Live Blog: NBC Democratic Presidential Debate

By Mark Joyella 

It’s a Sunday night mid-way through a holiday weekend, and naturally that means we’ve gathered to watch another Democratic presidential debate. This time, we’re in Charleston, S.C., for the NBC News-YouTube debate, hosted by the Congressional Black Caucus Institute.

The moderators are NBC Nightly News anchor Lester Holt and NBC News correspondent and MSNBC host Andrea Mitchell.

The candidates are Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders and Martin O’Malley, and as NBC News describes the stakes: “the fourth Democratic debate, which is also the first one of 2016 and the last one before voters finally weigh in, is shaping up to be the most heated and consequential face off yet.”

Well, we’ll see, won’t we?

But first, how about a 360 degree look at the debate stage?

9:15 p.m. ET: Lester Holt Holding Firm Asking Sen. Sanders a question about guns, Holt made a statement that he would not allow candidates to avoid questions tonight. Holt interrupted to direct Sanders back to the question he asked.

9:19 p.m. ET: A Question from YouTube The debate includes edited questions from YouTube “influencers,” but the first goes to Sanders, who doesn’t hear the question. Holt quickly reads a transcript of the question.

Holt is also holding the candidates to their time limits, even denying O’Malley a request to comment before a commercial break. “Just ten seconds,” O’Malley requested. Denied:

9:44 p.m. ET: Sanders Is Losing His Voice The intensity of the debate has left Sen. Sanders with a voice that is wavering. Will it last?

10:05 p.m. ET: The Debate Is Over Wait. What? Oh, not the debate, but the debate over climate change. Sen. Sanders says “the debate is over. Climate change is real… (Republicans) don’t have the decency, the courage to listen to the scientists.”

10:15 p.m. ET: Half Time A break in the debate includes a half-time chat between Chuck Todd, Holt and Mitchell. We are told several times that foreign policy would be coming up after the break.

10:23 p.m. ET: I’m Not Moderating This Debate Despite Martin O’Malley’s repeated attempts to get into the discussion by interjecting “Andrea,” it seems some viewers aren’t clear who is on stage–and who isn’t:

10:38 p.m. ET: Can I Get 30 Seconds? Returning from a break, Holt allows Clinton to comment on a question from before the commercial. O’Malley attempts–with a child-like grin–to get 30 seconds of his own:

10:54 p.m. ET: We’re Done Unlike previous debates, NBC decides to wrap up early, sending the show back to Chuck Todd six minutes before the top of the hour.