From Houston, Texas - In the party's smallest debate so far, ten Democrats will face off at Texas Southern University on Thursday night in a debate hosted by ABC News and Univision, another step on the way to determining a candidate to take on President Donald Trump in 2020.
Instead of two debate nights - with ten candidates on stage in both - this Houston debate will have just one night involving the ten who were able to qualify.
Here is a rundown of the evening's events. All times are EDT.
10:45 pm - And the third debate is in the books.
10:40 pm - Look for Beto O'Rourke to get some extra talk after tonight's debate. His reaction to the mass shooting in his home town of El Paso - and his effort to tie President Trump to the anger of the gunman - which might give him a little boost. But like others, he needs a big, big, boost in this 2020 campaign.
Everything I've learned about resilience I've learned from my hometown of El Paso.— Beto O'Rourke (@BetoORourke) September 13, 2019
The very thing that drew that killer to us is the very thing that lets us set an example to our country.
We don't see our differences as a weakness, but as a strength.
10:35 pm - Again, it's not easy to figure out what to ask, or how the debate flows. But a number of issues didn't make the cut by ABC and Univision tonight.
An incomplete list of major issues that did not get questions in this debate: abortion, the Supreme Court, Iran, Israeli-Palestinian conflict, campaign finance, Wall Street/corporate culture/regulation— Jennifer Epstein (@jeneps) September 13, 2019
10:30 pm - With these final statements on professional 'setbacks' - the debate ends on a more quiet and personal note. Buttigieg talks about his decision to reveal that he was gay.
10:26 pm - As the final segment starts, a group of protesters interrupt Biden. Asked about his biggest setback, Biden talks about family. “There are setbacks, and then there are setbacks,” as he mentions the death of his first wife soon after he won a seat in the Senate, plus his son's death from cancer.
Biden always best when he’s personal— Rich Lowry (@RichLowry) September 13, 2019
"Faith sees best in the dark."— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) September 13, 2019
Asked about what he's learned from setbacks, Joe Biden discusses losing—and recovering—his faith after the deaths of his loved ones. https://t.co/T37EaVOvlU #DemDebate pic.twitter.com/gAR4LpJL94
10:25 pm - What are Republicans talking about in this debate?
What have we heard from the Democrats so far in this #DemDebate?— Ryan Fournier (@RyanAFournier) September 13, 2019
Democrats want to:
- Take Away Your Guns,
- Implement Socialism In America,
- Raise Taxes on Middle Class Americans,
- Put Government In Charge of Healthcare,
- Give Amnesty To Over 11 Million Illegal Aliens.
10:22 pm - A second debate break. If you are wondering why people are talking about record players, Biden mentioned it in his long winded answer of a few minutes ago.
What is a record player— Brian Fallon (@brianefallon) September 13, 2019
10:20 pm - We all would do things differently about what questions should be asked. Here's one view.
this is unsurprising, but here goes:— Alana Abramson (@aabramson) September 13, 2019
the entire debates in congress this week (minus gun control) have been: dems messaging on impeachment, approps deadlines and shutdown musing. none of which have been mentioned so far
10:16 pm - Biden is told his time is up. Instead of just stopping like he usually does, Biden says he's going to talk over time like everyone else. Castro gets a lot of laughs by saying immediately, “that's quite a lot.” Reporters who covered Biden in Congress have been there.
10:15 pm - ABC goes back to what Biden said or did forty years ago related to civil rights - remember, this spurred the big Biden-Harris divide in the first debate.
10:08 pm - Booker was asked about being a vegan, yes.
How has Cory Booker gotten a question about being a vegan when things like the courts, the president's judges, how to work with Mitch McConnell, etc. hasn't come up?— Jennifer Bendery (@jbendery) September 13, 2019
10:05 pm - Yang goes back to his $1,000/month payment to every American, as he denounces how corporations are using money to lobby for their plans.
Andrew Yang criticizes money in politics: "There's the people on one side and the money on the other. The only way for us to win is if we bring them together." https://t.co/T37EaVOvlU #DemDebate pic.twitter.com/ZAvVx0yOXR— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) September 13, 2019
10:02 pm - Here's a run down on speaking time.
In 2019, #DemDebate moderators could know speaking time totals in real time. @TheDemocrats should institute defined, relative parameters to ensure debate media outlets are not--willfully or unknowingly--biased against particular candidates such as, in this instance, @AndrewYang. pic.twitter.com/5vCwXiIskh— mikeldennis🌻 (@mikeldennis) September 13, 2019
10:00 pm - It's clear who has been the focus.
ABC has asked @JoeBiden over twice as many questions as any other candidate on stage.— Lisa Desjardins (@LisaDNews) September 13, 2019
9:55 pm - The debate gets into Venezuela and U.S. foreign policy in the Western Hemisphere. While I know there are a number of people interested in that - it's an area of foreign policy which probably doesn't keep a lot of people glued to the TV. And it helps Biden, as it runs out the clock on this third debate.
9:45 pm - Reaction of a Washington political vet on the GOP side.
Cool cool another debate that doesn’t change the dynamics— Brendan Buck (@BrendanBuck) September 13, 2019
9:40 pm - Sanders takes a swing at Biden on trade. Biden didn't respond, but notes how China steals so much intellectual property from the U.S. Booker with a funny line about the hair style of the Canadian Prime Minister. Harris makes a joke about Trump and the Wizard of Oz.
"When you pull back the curtain, it's a really small dude," @KamalaHarris likens Trump to the Wizard of Oz— Elizabeth Landers (@ElizLanders) September 13, 2019
9:35 pm - This is an interesting subject, because while Democrats don't like the President's strategy, they do want to be tougher on China, as Castro calls it an 'erratic' policy from Mr. Trump
9:30 pm - The second segment is underway on trade and the President's trade fight with China. Yang says he wouldn't necessarily get rid of the tariffs if he was elected, arguing China needs a tough message on trade.
9:26 pm - There were no real battles or exchanges between Biden and Warren. Still time.
Yang’s gimmick, Bernie’s anger and yelling, and Castro’s nasty comments defined the first half.— Stuart Rothenberg (@StuPolitics) September 13, 2019
9:22 pm - The first break is here. Seems to me that Biden held up pretty well. He was very rusty back in June in Miami at the first debate. Basically, the only candidate really going after Biden tonight was Castro.
Kinda early in the cycle for a murder-suicide but Castro is going for it!— Peter Hamby (@PeterHamby) September 13, 2019
9:15 pm - Univision anchor all but tries to tie up Biden on the debate stage, and allow Castro to tee off on Biden over deportations by President Obama.
Julián Castro slams Joe Biden's immigration record in Obama administration: "He wants to take credit for Obama's work, but not have to answer any questions!"— This Week (@ThisWeekABC) September 13, 2019
"I stand with Barack Obama all eight years—good, bad and indifferent," Biden responds. https://t.co/FpyGKLIArc #DemDebate pic.twitter.com/EwdZ3KYbdG
9:05 pm - Speaking for the first time in about 30 minutes, Warren says it's time to get rid of the filibuster in the Senate in order to get more done on guns.
I always tell people if you want to get rid of the filibuster in the Senate, then imagine the issue you don't like the most from the other party - and imagine that passing with a simple majority— Jamie Dupree (@jamiedupree) September 13, 2019
9:00 pm - Beto O'Rourke says he would try to force people to give up AR-15 and AK-47 type of weapons. Big cheers in the crowd.Beto O'Rourke says he would try to force people to give up AR-15 and AK-47 type of weapons. Big cheers in the crowd.
8:55 pm - The debate goes to guns - and Biden immediately talks about his success with the Brady Law. The question was how can he get anything done. Harris says executive orders must be used - while Biden says many changes can't be made. Harris: “Hey Joe, instead of saying no we can't, say yes we can,” - riffing off an old Obama line.
8:50 pm - There was criticism after the last debate from some Democrats that by attacking Biden on certain subjects, they were also attacking President Obama. There was an obvious change about that tonight, with several candidates going out of their way to mention Mr. Obama in a positive way - and more of taking aim at President Trump.
Also looks like the Obama folks got to the Dem field ...— Jackie Kucinich (@JFKucinich) September 13, 2019
"We cannot sacrifice progress on the altar of purity," Sen. Cory Booker says.— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) September 13, 2019
"We've got one shot to make Donald Trump a one-term president, and we cannot lose it by the way we talk about each other." https://t.co/T37EaVOvlU #DemDebate pic.twitter.com/hvrwavSidk
8:45 pm - The debate now moves into race and gun violence. It doesn't come close to the electricity of the health care back and forth.
"This is why presidential debates are becoming unwatchable," Pete Buttigieg says after Julián Castro and Joe Biden argue over health care.— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) September 13, 2019
Castro: "That's called an election"
"A house divided cannot stand," Amy Klobuchar chimes in https://t.co/T37EaVOvlU #DemDebate pic.twitter.com/uPAlxlnjUn
8:40 pm - For a second straight debate Castro goes after Biden very specifically, this time on health care. “Are you forgetting what you just said two minutes ago?”
Julián Castro goes after Joe Biden on health care: "I'm fulfilling the legacy of Barack Obama, and you're not."— Evan McMurry (@evanmcmurry) September 13, 2019
"That'll be a surprise to him," Biden responds. https://t.co/qr6gtrNAcp #DemDebate pic.twitter.com/yRTbHMEYRc
Playing the role of 'Kill Biden' tonight is Julian Castro. A curious approach, with an almost certain conclusion. See Swalwell, Eric.— Jeff Zeleny (@jeffzeleny) September 13, 2019
8:35 pm - Biden is more aggressive tonight, and more on the ball. Sanders seems to be in an aggravated, frustrated mood.
8:25 pm - The first ten minutes were simply Biden, Warren, and Sanders. The front runners controlling the debate.
The first #DemDebate question is about health care and it goes to former Vice President Joe Biden.— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) September 13, 2019
"I think we should have a debate on health care. I know that the senator says she's for Bernie. I'm for Barack," Biden says of Elizabeth Warren https://t.co/T37EaVwUum pic.twitter.com/5gJhM3n3te
8:15 pm - Opening statements were pretty much about what they want to do as President. Into the Q&A, Biden starts by talking about how Sanders and Warren don't pay for everything they want to do. Biden then gives a line which we might hear a lot.
.@JoeBiden now until 2020: “I’m for Barack.”— Patricia Murphy (@1PatriciaMurphy) September 13, 2019
8:09 pm - Andrew Yang again making people shudder in Georgetown and on K Street by not wearing a tie.
8:05 pm - The debate is underway with opening statements. Amy Klobuchar D-MN uses a line that I figured someone was going to use in talking about the current administration.
“Houston, we have a problem,” Klobuchar said.
Klobuchar goes there: "Houston we have a problem. We have a guy there who is literally running our country like a game show.”— Jennifer Epstein (@jeneps) September 13, 2019
7:55 pm - Why are these ten candidates on the stage tonight, and not another 10-15 Democrats as well? That's because the qualifying process was tightened.
7:45 pm - We are not seeing this in the press filing center, but in the debate hall, there are all sorts of speeches going on before the debate begins.
DNC Chair Tom Perez: "We have reached a point where we talk about last month's mass shooting in Texas, and the question you've got to ask is, 'Which one?'" https://t.co/T37EaVOvlU #DemDebate pic.twitter.com/MhZfPZNy46— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) September 12, 2019
7:40 pm - Before leaving the White House this afternoon to give a speech to a gathering of House Republicans in Baltimore, President Trump stopped to talk to reporters - and was asked about the state of the 2020 race and the Democratic debate. “It's too bad I'm going to miss it,” the President said.
TRUMP’S COUNTER PUNCH: Before the @ABC News Democratic Debate even began, President Trump revealed who he thinks could be the toughest contender right now – and it was not Joe Biden. @jonkarl joins @DavidMuir in Houston. https://t.co/iK18G6M1za pic.twitter.com/XIS3P2PKfw— World News Tonight (@ABCWorldNews) September 12, 2019
7:30 pm - We should talk about where the Democrats are debating tonight. Texas Southern University is a historically black college - just blocks down the street from the University of Houston. Two names with a lot of history and ties to the Democratic Party studied here, and then made it to the U.S. House of Representatives - Barbara Jordan, and Mickey Leland.
.@TexasSouthern University President Austin Lane: "We are beyond thrilled to serve as the host for this historic event — one that adds to the incredible legacy of this 92 year-old institution" https://t.co/T37EaVOvlU #DemDebate pic.twitter.com/l4PnmI5pTf— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) September 12, 2019
7:25 pm - It look like Andrew Yang will use the debate to make some news about his “Universal Basic Income” plan, where the government would give people $12,000 a year.
NEW: Andrew Yang to announce $120,000 giveaway in his opening statement tonight. 10 families will be randomly selected to receive $1,000/mo as part of a pilot program for Yang’s UBI plan. Ppl will be able to enter the online raffle starting tn for a week https://t.co/igms7GEIzb— Alex Thompson (@AlxThomp) September 12, 2019
7:20 pm - We will have to wait and see what the ABC reporters decide to ask of the candidates in this debate. I know if I was in charge, I would ask about today's latest report on the federal deficit - which is already over $1 trillion for the 2019 fiscal year. Neither party seems at all interested in doing anything about it - other than blaming the other party for causing the numbers to go up.
The feds ran a budget deficit of $200 billion in August, pushing this year's deficit over $1 trillion so far in 2019 https://t.co/CMBwkQb9mn— Jamie Dupree (@jamiedupree) September 12, 2019
7:15 pm - What should we look for tonight? First of all, we will see if Joe Biden is the focus of verbal barbs this evening from others. And we'll see if Biden and Warren clash at all, as this is the first time they have been on the same stage together.
The Democratic race really isn't much different than it was in the first 2020 debate in Miami, or a month later in Detroit. Will that happen again tonight? Or will we see some kind of a shakeup?https://t.co/SJEJ8nu8TF— Jamie Dupree (@jamiedupree) September 12, 2019
7:10 pm - Other than the folks with ABC, the lead sponsor of this debate, most reporters (as usual) don't watch the debate in person, but rather in the press filing center. This one is being houses in a basketball court, with the radio people up high on the elevated track. If it was more open, I would just walk around it for a few hours.
7:00 pm - I heard the sound from inside the press filing center. It sounded like a helicopter. Instead, it was a small plane pulling a banner for the GOP, warning those below at the debate site against socialism, and urging Texans to vote for President Trump in 2020.
Plane with banner that reads “Socialism will kill Houston’s Economy VOTE TRUMP 2020,” circling the Democratic debate hall. pic.twitter.com/xhqqki2X9E— Averi Harper (@AveriHarper) September 12, 2019
6:45 pm - It's very warm outside, and chilly with lots of air conditioning inside. The debate has attracted the usual group of demonstrators and activists on both sides. As I arrived around lunchtime, there was band playing songs, demonstrators on both sides, and more.
The scene inside the debate — well, inside the media filing center at least: Hundreds of reporters ready to watch the three-hour event on flat screens. I pic.twitter.com/W6QGQtcoo3— Greg Bluestein (@bluestein) September 12, 2019
6:30 pm - Those who waited in the Houston heat to get in for the debate had some unique warnings.
FYI: no flowers (or balloons) allowed inside the Houston debate! pic.twitter.com/Y542cEaUgy— Lisa Desjardins (@LisaDNews) September 12, 2019