Democrat frontrunner Bernie Sanders was under attack from all candidates on stage at the CBS News debate in South Carolina on Tuesday (February 25).
Candidates called him a risky choice and criticized his ambitious universal healthcare proposal, which they say is costly.
Former Mayor Pete Buttigieg kicked off the fiery assault:
(SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE, PETE BUTTIGIEG, SAYING:
"I can tell you exactly how it all adds up. It adds up to four more years of Donald Trump. Not only is this a way to get Donald Trump re-elected, we got a House to worry about, we got a Senate to worry about."
Billionaire Michael Bloomberg tried to make his mark in his second debate after a disappointing first show in Nevada.
He launched allegations of Russia trying to help Sanders which Sanders himself immediately slapped down:
(SOUNDBITE) (English) DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE BERNIE SANDERS, SAYING:
"Hey Mr Putin, if I'm president of the United States, trust me you're not going to interfere in any more elections."
Sanders has been streaming ahead in the first three nominating contests, building his campaign on raising the minimum wage, and making public colleges and universities tuition-free.
Warren sought to cling onto Sanders' coat tails saying progressive ideas were popular, but she was the safer choice to win moderate voters.
(SOUNDBITES) (English) U.S. DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE, ELIZABETH WARREN, SAYING:
"I think I would make a better president than Bernie. And the reason for that is that getting a progressive agenda enacted is going to be really hard."
Other hot topics were whether candidates would move the embassy in Israel, North Korea relations aswell as how they would handle the coronavirus if they were president.
The debate was the final head to head encounter before Saturday's (February 29) primary and next week's vital Super Tuesday (March 3) contest.