. But you also felt the wrath of the trump weight afterwards. What do little moderate Democrats want to hear tonight that they want to hear about free college that he wanted to hear about a salting college debt about keeping undocumented immigrants free health care. They want to hear candidate that speaks to their concerns they want to see something which that reflects their challenges and their problems. And those aren't the things that that moderate voters are looking for what moderate voters want to stake. It is a candidate who can beat trump but also who can do it. With real estate who. Who bombed by its challenges of meeting realistic challenges and getting things done for America and I think it's going to be one of those on a debates that there will be people fighting forage that moderate voter tonight not just the progressive vote. Yeah it's a big tent. Matt down our politics guru you've advised Republicans invites Democrats you were telling me earlier today you think this is the most critical point so far in this campaign tonight. If you think about successful politics is how do you meet how does the person meet the moment that exists and it we've been in a campaign now for about eight months. This is the most important moment in the campaign so far and it may be the most important moment. Until the Iowa Caucuses because we have ten people on stage it's gonna define who the leaders are it's gonna determine whether or not the people that are on the outer tier. Can get in and we're gonna go into the next hundred Bates but to meet tonight. Is the most important moment all right. All ten candidates have just arrived here to the debate hall. Some some heart palpitations are controlling my are now over no more. Tax all the candidates figure Devin Dwyer a lot of people talking tonight about Joseph Biden Elizabeth Warren big Garnett before the we've actually got credit for decades now right maybe. History of clashing ideologically politically policy wise in the most famous moment we've seen actually -- plane over and over at some of the cables Thomas that moment 2005. We and then senator Joseph Biden was chairing a hearing on a bankruptcy Bill Bennett professor Elizabeth Warren is in the witness share those two went head to head over. Who's standing up for the new little guy the guy that's trying to file for bankruptcy Elizabeth warrants a Joseph Biden wanted to make it harder. She said he was trying to make it harder for women to get out from under. The burden of financial pressures will see that likely come out today Joseph Biden's team is teased that he's ready to take on the challenges that would be senator also teasing she never amount. We'll see if that fight continues or Elizabeth Warren plays it safe I want to go to Mary Bruce right now she's with our team of political. Reporters bury the person that is not here president trump what we saw his fingerprints are ready for the fingerprints of his campaign Bob bear flying over the debate hall seine socialism will. She'll lead Houston economy. And the president himself making comments about who he'd like to take on just moments ago. It looked on and now the president never want to be left out. Out of a big moment and he certainly is finding ways to make his mark here tonight we have seen all day. His campaign flying that banner above the debate all trying to make their mark here the president just a few moments ago have a backfire Keira Phillips. Hilton who easy keeping a close eye on tonight and he mentioned not just Joseph Biden but also Elizabeth Warren and it's very clear why because she is rising in the polls we have seen. I've ever having a very successful summer and it is clear that have gotten the attention not only of our fellow candidates but also of course of the president's so while there will be a lot of attention tonight. On the candidates on the stage of there's also a lot of attention being paid of course to the president and. I have a feeling guys up here that have joined by our political power out of steam here that the president. Also be watching. I think we can you can go ahead and place a bat not one is going to be watching he's got he's got some counter programming he's going to be in Baltimore tonight he's in Baltimore right now. He will be done by the time in the name starts but he says he'll be watching this on a rerun of I went. Probably see some sweets. In real time. Imagine those three things that he's got his eye on his campaign. Has that he can take on anyone on this stage you guys on this our recent poll showed that that there are five candidates up here tonight. If this election happens they would beat Donald's run. And a head to head race not long time now but he's certainly lives. It pays closer attention to those polls the Donald Trump so this is clearly on his mind. This is clearly on his mind. Here come out actually handicap the race was really something else but important context of this if you go back look at every single major loophole of four years ago 2015. All the way until the end of December every single major poll showed Hillary Clinton. Beating Donald Trump but that's said. You know those polls clearly irritate the press. But but clearly this. Roll tonight is antipathy. For Donald Trump. From that stage that's who they're going to talk about. He'll get into some of the intramural and a lot of issues that that is the fuel that is what they're gonna try and talk about technically saying don't hold do. Half of those leading democratic. That's what they're listening for not just fish hanging out. Along the little war in and three undecided voters this house in El Paso and they said they want among above everything else a Bulldog. From this group can go away present songs and going from harm. I we're gonna take a quick break now we are now less than an hour. From the democratic to be here watching ABC news live we'll be right.

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

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