Democratic debate in Iowa

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9:24 p.m. ET, January 14, 2020

Biden: "We have lost our standing in" the Middle East


Former Vice President Joe Biden addressed the latest tensions between the US and Iran and America's standing in the world at tonight's debate.

Here's what he said about the current crisis in the Middle East:

"We're in a situation where our allies in Europe are making a comparison between the United States and Iran, saying both ought to stand down, making a moral equivalence. We have lost our standing in the region. We have lost the support of our allies. The next president has to be able to pull those folks back together, re-establish our alliances and insist that Iran go back into the agreement, which I believe with the pressure applied as we put on before, we can get done," he said.

Biden went on to say that he would leave troops in the Middle East.

"I think it's a mistake to pull out the small number of troops that are there now to deal with ISIS," he said.

9:10 p.m. ET, January 14, 2020

Sanders brought up Iraq in the first question of the night


With the first question of the night, Sen. Bernie Sanders brought up foreign policy and Iraq.

CNN's Wolf Blitzer asked, "Why are you best prepared — the best prepared person on this stage to be commander in chief?"

In response, Sanders cited his opposition to the invasion of Iraq.

"I not only voted against the war, I helped lead the effort against that war," he said.

We're expecting a lot of foreign policy talk tonight: This is the first debate after President Trump's decision to order the strike that killed a senior Iranian military commander. That move is forcing Democratic presidential contenders for the first time to seriously detail their own views of foreign policy and the United States' role in the world.

9:11 p.m. ET, January 14, 2020

Sanders and Biden had a moment on stage

Edward M. PioRoda/CNN
Edward M. PioRoda/CNN

Former Vice President Joe Biden and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders shared a moment on stage as the candidates were introduced at tonight's debate.

Biden hugged Sanders and whispered, "We're close -- be careful of your arms."

Sanders laughed it off and the rest of the candidates were introduced.

9:01 p.m. ET, January 14, 2020

Tonight's debate just kicked off


The CNN/Des Moines Register Democratic presidential debate just started at Drake University in Des Moines. The candidiate are being introduced now.

Tonight's debate, which features six Democrats, is the last one before the Iowa caucuses next month.

8:54 p.m. ET, January 14, 2020

Here's who didn't qualify for the debate

In order to qualify for tonight's debate, Democratic presidential candidates needed to meet both polling and fundraising minimums.

For the polling criteria, candidates needed to receive 5% in at least four DNC-approved national or early state (Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina) polls, or receive 7% in two early state polls.

Candidates also needed to receive donations from at least 225,000 unique donors, and a minimum of 1,000 unique donors per state in at least 20 different states.

Only six candidates — Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Pete Buttigieg, Tom Steyer and Amy Klobuchar — met the criteria.

Here's who didn't make the cut:

  • Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet
  • Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg
  • Former Maryland Rep. John Delaney
  • Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard
  • Former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick
  • Businessman Andrew Yang

8:52 p.m. ET, January 14, 2020

This is what it looked like outside today's debate

Six of the Democratic presidential candidates will take the stage at tonight's debate in Iowa.

Earlier today, the candidates' supporters — as well as President Trump's — gathered at Drake University in Des Moines ahead of the debate.

Here's what it looked like:

Kerem Yucel/AFP/Getty Images
Kerem Yucel/AFP/Getty Images

Kerem Yucel/AFP via Getty Images)
Kerem Yucel/AFP via Getty Images)

Scott Olson/Getty Images
Scott Olson/Getty Images

8:50 p.m. ET, January 14, 2020

Meanwhile, Trump is holding a rally in Wisconsin


Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images
Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

As Democratic candidates gather in Iowa for tonight's debate, President Trump is holding a rally in Milwaukee.

Trump just told the crowd that he doesn’t believe Sen. Bernie Sanders told Sen. Elizabeth Warren that he didn’t believe a woman would succeed at running for president. 

“According to (Warren), Bernie said — and I don’t believe that he said this because you know, I don’t know him, I don’t particularly like him, he’s a nasty guy, but I don’t believe he said it. It’s not his deal,” Trump said. 

He continued: “She said that Bernie stated strongly that a woman can’t win for president. … I don’t believe that Bernie said that. I really don’t. … It’s not the kind of a thing he’d say.”

CNN first reported that Sanders told Warren during a private 2018 meeting that a woman wouldn’t be able to win the presidency. Sanders denied the characterization of the meeting.

8:40 p.m. ET, January 14, 2020

What the latest Iowa poll shows ahead of tonight's debate

Iowa's likely caucusgoers are closely divided between four top candidates just weeks out from the Democratic caucuses, a new CNN/Des Moines Register/Mediacom poll shows.

Here's where they stand:

They are followed by Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar (6%) and businessman Andrew Yang (5%), while the rest of the field falls at 3% or less.

Around one in eight likely caucusgoers still have no first choice, even with caucus day less than a month away. Results for the full sample of likely caucusgoers have a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3.7 percentage points.

8:32 p.m. ET, January 14, 2020

Sanders focuses on Biden ahead of debate

Bernie Sanders' campaign is not addressing the situation with Sen. Elizabeth Warren situation ahead of tonight's debate.

One top Sanders aide tells CNN that his focus tonight will be — as we’ve seen recently in public comments — on drawing sharp contrasts with former Vice President Joe Biden on his foreign policy record, especially with regard to Iraq, and on Biden's past comments and positions on social security.

About the Warren situation: Sources said Sanders told Warren in a private 2018 meeting that a woman can't win the election.

These previously unreported details from the two senators' private meeting shed new light on the careful efforts that Warren and Sanders appear to have made to manage their friendship and political rivalry even before the 2020 race was officially underway. From the start, even as both candidates were determined to capture the Democratic nomination, they were also keenly sensitive to the risk that their rivalry could divide the progressive movement.