Biden wants woman VP and other debate takeaways

Nine months after 20 Democratic candidates gathered for the first debate of the 2020 primary season, it has come down to two candidates – Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden.

Given the circumstances, one might expect a sombre mood with respectful disagreements. Instead it was an at-times feisty affair, with Sanders going on the attack in a way he never did four years ago in his unsuccessful presidential campaign against Hillary Clinton.

If the Bernie revolution is on the ropes, the candidate – who just a few weeks ago was considered the front-runner – isn’t going to go down without a fight.

Both candidates discussed the personal steps that they – as at-risk elderly individuals – were taking to avoid contracting the coronavirus, including limiting their public contacts, having their staff work remotely and holding online rallies and forums.

Both septuagenarian candidates also had a few flubs. Biden referred to the 2009 swine flu as N1HI, not H1N1. Sanders at one point repeatedly referred to coronavirus as “Ebola”.

Biden also made news by promising to choose a woman as his vice-presidential running mate if he were to win the Democratic nomination. Sanders wouldn’t make such a commitment, although he did say his “very strong tendency would be to move in that direction”.

Here’s a look at some of the other key moments and conflicts.