Democratic candidates debate in Ohio

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8:21 p.m. ET, October 15, 2019

Kamala Harris says she'd vote to remove Trump from office: "It's just being observant"

Maddie McGarvey for CNN
Maddie McGarvey for CNN

Sen. Kamala Harris said she would vote to remove President Donald Trump from office if he's impeached by the House is based on "being observant."

CNN's Anderson Cooper asked if she was "being fair to the President" when she said she'd would vote to remove him.

"Well, it's just being observant. Because he has committed crimes in plain sight. I mean, it's shocking but he told us who he was," Harris said.

Harris continued: "Maya Angelou told us, 'Listen to somebody when they tell you who they are the first time.' During that election, Donald Trump told us he could shoot somebody on Fifth Avenue and get away with it. He has consistently since he won been selling out the American people."

Watch here:

8:13 p.m. ET, October 15, 2019

Warren: Trump impeachment inquiry is "bigger than politics"

CNN
CNN

The first question at tonight's debate is all about about the impeachment inquiry into President Trump.

The question: "You have said there's enough evidence for President Trump to be impeached and removed from office. But the question is, with the election one year away, why shouldn't it be the voters who determine the President's fate?"

Sen. Elizabeth Warren answered first:

"Some times there are issues that are bigger than politics, and I think that's the case with this impeachment inquiry."
8:06 p.m. ET, October 15, 2019

There will be no opening statements tonight

The 12 Democratic presidential hopefuls won't be making opening statements tonight.

Instead, the candidates are diving straight into questions.

Here are the rules:

  • Each candidate will receive 75 seconds to answer questions and 45 seconds for responses and rebuttals.
  • They will be provided 15 seconds for clarifications.

8:11 p.m. ET, October 15, 2019

The debate just started

Maddie McGarvey for CNN
Maddie McGarvey for CNN

Twelve Democratic candidates just took the stage in Ohio for tonight's debate. This is the fourth 2020 Democratic debate.

Watch here:

7:56 p.m. ET, October 15, 2019

DNC chair: Any of these candidates "would make a hell of a better president" than Trump

Tom Perez, chairman of the Democratic National Committee, took to the stage tonight to call for unity among Democrats to defeat President Trump.

"We have your back, folks, and every single depend at on this debate stage and every single candidate running for president would make a hell of a better president than this Donald Trump," he said.

Perez went on to slam Trump, saying that the President "practices the politics of division and distraction." He called Trump "chronically ineffective."

He then criticized Trump's call with the Ukrainian president, asking to investigate Joe Biden, a leading 2020 Democratic candidate, and Biden's son, Hunter.

"Mr. President, our democracy is not a bargaining chip," Perez said. "Our security is not for sale."

Watch here:

7:47 p.m. ET, October 15, 2019

Julián Castro's son is watching

One of Julián Castro's biggest fans is tuning in ahead of the debate.

Erica Lira Castro, Julián Castro's wife, tweeted a picture of his son grinning while pointing to a television tuned to CNN.

"That's my daddy right there!" she captioned the photo.

7:59 p.m. ET, October 15, 2019

What it looks like outside the debate

Demonstrators and supporters of President Trump gathered at Otterbein University in Westerville, Ohio, hours before the Democratic presidential debate.

Some demonstrators carried long rifles and others held signs as they walked through the campus.

This is what it looked like:

Gun rights supporters walk to the campus of Otterbein University on Oct. 15, 2019 in Westerville, Ohio.
Gun rights supporters walk to the campus of Otterbein University on Oct. 15, 2019 in Westerville, Ohio. Win McNamee/Getty Images

Supporters of US President Trump and gun rights supporters demonstrate in downtown Westerville, site of this evening’s Democratic presidential debate, on Oct. 15, 2019 in Westerville, Ohio.
Supporters of US President Trump and gun rights supporters demonstrate in downtown Westerville, site of this evening’s Democratic presidential debate, on Oct. 15, 2019 in Westerville, Ohio. Win McNamee/Getty Images

Gun rights supporters demonstrate on the campus of Otterbein University on Oct. 15, 2019 in Westerville, Ohio.
Gun rights supporters demonstrate on the campus of Otterbein University on Oct. 15, 2019 in Westerville, Ohio. Win McNamee/Getty Images

7:40 p.m. ET, October 15, 2019

Tom Steyer is making his debate debut tonight

Brian Blanco/Getty Images
Brian Blanco/Getty Images

Tom Steyer is new here.

The billionaire businessman and major Democratic donor, after initially declining to run for president, announced a presidential bid in July.

He has spent a staggering $30 million on digital and television ads in the first three months of his campaign, money that helped him meet both the donor and polling threshold outlined for Tuesday's debate.

And Steyer, who has centered his campaign on fixing a broken electoral and government system, isn't going anywhere: The businessman's campaign also claims to have surpassed the thresholds for November's debate, as well.

Steyer is a regular on cable television and headlined a town hall on CNN earlier this month. But standing on a debate stage with some of the Democratic Party's biggest names all around you is a different environment and one that the longtime donor has not yet experienced.

Steyer comes in with an advantage, however: Much of his political spending has been focused on Need to Impeach, an organization that aimed to encourage voters to get behind ousting the Republican president. That effort is now underway in the House, a win for Steyer.

7:29 p.m. ET, October 15, 2019

This debate stage will be the largest in modern history

The stage is prepared ahead of Democratic presidential debate inside the Clements Recreation Center at Otterbein University on Oct. 15, 2019 in Westerville, Ohio.
The stage is prepared ahead of Democratic presidential debate inside the Clements Recreation Center at Otterbein University on Oct. 15, 2019 in Westerville, Ohio. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Tonight's debate stage will be the largest in modern history, presenting candidates with the question of how to stand out when flanked by eleven other candidates.

Businessman Andrew Yang, a candidate who has garnered a devoted following, has made it a point of punctuating each debate performance with a unique moment. Yang opened September's debate by announcing that he was offering his trademark Freedom Dividend, a $1,000 a year check, to 10 people.

And Sen. Kamala Harris has come into each debate with a clear goal to make a moment. Harris, during the June debate, confronted Biden over his history on race and bussing. That moment gave Harris significant momentum, vaulting her all the way to second place in some nationals polls. But that moment proved to be a quick burst and Harris was unable to sustain the momentum.

But tonight's debate could be the last for four Democratic contenders: Klobuchar, O'Rourke, Castro and Gabbard face the reality that their limited support may not be enough for them to qualify for November's Democratic debate, making the contest in Ohio possibly their last.