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- The first Democratic debate featured 10 candidates, but some candidates got more attention from the moderators than others
- Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey spoke for the longest amount of time, while Washington Gov. Jay Inslee made his case the fewest minutes.
- Each candidate was typically given one-minute answers to direct questions with 30-second rebuttals and followups. But some managed to claim time by inserting themselves into conversations.
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The first Democratic primary debate is in the books, but not every candidate who participated got to speak for an equal amount of time.
In total, each candidate spoke for at least five minutes in total throughout the two-hour debate that featured several commercial breaks and an embarrassing audio snafu. But Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey spoke the most minutes during the debate, with the rest of the candidates trailing behind.
The NBC News moderators stuck to strict timing restraints. Candidates were given one minute for answers to direct questions and 30 seconds for rebuttals and followups. Each candidate was also allowed a 45-second closing statement.
Here is how the timing broke down:
- Cory Booker – 11 minutes
- Beto O’Rourke – 10.3 minutes
- Elizabeth Warren – 9.3 minutes
- Julian Castro – 9 minutes
- Amy Klobuchar – 8.5 minutes
- Tim Ryan – 7.8 minutes
- John Delaney – 6.5 minutes
- Tulsi Gabbard – 6.5 minutes
- Bill de Blasio 5.5 minutes
- Jay Inslee – 5 minutes
In a crowded field of candidates where attention spans are short and exposure is key, the candidates were all vying for as much time as possible.
Sen. Warren benefited from having the moderators frequently point to her policy proposals and how other 2020 hopefuls responded to them. Former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Castro broke from the pack by frequently interjecting on key issues to engage in actual debate.
Meanwhile, some candidates struggled to find their voice, such as former Rep. John Delaney, of Maryland, who moderators repeatedly hushed and told to wait his turn.
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