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Second Democratic Debate: Highlights From Night 1

The Latest on the second round of Democratic presidential primary debates in Detroit (all times local):

10:45 p.m. - Democratic candidates close out debate

Democratic presidential candidates are closing out the latest debate in Detroit.

Marianne Williamson, who won over the crowd with her comments on Flint, Michigan's water crisis, is calling for "some radical truth telling."

Former Maryland Rep. John Delaney, who clashed with two of the leading progressives on stage, says Democrats must offer "real solutions, not impossible promises" to defeat President Donald Trump.

But Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren says Democrats should be the "big party of structural change."

And Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders says he is running to "transform this country and to stand with the working class of America," which he says has been decimated for decades.

10:30 p.m. - Sanders, Buttigieg dodge age questions

Some Democratic presidential candidates aren't eager to make age an issue in the 2020 nominating fight.

Mayor Pete Buttigieg is the youngest candidate in the Democratic field at age 37. But he turned a discussion of age at Tuesday's debate into an attack on congressional Republicans for continuing to support President Donald Trump.

Bernie Sanders is the oldest candidate on the debate stage. But the 77-year-old Vermont senator says Democratic voters must look for a candidate with "vision."

Standing next to Sanders, Buttigieg is repeating his call for a "new generation" of Democratic leaders.

Age has been a prominent issue in Democrats' nominating fight. Sanders or former Vice President Joe Biden would be the oldest newly inaugurated president if either wins.

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Democratic presidential hopefuls US senator from Vermont Bernie Sanders and US Senator from Massachusetts Elizabeth Warren participate in the first round of the second Democratic primary debate of the 2020 presidential campaign season hosted by CNN at the Fox Theatre in Detroit, Michigan on July 30, 2019. Getty Images
Brendan Smialowski—AFP/Getty Images

10:25 p.m. - Sanders says he'll focus on diplomacy

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders says he'd work as president to strengthen the United States' standing with the United Nations and focus on diplomacy, not military action.

Sanders was asked during Tuesday's debate what differentiates his aversion to the global U.S. military presence from President Donald Trump's opposition to being "policeman of the world." Sanders responded that Trump is "a pathological liar."

Sanders's stance on diplomacy was echoed by former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper.

Pete Buttigieg pledged to withdraw from Afghanistan — where he served — by the end of his first year in the White House.

The South Bend, Indiana, mayor also advocated for a three-year sunset provision for authorizations of the use of military force, noting that those deployed to Afghanistan will soon be too young to have been alive during the Sept. 11 attacks.

Democratic Presidential Candidates Debate In Detroit Over Two Nights
Democratic presidential candidate South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg speaks during the Democratic Presidential Debate at the Fox Theatre July 30, 2019 in Detroit, Michigan.
Justin Sullivan—Getty Images

10:10 p.m. - Buttigieg: 'Racial divide lives within me'

Pete Buttigieg says that as mayor of the diverse town of South Bend, Indiana, "the racial divide lives within me."

During Tuesday's debate, Buttigieg was asked how he would convince black voters that he should be the Democratic presidential nominee.

Buttigieg, who is white, says he didn't become mayor "to end racism," but he had worked on issues of race, crime and poverty affecting communities of color.

Buttigieg has been criticized for his handling of a police-involved shooting that took him off the campaign trail last month. He came home to a black community that was frustrated and outraged nearly five years after the Black Lives Matter movement was born amid increased awareness about the shootings of unarmed black men by police.


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Democratic presidential hopeful US author and writer Marianne Williamson gestures as she speaks during the first round of the second Democratic primary debate of the 2020 presidential campaign season hosted by CNN at the Fox Theatre in Detroit, Michigan on July 30, 2019. Getty Images
Brendan Smialowski—AFP/Getty Images

10 p.m. - Democrats weigh in on nation's racial issues

Democrats at the presidential debate in Detroit are weighing in on the nation's race issues.

Pointing to water problems in communities like Flint, Michigan, author Marianne Williamson says poor, minority areas fall victim to a "collectivized hatred" that only deepens their problems.

Former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper says Democrats must show they can "delegate an urban agenda" for substantive changes in schools and affordable housing.

Asked how she would combat white supremacy, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren says she would call it out as "domestic terrorism," blaming President Donald Trump for racially unequal policies in economics and education.

Tuesday's debate is the first since Trump used racist language to attack four Democratic congresswomen of color, calling on them to "go back" to their countries even though all four are U.S. citizens.

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Democratic presidential hopeful Former Governor of Colorado John Hickenlooper gestures as he speaks during the first round of the second Democratic primary debate of the 2020 presidential campaign season hosted by CNN at the Fox Theatre in Detroit, Michigan on July 30, 2019. Getty Images
Brendan Smialowski—AFP/Getty Images

9:35 p.m. - Hickenlooper calls Sanders too extreme

Former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper says Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders' policies are too extreme for the White House.

At the presidential debate in Detroit, Hickenlooper says that with Sanders' liberal policies Democrats "might as well FedEx the election to Donald Trump."

Sanders is noting that polling shows him beating President Donald Trump in a clutch of key Midwestern states. He says he would beat Trump because "he is a fraud and a phony."

Hickenlooper says he does not believe Americans would go along with such "radical changes," and says, "You can't just spring a plan on the world and expect it to succeed."

Hickenlooper suggested Sanders was throwing his hands up. Sanders responded, "I will" and did just that.

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Democratic presidential hopeful US Senator from Massachusetts Elizabeth Warren gestures as she speaks during the first round of the second Democratic primary debate of the 2020 presidential campaign season hosted by CNN at the Fox Theatre in Detroit, Michigan on July 30, 2019.
Brendan Smialowski—AFP/Getty Images

9:25 p.m. - Warren pushes back at moderate criticism

Sen. Elizabeth Warren is pushing Democrats not to be too timid in the 2020 presidential election.

During the Democratic debate in Detroit, the Massachusetts senator pushed back at moderate criticism by questioning why anyone would run for president just "to talk about what we can't do."

Warren is defending single-payer health insurance and other "big ideas" as policy fights worth having.

She is responding to critics including former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, former Maryland Rep. John Delaney and Montana Gov. Steve Bullock.

Delaney says Warren's and Sen. Bernie Sanders' health care proposals are "dead on arrival" because they would essentially outlaw private health insurance.

Democratic presidential hopeful (L-R) US Senator from Minnesota Amy Klobuchar, Mayor of South Bend, Indiana, Pete Buttigieg and US senator from Vermont Bernie Sanders participate the first round of the second Democratic primary debate of the 2020 presidential campaign season hosted by CNN at the Fox Theatre in Detroit, Michigan on July 30, 2019. BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images
Brendan Smialowski—AFP/Getty Images

9:05 p.m. - Democrats debate decriminalizing U.S.-Mexico border crossing

Former Texas Rep. Beto O'Rourke is standing by his refusal to call for decriminalizing crossing the U.S.-Mexico border by undocumented migrants, saying he will instead overhaul immigration policy enough that "I expect people who come here to follow our laws."

O'Rourke says that if he is elected president, he will protect those seeking U.S. asylum and people brought to the country illegally as children.

Other presidential candidates are calling for full decriminalization. Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren says current laws have given President Donald Trump "the power to break families apart" at the border.

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders says he doesn't consider women and children who walked thousands of miles criminals, and says Trump has demonized all immigrants.

Montana Gov. Steve Bullock says decriminalizing may "play into Donald Trump's hands."

Democratic presidential hopeful (L-R) US Representative for Texas' 16th congressional district Beto O'Rourke, Former Governor of Colorado John Hickenlooper and former US Representative for Maryland's 6th congressional district John Delaney participate the first round of the second Democratic primary debate of the 2020 presidential campaign season hosted by CNN at the Fox Theatre in Detroit, Michigan on July 30, 2019. BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images
Brendan Smialowski—AFP/Getty Images

8:55 p.m. - Democrats debate health care proposals

The latest Democratic presidential debate has opened with a lengthy argument over the variety of health care proposals that have become a sticking point between centrists and progressives.

Sen. Bernie Sanders began what became a series of exchanges among all 10 candidates on stage in Detroit by telling former Rep. John Delaney "you're wrong" over a previous characterization of his "Medicare for All" proposal. Delaney had referred to the plan as "political suicide."

Universal health coverage has been a cornerstone of both of Sanders' presidential campaigns. He noted that countries like Canada have lower health care costs.

Challenged by Rep. Tim Ryan on a point, Sanders retorted, "I wrote the damn bill."

President Donald Trump and his Republican allies have cast the Democrats' reform plans as extreme.

Democratic presidential hopefuls US senator from Vermont Bernie Sanders and US Senator from Massachusetts Elizabeth Warren arrive for the first round of the second Democratic primary debate of the 2020 presidential campaign season hosted by CNN at the Fox Theatre in Detroit, Michigan on July 30, 2019. BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
Brendan Smialowski—AFP/Getty Images

8:30 p.m. Moderate Democrats take aim at liberal candidates at debate

Moderate Democratic presidential contenders pushed back against liberals on Tuesday as the second round of presidential debates opened with a fresh clash over the direction of the party.

Montana Gov. Steve Bullock demanded aggressive action on the nation's challenges but warned voters against nominating someone who embraces "wish-list economics" to take on President Donald Trump next year.

Working people "can't wait for a revolution," said Bullock in a clear swipe at self-described democratic socialist Bernie Sanders, who stood at center stage. "Their problems are here and now."

The warning from the little-known red-state governor came shortly before Sanders and progressive firebrand Elizabeth Warren promised to pursue bold liberal priorities if elected. The high-profile New England senators are known for their unapologetic embrace of aggressive plans to overhaul health care, higher education, child care and the economy — ambitious and expensive steps that may be popular among many Democrats but give Trump and his Republican allies ample opportunity to cast all Democrats as extreme.

"We're not going to solve the urgent problems we face with small ideas and spinelessness," Warren charged, calling for "a Democratic Party of big structural change."

The fight for the political left is just one subplot as the first wave of 10 candidates meets in Detroit. A second group of 10 that features early front-runner Joe Biden as well as Kamala Harris convenes Wednesday night. The groupings were chosen by debate host CNN at random.

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Democratic presidential hopefuls (L-R) US author and writer Marianne Williamson, US Representative for Ohio's 13th congressional district Tim Ryan, US Senator from Minnesota Amy Klobuchar, Mayor of South Bend, Indiana, Pete Buttigieg, US senator from Vermont Bernie Sanders, US Senator from Massachusetts Elizabeth Warren, US Representative for Texas' 16th congressional district Beto O'Rourke, Former Governor of Colorado John Hickenlooper, former US Representative for Maryland's 6th congressional district John Delaney and Governor of Montana Steve Bullock place their hands on their hearts during the national anthem ahead of the first round of the second Democratic primary debate of the 2020 presidential campaign season hosted by CNN at the Fox Theatre in Detroit, Michigan on July 30, 2019. Getty Images
Brendan Smialowski—AFP/Getty Images

8 p.m. - First heat of the debate is underway in Detroit

The first heat of the Democrats' second round of presidential primary debates is underway in Detroit.

Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren are at center stage. That gives voters on the party's left flank a chance to size up the two leading progressives in their first head-to-head matchup.

In the June debates, Warren was matched up against several trailing candidates, with Sanders and the other leading candidates debating on the second night.

Warren and Sanders are joined by several more moderate candidates who are looking to break out.

Among them is Montana Gov. Steve Bullock. He will be getting his first debate opportunity after failing to qualify for the June events.

Former Vice President Joe Biden and California Sen. Kamala Harris headline debate Wednesday night's debate.

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Members of the media walk through the debate hall ahead of the Democratic presidential candidate debate at the Fox Theatre in Detroit, Michigan, U.S., on Tuesday, July 30, 2019. Hillary Clinton in 2016 was the first Democratic presidential candidate to lose the state of Michigan in 28 years, by a slim 11,000 votes. The party seems to understand it can't take Michigan for granted this time around.
Anthony Lanzilote—Bloomberg via Getty Images

6:25 p.m. - Sanders and Warren to face off

The preeminent faces of the Democratic Party's emboldened progressive wing will take prominence at Tuesday night's presidential debate as they face off for the first time.

Self-described democratic socialist Bernie Sanders will appear alongside progressive firebrand Elizabeth Warren. Both are known for their unapologetic embrace of aggressive plans to overhaul health care, higher education, child care and the economy.

Those plans may be popular among many Democrats but give President Donald Trump and his Republican allies ample opportunity to cast all Democrats as extreme.

The fight for the political left is just one subplot as the first wave of 10 candidates meets in Detroit. A second group of 10 that features early front-runner Joe Biden as well as Kamala Harris convenes Wednesday night. The debate host, CNN, chose the groupings at random.

DETROIT, MICHIGAN - JULY 30: Mounted Detroit police officers work the area outside of tonight's Democratic Presidential Debate at the Fox Theatre July 30, 2019 in Detroit, Michigan. 20 Democratic presidential candidates were split into two groups of 10 to take part in the debate sponsored by CNN held over two nights at Detroit’s Fox Theatre. Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
Justin Sullivan—Getty Images

2:45 p.m. - 2020 candidates gather in Detroit

Democratic presidential candidates are gathering in Detroit for the second round of 2020 debates.

Workers were putting finishing touches on the stage Tuesday, while candidates were doing walkthroughs to become familiar with the setup. Among the high-profile candidates appearing onstage Tuesday night are Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg (BOO'-tuh-juhj).

Ten candidates will have the opportunity to present their ideas to the American people on Tuesday and offer a response to President Donald Trump's recent string of racist and incendiary tweets and comments.

Ten more candidates will appear onstage Wednesday for a second night of debates.

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People stand outside the Fox Theatre ahead of the democratic debates in Detroit, Michigan on July 29, 2019. Getty Images
Jim Watson—AFP/Getty Images

10:15 a.m. - Trump will be tuning in tonight

President Donald Trump says he'll be watching the next Democratic presidential debate and predicts Joe Biden will be the likely 2020 presidential nominee for the Democrats.

Speaking to reporters at the White House on Tuesday before leaving on a trip to Jamestown, Virginia, Trump said he'll be watching as the Democratic candidates square off in Detroit.

Trump took a jab at Biden, saying the former vice president is "off his game by a lot." Trump and Biden have often criticized each other.

Ten Democrats will face off Tuesday night, including two leading progressives in the field, Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts. Ten more candidates, including Biden, will debate on Wednesday night.

More must-read stories from Fortune:

—These are the new rules for tonight’s Democratic debate

Detroit happily steps into role of political HQ as Democrats gather for debate

How to watch round two of the Democratic debates for free—even without cable

—Abortion, reparations, Israel: Topics to watch for during the second Democratic debate

—Warren-Sanders match, battle for spotlight among lesser-knowns predicted for tonight's Democratic debate 

Biden surges in new poll ahead of second Democratic debate