Booker, O'Rourke get most speaking time at first Democratic debate

Sen. Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerRand Paul introduces bill to end no-knock warrants Black lawmakers unveil bill to remove Confederate statues from Capitol Harris grapples with defund the police movement amid veep talk MORE (D-N.J.) talked more than any other Democrat on the debate stage Wednesday night, catching his stride after the first half-hour was dominated by top-tier candidate Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenWarren, Democrats urge Trump to back down from veto threat over changing Confederate-named bases OVERNIGHT DEFENSE: Joint Chiefs chairman says he regrets participating in Trump photo-op | GOP senators back Joint Chiefs chairman who voiced regret over Trump photo-op | Senate panel approves 0B defense policy bill Trump on collision course with Congress over bases with Confederate names MORE (D-Mass.).

Booker spoke for a total of 10 minutes and 35 seconds during Wednesday’s debate, edging out former Rep. Beto O’RourkeBeto O’RourkeBiden will help close out Texas Democrats’ virtual convention: report O’Rourke on Texas reopening: ‘Dangerous, dumb and weak’ Parties gear up for battle over Texas state House MORE (D-Texas), who spoke for 10 minutes and 15 seconds.

Warren spoke for more than five minutes of the first half-hour of the debate, but she slowed down as the night went on. Those five minutes represented more than half her total talk time of 9 minutes and 7 seconds, according to The Hill’s stopwatch.

No candidate got to speak as long as the 11 minutes and 13 seconds that NBC devoted to advertising, a period that may have grown unintentionally after a technical snafu forced NBC’s Chuck ToddCharles (Chuck) David ToddChris Wallace to Colbert: US hasn’t seen this level of unrest since 1968 Demings: ‘We are long overdue for every law enforcement agency in our nation to review itself’ DC mayor: ‘I think that the president has a responsibility to help calm the nation’ MORE to throw to an unplanned break about an hour into the debate.


During one of the longest segments of the debate, a more than 11-minute discussion about the intricacies of immigration policy, Booker and former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro (D) spoke for a combined 5 1/2 minutes.

That segment of the debate kicked off with the longest answer of the evening, Castro’s 88-second explanation of his plan to reform the nation’s immigration system.

But Warren was silent during the immigration section, marking the moment when Booker pulled ahead in total screen time.

Washington Gov. Jay InsleeJay Robert InsleeInslee calls on Trump to ‘stay out of Washington state’s business’ Seattle mayor responds to Trump: ‘Go back to your bunker’ Trump warns he will take back Seattle from ‘ugly Anarchists’ if local leaders don’t act MORE (D) spoke less than any other candidate on stage, even though MSNBC host Rachel MaddowRachel Anne MaddowWebb: The modern age of dissent versus riot Cable news audience numbers jump amid coronavirus, protests Demings: ‘America is on fire’ and Trump ‘is walking around with gasoline’ MORE gave him the chance to weigh in on his signature issue, the threat climate change poses to the planet. Inslee spoke for only 4 minutes and 41 seconds, 40 seconds fewer than New York City Mayor Bill de BlasioBill de BlasioProtesters splash red paint on NYC streets to symbolize blood De Blasio: Robert E Lee’s ‘name should be taken off everything in America, period’ House Democratic whip pushes back on calls to defund police: We need to focus on reform MORE (D), who frequently tried to shout over other candidates.

“There’s nothing worse than not being heard,” said Rep. Tim RyanTimothy (Tim) RyanMinnesota AG Keith Ellison says racism is a bigger problem than police behavior; 21 states see uptick in cases amid efforts to reopen Congress must fill the leadership void Pelosi pushes to unite party on coronavirus bill despite grumbling from left MORE (D-Ohio) during his closing statement. Ryan spoke for 6 minutes and 54 seconds.

Inslee received just five questions during the debate, and he did not get the opportunity to follow-up to any other questions. De Blasio, Ryan, former Rep. John DelaneyJohn DelaneyThe Hill’s Coronavirus Report: Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas says country needs to rethink what ‘policing’ means; US cases surpass 2 million with no end to pandemic in sight Minnesota AG Keith Ellison says racism is a bigger problem than police behavior; 21 states see uptick in cases amid efforts to reopen The Hill’s Coronavirus Report: Singapore Minister for Foreign Affairs Vivian Balakrishnan says there will be consequences from fraying US-China relations; WHO walks back claims on asymptomatic spread of virus MORE (D-Md.) and Rep. Tulsi GabbardTulsi GabbardGabbard drops defamation lawsuit against Clinton It’s as if a Trump operative infiltrated the Democratic primary process 125 lawmakers urge Trump administration to support National Guard troops amid pandemic MORE (D-Hawaii) also received only five questions, but each of those candidates had the chance to respond to follow-up questions from the NBC moderators.

Those moderators directed more questions at Booker, 10, than any other candidate. Booker was also given the opportunity for three 30-second follow-ups. Warren and O’Rourke each received eight questions, while Klobuchar received seven. Castro and O’Rourke, fellow Texans who sparred over immigration policy, received four follow-ups each.

De Blasio was the first candidate to launch an attack on the rest of the field, and the first candidate to try to cut off a fellow Democrat, O’Rourke.

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