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  • >>> HI, THERE, EVERYONE.

  • I'M MORGAN RADFORD.

  • AND WELCOME TO SPECIAL COVERAGE

  • OF THE FIRST DEMOCRATIC DEBATE

  • OF THE 2020 ELECTION CYCLE HERE

  • ON NBC NEWS NOW.

  • THIS IS A LIVE LOOK AT THE

  • DEBATE STAGE, WHERE IN JUST

  • ABOUT AN HOUR, TEN DEMOCRATIC

  • PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES WILL

  • TAKE THEIR PLACE AT THE PODIUM.

  • AND INTERESTINGLY, THEY'RE

  • ACTUALLY STANDING BASED ON THEIR

  • PUBLIC POLLING.

  • TAKING THE CENTER POSITION

  • TONIGHT, ELIZABETH WARREN,

  • FLANKED BY CORY BOOKER AND BETO

  • O'ROURKE.

  • AND JUST CONTEXT ABOUT HOW THIS

  • NIGHT IS GOING TO WORK.

  • THE CANDIDATES HAVE 60 SECONDS

  • TO ANSWER QUESTIONS AND THEN 30

  • SECONDS TO RESPOND TO

  • FOLLOW-UPS.

  • BEFORE TONIGHT BEGINS, WE'RE

  • HERE TO TALK ABOUT THE ISSUES

  • THAT MIGHT COME UP AND HOW

  • DEBATES LIKE THESE HAVE SHAPED

  • ELECTIONS OF THE PAST.

  • >> THE DEBATES, THEY ARE FINALLY

  • HERE.

  • 20 CANDIDATES.

  • AND WE COME TONIGHT WITH A

  • FRONT-RUNNER.

  • JOE BIDEN OUT IN FRONT OF THE

  • PACK.

  • HE'S BEING CHASED BY BERNIE

  • SANDERS IN SECOND PLACE.

  • A COUPLE OTHER CANDIDATES.

  • ELIZABETH WARREN, KAMLA HARRIS.

  • PETE BUTTIGIEG.

  • AND THEN, YOU HAVE A LOT OF

  • CANDIDATES OUT THERE.

  • AN OPPORTUNITY TO GET THEIR

  • MESSAGE OUT THERE.

  • IT'S THE BIG QUESTION OF

  • DEBATES -- DO THEY CHANGE THE

  • RACE?

  • AN IMPORTANT AND FUNDAMENTAL

  • WAY?

  • AND WHEN YOU LOOK AT THE HISTORY

  • OF PRIMARY DEBATES, YOU FIND A

  • LOT OF MOMENTS THAT MADE A

  • DIFFERENCE.

  • WE THOUGHT WE MIGHT LOOK BACK AT

  • SOME OF THE BIGGEST ONES THROUGH

  • THE YEARS.

  • THIS ONE INVOLVED A FUTURE

  • PRESIDENT.

  • SOME SAY IT WAS THE MOMENT HIS

  • PRESIDENCY -- ONE OF THE MOMENTS

  • HIS PRESIDENCY WAS MADE.

  • THIS WAS IN FEBRUARY OF 1980.

  • HIS NAME WAS RONALD REAGAN.

  • HE CAME INTO THAT CAMPAIGN AS

  • THE REPUBLICAN FRONT-RUNNER.

  • BUT HE SUFFERED A BIG SURPRISE

  • IN UPSET LOSS IN THE IOWA

  • CAUCUSES.

  • HE LOST TO GEORGE H.W. BUSH, IN

  • THE IOWA CAUCUSES.

  • A LOT OF PEOPLE HADN'T HEARD

  • ABOUT GEORGE H.W. BUSH UNTIL

  • THAT MOMENT.

  • BUSH'S FAMOUS LINE, WHEN HE SAID

  • I HAVE THE BIG MO NOW.

  • NEW HAMPSHIRE IS THE NEXT TEST.

  • BUSH CAUGHT REAGAN IN THE POLLS

  • IN NEW HAMPSHIRE.

  • WE NOW KNOW IT.

  • WHAT HAPPENED THE SATURDAY

  • BEFORE THE NEW HAMPSHIRE

  • PRIMARY?

  • A DEBATE WAS HELD.

  • IT WAS IN THE HIGH SCHOOL GYM OF

  • NASHUA HIGH SCHOOL, NASHUA,

  • NEW HAMPSHIRE.

  • THERE HAS BEEN A DISPUTE HOW TO

  • ORGANIZE THE DEBATE.

  • REAGAN'S CAMPAIGN PUT UP THE

  • MONEY FOR THE DEBATE.

  • 3,500 BUCKS IS WHAT IT COST.

  • REAGAN'S CAMPAIGN PUT UP THE

  • MONEY.

  • REAGAN AND BUSH COME ON THE

  • STAGE.

  • THERE'S A MODERATOR THERE FROM

  • "THE NATIONAL TELEGRAPH"

  • NEWSPAPER.

  • AND REAGAN GETS INTO A FIGHT,

  • SOME SAY PICKS A FIGHT WITH THE

  • MODERATOR.

  • AND HE IS SAYING, THERE'S OTHER

  • CANDIDATES THAT HAVEN'T BEEN

  • INCLUDED.

  • HE SAID, TURN OFF HIS

  • MICROPHONE.

  • TURN OFF THE CANDIDATE'S

  • MICROPHONE.

  • I'LL SHOW YOU WHAT HAPPENED.

  • >> YOU TURN THAT MICROPHONE OFF.

  • >> I AM PAYING FOR THIS

  • MICROPHONE.

  • >> A GAME-CHANGING MOMENT.

  • THERE WAS FIRE IN REAGAN'S

  • DELIVERY THERE.

  • BROUGHT THE CROWD TO ITS FEET.

  • IT MADE BUSH LOOK SMALL.

  • THAT SCENE PLAYED OUT, THE OTHER

  • CANDIDATES, REAGAN GOT UP, HE

  • SHOOK THEIR HANDS.

  • AND BUSH WAS A BYSTANDER.

  • REAGAN TOOK THE LEAD, ENDED UP

  • WINNING NEW HAMPSHIRE, IN A

  • LANDSLIDE OVER BUSH.

  • WINNING THE REPUBLICAN

  • NOMINATION.

  • REAGAN IS THE NEXT PRESIDENT.

  • HE MAKES BUSH HIS V.P.

  • BUSH BECOMES THE PRESIDENT.

  • THAT WAS THAT MOMENT, IT SAVED

  • THE REAGAN CAMPAIGN.

  • SAVED WHAT WOULD BECOME THE

  • REAGAN PRESIDENCY.

  • >> THAT WAS NBC'S STEVE

  • KORNACKI.

  • AND TONIGHT'S DEBATE IS SURE TO

  • PAVE THE WAY FOR THE 2020

  • ELECTION.

  • ALL TEN CANDIDATES ON STAGE

  • TONIGHT WILL TRY TO STAND OUT

  • AMONG THE SEA OF DEMOCRATS WHO

  • ARE HOPING TO CHALLENGE

  • PRESIDENT TRUMP NEXT NOVEMBER.

  • HERE TO HELP ME PREVIEW WHAT WE

  • CAN EXPECT TO SEE ON THE DEBATE

  • STAGE, WE HAVE REPUBLICAN

  • POLITICAL CONSULTANT, SIR

  • MICHAEL SINGLETON.

  • THANKS FOR JOINING US.

  • HOW MUCH IS TONIGHT GOING TO BE

  • ABOUT PRESIDENT TRUMP'S

  • POLICIES?

  • HOW DO THE CANDIDATES WALK THAT

  • FINE LINE BETWEEN TRYING TO

  • DISTINGUISH THEIR OWN PLATFORM

  • BUT ALSO PROVING TO THEIR BASE

  • THEY CAN TAKE PRESIDENT TRUMP

  • ON?

  • >> I THINK TONIGHT IS DOING A

  • LITTLE BIT OF BOTH.

  • THE SEPARATION AND THE PHOTOS

  • FROM THE A.P. YESTERDAY OF THE

  • DEAD MIGRANTS, THE FATHER AND

  • THE DAUGHTER, I THINK THAT'S

  • GOING TO MAKE THE IMMIGRATION

  • POLICY DISCUSSION MORE OF A

  • CENTRAL FOCUS, THAN IT WOULD

  • HAVE BEEN GOING INTO TONIGHT.

  • I THINK THE CANDIDATES HAVE,

  • BOTH, AN EQUAL TASK.

  • THEY HAVE TO BOTH SAY WHAT

  • THEY'RE GOING TO DO ABOUT IT.

  • RIGHT?

  • THE OVERRESPONSE WOULD BE

  • COMPREHENSIVE IMMIGRATION

  • REFORM.

  • I THINK THERE NEEDS TO BE MORE

  • MEAT ON THE BONES.

  • YOU CAN'T SAY THE PLATITUDES

  • THAT YOU USED TO SAY.

  • NOW, IT'S AN EMERGENCY, WHICH

  • REQUIRES A SERIOUS SOLUTION.

  • I THINK, YOU KNOW, THAT PUTS

  • ELIZABETH WARREN AND CASTRO WHO

  • HAVE PUT TOGETHER SPECIFIC

  • POLICY IDEAS, THAT GIVES THEM A

  • LEG UP BECAUSE OF WHERE THE NEWS

  • CYCLE IS RIGHT NOW.

  • ON THE OTHER HAND, THEY HAVE TO

  • SAY WHAT THEY'RE GOING TO DO

  • THAT IS DIFFERENT THAN DONALD

  • TRUMP.

  • WHO ARE THEY AS A PROGRESSIVE?

  • IF THEY'RE A NEW CANDIDATE, WHO

  • VOTERS AREN'T FAMILIAR WITH.

  • OR MAYBE THEY KNOW ONE THING

  • ABOUT ELIZABETH WARREN, LIKE THE

  • DNA TEST.

  • SHE HAS A PLAN BUT THEY'RE NOT

  • SURE ABOUT HER AS A PERSON AND

  • HER CHARISMA.

  • IT'S A CHALLENGE ON BOTH SIDES.

  • I THINK IMMIGRATION WILL BE THE

  • POLICY FOCUS.

  • >> YOU BRING UP A GOOD POINT

  • ABOUT HOW THE CANDIDATES WILL

  • ACTUALLY BE ABLE TO DISTINGUISH

  • THEMSELVES IN A FIELD THAT'S SO

  • LARGE.

  • SIR MICHAEL, WHEN I'VE BEEN IN

  • THE FIELD, EVERY VOTER TELLS ME

  • THEY WANT SOMETHING DIFFERENT.

  • THEY LOVE THAT HE'S

  • ANTI-ESTABLISHMENT.

  • >> I CALL TONIGHT THE NIGHT OF

  • IDEAS.

  • YOU HAVE CASTRO AND BOOKER AND

  • WARREN.

  • SOME OF THE MOST SUBSTANTIVE

  • IDEA OF ALL OF THE 25 DEMOCRATIC

  • CANDIDATES.

  • I THINK DEMOCRATS ARE

  • MOTIVATED -- VOTERS ARE

  • MOTIVATED TO BEAT TRUMP.

  • THEY DON'T CARE WHO THE NOMINEE

  • IS.

  • I THINK TONIGHT, FOR MANY OF THE

  • INDIVIDUALS ON THE STAGE, IT'S

  • GOING TO BE -- NOT ONLY HOW CAN

  • I GET IT DONE?

  • EVEN IF YOU ARE ABLE TO WIN IN

  • 2020, WHAT ABOUT THE SENATE?

  • VOTERS WILL ASK, THESE ARE GREAT

  • IDEAS.

  • HOW CAN YOU GET IT DONE IN THIS

  • DIVIDED CONGRESS?

  • I THINK IT'S INTERESTING THAT

  • THEY'RE HAVING THIS DEBATE IN

  • MIAMI.

  • FLORIDA IS A VERY, VERY CRITICAL

  • STATE.

  • DONALD TRUMP JUST RELAUNCHED HIS

  • RE-ELECTION BID LAST WEEK IN

  • CENTRAL FLORIDA.

  • >> ALL EYES ON FLORIDA.

  • >> WHY?

  • THE LAST REPUBLICAN TO WIN THE

  • WHITE HOUSE WITHOUT FLORIDA WAS

  • CALVIN COOLIDGE IN 1924.

  • A REPUBLICAN CANNOT WIN THE

  • WHITE HOUSE, ARGUABLY SPEAKING,

  • WITHOUT FLORIDA.

  • I THINK DEMOCRATS RECOGNIZE

  • THIS.

  • THE IDEA IS IF YOU CAN TAKE

  • AWAY, A LITTLE BIT OF THE

  • SUPPORT, DONALD TRUMP WON THE

  • STATE BY 1.2%, THAT'S 100,000

  • VOTES, YOU COULD SEE A DEMOCRAT

  • WIN IN 2020.

  • >> I THINK THE FIRST PERSON TO

  • BRING UP PUERTO RICO IS PROBABLY

  • SOMEBODY WHO IS ACKNOWLEDGING

  • THAT DYNAMIC.

  • >> YOU WOULD AGREE WITH THAT?

  • >> I AGREE.

  • >> I WANT TO TALK ABOUT THE

  • LEADER OF TONIGHT'S PACK,

  • ELISABETH WARREN.

  • SHE IS POLLING AT ABOUT 13%.

  • IS IT GOING TO BE A DISADVANTAGE

  • TO NOT BE ON THE STAGE WITH JOE