Former Vice-President Joe Biden came under attack from other Democratic 2020 candidates in a televised debate organized by CNN.
The party’s frontrunner shared a stage in Detroit with nine other presidential hopefuls and there were several sharp exchanges on healthcare and the border.
In an echo of the last debate in June, Senator Kamala Harris again launched an assault on Mr Biden’s record on race.
But she herself had to defend her actions against drug offenders when she was a prosecutor in California.
The debate seemed defined by candidates attacking Joe Biden and Kamala Harris on their records.
Biden was criticized for his major role in crafting the 1994 crime bill, while Harris was scrutinized for her handling of prosecutions as California’s attorney general.
As the top-polling candidates, the pair were bound to find themselves repeatedly under the microscope. But because of their contentious face-off during the last debate, Biden and Harris could not tag team the other candidates, as Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren did the night before.
That dynamic, combined with every other candidate except Cory Booker scrambling to make the fall debate stage, left Biden and Harris constantly playing defense.
The line-up was chosen at random by CNN, who are hosting the event.
In addition to Mr Biden and Ms Harris, the debaters are:
- New Jersey Senator Cory Booker
- Former Secretary of Housing and Development Julián Castro
- New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio
- Hawaii Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard
- New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand
- Colorado Senator Michael Bennet
- Washington Governor Jay Inslee
- Business entrepreneur Andrew Yang
The winner of the Democratic presidential nomination will be announced next July at the party convention.
The presidential election will take place months later, in November 2020.