Things turns ugly between Klobuchar and Buttigieg.
Ms. Klobuchar, who forgot the name of the Mexican president in an interview last week, reminded viewers tonight that she knows a lot of stuff.
First, she apologized for forgetting the name of Andrés Manuel López Obrador.
“I don’t think that that momentary forgetfulness actually reflects what I know about Mexico and how much I care about,” she said.
Then Ms. Klobuchar made clear that she knows a lot of things.
“I first want to say greetings to President López Obrador,” she said. “Secondly, what I meant by the game of Jeopardy is that I meant we could all come up with things. You know, how many members are there in the Israeli Knesset? 120. Who is the president of Honduras? Hernandez.”
Mr. Buttigieg jumped in to attack Ms. Klobuchar.
“You’re on the committee that oversees border security,” he said, turning to the Minnesotan. “You’re on the committee that does trade. You’re literally in the part of the committee that’s overseeing these things. And we’re not able to speak to the first thing about the politics to our south.”
Ms. Klobuchar replied, “Are you saying I’m dumb? Are you mocking me here Pete?”
Ms. Warren, who earlier in the evening attacked Ms. Klobuchar on health care policy, jumped in to defend her, saying she just had a spell of forgetfulness.
“Let’s be clear, missing a name all by itself does not indicate that you do not understand what’s going on and I just think that’s a mistake,” she said.
Mr. Biden tried to jump in with a patented “Come on, man,” saying that he was the only candidate onstage who has met Mr. López Obrador.
It appeared that all six candidates were yelling at once. Ms. Klobuchar looked angry. It was the spiciest moment of a debate that has been rollicking for nearly an hour.
Warren rips into Bloomberg on record of women and non-disclosure agreements.
Ms. Warren slammed Mr. Bloomberg for his past record with women employees and the non-disclosure agreements that an unknown number have signed after he noted some of the prominent women he had employed at City Hall and his company.
“I hope you heard what his defense was. I’ve been nice to some women,” Ms. Warren said.
Then she demanded he release those women who have signed non-disclosure agreements from them.
“What we need to know is what exactly is lurking out there,” she said. “Mr. Mayor, are you willing to release all those women from those nondisclosure agreements so we can hear their side of the story?”
Mr. Bloomberg steadfastly refused.
“Maybe they didn’t like a joke I told,” Mr. Bloomberg said of the women’s objections. “They signed those agreements,” he added.
“Some is how many?” Ms. Warren pressed.
“I’m sorry,” she went on. “The question is, are the women bound by being muzzled by you and could you release them from that immediately? Understand, this is not just a question of the mayor’s character. This is also a question about electability.”
Mr. Bloomberg stayed the course: “I said we’re not going to end these agreements because they were made consensually.”
Bloomberg: “I can’t go to Turbo Tax.”
Mr. Bloomberg, in an echo of President Trump, said his tax returns are too complicated to immediately release to the public. He pledged to release them “in a few weeks.”
“Fortunately or unfortunately I make a lot of money and we do business all around the world. The number of pages will probably be in the thousands of pages. I can’t go to Turbo Tax,” he said.
Ms. Klobuchar pointed out that her husband, a law professor, does their family’s tax returns himself. She said: “I think you’ve got to come forward with your tax returns.”
Ms. Warren, shouting to be heard, demanded Mr. Bloomberg get his staff to “work overtime” to make his returns available.
Mr. Bloomberg claimed that he made tax returns available every year he was mayor of New York. But that’s not entirely true. When he was in office he allowed reporters to view one page of his returns but not the entirety of his returns, as the other Democratic presidential candidates have done.
Sanders says Bloomberg has “two stents” too.
The two oldest candidates onstage, Mr. Sanders and Mr. Bloomberg, have something else in common, Mr. Sanders pointed out: two stents inserted in their hearts.
“I think the one area maybe that Mayor Bloomberg and I share, you have two stents as well,” Mr. Sanders said.
“Twenty-five years ago,” Mr. Bloomberg jumped in.
Mr. Buttigieg, who is about four decades younger, offered to take a physical and said his rivals were following President Trump and lowering the standards of health information released.
“He said just a letter from a doctor is enough. A lot of folks on this stage are now saying that’s enough. But I am certainly prepared to get a physical, put out the results. I think everybody here should be willing to do the same,” he said.
Klobuchar on the defensive.
After a long discussion about Mr. Bloomberg’s record on racial justice in policing, the moderator Chuck Todd put Ms. Klobuchar on the defensive for her time as the top prosecutor in Minneapolis.
Ms. Klobuchar reiterated her call for local officials to reopen an investigation of the conviction of a black teenager.
“I’ll start with that case. It is very clear that any evidence, if there is new evidence, even old evidence, it should be reviewed by that office, the county attorney,” she said. “I have called for the review.”
Then Ms. Klobuchar expressed some regret for not prosecuting any of the shootings of black and Latino men by the police while she was a prosecutor. She said she will have to earn the trust of voters of color, few of whom support her, polls show.
“This is going to be on me to earn it,” she said. “You earn it with what you stand for when it comes to equal opportunity. You earn it with the work I have done, the leadership I’ve shown on voting rights and, yes, you earn it with the work that must be done on criminal justice reform.”
Bloomberg expresses remorse and rivals pounce on stop-and-frisk.
Mr. Bloomberg gave a long answer about his support of stop-and-frisk during his mayoralty, saying he was “embarrassed” by it in hindsight.
“I thought that my first responsibility was to give people the right to live,” he said, while arguing he did begin phasing out the police tactic by the end of his administration.
“I’ve talked to a number of kids who have been stopped. I’m trying — was trying to understand how we change our policy so we can keep the city safe. The crime rate did go from 650 down to 300. We have to keep a lid on crime, but we cannot go and stop people indiscriminately,” he said.
The apology, which Mr. Bloomberg looked uneasy delivering, did not satisfy his rivals.
“It’s not whether he apologizes or not. It’s abhorrent,” Mr. Biden said of the policy, adding, “Let’s get something straight. The reason that stop and frisk changed is because Barack Obama sent moderators to see what was going on.”
Ms. Warren spoke next.
“This isn’t about how it turned out,” Ms. Warren said to Mr. Bloomberg. “This is about what it was designed to do to begin with. It targeted communities of color. It targeted black and brown men from the beginning. And if you want to issue a real apology, then the apology has to start with the intent of the plan as it was put together.”
She accused him of “willful ignorance, day by day by day” as he defended the policy.
“You need a different apology,” she concluded
Bloomberg and Biden tangle over Obamacare.
In their latest scrap, Mr. Bloomberg and Mr. Biden went after each other about whether Mr. Bloomberg did or didn’t support the Affordable Care Act.
Mr. Bloomberg pronounced himself “a big fan of Obamacare.” He recalled that he advocated for the health care law in Washington in 2009.
But Mr. Biden shot back that Mr. Bloomberg, after the law was enacted, called it “a disgrace.” “You can go look it up,” Mr. Biden said.
Warren eviscerates her opponents on health care.
Ms. Warren, whose support for “Medicare for all” has proved a political liability since October, went on the offensive against her opponents’ plans in a new and aggressive fashion.
The argument she delivered — that Ms. Warren not only has a plan but a plan to enact it — is one that her allies have pressed her to make for months.
“Mayor Buttigieg really has a slogan that was thought up by his consultants to paper over a thin version of a plan that would leave millions of people unable to afford their health care. It’s not a plan, it’s a power point. And Amy’s plan is even less — it’s like a Post-it note,” she said.
“Bernie has started, very much has a good start,” she continued, “but instead of expanding and bringing in more people to help, instead his campaign relentlessly attacks everyone who asks a question or tries to fill in details about how to actually make this work. And then his own advisers say, probably won’t happen anyway.”
Her rivals appeared taken aback.
“I’m more a Microsoft Word guy,” Mr. Buttigieg said.
“I take personal offense because Post-it notes were invented in my state,” Ms. Klobuchar said.
Ms. Warren got the last word and went into details and hit them all again, noting Ms. Klobuchar’s plan is “two paragraphs” and told the story of meeting a man in Reno who can’t pay for his insulin.
A whiff of desperation in the Democratic pile-on.
The first 20 minutes of tonight’s debate showed one thing: The candidates who have been running for president for the good part of a year have become desperate.
The combination of the arrival of Mr. Bloomberg on the debate stage and the reality that Mr. Sanders is poised to break away from the pack has resulted in a cocktail of conflict — every candidate onstage has attacked somebody else before the first commercial break.
Mr. Sanders, in his opening remarks, breathed fire at Mr. Bloomberg. Mr. Buttigieg took shots at Mr. Bloomberg and Mr. Sanders. Ms. Klobuchar and Mr. Biden took shots at Mr. Bloomberg. And Ms. Warren ticked through the stage, firing at Mr. Bloomberg for a history of sexist comments and backing racially insensitive policies and at Mr. Buttigieg and Ms. Klobuchar — who had been her ally in previous debates — for their health care proposals.
In a sign of how far he has fallen, nobody has attacked Mr. Biden so far — who for months had been the front-runner in the Democratic presidential contest.
It’s all led to a seemingly unsustainable pace of personal and political attacks between candidates who have for months preached unity in the idea that the most important thing is defeating Mr. Trump.
Buttigieg targets both Sanders and Bloomberg.
Mr. Buttigieg tried to rise above the fray after a brutal opening round where multiple candidates ripped into Mr. Bloomberg. But Mr. Buttigieg quickly targeted him — as well as his chief rival in the race, Mr. Sanders.
“We could wake up two weeks from today, the day after Super Tuesday, and the only candidates left standing will be Bernie Sanders and Mike Bloomberg,” Mr. Buttigieg said. “Let’s put forward somebody who is actually a Democrat. We shouldn’t have to choose between one candidate who wants to burn this party down and another candidate who wants to buy this party out.”
Mr. Sanders hit back by targeting Mr. Buttigieg over some of his donors.
“Maybe it’s time for the working class of this country to have a little bit of power in Washington rather than your billionaire campaign contributors,” Mr. Sanders said.
“As a matter of fact, you’re the one who is at war with the culinary union right here in Las Vegas,” Mr. Buttigieg said.
“We have more union support than you could ever dream of,” Mr. Sanders said.
Mr. Buttigieg would not let up, insisting that Mr. Sanders should act to stop some of his supporters who attack opponents online. “Leadership is about what you draw out of people. It’s about how you inspire people to act,” Mr. Buttigieg said. “I think you have to accept some responsibility and ask yourself what it is about your campaign in particular that seems to be motivating this behavior more than others.”
Ms. Klobuchar quickly weighed in. “I have an idea of how we can stop sexism on the internet. We could nominate a woman for candidate for president of the United States. I think that might go a long way if we showed our stuff as a party,” Ms. Klobuchar said.
With first question, Sanders and Warren harshly attack Bloomberg.
It took less than 10 minutes for Mr. Bloomberg’s opponents to take the multibillionaire to task, with Mr. Sanders questioning stop-and-frisk, Ms. Warren eviscerating him as a sexist, Ms. Klobuchar complaining of his campaign’s calls for her to quit and Mr. Biden saying he did not actually manage New York City very well.
“In order to beat Donald Trump we’re going to need the largest voter turnout in the history of the United States. Mr. Bloomberg had policies in New York City of stop and frisk, which went after African-American and Latino people in an outrageous way. That is not a way you’re going to grow voter turnout,” Mr. Sanders said.
Mr. Bloomberg replied by stating flatly that Mr. Sanders would lose to President Trump.
“You don’t start out by saying I’ve got 160 million people I’m going to take away the insurance plan that they love. That’s just not a way that you go and start building the coalition that the Sanders camp thinks they can do,” Mr. Bloomberg said.
Ms. Warren piled on Mr. Bloomberg even more aggressively.
“I’d like to talk about who we’re running against, a billionaire who calls women fat broads and horse-faced lesbians. I’m not talking about Donald Trump. I’m talking about Mayor Bloomberg,” she said.
She was just getting started.
“Democrats are not going to win if we have a nominee who has a history of hiding his tax returns, of supporting racist polls like redlining and stop-and-frisk. I’ll support whoever the democratic nominee is. But understand this, Democrats take a huge risk if we just substitute one arrogant billionaire for another,” Ms. Warren said.
Ms. Klobuchar expressed outrage at the suggestion from the Bloomberg campaign that she and other centrist candidates should step aside for him.
“I think we need something different from Donald Trump,” she said. “I don’t think we look at Donald Trump and say we need someone richer in the White House.”
Mr. Biden offered his two cents: “The mayor says he has a great record, that he’s done these wonderful things. The fact of the matter is he has not managed his city very well when he was there.”
The candidates are taking the stage.
The six Democratic candidates walked out single file to audience applause. The newcomer onstage, Mr. Bloomberg, smiled tightly and waved a few times; by contrast, the other candidates grinned far more and waved enthusiastically. Mr. Bloomberg stood next to Ms. Warren, who has been a sharp critic of his campaign; they did not appear to engage with each other at any length.
Bloomberg’s first debate. How will he fare?
LAS VEGAS — Mr. Bloomberg hasn’t been a candidate for office in more than a decade. His last election and his last time on the debate stage were in 2009.
That long absence leaves a lot of rough edges to smooth out ahead of Wednesday night, which will probably be the first time the majority of viewers hear him speak at length. And that introduction — right foot or wrong foot — could say a lot about whether his recent rise in the polls will be sustainable.
Since he left office as mayor of New York on New Year’s Day 2014, he has led a relatively unchallenged existence. He runs his private data and information company, Bloomberg L.P., largely as he sees fit. If he agrees to an interview, he picks the outlet himself, sticking to a group of high-profile, high-prestige New York-based journalists like Steve Croft of “60 Minutes.”
Aides involved in his debate prep have worried that he isn’t prepared to handle the kind of sustained criticism and questioning about his record he will face onstage. And if he can’t impress the many Americans who know little about him other than that he is a billionaire former mayor of the nation’s largest city, his surge may prove ephemeral.
Sanders has gained in post-New Hampshire polling.
Mr. Sanders has improved his standing in national polls since his victory in the New Hampshire primary, raising the possibility that he could amass a commanding or even insurmountable delegate lead on Super Tuesday in two weeks.
Mr. Sanders held 30 percent of the vote, nearly double his nearest rivals for the Democratic presidential nomination, in an average of three post-New Hampshire live-interview national surveys sponsored by ABC/Washington Post, NBC/Wall Street Journal and NPR/PBS/Marist College. The polls also had good news for President Trump, whose approval ratings have hit the highest point since the early days of his term.
The results suggest that Iowa and New Hampshire not only helped Mr. Sanders, but also left his moderate opposition in disarray heading into tonight’s debate, with five candidates between 8 percent and 16 percent of the vote.
Many of Mr. Sanders’s opponents have an incentive to attack one another, rather than the Vermont senator. And Mr. Bloomberg has been a focal point of attack this week, leaving Mr. Sanders relatively unscathed.
Sanders suggests he won’t release his full medical records.
Mr. Sanders is facing new pressure to release his full medical records, more than four months after he had a heart attack while campaigning and vowed he would provide “comprehensive” records on his health.
When asked during a CNN town hall on Tuesday night if he would release more medical records, Mr. Sanders, 78, responded, “I don’t think we will, no.” He said that what he had already disclosed about his health was in line with what other candidates had done.
A campaign spokeswoman, facing questions on CNN on Wednesday morning about whether Mr. Sanders would release his medical records, claimed without evidence that Mr. Bloomberg had “suffered heart attacks in the past.” In the CNN interview, Briahna Joy Gray, the national press secretary for the Sanders campaign, likened the calls for Mr. Sanders to disclose more information on his health to a smear campaign.
In response, Mr. Bloomberg’s campaign manager, Kevin Sheekey, accused Mr. Sanders’s campaign of “spreading an absolute lie that Mike had heart attacks,” calling Ms. Gray’s remarks “completely false.”
The Nevada caucuses could see record turnout.
Nevada Democrats announced that more than 70,000 people cast ballots during the state’s early voting period, raising expectations that the party could see record levels of participation in the caucuses this year.
The early-voting period, which lasted four days, was a new addition that was designed to expand access to the caucuses. For the first time, Democrats could show up at 55 locations across the state and record their vote before the official caucuses on Saturday.
Four years ago, about 84,000 Nevada Democrats participated in the caucuses. That was about 30 percent fewer than the 118,000 who caucused in 2008, when the caucuses were first scheduled for early in the nominating calendar and the state became much more of a primary battleground.
Lower-than expected turnout in the Iowa caucuses raised concerns among some Democrats who fear it shows a lack of enthusiasm for their party’s candidates.
In Iowa, the numbers barely exceeded the 2016 rate. A week later, New Hampshire voters reported turnout on par with that of the past two cycles in which only one party had a competitive primary.
Biden and Bloomberg battle on Twitter.
Tensions between Mr. Biden and Mr. Bloomberg reached a boiling point on Wednesday, hours ahead of the debate, as Mr. Biden and his campaign blasted the former mayor over his past skepticism of President Barack Obama, while the Bloomberg camp reminded Mr. Biden of kind remarks he had previously made about the New York billionaire.
Mr. Biden tweeted out a video that highlighted past critical remarks Mr. Bloomberg had made about Mr. Obama, and included photographs of Mr. Bloomberg with Mr. Trump. “Money can’t rewrite history,” the spot blared.
The Bloomberg camp, meanwhile, released its own spot capturing Mr. Biden praising Mr. Bloomberg. “We are honored to have Joe’s support,” came a mocking tweet from the Bloomberg campaign account.
At his first stop of the day, a church breakfast, Mr. Biden declined to answer shouted questions from reporters about Mr. Bloomberg or another top rival, Mr. Sanders. But by later that morning, after joining union workers on a picket line in Las Vegas, Mr. Biden was sharper in his criticism of Mr. Bloomberg, who has run ads featuring Mr. Obama.
“The truth is he’s basically been a Republican his whole life,” Mr. Biden said of Mr. Bloomberg, who has been a Republican, an independent and a Democrat and endorsed Mr. Obama in 2012 despite having voiced criticisms of him.
“The fact of the matter is he has — he didn’t endorse Barack or me when we ran,” Mr. Biden said. “This is a guy talking about, you know, using Barack’s pictures like, you know, they’re good buddies. I’m going to talk about his record.”
Asked whether he believed Mr. Sanders should release additional medical records — something Mr. Sanders indicated on Tuesday that he opposed — Mr. Biden replied, “Transparency’s important across the board.”
Klobuchar visits a picket line ahead of the debate.
The union members linked arms with campaign staff members along a picket line on Wednesday morning. Their goal: Protect Ms. Klobuchar.
Multiple candidates visited a Culinary Workers Union, Local 226 picket line outside the Palms Casino Resort here amid a continuing battle over a new contract with the casino’s owner.
But the candidates were often swarmed by local, national and foreign journalists as they slowly walked along the line. As Ms. Klobuchar faced an amoebic media scrum three rows deep, often with cameras thrust inches from the 5-foot-4 senator’s face, movement and interaction with union members quickly proved a tall task. So campaign workers and nearby union members held hands and forced open space for the senator to simply walk.
The candidate did answer a few shouted questions, including her plans for the newest candidate on the debate stage: Mr. Bloomberg.
“I’m glad he’s up there, because he’s going to have to answer questions like the rest of us have been doing for an entire year,” Ms. Klobuchar said. “I’ve always been the one to say that you shouldn’t be able to buy your way into the presidency, and that the measure of a good president isn’t the biggest bank account, it’s the best ideas and who can actually put those ideas into action.”
About halfway down the picket line, Ms. Klobuchar spotted some familiar union members.
“I recognize you!” she shouted before beelining for them, making time for a hug and handshake.
They smiled and gestured for a picture. Ms. Klobuchar obliged, sidling next to them as a friend gripped a cellphone to snap a picture of the three.
Behind them, about a dozen cameras clicked away.