5 Major Takeaways from the September Democratic Presidential Debate

5 Major Takeaways from the September Democratic Presidential Debate

Ten Democratic presidential candidates took to the debate stage Thursday in Houston for the ABC News Democratic Debate.

Here are five major highlights of the evening:

The Healthcare Divide 

As expected, Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Elizabeth Warren faced off on healthcare. Biden has said he would like to build on former President Barack Obama’s Affordable Healthcare Act.

“I know that the senator says she’s for Bernie. Well, I’m for Barack. I think Obamacare worked,” Biden said. “This is about candor, honesty, big ideas.”

Warren, meanwhile, has supported a “Medicare for All” plan, which has also been supported by Bernie Sanders. The plan would end private insurance and Americans would enroll in a government healthcare program.

Mayor Pete Buttigieg says he wants to let voters choose a Medicare-like plan that he calls “Medicare for all who want it,” and Beto O’Rourke calls his public-option plan “Medicare for America.”

Castro vs. Biden

While many expected Biden and Warren to clash Thursday night, it was Julian Castro, a former member of President Barack Obama’s cabinet, who took aim at Biden.

He accused Biden of "forgetting what you said two minutes ago" during a discussion over whether Biden's health care plan would require Americans who opt for the plan would have to buy into it.

Later he added: "I'm fulfilling the legacy of Barack Obama and you are not."

Beto Calls for Gun Control

O’Rourke is drawing praise for his debate performance in his home state of Texas. In a discussion on guns, O’Rourke said he would support a mandatory buyback of assault-style firearms.

"Hell, yes, we're going to take your AR-15, your AK-47. We're not going to allow it to be used against our fellow Americans anymore," he said.

O’Rourke is from El Paso, the Texas town where a gunman killed 22 people in a shooting at Walmart last month.

On Trump, O’Rourke said: “We have a white supremacist in the White House and he poses a mortal threat to people of color across this country.”

Buttigieg Shares His Story

Pete Buttigieg shared his personal story of coming out under the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy.

“I had no idea what kind of professional setback it would be, especially because inconveniently, it was an election year in my socially conservative community,” he continued. “What happened was that when I trusted voters to judge me based on the job that I did for them, they decided to trust me and re-elected me with 80% of the vote. And what I learned was that trust can be reciprocated, and that part of how you can win and deserve to win is to know what's worth more to you than winning.”

Buttigieg is the first openly gay person to run for president.

What Wasn’t Talked about

While voters said in a CNN poll that aggressive climate change action is a top priority, candidates only talked about climate change for seven minutes.

Likewise, candidates did not answer any abortion-specific questions during the debate.

And finally, there were no questions about the federal courts, where President Donald Trump has already appointed some 125 judges.

Watch the debate here:

Photo courtesy: Getty Images/Win McNamee/Staff

Video courtesy: ABC News