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Democratic Candidates Spend Debate Night Posting Reactions, Raking In Cash


All right, NPR's Tamara Keith spent last night's debate night at Hillary Clinton's campaign headquarters.

TAMARA KEITH, BYLINE: The Clinton campaign debate-watch war room was actually just a conference room with a big-screen TV at the front, and 15 or so staffers huddled over their laptops ready to pounce. Just before the festivities began, campaign manager Robby Mook rallied the troops.


ROBBY MOOK: How's everybody doing?


KEITH: He told the campaign staff and assembled reporters what he expected from the debate.


MOOK: They're probably going to say some things about Hillary Clinton that are not true, as well, so our fact checkers - let's give it up for our research team.


KEITH: The first fact check was tweeted out just 13 minutes into the debate in response to this from Florida Senator Marco Rubio.


MARCO RUBIO: If this election is a resume competition, then Hillary Clinton's going to be the next president.

KEITH: When he said it, cheers went up in Clinton HQ, and the campaign tweeted that it rated Rubio's statement true. During the debate, reporters were kept in a press filing room decorated with giant posters displaying quotes from Republican candidates heaping praise on Clinton. Out in the headquarters' maze of cubicles, staffers were busy making graphics and gifts, highlighting quotes from the debate. The tweets came every few minutes, and during commercial breaks, Mook offered instant spin to reporters.


MOOK: I think they're digging the hole deeper.

KEITH: But his attention quickly turned back to the TV.

MOOK: Don't get between me and Donald.

KEITH: Trump, that is. At one point, Trump said Clinton accepted an invitation to his wedding only because he gave a lot of money to the Clinton Foundation, so she had to come. Clinton campaign communications director Jen Palmieri said that wasn't it. They were acquaintances.


JEN PALMIERI: It hurt her feelings, I'm sure, to hear him suggest that he didn't actually want her there for her company.

KEITH: Meanwhile, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders watched from Washington, D.C. His spokesman says they splurged and got pizzas. Sanders tweeted throughout the debate, though it was actually a staffer sitting next to him on a tan leather couch typing up the senator's thoughts. In the end, Sanders complained that no one talked about income inequality or climate change. Hillary Clinton wasn't at her campaign headquarters. She was in California at a fundraiser. Two hundred and fifty people attended, raising more than $600,000 in an hour and a half. Kim Kardashian was also there and tweeted a selfie with Clinton. Tamara Keith, NPR News, Brooklyn, N.Y. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Tamara Keith has been a White House correspondent for NPR since 2014 and co-hosts the NPR Politics Podcast, the top political news podcast in America. Keith has chronicled the Trump administration from day one, putting this unorthodox presidency in context for NPR listeners, from early morning tweets to executive orders and investigations. She covered the final two years of the Obama presidency, and during the 2016 presidential campaign she was assigned to cover Hillary Clinton. In 2018, Keith was elected to serve on the board of the White House Correspondents' Association.