The Democratic presidential debate was moderated by four women Wednesday night for the third time in U.S. history ― drawing praise from viewers who also noted that women made up the majority of the debate stage.
The debate in Atlanta, co-hosted by MSNBC and The Washington Post, was moderated by four journalists: Rachel Maddow and Andrea Mitchell of MSNBC, Washington Post White House reporter Ashley Parker, and NBC White House correspondent Kristen Welker.
Viewers applauded the historic all-female panel ― which was preceded twice, in 2016, when Gwen Ifill and Judy Woodruff moderated a Democratic debate and Trish Regan and Sandra Smith moderated a Republican presidential debate.
Of the 10 candidates on stage, four were women ― Sens. Kamala Harris (Calif.), Amy Klobuchar (Minn.) and Elizabeth Warren (Mass.), and Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (Hawaii).
It’s the first time in history that women are the majority of the debate stage!— Adrienne Watson (@Adrienne_DNC) November 21, 2019
8 women — 4 moderators and 4 candidates — and 6 men. https://t.co/tCycpXpBkg
Some Twitter users celebrated the questions asked by the moderators during this debate, highlighting how issues previously neglected ― such as paid family leave plans, child care, abortion legislation and housing ― were being brought up by the panel.
Female moderators = more questions to the rights and burdens of women.— Clara Jeffery (@ClaraJeffery) November 21, 2019
Paid family leave was just brought up at the #DemDebate for the first time.— Jennifer Wexton (@JenniferWexton) November 21, 2019
I don't think it's a coincidence that this is also the first debate we've had with all female moderators.
More 👏 of 👏 this!
Finally, an abortion question, yay! Thank you female moderators!— Joan Walsh (@joanwalsh) November 21, 2019
Four women moderators asking great questions. Three women candidates kicking ass on stage (not you, Tulsi). The future is female. #DemDebate— Dr. Melissa R Michelson (@profmichelson) November 21, 2019
Moderators are doing a good job of asking questions that have been ignored in previous debates.— Jeff Hauser (@jeffhauser) November 21, 2019
But why is climate change never an Hour 1 topic?????
Elect more women. Have more women as moderators. Make sure more women are at the table...wherever the table is. https://t.co/j1v1qzu4Po— Christina Reynolds (@creynoldsnc) November 21, 2019
During a debate with four women moderators, a follow up on paid family leave comparing Harris and Klobuchar plans. Noteworthy.— Adrian Carrasquillo (@Carrasquillo) November 21, 2019
Four female moderators asking two female presidential candidates to debate their paid family leave plans is real progress.— Laura Bassett (@LEBassett) November 21, 2019
Child care and paid family leave.— Amy Weinstock (@alweinstock) November 21, 2019
The kind of topics that keep families up at night.
Also the kind of topics that you get when you finally get a team of all female moderators.
Child care and paid family leave FINALLY in the #DemDebate. Let’s hear it for women moderators who understand how critical this issue is!— Katie Sherman (@LaughSoIDontCry) November 21, 2019
When all the moderators are women, issues that affect women get more attention.— Michelangelo Signorile (@MSignorile) November 21, 2019
Funny how that works.
We’re also not seeing a CNN wrestling match debate, with moderators creating staged fights for candidates.#DemDebate
The panel was also cheered for its discipline and diplomacy, and for keeping the peace between candidates.
The moderators are running a remarkably disciplined debate, and it's apparent that the candidates have figured out how to share the stage with one another, too.— ErikWemple (@ErikWemple) November 21, 2019
The moderators are doing a good job of varying the topic compared to the Groundhog Days that came before.— Irin Carmon (@irin) November 21, 2019
The moderators did, however, draw criticism for some questions, particularly when Maddow asked Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) whether he thought it appropriate that crowds at his rallies chanted “Lock him up” in regards to President Donald Trump.
this is incredible. they're literally trying to use some randos silly outraged tweet about Bernie's crowd chanting "lock him up" re: Trump against him on a nationally televised debate. what a stupid question. #DemDebate— Matt Binder (@MattBinder) November 21, 2019
Others felt that the moderators neglected some candidates and favored others.
Andrea Mitchell, to Warren: “Do you need to bring the country together to achieve your goals?” I’m sorry, but these are lousy questions.— Jim Geraghty (@jimgeraghty) November 21, 2019
The job of debate moderators should be to give every candidate a fair and equal chance to be heard.— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) November 21, 2019
That's, of course, exactly the opposite of what MSNBC is doing, which is everything except surprising.
Also: challenge them on their vulnerabilities but that's asking too much.
Moderators are worse than last time. They're not only ignoring Bernie but the questions are somehow WORSE than last time. #DemDebate— The Humanist Report🌹 (@HumanistReport) November 21, 2019
This article originally appeared on HuffPost.