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(CNN) —  

Pete Buttigieg called it “unwatchable.” Amy Klobuchar warned that “a house divided cannot stand.” Julián Castro said what was unfolding on stage was “called an election.”

Democrats met for their third debate of the 2020 presidential primary Thursday night in Houston. With the field narrowed to just 10 candidates who qualified for the stage, it was messy, and at times nasty.

The night featured Castro launching a series of risky attacks on the front-runner in national polls, former Vice President Joe Biden. It saw fellow Texan Beto O’Rourke have his best moments yet on home-state turf. And it offered another gauge of how the party’s raging debate over health care is evolving, with Biden leading the centrist candidates in fighting back more forcefully against “Medicare for All.”

Buttigieg, the South Bend, Indiana, mayor, tried at one point to pull Democrats out of the mud.

“This is why presidential debates are becoming unwatchable. Because this reminds everybody of what they cannot stand about Washington. Scoring points against each other, poking at each other, and telling each other that, ‘My plan, your plan,’” he said.

That’s when Castro, the former Housing and Urban Development secretary and the chief instigator Thursday night, interjected.

“Yeah, that’s called the Democratic Primary Election, Pete. That’s called an election. That’s an election. You know?” he said. “This is what we’re here for. It’s an election.”

Here are seven takeaways from the third Democratic debate:

1. Castro’s launches an attack on Biden

01:58 - Source: CNN
Biden, Sanders and Warren clash over health care
HOUSTON, TEXAS - SEPTEMBER 12: Democratic presidential candidates Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and former Vice President Joe Biden look on as Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) speaks during the Democratic Presidential Debate at Texas Southern University's Health and PE Center on September 12, 2019 in Houston, Texas. Ten Democratic presidential hopefuls were chosen from the larger field of candidates to participate in the debate hosted by ABC News in partnership with Univision. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
PHOTO: Win McNamee/Getty Images North America/Getty Images
HOUSTON, TEXAS - SEPTEMBER 12: Democratic presidential candidates Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and former Vice President Joe Biden look on as Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) speaks during the Democratic Presidential Debate at Texas Southern University's Health and PE Center on September 12, 2019 in Houston, Texas. Ten Democratic presidential hopefuls were chosen from the larger field of candidates to participate in the debate hosted by ABC News in partnership with Univision. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
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Democratic presidential candidate former Texas congressman Beto O'Rourke speaks during the Democratic Presidential Debate at Texas Southern University's Health and PE Center on September 12, 2019 in Houston, Texas. Ten Democratic presidential hopefuls were chosen from the larger field of candidates to participate in the debate hosted by ABC News in partnership with Univision.
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PHOTO: Win McNamee/Getty Images North America/Getty Images
HOUSTON, TEXAS - SEPTEMBER 12: Democratic presidential candidate former tech executive Andrew Yang speaks during the Democratic Presidential Debate at Texas Southern University's Health and PE Center on September 12, 2019 in Houston, Texas. Ten Democratic presidential hopefuls were chosen from the larger field of candidates to participate in the debate hosted by ABC News in partnership with Univision. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
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Democratic presidential hopeful Mayor of South Bend, Indiana, Pete Buttigieg speaks during the third Democratic primary debate of the 2020 presidential campaign season hosted by ABC News in partnership with Univision at Texas Southern University in Houston, Texas on September 12, 2019.
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HOUSTON, TEXAS - SEPTEMBER 12: Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) speaks as South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg looks on during the Democratic Presidential Debate at Texas Southern University's Health and PE Center on September 12, 2019 in Houston, Texas. Ten Democratic presidential hopefuls were chosen from the larger field of candidates to participate in the debate hosted by ABC News in partnership with Univision. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
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HOUSTON, TEXAS - SEPTEMBER 12: Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) speaks as South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg looks on during the Democratic Presidential Debate at Texas Southern University's Health and PE Center on September 12, 2019 in Houston, Texas. Ten Democratic presidential hopefuls were chosen from the larger field of candidates to participate in the debate hosted by ABC News in partnership with Univision. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
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HOUSTON, TEXAS - SEPTEMBER 12: Democratic presidential candidates Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) and South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg interact during the Democratic Presidential Debate at Texas Southern University's Health and PE Center on September 12, 2019 in Houston, Texas. Ten Democratic presidential hopefuls were chosen from the larger field of candidates to participate in the debate hosted by ABC News in partnership with Univision. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
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HOUSTON, TEXAS - SEPTEMBER 12: Democratic presidential candidate former tech executive Andrew Yang speaks during the Democratic Presidential Debate at Texas Southern University's Health and PE Center on September 12, 2019 in Houston, Texas. Ten Democratic presidential hopefuls were chosen from the larger field of candidates to participate in the debate hosted by ABC News in partnership with Univision. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
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HOUSTON, TEXAS - SEPTEMBER 12: Democratic presidential candidate former tech executive Andrew Yang speaks during the Democratic Presidential Debate at Texas Southern University's Health and PE Center on September 12, 2019 in Houston, Texas. Ten Democratic presidential hopefuls were chosen from the larger field of candidates to participate in the debate hosted by ABC News in partnership with Univision. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
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HOUSTON, TEXAS - SEPTEMBER 12: Democratic presidential candidates Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) laugh during the Democratic Presidential Debate at Texas Southern University's Health and PE Center on September 12, 2019 in Houston, Texas. Ten Democratic presidential hopefuls were chosen from the larger field of candidates to participate in the debate hosted by ABC News in partnership with Univision. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
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Much of the pre-debate hype focused on the potential for an ideological clash between Biden and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who were sharing the stage for the first time.