WESTERVILLE, Ohio - In the biggest presidential debate in modern history, 12 Democrat candidates faced off for a piece of the presidential pie Tuesday night here in Ohio. It became pretty clear from the start of this Democrat debate that the newly crowned front-runner Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) was in for some friendly fire.
"We heard it tonight, a yes or no question that didn't get a yes or no answer," said Mayor Pete Buttigieg after Warren seemed to dodge a question on whether her Medicare for All plan would increase taxes on the middle class.
"Costs are going to go up for the wealthy. They're going to go up for big corporations. They will not go up for middle-class families," Warren declared.
Warren's declaration wouldn't get her off the hook, instead prompting a sharp retort from Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN). "At least Bernie's being honest here and saying how he's going to pay for this and that taxes are going to go up," said Klobuchar.
But there was plenty of heat to go around. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) and fellow servicemember Mayor Pete Buttigieg sparred over the president's decision to withdraw American troops from Syria.
"Donald Trump has the blood of the Kurds on his hand, but so do many of the politicians in our country from both parties who have supported this ongoing regime-change war in Syria that started in 2011, along with many in the mainstream media, who have been championing and cheerleading this regime-change war," said Gabbard.
However, South Bend, Indiana mayor Buttigieg redirected the blame to President Trump.
"Well, respectfully, Congresswoman, I think that is dead wrong. The slaughter going on in Syria is not a consequence of American presence. It's a consequence of a withdrawal and a betrayal by this president of American allies and American values," said Buttigieg.
Buttigieg also took on former Congressman Beto O'Rourke (D-TX) over gun control and his proposal for mandatory buybacks.
"We don't go door to door to do anything in this country to enforce the law. I expect Republicans, Democrats, gun-owners, non-gun-owners alike to respect and follow the law," O'Rourke explained.
"Look, Congressman, you just made it clear that you don't know how this is actually going to take weapons off the streets," accused Buttigieg.
On a night where the Ukraine controversy dominated the headlines, Vice President Joe Biden addressed the issue early on.
"Look, my son did nothing wrong. I did nothing wrong. I carried out the policy of the United States government in rooting out corruption in Ukraine. And that's what we should be focusing on," said Biden.
In a break from the charged discussion, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) thanked his counterparts and the American people for their concern over his recent heart attack.
"Let me take this moment, if I might, to thank so many people from all over this country, including many of my colleagues up here, for their love, for their prayers, for their well wishes. And I just want to thank you from the bottom of my heart. And I'm so happy to be back here with you this evening," said Sanders.
With the fourth debate on the books, the candidates can breathe easier for a moment. However, it only gets harder from here. The next debate will require 3 percent in four DNC-approved polls and donations from 165,000 unique donors. So far, key candidates such as O'Rourke, Klobuchar, and Gabbard haven't made the cut.