While mostly targeting Trump, some of the candidates aimed salvos at Warren, who has surged in recent polling, even overtaking Biden in some surveys of Democratic voters. For Joe Biden, it was a test of how he was weathering a barrage of attacks from President Trump; he brushed off a moderator's question, and his rivals largely avoided going after the former vice president.
But she's anxious Warren's push to the left on healthcare could unravel the support she's built.
The debate marked the return of Sanders, 78, the oldest candidate in the field, who suffered a heart attack two weeks ago and has been recuperating at home in Vermont since having stents inserted to open a blocked artery. He made no stumbles but failed to show the same fire as in previous debates.
I am seriously looking forward to the next debate, when the DNC raises the threshold for candidates to participate-amazingly, it did not do that between September and October, which is how we went from 10 to 12 candidates, majority unelectable, at a time when we should have been descending into single digits, and serious discussion. She also said she would repeal significant portions of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act that helped the rich - including the corporate tax rate cut.
Warren's more moderate Democratic rivals sought to make that case aggressively in Tuesday's debate. Amy Klobuchar, pounced, calling for an approach that stops short of fully government-funded health care.
"I appreciate Elizabeth's work but, again, the difference between a plan and a pipe dream is something you can actually get done", said Minnesota Sen.
As we seek to answer this question, we'll begin by noting that terminology and question wording matters a lot when pollsters ask Americans for their preferences.
Here's the CNN roundtable trying to get Warren to answer the taxes question. Bernie Sanders on how his sweeping health care plan - which Warren has endorsed - would be paid for. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., Sen.
The debate touched on foreign policy, too, a subject that has dominated the news in recent weeks as Trump said he was withdrawing most USA forces from Syria and then Turkey invaded the northern part of the country to attack Kurdish fighters.
Kate Payne watched the Democratic debate with a group of likely caucus goers in Cedar Rapids.
Buttigieg, who has also called for an end to endless war, said he didn't think the Iraq war was right in the first place and the time has come to leave Afghanistan, but the small number of USA special operations units in Syria were keeping peace in the region.
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"I would have a hard time today looking an Afghan civilian or soldier in the eye after what just happened over there", said Buttigieg, who served in Afghanistan. And it is undermining the honor of our soldiers. But you have not specified how you're going to pay for the most expensive plan, Medicare for All. "Tearing each other down because we have a different plan is unacceptable". With Warren seemingly trying to run the clock out, Sanders, arteries unblocked, has plenty of time to make a come back with the liberal wing of the party.
In his interview with ABC News, Hunter admitted he exhibited "poor judgement" but maintains he and his father did nothing wrong.
That relationship has become a focal point of Trump's effort to press for a Ukrainian government probe of the Bidens - an effort that was a major factor leading to the House impeachment inquiry into Trump. They will go up for big corporations.
While Warren has surged into the upper tier of candidates with former Vice President Biden and Sen.
Biden, who followed Sanders, offered a rare admission: "I agree with Bernie".
But CNN anchor Anderson Cooper asked, "If it's not OK for a president's family to be involved in foreign businesses, why was it OK for your son when you were vice-president?"
"My son did nothing wrong". But fewer candidates engaged with him on Tuesday as they trained their focus on Warren.
"At least Bernie's being honest here and saying how he's going to pay for this and that taxes are going to go up", Klobuchar said. Instead, she has stuck to publicly backing Sanders' Medicare for All - a bill that she co-sponsored in the Senate - and has not said that she will release a comprehensive health care plan of her own in the 2020 race. "I'm sorry, Elizabeth, you have not said that and I think we owe it to the American people to tell them where we're going to send the invoice". Buttigieg has qualified for the November debate, while Klobuchar has not.
Texas Rep. Beto O'Rourke and South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg spar over how to protect people from gun violence, and debate the merits of a gun buyback program.
The sharp exchanges were a sign of the heightened stakes as a dozen candidates crammed the debate stage in the electoral battleground state of Ohio.
The debates will mark Warren's first time on stage as a frontrunner after overtaking Biden in national polls as well as in some surveys in states like Iowa and New Hampshire.