Democratic debate: 5 memorable moments from Wednesday’s matchup

Ten Democratic candidates faced off Wednesday night in Miami during Part 1 of the first presidential debate of the 2020 election season, including Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey; Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts; former Rep. Beto O'Rourke of Texas; former Rep. John Delaney of Maryland; Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii; Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota; former Housing Secretary Julián Castro; New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio; Gov. Jay Inslee of Washington state; and Rep. Tim Ryan of Ohio.

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Here are five memorable moments from the event, which continues with a second crop of candidates Thursday night:

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1. Candidates speak Spanish, inspire memes.

While responding to – but not really answering – a question about whether he'd back a 70% marginal tax rate on people earning more than $10 million annually, O'Rourke addressed viewers in Spanish, apparently surprising fellow candidate Booker.

"This economy has got to work for everyone, and right now, we know that it isn't," O'Rourke began in English. "And it's going to take all of us coming together to make sure that it does."

He then added in Spanish: "We need to include everyone if we want our economy to be strong. But if we strive to do so, democracy needs to be for everyone. Every voter deserves representation. Every voice needs to be heard."

As O'Rourke spoke, the camera panned to Booker, whose expression quickly went viral and inspired memes.

>> Watch the moment here

Booker and Castro later used Spanish, as well.

"This is unacceptable," Booker said in the language while discussing immigration reform. "Our president has attacked and has demonized immigrants. It's unacceptable, and I'll fix this."

>> See the clip here


"My name is Julián Castro, and I'm running for president of the United States," Castro, who is Latino, told the crowd in Spanish, adding that it's time to say "adiós" to Trump.

>> Watch the video here


2. Klobuchar claps back after Inslee lauds his efforts for abortion rights.

"It should not be an option in the United States of America for any insurance company to deny a woman coverage for their exercise of their right of choice," said Inslee, who has been the governor of Washington state since 2013. "And I am the only candidate here who has passed a law protecting a woman's right of reproductive health in health insurance, and I'm the only candidate who has passed a public option. And I respect everybody's goals and plans here, but we do have one candidate that's actually advanced the ball. And we've got to have access for everyone. I've done it as a public option."

Afterward, a bemused Klobuchar quickly chimed in.

"I just want to say, there's three women up here that have fought pretty hard for a woman's right to choose," she said, laughing. "I'll start with that."

>> Watch the exchange here


3. De Blasio speaks over O'Rourke, other candidates.

The New York mayor didn't hold back Wednesday night, frequently interrupting other candidates to make his points and get coveted screen time.

One awkward moment arose when De Blasio cut off O'Rourke, who said he wouldn't replace private insurance.

"No, I think the choice is fundamental for our ability to get everybody cared for," O'Rourke began before De Blasio fired back: "Wait, wait, wait. Congressman O'Rourke, Congressman O'Rourke, private insurance is not working for tens of millions of Americans."

The pair briefly sparred, speaking over each another until Delaney chimed in with his own response.

>> Watch the clip here

4. Gabbard corrects Ryan's comment about the Taliban.

While arguing that the U.S. should "stay engaged" in Afghanistan, Ryan said a lack of involvement could lead the Taliban to grow and commit "bigger, bolder terrorist acts."

Gabbard, a veteran, disagreed, saying American troops should come home.

"The Taliban was there long before we came in," she said. "They're going to be there long after we leave."

"When we weren't in there, they started flying planes into our buildings," Ryan fired back.

Gabbard quickly corrected Ryan.

"The Taliban didn't attack us on 9/11 – al-Qaida did," she said.

"Al-Qaida attacked us on 9/11. That's why I and so many other people joined the military, to go after al-Qaida – not the Taliban."

>> Watch the exchange here

5. Trump was not impressed.

The president took to Twitter on Wednesday night to share his one-word reaction to the debate.

"BORING!" he wrote.

>> See the tweet here

He later blasted NBC for having technical issues during the debate.

>> Read the tweet here

Credit: Brynn Anderson/AP

Credit: Brynn Anderson/AP

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