Countdown is on for the third Democratic presidential debate

Ten candidates are set to take the stage for ABC News’ Democratic debate in Houston, Texas, in the high-stakes face-off.
8:37 | 09/12/19

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Transcript for Countdown is on for the third Democratic presidential debate
Hello everyone and welcome to a special edition of the and we're here with our powerhouse political team breaking down how the candidates are ramping up for tonight's high stakes debate we're live from inside. The debate all. In Houston right now I'm so excited I'm Kimberly rust and I'm here where Devin Dwyer it's so good to see your neighbor again on your show Kimberly her reasons I feel like if anyone loves politics this is where you need to be tonight. The whole political universe has can and has descended on Houston Texas today it's pretty wild people are. Excited in the streets or we've been talking to voters a lot of interest in this debate this is. Are traditionally a Republican bastion. But tonight it's a democratic spotlight on the state of Texas and I know that you're excited to be here as well a lot of apple and watching these ten candidates. Absolutely we're getting fancier you can't concede this that behind us it's beautiful so DeVon you've been here for a couple days I just wanted to tell everyone. Everything that went end to making this happen. This is this is incredible. Beautiful set Kimberly when you came in I know you are sort of awestruck by to assist us. Actually 35 trailer truckloads of equipment look at this time lapse video of how they transformed. The Texas Southern University. Arena here over a number of days 151000. Man hours of labor by. Construction crews and streets stagehands went into putting this altogether there's a 1151000. Pounds of hanging. Equipment look at those Tra Alice's. Up above the seats there and right behind me you can see. A lot of empty seats right now this is 3500. Empty chairs going to be a lot of guests here from the community but also of course from the candidates as well. Absolutely and I think it's gonna be so cool for the students who go to this university Texas Southern University to comment. In cedar university transformed in this way. There really special moments. Four Texas Southern University the first debate historically black college or university campus. A Texas southern founded in 1949. The students are proud of their school but also as proud of the fact that HBC use are getting a look tonight. Absolutely so what I want to do is bring in our deputy political director Mary Alice parks because she's gonna bring down. What is happening on this stage tonight so Mary Alice at the what I think. I'm never let you guys I'm failing all of the loved. As the Mary Alice. Right behind us ten stages they can podiums set by the states tonight. Absolutely everything's bigger in Texas yes it still bigger here in Houston Tim you know these campaigns no they have to sort of reset. After Labor Day flight three and half months old voting begins. And donors are. Keying in a different way now that it's the fall and now that it's just one night of debating ten candidates and that's at one stage one night so we're excited to really. Turnout lease in the campaign in some way. Now we're going to be looking for how these candidates tangle. On these top issues we talk about a week. The fact that Joseph Biden is next to Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders the first time that science is the middle of that warrant and their flanked by these. To progress says. Really that ideological divide front and center on the stage. I'm also really going to be looking closely at the two Texans in the race Texas feels like. It's at the center at every key issue you know are only six weeks since that horrific domestic terrorist attack in El Paso. But also climate change health care education like you're talking still recovered from hurricane Harvey here lot of talk about the impact and stored exactly what just as exciting to be in Texas and those two Texans on the stage are gonna China need get personal. And there's going to be summoned winks that will be following in a whole new way they know they need a breakout moment Indy Klobuchar has concerns Daryn and false. But she's a tough competitor insulin electing senators like her. What I want to know about is the people who aren't on the stage because there's still some candidates out there that are gonna make it here tonight. Moderates right on the stage is is a lot of left leaning in this field you're exactly right there are senators governors who have dropped out in the last few weeks because they didn't qualify. It would be talking a lot about business than entry yanked he qualified even though so many of these sitting politicians. Didn't miss me a lot of pressure on these candidates that didn't make it to this debate. Two may be bow out in the next few weeks. But there's another debate coming up in October where the complications of the saint so they start to be like they're getting close to call by the fact October debate. Well they might just stick it. OK so before you go I just want to ask you guys what is this moment mean for you because you guys are deep into the pop champagne. So this is like the Super Bowl games and bowling. So exciting especially in a race like this one that has had such a sprawling field it's been a busy some are so many candidates in a lot of the details on policy get lost. This feels like a pivotal moment a turning point in this race when the fuel this. Obviously much smaller we're starting to voters as Mary also turning to tune in now again after the summer. And we'll have to see if this changes aimed at the broad the polling on this race has also been very static we've seen Joseph Biden at the top so we'll see if tonight. This shakes things up. I personally. I personally believe nice to be like outside and then buried in conference rooms working on some of those questions thinking this all through. We put hours and weeks and weeks and research and thinking into making sure that it is substantive conversation. At the golf. And cycle that plays out that way tonight. Awesome well we're gonna carry on we have a Chris did not know who's in the spin room. Where the candidates will go after they leave the debate stage so Chris you're with us right now good to see you what's happening where you are. Pay Kimberly how Mario so once the candidates are done on states in the great hall they'll make their way here to the spin room you can see. Celebs do right now. But did come closer to the debate it'll be filled with journalists there over 500 seats for journalists to come watch the debate. Right there articles write their stories do their own fast tracking and then after the debate finishes the candidates will make their way here and com spend talk about their positions to defend their. They're statements from the debate hall. And still does face a big scrum of media when they got here. And in Chris it we know you're going to be part of that crowd in their tell us what it's like. As a political reporter to cover an event like this into going to the spin room chase down the candidates. This is that this is a big deal for all those political journalists. And trying to make some news. All its. It's a great time he has seen it. It looks like a big room but when you have. Do you 500 plus journalists in hairy when you have. You know 234. Maybe even ten candidates in here at a time it gets very crowded so you have. Layers of people just trying to get access to the candidates and candidates trench respond and defend all their. All their statements and it's just a great time to be in here it's a great way to. Interact with candidates and have access to candidates and ask them questions. That. You're interested in that maybe they didn't gets him tossed about while on the debate stage were even. Maybe giving him to talk about enough on the Bates and so it's a great to be a political journalists it's great to be in the spin Herman in Iraq at the. Economists say Chris we know you're you're you're track and how they're preparing as well give us give us a flavor. How these guys are getting ready for the big night tonight. Each candidate has thrown way of preparing now whether it's doing mock debates and a hotel conference room in meeting with advisors to go over their policies. Or. Some of our colleagues for with Andrew Yang yesterday when he was playing basketball. That's his way of warming up he posted on Twitter showing him playing basketball was showing him boxing showing him. Really doing a full workout and he said he compares the the debris halts you've been really a wrestling match. We saw them. Congressman got all Rourke. Playing the drums and listen. Jamming out on the drums and loosening up that way and we've seen other candidates would hit the campaign trail last couple days that's their way of preparing so each person has their own way to make sure their ready for tonight. I ranked Krista not a right there in the spin room so cool to see how everyone's prepping because this really is the mental and physical. Activity what you think you play the drums to prep for this show and doing well are you doing this morning over there. Lips sleeping. You know those I hate.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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