Tulsi Gabbard, who was seen opposing gay marriage in video, says she 'no longer holds those views today'
A poll also found that almost 40 percent of the viewers named Gabbard the winner of the debate, placing Senator Elizabeth Warren in second place at 12 percent
As multiple Democratic heavyweights doled out their opinions on a variety of issues, it was the quiet, soft-spoken congresswoman from Hawaii who stood out for the netizens the most, becoming the most-searched candidate on Google during the Wednesday night's debate, according to Google Trends.
Tulsi Gabbard, 38, who had not been making national news over the past few months and was in the tenth place in the polling average of the Democratic nomination race charted by RealClearPolitics, came out as the winner of a popular online poll after the debate.
Although the congresswoman spoke for only 6.6 minutes during the debate, it was enough to get her the voters' attention.
Almost 40 percent of the respondent of a poll conducted by The Drudge Report named Gabbard the winner of the debate, placing Senator Elizabeth Warren in second place at 12 percent.
The voters' search for more details on the Hawaiian congresswoman could just be a reflection of her little-known status, but it did suggest that they were curious to learn more about the candidate.
Gabbard, a military veteran, who announced her 2020 presidential candidacy in January, was considered as an underdog candidate in a crowded field of 20 Democratic contenders.
Her campaign got off to a rough start as she struggled with making a decision to run.
She also had to deal with multiple controversies before her candidacy announcement, including a video of her showing her opposition to gay marriage in the late 1990s and her controversial meeting with Syrian President Bashar al-Asad.
The congresswoman's father, Mike Gabbard, is a prominent anti-gay activist in Hawaii.
Gabbard had met with Assad in January 2017 during a trip to Syria and Lebanon. Assad has since been indicted for war crimes.
"My reason for going to visit Syria was really because of the suffering of the Syrian people that has been weighing heavily on my heart," Gabbard at the time had said. "Whatever you think about President Assad, the fact is that he is the president of Syria. In order for any possibility of a viable peace agreement to occur, there has to be a conversation with him," the Daily Mail reported.
The congresswoman later said that she had met Assad in pursuit of peace, and in 2019, added that he was not a threat to the United States.
Gabbard joined the Army National Guard after the September 11th attacks and served time in Iraq. She continues to be a member of the reserves and serves a major there.
"Assad is not the enemy of the United States because Syria does not pose a direct threat to the United States," Gabbard said.
The Hawaiian congresswoman, during a CNN town hall in March, had refused to say whether Assad was a war criminal or not: "I think that the evidence needs to be gathered, and as I have said before, if there is evidence that he has committed war crimes, he should be prosecuted as such," she said.
Gabbard, on Wednesday night, however, clarified her updated views on the LGBTQ rights and marriage, saying: "Let me say that there is no one in our government at any level who has the right to tell any American who they should be allowed to love or who they should be allowed to marry. Maybe many people in this country can relate to the fact that I grew up in a socially conservative home, held views when I was very young that I no longer hold today."