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On Tuesday night, six of the top Democratic presidential candidates gathered in Des Moines for the last debate before the Iowa caucuses on February 3. 

Former Vice President Joe Biden, Sen. Bernie Sanders, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, former Mayor Pete Buttigieg, and businessman Tom Steyer all qualified for the debate, making it the smallest debate stage yet and the first without any candidates of color. 

CNN and the Des Moines Register co-hosted the debate, which was held at Drake University and moderated by CNN “Situation Room” anchor Wolf Blitzer, CNN political correspondent Abby Phillip, and Des Moines Register chief political correspondent Brianne Pfannenstiel. 

With the caucuses just three weeks away, candidates make their final pitches to Iowa caucusgoers and weighed in on the ongoing foreign policy crisis in Iran. 

While the debate was relatively time and conflict-free, here are the five most noteworthy exchanges and moments: 

Foreign policy loomed large two weeks after the US escalated tensions with Iran. All the Democratic candidates advocated for a stop to “endless wars,” and said the US should reduce its military presence in the Middle East.

Democratic debate

AP Photo/Patrick Semansky

While most candidates were on the same page that the US should try to de-escalate tensions with Iran, Sanders and Biden sparred over their respective records on voting for wars. 


Elizabeth Warren had the line of the night shutting down the notion that a woman couldn’t be elected president, a position she said Sanders expressed to her in a December 2018 meeting.

Sanders and Warren debate

Screenshot via CNN

Warren said: “The only people on this stage who have won every single election that they’ve been in are the women. Amy [Klobuchar] and me.”

Sanders has publicly denied telling Warren that he believed a woman couldn’t be elected president. 


Offstage, Michael Bloomberg’s social media team stole the show by posting funny, off-the-rails tweets that are uncharacteristic of Bloomberg’s usually serious style.

FILE PHOTO: Democratic U.S. presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg delivers remarks where he was honored by the Iron Hills Civic Association at the Richmond County Country Club in Staten Island, New York, U.S., December 4, 2019. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly/File Photo


Bloomberg, who is entirely self-funding his campaign, was not on the debate stage on Tuesday but he let his social media run loose. 



Amy Klobuchar had a slightly awkward moment when, for several seconds, she forgot the name of Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly — but quickly got past it

Amy Klobuchar

AP Photo/Patrick Semansky


At the end of the debate, Buttigieg, who is polling around 0-1% among black voters, claimed that “the black voters who know me best are supporting me.”

Pete Buttigieg

AP Photo/Patrick Semansky


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