DETROIT (AP) — Democrat Tim Ryan says he didn't put his hand over his heart when the national anthem was played at the presidential debate because of "absent-mindedness," not as a sign of protest.

The Ohio congressman was the only one of the 10 candidates at the Detroit debate not to place a hand over their heart during "The Star-Spangled Banner" Tuesday night.

Ryan stood with his hands clasped in front.

Critics called Ryan out on social media, saying he was disrespectful and questioning whether it was a protest similar to former NFL player Colin Kaepernick's kneeling during the anthem.

Ryan's campaign says in a statement he wasn't protesting and "didn't mean to make any statement."

The campaign calls it "a moment of absent-mindedness while on a debate stage that won't happen again."

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