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Democratic Candidates Clash on Gender, Healthcare, and Foreign Policy in Final Debate Before Iowa Caucuses

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On Tuesday night, six Democratic candidates met at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, for the final primary debate before the crucial Iowa caucuses on February 3. The event, while originally featuring a diverse field, saw only white candidates on stage, with men comprising two-thirds of the participants.

The debate covered various pressing issues, including gender dynamics, climate change, healthcare, and the U.S. military’s presence overseas. Despite the imminent impeachment trial of President Donald Trump, this topic received minimal attention.

A significant moment occurred when Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren sparred over a reported 2018 meeting where Sanders allegedly told Warren he didn’t believe a woman could win the presidency. Sanders denied the claim on stage, emphasizing his support for women in politics, while Warren highlighted her undefeated electoral record compared to the male candidates’ collective losses.

Foreign policy discussions took center stage following recent tensions with Iran. Sanders and Warren advocated for withdrawing U.S. combat troops from the Middle East, while Joe Biden, Pete Buttigieg, and Amy Klobuchar favored a more measured approach, emphasizing the need for special forces and renegotiating the Iran nuclear deal.

Healthcare, a perennial debate topic, once again divided the candidates. Sanders and Warren supported Medicare for All, while Buttigieg, Klobuchar, Biden, and Tom Steyer pushed for building on the Affordable Care Act. The moderates criticized Medicare for All’s feasibility, with Klobuchar challenging Sanders to explain its funding.

Joe Biden, largely staying out of the fray, invoked his association with former President Barack Obama, hoping to draw on Obama’s popularity among Iowa voters. He also shared personal struggles with childcare costs, resonating with many Americans facing similar challenges.

As the debate wrapped up, it remained clear that no candidate had a definitive edge heading into the Iowa caucuses, with each striving to position themselves as the best choice to defeat President Trump in the upcoming election.

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