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Clinton's Long Bathroom Break At The Debate Explained

After a commercial break during the Democratic debate at St. Anselm College in New Hampshire on Dec. 19, Hillary Clinton returned to the stage slightly later than her two rivals, and then said "sorry" in a humorous, deadpan tone.

Clinton was reportedly late returning from the ladies' restroom, which was significantly further away from the debate stage than the mens' room. The New York Times reports that Clinton Campaign Vice-Chairwoman Huma Abedin timed the distance to and from the podium, which was a whole 1 minute and 45 seconds in each direction.

But there was something else which also may have delayed Clinton. The Boston Globe reports that the presumed Democratic front-runner lost the race to the restroom during the commercial break to former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley's campaign manager, Lis Smith. The restroom had multiple stalls, but Clinton reportedly refused to use the facility while Smith was inside.

A spokesman for the Clinton campaign declined to comment, although he did say there was no security reason that would have prevented Clinton from using the bathroom at the same time as Smith. The Boston Globe reports that her campaign posted a staffer outside of the restroom, presumably to avoid situations like this one.

The Daily Mail points out that in addition to being an O'Malley campaign staffer, Smith currently dates former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer, who was forced to resign from his post in 2008 after it was discovered that he had spent thousands of dollars on prostitutes.

This is not the first time Hillary Clinton has made media waves for being late returning from the bathroom during a debate. During October's Democratic debate in Las Vegas, she said "you know, it does take me a little longer" when asked about it.

Sources: The Boston Globe, The New York TimesDaily Mail / Photo credit: Daily Mail

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