You're the designated piñata. That touched off a stretch where both candidates talked over one another. Not plausible. That you're imperfect, or mysteriously shifty, which are classic front-runner ailments when confronted by trailing candidates?
Warren has fueled her rise with her detailed policy proposals and a warm, personable style that has quieted some of the criticism that has been leveled at her in the past as being pedantic and hard-edged.
I am seriously looking forward to the next debate, when the DNC raises the threshold for candidates to participate-amazingly, it did not do that between September and October, which is how we went from 10 to 12 candidates, a lot of them unelectable, at a time when we should have been descending into single digits, and serious discussion.
Buttigieg attacked Warren for promoting Medicare for All, while not having a detailed plan or saying how she would pay for it. She's now a clear target for attacks, particularly from more moderate challengers, and her many plans are now being subjected to much sharper scrutiny.
The debates will mark Warren's first time on stage as a frontrunner after overtaking Biden in national polls as well as in some surveys in states like Iowa and New Hampshire. But fewer candidates engaged with him on Tuesday as they trained their focus on Warren. With Warren's emergence, they encountered a front-runner whom they could attack.
Presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Democrat-Massachusetts, speaks in a Democratic presidential primary debate hosted by CNN/New York Times at Otterbein University, October 15, 2019, in Westerville, Ohio.
So is Warren, 70, who, in addition to health care, is also facing questions from opponents about if she was actually forced from her teaching job because of a pregnancy almost a half century ago, a claim that has become a core part of her personal message. We saw it when Democrats and the media echoed Obama's claims that people would be able to keep their plans and only later acknowledged this has been an intentional lie all along.
Even if Biden continues to falter, there's not room for two Candidates for Less near the top of the pack. "And I will not embrace a plan that says people have great insurance, right up until you get the diagnosis and the insurance company says 'sorry, we're not covering your expensive cancer treatments'".
On Sunday, Biden had vowed that "no one in my family will have an office in the White House, will sit in on meetings as if they're a cabinet member, will in fact have any business relationship with anyone that relates to a foreign corporation or a foreign country".
This won the support of 77% of respondents, compared to only 18% opposition.
Then, however, he encounters a real problem. Trump's contentions to the contrary - for which there is no evidence - only showed how big a threat Biden was, he said.
"I would have a hard time today looking an Afghan civilian or soldier in the eye after what just happened over there", said Buttigieg, who served in Afghanistan.
As candidates bickered over their tax plans, Booker shut it down.
"Elizabeth supports Medicare for All, which would provide all Americans with a public health care program", her website says.
This was another issue where the chorus sang together, with the predictable exception of Tulsi Gabbard, whose earlier political career featured outright opposition to choice. John King suggested Warren would be better off being direct with people.
Castro had the evening's best line, accusing Trump of "caging kids on the border and letting ISIS run free". At the debate, she spoke the most, but only because she was being attacked by everyone except Sanders. Warren responded, "I don't just want to push Trump off of Twitter".
In discussing (and overstating) the threat that AI may pose to workers, Yang prefaced his discussion of how it endangers truck drivers with the words "My friends in California are pioneering self-driving trucks".
"Sometimes, I think that Senator Warren is more focused on being punitive or pitting some part of the country against the other instead of lifting people up and making sure that this country comes together around those solutions", O'Rourke said onstage.
At the debate's end, asked to name an unlikely friend he'd made, Yang answered by telling of a trucker he'd met who was a Trump supporter, and how he rode with him in his truck for four hours, by the end of which the guy had switched to supporting Yang.