In Brief

Democrat debate: Elizabeth Warren under fire in Ohio

New frontrunner faced criticism over funding plans for healthcare

Democratic frontrunner Elizabeth Warren faced intense scrutiny from her rivals for the party ticket at last night’s heated debate.

The Massachusetts senator arrived at the debate in Westerville, Ohio, effectively tied with former vice president Joe Biden in first place in recent national polls.

Proceedings opened with a show of unity over the impeachment inquiry into Donald Trump. However, the gloves were soon off, in what CNN describes as a “pile-on”.

Pete Buttigieg, mayor of South Bend, Indiana, rounded on Warren over her perceived evasiveness as to whether she would raise taxes on the middle-classes to fund her healthcare plans. 

“We heard it tonight: a yes or no question that did not get a yes or no answer,” he said. “Your signature, senator, is to have a plan for everything, except for this.”

Amy Klobuchar, a moderate, joined the fray, telling Warren: “The difference between a plan and a pipe dream is something you can actually get done.”

There was also a heated clash between Warren and her fellow frontrunner Joe Biden. As Warren boasted about her role in the creation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Biden interjected: “I went on the floor and got you votes! I got votes for that bill, I convinced people to vote for it. Let’s get that straight.”

Warren shot back: “I am deeply grateful to President Obama who fought so hard to make sure that agency was passed into law.” The Guardian says the audience “gasped and Biden chuckled, as if to acknowledge the slight”.

USA Today said the “personal attacks” came despite “calls for civility” ahead of the debate.

There was a more unified moment when Bernie Sanders, 78, the oldest candidate in the field, thanked his rivals for their well wishes as he recovered from suffering a heart attack two weeks ago. “I’m healthy, I’m feeling great,” he said.

There were a dozen candidates on stage – the largest ever number to debate on the same stage – at Otterbein University last night. Analysis suggest that eight will qualify for the next debate, in Georgia. The party nominee to take on Donald Trump will be confirmed in July next year.

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