Why Clinton's Bathroom Break Took So Long

It was a lot easier for O'Malley, Sanders
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 21, 2015 2:46 AM CST
Updated Dec 21, 2015 4:00 AM CST
Why Clinton's Bathroom Break Took So Long
Hillary Clinton, left, Martin O'Malley, center, and Bernie Sanders leave the stage for a break during the Democratic presidential primary debate on Saturday.   (AP Photo/Jim Cole)

Time for Ally McBeal-style unisex bathrooms at presidential debates? Hillary Clinton was briefly missing after Saturday night's Democratic debate returned from a commercial break, and the reason was bathroom inequality, according to the New York Times. Clinton had to walk one minute and 45 seconds each way to the bathroom during the five-minute break, while Bernie Sanders and Martin O'Malley had a much shorter journey to the men's room at the St. Anselm College gymnasium, reports the Times, which notes that Clinton aides timed the journey ahead of the debate and told organizers they were concerned about it.

The Boston Globe, however, has a different explanation. Sources tell the Globe that Lis Smith, O'Malley's deputy campaign manager, was already in the bathroom when Clinton arrived, forcing the candidate to wait, though there was more than one stall, so it isn't clear why they couldn't share the bathroom. Glenn Thrush at Politico—who calls the policy-focused debate a "narcoleptic's dream"—says the longer-than-expected break highlighted Clinton's dominant position in the Democratic race, since her empty podium "upstaged the two men who soldiered on unsuccessfully as the audience focused more on her blaring absence than their uttered eloquences." (During the debate, Clinton made a striking accusation against Donald Trump.)

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