December Democratic debate livestream and live updates

The Democratic debate stage was a bit less crowded during Thursday’s Democratic debate, with only seven candidates qualifying to participate.

But having fewer Democratic candidates did not equal fewer fireworks. Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Mayor Pete Buttigieg provided the sharpest exchange of the night over fundraising, while Buttigieg and Sen. Amy Klobuchar exchanged barbs over whose experience was the most valid.

The candidates participating included:

  • Former Vice President Joe Biden
  • Buttigieg
  • Klobuchar
  • Entrepreneur Tom Steyer
  • Sen. Bernie Sanders
  • Warren
  • Entrepreneur Andrew Yang

Check out the livestream and live updates below to see how the debate went.


Live updates

The debate ends

10:45 p.m. ET Dec. 19, 2019: The debate ends after closing arguments from the candidates.

Huckabee Sanders with a question

10:40 p.m. ET Dec. 19, 2019: As closing statements are going on, a tweet from Sarah Huckabee Sanders, former White House press secretary, is making the rounds on social media.

When Biden was talking about children he met who had a stuttering problem, he demonstrated the stuttering problem in his answer.

Huckabee Sanders tweeted:

Biden’s team responded that Biden had overcome a stuttering problem when he was a child.

Sanders shot back that she was not trying to make fun of anyone, but that she simply didn’t understand him.

Twitterverse did not buy it.

A gift or an apology?

10:30 p.m. ET Dec. 19, 2019: The candidates are asked if in this holiday season they would give a gift or ask for an apology. The answers split down gender lines.

The women, Klobuchar and Warren say they would ask for forgiveness.

The men would share a gift.

Then it was Klobuchar’s turn

10:14 p.m. ET Dec. 19, 2019: The debate on healthcare is now between Klobuchar and Sanders.

“If you want to cross a river over some troubled waters, you build a bridge, you don’t blow one up,” Klobuchar said, saying Medicare-for-all plans will destroy Obamacare.

The debate has turned to the issue of health care.

10:10 p.m. ET Dec. 19, 2019: Biden and Sanders spar over Sanders’ Medicare for all plan.

“I’m the only guy who hasn’t interrupted and I’m going to interrupt now,” Biden said, interrupting Sanders’ explanation of his single-payer health care plan.

Biden says it will cost way too much.

“Sixteen percent of the American public is on Medicare now and everybody has a tax taken out of their paycheck now,” Biden said. “Tell me, you’re going to add 84 percent more and there’s not going to be higher taxes? At least before he was honest about it. It’s going to increase personal taxes.”

“That’s right, we are going to increase personal taxes,” Sanders said. “But we’re eliminating premiums, we’re eliminating co-payments, we’re eliminating deductibles, we’re eliminating all out of pocket expenses, and no family in America will spend more than $200 a year on prescription drugs.”

Klobuchar moves in to stop the argument and find some middle ground.

“Whoa guys, hey, Klobuchar said. “I just don’t think anyone has a monopoly on bold ideas. I think you can be progressive and practical at the same time.”

Buttigieg on the courts

10 p.m. ET Dec. 19, 2019: Buttigieg on the courts: “My household, my marriage exists by the grace of a single vote on that body. I expect a level of respect for the rule of law that prevents this body from coming to be viewed as just one more partisan battlefield, which is why I will not only appoint judges and justices who reflect this worldview but also begin moving to reform the body itself.”

Yang gets personal

9:55 p.m. ET Dec. 19, 2019: When asked about how to help those with disabilities, Yang talks about his son who has autism. He asked the audience to raise their hands if they too have a family member or know someone who is disabled.

“Special needs children are going to become special needs adults in many cases,” Yang said. "We’re going to take this burden off of the communities and off of the schools — you do not have the resources to support kids like my son — and make it a federal priority, not a local one.”

Now it is Klobuchar and Buttigieg

9:45 p.m. ET Dec. 19, 2019: Klobuchar goes after Buttigieg next, mentioning he is a mayor of a small community.

"So while you can dismiss committee hearings, I think this experience works,” Klobuchar said as she complains that Buttigieg slammed her work in committee hearings.

“And I have not denigrated your experience as a local official. I have been one. I think you should respect our experience.”

“You actually did denigrate my experience, senator but it was before the break and I was going to let it go because we got bigger fish to fry here,” he said.

She jumped in. “I don’t think we have bigger fish to fry than picking a president,” she said.

How is it playing in China?

Warren and Buttigieg go after each other on fundraising

9:30 p.m. ET Dec. 19, 2019: Warren answered a question about fundraising, saying candidates who raise $5,000 at a time can’t be responsive to the needs of working people.

After her comments, Buttigieg says, “I can’t help but feel that might have been directed at me.” He went on to say he was the least wealthy person on the stage.

“I do not sell access to my time, I don’t spend time with millionaires and billionaires. I don’t meet behind closed doors,” Warren said. “Since when,” Buttigieg responded.

Warren then slams Buttigieg for a fundraiser with billionaires in a “wine cave” in California. “Billionaires in wine caves should not pick the next president of the United States,” Warren said.

Klobuchar added, “I have never even been to a wine cave.”

Are you too old? Not female enough?

9:15 p.m. ET Dec. 19, 2019: The candidates are asked about former President Barack Obama’s statement that the world would be better run if more women were heads of nations. He also said older men should know when it is time to get out of the way.

Sanders is asked about the comments and says, “The issue is where power resides in America.”

Biden is asked about it and he says Obama wasn’t talking about him.

Biden says he is running because he has been around. He again mentions his foreign policy prowess. Biden is asked if he is willing to commit to running for a second term. He said no, he would not commit to that. “Let’s see where we are then,” Biden says to loud applause.

Klobuchar raises her hand and says, “Thanks for asking a woman that question.” She goes on to say it’s not male or female that matters.

Warren is asked about the fact that she would be the oldest president ever inaugurated if she wins.

“I’d also be the youngest woman ever inaugurated,” she said.

Foreign policy

8:55 p.m. ET Dec. 19, 2019: Biden was asked about closing Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, but pivoted to explain why he is good in foreign affairs. Warren says she would close Guantanamo Bay.

Israel policy

8:50 p.m. ET Dec. 19, 2019: Sanders called for a pro-Israel and pro-Palestinian American policy.

“Israel has the right not only to exist too but exist in peace and security,” Mr. Sanders said. As the crowd began to applaud, he hastened to add, “But, but — but what U.S. foreign policy must be about is not just being pro-Israel. We must be pro-Palestinian as well.”

People of color

8:40 p.m. ET Dec. 19, 2019: It is pointed out that there is only one person of color on the stage – Andrew Yan. Yang says the problem with race is numbers – they are all against people of color, he says.

“It’s both an honor and disappointment to be the lone candidate of color on the stage tonight. I miss Kamala, I miss Cory, although I think Cory will be back. I grew up the son of immigrants and I had many racial epithets used against me as a kid. But black and Latinos have something much more powerful working against them than words. They have numbers. The average net worth of a black household is only 10 percent that of a white household. For Latinos, it’s 12 percent. If you are a black woman — it is 320 percent more likely to die from complications in childbirth. These are the numbers that define race in our country. And the question is why am I the lone candidate of color on this stage?

“Fewer than 5 percent of Americans donate to political campaigns. You know what you need to donate to political campaigns? You know what you need to donate to political campaigns? Disposable income. The way we fix it, the way we fix this is we take Martin Luther King’s message of a guaranteed minimum income, a freedom dividend of $1,000 a month for all Americans. I guarantee if we had a freedom dividend of $1,000 a month, I would not be the only candidate of color on this stage tonight.”

On to climate change

8:30 p.m. ET Dec. 19, 2019: Klobuchar is asked about climate control. She is asked if she would relocate entire cities that have had natural disasters. Steyer says he would declare a state of emergency on the first day of his administration. Buttigieg is asked the same question. He is for a carbon tax.

Biden is asked if he would sacrifice coal and gas jobs to fight climate change. He said yes because those people could get better jobs in a cleaner industry.

Sanders says we are not doing nearly enough. He says he would stop spending money on fighting other countries and fight climate change.

Warren is asked about nuclear energy - if she would use it. She said, yes, it could be used, but the greater effort should be centered on getting rid of carbon.

Yang says “we have to have nuclear on the table.”

Steyer says nuclear is not good for America because it is too dangerous and we don’t have the place to store the by-products of the industry.

Careful what you promise

8:25 p.m. ET Dec. 19, 2019: Buttigieg takes a swipe at Warren without naming her. He says Democrats must be able to deliver on grand promises such as free college, child care. He is for letting the very wealthy pay for their own college.

USMCA question

8:20 p.m. ET Dec. 19,2019: A question goes to Sanders about the United States-Mexico-Canada trade agreement. He says he will not vote for it.

Klobuchar is asked the same question and she has a different view. She says she would vote for USMCA, which was passed today because it would improve the lives of America’s farmers.

Impeachment is the first question

8:04 p.m. ET Dec. 19, 2019: “Why aren’t’ more people in favor of impeachment” is the first question.

Biden: It’s a matter of integrity, according to Biden. We have to go out and prove the case against him, Biden said.

Sanders: “I will make the case we have a president that has sold out the working families of this country,” Sanders said. He has lied thousands of times since he became president, he adds.

Warren: “I see this as a constitutional moment. We’ve seen the impact of corruption (from his administration). The question is, how are we going to run against the most corrupt president in living history. We need a candidate who can draw a sharp distinction between the Democrats and Republicans."

Klobuchar: She quotes James Madison and says “this is a global Watergate” because Trump asked a foreign leader for help.

Buttigieg: The House had no choice but to impeach, he says. We have to help people see that.

Steyer: Steyer says he was the one who started the “Need to Impeach” movement. He got 8 million people to sign petitions to get Trump impeached.

Yang: We are getting our news from different places and they are not telling the truth, Yang said. Donald Trump is not the cause of our problems, Yang said. We have to stop being obsessed with impeachment and look at the problems that got Trump elected in the first place.

The debate has started

8 p.m. ET Dec. 19, 2019: The debate is getting started.

The candidates are being introduced

7:53 p.m. ET Dec. 19, 2019: All seven candidates are on stage posing for photos. The debate begins in about seven minutes.

It’s December, but Iowa is coming

7:30 p.m. ET Dec. 19, 2019: The election season is coming fast. The Iowa caucus, the first vote of the 2020 primary season, is 46 days away.

A letter to the DNC

7:15 p.m. ET Dec. 19, 2019: USA Today is reporting that all seven candidates who qualified for the debate have signed a letter from Sen. Cory Booker, D-New Jersey, to the Democratic National Committee. The letter is asking the DNC to reconsider debate qualification standards for the January and February debates.

Live updates begin

7 p.m. ET Dec. 19, 2019: Welcome to live updates for the December Democratic debate.