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Google searches for Tulsi Gabbard’s name surged during the first debate of the 2020 Democratic primary — but the clear interest in the anti-war candidate was not reflected by moderators, who gave her noticeably little airtime.
A Washington Post tally of how much time each of the ten candidates were given to speak in Wednesday night’s debate showed Gabbard way down in 7th place. In contrast, the NBC News moderators repeatedly called on Elizabeth Warren, who has already received plentiful coverage across the media since launching her campaign.
Tweeting from Gabbard’s Twitter account, Gabbard’s sister blasted NBC during the debate for the discrepancy, saying it was “clear” that Warren was the favorite.
Despite the lack of interest shown by the moderators, however, searches for Gabbard’s name spiked on Google. The Google Trends social media account tweeted that she had become the most-searched for candidate during the two-hour-long debate.
Gabbard’s performance — when she did get a word in — was even noted by The View co-host Meghan McCain. Usually an ardent critic of Gabbard’s anti-interventionist foreign policy stances, McCain tweeted that the Hawaii congresswoman was coming across as “the most composed and authentic” candidate on the stage.
In the short time she was allotted, Gabbard also managed to deliver one of the stand-out moments of the night. The Iraq war veteran quickly corrected Ohio Congressman Tim Ryan when he suffered one of the greater gaffes of the evening, suggesting that the Taliban was responsible for the 9/11 attacks.