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

Booker, O'Rourke get most speaking time at first Democratic debate
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Sen. Cory BookerCory BookerDespite Senate setbacks, the fight for voting rights is far from over Small ranchers say Biden letting them get squeezed Democrats call on Biden administration to ease entry to US for at-risk Afghans 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 WarrenArizona Democratic Party executive board censures Sinema Democrats call on Biden administration to ease entry to US for at-risk Afghans Biden stiff arms progressives on the Postal Service 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'RourkeO'Rourke says he raised record .2M since launching campaign for Texas governor Eleven interesting races to watch in 2022 Cruz bullish on his 2024 chances: 'The runner-up is almost always the next nominee' 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 ToddBlinken: State Dept tracking US Embassy personnel in Kyiv 'very, very closely' Sanders says Biden can't count on him to support 'almost any' spending package compromise Fulton County DA requests special grand jury in Trump election investigation 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 InsleeWhat if politicians were required to tell the truth? New Washington secretary of state orders staffers to be vaccinated Conservative Washington state lawmaker dies after positive COVID-19 test MORE (D) spoke less than any other candidate on stage, even though MSNBC host Rachel MaddowRachel Anne MaddowMichigan AG asks federal prosecutors to investigate false GOP electors Democrats skeptical of McConnell's offer to talk on election law Amid multiple crises, Biden runs to NBC's safe space with Jimmy Fallon 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 BlasioHochul raises .6 million since launching gubernatorial campaign De Blasio says he won't run for New York governor Watershed moment in NYC: New law allows noncitizens to vote MORE (D), who frequently tried to shout over other candidates.

"There's nothing worse than not being heard," said Rep. Tim RyanTimothy (Tim) RyanThese Senate seats are up for election in 2022 JD Vance raises more than million in second fundraising quarter for Ohio Senate bid Republicans must join us to give Capitol Police funding certainty  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 DelaneyLobbying world Maryland Democrats target lone Republican in redistricting scheme Warning: Joe Biden's 'eat the rich' pitch may come back to bite you MORE (D-Md.) and Rep. Tulsi GabbardTulsi GabbardThe perfect Democratic running mate for DeSantis? Progressives breathe sigh of relief after Afghan withdrawal Hillicon Valley: US has made progress on cyber but more needed, report says | Democrat urges changes for 'problematic' crypto language in infrastructure bill | Facebook may be forced to unwind Giphy acquisition 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.