Democratic candidates warned not to swear during 3rd debate in Houston

Maureen Groppe, USA TODAY

WASHINGTON -- The candidates have been warned. Or maybe begged.

ABC, which is hosting Thursday night’s Democratic debate, would really appreciate it if the Democrats can keep from swearing during the three-hour event.

It’s not that the network doesn’t appreciate passion and authenticity. But ABC is governed by Federal Communications Commission's indecency rules. And because there will be no delay on broadcasting the live event, ABC will not be able to edit out foul language, the network told the candidates.

They may be particularly concerned about former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke, who has been dropping the F-bomb to express his anger about gun violence. His campaign is even selling T-shirts with the expression he’s used.

Asked Saturday if he would swear on the debate stage, O’Rourke had a five-letter response: Maybe.

During the first debate in June, entrepreneur Andrew Yang said the Russians are laughing their (behinds) off at the United States as they try to manipulate the elections.

New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker used the S-word during the last debate in July. But he was repeating President Donald Trump’s reported description of countries from which he did not want to accept immigrants.

Booker has also sworn on social media, such as when he tweeted in June a defense of fellow competitor Kamala Harris’ heritage, saying she doesn’t have “sh—t” to prove.

When a follower questioned whether someone else had taken over Booker’s account, he responded: “Oh, this is definitely me.”

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Democratic debate: Candidates told by ABC not to swear on live TV