The issue briefly issue left debate moderators Rachel Maddow and Chuck Todd flummoxed and the politicians on stage bewildered and a bit bemused

By Adam Carlson
June 26, 2019 10:15 PM
From left: New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, Rep. Tim Ryan, former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro, Sen. Cory Booker, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, former Rep. Beto O'Rourke, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee and former Rep. John Delaney at the Democratic primary debate on Wednesday night in Miami.

On Wednesday night 10 leading Democratic politicians assembled in Miami for the first debate of the 2020 presidential primary — all of them vying to challenge President Donald Trump and all of them speaking passionately about their positions on health care, immigration, gun violence and other key issues.

All of that momentarily stopped, however, when an unexpected audio issue left debate moderators Rachel Maddow and Chuck Todd flummoxed and the politicians on stage bewildered and a bit bemused.

The issue arose just as the debate’s second hour, on NBC and affiliated platforms, began at 10 p.m.

It seemed to create a confusing second layer of sound in the room where the debate was being broadcast. Todd said live that it appeared to be the result of the microphones being left on for the moderators from the debate’s first hour. (The mysterious sound was somewhat unintelligible.)

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Todd was partway through the first question of the debate’s second hour when he stopped himself and announced to the room that there was an issue.

He and Maddow called out for the control room to turn off the microphones that were picking up audio elsewhere, but the issue persisted.

Todd again tried to ask his question, about gun violence in schools, but it seemed the candidates on stage could not make out everything that was being said.

Some of them chuckled at the unexpected snafu.

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Todd and Maddow, too, took the problem in stride and again asked for the control room to turn off the errant microphones, wherever they were.

“We prepared for everything,” Maddow said. “We did not prepare for this.”

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Todd then threw to a commercial break, telling the audience they would resolve the issue in the meantime, and when the debate resumed he was right.

“We believe we have the technical difficulties fixed,” he said.

Maddow quickly responded: “Never say that!”