Live Blog: Democrat Presidential Primary Debate #9 in Des Moines, Iowa


By Lambert Strether of Corrente.
Time: 9 p.m. to 11 p.m. ET.
Place: Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa.
Hosts: CNN and the The Des Moines Register.
Moderators: Wolf Blitzer (CNN anchor), Abby Philli (CNN political correspondent), Brianne Pfannenstiel (Des Moines Register chief political reporter)
Candidate Line-up:
Joe Biden (Former Vice President )Pete Buttigieg (Former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor)Amy Klobuchar (Minnesota Senator)Bernie Sanders (Vermont Senator)Tom Steyer (Squillionaire)Elizabeth Warren (Massachusetts Senator)
Stage Arrangement:

How to Watch (or Listen), from the Verge:

The debate will be live-streamed on,, and the CNNgo and Des Moines Register apps on iOS and Android. It’s also available through online streaming devices like the Apple TV, Roku, Amazon Fire, and Chromecast if you download the CNNgo app.
It will air live on CNN as well.
Readers will no doubt also have their own suggestions.
* * *
I need to do some stuff, since I plan to be present for this one, so just a few random comments:
Only six!
Amazingly, Klobuchar is still standing.
Biden is between Warren and Sanders, raising the possibilities of some interesting interplay.
And the latest on the Warren campaign’s smear of Sanders for being sexist; the Warren campaign seems to be walking it back. From Buzzfeed, “Elizabeth Warren’s Campaign Is Telling Key Supporters To De-Escalate From The Fight With Bernie Sanders“:
CLIVE, Iowa — Elizabeth Warren’s campaign is telling key online supporters that their “goal is de-escalation” and warning backers not to accuse Bernie Sanders of sexism, signaling a desire to move on from a story that has driven a rift between two longtime allies, and within the progressive community, over questions of gender and electability.

If Warren’s planted story was not meant to convey the impression that Sanders was sexist, then what on earth was the point of it all? (And in fact, everyone, on all sides, immediately drew that implication, and how not?) More:
On Monday night, about five minutes after Warren issued a statement confirming that she remembers Sanders telling her in a private meeting he didn’t believe a woman could win in 2020, one of Warren’s campaign officials advised supporters in a large pro-Warren group chat on Twitter that their next step would be to dial back the confrontation. “Re: where we go from here — our goal is de-escalation and focusing on our shared goals,” the staffer wrote to the group, according to screenshots of the chat.
So the, er, plan was for the campaign to make a quick hit, and then get out of range fast?
This is interesting, too:
At one point in a lengthy DM to the Twitter group on Tuesday morning, the Warren staffer’s description of the controversy hewed closer to Sanders’s description than Warren’s. “Claiming you’re worried a woman can’t win/flagging that she’ll receive sexist attacks is something many, many people feel,” the campaign official wrote.
So, the campaign internally had its own doubts. Walker Bragman comments:

Warren’s campaign strategy continues to baffle. If you’re going to go for the throat with an unfair attack, don’t walk it back after the damage is done. Accept the blowback and stand firm. Or, better yet, think it through beforehand.
This was a complete disaster for Warren.
— Walker Bragman (@WalkerBragman) January 14, 2020

Well, we’ll know if it was a disaster when new numbers come in. Neither Warren’s staff nor Warren herself come out of this looking good. And as we see above, when the collective counterpunch from Sanders supporters came (#RefundWarren; #NeverWarren), well before the DM meeting Buzzfeed describes, Warren flinched. Not the best way to protect her glass jaw.
It will be interesting to see how this plays out in the debate. More from Buzzfeed:
Jeff Weaver, a top adviser for Sanders’ campaign, also suggested the Sanders campaign did not want to continue the fight. “We’re not going to get into this tit-for-tat,” he said on CNN on Monday night.
Sanders and Warren, he said, “have great respect for one another, they’re fighting for a lot of the same goals, again, there were some wires crossed apparently about this story.”
So, if Sanders can come out of this visibly taking the high road, that will be good for him. (And I love Weaver’s subtle dig with “wires crossed”; unfortunately for Warren, since the campaign foolishly put her out there personally on both the “volunteers trashing” and the “Sanders is sexist” weekend assaults, instead of using surrogates, the crossed wires can only be hers.)
As usual, this post does not update; readers may track the debate in real time in comments. Please keep your comments as informative and analytical as possible. There are no points at NC for context-free one-liners (“Boo ____!”) that only those who are also watching can make sense of; that’s for Facebook or Reddit. I think it adds more value if you take a moment, use your critical thinking skills, then comment, and readers can discuss what you say. This is what the NC commentariat is so very good at, after all. Last time, the times before that, and this time. Thank you!


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