Democratic debate: Biden, Warren and Sanders spar over healthcare

Democratic presidential hopefuls US Senator for Vermont Bernie Sanders (R) greets Former US Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. (L) as Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren looks on during the third Democratic primary debateImage copyright Getty Images
Image caption Democratic presidential hopefuls Bernie Sanders (right), Former US Vice President Joe Biden (centre) and Elizabeth Warren

Democratic frontrunner Joe Biden and close rivals Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders have feuded over healthcare at the party's third debate.

The debate in Houston, Texas, is the first time the three presidential hopefuls have been on stage together.

Mr Biden attacked the feasibility of Mr Sanders' universal healthcare plan, Medicare for All, while Ms Warren and Mr Sanders defended the measure.

Only the 10 highest-polling Democrats in the field of 20 are on stage.

The eventual Democratic White House nominee will be announced at the party convention next July, before the presidential election in November.

  • The key issues for 2020 Democrats

Healthcare, which was a key topic during the prior debates, was the first question in Thursday's debate.

The exchanges saw the two most left-leaning candidates, Mr Sanders and Ms Warren, under fire from more moderate party members.

Mr Biden criticised Mr Sanders' Medicare for All plan as being too expensive to work and said the country should focus on improving President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act instead.

Ms Warren defended the policy, saying families have to deal with exorbitant healthcare bills now, and only wealthier individuals and corporations would see increased costs from the plan.

In their opening remarks most of the candidates attacked President Donald Trump, blasting him for being a divisive leader and accusing him of racism.

On his presidency, Senator Amy Klobuchar told the audience: "Houston, we have a problem". Like others she stressed the Democrats had more uniting them than dividing them, and that defeating President Trump was the priority.

In his opening comments businessman Andrew Yang announced that he would be using donations to his campaign to start a "freedom dividend", giving $1,000 (£810) a month to 10 American families, prompting laughter from other candidates.

Who's on stage?

Here's the full line-up for the third Democratic debate, which, unlike the two prior events will take place over one night as only 10 candidates fulfilled the stricter polling and donor requirements.

  • Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar
  • New Jersey Senator Cory Booker
  • South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg
  • Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders
  • Former Vice-President Joe Biden
  • Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren
  • California Senator Kamala Harris
  • Entrepreneur Andrew Yang
  • Former Texas Congressman Beto O'Rourke
  • Former Obama housing secretary Julian Castro

There are 10 others left in the race, and four have dropped out.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The 10 Democrats taking part in Thursday's debate

Who will take on Trump?

Choose your candidate and filter by category

Original Article