For two hours, six Democratic presidential candidates focused on issues of foreign policy, healthcare and the question of electability — particularly the issue of whether a woman could defeat President Trump —in the last primary debate before Iowa caucuses on Feb. 3.

On stage were former vice president Joe Biden; former South Bend, Ind., mayor Pete Buttigieg; Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.); Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.); investor Tom Steyer; and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.).

Foreign policy: In light of escalating tensions between the United States and Iran, the debate launched headfirst into foreign policy. For more than half an hour, candidates fielded questions about why they were best prepared to be commander-in-chief, whether they would bring combat troops home, how to prevent the spread of Islamic State terrorism and international trade agreements.

Almost right away, Sanders called Biden out for his support of the Iraq War in 2002, saying both of them listened to arguments Republicans like then-President George W. Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld were making for entering the Iraq War.

“I thought they were lying. I didn’t believe them for a moment,” Sanders said. “Joe saw it differently."

Gender and electability: Forty-five minutes in, moderators finally poked at a dispute that had been brewing between Sanders and Warren regarding a 2018 private meeting in which Sanders reportedly said a woman could not become president. On stage, Sanders flatly denied he had made such remarks.

"How could anybody in a million years not believe that a woman could not be president of the United States?" Sanders said Tuesday.

Warren, who insisted she was “not here to try to fight with Bernie,” said she disagreed with Sanders — suggesting that he had in fact made those remarks — and wanted to address head-on the question of a woman’s electability.

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

On the other end of the debate stage, Klobuchar nodded and raised her hand while the crowd laughed.

Health care: As it had in nearly every one of the previous Democratic debates, health care featured prominently. Sanders argued that Medicare-for-all would not “bankrupt the country” — which prompted Klobuchar to call Sanders out for not explaining how he would cover the costs.

“I think you should show how you’re going to pay for things, Bernie,” Klobuchar said.

Meanwhile, both Buttigieg and Klobuchar pushed back on Warren’s proposal to transition to Medicare-for-all over a three-year period in which Americans could join a government-run health plan. Warren had released the transition plan in November, after Buttigieg attacked her for not specifying how she would achieve Medicare-for-all. The proposal, however, put Warren in a position where she has drawn more attacks from both moderates and liberals.

On Tuesday, Warren in turn criticized Buttigieg’s so-called “Medicare for all who want it” plan as one that was insufficient to relieve the health-care costs of the average American family.

“The mayor’s numbers just don’t add up,” she said.

4:49 a.m.
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Apparent tense Sanders-Warren moment after debate

What looked like a tense onstage moment capped Tuesday’s debate for Sanders and Warren, fueling questions about the state of relations between the ideological allies who, until recently, seemed to be abiding by a nonaggression pact. As the candidates were shaking hands, Warren approached Sanders, clasping her hands as he extended his. They appeared to exchange a few words before he raised his hand in seeming frustration, at which point she raised both of hers. Sanders pointed his finger briefly at her before turning on his heels and walking away.

Steyer was standing nearby at the time of the exchange.

“I don’t know what they were saying,” the former hedge fund manager told Chris Matthews of MSNBC in the spin room after the debate. “All I was trying to say was to both Senator Warren and Senator Sanders was it’s great to see you, thank you for participating in this. And whatever they were going on with each other I was trying to get out of the way as fast as possible.”

4:23 a.m.
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What the closing statements told us

In their closing statements the candidates struck disparate notes. Some spoke of socioeconomic and political clashes; others talked about uniting the country under common purpose.

Biden and Sanders reverted mostly to lines they’ve used extensively on the campaign trail. Biden talked about restoring the soul of the nation, a phrase that is written on the side of his campaign bus, while Sanders blasted the inequality that is rampant in American society.

Steyer said Trump and other Republicans were “basically kicking the American people in the face.” Klobuchar insisted she could help elevate the country above divisiveness. “If you are tired of the extremes in our politics and the screaming and the shouting,” she told viewers, “you have a home with me.”

Buttigieg struck a similar theme, saying voters should be wary of “the same Washington mindset and political warfare that led us to this point.”

Warren listed all the issues that she said hadn’t been addressed in the debate: people with disabilities, gun violence, children in poverty, violence against trans women, infant mortality. “I see this as our moment in history,” she said. “Our moment when no one is left on the sidelines.”

4:07 a.m.
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Klobuchar, Warren on their pitches to voters

Moderator Abby Phillip asked Klobuchar how she, with her practical platform and emphasis on realism, could inspire the Democratic electorate. In response, the senator touted her biography — as the granddaughter of a miner who saved up to send his son to a two-year community college — as a typical American story to which many can relate.

In a similar electability vein, Warren was asked how she can win the nomination with policies that may be so liberal as to “scare away swing voters you need to win this race in November.”

Warren leaned on her bio as well, explaining that she has Republican brothers who don’t agree with her on everything but who wonder why they have to pay taxes when big corporations don’t.

“They understand that we have in America right now, it’s working great. For those at the top. It’s just not working for anyone else,” she said. “We have a chance to unite, unite as Democrats but also with independents and Republicans who are sick of living in a country that’s working great for the politicians that are taking the money,” she added.

4:04 a.m.
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Biden is asked about attacks from Trump

Biden was asked how he would deal with attacks from President Trump and a debate with the president about the economy.

“I’ve been the object of his affection now more than anyone on this stage,” he replied to laughs from the audience. After the attacks, he added, “my polls are going up.”

He also reverted to a campaign talking point that has become one of his key arguments in Iowa and the rest of the country: his broad appeal.

“I have overwhelming support from the African American community,” he said a few moments after Buttigieg addressed a lack of support in the same community. “Overwhelming. More than anyone on this stage.”

He also said he has “support across the board” from America’s working class, which he said is getting clobbered by Trump’s policies.

“I’m looking forward to that economic debate,” he said.

4:03 a.m.
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Steyer addresses personal wealth

When asked how he would convince voters that he is more than just his money, Steyer said his business background gave him an edge when it came to competing with Trump on economic issues. Unlike Trump, he said, he “didn’t inherit a penny” from his parents and spent 30 years building a multibillion-dollar business.

“Whoever is going to beat Mr. Trump is going to have to beat him on the economy, and I have the experience and the expertise to show that he's a fake there and a fraud,” Steyer insisted.

He also went a step further to note he had decades more business experience than Buttigieg, who spent nearly three years at the consulting firm McKinsey & Co.

“I have 30 years of international business experience. I can beat Trump on the economy. We’re going to have to beat him on the economy,” Steyer said. “And I look forward to taking him down in the fall on the debate stage.”

4:00 a.m.
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Sanders asked about being a democratic socialist

The Vermont independent and self-described democratic socialist said voters would not be turned off by that label because his campaign would “expose the fraudulence of who Donald Trump is.”

Sanders said the president had no grounds to decry government handouts because of the "hundreds and billions of dollars in tax breaks and subsidies to the fossil fuel industry." The president himself, he said, received government subsidies to "build luxury housing." By contrast, the senator said, "my democratic socialism says health care is a human right."

A Pew survey last year showed Republicans hold strongly negative views of the “socialist” label, while majorities of Democrats view the term positively, while also looking favorably on capitalism.

3:57 a.m.
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Buttigeig addresses low support from black voters

Buttigieg was asked about his low support among black voters. In the past, he’s said the problem is that voters don’t know him, and that his support will grow as black voters get to know him.

But CNN’s Abby Phillip pressed him, suggesting that black voters know him but some are “simply decided to choose another candidate.” A recent Washington Post poll found that just 2 percent of black voters nationwide support Buttigieg. He receives only 3 percent support among black voters who are familiar with him.

Buttigieg didn’t engage the question, insisting the issue was a lack of familiarity with him and his policies. “The black voters who know me best are supporting me,” he said.

He said he had black support in South Bend, and from black officials across the nation.

“I’m proud that my campaign is co-chaired by a member of the Congressional Black Caucus and to have support right here in Iowa from some of the most recognizable black elected leaders from the heart of Waterloo to former representative (Deb) Berry in Blackhawk County.”

3:53 a.m.
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Buttigieg, Steyer talk climate change

The conversation turned to climate change, something Sanders had tried to bring up earlier in the night when he explained that he does not support the U.S-Mexico-Canada trade agreement because it does not include enough climate provisions. Moderators asked Buttigieg what he would do about farms and factories that are in the path of flooding like that which Iowa has experienced over the past year.

Buttigieg mostly reiterated the extent of the problem and said he has experienced the climate crisis firsthand while dealing with floods in South Bend. He also mentioned the importance of reaching out to farmers about how they would handle the issue.

When moderators tried to pin him down on how he would handle factories and farms in the path of flooding, Buttigieg said he would use federal funds to help relocate people living in parts of the country that have been made unlivable by climate change.

Steyer pushed back, saying managed retreat is extremely expensive and signals a crisis that’s out of control. Instead, he said that if elected he’ll declare climate change a “state of emergency” on his first day in office. He argued that he is the only candidate on the stage to prioritize climate change, at which point Biden shook his head silently a few lecterns over.

“I would do it from the standpoint of environmental justice and make sure we go to the black and brown communities where you can’t breathe the air or drink the water that comes out of the tap safely,” Steyer said. “But I also know this. We’re going to create really good-paying union jobs across this country. It’s going to be the biggest job program in American history.”

Moderators then asked Steyer about the fact that the venture capital firm on which he built his wealth did so by investing in fossil fuels. Steyer explained that he realized a problem was emerging and divested in fossil fuels, then reversed his course to fight climate change.

“So actually, yes,” Steyer said. “I am the person here who has the chops and the history that says, I’ll make it priority one, because I’ve been doing it for a long time.”

3:48 a.m.
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Biden, Steyer talk impeachment

Steyer, the hedge fund manager turned impeachment activist, defended the millions of dollars he has spent on the cause, claiming the funding will not have been in vain even if the Senate votes to acquit the president.

“Standing up for what’s right is always worth it, Wolf,” the billionaire responded to moderator Wolf Blitzer.

He implicitly claimed credit for the groundswell of support for impeachment proceedings, saying the petition effort he bankrolled as part of his “Need to Impeach” campaign “dragged Washington, D.C.” to take action.

On a question about whether Trump, who has been impeached by the House, will be emboldened if he is acquitted by the Senate, Biden said that whatever happens he’d have to unite the country.

Biden said that as commander-in-chief he would not hold a grudge and that he would still work to unite the country.

“I understand how these guys are, these Republicans,” he said, defaulting to a talking point he frequently uses on the campaign trail. Trump and his surrogates have attacked Biden and his son, Hunter, who obtained a job on the board of the Ukrainian gas company Burisma during the elder Biden’s time as vice president.

“They’ve gone after, savaged my surviving son, told lies that your networks won’t even carry on the television because they’re flat-out lies.”

He further defended himself saying, “I did my job. The question is whether or not he did his job, and so it doesn’t really matter whether or not he’s gone after me.”

3:45 a.m.
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Senators address impeachment trial in which they’ll be jurors

Blitzer asked Warren a question many campaign reporters have been asking senators on the trail for weeks now: Will it be a problem that you’ll be stuck in Washington as a juror in President Trump’s impeachment trial in the weeks before the Iowa caucuses?

“Some things are more important than politics,” Warren said. “I took an oath to uphold the Constitution of the United States of America. It says that no one is above the law; that includes the president of the United States. We have an impeachment trial. I will be there because it is my responsibility.”

Warren then argued that the conversation should be centered on Trump’s corruption and the idea that Democrats are not the party of self-interest but rather the party that will stand up for what is right.

Klobuchar said she was not worried that Trump would be acquitted in a Senate impeachment trial.

“We have a constitutional duty to do to perform here,” she said, adding that her concern was that Senate Republicans would not allow witnesses to testify. “If our Republican colleagues won't allow those witnesses, they may as well give the president a crown and a scepter. They may as well make him king.”

Klobuchar invoked former U.S. Army chief counsel Joseph Welch, who famously told red-baiting Sen. Joseph McCarthy in 1954: “Have you no sense of decency?”

“This is a decency check on our government,” Klobuchar said of the impending Senate impeachment trial. “This is a patriotism check.”

3:41 a.m.
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Candidates address subsidies for higher education

Moderators challenged Buttigieg on his stance on the government helping Americans pay for higher education. Unlike Sanders and Warren, Buttigieg argues that the wealthiest families should not benefit from free tuition at public colleges. Instead, he argues for a sliding scale in which the top 20 percent or so have to pay for their tuition. Moderator Brianne Pfannenstiel suggested that children of wealthy families can take advantage of plenty of public resources, including libraries and public K-12 schools. She asked Buttigieg why he thinks those families should be handled differently when it comes to college.

Buttigieg, who often talks about the six figures of student debt he and his husband share, said he thinks the government money that would go to funding the tuition of billionaires’ children could be allocated better.

“There is a very real choice about what we do with every single taxpayer dollar that we raise, and we need to be using that to support everybody whether you go to college, or not, making sure that Americans can thrive,” Buttigieg said. “Investing in infrastructure — and something that hasn’t come up very much tonight, but deserves a lot of attention: poverty.”

Warren then chimed in by advocating her wealth tax, though she suggested she doesn’t mind if a millionaire subject to that tax sends his child to public school for free.

In a somewhat surprising twist given her moderate stances, Klobuchar then suggested that Warren and others advocating free college “aren’t thinking big enough.” She advocated a rethinking of the way the education system connects to job openings in the economy.

“We are going to have over a million openings for home health-care workers that we don’t know how to fill in the next 10 years. We are going to have open 100,000 jobs for nursing assistant. We, as my union friends know, we’re going to have over 70,000 openings for electricians,” Klobuchar said. “We’re not going to have a shortage of MBAs, we’re going to have a shortage of plumbers, so when we look at that, then we step back, where should our money go? It should go into K through 12. It should go into free one- and two-year degrees.”

When asked whether his children should be entitled to free public college education, Steyer, the lone billionaire on stage, replied simply: “No.”

Then he spoke at length about income inequality in America.

“I was one of the people who talked about a wealth tax … almost a year and a half ago. I believe that the income inequality in this country is unbearable, unjust and unsupportable.”

He was also the second person (Buttigieg was the first) to mention the Poor People’s Campaign, which seeks to highlight the problems of the poorest Americans. “We need to redistribute money so every kid has a chance,” he said, “so we’re not legislating inequality for the next generation.”

3:39 a.m.
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Mike Bloomberg’s Twitter counter-programming

While Democratic presidential candidates discussed wide-ranging policy matters on the debate stage, a whole different messaging campaign was happening elsewhere: billionaire Mike Bloomberg’s Twitter feed.

Bloomberg, who did not qualify for the debate’s donor threshold because he is not taking donations, has been employing different advertising tactics to draw attention on debate days. On the day of the last debate, Bloomberg purchased a YouTube banner ad — one of the most expensive and wide-reaching digital ad slots. On Tuesday, Bloomberg launched a new round of video ads explaining why he chose not to be on the debate stage, running nationally on YouTube and on The Washington Post’s website.

And during the debate itself, Bloomberg’s social media team was on task — with a slew of tweets that began as #BloombergFacts that purported to share biographical information about the former New York mayor, but eventually meandered elsewhere.

So then came a tweet with a photo of meatballs with Bloomberg’s face superimposed (“Test your political knowledge: SPOT THE MEATBALL THAT LOOKS LIKE MIKE.”), debate “facts” (“Scientists estimate it would take Donald Trump roughly 87 years to spell the name of moderator Brianne Pfannenstiel correctly.”) and, well, a lot of randomness (“Less Tostitos branding than we expected. The candidates are barely mentioning Tostitos, which go great with dips, nachos or your favorite party snack recipe!”).

3:34 a.m.
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Candidates pledge federal resources for child care

Candidates took turns lamenting American child care as woefully inadequate, though they differed on how much families should be asked to pay into a better system.

Buttigieg described how his plan would ensure that no family would pay more than 7 percent of its income in early-learning costs, while those living in poverty would pay nothing. Warren described her plan as “universal,” though it does ask higher-income families to kick in a contribution. Sanders, meanwhile, described the country’s current system as an “embarrassment.”

The issue is central, in no small part because it’s one in which the president — and his eldest daughter — have expressed some interest, proposing a $1 billion fund for the 2020 budget. Experts question the long-term value of a one-time investment.

3:31 a.m.
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Fact Checker on Sanders’s claims on per-capita health-care spending

“We are now spending twice as much per person on health care as the people of any other country. That is insane.” — Sanders

Sanders said this twice in the debate, but both times he did not quite get it right. He apparently meant to say that the United States spends twice as much as other developed countries — defined as members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. Instead, he said twice as much as any other country.

United States pays far more than per capita on health care than any other major country in the world ($9,892 in 2016) — twice as much as Canada ($4,753). The OECD median was $4,033. But Switzerland is a major developed country, and U.S. costs are 25 percent higher than Switzerland’s ($7,919). These figures come from a study by a team led by a Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health researcher.

More recent OECD estimates show the United States spent $10,586 per person, compared with Switzerland ($7,317 per person), Norway ($6,187 per person) and Germany ($5,986 per person). All of those are more than half of U.S. spending, though the OECD average was just under $4,000. So Sanders would have been correct if he spoke about the average or median of other developed countries.