The first question of the December debate for the Democratic presidential nomination was about the impeachment of President Trump. And it did not go as planned.
Judy Woodruff, longtime broadcast journalist and host of PBS NewsHour, turned from one candidate to the next: former vice president Joe Biden, then Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-Vt.), then Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), then Amy Klobachar (D-Minn.), then South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg, then billionaire philanthropist Tom Steyer.
Except she called Steyer, “Mr. Yang,” referring to businessman and Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang.
“Mr. Yang, what more—” Woodruff said, looking towards Steyer.
Then Yang spoke from the opposite side of the debate stage.
“I’m over here.”
Woodruff continued looking towards Steyer.
“Mr. Yang, what more—” she said.
Then Yang clapped five times, in quick succession. He raised a finger, then ― at least from a view of his back — appeared to let out an exasperated sigh.
Viewers were not impressed. It was rude, several people said, for Yang to clap so aggressively. Some wondered whether he would have treated a male moderator the same way.
Some questioned how this might affect the future of the Yang campaign.
When Woodruff realized her mistake, she apologized.
Steyer answered the question, followed by Yang.
Yang has previously expressed frustration that the news media has not given his candidacy the attention it deserves, particularly during the debates. He has received considerably less speaking time in previous debates than other candidates, prompting one of his campaign slogans: “We turn seconds into substance.”
Later on in the debate, another moderator, Politico political correspondent Tim Alberta, addressed Yang as “Senator.”