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How to watch the Democratic debate tonight in South Carolina

Top moments from South Carolina debate

Seven Democratic presidential candidates have qualified for tonight's debate in Charleston, South Carolina, hosted by CBS News. It's the last opportunity candidates will have to make their pitch on a national stage before Saturday's critical South Carolina primary election — and the last one before voters in 16 states and territories go to the polls on Super Tuesday, March 3.

"CBS Evening News" anchor and managing editor Norah O'Donnell and "CBS This Morning" co-host Gayle King will moderate the debate. They will be joined in questioning by "Face the Nation" moderator and senior foreign affairs correspondent Margaret Brennan, chief Washington correspondent Major Garrett, and "60 Minutes" correspondent Bill Whitaker.

CBS News released the first look of the debate stage on Tuesday morning and also announced the podium order, which was determined using a combination of polling averages and the current delegate count.

The stage for CBS News' Democratic debate is seen in Charleston, South Carolina.
The stage for CBS News' Democratic debate is seen in Charleston, South Carolina. Mary Kouw/CBS

How to watch the Democratic debate

Download the free CBS News app for complete coverage of the 2020 presidential race.

The Democratic candidates

The candidates who qualified for the debate will appear on-stage in the following order, from left to right, as viewed by the audience:

The format of the debate will allow candidates to answer direct questions for one minute and 15 seconds, with 45 seconds for rebuttals at the discretion of the moderators. There will be no opening or closing statements. All candidates will get a closing question.

CBS News is co-hosting the debate with the Congressional Black Caucus Institute in Charleston, South Carolina, beginning at 8 p.m. ET on CBS stations. The debate will be streamed live on CBSN, CBS News' free 24/7 streaming service, and appear in its entirety on BET, a subsidiary of ViacomCBS. Twitter is a debate partner, and voters can use the hashtag #DemDebate to submit questions that might be posed to the candidates.

CBS News and CBSN will air post-debate live coverage hosted by Elaine Quijano, anchor of CBSN's "Red & Blue," and political correspondent Ed O'Keefe beginning at 10 p.m., featuring live interviews with the candidates, surrogates and other newsmakers, plus in-depth analysis and reporting from the team of CBS News journalists and contributors in Charleston.

Under party rules, candidates can participate if they have won at least one pledged delegate after the first three contests or if they attract a certain level of support in polls. Seven of the eight remaining candidates have met either the delegate or polling threshold. 

CBS News polling going into the debate shows that majorities of the top candidates' supporters are likely to watch the debate tonight. Men and women alike are equally likely to watch, and black voters are a little more likely to say they're definitely watching tonight. 

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