LIVE UPDATES: Democrats press their 2020 case in third debate

In the party's smallest debate so far, ten Democrats will face off at Texas Southern University on Thursday night in a debate hosted by ABC News and Univision, another step on the way to determining a candidate to take on President Donald Trump in 2020.

Instead of two debate nights - with ten candidates on stage in both - this Houston debate will have just one night involving the ten who were able to qualify.

Here is a rundown of the evening's events.  All times are EDT.


10:45 pm - And the third debate is in the books.

10:40 pm - Look for Beto O'Rourke to get some extra talk after tonight's debate.  His reaction to the mass shooting in his home town of El Paso - and his effort to tie President Trump to the anger of the gunman - which might give him a little boost.  But like others, he needs a big, big, boost in this 2020 campaign.

10:35 pm - Again, it's not easy to figure out what to ask, or how the debate flows.  But a number of issues didn't make the cut by ABC and Univision tonight.

10:30 pm - With these final statements on professional 'setbacks' - the debate ends on a more quiet and personal note.   Buttigieg talks about his decision to reveal that he was gay.

10:26 pm - As the final segment starts, a group of protesters interrupt Biden.  Asked about his biggest setback, Biden talks about family.  “There are setbacks, and then there are setbacks,” as he mentions the death of his first wife soon after he won a seat in the Senate, plus his son's death from cancer.

10:25 pm - What are Republicans talking about in this debate?

10:22 pm - A second debate break.  If you are wondering why people are talking about record players, Biden mentioned it in his long winded answer of a few minutes ago.

10:20 pm - We all would do things differently about what questions should be asked. Here's one view.

10:16 pm - Biden is told his time is up.  Instead of just stopping like he usually does, Biden says he's going to talk over time like everyone else. Castro gets a lot of laughs by saying immediately, “that's quite a lot.”  Reporters who covered Biden in Congress have been there.

10:15 pm - ABC goes back to what Biden said or did forty years ago related to civil rights - remember, this spurred the big Biden-Harris divide in the first debate.

10:08 pm - Booker was asked about being a vegan, yes.

10:05 pm - Yang goes back to his $1,000/month payment to every American, as he denounces how corporations are using money to lobby for their plans.

10:02 pm - Here's a run down on speaking time.

10:00 pm - It's  clear who has been the focus.

9:55 pm - The debate gets into Venezuela and U.S. foreign policy in the Western Hemisphere.  While I know there are a number of people interested in that - it's an area of foreign policy which probably doesn't keep a lot of people glued to the TV.  And it helps Biden, as it runs out the clock on this third debate.

9:45 pm - Reaction of a Washington political vet on the GOP side.

9:40 pm - Sanders takes a swing at Biden on trade.  Biden didn't respond, but notes how China steals so much intellectual property from the U.S.   Booker with a funny line about the hair style of the Canadian Prime Minister.  Harris makes a joke about Trump and the Wizard of Oz.

9:35 pm - This is an interesting subject, because while Democrats don't like the President's strategy, they do want to be tougher on China, as Castro calls it an 'erratic' policy from Mr. Trump

9:30 pm - The second segment is underway on trade and the President's trade fight with China.  Yang says he wouldn't necessarily get rid of the tariffs if he was elected, arguing China needs a tough message on trade.

9:26 pm - There were no real battles or exchanges between Biden and Warren.  Still time.

9:22 pm - The first break is here.  Seems to me that Biden held up pretty well.  He was very rusty back in June in Miami at the first debate.   Basically, the only candidate really going after Biden tonight was Castro.

9:15 pm - Univision anchor all but tries to tie up Biden on the debate stage, and allow Castro to tee off on Biden over deportations by President Obama.

9:05 pm - Speaking for the first time in about 30 minutes, Warren says it's time to get rid of the filibuster in the Senate in order to get more done on guns.

9:00 pm - Beto O'Rourke says he would try to force people to give up AR-15 and AK-47 type of weapons.  Big cheers in the crowd.

Beto O'Rourke says he would try to force people to give up AR-15 and AK-47 type of weapons.  Big cheers in the crowd.

8:55 pm - The debate goes to guns - and Biden immediately talks about his success with the Brady Law.  The question was how can he get anything done.  Harris says executive orders must be used - while Biden says many changes can't be made.  Harris: “Hey Joe, instead of saying no we can't, say yes we can,” - riffing off an old Obama line.

8:50 pm - There was criticism after the last debate from some Democrats that by attacking Biden on certain subjects, they were also attacking President Obama.  There was an obvious change about that tonight, with several candidates going out of their way to mention Mr. Obama in a positive way - and more of taking aim at President Trump.

8:45 pm - The debate now moves into race and gun violence.  It doesn't come close to the electricity of the health care back and forth.

8:40 pm - For a second straight debate Castro goes after Biden very specifically, this time on health care. “Are you forgetting what you just said two minutes ago?”

8:35 pm - Biden is more aggressive tonight, and more on the ball.  Sanders seems to be in an aggravated, frustrated mood.

8:25 pm - The first ten minutes were simply Biden, Warren, and Sanders.  The front runners controlling the debate.

8:15 pm - Opening statements were pretty much about what they want to do as President.  Into the Q&A, Biden starts by talking about how Sanders and Warren don't pay for everything they want to do.  Biden then gives a line which we might hear a lot.

8:09 pm - Andrew Yang again making people shudder in Georgetown and on K Street by not wearing a tie.

8:05 pm - The debate is underway with opening statements.  Amy Klobuchar D-MN uses a line that I figured someone was going to use in talking about the current administration.

“Houston, we have a problem,” Klobuchar said.

7:55 pm - Why are these ten candidates on the stage tonight, and not another 10-15 Democrats as well?  That's because the qualifying process was tightened.

7:45 pm -  We are not seeing this in the press filing center, but in the debate hall, there are all sorts of speeches going on before the debate begins.

7:40 pm -  Before leaving the White House this afternoon to give a speech to a gathering of House Republicans in Baltimore, President Trump stopped to talk to reporters - and was asked about the state of the 2020 race and the Democratic debate.   “It's too bad I'm going to miss it,” the President said.

7:30 pm - We should talk about where the Democrats are debating tonight.  Texas Southern University is a historically black college - just blocks down the street from the University of Houston.   Two names with a lot of history and ties to the Democratic Party studied here, and then made it to the U.S. House of Representatives - Barbara Jordan, and Mickey Leland.

7:25 pm - It look like Andrew Yang will use the debate to make some news about his “Universal Basic Income” plan, where the government would give people $12,000 a year.

7:20 pm - We will have to wait and see what the ABC reporters decide to ask of the candidates in this debate.  I know if I was in charge, I would ask about today's latest report on the federal deficit - which is already over $1 trillion for the 2019 fiscal year.  Neither party seems at all interested in doing anything about it - other than blaming the other party for causing the numbers to go up.

7:15 pm - What should we look for tonight?  First of all, we will see if Joe Biden is the focus of verbal barbs this evening from others.  And we'll see if Biden and Warren clash at all, as this is the first time they have been on the same stage together.

7:10 pm - Other than the folks with ABC, the lead sponsor of this debate, most reporters (as usual) don't watch the debate in person, but rather in the press filing center.  This one is being houses in a basketball court, with the radio people up high on the elevated track.  If it was more open, I would just walk around it for a few hours.

7:00 pm - I heard the sound from inside the press filing center.  It sounded like a helicopter.  Instead, it was a small plane pulling a banner for the GOP, warning those below at the debate site against socialism, and urging Texans to vote for President Trump in 2020.

6:45 pm - It's very warm outside, and chilly with lots of air conditioning inside.  The debate has attracted the usual group of demonstrators and activists on both sides.  As I arrived around lunchtime, there was band playing songs, demonstrators on both sides, and more.

6:30 pm - Those who waited in the Houston heat to get in for the debate had some unique warnings.

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