Beto O'Rourke

Updated at 6:10 p.m. ET

Former Texas Rep. Beto O'Rourke ended his presidential campaign on Friday after struggling to translate the energy from his 2018 Senate bid into a successful White House campaign.

"Our campaign has been about seeing clearly, speaking honestly and acting decisively in the best interests of America," O'Rourke wrote in a statement on Medium.

The fourth Democratic debate was a long one, about three hours, and ended after 11 p.m. ET.

You might not have made it through the whole thing, but there were some potentially consequential moments.

Here are six takeaways:

1. The scrutiny came for Warren, and her vulnerabilities were exposed some

Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts was under fire Tuesday night from several opponents, and when that happens to a candidate, you know they're a front-runner.

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Beto O'Rourke wants to ban and buy back assault-style weapons. Exactly how he would persuade others to get on board is unclear, and two undecided Texas voters recently pressed him on how he would build consensus for his plan and whether it would hold up in conservative courts.

A dozen candidates have qualified for the fourth Democratic presidential debate. They will appear together on one night, making the October faceoff the most crowded yet.

Former Democratic Texas Rep. Beto O'Rourke said he firmly supports the House impeachment inquiry of President Trump, calling it the "right course to pursue."

He also charged that Senate Republicans are complicit in allowing the president to engage in "willful lawbreaking."

A 24-year-old soldier in Kansas who allegedly planned to fight with a violent far-right group in Ukraine was charged Monday with distributing bomb-making information over social media, according to the Justice Department.

There was something different about the Democratic debate this week, compared with the earlier rounds this summer. Something was happening that was hard to pin down, but it was palpable. Not the contrast of night and day, but perhaps the difference between dusk and dawn.

It's a critical difference, and it comes at a crucial time. Because the Trump presidency these candidates are competing to truncate has reached what may be a critical juncture. But more of that in a moment.

Former Texas Rep. Beto O'Rourke gave a staunch defense of his gun control plan during Thursday's Democratic presidential primary debate, saying that as president, he would prioritize mandatory buybacks of assault-style weapons.

Quoting the candidate's past comment about selling back AR-15s and AK-47s, moderator David Muir asked O'Rourke: "Are you proposing taking away their guns? And how would this work?"

O'Rourke answered, "Hell, yes, we're going to take your AR-15, your AK-47."

Here's more of what he said:

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September's Democratic presidential debate has been narrowed to one night only, as more candidates have called it quits altogether.

There are now less than five months to go before the first votes are cast in the Democratic presidential nominating contest. So the spotlight is going to be even hotter on the 10 candidates who made the cut for Thursday's debate in Houston. (Follow NPR's live analysis here.)

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