, 52 tweets, 18 min read Read on Twitter
Less than five minutes until the debate:

I'll be live-tweeting some observations as I watch it unfold from New York City, but a Detroit-based colleague will have coverage later on @CourthouseNews.
@CourthouseNews Sanders and Warren, who have signaled to viewers not to expect intra-left clashing, were all smiles, as the first candidates to be called out onto the stage.
@CourthouseNews Of course Detroit has an outrageously good rendition of the Star Spangled Banner.
@CourthouseNews Opening pitches:

Montana Gov. Steve Bullock introduces himself to voters for the first time, giving his centrist pitch about winning in a red state.

Veiled shots at Sanders and Warren from him. Explicit shots from Rep. John Delaney.
@CourthouseNews Klobuchar: "I have had it with the racist attacks."

She emphasizes that whatever the disagreements, all share the goal of defeating Trump.
@CourthouseNews Beto: "In the face of cruelty and fear and a lawless president," he says the country will stand up for human rights.

He talks about "successfully confronting endless war and climate change."
@CourthouseNews Buttigieg asks how Trump got "within cheating distance" of the Oval Office.

"Science tells us that we have 12 years" until "catastrophe."

Prelude to confrontation of the climate crisis this debate.
@CourthouseNews Warren: "Donald Trump disgraces the office of the president every single day."

"Our problems did not start with Donald Trump," who is part of a "corrupt, rigged system," she said.

She blasts "small ideas and spinelessness."
@CourthouseNews Sanders notes that 87 million Americans are uninsured or underinsured.

He blasts Amazon not paying federal income taxes.

"The fossil fuel industry continues to received hundreds of billions in subsidies and tax breaks," he adds.
@CourthouseNews Tapper starts questioning by asking Sanders about Medicare for All, noting Delaney called it "political suicide."

How does Sanders respond?

"You're wrong!" he twangs to Delaney, without skipping a beat.

Laugh line.
@CourthouseNews Sanders also mentioned about lower drug prices in Canada, where he took people living with diabetes recently to obtain cheaper insulin.
@CourthouseNews As expected, it's not Sanders v. Warren. It's Sanders/Warren versus the center.
@CourthouseNews Warren: "Let us be clear about this: We are the Democrats. We are not about taking health care from anyone."

She roasts Delaney's argument, obliquely, as a "Republican talking point."
@CourthouseNews Tapper asks whether Warren's "with Bernie" in raising taxes on the middle class to cover Medicare for All.

She says that taxes on the wealthy will be raised, before pivoting to a passionately about someone living with ALS, paying heavily for insurance.
@CourthouseNews The 1-minute answer format is unfair both to candidates and live-tweeters.
@CourthouseNews Like Warren, Sanders blasts the "Republican talking point" on Medicare for All, and adds:

"By the way," the health insurance industry will be advertising during the debates tonight.

(From me: I'll let you know if I see any ads.)
@CourthouseNews After Sanders said that Medicare for All will be better than the current system, Ryan interjects: You don't know that.

Sanders: I know. I wrote the damn bill!
@CourthouseNews The debate transitions from health care to immigration, where Dana Bash asks whether decriminalizing border crossing will encourage illegal immigration.

Buttigieg says no, because illegal border crossings will still be illegal.

(They would be civil violations.)
@CourthouseNews Castro memorably challenged Beto on this issue in the last debate. Beto's against decriminalization.

Warren: "The point is not criminalization. That has been a Donald Trump tool to break families apart."
@CourthouseNews Klobuchar appears to be avoiding the decriminalization issue, instead focusing on a path to citizenship.
@CourthouseNews Sanders: What Trump is doing through his racism and his xenophobia is demonizing a group of people and I will end that demonization.

Speaking of desperate families, Sanders says: "They are not criminals."
@CourthouseNews Bullock attacks Warren:

"You are playing into Donald Trump's hands," Bullock claims, saying the problem's the president, not the statutes he uses to enact his agenda.

Warren counters: "What you're saying is ignore the law. Rules matter."
@CourthouseNews Sanders notes another facet of the issue, too few immigration judges and a backlog of cases.
@CourthouseNews Don Lemon asks Buttigieg about mass shootings in the wake of Gilroy Garlic Festival shooting.

Buttigieg speaks about an event where a 13-year-old, "shaking," asked him a question about school safety.
@CourthouseNews After several candidates talk about the effect of the NRA and special interest money in politics, Williamson says that many Americans tune out: "Yada, yada, yada," she says.

She calls for public funding of elections, as we head to another commercial break.
@CourthouseNews Tapper asks Warren whether her self-identification as a capitalist was a contrast with Sanders.

She doesn't take the bait. No intra-left fight expected or happening tonight, folks.
@CourthouseNews Again, it's Sanders and Warren versus everyone to their left and their right. (They are, ironically, in the center.)

Delaney lashes out on Medicare for All, a topic from much earlier in the debate: "When we created social security, we didn't say that pensions were illegal."
@CourthouseNews Sanders line on canceling student debt elicited what sounded like loud, young cheers, at least from what I heard on the TV.
@CourthouseNews To the moderators, this debate is taking place in Detroit.
@CourthouseNews Warren: The climate crisis is the existential crisis of our world.

She makes the pitch to put 1.2 million new jobs in green manufacturing that will compete with China, slamming Hickenlooper's naysaying again as a Republican talking point.
@CourthouseNews Running theme of the questioning: Ask a centrist about a Sanders or Warren proposal.

Ryan was asked to criticize a Sanders plan to end new gas-powered car sales by 2040.

Sanders: I get a little tired of Democrats afraid of big ideas. Republicans are not afraid of big ideas.
@CourthouseNews Dana Bash pivots to the crisis in Flint. (Moderators reading @Yashar's feed?)

Klobuchar said that she would put a "trillion" into an infrastructure plan.
@CourthouseNews @yashar Williamson emphasizes: "It's bigger than Flint," identifying similar problems in South Carolina.
@CourthouseNews @yashar Question to the all-white candidates on this #DemDebate night: How do you heal the racial divide?
@CourthouseNews @yashar Beto comes out in favor of a bill studying reparations.

Don Lemon asks about Williamson's $200-$500 billion in "financial assistant."

She corrects him. It's not "assistance" but money owned.

"That's what reparations is," Williamson says.
@CourthouseNews @yashar Gepetto checkmark from CNN's fact-checker extraordinaire.
@CourthouseNews @yashar CNN runs an ad from a Trump PAC blasting "fake news media."

Marketplace of ideas, paying money to attack the dissemination of ideas.
@CourthouseNews @yashar Delaney talks about his support for the TPP, which Obama enacted and from which Trump withdrew.

Warren and Sanders both opposed.

Me: Warren elaborated on her trade ideas in her "economic patriotism" platform. More on that here. courthousenews.com/warren-counter…
@CourthouseNews @yashar Comment: Warren elaborated on her "economic patriotism" ideas the same day it was revealed that Trump's "America First" speech was edited by the UAE, with Saudi input.
@CourthouseNews @yashar Sanders boasts about his consistent opposition to trade deals, from NAFTA to TPP, and says Warren's "absolutely right."

Again, Sanders/Warren parry blows from the center.

Hickenlooper tells them nobody wins in a trade war.

More on Sanders' platform:

Buttigieg says he’ll withdraw from Afghanistan his first year in office.
Buttigieg invokes the prospect of a death of a soldier in Afghanistan who wasn’t born on 9/11, pointing to the need to end “endless war.”

Beto says he’d withdraw within “first term,” not first year.
Pharmaceutical ad airs, just as Sanders predicted in the Medicare For All section of the debate.
Delaney, in short: Everyone else is so divisive.
Hickenlooper: “What a night! I loved it.”
Klobuchar’s closing argument shares an anecdote of someone who died from the opioid crisis, which otherwise got little traction tonight.
Beto hammers the messaging: I’ll put Texas in play, a point he made earlier tonight.

Buttigieg ends on the climate crisis.
Warren talks about “big structural change” and “building a grassroots movement” across this country.

Sanders talks about defeating “most dangerous president in the history of this country,” and his trip to Canada for cheaper insulin.
The debate just finished, and the countdown clock’s already ticking for tomorrow’s debate.
Don’t know why anyone would have expected Warren and Sanders to clash, but most decidedly, that did not happen tonight.
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