Former Housing Secretary Julian Castro gained stature at Thursday night’s debate – thanks to a platform box adjoining the candidate’s podium.
The extra few inches allowed the 5’8″ former San Antonio mayor not to stand in the shadow of the significantly taller former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke, who was placed at the next podium in Houston.
Even so, rivals blasted Castro for delivering a low-blow against former Vice President Joe Biden that seemed to insinuate that the longtime politician’s age was catching up to him.
‘Are you forgetting already what you said just two minutes ago?’ Castro blasted the 76-year old frontrunner after he made a statement about his healthcare plan.
O’Rourke, 6’4″, accused Castro of ‘pettiness’ and ‘small-ball politics’ after the free-for-all.
TALL TALE: Former HUD Secretary Julian Castro used a platform box during Thursday night’s Democratic debate on ABC
A campaign source told DailyMail.com candidates were given the option of whether to use a podium box.
Just as it featured an ideological range of centrists running all the way to Democratic Socialist Bernie Sanders, the winnowed 10-candidate Democratic field showcased a range of heights – even with the towering 6’5″ New York City mayor Bill de Blasio benched for failing to meet a Party polling threshold.
There are reasons a candidate might seek a leg-up besides stature sensitivity. Americans have a long history of electing tall candidates as president, as 1988 nominee 5’8″ MIchael Dukakis can attest.
Notably, South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg – 5’9″ – elected to stand on his own two feet on the stage floor at the Texas Southern University’s Health and PE Center in Houston.
That didn’t prevent President Trump from lobbing his own haughty attack at Buttigieg’s expense, when he raised his hand up to chest-level during a speech to Republicans in Baltimore.
Castro delivered what rivals cast as a low blow against former Vice President Joe Biden
South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, who stands 5’9″, opted not to use a stool. Sen. Amy Klobuchar did use one. The pair flanked New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, a 6-foot-2 former Stanford football player
LEVEL PLAYING FIELD: Candidates were given the option to chose an elevated box behind their individual podium
South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg kept his feet firmly grounded on the floor, and opted not to use a box. However, President Trump tried to make fun of his comparatively lesser stature during a freewheeling speech in Baltimore
NUMBERS GAME: The candidates included a 6-foot-two former Stanford football player, a 5’9″ former Naval reserve officer, a 78-year old Democratic Socialist, and a 76-year old former vice president
Debate moderators (L-R) David Muir of ABC News, Jorge Ramos of Univision, Linsey Davis of ABC News, and George Stephanopoulos of ABC News appear on stage before the Democratic Presidential Debate at Texas Southern University’s Health and PE Center in Houston, Texas. Stephanopoulos nearly took umbrage at a line by Sen. Kamala Harris about that ‘small dude’ in the Wizard of Oz. She was referencing the title character of the book and film
Trump mocked Democratic candidate Pete Buttigieg’s height, saying he has had it ‘up to here’ with him – while pointing to his chest (left)
A wide-shot image shows the box that Castro used during the Houston debate
‘You think Buttigieg’s winning Texas?’ the president asked. ‘I have had him up to here.’
Height became and issue when California Sen. Kamala Harris (5’2″) was called out by ABC News moderator George Stephanopoulos after she mocked President Trump’s China trade war.
‘The bottom line is this: Donald Trump, in office on trade policy, you know, he reminds me of that guy in ‘The Wizard of Oz,’ you know? ‘When you pull back the curtain, it’s a really small dude?’ she said, getting a laugh and then drawing a prolonged pause.
‘Okay … I’m not even going to take the bait, Senator Harris,’ quipped the 5’5″ former Bill Clinton press secretary. ‘Oh George it wasn’t about you!’ Harris interjected, laughing awkwardly.
Harris, 5’2″, was most likely standing on a podium herself when she made the remark, although photos don’t answer the question definitively. Images at the event show her height on par with the taller Sen. Elizabeth Warren, 5’8″.