Presidential frontrunner Elizabeth Warren fended off attacks from fellow Democratic candidates during the debate Tuesday night.

Warren has steadily climbed to the top of the pack in the last few weeks. According to RealClearPolitics, she trails Vice President Joe Biden in the polls by six points on average, far closer than any of the other candidates. Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-Vermont), who is polling the third most favorably, is 14 points behind Biden.

She was treated like the one to beat on the debate stage in Ohio, facing attacks from candidates eager to shorten her lead.

Debate moderators asked her if her Medicare For All program would raise taxes on working families. She replied that she would not sign any bill hiking taxes on the middle class, drawing criticism for not answering yes or no.

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“You heard it tonight: a yes or no question that didn’t get a yes or no answer,” candidate Pete Buttigieg said.


“This is why people here in the Midwest are so frustrated with Washington in general and Capitol Hill in particular,” the South Bend mayor continued. “Your signature, senator, is to have a plan for everything, except this. No plan has been laid out to explain how a multitrillion dollar hole in this plan that Sen. Warren is putting forward is supposed to get filled in.”

Sanders, also a large proponent of government-funded healthcare, rebuked her for not acknowledging that taxes would increase to fund the program.

“I do think it is appropriate to acknowledge that taxes will go up,” said Sanders.

Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minnesota) took a jab saying, “At least Bernie’s being honest here and saying how he’s going to pay for this and taxes are going to go up. And I’m sorry, Elizabeth, but you have not said that. And I think we owe it to the American people to tell them where we will send the invoice.”

Biden used the opportunity to critique both Warren and Sanders, the two candidates closest on his tail.

“Both are being vague on the issue of Medicare for All,” he said. “Now look, here’s the deal, come on, it costs $30 trillion.”

Warren’s proposed wealth tax also caused her come under fire, though it was less the policy idea itself being criticized and more so the bureaucracy as a whole.

“Let me tell you how this looks from the industrial Midwest, where I live. Washington politicians, congressmen, and senators saying all the right things, offering the most elegant policy prescriptions, and nothing changes,” said Buttigieg.

Former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas) used Warren’s wealth tax in a broader context, challenging her ability to unite the country.

“Sometimes, I think Sen. 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 this country comes together” O’Rourke said.

Warren’s “Ultra-Millionaire Tax,” would impose a 2% annual tax on households with a net worth between $50 million and $1 billion and a 3% annual tax on households with a net worth over $1 billion.

She emerged from the debate seemingly undeterred, and tweeted a request for campaign donations.

“At tonight’s #DemDebate, I talked about what our grassroots movement is fighting for: Big, structural change. And we’re doing it without fancy fundraisers, federal lobbyists, or PACs. Chip in $3 or whatever you can, and let’s do this together,” she tweeted.

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