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Democratic Debate: What You Need To Know About Wednesday’s Face-Off

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Photo by Angela Hsieh NPR

Ten Democrats are debating in Atlanta on Wednesday, beginning at 9 p.m. ET.

Amid a slew of public impeachment hearings, Democratic presidential candidates are gathering in Atlanta to debate once again. This round also comes less than three months before the first primaries and caucuses.

Ten candidates made the cut, down from a record of 12 in October's debate.

Here's what you need to know (and here's what to watch for):

How to watch a livestream of the debate

MSNBC and The Washington Post are hosting the debate, which is scheduled to start at 9 p.m. ET and last for two hours.

You will be able to watch the broadcast on MSNBC. It will stream on and, as well as in the NBC News and Post mobile apps. You'll be able to listen to the debate on SiriusXM Channel 118 and TuneIn. will host a live fact check and analysis of the debate to read while you watch. Subscribe to The NPR Politics Podcast for post-debate analysis.

Which candidates will be there?

The Democrats who qualified based on polling and fundraising are:

Joe Biden, former vice presidentCory Booker, senator from New JerseyPete Buttigieg, mayor of South Bend, Ind.Tulsi Gabbard, representative from HawaiiKamala Harris, senator from CaliforniaAmy Klobuchar, senator from MinnesotaBernie Sanders, senator from VermontTom Steyer, business executive and activistElizabeth Warren, senator from Massachusetts Andrew Yang, founder of Venture for America

Two candidates who debated in October will not be on stage this time. Former housing Secretary Julián Castro did not reach the threshold, and former Texas Rep. Beto O'Rourke has dropped out of the race.

Read more about the debate requirements.

Who is moderating and what is the format?

Running the show with be Rachel Maddow of MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show; Andrea Mitchell, NBC News chief foreign affairs correspondent; Kristen Welker, NBC News White House correspondent; and Ashley Parker, a Post White House reporter.

As NBC News has reported, the hosts will ask a "balanced number of questions" to each candidate. There will be four segments. Candidates will have 75 seconds to answer direct questions and 45 seconds for follow-ups, as allowed by the moderators. In the last debate, Warren ended up with far more speaking time than other candidates.

Get caught up: What's happened since the last round?

Former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick entered the race last week. Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg is reconsidering whether to jump in himself. O'Rourke, as noted above, dropped out; so has Republican primary challenger Mark Sanford and Democratic Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan.

Buttigieg has taken Warren's place as the surging candidate of the moment.

The group of female freshman lawmakers who have come to be called "The Squad" have split when it comes to presidential endorsements. Rep. Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts is backing Warren, while Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan have all endorsed Sanders.

Warren explained how she would pay for "Medicare for All" amid criticism that the candidate with a plan for everything was falling short when it came to health care.

More reporting you don't want to miss

Recent features on the state of the race:

Interviews with the candidates: NPR's Off Script video series puts candidates at a table with an NPR host and two voters; listen back to in-depth interviews from The NPR Politics Podcast's On The Trail series.

Policy fix: Get caught up on where the candidates stand on health care, immigration, the environment, guns, Democratic processes and trade.

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit


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