Seven Democrats took the stage in Manchester, New Hampshire, on Friday night for the eighth Democratic debate, where they tackled a host of issues including impeachment, healthcare and the opioid crisis.
The three-hour contest at St. Anselm College comes four days before the first-in-the nation primary and marks the first meeting of Democratic candidates following the chaotic Iowa caucuses, which left Pete Buttigieg and Bernie Sanders at the top of the field.
Joining Sanders and Buttigieg on stage were Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren, Amy Klobuchar, Andrew Yang and Tom Steyer.
The Democratic presidential hopefuls tackled a wide range of topics of importance to the nation and New Hampshire voters, in particular.
Here are some standout moments:
- Standing ovation for Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman
During an exchange that began with a question about Republicans' efforts to investigate Hunter Biden, son of Joe Biden, the former vice president discussed President Trump's dismissal of Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, who testified about the president's dealings with Ukraine during the House's impeachment inquiry. He was escorted out of the White House on Friday.
"Colonel Vindman got thrown out of the White House today, walked out," Biden said. "He should be pinning a medal in Vindman and not on Rush Limbaugh. And I think we should all stand and give Colonel Vindman a show of how much we supported him. Stand up and clap for Vindman. Get up there."
The audience cheered and rose to their feet.
"That's who we are. We are not who Trump is," Biden said.
2. Democrats cheer GOP Senator Mitt Romney for impeachment vote
Several of the Democratic candidates on stage had words of praise for a Republican who is no stranger to New Hampshire and the primary: Senator and former presidential candidate Mitt Romney.
Klobuchar was the first to laud Romney, who represents Utah, for hisMr. Trump on a charge of abusing his power. Romney was the only Republican to break with his party to find the president guilty on the first impeachment charge. He voted to acquit Mr. Trump on the second charge, obstruction of Congress.
"There was a lot of courage that you saw from only a few people," Klobuchar said of difficult votes taken during the impeachment trial. "There was courage from Doug Jones, our friend from Alabama who took that tough vote. There was courage from Mitt Romney, who took a very, very tough vote."
Sanders, of Vermont, also praised Romney, saying he was the only Republican to have "the guts" to vote against Mr. Trump.
The audience cheered the GOP senator, who won the New Hampshire primary and the Republican nomination for president in 2012. He lost the state to then-President Barack Obama in the general election.
3. Biden shows love for Sanders in response to Hillary Clinton's criticism
ABC News' Linsey Davis posed a question about comments Hillary Clinton made about Bernie Sanders during an interview last month, in which she claimed "nobody likes him, nobody wants to work with him, he got nothing done."
The question prompted Joe Biden to move from behind his lectern and wrap his arm around Sanders.
Klobuchar, who the question was directed at, said of Sanders, "I like Bernie just fine," and noted her work with Sanders on the price of prescription drugs.
4. Candidates take on the Supreme Court
After seven debates, Democratic candidates for the first time engaged in an extended discussion about their plans for the U.S. Supreme Court and the issues before it, including on their potential nominees to the high court.
Biden and Sanders both said they would impose a litmus test on abortion for Supreme Court candidates
"Yes," Biden said when asked if he would have a litmus test on abortion. "Look, here's the deal, a litmus test on abortion relates to a fundamental value in the Constitution. A woman does have a right to choose."
Sanders, meanwhile, said he will never nominate any person to the Supreme Court or the federal courts in general who is not 100% pro-Roe v. Wade."
A number of the candidates, including Biden, Sanders, Senator Elizabeth Warren and Senator Amy Klobuchar, called for legislation codifying a woman's right to an abortion.
Biden took credit for the nominations of three of the four justices on the liberal wing of the bench, as well as the defeat of Robert Bork, a conservative jurist President Ronald Reagan unsuccessfully tapped for the Supreme Court in 1987.
"I was part of the reason why Elena Kagan, who worked for me, got on the Supreme Court. I was part of the reason why Ruth Bader Ginsburg is on the court. I was part of the reason why [Sonia] Sotomayor is on the court," he said. "I am the reason why this right wasn't taken away a long time ago because I almost single-handedly made sure that Robert Bork did not get on the court because he did not think there should be unenumerated rights."
Candidates were also pressed on calls to expand the number of justices on the Supreme Court.
"What I called for is not only reforming the number of justices on the bench, but structural reform so that some of the justices are not appointed through a partisan process," Buttigieg said. "We cannot allow the Supreme Court to continue to become one more political battlefield as we are seeing today."