New Hampshire debate
February 7, 2020

It was a great night for Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) at the New Hampshire debate, but not so much for former Vice President Joe Biden, ABC News' analysts say.

After the conclusion of Friday's debate on ABC, the network quickly transitioned into commentary, with analyst Jonathan Karl praising Klobuchar first and foremost.

"I think this was a breakthrough night for Amy Klobuchar," Karl said. "This was by far her best debate."

Martha Raddatz seemed to agree, noting that Klobuchar delivered an "especially strong close." Later, ABC analyst Matthew Dowd concurred that in the end, she's the only candidate who may have altered the race.

"The only person to me that fundamentally changed where they were ... was Amy Klobuchar," Dowd said.

This was a familiar refrain, as pundits have quite often come out of Democratic debates declaring Klobuchar the winner, only for her position in the polls to stay roughly the same. "Klobuchar feels like 2020's Carly Fiorina," The Daily Beast's Lachlan Markay wrote. "Kills it on the debate stage every time, but it just doesn't seem to translate on the scoreboard."

Dowd argued, though, that it was Biden who "had the worst night," explaining he didn't necessarily do badly but simply didn't improve his standing like he needed to after a disappointing fourth place Iowa showing. "His path is still on the downward slope," Dowd added. Brendan Morrow

February 7, 2020

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders had the most speaking time at the Friday Democratic debate in New Hampshire, dominating 19 minutes and 54 seconds of the two-and-a-half hour event, NPR reports.

While Sanders split an uncertain victory in the Iowa caucuses with the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, Pete Buttigieg, it was former Vice President Joe Biden who came in second place in the Granite State with a 19 minutes and 31 seconds of speaking time. Buttigieg followed, with just over 18 minutes.

Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren came in fifth out of all the candidates, speaking for just short of 16 minutes, behind Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, who spoke for 16 minutes and 21 seconds. Warren, however, is third in RealClearPolitics' aggregate of the polls, with 14.4 percent of support behind Biden and Sanders, meaning her speaking time vastly differed from her actual popularity in the country.

Entrepreneur Andrew Yang once again had the shortest amount of speaking time of all of the candidates, with a mere eight minutes to share his thoughts. Yang hadn't managed to qualify for the January 14 debate, and he's regularly one of the most overlooked members of the debates that he has participated in. In September, for example, he spoke for just seven minutes and 58 seconds.

See all of the speaking times below. Jeva Lange

February 7, 2020

Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg might have not qualified for the Democratic debates yet, but he still had a cameo on Friday.

George Stephanopoulos during Friday's New Hampshire debate asked a question all about Bloomberg submitted via Apple News, asking the candidates why they're "better positioned" to take on President Trump than he is. The Democrats on the stage, naturally, didn't pass up the opportunity to get in some attacks on a candidate who wasn't actually there to respond.

"I don't think anyone ought to be able to buy their way into a nomination or to be president of the United States," Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) said.

Sanders joined in as well, saying, "It's a funny thing. There are millions of people who can desire to run for office, but I guess if you're worth $60 billion and you can spend several hundred million dollars on commercials, you have a slight advantage. That is nonsense."

These attacks may end up serving as solid practice for an upcoming debate, as a recent rule change leaves the door open for Bloomberg to soon join the fun himself. Brendan Morrow

February 7, 2020

Things got heated on Friday night when hedge fund manager Tom Steyer challenged former Vice President Joe Biden to disavow one of his campaign surrogates over what black lawmakers in South Carolina have described as a racist attack.

On Wednesday, State Sen. Dick Harpootlian, a "longtime friend" of Biden's, tweeted his suspicions about South Carolina Legislative Black Caucus Chairman Jerry Govan receiving "almost $50,000 for a [month's] worth of work" for Steyer, WIS News 10 reports. "Is he pocketing the dough or redistributing the wealth?" Harpootlian asked in his tweet. The senator also told The Post and Courier that Govan "told me he was with Joe Biden until Mr. Moneybags showed up ... This is what happens when billionaires get involved ... They don't have to persuade anybody, they just buy them."

Govan is a senior adviser to the Steyer campaign in South Carolina, and received pay "consistent with the salaries of other members of the team in South Carolina," Steyer's team has said. Govan also defended himself to The Post and Courier: "I have a consulting firm," he said. "I do business. In terms of having a consulting firm, there's nothing illegal or illicit or improper."

Harpootlian's insinuation that Govan was being bought by Steyer infuriated the Legislative Black Caucus in South Carolina though; about half of the 45-member body demanded Biden distance himself from Harpootlian after the comment, AP reports.

Biden refused to firmly disavow Harpootlian after Steyer's challenge on the debate stage. The former vice president said he'd spoken to Harpootlian and "he was, I believe, sorry for what he said." Jeva Lange

February 7, 2020

Former Vice President Joe Biden got a standing ovation at the New Hampshire debate on Friday, but it wasn't for himself. Biden asked the audience at Saint Anselm College to get on their feet to show support for impeachment witness Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, the National Security Council's top Ukraine expert who was expelled on Friday by President Trump in apparent payback for participating in the House's investigation.

"[Trump] should be pinning a medal on Vindman and not on Rush Limbaugh," Biden said. "I think what we should be doing now, I think we should all stand and give Col. Vindman a show of how much we supported him. Stand up and clap for Vindman. Get up there!"

As the room rose to cheer, Biden said: "That's who we are. We are not what Trump is." Jeva Lange

February 7, 2020

After his impressive Iowa showing, the knives were out for former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg at Friday's Democratic debate.

Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) went after Buttigieg, who is narrowly leading Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) in state delegate equivalents in Iowa, early on in the debate, comparing him to President Trump by saying, "We have a newcomer in the White House, and look where it got us. I think having some experience is a good thing." Klobuchar also criticized Buttigieg for having called the impeachment proceedings "exhausting" and saying it "makes you want to watch cartoons instead."

Soon after, businessman Tom Steyer launched a similar line of attack, saying "you have to have experience" to "take down" Trump.

"That's why I'm worried about Mayor Pete," Steyer said. "You need to be able to go toe-to-toe with this guy and take him down on debate stage, or we're gonna lose."

Then, it was entrepreneur Andrew Yang's turn to get a hit in. After Buttigieg described how he plans to beat Trump, Yang cut in, telling Buttigieg specifically he's "missing the lesson of Donald Trump's victory," describing Trump as "not the cause of all of our problems" but rather a "symptom of a disease that has been building up in our communities for years and decades." Brendan Morrow

February 7, 2020

If there's one important rule for preparing for a political debate, it's do your homework. And Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) just earned herself an A.

During a debate about healthcare in New Hampshire on Friday, Klobuchar blasted Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders (D) and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren for their ambitious plans to implement Medicare-for-all. And although the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, Pete Buttigieg, now supports a public option, Klobuchar had brought her receipts: "Pete, while you have a different plan now, you sent out a tweet just a few years ago that said: 'henceforth, forthwith, indubitably, affirmatively, you are for Medicare-for-all,'" she said.

While the casual viewer watching at home might have assumed Klobuchar was just riffing on Buttigieg's manner of speaking, it turns out she was actually pretty accurately quoting his two-year-old reply to the progressive platform, the People's Summit:

Well played. Jeva Lange

February 7, 2020

Former Vice President Joe Biden kicked off Friday's New Hampshire debate with a prediction: he's not going to win the primary.

Biden spoke at the top of the debate about his disappointing fourth place finish in Monday's Iowa caucuses, admitting he "took a hit." But the former vice president took things a step further, appearing to set expectations as low as possible ahead of the Tuesday New Hampshire primary by suggesting he'll lose again.

"I took a hit in Iowa, and I'll probably take a hit here," Biden said.

It was certainly a unique start to the event, as The Washington Post's Dave Weigel observed, "That has to be the first time that a debate began with a candidate saying he'd probably lose the state's primary."

As far as who will win, Biden suggested Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) will likely beat him, citing the fact that "Bernie won by 20 points last time, and usually it's the neighboring senators that do well." But the good news for Biden, according to Biden? "This is a long race." Brendan Morrow

See More Speed Reads