The Hill's 12:30 Report: Sparks fly at Detroit Democratic debate

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The Hill's 12:30 Report: Key takeaways from Detroit debate's first night | Sights and sounds | Progressives, moderates brawl | Warren, Sanders dominate talk time | Williamson goes viral over 'dark psychic force' | Buttigieg forehead smudge explained | CNN takes heat over format | Tim RyanTimothy (Tim) John RyanThe Hill's Campaign Report: Biden camp faces new challenges Third-quarter fundraising sets Sanders, Warren, Buttigieg apart The Hill's 12:30 Report: Hunter Biden speaks out amid Ukraine controversy MORE denies protesting anthem | Dems fear trap in Trump attacks on minority lawmakers | Senate to vote today on budget | Fight looms over Trump spy pick | National Avocado Day 



So we put our hands up like the ceiling can't hold us

Like the ceiling can't hold us: 




  1. Debate puts Democratic divides on display -- moderates vs. progressives
  2. Bernie SandersBernie SandersWarren to protest with striking Chicago teachers Sanders: 'Outrageous' to suggest Gabbard 'is a foreign asset' Democratic strategist: Sanders seeking distance from Warren could 'backfire' MORE gets lots of time, but Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenWarren to protest with striking Chicago teachers Overnight Health Care — Presented by Partnership for America's Health Care Future — Four companies reach 0M settlement in opioid lawsuit | Deal opens door to larger settlements | House panel to consider vaping tax | Drug pricing markup tomorrow On The Money: Trump dismisses 'phony Emoluments Clause' after Doral criticism | Senate Dems signal support for domestic spending package | House panel to consider vaping tax MORE gets biggest moment
  3. Steve BullockSteve BullockSuper PAC seeks to spend more than million supporting Yang The Hill's Campaign Report: Biden camp faces new challenges Private flight spending soars in Democratic presidential race MORE has big night -- this is the first debate that he qualified for.
  4. Marianne WilliamsonMarianne WilliamsonMarianne Williamson on impeachment: Trump's actions 'too perilous' not to continue inquiry Marianne Williamson: DNC is 'dictating' rather than 'facilitating the process of democracy' Marianne Williamson explains how she, Tulsi, and Yang have been marginalized MORE's 'dark psychic force' comment breaks internet and keeps her in race
  5. Beto O'RourkeBeto O'RourkePoll: Biden holds 10-point lead nationally over Warren Authorities seize weapons from alleged neo-Nazi leader under 'red flag' law Super PAC seeks to spend more than million supporting Yang MORE sags; Pete ButtigiegPeter (Pete) Paul ButtigiegSanders: 'Outrageous' to suggest Gabbard 'is a foreign asset' Hillicon Valley: Facebook removes Russian, Iranian accounts trying to interfere in 2020 | Zuckerberg on public relations blitz | Uncertainty over Huawei ban one month out Clinton attacks on Gabbard become flashpoint in presidential race MORE doesn't leave big impression

Context and details for each from The Hill's Max Greenwood and Jonathan Easley:

CNN was criticized for the debate format: "CNN faced backlash for its first primary debate of the 2020 campaign season, with members of the media comparing its production to a sporting event or movie trailer and others lamenting the time spent to kick off the event." Explanation from The Hill's Joe Concha: 

Here's a list of the top five moments during the debate:


It's Wednesday -- hump day! I'm Cate Martel with a quick recap of the morning and what's coming up. Send comments, story ideas and events for our radar to -- and follow along on Twitter @CateMartel and  Facebook.

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Now THIS you have to watch: Here is video of Montana Gov. Steve Bullock (D) scootering between the TV satellite trucks. Don't fall. Don't fall. Don't fall. Watch:

That's a nifty press badge: "The CNN press badge is in the shape of an orb, advantage Marianne" (From The Washington Post's Dave Weigel) Photo:


Tidbit: "A Marianne Williamson staffer told me in Miami that when she visits the networks, reporters and producers sneer at her but the makeup artists always cry when they meet her." (Via BuzzFeed's Ben Smith)



Did anyone notice the smudge on Pete Buttigieg's face at the beginning of the debate?: Here's a photo of the smudge: Then this morning, Buttigieg explained on CNN's "New Day": "Alright, so our best guess is that there were these little, kind of gnats around. Maybe I smushed one and it got on my forehead. I don't know," Buttigieg laughed. "I didn't know about it until after." Watch: 

LOL -- that is code for...: "Whenever a candidate says, 'My friend here,' it's code for 'This SOB that I want to punch in their face'"

Oops, that was Tim Ryan: Former Fox News host Bill O'Reilly confused Tim Ryan for Bill de BlasioBill de BlasioNew York City lawmakers vote to close Rikers Island jail by 2026 2020 Presidential Candidates Cooperate, or else: New York threatens fines to force people to help block immigration enforcement MORE during the debate. Screenshot of the tweet:

The gif of the night: 'So we put our hands up like the ceiling can't hold us, like the ceiling can't hold us!' Gif of Sanders and Hickenlooper

Sir Charles was there: Photo:

On the age difference between Sanders and Buttigieg -- oh snap: "Buttigieg won an essay contest in high school by writing about then-Rep. Sanders." (Via NBC's Alex Seitz-Wald)

^ Eeeek: "Sanders was older when Buttigieg was born than Buttigieg is now." (From The Hill's Reid Wilson)

Observation after the debate: Right after last night's debate, CNN already added its countdown clock for the next debate.

New Twitter followers for each candidate: Marianne Williamson gained the most Twitter followers during the debate with 8,008. Full list of the Twitter follower increase:


Can't. Unsee.:


Observation about Beto's answer about the border: "O'Rourke was clearly prepared for that question about illegal border crossings - and had his answer down pat - right down to the time limit." (Via MSNBC's Garrett Haake)

Speaking times for each candidate: Elizabeth Warren spoke the most (18:33), followed by Bernie Sanders (17:45) and Pete Buttigieg (14:07). The full chart of speaking times:

The Fox Theatre is beautiful: Here's a photo of the debate venue:



The line of the night: "I don't understand why anyone goes through all the trouble of running for president of the United States just to talk about what we can't do and what we shouldn't fight for," Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) told former Rep. John DelaneyJohn Kevin DelaneyWarren, Yang fight over automation divides experts The Hill's Campaign Report: Biden camp faces new challenges Warren's surge brings new scrutiny to signature wealth tax MORE (D-Md.). Video of the back and forth:

The top tweeted moments of the nightNo. 1: Warren's line ^ to Delaney about "what we can't do." No. 2: Responses to the Green New Deal. No. 3: Williamson and Warren discussing racism.

The crowd got a kick out of this Marianne Williamson answer: "Crowd erupts after [Marianne] Williamson says the wonkiness of #DemDebate doesn't dispel 'the dark psychic force' of 'hate' coming from Trump."

^ The force I'm now picturing: For all the Stranger Things fans:

Powerful moment from Buttigieg: "A 13-year-old asked me what we're going to do about school safety and then began shaking and ... crying ... all I could think of looking into the eyes of this child is, 'we're supposed to be dealing with this so you don't have to.' "

Good representation of the night: " 'Might as well FedEx the election to Donald Trump,' Hickenlooper says of Sanders' policy being a losing strategy in 2020.  (This is definitely a moderates vs. progressives night.)"



From the chaos of the spin room: Claustrophobia warning. Video:

Let's play, 'where's Bernie?': Photo:

From Sen. Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyTrump urges GOP to fight for him Overnight Defense: Trump weighs leaving some troops in Syria to 'secure the oil' | US has pulled 2,000 troops from Afghanistan | Pelosi leads delegation to Afghanistan, Jordan Romney earns rants and raves for secret Twitter name MORE (R-Utah): "Asked why @BernieSanders is so angry, the answer is simple: 28 years in Congress and never able to pass even a scintilla of his socialist agenda. All hat, no cattle."

Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio) denies protesting the national anthem: "Congressman Ryan wasn't protesting and didn't mean to make any statement last night in Detroit, it was a moment of absentmindedness while on a debate stage that won't happen again," his campaign said in a statement. During the anthem, Ryan did not place his hand on his heart, attracting attention on social media.

Williamson on herself: During an interview with CNN after the debate, Marianne Williamson said that besides herself, she's "a Bernie and Elizabeth person."


Finally, someone asks Warren the practical question we all want to know!: 



Such a relatable answer: A reporter asked Marianne Williamson if the night went as she hoped it would. Her answer: "I don't know yet. I mean, I'll tell you when, you know, later when I see the memes." Watch:



Who is debating tonight:

Sen. Michael BennetMichael Farrand BennetBennet: Warren 'not being honest about' her 'Medicare for All' plan Senate Democrats want Warren to talk costs on 'Medicare for All' The Hill's Campaign Report: Biden camp faces new challenges MORE (D-Colo.)

Former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenTrump says he doesn't want NYT in the White House Warren to protest with striking Chicago teachers Schiff punches back after GOP censure resolution fails MORE

Sen. Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerPoll: Biden holds 10-point lead nationally over Warren Trump declines to participate in Weather Channel 2020 climate change special Bennet: Warren 'not being honest about' her 'Medicare for All' plan MORE (D-N.J.)

Former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio

Rep. Tulsi GabbardTulsi GabbardSanders: 'Outrageous' to suggest Gabbard 'is a foreign asset' Clinton attacks on Gabbard become flashpoint in presidential race Saagar Enjeti: Clinton remarks on Gabbard 'shows just how deep the rot in our system goes' MORE (D-Hawaii) 

Sen. Kirsten GillibrandKirsten GillibrandSanders seeks spark from Ocasio-Cortez at Queens rally Overnight Defense — Presented by Boeing — House passes resolution rebuking Trump over Syria | Sparks fly at White House meeting on Syria | Dems say Trump called Pelosi a 'third-rate politician' | Trump, Graham trade jabs Senate confirms Trump's Air Force secretary pick MORE (D-N.Y.)

Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisClinton attacks on Gabbard become flashpoint in presidential race Poll: Biden holds 10-point lead nationally over Warren Trump declines to participate in Weather Channel 2020 climate change special MORE (D-Calif.)

Gov. Jay InsleeJay Robert InsleeOvernight Energy: Farmers say EPA reneged on ethanol deal | EPA scrubs senators' quotes from controversial ethanol announcement | Perry unsure if he'll comply with subpoena | John Kerry criticizes lack of climate talk at debate John Kerry calls out lack of climate questions at debate CNN catches heat for asking candidates about Ellen, Bush friendship at debate MORE (D-Wash.)

Businessman Andrew YangAndrew YangOn The Money: Trump dismisses 'phony Emoluments Clause' after Doral criticism | Senate Dems signal support for domestic spending package | House panel to consider vaping tax Sanders: 'Outrageous' to suggest Gabbard 'is a foreign asset' Clinton attacks on Gabbard become flashpoint in presidential race MORE


What time: 8 p.m. EDT

Rules and logistics for tonight's debate: 



Trump has a natural talent for setting traps:

Via The Hill's Mike Lillis and Scott Wong, "House Democrats up in arms over President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump says he doesn't want NYT in the White House Veterans group backs lawsuits to halt Trump's use of military funding for border wall Schiff punches back after GOP censure resolution fails MORE's attacks on minority lawmakers are sounding a warning to their own party heading into the 2020 elections: Don't take the bait."

Keep in mind: "While Democrats have rushed to the defense of Rep. Elijah CummingsElijah Eugene CummingsDiplomat who raised Ukraine concerns to testify in Trump impeachment probe House rejects GOP measure censuring Schiff Overnight Defense: Trump weighs leaving some troops in Syria to 'secure the oil' | US has pulled 2,000 troops from Afghanistan | Pelosi leads delegation to Afghanistan, Jordan MORE (D-Md.), the prominent Congressional Black Caucus member Trump has attacked this week, they also sense the president is setting a political trap."


Democrats are making their dissatisfaction clear:

Via The Hill's Jordain Carney and Morgan Chalfant, Democrats are signaling they will oppose President Trump's pick for director of national intelligence, Rep. John RatcliffeJohn Lee RatcliffeGOP searches for impeachment boogeyman Democrats claim new momentum from intelligence watchdog testimony Hillicon Valley: Senate passes bill to boost cyber help for agencies, businesses | Watchdog warns Energy Department failing to protect grid | FTC sues Match for allegedly conning users MORE (R-Texas), setting up a brutal and uncertain confirmation battle.

What it would take for Ratcliffe to be rejected: "Republicans hold a 53-47 edge in the Senate, so it would take four GOP defections with unified Democratic opposition to deny Ratcliffe's confirmation."

Why Ratcliffe is controversial: "Ratcliffe, a three-term congressman and former federal prosecutor, has faced a wave of criticism for his dearth of intelligence credentials, and his opponents argue he lacks the experience to fulfill the role effectively ... Critics have also raised concerns that Ratcliffe, a staunch Trump ally, is too political for the role and will not be an unbiased steward of the nation's intelligence, an issue guaranteed to come up during his confirmation hearing." 

What to expect:



Happening today — let’s do this thing and get out of town:

The Senate is expected to vote on a House-passed two-year budget deal before they head out of town.

When: “Exact timing of the vote on the budget deal is not locked in yet but is expected to be announced by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellTrump urges GOP to fight for him Senate Dems signal they'll support domestic spending package Trump's top picks for Homeland Security chief are ineligible for job: reports MORE sometime Wednesday -- meaning the vote could come in the afternoon or evening or slip to Thursday.”  

Is it expected to pass?: Yes, it will likely pass. The House already approved the measure and left town last week.

What to expect, via CNN’s Ted Barrett and Lauren Fox



Announced this morning -- Puerto Rico's next governor:

"Outgoing Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló (D) on Wednesday named former Resident Commissioner Pedro PierluisiPedro Rafael PierluisiTrump reignites Puerto Rico feud amid Hurricane Dorian The Hill's Morning Report - Trump vows federal response to Ohio, Texas shootings Wanda Vázquez sworn in as new Puerto Rico governor MORE (D) as his secretary of State designate, putting Pierluisi in line to become Puerto Rico's next governor."


He should just wear a target polo, tbh: 

Via The Hill's Alex Gangitano, "Democrats and organized labor aim to make Eugene Scalia, the pick to lead the Labor Department, a target in 2020 in hopes of testing President Trump's support among rank-and-file union voters."

Keep in mind: "Trump has yet to formally nominate Scalia but critics are already vowing to put a spotlight on that agenda and Scalia's work as a lawyer for businesses in high-profile labor fights." 



So close to recess, they can almost touch it:  



The Senate is in. The House is out. President Trump and Vice President Pence are in Washington, D.C. 

The Senate's full schedule today:

1:45 p.m. EDT: President Trump meets with the president of Mongolia. 

5 p.m. EDT: Vice President Pence speaks at a victory committee reception in Washington, D.C., for North Carolina House candidate Dan Bishop.

Today: Harry Potter's birthday! Photo of the celebration by the books' publisher:



11 a.m. EDT: Vice President Pence speaks at the Young America's Foundation Annual National Conservative Student Conference in Washington, D.C. Livestream:

2:30 p.m. EDT: Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell holds a press conference. The Fed is expected to cut rates today for the first time in a decade. Livestream:

8 p.m. EDT: The next Democratic presidential primary debate in Detroit.



Today is National Avocado Day.


What is better than Chipotle guac? Free Chipotle guac:

To celebrate National Avocado Day, Chipotle isn't charging for guacamole on its entrees.


And because it's been a long week so far, here's a proud mama parrot posing with her newborn. So photogenic!