Round four of the 2020 Democratic presidential debates, held in Westerville, Ohio, on October 15, is over and done with. The debate featured 12 candidates vying for the party’s nomination to square off against President Donald Trump next year. It was also billionaire and impeachment activist Tom Steyer’s first appearance on a debate.
The other hopefuls, who have each participated in some if not all of the previous debates, were Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts; former VP Joe Biden; Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey; Sen Bernie Sanders of Vermont; Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Indiana; former HUD secretary Julian Castro; California Sen. Kamala Harris; Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar; former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke; Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont; entrepreneur Andrew Yang; and Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard.
The debate—moderated by CNN’s Anderson Cooper and Erin Burnett, as well as The New York Times’ National editor Marc Lacey—kicked off with the topic of the impeachment inquiry into Donald Trump. The candidates also debated healthcare with progressives Sanders and Warren advocating for a single-payer Medicare for All plan, and centrists Klobuchar and Buttigieg pushing the preservation of private insurance coupled with a public option. Biden also defended his son Hunter’s involvement in the Ukrainian energy firm that is the crux of both the ongoing impeachment inquiry against Trump and a Nickelback meme.
Sanders seemed to be in fighting form in his first campaign event since recovering from a heart attack October 1, and gave his usual passionate responses despite getting less time to talk than in previous debates. The 78-year-old also earned a decent laugh break when joking about medical marijuana.
Other notable moments included Buttigieg taking shots at Warren’s healthcare proposal and O’Rourke’s mandatory assault weapon buyback policy, Gabbard wasting everyone’s time by slamming the hosts, and Cooping asked the lamest closing debate question of all time regarding surprising friendships, pegged to Ellen DeGeneres’ making headlines for hanging out with George W. Bush.
Once again, Warren and Sanders dominated the debate, although some of the other hopefuls claimed their moments, mainly by taking shots at the emerging front runner Warren. Which candidate did best?