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Top quotes from the Democratic presidential debate in Iowa

Elizabeth Warren, Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders at

Elizabeth Warren, Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders at the Democratic presidential primary debate Tuesday in Des Moines, Iowa. Credit: AFP via Getty Images / Robyn Beck

Democratic presidential candidates debated for the final time before the Iowa caucuses Tuesday night at Drake University in Des Moines. Here are top quotes from each of the six contenders onstage.

Quotes were checked against the Des Moines Register's debate transcript.


• He said he thought the Bush administration was lying about the Iraq War: "I did everything I could to prevent that war. Joe [Biden] saw it differently."

• Sanders denied that he told Elizabeth Warren that a woman could not win the presidency: "Well, as a matter of fact, I didn't say it." Sanders added: "Anybody knows me, knows that it's incomprehensible that I would think that a woman cannot be president of the United States."


• Asked about Sanders having said that a woman could not win, she replied, "I disagreed. Bernie is my friend, and I am not here to try to fight with Bernie."

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

• Despite various problems she described in her closing statement, Warren said, "I come here tonight with a heart filled with hope." 

"I see this as our moment in history, our moment when no one is left on the sidelines," she said. 

"Hope and courage — that is how I will make you proud every day, as your nominee, and as the first woman president of the United States of America," she declared.


• Biden said Republicans have "savaged my surviving son, gone after me."

"I have to be able to not only fight, but also heal. And as president of the United States, that's what I will attempt to do, notwithstanding that [there's] going to be more division after he's defeated by me this next time," he said of President Donald Trump.

• He delivered a rare laugh line, about taking on Trump on the debate stage. "Look, I've been the object of his affection now more than anybody else on this stage," he said.


• "Donald Trump is taking us pell-mell toward another war."

• She called Trump's impeachment trial "a decency check on our government. This is a patriotism check. Not only is this trial that, but also this election."


• "We cannot put climate on the back seat all the time and say we're going to sign this one more deal, we're going to do one more thing, without putting climate first."

• He said health care is not complicated. "We're spending way too much because corporations own the system. And we're not negotiating against those corporations."


• On his health care plan, dubbed "Medicare for all who want it": "What I'm offering is a choice. You don't have to be in my plan if there's another plan you would rather keep." His plan is paid for, he added.

• Buttigieg, asked about his almost nonexistent support among black voters, replied in part, "The black voters who know me best are supporting me. It's why I have the most support in South Bend."

"Now, the biggest mistake we could make is to take black votes for granted, and I never will," he pledged.


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