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2020 Democratic debates
September 16, 2019

Entrepreneur Andrew Yang offered to give away free money at last week's Democratic debate, and his email list grew many sizes that day.

Yang during his opening statement at the third Democratic debate announced he would give $1,000 a month for a full year to 10 randomly-selected families who entered a raffle on his website. An email address is required to enter the contest, which is meant to showcase his 2020 proposal to give every American adult $1,000 a month in what he calls a Freedom Dividend.

Now, the Yang campaign says more than 450,000 people have entered the contest, Politico reports. More than 90 percent of the email addresses collected were new, the campaign said. The Yang campaign also said it raised $1 million in the 72 hours after the debate, a significant haul considering it only raised $2.8 million in the entire last quarter.

This announcement comes as Yang himself is swearing that his contest is actually legal, something experts immediately called into question. Although Yang has already been giving $1,000 a month away to some families, he was doing that with his own money, whereas this contest uses campaign funds; an expert with the Campaign Legal Center told Politico the stunt is of "dubious legality, at best."

Yang swears it's fine, though, in a Sunday interview describing it as "perfectly legal" and saying the campaign has "an army of lawyers who signed off on it." Assuming he gets away with it, after this success, don't be surprised to see the businessman double down on these game show-esque raffles for the next Democratic debate in October. Brendan Morrow

September 13, 2019

President Trump was so busy renaming senators and comparing congressmen to cows on Thursday night that he wasn't able to comment on the Democratic debate, but several staffers came forward to share their opinions on the event.

An extremely confident Tim Murtaugh, the Trump campaign's communications director, told ABC News it was an "unimpressive roster of Dems up there tonight. Nothing new. President Trump will dominate any of them." As for Kayleigh McEnany, the campaign's national press secretary, her word of the day was "radical," as she claimed Democrats will "raise taxes to pay for their radical agenda" and declared that "President Trump would crush any one of these radical 'top tier' Dems!"

Two of Trump's children watched the debate, with a blasé Eric Trump tweeting, "These people are so uninspiring...#yawn." His older brother, Donald Trump Jr., just stuck to retweeting other people's opinions and unfunny memes. Catherine Garcia

September 13, 2019

In case you missed Beto O'Rourke's "hell yes!" moment when he underscored his support for mandatory government buybacks of certain military-style rifles during Thursday's Democratic debate, he repeated it on Twitter — with merch.

Texas State Rep. Briscoe Cain (R), who represents a red slice of east Houston and the surrounding suburbs, saw the tweet, and his clever response — get it? Beto's given name is Robert — included what appeared to be a death threat. That is certainly how O'Rourke saw it, and Twitter agreed.

After the debate, O'Rourke argued that the Second Amendment, like all constitutional rights, has limits, noting that there are already weapons that civilians are not allowed to own.

If O'Rourke did actually get elected and somehow got a mandatory buyback program through Congress, he obviously wouldn't be the one knocking on state Rep. Cain's door to ask to buy his AR-15. It would be a law officer — though if that's Cain's big idea, he wouldn't be the first Republican state representative to threaten to shoot a police officer this year. Peter Weber

September 13, 2019

Following Thursday night's Democratic debate, Julián Castro stressed that he wasn't trying to insult former Vice President Joe Biden when he asked why he can't remember anything.

ABC News reporters asked Castro if he regretted an exchange he had with Biden early in the debate — while discussing health care, Castro was adamant that Biden had said one thing about his plan before flip-flopping and giving a different answer. "Are you forgetting what you said two minutes ago?" Castro asked Biden, which elicited some boos from the crowd.

Castro said no, he didn't feel bad about this, because "it's an argument about health care policy, this is important. We're talking about a policy that is going to impact every single person in this country."

Several reporters on Twitter, as well as ABC News' Jon Karl, said Castro was wrong to accuse Biden of changing his answer, with Karl saying Castro "mischaracterized" Biden's words. Castro insisted that he read the transcript, and was correct with his criticism. The 44-year-old also denied that his remark on Biden's memory was meant to call attention to the fact that he is 76 years old. "I wasn't taking a shot at his age," Castro said, adding, "It's not an attack on Vice President Biden, something about the personalities. It's about the health care policy." Catherine Garcia

September 13, 2019

Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) has somehow become the oldest person in the 2020 race.

Okay, so Booker didn't literally age a few dozen years, but his use of the folksy term "dagnabbit" did turn some heads during Thursday night's debates. So in what could be an attempt to preserve his internet-savvy reputation, Booker quickly turned his favorite exclamation into a campaign slogan.

Booker first brought up the term in a question about school segregation, in which he talked about raising teacher salaries as mayor of Newark, New Jersey. "And we didn't stop there. Yeah, we closed poor-performing charter schools, but, dagnabbit, we expanded high-performing charter schools," he continued. It also got a shortened second appearance before Booker bemoaned the documentary Street Fighter's Oscar loss to "March of the dagnab Penguins." And apparently, this odd word choice has persisted for years. Kathryn Krawczyk

September 13, 2019

In his big health care exchange with former Vice President Joe Biden during Thursday night's Democratic presidential debate, Julián Castro cited the fact-checkers to make his case that Biden's plan would leave millions of Americans uninsured. But when Biden said Castro was wrong that, under his plan, you would have to "buy in" to Medicare, Castro suggested Biden was losing his memory.

As they say, live by the fact-check, die by the fact-check.

From reading the transcript, "it looks to be like Julian Castro was just flatly wrong," ABC News' Jon Karl said in his post-debate truth-squadding. "It seemed to me that Biden was right and that Castro mischaracterized what he said."

Castro did have a point, however — Biden did say the words "buy in," ABC News notes. But it was an "automatic" buy-in, whatever that means. Biden said: "The option I'm proposing is Medicare for all, Medicare for choice. If you want Medicare, if you lose the job from your insurance company, from your employer, you automatically can buy into this." Afterward, though, he said, "Anyone who can't afford it gets automatically enrolled in the Medicare-type option we have." You can watch the full exchange below. Peter Weber

September 12, 2019

At the end of Thursday night's Democratic debate, as former Vice President Joe Biden prepared to answer a question about resilience, he was interrupted by several protesters, with at least one managing to make it onto the stage.

Their shouts were hard to distinguish, but photos show that some were wearing shirts that said "Defend DACA, Abolish ICE, Citizenship for All." The protester that was photographed on stage appeared to be just a few feet away from the candidates.

Embed from Getty Images

Earlier in the night, debate moderator Jorge Ramos asked Biden about the 3 million deportations carried out under former President Barack Obama. Biden said Obama "did the best thing that was able to be done," and brought up Obama's executive order that created the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Act (DACA), which protected some young undocumented migrants from deportation. Catherine Garcia

September 12, 2019

Former Vice President Joe Biden, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), and Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) had the most speaking time during Thursday night's Democratic debate, while entrepreneur Andrew Yang trailed far behind.

Biden spoke for 17 minutes and 35 seconds, The New York Times reports, followed by Warren for 16 minutes, 34 seconds; Booker for 14 minutes, 46 seconds; Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) for 13 minutes, 55 seconds; and Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) for 13 minutes, 36 seconds.

South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg clocked in at 11 minutes, 34 seconds, with Julián Castro slightly behind at 11 minutes, three seconds. Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) brought up the rear with 10 minutes, 25 seconds, followed by former Rep. Beto O'Rourke (D-Texas), who only spoke for nine minutes, 25 seconds. Yang received just seven minutes and 58 seconds of speaking time, but his promise of giving 10 families $1,000 a month got him a lot of attention online, with his name trending on Twitter throughout the night and thousands visiting his website. Catherine Garcia

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