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Inslee shrugs off criticism about state patrol security, travel schedule after Democratic debate

"My goal is to replace Donald Trump with a leader who is in touch with the can do view of America."

Washington Governor Jay Inslee put a positive spin on his first debate for the Democratic Presidential nomination, while also noting he would've liked more time.

In an exclusive interview with KING 5 in Miami, Inslee said his performance was "efficient" and that he got a "bigger punch per word" than the other nine candidates on the stage.  

The website fivethirtyeight.com noted that Inslee spoke the least of any candidate, and was only called on a handful of times by the debate moderators.

Inslee was careful not to criticize the format, which in theory, called for candidates to limit answers to 60 seconds, with only 30 second rebuttals.  The format seemed to work for the first quarter of the debate, but later devolved, with candidates interrupting each other.

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"Well, the moderators... we need to understand the rules. The moderators need to enforce the rules a little bit," said Inslee on Thursday, who clearly came into the debate looking to expound on his signature issue: Climate Change. 

However, he was not asked a question about it until roughly 80 minutes in.

All the while, he's facing criticism in Washington State for taking part in such a campaign, which no Washington politician has attempted since Henry "Scoop" Jackson in 1976.  

"The proof is in the pudding," Inslee said. "We had a very successful several months in our state. I stay in touch on an hourly basis. Yesterday, I had a conversation about the Viaduct, the day before an issue at the DOC.  This is an hourly thing with me. We have cell phones and they work very effectively."  

Inslee has also been criticized for using taxpayer funds for State Patrol security while on the road. 

"The issue with State Patrol, we're following the law, I said we're going to follow the law and I think that's a good thing to do."

However, one moment from Wednesday's debate set Inslee apart from his fellow candidates. 

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Moderator Chuck Todd asked about the biggest geopolitical threat to America, and Inslee did not choose his signature issue, like a few of other other candidates.  

Instead of answering with an expected "climate change," he said "President Trump," which earned one of the biggest reactions of the night. 

"I believe that was the right answer, and so did the crowd," said Inslee, "I think that was the biggest applause line of the night."

The Governor qualified for this debate because he had polled at 1% among voters, and has 65,000 individual donors, per the Democratic National Committee guidelines.

It means, barring a surprise, he'll also be part of a similar debate in Detroit in July. 

After that, the road becomes harder.  The qualifications double, and Inslee has made no secret he'll need 130,000 donors to keep the campaign moving. 

Inslee is off to Iowa on Friday for an event that he says already has 150 people expected.

When asked what his barometer of success may be, Inslee replied, "My goal is to replace Donald Trump with a leader who is in touch with the can do view of America."

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