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Candidates on the debate stage. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images.

The top 10 Democratic presidential candidates took to the stage Thursday night for the third presidential debate, marking the first time the top contenders all appeared on one stage.

What to watch: Julián Castro vs. Joe Biden; Beto O'Rourke on taking away AR-15 rifles, and a couple Biden-specific moments.

1) Julián Castro vs. Joe Biden

Former HUD Secretary Julián Castro went after Vice President Joe Biden and his health care plan during the 2020 Democratic debate, saying, "I'm fulfilling the legacy of Barack Obama and you're not."

Why it matters: Biden, who has been a champion of Obama-era policies throughout his campaign, had to defend himself against criticism and inconsistencies on continuing the Affordable Care Act lobbed by Castro and Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders.

  • Biden did reference his plan earlier in the night, saying that anyone who can't afford gets automatically enrolled in the Medicare type option. 
2) Joe Biden pressed on Obama-era record deportations

Univision's Jorge Ramos pressed Biden on the record number of deportations during the Obama administration, with the former vice president saying "things have changed" since he was in the White House.

Why it matters: Under the Obama administration, Immigration and Custom Enforcement deportations topped 385,000 each year in fiscal years 2009-2011, and hit a high of 409,849 in fiscal 2012. The Trump administration deportations have yet to hit that level. Biden tried to deflect the record with other programs Obama put in place to serve Latino immigrants.

3) Beto O'Rourke: "Hell, yes, we're going to take your AR-15"

Former Texas Rep. Beto O'Rourke, whose home town of El Paso is recovering from a mass shooting that targeted Mexicans and left 22 people dead, re-emphasized his stance on buybacks for assault weapons, saying "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."

Why it matters: O'Rourke has been focused on integrating gun control measures in his campaign since the El Paso shooting at a Walmart in August.

4) Joe Biden's record-player moment

Asked at Thursday's 2020 Democratic debate about how to repair the legacy of slavery, Biden veered into a reference to home record players.

Why it matters: While record players still have cachet among the hipster set, they faded from most American households decades ago. It's one of those moments that can long outlive an election, like the time George H.W. Bush checked his watch during a 1992 debate.

Go deeper: 5 takeaways from the third Democratic debate

Go deeper

Supreme Court agrees to hear challenge to affirmative action at Harvard, UNC

Photo: Al Drago/Getty Images

The Supreme Court on Monday agreed to hear a pair of cases challenging the consideration of race in the college admissions processes.

Why it matters: The conservative high court's ruling could determine the future of affirmative action in higher education.

Europe's energy reliance on Russia is a crucial shield for Putin

Photo: Pavel Bednyakov/Sputnik/AFP via Getty Images

Cracks in the NATO alliance regarding sanctions for Russia should President Vladimir Putin order troops into Ukraine are in large part based on energy supply concerns.

Why it matters: Russia holds tremendous leverage over some European countries because it provides roughly 40% of Europe's natural gas supply. In Germany, this figure is greater than 50%.

Why the Fed might want to jolt the markets

Fed chair Jerome Powell at a hearing earlier this month. Photo: Brendan Smialowski-Pool/Getty Images

So far, financial markets are cooperating nicely with the Federal Reserve's efforts to restrain inflation. They're doing the Fed's work for it by creating tighter financial conditions, in a distinctly non-panicky way.

  • But as the central bank's policymakers meet this week, an underlying question they face is whether the adjustment is happening too slowly.