Democratic debate briefly restarts without Clinton on stage

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Clinton Arrives Late to Stage After Break

Halfway through the New Hampshire debate broadcast on ABC, the three Democratic candidates took the customary brief break midway through the program to make use of the venue's restrooms -- an exercise that most would concede takes slightly longer for women than men.

But when the debate resumed, Hillary Clinton's podium stood empty.

Despite the absence of the Democratic frontrunner, ABC moderators pressed ahead with questions.

"We believe Secretary Clinton will be coming around the corner any minute," said moderator David Muir, launching into a query to Sen. Bernie Sanders about wage stagnation.

As Muir continued the question, Clinton strode out to assume her spot at the center on the stage. The audience applauded.

After a pause, Clinton shrugged.

"Sorry," she said, prompting laughs.

After a later pause in the action, Clinton was firmly installed behind her podium when ABC returned from commercial.

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12/19/2015: Third Democratic Debate
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Democratic debate briefly restarts without Clinton on stage
MANCHESTER, NH - DECEMBER 19: Democratic president candidate Bernie Sanders takes the stage at the democratic debate at Saint Anselm College December 19, 2015 in Manchester, New Hampshire. This is the third Democratic debate featuring Democratic candidates Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders and Martin O'Malley. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
Hillary Clinton, former Secretary of State and 2016 Democratic presidential candidate, waves as she arrives to the Democratic presidential candidate debate at Saint Anselm College in Manchester, New Hampshire, U.S., on Saturday, Dec. 19, 2015. A Democratic presidential campaign that has looked tame compared to the one being waged by Republicans appears to be taking a sharp turn for the nasty as the three candidates participate in their third debate. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images
US Democratic Presidential hopefuls (L-R) Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton and Martin O'Malley participate in the Democratic Presidential Debate hosted by ABC News at Saint Anselm College in Manchester, New Hampshire, on December 19, 2015. AFP PHOTO / JEWEL SAMAD / AFP / JEWEL SAMAD (Photo credit should read JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)
Bernie Sanders, left, Hillary Clinton, center, and Martin OâMalley, right, participate in a Democratic presidential primary debate Saturday, Dec. 19, 2015, at Saint Anselm College in Manchester, N.H. At the table are debate moderators Martha Raddatz, left, and David Muir, of ABC News. (AP Photo/Jim Cole)
Martin OâMalley, right, speaks alongside Bernie Sanders, left, and Hillary Clinton, center, during a Democratic presidential primary debate Saturday, Dec. 19, 2015, at Saint Anselm College in Manchester, N.H. (AP Photo/Jim Cole)
Bernie Sanders speaks during a Democratic presidential primary debate Saturday, Dec. 19, 2015, at Saint Anselm College in Manchester, N.H. (AP Photo/Jim Cole)
US Democratic Presidential hopefuls (L-R) Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton and Martin O'Malley participate in the Democratic Presidential Debate hosted by ABC News at Saint Anselm College in Manchester, New Hampshire, on December 19, 2015. AFP PHOTO / JEWEL SAMAD / AFP / JEWEL SAMAD (Photo credit should read JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)
Bernie Sanders, left, offers an apology to Hillary Clinton during a Democratic presidential primary debate Saturday, Dec. 19, 2015, at Saint Anselm College in Manchester, N.H. (AP Photo/Jim Cole)
Senator Bernie Sanders, an independent from Vermont and 2016 Democratic presidential candidate, arrives to the Democratic presidential candidate debate at Saint Anselm College in Manchester, New Hampshire, U.S., on Saturday, Dec. 19, 2015. A Democratic presidential campaign that has looked tame compared to the one being waged by Republicans appears to be taking a sharp turn for the nasty as the three candidates participate in their third debate. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images
US Democratic Presidential hopefuls (L-R) Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton and Martin O'Malley participate in the Democratic Presidential Debate hosted by ABC News at Saint Anselm College in Manchester, New Hampshire, on December 19, 2015. AFP PHOTO / JEWEL SAMAD / AFP / JEWEL SAMAD (Photo credit should read JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)
Senator Bernie Sanders, an independent from Vermont and 2016 Democratic presidential candidate, speaks during the Democratic presidential candidate debate at Saint Anselm College in Manchester, New Hampshire, U.S., on Saturday, Dec. 19, 2015. A Democratic presidential campaign that has looked tame compared to the one being waged by Republicans appears to be taking a sharp turn for the nasty as the three candidates participate in their third debate. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Hillary Clinton speaks during a Democratic presidential primary debate Saturday, Dec. 19, 2015, at Saint Anselm College in Manchester, N.H. (AP Photo/Jim Cole)
Hillary Clinton, former Secretary of State and 2016 Democratic presidential candidate, smiles after walking on stage following a break in the Democratic presidential candidate debate at Saint Anselm College in Manchester, New Hampshire, U.S., on Saturday, Dec. 19, 2015. A Democratic presidential campaign that has looked tame compared to the one being waged by Republicans appears to be taking a sharp turn for the nasty as the three candidates participate in their third debate. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Senator Bernie Sanders, an independent from Vermont and 2016 Democratic presidential candidate, left, and Hillary Clinton, former Secretary of State and 2016 Democratic presidential candidate, share a laugh during a break in the Democratic presidential candidate debate at Saint Anselm College in Manchester, New Hampshire, U.S., on Saturday, Dec. 19, 2015. A Democratic presidential campaign that has looked tame compared to the one being waged by Republicans appears to be taking a sharp turn for the nasty as the three candidates participate in their third debate. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Senator Bernie Sanders, an independent from Vermont and 2016 Democratic presidential candidate, left, and Hillary Clinton, former Secretary of State and 2016 Democratic presidential candidate, share a laugh during a break in the Democratic presidential candidate debate at Saint Anselm College in Manchester, New Hampshire, U.S., on Saturday, Dec. 19, 2015. A Democratic presidential campaign that has looked tame compared to the one being waged by Republicans appears to be taking a sharp turn for the nasty as the three candidates participate in their third debate. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images
MANCHESTER, NH - DECEMBER 19: Democratic president candidate Bernie Sanders waits as Hillary Clinton walks on stage at Saint Anselm College December 19, 2015 in Manchester, New Hampshire. This is the third Democratic debate featuring Democratic candidates Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders and Martin O'Malley. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
MANCHESTER, NH - DECEMBER 19: Democratic president candidate Bernie Sanders speaks at the debate at Saint Anselm College December 19, 2015 in Manchester, New Hampshire. This is the third Democratic debate featuring Democratic candidates Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders and Martin O'Malley. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
2016 Democratic presidential candidates Senator Bernie Sanders, an independent from Vermont, from left, Hillary Clinton, former Secretary of State, and Martin O'Malley, former governor of Maryland, participate in the Democratic presidential candidate debate at Saint Anselm College in Manchester, New Hampshire, U.S., on Saturday, Dec. 19, 2015. A Democratic presidential campaign that has looked tame compared to the one being waged by Republicans appears to be taking a sharp turn for the nasty as the three candidates participate in their third debate. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Martin O'Malley, former governor of Maryland and 2016 Democratic presidential candidate, speaks during the Democratic presidential candidate debate at Saint Anselm College in Manchester, New Hampshire, U.S., on Saturday, Dec. 19, 2015. A Democratic presidential campaign that has looked tame compared to the one being waged by Republicans appears to be taking a sharp turn for the nasty as the three candidates participate in their third debate. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Martin O'Malley, former governor of Maryland and 2016 Democratic presidential candidate, right, speaks as Hillary Clinton, former Secretary of State and 2016 Democratic presidential candidate, listens during the Democratic presidential candidate debate at Saint Anselm College in Manchester, New Hampshire, U.S., on Saturday, Dec. 19, 2015. A Democratic presidential campaign that has looked tame compared to the one being waged by Republicans appears to be taking a sharp turn for the nasty as the three candidates participate in their third debate. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images
US Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton smiles as she walks past fellow candidate Bernie Sanders during a break of the Democratic Presidential Debate hosted by ABC News at the Saint Anselm College in Manchester, New Hampshire, on December 19, 2015. AFP PHOTO/JEWEL SAMAD / AFP / JEWEL SAMAD (Photo credit should read JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)
Hillary Clinton speaks during a Democratic presidential primary debate Saturday, Dec. 19, 2015, at Saint Anselm College in Manchester, N.H. (AP Photo/Jim Cole)
Martin OâMalley speaks during a Democratic presidential primary debate Saturday, Dec. 19, 2015, at Saint Anselm College in Manchester, N.H. (AP Photo/Jim Cole)
Bernie Sanders speaks during a Democratic presidential primary debate Saturday, Dec. 19, 2015, at Saint Anselm College in Manchester, N.H. (AP Photo/Jim Cole)
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