American voters got their first official introduction to the Democratic Party’s 2020 presidential hopefuls — well, at least some of ’em — in a densely populated debate Wednesday evening.
The inaugural Democratic presidential forum of the 2020 election cycle found 10 contenders for the party’s nomination facing off at Miami’s Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts. For two hours, the candidates — Cory Booker, Julián Castro, Bill de Blasio, John Delaney, Tulsi Gabbard, Jay Inslee, Amy Klobuchar, Beto O’Rourke, Tim Ryan and Elizabeth Warren — fielded questions from NBC’s Savannah Guthrie, Lester Holt and Chuck Todd, MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow and Telemundo’s José Diaz-Balart.
(The second debate, scheduled for Thursday night, will feature Michael Bennet, Joe Biden, Pete Buttigieg, Kirsten Gillibrand, Kamala Harris, John Hickenlooper, Bernie Sanders, Eric Swalwell, Marianne Williamson and Andrew Yang.)
In a moment, we’ll want to know which of Night 1’s White House hopefuls most impressed you. But first, a few memorable bits from the two-hour event:
* O’Rourke delivered his opening statement, which was about how the economy should work for everyone, in English and Spanish. Many of his fellow candidates followed suit by working Spanish into their answers.
*”That’s what we call at home ‘All foam and no beer.’” — Klobuchar on President Donald Trump’s campaign promises to drop pharmaceutical prices
* When Inslee stated that he’d done more than anyone else in the debate to protect women’s reproductive rights, Klobuchar shot back, “I just want to say that there’s three women up here” — indicating herself, Gabbard and Warren — that have fought pretty hard for women’s right to choose.”
* Immigration, gun control and how to handle Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in the event of a Democratic president/Republican Congress situation were three of the most contentious topics discussed. Warren, in particular, said she wanted to deal with gun violence as a national health crisis.
* The second hour got off to a rough start when Todd’s question about guns got sidelined by audio problems that caused the moderator to toss to an unscheduled break. (Everything was solved by the time the debate returned.)
* While discussing civil rights, Booker spoke up for trans awareness. “We do not talk enough about trans Americans, especially African American trans Americans and the incredibly high rates of murder right now,” he said.
* During a round-up question about what the candidates considered the greatest threat to America right now, Inslee replied, “Donald Trump.” (Russia, China, Iran and climate change were other popular answers.)
* Ryan didn’t say or do much during the debate. On a related note: Per The New York Times, Booker, O’Rourke and Warren had the most speaking time over the course of the evening.
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