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3 Organizers for 3 Candidates, Under One Roof: This Is Campaigning in Iowa

Westlake Legal Group 00howardcounty1-facebookJumbo 3 Organizers for 3 Candidates, Under One Roof: This Is Campaigning in Iowa Warren, Elizabeth Voting and Voters Primaries and Caucuses Presidential Election of 2020 Iowa Democratic Party Buttigieg, Pete (1982- ) Biden, Joseph R Jr

RICEVILLE, Iowa — Charles Uffelman, a bearded and burly Tennessean who is working in Iowa for Elizabeth Warren, stirred gravy on a stovetop while biscuits rose in the oven.

Jared Sherman, a Pete Buttigieg organizer in a checked lumberjack shirt, scrambled eggs.

Bryan McNamara, a staff member for Joseph R. Biden Jr. who is fond of a light leather jacket in the Midwest winter, poured strong coffee.

“I love these guys, I love organizing alongside them,” Mr. Uffelman said as he and the others prepared a country breakfast on a recent weekday morning.

The Democratic presidential candidates may have thrown some sharp elbows on a debate stage in Des Moines last week. But two and a half hours away, in a farmhouse beneath a wind turbine, with the odor of a hog farm wafting across a rural road, field organizers for three of the combatants have found a way to coexist in harmony as housemates.

“It helps we all have thick skin,” said Mr. McNamara, who has added 8,000 miles and a coat of dust to a sedan with New York plates. “Being able to come home and, you know, if I had a rough day, being able to talk to people and see that we’re all having similar challenges out here — it’s not just our candidate or our campaign — there are issues with rural organizing that we all encounter.”

The monthslong buildup to Iowa’s first-in-the-nation nominating contest, and the challenges of turning out voters to more than 1,000 caucus sites on Feb. 3, have led to a culture of grass-roots organizing in the state unlike anywhere else. All four leading Democratic campaigns, including Bernie Sanders’s team, have dispatched small armies of field organizers, mostly idealistic young people from out of state, to embed themselves in communities.

Mr. McNamara is an organizer for former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr.Credit…Jordan Gale for The New York Times Mr. Sherman is an organizer for Pete Buttigieg, the former mayor of South Bend, Ind.Credit…Jordan Gale for The New York Times

They knock on doors, hold meet-ups of potential supporters and otherwise build out networks of volunteers who play a large part in determining the results of the caucuses. Lack of an Iowa ground game in 2016 was a big part of why Donald J. Trump finished second in the state despite leading in pre-caucus polls. Barack Obama’s enormous organizing footprint in 2008 was largely why his margin of victory exceeded expectations.

“You have to build community around the campaign — it has to feel like a family,” said Mr. Uffelman, 26, the Warren organizer, who has joined a local Methodist church in an effort to meet people and become known.

Mr. McNamara, 22, the Biden representative, held a potluck dinner for volunteers he recruited and people just considering the former vice president. “I love community events that pull our supporters together but also don’t put pressure on them to just make it about the candidate,” he said.

Laura Hubka, who has opened her large home to the organizers rent-free since October, in a windswept region on the Minnesota border, is chairwoman of the Howard County Democratic Party. An area of declining population with many older rural voters, Howard County is famous in political circles for having swung more jarringly than any county in America from Mr. Obama to Mr. Trump. It voted for Mr. Obama by a 21 percentage point margin in 2012 and for Mr. Trump by 20 — a 41-point gyration.

“I’ve been asked 300 times what happened,” Ms. Hubka said. The closest she’s come to an answer is that the Obama-Trump vote was a fed-up rejection of both parties by people who had lost faith in government. The county seat, Cresco, is a town of fewer than 4,000 rarely visited by presidential candidates. A wall mural of standout local wrestlers represents community pride, but downtown storefronts are increasingly going dark.

Also, there was a lot of “Hillary hate” in 2016, Ms. Hubka acknowledged. “We were chased out of yards with rakes while door knocking.”

Some of that sentiment still lingers. Mr. McNamara told of knocking at the door of an older woman who had caucused for Mr. Biden in 2008, only to be turned away by a family member, who shouted: “She doesn’t want to talk to you. Trump 2020!”

“That’s one of those experiences where I said, O.K., this is real,” said Mr. McNamara, who grew up in New York’s Hudson Valley.

Ms. Hubka, 55, an ultrasound technician married to a long-haul truck driver, was a Sanders supporter four years ago, when Howard County Democrats gave the Vermont senator 54 percent of their caucus vote. After the general election, she quit the state party central committee in frustration over the factionalism between supporters of Mr. Sanders and Hillary Clinton.

But she did not stay away long from activism. Ms. Hubka endorsed Mr. Buttigieg, the first county chair in Iowa to do so. She believes Mr. Buttigieg, the former mayor of South Bend, Ind., can bridge the divisiveness in her party, in Howard County and in the country.

She does not demonize Trump voters, who include friends and family members. She ticks off some who regret their choice: the husband of a dietitian at the medical center where she works. A conservative official at the Chamber of Commerce angry at the lack of fiscal restraint under Republicans. A “shirttail uncle” of her husband’s, a small farmer hurt by tariffs, who she said “came up to me and put his fist down on the table” and declared he would not vote for Mr. Trump again.

Such voters are not hard to find in Howard County, even if far from the majority. They include Sara Burke, who plans to participate in her first Democratic caucus next month, an abrupt reversal in her short voting history. Ms. Burke, 38, cast her first ballot ever for president in 2016 for Mr. Trump.

At the time, she said, she was “terrified” that Muslim extremists would harm her family in rural Iowa, a fear driven by Mr. Trump that even her 11-year-old son echoed. “He legitimately felt fear; it’s horrible as a parent,” she said.

Her disappointment set in early. She described the president’s bullying speech and braggadocio as “disgusting.”

Mr. Uffelman prepared to canvass for Senator Elizabeth Warren.Credit…Jordan Gale for The New York Times The three talked over breakfast before starting work.Credit…Jordan Gale for The New York Times

“Democrat or Republican, I can’t support anybody like that,” she said.

The auto parts factory where Ms. Burke works is near full employment, running three shifts, but she said her income from a $21.50 an hour job is barely above the line that would entitle her children to subsidized school lunches. “If I’m at one of the best paying places around here, I should be able to be grateful and do my job and pay for the lunches and not have to need help,” she said. “It’s crazy to me.”

Last year Ms. Burke became active in the political wing of the United Automobile Workers union. She concluded the president was anti-worker. “What I really realize now, and didn’t before, is if he had his way, my God, our children would be working right alongside of us and none of us would be making any money, there would be no union,” she said.

“From what I was paying attention to and where I was getting my information,” Ms. Burke recalled of 2016, “I was not informing myself well at all.”

Neil Shaffer, the chairman of the Republican Party in Howard County, said he saw no signs of a “Trump revolt.” He predicted the general election would turn on the tone of the two major candidates, in a county where many voters have weak partisan identity and dislike divisiveness. “I think honestly this election will have more to do with personalities than with issues,” he said.

Ms. Hubka is not optimistic the county will swing back to the Democrats in November. If she can shave 10 points off Mr. Trump’s 2016 margin, that would be a victory, she said. “I think it’s going to be a horrible, nasty election,” she said.

Even though she favors Mr. Buttigieg, she welcomes all of the organizers staying under her roof. “One of these three people’s candidates is going to be the nominee,” she said.

Usually after dinner, her three lodgers head upstairs to separate rooms to log data from their day or work the phones. “They call until 9, which I’ve advised against because Iowans don’t like to be called after 8,” Ms. Hubka said.

Late at night, the organizers drift down to a bar in the basement. They walk a fine line in talking shop — swapping general stories without sharing details about the caucusgoers they’ve recruited or the canvassing scripts used by their campaigns. “We talk about what we’re doing without actually talking about what we’re doing,” Mr. Uffelman, the Warren organizer, said.

All three find that some of the best parts of the job are the lengthy conversations that rural residents are willing to engage in. Mr. Uffelman, in his Southern lilt, recalled speaking for 30 minutes to a farmer fixing a tractor, who had concerns about his health care and corruption in the farm economy. Mr. Uffelman persuaded him to support Ms. Warren, the Massachusetts senator.

“I’m a farm boy, I grew up on a farm, and you know, being able to talk about what his job is like,” he said, “that’s my favorite part of organizing — you get to hear the story.”

The three men said they have never debated among themselves the No. 1 issue for many Democrats: Who is most electable in November?

“We’ll say, well, I know my candidate’s most electable,” Mr. McNamara said to laughter.

“I think that’s why this dynamic works,” Mr. Sherman, 28, the Buttigieg organizer, who is an Ohio native, said. “Yes, we’re on different teams now, and yes, we think our candidate is the best person to move forward. But once our party has a nominee, we have to work with each other.”

Mr. Sherman’s laptop is a collage of stickers for candidates he has worked for. He said the housemates hope to stay together after Iowa and through Election Day.

“I’m trying to get these guys to come to Ohio,” Mr. Sherman said.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Bad Timing for Jury Duty

Westlake Legal Group 16onpolitics-pm-facebookJumbo Bad Timing for Jury Duty Warren, Elizabeth Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Sanders, Bernard Presidential Election of 2020 Klobuchar, Amy Iowa Bennet, Michael Farrand

Last January, Representative Rashida Tlaib of Michigan exploded onto the national political scene with her expletive-laden cry to impeach President Trump. A little more than a year later, senators arrived in their chamber today to somberly sign an oath to deliver “impartial justice” in Mr. Trump’s impeachment trial.

It’s a moment that many Democrats have been waiting months — even years — to see. But for the four senators running for president, it’s also a moment they wish could have happened just a couple of months sooner.

The rules for senators at the trial are firm: six days a week in the Senate chamber, no cellphones, no talking.

It’s hard to overstate how big a problem this is for the candidates serving as jurors. In Iowa, where the caucuses are less than three weeks away, the four leading contenders are locked in a dead-heat race, polling shows.

Two can keep campaigning without restrictions: Joe Biden, the former vice president, and Pete Buttigieg, the former mayor of South Bend, Ind. The other two will most likely be stuck in Washington much of the time: Senators Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts.

And unlike voters in big states (think Texas or California, where advertising is king), Iowans expect to see their candidates up close. In their living rooms. At their farms and their ethanol plants. Or at the very least, in a banquet hall somewhere.

David Axelrod, one of the architects of Barack Obama’s underdog win in the state in 2008, said Mr. Obama campaigned until he lost his voice, meeting thousands of voters in the final week before the caucuses.

“It was like, meet everyone you can meet, go everywhere you can go,” he recalled. “That personal contact closing the sale is really important.”

So, this is not the time any candidate wants to be locked in a room with 99 other senators, forbidden to speak or even to look at a phone. And no one knows exactly how long the trial will last.

White House aides hope the process will wrap up by the State of the Union address on Feb. 4, the day after the Iowa caucuses. But top Senate Republicans have indicated that they expect the trial could easily extend past then, running into the New Hampshire primary and maybe even beyond if the Senate votes to call witnesses.

The campaigns are trying to make the best of a bad situation, chartering planes for middle-of-the-night flights back to Washington and organizing town hall events hosted via phone or video chat. Mr. Sanders plans to leverage his social media following by hosting live-stream events. (In the first week of January, Mr. Sanders’s live streams received 6.5 million views, according to his campaign.)

They’re also dispatching top surrogates, like Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York for Mr. Sanders and Representative Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts for Ms. Warren.

But, of course, supporting cast members can never really replace the star of the show.

The dynamic is probably most damaging to Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, who lacks the national brands of Mr. Sanders and Ms. Warren and has predicated her success on a strong finish in Iowa, where she is polling in fifth place. Senator Michael Bennet of Colorado, who has less than 1 percent support in the polls, will also be pulled off the campaign trail.

Meanwhile, Mr. Biden and Mr. Buttigieg plan to spend much of the next three weeks in Iowa.

Aides to Mr. Biden say the trial could be an asset, reminding voters that Mr. Trump fears Mr. Biden as a political opponent. (Revelations that Mr. Trump tried to collect political dirt on Mr. Biden and his family from Ukrainian officials kicked off the impeachment inquiry.) They’ve released a new ad arguing that Mr. Trump is “obsessed” with their candidate.

Mr. Buttigieg is planning to spend 15 of the 18 days before the caucuses barnstorming the state.

“I’ll leave it to the analysts to figure out the political impacts,” Mr. Buttigieg said in Iowa on Wednesday. “We’re going to use every moment available to us to continue making the case and to continue listening to voters.”

For Ms. Warren and Mr. Sanders, there might be a tiny sliver of sunshine in all this impeachment doom. The hearings will distract from their escalating — and mutually distracting — feud.

“I have no further comment on this,” Ms. Warren told reporters at the Capitol today when asked about her relationship with Mr. Sanders. “We are here right now at an important moment in American history. And that’s what we need to keep our focus on.”


Drop us a line!

We want to hear from our readers. Have a question? We’ll try to answer it. Have a comment? We’re all ears. Email us at onpolitics@nytimes.com.


With impeachment racing ahead, it can be hard to keep track of the daily stream of new developments. So our colleagues from the Impeachment Briefing newsletter have generously volunteered to catch us up every Thursday on what has happened during the week.

  • The case has moved to the Senate. This week the House of Representatives formally delivered to the Senate two articles of impeachment charging President Trump with abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. Chief Justice John Roberts, who will preside over the trial, was sworn in, and then administered an oath to the senators.

  • Democrats picked their managers. Speaker Nancy Pelosi appointed a team of seven so-called impeachment managers, members of Congress who will act as prosecutors and present the House’s case against Mr. Trump before the Senate. There were some predictable picks, like Representatives Adam Schiff and Jerrold Nadler, along with some surprises, including the first-term members Jason Crow and Sylvia Garcia.

  • More evidence came out. House Democrats released dozens of pages of documents that detailed efforts in Ukraine by Rudy Giuliani, Mr. Trump’s personal lawyer, and his associates. The revelations brought even more intense calls from Senate Democrats to allow new evidence and witnesses to be introduced in the trial.

  • The trial starts next week. Senator Mitch McConnell, the majority leader, said the trial would begin in earnest next Tuesday, and Senate leaders said they expected it to last three to five weeks. Unlike the House hearings, though, the Senate proceedings will provide little room for grandstanding — senators will submit their questions in writing.

You can sign up for the Impeachment Briefing newsletter here.


Sorry, everyone, Mr. Sanders will not be offering birthday greetings. Here’s what he told the New York Times editorial board on the subject.

This calls for you to be a little self-critical. What are you likely to fail at or to do poorly as president?

Talk to The New York Times. Look, I don’t tolerate [expletive] terribly well, and I come from a different background than a lot of other people who run the country. I’m not good at backslapping. I’m not good at pleasantries.

If you have your birthday, I’m not going to call you up to congratulate you, so you’ll love me and you’ll write nice things about me.

That’s not what I do. Never have. I take that as a little bit of a criticism, self-criticism. I have been amazed at how many people respond to, “Happy Birthday!” “Oh Bernie, thanks so much for calling.” It works. It’s just not my style.

Check out transcripts of the editorial board’s interviews with nine of the candidates. And be sure to tune into “The Weekly” on FX and Hulu on Sunday night, when the board will unveil its endorsement for the Democratic nomination. (The board is completely separate from those of us in the newsroom.)

Who will get The New York Times’s rose?


Were you forwarded this newsletter? Subscribe here to get it delivered to your inbox.

Thanks for reading. On Politics is your guide to the political news cycle, delivering clarity from the chaos.

Is there anything you think we’re missing? Anything you want to see more of? We’d love to hear from you. Email us at onpolitics@nytimes.com.

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Highlights From the January 2020 Democratic Debate in Iowa

Here’s what you need to know:

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_167151222_64b587e2-fa31-46ad-b072-04bca5a8cc07-articleLarge Highlights From the January 2020 Democratic Debate in Iowa Warren, Elizabeth Steyer, Thomas F Sanders, Bernard Primaries and Caucuses Presidential Election of 2020 Klobuchar, Amy Iowa DES MOINES, Iowa Democratic Party Debates (Political) Buttigieg, Pete (1982- ) Biden, Joseph R Jr

Credit…Tamir Kalifa for The New York Times

Ms. Klobuchar: Zinged liberals and says she’s the candidate in the middle, inside of the “extremes of our politics.”

Mr. Steyer: Said Mr. Trump had kicked the American people “in the face,” and that he wanted to be a good “teammate” to the American people as a political leader.

Mr. Buttigieg: Described himself as the unity candidate who can win both Democrats and Republicans.

Mr. Sanders: Said “this is the moment when we have to think big,” arguing unambitious plans will not do in 2020.

Ms. Warren: Offered a message of “hope and courage” as she detailed the challenges facing the nation, and raised the prospect of being the first woman president of the United States.

Mr. Biden: Called for restoring “decency” at home and American leadership abroad and warned that eight years of Mr. Trump’s presidency would be an “absolute disaster.”

In the final minutes of the debate, several of the contenders delivered sharpened pitches about how they believe they can defeat Mr. Trump.

“What Americans want is something different,” Ms. Klobuchar said. “I am going to be able to stand across from him on that debate stage and say to my friends in Iowa, the Midwest is not flyover country for me.”

Mr. Buttigieg highlighted his background as a military veteran.

“I’m ready to take on Donald Trump because when we get to the tough talk, and the chest thumping, he’ll have to stand next to an American war veteran and explain how he pretended bone spurs made him ineligible to serve,” he said.

Ms. Warren, as she often does, invoked her Republican brothers and noted her ability to find common ground with them.

“They understand that we have an America right now that’s working great for those at the top,” she said. “It’s just not working for anyone else.”

And Mr. Biden referenced his months of clashes with Mr. Trump, who asked the government of Ukraine to investigate Mr. Biden, helping to lead the president’s impeachment.

“I’ve been the object of his affection now more than anybody else on the stage,” he said. “I’ve taken all the hits he can deliver, and I’m getting better in the polls.”

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transcript

Black voters who know me best are supporting me. It’s why I have the most support in South Bend. It’s why among elected black officials in my community who have gotten into this race, by far most of them, are supporting me.

Westlake Legal Group 14debate-livebriefing-buttigieg-videoSixteenByNine3000 Highlights From the January 2020 Democratic Debate in Iowa Warren, Elizabeth Steyer, Thomas F Sanders, Bernard Primaries and Caucuses Presidential Election of 2020 Klobuchar, Amy Iowa DES MOINES, Iowa Democratic Party Debates (Political) Buttigieg, Pete (1982- ) Biden, Joseph R Jr

CreditCredit…Jordan Gale for The New York Times

Mr. Buttigieg faced the biggest question dogging his campaign: Why doesn’t he have more support from black Democrats? asked the moderator Abby Phillip.

“The black voters who know me best are supporting me,” he replied. “It’s why I have the most support in South Bend. It’s why among elected black officials in my community who have gotten into this race, by far most of them are supporting me. Now, nationally I’m proud that my campaign is co-chaired by a member of the Congressional Black Caucus. And to have support right here in Iowa from some of the most recognizable black elected leaders.”

Of course, Mr. Buttigieg didn’t address his miniscule polling support from black voters in South Carolina — a huge vulnerability that could hurt his campaign if that weakness is not corrected soon.

Ms. Klobuchar said all the candidates’ climate plans pretty much the same. “Nearly every one of us has a plan that is very similar,” she said. “That is to get to carbon neutral by 2045 to 2050.”

Mr. Sanders disagreed, silently mouthing “no” and shooting his right arm into the air to demand the next speaking time.

“It’s a national crisis,” he said, proceeding to heap blame on the fossil fuel industry and demanding radical changes immediately, not 20 or 30 years into the future.

“If we as a nation do not transform our energy system away from fossil fuel, not by 2050, not 2040,” he said. “But unless we lead the world right now — not easy stuff — the planet we are leaving our kids will be uninhabitable and unhealthy.”

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This is a decency check on our government. This is a patriotism check. Not only is this trial that, but also this election.

Westlake Legal Group 14debate-livebriefing-klobuchar-videoSixteenByNine3000-v3 Highlights From the January 2020 Democratic Debate in Iowa Warren, Elizabeth Steyer, Thomas F Sanders, Bernard Primaries and Caucuses Presidential Election of 2020 Klobuchar, Amy Iowa DES MOINES, Iowa Democratic Party Debates (Political) Buttigieg, Pete (1982- ) Biden, Joseph R Jr

CreditCredit…Tamir Kalifa for The New York Times

Ms. Klobuchar, who is set to be a juror in Mr. Trump’s impeachment trial in the Senate, said that the nation’s “decency” is at issue.

“This is a decency check on our government,” she said. “This is a patriotism check. Not only is this trial that, but also this election. And no matter if you agree with everyone on the stage, I say this to Americans, you know this is a decency check on this president.”

Ms. Klobuchar said that she has a “constitutional duty to perform,” and warned Republicans against standing in the way of requested witnesses.”

“When I look at what the issue is it’s whether or not we’ll be able to have witnesses,” she said. “We have asked for only four people as witnesses. And if our Republican colleagues won’t allow those witnesses, they may as well give the president a crown and a scepter, they may as well make him king.”

Mr. Biden said he won’t remain embittered by Mr. Trump even after the impeachment trial over whether the president committed impeachable offenses in seeking foreign help to investigate Mr. Biden’s son.

“I have to be in a position I think of the American people,” Mr. Biden said. “I can’t hold a grudge. I have to be able to not only fight but also heal.”

Impeachment, almost uniquely among the Democratic candidates, leads to next to zero disagreement among the party’s presidential candidates. It’s not an issue that voters ask about on the campaign trail and has nothing to do with how the candidates would perform in office — since if any of them are president it would mean Mr. Trump is not.

Still, the impeachment trial due to begin next week will be a monster speed bump for the three senators on the debate stage: Ms. Klobuchar, Mr. Sanders and Ms. Warren.

Ms. Warren said she would have no qualms in leaving the campaign trail to sit as a juror in Mr. Trump’s trial.

“We have an impeachment trial — I will be there because it is my responsibility,” she said.

The contrast on free college between Mr. Buttigieg and Ms. Warren was about as gentle as can be.

Mr. Buttigieg used his response to a question about free college to blast the rich, saying they should pay the way for their children to attend public colleges and universities, while providing free college to everyone else.

Ms. Warren, in defending her free college proposal, said a wealth tax would require millionaires to pay millions of dollars in new taxes, and that if they wish to send their children to public universities, that’s fine with her. She did not ding Mr. Buttigieg for opposing free college.

“What we really need to talk about is the bigger economic picture,” she said. “We need to be willing to put a wealth tax in place. To ask the giant corporations that is are not paying to pay. Because that is how we build an economy and those who want to talk about, bring down the national debt.”

Several of the candidates spoke at length about the exorbitant costs of child care and the personal toll it takes on Americans.

“It makes no sense for child care to cost two-thirds of somebody’s income,” Mr. Buttigieg said. “We have to drive it to 7 percent or below. And zero for the families who are living in poverty.”

Ms. Warren and Mr. Biden spoke in especially personal terms about child care — a financial responsibility that nearly brought her down, Ms. Warren said.

“If I hadn’t been saved by my aunt, I was ready to quit my job,” she said. “I think about how many women of my generation got knocked off the track and never got back on.”

Ms. Warren noted that she has proposed a two-cent wealth tax to provide child care benefits and universal pre-K, and raised concerned about exploitation of child care workers, singling out women of color in particular.

“We can raise the wages of every child care worker and preschool teacher in America,” she said. “That is an investment in our babies and their moms and dads. And it’s an investment in our teachers and our economy.”

Mr. Biden, who said he believed that “people who are not able to afford any of the infant care to be able to get that care,” referenced his experience raising two sons after his wife and a baby daughter were killed in a 1972 car crash.

“I was a single parent too,” he said. “When my wife and daughter were killed, my two boys I had to raise, I was a senator, a young senator.”

Halfway through Tuesday’s debate, the conflict has been muted as the candidates have shown little inclination to attack each other while they aim to refocus ire against President Trump.

Ms. Warren and Mr. Sanders each defused the clashes between them that dominated the last two days. Mr. Buttigieg didn’t take shots at Ms. Warren or Mr. Sanders about health care, despite the opportunity. And Mr. Biden has once again avoided being attacked by his opponents, despite leading every national poll of the race.

It’s a reflection of the muddled state of the race. With four candidates in a functional dead heat in polls of Iowa and New Hampshire, there is little incentive for any of them to risk being seen in a negative light by going on the attack.

The only candidate onstage who appeared eager to throw punches was Ms. Klobuchar, who remains in the high single digits in Iowa polling, leaving her well below the 15 percent threshold to accrue any delegates in Iowa’s Feb. 3 caucuses that are necessary to win the Democratic nomination.

Ms. Warren cast Mr. Biden and Mr. Buttigieg as incrementalists on health care, saying that their proposals “are an improvement over where we are now,” but are only a “small improvement.”

Mr. Biden and Mr. Buttigieg support adding a public option to the health care system, but oppose the sweeping single-payer Medicare for all proposal.

“It’s just not true that the plan I’m proposing is small,” Mr. Buttigieg shot back. “We have to move past Washington mentality that suggests that the bigness of plans only consist of how many trillions of dollars they put through the Treasury. That the boldness of a plan consists of how many people it can alienate.”

Ms. Klobuchar also jumped into the fray, accusing Ms. Warren of offering shifting answers in her own health care proposal.

“You acknowledge that Medicare for all, you couldn’t get there right away,” Ms. Klobuchar said. “You got on the bill that said on page eight that you would kick 149 million Americans off their current health insurance. Then a few months ago you said you’ll wait awhile to get there, and I think that was some acknowledgment that maybe what we’re talking about it is true.”

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Can a woman beat Donald Trump? Look at the men on this stage: Collectively, they have lost 10 elections. The only people on this stage who have won every single election that they’ve been in are the women.

Westlake Legal Group 14vid-debate-clip4-promo-videoSixteenByNine3000 Highlights From the January 2020 Democratic Debate in Iowa Warren, Elizabeth Steyer, Thomas F Sanders, Bernard Primaries and Caucuses Presidential Election of 2020 Klobuchar, Amy Iowa DES MOINES, Iowa Democratic Party Debates (Political) Buttigieg, Pete (1982- ) Biden, Joseph R Jr

CreditCredit…Jordan Gale for The New York Times

Mr. Sanders emphatically insisted that he did not make the comment that Ms. Warren has attributed to him: that a woman could not be elected president.

“Well, as a matter of fact, I didn’t say it,” he said. “And I don’t want to waste a whole lot of time on this, because this is what Donald Trump and maybe some of the media want.”

Ms. Warren said she disagreed with Mr. Sanders but sought to defuse the conflict.

“Bernie is my friend and I’m not here to fight with Bernie,” she said.

Ms. Warren continued, leaning fully into her electability argument.

“The only people on this stage who have won every single election that they’ve been in are the women: Amy and me,” she said. “And the only person who has beaten an incumbent Republican any time in the past 30 years is me.”

The clash between Ms. Warren and Mr. Sanders veered, briefly, into unusual territory: math.

The disagreement unfolded after Ms. Warren said that “the only person on this stage who has beaten an incumbent Republican anytime in the past 30 years is me.”

“Well, just to set the record straight, I defeated an incumbent Republican running for Congress,” Mr. Sanders said.

“When?” Ms. Warren asked. Mr. Sanders said that in 1990, he beat a Republican congressman.

Ms. Warren pressed him again on the timing. “I said, I was the only one who’s beaten an incumbent Republican in 30 years,” Ms. Warren said.

“Well, 30 years ago is 1990, as a matter of fact,” Mr. Sanders replied.

Mr. Biden sought to bridge the divide about whether a woman can win by bemoaning the factionalism that he said could prevent Democrats from defeating President Trump.

“The real issue is who can bring the party together and represent all elements of the party,” he said. “African-American, brown, black, women, men. Gay, straight. The fact of the matter is, I would argue that, in terms of endorsement around the country, endorsements where ever we go, I have the broadest coalition of anyone running up where in this race.”

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I would not meet with — absent preconditions. I would not meet with the “supreme leader” who said, “Joe Biden is a rabid dog, he should be beaten to death with a stick.”

Westlake Legal Group 14debate-livebriefing-biden2-videoSixteenByNineJumbo1600 Highlights From the January 2020 Democratic Debate in Iowa Warren, Elizabeth Steyer, Thomas F Sanders, Bernard Primaries and Caucuses Presidential Election of 2020 Klobuchar, Amy Iowa DES MOINES, Iowa Democratic Party Debates (Political) Buttigieg, Pete (1982- ) Biden, Joseph R Jr

CreditCredit…Tamir Kalifa for The New York Times

Mr. Biden mocked the North Korean regime, which has lashed Mr. Biden with graphic insults — and the former vice president received backup from his rival, Mr. Sanders.

“I would not meet with — absent preconditions, I would not meet with the, quote, Supreme Leader, who said ‘Joe Biden is a rabid dog, he should be beaten to death with a stick,’” Mr. Biden said.

“Other than that, you like him,” Mr. Sanders interjected wryly, referencing North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

“Other than that, I like him, and he got a love letter from Trump right after that,” Mr. Biden said.

Mr. Sanders took another opportunity to obliquely swipe at Mr. Biden’s vote to authorize the war in Iraq when asked about America’s role in the Middle East.

“What we have to face as a nation is that the two great foreign policy disasters of our lifetimes, with the war in Vietnam and the war in Iraq. Both of those wars were based on lies,” Mr. Sanders said, adding that he feared President Trump could lead the nation into another war amid tensions between the United States and Iran.

Mr. Biden did not take on Mr. Sanders of Iraq, choosing to emphasize another element of his foreign policy record: the nuclear deal with Iran, achieved during the Obama administration.

“I was part of that deal to get the nuclear agreement with Iran, bringing together the rest of the world, including some of the folks who aren’t friendly to us,” Mr. Biden said. “And it was working.”

Ms. Klobuchar and Mr. Buttigieg each said they would not allow Iran to acquire nuclear weapons, though neither of them stipulated what they would do beyond negotiations to stop Iran from doing so.

Video

transcript

Our military is the finest military on Earth, and they will take any sacrifice we ask them to take. But we should stop asking our military to solve problems that cannot be solved militarily.

Westlake Legal Group 14debate-livebriefing-warren-video-videoSixteenByNine3000 Highlights From the January 2020 Democratic Debate in Iowa Warren, Elizabeth Steyer, Thomas F Sanders, Bernard Primaries and Caucuses Presidential Election of 2020 Klobuchar, Amy Iowa DES MOINES, Iowa Democratic Party Debates (Political) Buttigieg, Pete (1982- ) Biden, Joseph R Jr

CreditCredit…Tamir Kalifa for The New York Times

Another split in the candidates emerged on foreign policy. Ms. Warren, Mr. Buttigieg and Mr. Sanders said they’d remove combat troops from Iraq, while Ms. Klobuchar and Mr. Biden said they would leave some in place.

“I would leave some troops there, but not in the level that Donald Trump is taking us right now,” Ms. Klobuchar said.

Ms. Warren said that it is time to bring the troops home. “I think we need to get our combat troops out,” she said. “You know, we have to stop this mind-set that we can do everything with combat troops. Our military is the finest military on Earth. And they will take any sacrifice we ask them to take. But we should stop asking our military to solve problems that cannot be solved militarily.”

And Mr. Buttigieg said: “We can continue to remain engaged without having an endless commitment of ground troops. But what’s going on right now is the president’s actually sending more.”

Mr. Buttigieg said if he is elected president and asks Congress to authorize military force overseas, he would ask for the legislation to expire after three years.

“When I am president, anytime — which I hope will never happen — but anytime I am compelled to use force and seek that authorization, we will have a three-year sunset, so that the American people are included, not only in the decision about whether to send troops, but whether to continue,” he said.

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The Word Female Presidential Candidates Have Been Hearing Over and Over

Westlake Legal Group 14breakout-gender-facebookJumbo The Word Female Presidential Candidates Have Been Hearing Over and Over Women and Girls Warren, Elizabeth United States Politics and Government Sanders, Bernard Primaries and Caucuses Presidential Election of 2020 Klobuchar, Amy Iowa discrimination Democratic Party Debates (Political)

The truth about this week’s clash between Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren is that it’s not really about Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.

It is partly about them, of course: about whether Mr. Sanders told Ms. Warren 13 months ago that he did not believe a woman could be elected president, as she says he did and he says he didn’t. But the bigger picture is The Electability Question, a conversation so well worn it may as well be a proper noun.

Because only one woman is polling in the top tier of the Democratic primary race — and much of the conversation surrounding her is not about whether she should be elected, but whether she can be.

In Tuesday’s debate, Ms. Warren addressed that dynamic directly.

After the allegation was reported on Monday, it was inevitable that it would come up on the debate stage. Both campaigns had signaled before the debate that they had little interest in litigating it further. But instead of dismissing the line of questioning altogether, Ms. Warren pivoted to the broader issue of “electability.”

“Bernie is my friend, and I am not here to try to fight with Bernie,” she said after a moderator asked her about the remark she says Mr. Sanders made during a private meeting in December 2018. “But look, this question about whether or not a woman can be president has been raised, and it’s time for us to attack it head-on.”

Ms. Warren then pointed out that she and Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota were the only people onstage who had never lost an election. This is an argument the women in this race have made repeatedly: Of course they can win elections; they already have.

“Look at the men on this stage: Collectively, they have lost 10 elections,” Ms. Warren said. “The only people on this stage who have won every single election that they’ve been in are the women, Amy and me.”

She argued that she would be more electable against Mr. Trump than a candidate “who can’t pull our party together, or someone who takes for granted big parts of the Democratic constituency” — an implicit reference to more moderate candidates in the race.

On its face, the idea that women are less electable is a myth. Studies have shown that when women run, they win at the same rates as men. There is a gender gap in government not because women are “unelectable” but because, in comparison to men, so few have run.

But the continual debate over whether any given woman is electable places the burden on that woman to convince voters of what research has already shown. This is a burden men running for office don’t have.

“Women often have to run dual campaigns: a campaign of belief to convince donors and elites they can win, in addition to the main campaign,” said Amanda Hunter, research and communications director at the Barbara Lee Family Foundation, which supports women in politics. “That is the challenge Senator Warren is facing now, the constant drumbeat of doubts and questions regarding her electability.”

In other words, the fact that popular beliefs about who can win are inaccurate is not quite the point, because those beliefs can become a self-fulfilling prophecy. And that is what Ms. Warren is trying to prevent.

When voters who like a female candidate choose not to vote for her because they don’t think enough other people will vote for her, she can become less electable simply by virtue of being perceived that way. And inasmuch as the dispute between Ms. Warren and Mr. Sanders affects public opinion of women’s electability, the very existence of the dispute poses a threat.

“It becomes a kind of vicious cycle,” said Debbie Walsh, director of the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University. “There’s a sense that there was backlash about the Obama presidency, and Hillary Clinton didn’t win — so the conventional wisdom, which starts to feed on itself, is, ‘Well, we’d better just elect the thing we’ve always had,’ which is white men.”

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January 2020 Democratic Debate in Iowa: Live Updates

Here’s what you need to know:

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_167147562_294e849d-f254-4b3e-8955-89bcafa731d8-articleLarge January 2020 Democratic Debate in Iowa: Live Updates Warren, Elizabeth Steyer, Thomas F Sanders, Bernard Primaries and Caucuses Presidential Election of 2020 Klobuchar, Amy Iowa DES MOINES, Iowa Democratic Party Debates (Political) Buttigieg, Pete (1982- ) Biden, Joseph R Jr

Credit…Tamir Kalifa for The New York Times

There were more sparks between Mr. Biden and Mr. Sanders on health care, with Mr. Biden whacking Mr. Sanders for his “Medicare for all” proposal.

“I think we need to be candid with voters and tell them what it will cost,” Mr. Biden said.

Mr. Sanders dodged a question about the overall costs of his health care proposal, seeking to reframe the question into what individuals would pay for health care rather than what it would cost the government.

“What I will tell you is Medicare for all which will guarantee comprehensive health care to every man, woman and child will cost substantially less than the status quo,” he said.

Ms. Warren, who is a proponent of Medicare for all, expressed her allegiance to the Affordable Care Act, the health care status quo that Mr. Sanders is campaigning to undo.

“I will defend the Affordable Care Act,” Ms. Warren said. “I have a plan to expand health care. When we come to a general election, we may argue among each other about the best way to do health care. We’re going to be up against a Republican incumbent who has cut health care for millions of people in and still trying to do that. I’ll take our side of the argument any day. We’ll beat him on this.”

And Ms. Klobuchar came in with another roundhouse at Mr. Sanders, hoping to get drawn into the conflict between him and Mr. Biden.

“I think you should show how you’re going to pay for things, Bernie. I do. This president is treating people out there like poker chips in a bankrupt casino. The way he is adding to the debt,” she said.

Video

Westlake Legal Group 14vid-debate-clip4-promo-videoSixteenByNine3000 January 2020 Democratic Debate in Iowa: Live Updates Warren, Elizabeth Steyer, Thomas F Sanders, Bernard Primaries and Caucuses Presidential Election of 2020 Klobuchar, Amy Iowa DES MOINES, Iowa Democratic Party Debates (Political) Buttigieg, Pete (1982- ) Biden, Joseph R Jr

CreditCredit…Jordan Gale for The New York Times

Mr. Sanders emphatically insisted that he did not make the comment that Ms. Warren has attributed to him: That a woman could not be elected president.

“Well, as a matter of fact, I didn’t say it,” he said. “And I don’t want to waste a whole lot of time on this, because this is what Donald Trump and maybe some of the media want.”

Ms. Warren said she disagreed with Mr. Sanders but sought to defuse the conflict.

“Bernie is my friend and I’m not here to fight with Bernie,” she said.

Ms. Warren continued, leaning fully into her electability argument.

“The only people on this stage who have won every single election that they’ve been in are the women: Amy and me,” she said. “And the only person who has beaten an incumbent Republican any time in the past 30 years is me.”

The clash between Ms. Warren and Mr. Sanders veered, briefly, into unusual territory: math.

The disagreement unfolded after Ms. Warren said that “the only person on this stage who has beaten an incumbent Republican anytime in the past 30 years is me.”

“Well, just to set the record straight, I defeated an incumbent Republican running for Congress,” Mr. Sanders said.

“When?” Ms. Warren asked. Mr. Sanders said that in 1990, he beat a Republican congressman.

Ms. Warren pressed him again on the timing. “I said, I was the only one who’s beaten an incumbent Republican in 30 years,” Ms. Warren said.

“Well, 30 years ago is 1990, as a matter of fact,” Mr. Sanders replied.

Mr. Biden sought to bridge the divide about whether a woman can win by bemoaning the factionalism that he said could prevent Democrats from defeating President Trump.

“The real issue is who can bring the party together and represent all elements of the party,” he said. “African-American, brown, black, women, men. Gay, straight. The fact of the matter is, I would argue that, in terms of endorsement around the country, endorsements where ever we go, I have the broadest coalition of anyone running up where in this race.”

Mr. Sanders defended his opposition to the U.S.M.C.A. North American trade deal, even though he said it is an improvement on Nafta.

“We can do much better than a Trump-led trade deal,” Mr. Sanders said. Pressed on whether he is willing to compromise at all on trade, Mr. Sanders pivoted to climate change.

“Every environmental organization in this country, including the Sunrise organization, who is supporting my candidacy, opposes it,” he said.

Ms. Warren followed by arguing that the U.S.M.C.A. is better than the status quo, and should be seen as the first step toward getting a better deal.

“Let’s help the people who need help now,” she said. Asked why he disagrees with Ms. Warren, Mr. Sanders said implementing the U.S.M.C.A. will “set us back a number of years,” though he passed on an opportunity to draw additional contrast with Ms. Warren.

Video

transcript

I would not meet with — absent preconditions. I would not meet with the “supreme leader” who said, “Joe Biden is a rabid dog, he should be beaten to death with a stick.”

Westlake Legal Group 14debate-livebriefing-biden2-videoSixteenByNineJumbo1600 January 2020 Democratic Debate in Iowa: Live Updates Warren, Elizabeth Steyer, Thomas F Sanders, Bernard Primaries and Caucuses Presidential Election of 2020 Klobuchar, Amy Iowa DES MOINES, Iowa Democratic Party Debates (Political) Buttigieg, Pete (1982- ) Biden, Joseph R Jr

CreditCredit…Tamir Kalifa for The New York Times

Mr. Biden mocked the North Korean regime, which has lashed Mr. Biden with graphic insults — and the former vice president received backup from his rival, Mr. Sanders.

“I would not meet with — absent preconditions, I would not meet with the, quote, Supreme Leader, who said ‘Joe Biden is a rabid dog, he should be beaten to death with a stick,’” Mr. Biden said.

“Other than that, you like him,” Mr. Sanders interjected wryly, referencing North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

“Other than that, I like him, and he got a love letter from Trump right after that,” Mr. Biden said.

Mr. Sanders took another opportunity to obliquely swipe at Mr. Biden’s vote to authorize the war in Iraq when asked about America’s role in the Middle East.

“What we have to face as a nation is that the two great foreign policy disasters of our lifetimes, with the war in Vietnam and the war in Iraq. Both of those wars were based on lies,” Mr. Sanders said, adding that he feared President Trump could lead the nation into another war amid tensions between the United States and Iran.

Mr. Biden did not take on Mr. Sanders of Iraq, choosing to emphasize another element of his foreign policy record: the nuclear deal with Iran, achieved during the Obama administration.

“I was part of that deal to get the nuclear agreement with Iran, bringing together the rest of the world, including some of the folks who aren’t friendly to us,” Mr. Biden said. “And it was working.”

Ms. Klobuchar and Mr. Buttigieg each said they would not allow Iran to acquire nuclear weapons, though neither of them stipulated what they would do beyond negotiations to stop Iran from doing so.

Video

transcript

Our military is the finest military on Earth, and they will take any sacrifice we ask them to take. But we should stop asking our military to solve problems that cannot be solved militarily.

Westlake Legal Group 14debate-livebriefing-warren-video-videoSixteenByNine3000 January 2020 Democratic Debate in Iowa: Live Updates Warren, Elizabeth Steyer, Thomas F Sanders, Bernard Primaries and Caucuses Presidential Election of 2020 Klobuchar, Amy Iowa DES MOINES, Iowa Democratic Party Debates (Political) Buttigieg, Pete (1982- ) Biden, Joseph R Jr

CreditCredit…Tamir Kalifa for The New York Times

Another split in the candidates emerged on foreign policy. Ms. Warren, Mr. Buttigieg and Mr. Sanders said they’d remove combat troops from Iraq, while Ms. Klobuchar and Mr. Biden said they would leave some in place.

“I would leave some troops there, but not in the level that Donald Trump is taking us right now,” Ms. Klobuchar said.

Ms. Warren said that it is time to bring the troops home. “I think we need to get our combat troops out,” she said. “You know, we have to stop this mind-set that we can do everything with combat troops. Our military is the finest military on Earth. And they will take any sacrifice we ask them to take. But we should stop asking our military to solve problems that cannot be solved militarily.”

And Mr. Buttigieg said: “We can continue to remain engaged without having an endless commitment of ground troops. But what’s going on right now is the president’s actually sending more.”

Mr. Buttigieg said if he is elected president and asks Congress to authorize military force overseas, he would ask for the legislation to expire after three years.

“When I am president, anytime — which I hope will never happen — but anytime I am compelled to use force and seek that authorization, we will have a three-year sunset, so that the American people are included, not only in the decision about whether to send troops, but whether to continue,” he said.

The moderator Wolf Blitzer opened the debate on foreign policy, asking Mr. Sanders why he’d be the best commander in chief. Mr. Sanders wasted no time in going on the attack against Mr. Biden, drawing a contrast on foreign policy by reiterating his opposition to the Iraq War, and his 2002 vote against authorizing the conflict. That left Mr. Biden to defend his 17-year-old vote.

“I said 13 years ago it was a mistake to give the president the authority to go to war,” Mr. Biden said. “It was a mistake; I acknowledged that.” He then quickly mentioned that Barack Obama opposed the war from the state and noted that Mr. Obama chose him as his running mate.

“I think my record overall on everything I’ve ever done, I’m prepared to compare it to anybody on this stage,” Mr. Biden said.

Mr. Sanders shot back: “Joe and I listened to what Dick Cheney and George Bush and Rumsfeld had to say. I thought they were lying. Joe saw it differently.”

Ms. Klobuchar, who has sought to portray herself as a unifier while other candidates are drawing contrasts with each other, said the real issue is beating President Trump.

“What we should be talking about is what is happening right now with Donald Trump,” Ms. Klobuchar said. “Donald Trump is taking us pell mell toward another war.”

While Mr. Blitzer tried to pit Ms. Klobuchar against Mr. Buttigieg on the issue, the two moderate rivals barely engaged. Instead, Mr. Buttigieg, 37, drew an implicit contrast over age with Mr. Biden and Mr. Sanders, who are in their late 70s. Mr. Buttigieg, a former Naval intelligence officer, stressed his own military experience while offering an unsubtle reminder of how long Mr. Biden and Mr. Sanders have served in Washington.

“There are enlisted people that I served with, barely old enough to remember those votes on the authorization after 9/11 on the war in Iraq,” Mr. Buttigieg said.

Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders were out first, and they gave each other a warm handshake and shared a few words. Elizabeth Warren was out next, shaking Mr. Biden’s hand and then reaching over to Mr. Sanders, who was looking elsewhere; he noticed her, smiled and joined in a handshake.

There was no evident tension in the moment, even though Mr. Sanders and Ms. Warren spent Monday in a standoff over her accusation that he told her in 2018 that a woman could not win the presidency. He has denied the remark.

Pete Buttigieg, Tom Steyer and Amy Klobuchar rounded out the candidates taking their places onstage.

Ms. Warren’s top aides and her new surrogate Julián Castro have been telegraphing a message of unity, promoting Ms. Warren as the candidate who can bridge the party’s progressive and moderate wings.

That’ll be hard if she’s stoking a war with Mr. Sanders.

Ms. Warren is going to try anyway, having already adopted most of Mr. Sanders’s platform without some of his harder edges. She’s sure to be asked about reports in recent days that Sanders volunteers disparaged her election chances in calls to Iowa Democrats and the report, followed by her confirmation, that Mr. Sanders told her a woman could not be elected president.

There’s little evidence that Sanders supporters can be moved away from the Vermont senator, but it is incumbent upon Ms. Warren to demonstrate to moderate and undecided Iowans that she can appeal to all elements of the party and, as she often says in her remarks, win Republican votes for proposals like her wealth tax.

Reporting was contributed by Nick Corasaniti, Michael M. Grynbaum, Stephanie Saul, Matt Stevens and Marc Tracy.

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January Democratic Debate: Live Updates

Here’s what you need to know:

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_167147562_294e849d-f254-4b3e-8955-89bcafa731d8-articleLarge January Democratic Debate: Live Updates Warren, Elizabeth Steyer, Thomas F Sanders, Bernard Primaries and Caucuses Presidential Election of 2020 Klobuchar, Amy Iowa DES MOINES, Iowa Democratic Party Debates (Political) Buttigieg, Pete (1982- ) Biden, Joseph R Jr

Mr. Sanders spoke about his approach to foreign policy.Credit…Tamir Kalifa for The New York Times

Mr. Sanders took another opportunity to obliquely swipe at Mr. Biden’s vote to authorize the war in Iraq when asked about America’s role in the Middle East.

“What we have to face as a nation is that the two great foreign policy disasters of our lifetimes, with the war in Vietnam and the war in Iraq. Both of those wars were based on lies,” Mr. Sanders said, adding that he feared President Trump could lead the nation into another war amid tensions between the United States and Iran.

Mr. Biden did not take on Mr. Sanders of Iraq, choosing to emphasize another element of his foreign policy record: the nuclear deal with Iran, achieved during the Obama administration.

”I was part of that deal to get the nuclear agreement with Iran, bringing together the rest of the world, including some of the folks who aren’t friendly to us,” Mr. Biden said. “And it was working.”

Another split in the candidates emerged on foreign policy. Ms. Warren, Mr. Buttigieg and Mr. Sanders said they’d remove combat troops from Iraq, while Ms. Klobuchar and Mr. Biden said they would leave some in place.

“I would leave some troops there, but not in the level that Donald Trump is taking us right now,” Ms. Klobuchar said.

Ms. Warren said that it is time to bring the troops home. “I think we need to get our combat troops out,” she said. “You know, we have to stop this mind-set that we can do everything with combat troops. Our military is the finest military on Earth. And they will take any sacrifice we ask them to take. But we should stop asking our military to solve problems that cannot be solved militarily.”

And Mr. Buttigieg said: “We can continue to remain engaged without having an endless commitment of ground troops. But what’s going on right now is the president’s actually sending more.”

Mr. Buttigieg said if he is elected president and asks Congress to authorize military force overseas, he would ask for the legislation to expire after three years.

“When I am president, anytime — which I hope will never happen — but anytime I am compelled to use force and seek that authorization, we will have a three-year sunset, so that the American people are included, not only in the decision about whether to send troops, but whether to continue,” he said.

The moderator Wolf Blitzer opened the debate on foreign policy, asking Mr. Sanders why he’d be the best commander in chief. Mr. Sanders wasted no time in going on the attack against Mr. Biden, drawing a contrast on foreign policy by reiterating his opposition to the Iraq War, and his 2002 vote against authorizing the conflict. That left Mr. Biden to defend his 17-year-old vote.

“I said 13 years ago it was a mistake to give the president the authority to go to war,” Mr. Biden said. “It was a mistake; I acknowledged that.” He then quickly mentioned that Barack Obama opposed the war from the state and noted that Mr. Obama chose him as his running mate.

“I think my record overall on everything I’ve ever done, I’m prepared to compare it to anybody on this stage,” Mr. Biden said.

Mr. Sanders shot back: “Joe and I listened to what Dick Cheney and George Bush and Rumsfeld had to say. I thought they were lying. Joe saw it differently.”

Ms. Klobuchar, who has sought to portray herself as a unifier while other candidates are drawing contrasts with each other, said the real issue is beating President Trump.

“What we should be talking about is what is happening right now with Donald Trump,” Ms. Klobuchar said. “Donald Trump is taking us pell mell toward another war.”

While Mr. Blitzer tried to pit Ms. Klobuchar against Mr. Buttigieg on the issue, the two moderate rivals barely engaged. Instead, Mr. Buttigieg, 37, drew an implicit contrast over age with Mr. Biden and Mr. Sanders, who are in their late 70s. Mr. Buttigieg, a former Naval intelligence officer, stressed his own military experience while offering an unsubtle reminder of how long Mr. Biden and Mr. Sanders have served in Washington.

“There are enlisted people that I served with, barely old enough to remember those votes on the authorization after 9/11 on the war in Iraq,” Mr. Buttigieg said.

Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders were out first, and they gave each other a warm handshake and shared a few words. Elizabeth Warren was out next, shaking Mr. Biden’s hand and then reaching over to Mr. Sanders, who was looking elsewhere; he noticed her, smiled and joined in a handshake.

There was no evident tension in the moment, even though Mr. Sanders and Ms. Warren spent Monday in a standoff over her accusation that he told her in 2018 that a woman could not win the presidency. He has denied the remark.

Pete Buttigieg, Tom Steyer and Amy Klobuchar rounded out the candidates taking their places onstage.

With less than three weeks before Iowa’s caucuses, tensions are rising among the top-tier candidates. The de facto truce between Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts has evaporated in recent days, Mr. Sanders has attacked former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., and former Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Ind., remains the object of scorn from his top rivals.

For the first time in the 2020 campaign, there’s a real chance of a four-way battle royale live on the debate stage.

The strategy comes with significant risks. Iowans tend to dislike it when candidates go negative, and progressives are already blanching at the prospect of a prolonged Sanders-Warren conflict, given that many of them believe either candidate would be preferable to the more moderate Mr. Biden and Mr. Buttigieg.

Mr. Biden often claims he’s not engaging in “hyperbole” — but as Democratic candidates work to appeal to voters of color, that’s exactly what he did as he highlighted his standing with those constituencies in an interview published Tuesday, hours before a debate for which only white candidates qualified.

“I get more support from black and brown constituents than anybody in this race. That’s where I come from. I come from the African-American community,” Mr. Biden, who is white, told The Sacramento Bee. “That’s my base. We’re the eighth largest black population (as a percentage) in the United States in my state. That’s how I got started.”

Those remarks came in response to a question about the all-white debate stage, a disappointment to many Democratic voters and activists who were energized by the diversity of the field at the outset of the campaign.

Join us for live analysis on debate night. Subscribe to “On Politics,” and we’ll send you a link.

“I think there’s some really qualified people, but it’s the way, you know, the way the polls are running, the way things are moving,” Mr. Biden said. “I’m not sure this whole debate setup has made any sense anyway to begin with. But it is what it is. But I tell you what: If I’m elected president, I promise you my administration is going to look like America.”

The debate comes a day after Senator Cory Booker, Democrat of New Jersey, dropped out of the race, leaving just one black person — Deval Patrick, the former governor of Massachusetts — in the Democratic contest.

Polls do show Mr. Biden with a commanding lead among African-American voters over all, though the contest for younger black voters, as well as for Latino voters, is far more competitive, and Mr. Sanders in particular has shown strength with those constituencies.

Ms. Warren’s top aides and her new surrogate Julián Castro have been telegraphing a message of unity, promoting Ms. Warren as the candidate who can bridge the party’s progressive and moderate wings.

That’ll be hard if she’s stoking a war with Mr. Sanders.

Ms. Warren is going to try anyway, having already adopted most of Mr. Sanders’s platform without some of his harder edges. She’s sure to be asked about reports in recent days that Sanders volunteers disparaged her election chances in calls to Iowa Democrats and the report, followed by her confirmation, that Mr. Sanders told her a woman could not be elected president.

There’s little evidence that Sanders supporters can be moved away from the Vermont senator, but it is incumbent upon Ms. Warren to demonstrate to moderate and undecided Iowans that she can appeal to all elements of the party and, as she often says in her remarks, win Republican votes for proposals like her wealth tax.

As the House moves to send impeachment charges against Mr. Trump to the Senate for a trial, Senator Amy Klobuchar, Mr. Sanders and Ms. Warren will soon be spending far more time in Washington than in Iowa.

The debate offers one of their best, last chances to make a big, televised impression from Iowa before the caucuses. Can they effectively take advantage of that opening?

Ms. Warren, who has a renowned campaign organization on the ground, and Mr. Sanders, who has a loyal fan base in Iowa, have some more cushioning — but both of them are locked in a tight race among a crowded top-four tier. They’ll both be looking for a defining performance that will stay with undecided voters in Iowa while they are off the trail.

Mr. Biden and Mr. Buttigieg, the other two leading candidates in Iowa, who are competing with each other and Ms. Klobuchar for more centrist voters, will be free to campaign while their rivals are in Washington, and their supporters are eager to take advantage.

Hours before Tuesday’s debate, Ms. Warren released a plan to cancel student debt by executive action.

She argues that existing laws give the Education Department the authority to cancel federal loans as well as to issue them, and that as a result, she can direct the department to do so without congressional approval.

Essentially, she is proposing a more aggressive way of carrying out the student debt plan she released months ago, which would cancel up to $50,000 in debt for about 95 percent of borrowers.

She said she would instruct her education secretary to begin canceling debt on her first day in office, and “to amend any regulations or policy positions necessary to get there.” She said she had consulted with experts on the legality of her proposal, and attached a letter from lawyers at Harvard Law School’s Legal Services Center that bolstered her case.

The proposal “will require clearing a lot of red tape,” Ms. Warren wrote. “But let’s be clear: Our government has cleared far bigger hurdles to meet the needs of big businesses when they came looking for bailouts, tax giveaways and other concessions.”

Coming off two strong debate performances and her strongest fund-raising quarter to date, Ms. Klobuchar expected an Iowa surge in the closing weeks before the Feb. 3 caucuses.

That hasn’t happened yet, and polls show she remains well below the viability threshold to capture delegates from Iowa.

One clear sign she’s not a factor: Nobody is attacking her. Other campaigns, which aren’t struggling for attention as Ms. Klobuchar often does, aren’t worried about her and are openly plotting at how to recruit her supporters on caucus night should she fail to reach the viability threshold.

Yet Iowa has a long history of late-charging surprise candidates. Just ask John Kerry in 2004 and Rick Santorum in 2012, who both rocketed from single-digit polling to win the state. For Ms. Klobuchar, time is running short, and Tuesday may be her last shot to make a case for herself.

Mr. Patrick, the only black candidate remaining in the presidential race, is not be participating in Tuesday’s debate, and he is not taking his exclusion quietly.

“Tonight, six candidates will take the debate stage, all remarkable public servants,” Mr. Patrick, a former governor of Massachusetts, said in a statement. “Yet tonight America will not see herself in full.”

He was referring to the all-white debate line-up. As the Democratic field has been winnowed, the candidates on the stage no longer reflect a racial or ethnic cross-section of America.

Since December, three candidates of color have withdrawn — Senator Kamala Harris of California, Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey and Julián Castro of Texas, the former housing secretary.

Two other nonwhite candidates, the tech entrepreneur Andrew Yang and Representative Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii, remain in the race but did not qualify to participate tonight under debate rules.

Alongside CNN’s Wolf Blitzer and Abby Phillip, tonight’s debate moderators include Brianne Pfannenstiel, the newest chief politics reporter for The Des Moines Register. This is a unique job in journalism: Ms. Pfannenstiel covers a local contest with national implications (the Iowa caucuses), giving her unparalleled power for a reporter at a regional newspaper.

As a New York Times profile of her described, she and the paper are regularly sought out by campaigns to get their messages across to the only voters who matter right now.

She said she has a “dream job,” one where she feels she has a tangible impact. “I’m not just sending something out into the abyss,” she said. “People here in Iowa are actually going to caucus, and so what you write informs how they think about the candidates and the policies and issues, and it’s all real for them.”

She added, “It’s easy in political journalism to get caught up in the idea that it’s a game show or it’s all strategy, but getting to be the politics reporter for The Des Moines Register means that it’s all real.”

To close out the debate last month, Mr. Yang struck a self-aware note: “I know what you’re thinking, America,” he remarked. “How am I still on this stage with them?”

As it turns out, Mr. Yang will not be on the debate stage in Iowa on Tuesday night. After earning a spot in the first six Democratic debates, Mr. Yang failed to qualify for this one because he did not receive 5 percent support in enough qualifying polls.

Mr. Yang has urged the Democratic National Committee to commission more polls. And his campaign, emboldened by a high-profile poll of Iowa caucusgoers that was released on Friday, has sharpened its criticism of the D.N.C., arguing that if it had done its “due diligence,” Mr. Yang “would certainly be on the debate stage.”

Mr. Yang himself weighed in on Twitter on Monday: “I want us to be on that stage,” he wrote. “I think we earned it.”

The airwaves in Iowa’s four main media markets are growing increasingly crowded. Over the past week, 42 different political ads have aired in the state, $2.5 million worth of political advertising time.

Most of the ads reflect candidates’ central arguments. Senator Elizabeth Warren has spent more than $190,000 reminding voters that she doesn’t take money from big donors, and therefore wouldn’t sell administration jobs like “cushy ambassadorships.”

But in the past 24 hours, candidates have begun using more creative messages, trying to break through a very fluid field in Iowa and going beyond staid biographical ads.

On Monday, Mr. Sanders began airing an ad that featured a clip of John F. Kennedy describing the motivation behind going to the moon, then quickly transitioned to the voice of Mr. Sanders pitching his liberal platform as equally ambitious and achievable as landing on the moon.

And Tom Steyer, the self-funding billionaire who tops the Iowa spending charts with $12.5 million in the state, took aim at Mr. Trump’s wealth in a new 60-second ad that began airing on Tuesday. In the ad, which was surely designed to try to elicit a rebuke from the president, Mr. Steyer says he’s an “actual billionaire” while Mr. Trump is a “fake billionaire.”

Though Michael R. Bloomberg is airing ads nationally on CNN, there will be no political ads tonight during the commercial breaks airing nationally, as the cable network has refused to air a political ad during the debate, though a campaign could still buy in a local cable market that is out of CNN’s control.

Reporting was contributed by Nick Corasaniti, Michael M. Grynbaum, Stephanie Saul, Matt Stevens and Marc Tracy.

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Live Updates From the Democratic Debate

Here’s what you need to know:

ImageWestlake Legal Group 14debate-livebriefing-articleLarge Live Updates From the Democratic Debate Warren, Elizabeth Steyer, Thomas F Sanders, Bernard Primaries and Caucuses Presidential Election of 2020 Klobuchar, Amy Iowa DES MOINES, Iowa Democratic Party Debates (Political) Buttigieg, Pete (1982- ) Biden, Joseph R Jr

Six candidates will participate in the debate in Des Moines on Tuesday.Credit…Tamir Kalifa for The New York Times

With less than three weeks before Iowa’s caucuses, tensions are rising among the top-tier candidates. The de facto truce between Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts has evaporated in recent days, Mr. Sanders has attacked former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., and former Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Ind., remains the object of scorn from his top rivals.

For the first time in the 2020 campaign, there’s a real chance of a four-way battle royale live on the debate stage.

The strategy comes with significant risks. Iowans tend to dislike it when candidates go negative, and progressives are already blanching at the prospect of a prolonged Sanders-Warren conflict, given that many of them believe either candidate would be preferable to the more moderate Mr. Biden and Mr. Buttigieg.

The conflict makes for good television — and CNN in past debates has sought out tensions between the candidates — but it doesn’t always lead to more affection from voters. The trick for candidates Tuesday night will be navigating attacks and counterpunches without undermining Democratic unity and catering to voters’ all-encompassing desire to defeat President Trump.

Mr. Biden often claims he’s not engaging in “hyperbole” — but as Democratic candidates work to appeal to voters of color, that’s exactly what he did as he highlighted his standing with those constituencies in an interview published Tuesday, hours before a debate for which only white candidates qualified.

“I get more support from black and brown constituents than anybody in this race. That’s where I come from. I come from the African-American community,” Mr. Biden, who is white, told The Sacramento Bee. “That’s my base. We’re the eighth largest black population (as a percentage) in the United States in my state. That’s how I got started.”

Those remarks came in response to a question about the all-white debate stage, a disappointment to many Democratic voters and activists who were energized by the diversity of the field at the outset of the campaign.

Join us for live analysis on debate night. Subscribe to “On Politics,” and we’ll send you a link.

“I think there’s some really qualified people, but it’s the way, you know, the way the polls are running, the way things are moving,” Mr. Biden said. “I’m not sure this whole debate setup has made any sense anyway to begin with. But it is what it is. But I tell you what: If I’m elected president, I promise you my administration is going to look like America.”

The debate comes a day after Senator Cory Booker, Democrat of New Jersey, dropped out of the race, leaving just one black person — Deval Patrick, the former governor of Massachusetts — in the Democratic contest.

Polls do show Mr. Biden with a commanding lead among African-American voters over all, though the contest for younger black voters, as well as for Latino voters, is far more competitive, and Mr. Sanders in particular has shown strength with those constituencies.

Ms. Warren’s top aides and her new surrogate Julián Castro have been telegraphing a message of unity, promoting Ms. Warren as the candidate who can bridge the party’s progressive and moderate wings.

That’ll be hard if she’s stoking a war with Mr. Sanders.

Ms. Warren is going to try anyway, having already adopted most of Mr. Sanders’s platform without some of his harder edges. She’s sure to be asked about reports in recent days that Sanders volunteers disparaged her election chances in calls to Iowa Democrats and the report, followed by her confirmation, that Mr. Sanders told her a woman could not be elected president.

There’s little evidence that Sanders supporters can be moved away from the Vermont senator, but it is incumbent upon Ms. Warren to demonstrate to moderate and undecided Iowans that she can appeal to all elements of the party and, as she often says in her remarks, win Republican votes for proposals like her wealth tax.

As the House moves to send impeachment charges against Mr. Trump to the Senate for a trial, Senator Amy Klobuchar, Mr. Sanders and Ms. Warren will soon be spending far more time in Washington than in Iowa.

The debate offers one of their best, last chances to make a big, televised impression from Iowa before the caucuses. Can they effectively take advantage of that opening?

Ms. Warren, who has a renowned campaign organization on the ground, and Mr. Sanders, who has a loyal fan base in Iowa, have some more cushioning — but both of them are locked in a tight race among a crowded top-four tier. They’ll both be looking for a defining performance that will stay with undecided voters in Iowa while they are off the trail.

Mr. Biden and Mr. Buttigieg, the other two leading candidates in Iowa, who are competing with each other and Ms. Klobuchar for more centrist voters, will be free to campaign while their rivals are in Washington, and their supporters are eager to take advantage.

Hours before Tuesday’s debate, Ms. Warren released a plan to cancel student debt by executive action.

She argues that existing laws give the Education Department the authority to cancel federal loans as well as to issue them, and that as a result, she can direct the department to do so without congressional approval.

Essentially, she is proposing a more aggressive way of carrying out the student debt plan she released months ago, which would cancel up to $50,000 in debt for about 95 percent of borrowers.

She said she would instruct her education secretary to begin canceling debt on her first day in office, and “to amend any regulations or policy positions necessary to get there.” She said she had consulted with experts on the legality of her proposal, and attached a letter from lawyers at Harvard Law School’s Legal Services Center that bolstered her case.

The proposal “will require clearing a lot of red tape,” Ms. Warren wrote. “But let’s be clear: Our government has cleared far bigger hurdles to meet the needs of big businesses when they came looking for bailouts, tax giveaways and other concessions.”

Coming off two strong debate performances and her strongest fund-raising quarter to date, Ms. Klobuchar expected an Iowa surge in the closing weeks before the Feb. 3 caucuses.

That hasn’t happened yet, and polls show she remains well below the viability threshold to capture delegates from Iowa.

One clear sign she’s not a factor: Nobody is attacking her. Other campaigns, which aren’t struggling for attention as Ms. Klobuchar often does, aren’t worried about her and are openly plotting at how to recruit her supporters on caucus night should she fail to reach the viability threshold.

Yet Iowa has a long history of late-charging surprise candidates. Just ask John Kerry in 2004 and Rick Santorum in 2012, who both rocketed from single-digit polling to win the state. For Ms. Klobuchar, time is running short, and Tuesday may be her last shot to make a case for herself.

Mr. Patrick, the only black candidate remaining in the presidential race, is not be participating in Tuesday’s debate, and he is not taking his exclusion quietly.

“Tonight, six candidates will take the debate stage, all remarkable public servants,” Mr. Patrick, a former governor of Massachusetts, said in a statement. “Yet tonight America will not see herself in full.”

He was referring to the all-white debate line-up. As the Democratic field has been winnowed, the candidates on the stage no longer reflect a racial or ethnic cross-section of America.

Since December, three candidates of color have withdrawn — Senator Kamala Harris of California, Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey and Julián Castro of Texas, the former housing secretary.

Two other nonwhite candidates, the tech entrepreneur Andrew Yang and Representative Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii, remain in the race but did not qualify to participate tonight under debate rules.

Alongside CNN’s Wolf Blitzer and Abby Phillip, tonight’s debate moderators include Brianne Pfannenstiel, the newest chief politics reporter for The Des Moines Register. This is a unique job in journalism: Ms. Pfannenstiel covers a local contest with national implications (the Iowa caucuses), giving her unparalleled power for a reporter at a regional newspaper.

As a New York Times profile of her described, she and the paper are regularly sought out by campaigns to get their messages across to the only voters who matter right now.

She said she has a “dream job,” one where she feels she has a tangible impact. “I’m not just sending something out into the abyss,” she said. “People here in Iowa are actually going to caucus, and so what you write informs how they think about the candidates and the policies and issues, and it’s all real for them.”

She added, “It’s easy in political journalism to get caught up in the idea that it’s a game show or it’s all strategy, but getting to be the politics reporter for The Des Moines Register means that it’s all real.”

Between impeachment hearings, football playoffs and the holidays, TV audiences for that other national story line — the Democratic presidential primary — have been dwindling.

Candidates and cable television producers are hoping that tonight’s matchup in Iowa can reverse the trend.

Last month, 6.17 million people watched the Democratic debate on PBS — a 66 percent decline from the 18.1 million Americans who tuned in for the second night of primary debates in June. The December event was easily the smallest live audience for a presidential debate in 2019.

But Tuesday’s event, sponsored by CNN and The Des Moines Register, is shaping up as must-see-TV.

Only six candidates will appear, the fewest this election cycle, which is good news for Democratic voters who have complained about unwieldy debates featuring up to a dozen candidates.

The Democratic Party is promising a two-hour-long debate on Tuesday, including opening statements, a tighter schedule than past debates.

To prepare, an army of CNN producers has spent 10 days transforming Sheslow Auditorium, an intimate opera house on the campus of Drake University, into a futuristic soundstage.

The building’s stained-glass windows will be integrated into the broadcast. Seventeen cameras, and about 5,000 feet of lighting and power cable, were required for the production.

“It’ll be interesting to see if the candidates feel closer to the audience and if that makes them open up a little more,” Mark Preston, CNN’s vice president of political events, told The Register. “Perhaps it will.”

To close out the debate last month, Mr. Yang struck a self-aware note: “I know what you’re thinking, America,” he remarked. “How am I still on this stage with them?”

As it turns out, Mr. Yang will not be on the debate stage in Iowa on Tuesday night. After earning a spot in the first six Democratic debates, Mr. Yang failed to qualify for this one because he did not receive 5 percent support in enough qualifying polls.

Mr. Yang has urged the Democratic National Committee to commission more polls. And his campaign, emboldened by a high-profile poll of Iowa caucusgoers that was released on Friday, has sharpened its criticism of the D.N.C., arguing that if it had done its “due diligence,” Mr. Yang “would certainly be on the debate stage.”

Mr. Yang himself weighed in on Twitter on Monday: “I want us to be on that stage,” he wrote. “I think we earned it.”

The airwaves in Iowa’s four main media markets are growing increasingly crowded. Over the past week, 42 different political ads have aired in the state, $2.5 million worth of political advertising time.

Most of the ads reflect candidates’ central arguments. Senator Elizabeth Warren has spent more than $190,000 reminding voters that she doesn’t take money from big donors, and therefore wouldn’t sell administration jobs like “cushy ambassadorships.”

But in the past 24 hours, candidates have begun using more creative messages, trying to break through a very fluid field in Iowa and going beyond staid biographical ads.

On Monday, Mr. Sanders began airing an ad that featured a clip of John F. Kennedy describing the motivation behind going to the moon, then quickly transitioned to the voice of Mr. Sanders pitching his liberal platform as equally ambitious and achievable as landing on the moon.

And Tom Steyer, the self-funding billionaire who tops the Iowa spending charts with $12.5 million in the state, took aim at Mr. Trump’s wealth in a new 60-second ad that began airing on Tuesday. In the ad, which was surely designed to try to elicit a rebuke from the president, Mr. Steyer says he’s an “actual billionaire” while Mr. Trump is a “fake billionaire.”

Though Michael R. Bloomberg is airing ads nationally on CNN, there will be no political ads tonight during the commercial breaks airing nationally, as the cable network has refused to air a political ad during the debate, though a campaign could still buy in a local cable market that is out of CNN’s control.

Reporting was contributed by Nick Corasaniti, Michael M. Grynbaum, Stephanie Saul, Matt Stevens and Marc Tracy.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Tom Steyer Qualifies for Democratic Debate With Two Surprising Polls

Westlake Legal Group 09steyer-facebookJumbo Tom Steyer Qualifies for Democratic Debate With Two Surprising Polls Steyer, Thomas F south carolina Presidential Election of 2020 Polls and Public Opinion Political Advertising New Hampshire Nevada Iowa Debates (Political)

With two startling polling results released late Thursday afternoon, the billionaire former hedge fund executive Tom Steyer became the sixth candidate to qualify for next week’s Democratic presidential debate.

Mr. Steyer will join former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., former Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Ind., and Senators Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts on the debate stage on Tuesday in Des Moines.

Mere hours earlier on Thursday, the chances of that seemed almost nonexistent: Mr. Steyer needed two more polls showing him with 5 percent support, or two polls of early-voting states showing him at 7 percent, and the qualification deadline was only a day away.

Enter Fox News, which polled voters in Nevada and South Carolina and found Mr. Steyer at 12 percent and 15 percent.

Those are surprising numbers for a candidate who had never before exceeded 5 percent in a debate-qualifying poll, and for now they are outliers, inconsistent with the trends reflected in other surveys. But these are also the first qualifying polls specific to Nevada and South Carolina in almost two months, and significant changes are certainly possible in that amount of time.

CBS News/YouGov polls released this week showed Mr. Steyer at 2 percent in Iowa and 3 percent in New Hampshire, while a Monmouth University poll released Thursday showed him at 4 percent in New Hampshire. But Nevada and South Carolina have a lot more black and Hispanic voters than Iowa and New Hampshire do, which can elevate different candidates.

Mr. Steyer has been spending abundantly in the early-voting states, and if he has in fact surged, money is an obvious factor.

Were it not for Michael R. Bloomberg’s nine-figure media budget, Mr. Steyer would be by far the biggest spender in the 2020 race. He has been a prolific advertiser both nationally — spending $11 million on national cable and $4.2 million on national broadcast — and in the early states, according to Advertising Analytics. He has also spent more than $20 million on Facebook advertising.

In South Carolina, Mr. Steyer has spent about $11.2 million on television, cable and radio ads, accounting for about 65 percent of political advertising in the state’s four major media markets, according to Advertising Analytics. (Mr. Bloomberg is not competing in the first four states.) In Nevada, Mr. Steyer has spent $10.3 million, which is nearly 75 percent of the overall political advertising there.

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The ‘But I Would Vote for Joe Biden’ Republicans

Westlake Legal Group 00biden-republicans-03-facebookJumbo The ‘But I Would Vote for Joe Biden’ Republicans Voting and Voters United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Primaries and Caucuses Presidential Election of 2020 Iowa Democratic Party Biden, Joseph R Jr

CRESTON, Iowa — The voters at campaign events for Joseph R. Biden Jr. here in Iowa and across the country aren’t just shopping for a candidate for themselves.

As they jostle to take pictures with the former vice president and listen to him preach about national unity, they are often thinking about someone else — a dad, a neighbor or a colleague. They consider the political leanings of people close to them who are uncomfortable with the most liberal presidential contenders, but who hate the chaos of the Trump era and are receptive to the kind of centrist, seasoned candidacy Mr. Biden offers.

Some Democrats have been warning the party not to obsess over these potential swing voters, arguing that electability calculations about mythical undecided moderates are futile at this moment of extreme political polarization.

But for many Biden supporters, those voters are their Republican-leaning relatives and friends. And their perspectives are an increasingly prominent consideration as the Iowa caucuses near.

“I think he could get the independents and moderate Republicans who refuse to vote for Donald Trump,” said Bailey Smith, 27, a leader in Atlantic, Iowa’s business community and an undecided voter who attended a Biden campaign event on Sunday. Asked whether she had any moderate Republicans in mind, she replied, “My dad.”

It’s a dynamic that helps explain why, despite Mr. Biden’s series of missteps and uneven debate performances, many Democratic voters still believe the former vice president would stand the best chance against President Trump in a general election, polls show.

That’s a message Mr. Biden’s top surrogates are sounding at every turn, citing specific potential swing voters in the process.

“I always say that in Mount Pleasant, Iowa, if I didn’t have Republican friends, I wouldn’t have had any friends at all growing up,” said Christie Vilsack, the former first lady of Iowa and a prominent Democrat, as she introduced Mr. Biden at a campaign stop here on Saturday night. “Who will appeal to independents? And I want my candidate to be able to appeal to my Republican friends as well.”

Her remarks came just days after Mr. Trump, with his nearly 90 percent approval rating among Republicans, was impeached largely along party lines after he asked a foreign nation to investigate Mr. Biden. Republicans who have long had warm relationships with Mr. Biden defended the president instead.

For some Democrats, that development amounted to another reason for skepticism of Mr. Biden’s emphasis on bipartisanship, and his claims that Republicans might have an “epiphany” with Mr. Trump out of office.

Away from Capitol Hill, crossover voters are also a rare breed. But recent New York Times Upshot/Siena College surveys show that a narrow slice of swing voters does exist in key battleground states, as do voters who say they would be comfortable with Mr. Biden but not Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, who is more progressive. Mr. Biden continues to lead the national polls, too, though he has struggled in the early voting states of Iowa and New Hampshire this fall.

“There are a few candidates — Biden, obviously, being one — that could be attractive to disaffected Republicans and more centrist Republicans,” said former Representative Carlos Curbelo, Republican of Florida. He also mentioned Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Ind., former Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg of New York and Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota.

Mr. Biden’s appeal to what some might call the “reasonable Republican dad” vote goes like this: He shuns far-reaching proposals like “Medicare for all”; he has a history of working with Republicans; his warm personal style is disarming; and he represents a return to what some moderates view as a more stable era.

A number of those factors are a liability among progressive voters, who are clamoring for bold change. But on the campaign trail with Mr. Biden, it’s the centrist Republican and independent voters who are often top of mind for his supporters as they think about the general election.

And according to a dozen Republican donors and strategists, as well as former elected officials who can speak free from concerns about retribution from Mr. Trump, there is some evidence that Mr. Biden can connect with these voters.

“Oh yeah, he definitely does,” said former Gov. John Kasich of Ohio, a 2016 Republican presidential candidate, pointing to Mr. Biden’s ability to speak to blue-collar voters. “He is a guy who can do it probably better than any other Democrat.”

Chuck Hagel, a Republican who served as defense secretary in the Obama administration, said he wrote in Mr. Biden’s name on the ballot instead of voting for Mr. Trump or Hillary Clinton in 2016. This year, he said, he favors Mr. Biden again, and would not back Mr. Trump — or Ms. Warren, or Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont — in the general election. It’s a view shared by other Republicans, Mr. Hagel added.

“They’ve said to me, ‘If Biden is the nominee, I will vote for Biden, I will not vote for any of the other Democrats,’” recalled Mr. Hagel, a former Republican senator from Nebraska, citing Mr. Biden’s experience and his empathy. “I don’t know how big or deep or wide that is in this country, but I hear it.”

At Biden campaign events, prominent supporters often instruct attendees to think in pragmatic terms, a stark departure from the fiery populist messages that animate events held by Ms. Warren and Mr. Sanders.

“It’s not going to be you, it’s not going to be me, it’s not going to be the party faithful that turn this election — it’s going to be independents and moderate Republicans,” Chris Louscher, a Democratic activist, told a crowd at a Biden event in Algona, Iowa, this month, thinking of her brother-in-law in Florida. “I have a lot of family, a lot of friends, I have people in this audience today that are Republicans. They will vote for Joe Biden and that’s how he wins this next election.”

In recent days, Mr. Biden has been sharpening the contrast between himself and his Democratic rivals, using an addition to his stump speech to swipe at those who suggest that he is “naïve” for wanting to cooperate with Republicans — the very Republicans, he acknowledges, who are attacking him, his family and his “only living son.”

On Friday, a reporter asked Mr. Biden for evidence that Republican officials and voters had any interest in working with him.

“I think Republican voters have interest in finding common ground,” he said. “Wherever I go, there’s an enormous number of independents and Republicans who know and think we have to find common ground.”

It’s not just Republican votes that Mr. Biden is seeking. Several longtime Republicans have donated to his campaign and held events for Mr. Biden, too.

On Friday, Mr. Biden joined about two dozen people — roughly half of them Republicans — at a fund-raiser in Bel Air, Calif., hosted by Harry Sloan, a longtime Republican donor who supported Mrs. Clinton in 2016.

“I’ve spoken to many Republicans who don’t intend to vote for Trump,” Mr. Sloan said. “They’re looking for an alternative. They are pretty polarized against Warren and Sanders and that so-called progressive wing of the party.”

“And when those conversations come up, they tend to say, ‘But I would vote for Joe Biden,’” Mr. Sloan said, adding that his event brought in $100,000.

Yet there are clearly significant limitations to Mr. Biden’s appeal across the aisle — and to Democrats’ guesses about how Republicans might feel.

Some Democrats in the Des Moines area said they thought Douglas E. Gross, a prominent Iowa Republican, would be inclined to support a moderate like Mr. Biden.

That was a surprise to Mr. Gross.

“They’d have to do better than Joe Biden,” he said in an interview this month. “I just think his time has passed him by.”

Then there was Marie Hansen of De Soto, Iowa, who said she was “95 percent” decided on Mr. Biden. But at a Sunday night campaign event, she also described a friend — a now-disaffected Trump voter — who has been swayed by Mr. Trump’s criticisms of Mr. Biden and his son, Hunter. Ms. Hansen wondered about “just finding that candidate she can settle with.”

Many Democrats argue that it is not enough to settle for a candidate who could appeal to disaffected Trump voters or moderate Republicans. They say that without liberal enthusiasm, the party can’t compete against Mr. Trump and his intensely committed base.

Polls show several of the Democratic candidates doing well against Mr. Trump in hypothetical general election matchups. While the Biden campaign and his allies are making explicit overtures to Republicans, supporters of his leading opponents note that their messages, too, can cross strict party lines.

Representative Andy Levin, a Michigan Democrat who is supporting Ms. Warren, said that her “plan to end the corrupt system of self-dealing of the super rich is music to Republican, independent and Democratic ears.”

Mr. Sanders, who has gained in recent polls, appeals to younger progressive voters as well as some of the blue-collar constituents both Mr. Biden and Mr. Trump are seeking to engage.

“Iowans watched Donald Trump win by running as a fake Bernie Sanders, and they know the best way to beat the imitation is with the real thing,” said Bill Neidhardt, Iowa deputy state director for Mr. Sanders.

For all of the talk at Biden events about engaging independents and Republicans, Democratic attendees who hail from conservative areas tend to be the most skeptical that any Republicans are listening.

Dianne Ballard, 63, of Centerville, Iowa, said she thought that Mr. Biden could defeat Mr. Trump, but also noted that many Republicans negatively associate him with former President Barack Obama. Ms. Ballard, a Biden supporter, did not plan to press the case with her husband, a Republican, over Christmas.

“This is kind of Trump country, unfortunately,” Ms. Ballard said. “You’re either one or the other.”

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Joe Biden’s Appeal to the ‘Reasonable Republican Dad’ Vote

Westlake Legal Group 00biden-republicans-03-facebookJumbo Joe Biden’s Appeal to the ‘Reasonable Republican Dad’ Vote Voting and Voters United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Primaries and Caucuses Presidential Election of 2020 Iowa Democratic Party Biden, Joseph R Jr

CRESTON, Iowa — The voters at campaign events for Joseph R. Biden Jr. here in Iowa and across the country aren’t just shopping for a candidate for themselves.

As they jostle to take pictures with the former vice president and listen to him preach about national unity, they are often thinking about someone else— a dad, a neighbor or a colleague. They consider the political leanings of people close to them who are uncomfortable with the most liberal presidential contenders, but who hate the chaos of the Trump era and are receptive to the kind of centrist, seasoned candidacy Mr. Biden offers.

Some Democrats have been warning the party not to obsess over these potential swing voters, arguing that electability calculations about mythical undecided moderates are futile at this moment of extreme political polarization.

But for many Biden supporters, those voters are their Republican-leaning relatives and friends. And their perspectives are an increasingly prominent consideration as the Iowa caucuses near.

“I think he could get the independents and moderate Republicans who refuse to vote for Donald Trump,” said Bailey Smith, 27, a leader in Atlantic, Iowa’s business community and an undecided voter who attended a Biden campaign event on Sunday. Asked whether she had any moderate Republicans in mind, she replied, “My dad.”

It’s a dynamic that helps explain why, despite Mr. Biden’s series of missteps and uneven debate performances, many Democratic voters still believe the former vice president would stand the best chance against President Trump in a general election, polls show.

That’s a message Mr. Biden’s top surrogates are sounding at every turn, citing specific potential swing voters in the process.

“I always say that in Mount Pleasant, Iowa, if I didn’t have Republican friends, I wouldn’t have had any friends at all growing up,” said Christie Vilsack, the former first lady of Iowa and a prominent Democrat, as she introduced Mr. Biden at a campaign stop here on Saturday night. “Who will appeal to independents? And I want my candidate to be able to appeal to my Republican friends as well.”

Her remarks came just days after Mr. Trump, with his nearly 90 percent approval rating among Republicans, was impeached largely along party lines after he asked a foreign nation to investigate Mr. Biden. Republicans who have long had warm relationships with Mr. Biden defended the president instead.

For some Democrats, that development amounted to another reason for skepticism of Mr. Biden’s emphasis on bipartisanship, and his claims that Republicans might have an “epiphany” with Mr. Trump out of office.

Away from Capitol Hill, crossover voters are also a rare breed. But recent New York Times Upshot/Siena College surveys show that a narrow slice of swing voters does exist in key battleground states, as do voters who say they would be comfortable with Mr. Biden but not Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, who is more progressive. Mr. Biden continues to lead the national polls, too, though he has struggled in the early voting states of Iowa and New Hampshire this fall.

“There are a few candidates — Biden, obviously, being one — that could be attractive to disaffected Republicans and more centrist Republicans,” said former Representative Carlos Curbelo, Republican of Florida. He also mentioned Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Ind., former Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg of New York and Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota.

Mr. Biden’s appeal to what some might call the “reasonable Republican dad” vote goes like this: He shuns far-reaching proposals like “Medicare for all”; he has a history of working with Republicans; his warm personal style is disarming; and he represents a return to what some moderates view as a more stable era.

A number of those factors are a liability among progressive voters, who are clamoring for bold change. But on the campaign trail with Mr. Biden, it’s the centrist Republican and independent voters who are often top of mind for his supporters as they think about the general election.

And according to a dozen Republican donors and strategists, as well as former elected officials who can speak free from concerns about retribution from Mr. Trump, there is some evidence that Mr. Biden can connect with these voters.

“Oh yeah, he definitely does,” said former Gov. John Kasich of Ohio, a 2016 Republican presidential candidate, pointing to Mr. Biden’s ability to speak to blue-collar voters. “He is a guy who can do it probably better than any other Democrat.”

Chuck Hagel, a Republican who served as defense secretary in the Obama administration, said he wrote in Mr. Biden’s name on the ballot instead of voting for Mr. Trump or Hillary Clinton in 2016. This year, he said, he favors Mr. Biden again, and would not back Mr. Trump — or Ms. Warren, or Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont — in the general election. It’s a view shared by other Republicans, Mr. Hagel added.

“They’ve said to me, ‘If Biden is the nominee, I will vote for Biden, I will not vote for any of the other Democrats,’” recalled Mr. Hagel, a former Republican senator from Nebraska, citing Mr. Biden’s experience and his empathy. “I don’t know how big or deep or wide that is in this country, but I hear it.”

At Biden campaign events, prominent supporters often instruct attendees to think in pragmatic terms, a stark departure from the fiery populist messages that animate events held by Ms. Warren and Mr. Sanders.

“It’s not going to be you, it’s not going to be me, it’s not going to be the party faithful that turn this election — it’s going to be independents and moderate Republicans,” Chris Louscher, a Democratic activist, told a crowd at a Biden event in Algona, Iowa, this month, thinking of her brother-in-law in Florida. “I have a lot of family, a lot of friends, I have people in this audience today that are Republicans. They will vote for Joe Biden and that’s how he wins this next election.”

In recent days, Mr. Biden has been sharpening the contrast between himself and his Democratic rivals, using an addition to his stump speech to swipe at those who suggest that he is “naïve” for wanting to cooperate with Republicans — the very Republicans, he acknowledges, who are attacking him, his family and his “only living son.”

On Friday, a reporter asked Mr. Biden for evidence that Republican officials and voters had any interest in working with him.

“I think Republican voters have interest in finding common ground,” he said. “Wherever I go, there’s an enormous number of independents and Republicans who know and think we have to find common ground.”

It’s not just Republican votes that Mr. Biden is seeking. Several longtime Republicans have donated to his campaign and held events for Mr. Biden, too.

On Friday, Mr. Biden joined about two dozen people — roughly half of them Republicans — at a fund-raiser in Bel Air, Calif., hosted by Harry Sloan, a longtime Republican donor who supported Mrs. Clinton in 2016.

“I’ve spoken to many Republicans who don’t intend to vote for Trump,” Mr. Sloan said. “They’re looking for an alternative. They are pretty polarized against Warren and Sanders and that so-called progressive wing of the party.”

“And when those conversations come up, they tend to say, ‘But I would vote for Joe Biden,’” Mr. Sloan said, adding that his event brought in $100,000.

Yet there are clearly significant limitations to Mr. Biden’s appeal across the aisle — and to Democrats’ guesses about how Republicans might feel.

Some Democrats in the Des Moines area said they thought Douglas E. Gross, a prominent Iowa Republican, would be inclined to support a moderate like Mr. Biden.

That was a surprise to Mr. Gross.

“They’d have to do better than Joe Biden,” he said in an interview this month. “I just think his time has passed him by.”

Then there was Marie Hansen of De Soto, Iowa, who said she was “95 percent” decided on Mr. Biden. But at a Sunday night campaign event, she also described a friend — a now-disaffected Trump voter — who has been swayed by Mr. Trump’s criticisms of Mr. Biden and his son, Hunter. Ms. Hansen wondered about “just finding that candidate she can settle with.”

Many Democrats argue that it is not enough to settle for a candidate who could appeal to disaffected Trump voters or moderate Republicans. They say that without liberal enthusiasm, the party can’t compete against Mr. Trump and his intensely committed base.

Polls show several of the Democratic candidates doing well against Mr. Trump in hypothetical general election matchups. While the Biden campaign and his allies are making explicit overtures to Republicans, supporters of his leading opponents note that their messages, too, can cross strict party lines.

Representative Andy Levin, a Michigan Democrat who is supporting Ms. Warren, said that her “plan to end the corrupt system of self-dealing of the super rich is music to Republican, independent and Democratic ears.”

Mr. Sanders, who has gained in recent polls, appeals to younger progressive voters as well as some of the blue-collar constituents both Mr. Biden and Mr. Trump are seeking to engage.

“Iowans watched Donald Trump win by running as a fake Bernie Sanders, and they know the best way to beat the imitation is with the real thing,” said Bill Neidhardt, Iowa deputy state director for Mr. Sanders.

For all of the talk at Biden events about engaging independents and Republicans, Democratic attendees who hail from conservative areas tend to be the most skeptical that any Republicans are listening.

Dianne Ballard, 63, of Centerville, Iowa, said she thought that Mr. Biden could defeat Mr. Trump, but also noted that many Republicans negatively associate him with former President Barack Obama. Ms. Ballard, a Biden supporter, did not plan to press the case with her husband, a Republican, over Christmas.

“This is kind of Trump country, unfortunately,” Ms. Ballard said. “You’re either one or the other.”

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