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The 2016 presidential race is shaping out to be harder to predict by the day, even as Democratic Party front-runner Hilary Clinton is predicted by a number of analysts to win the nomination. In the crowded Republican Party candidacy field, the poll numbers tell one story but the Thursday’s face-to-face debate told another.

The GOP debate took place at the Quicken Loans sports arena in Cleveland, with Fox News hosts Bret Baier, Megyn Kelly and Chris Wallace serving as moderators. As has been discussed and dissected since the announcement of tonight’s debate, Fox News selected which candidates would appear during the prime time portion of the debate with the remaining pool relegated to an earlier time. The selections and placement were placed on poll numbers.

Former senator Rick Santorum, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, Senator Lindsey Graham, former New York Governor George Pataki, and former Virginia Governor Jim Gilmore were all featured on the debate’s undercard event. The earlier debate took places hours before the 9 p.m. ET main event but was not without its own key moments.

According to the chatter on social media, Fioriana was the clear-cut winner of the early showing. Nate Silver of tweeted that Google searches for Fioriana peaked during the debate and far ahead of her fellow debaters, So significant was Fioriana’s showing that Fox News viewers  gave her an 82 percent showing, leaving her contemporaries far behind.

However, it was the main event most tuned in for and it didn’t disappoint.

Business mogul Donald Trump, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, surgeon Ben Carson, Senator Ted Cruz, Senator Marco Rubio, Senator Rand Paul, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and Ohio Governor John Kasich all took their moment to shine and make good on their poll numbers and status at the top of the GOP heap.

Naturally, the debate was geared up to morph into the Donald Trump Show and he was more than happy to oblige. At every turn, Trump did his best derail and deflect every question. Using his usual plain-speaking and brisk tone, Trump was unapologetic for his statements against immigrants, women, and his detractors and even threw a vicious shot in the direction of Rosie O’Donnell to boot.

However, while Trump might have excited viewers and onlookers with his brash tactics, the other candidates more than held their own.

Huckabee, Paul, and Christie, all seasoned debaters and politicians, handled tough questions with ease. Even when things got testy, as it did with Christie and Paul, their expertise on matters proved to be what saved them. Issues concerning immigration, job growth, foreign policy, and the size of government.

If there was a clear loser in tonight’s debate, it was Carson, who was routinely ignored by the moderators and even made mention of that fact during the debate. That isn’t to say Carson didn’t make some valid points, but he was never comfortable in appearance.

Bush was equally tepid in some of his answers, and he too deflected and tried to separate himself from his family’s legacy. Rubio, Cruz and Walker were in fully rehearsed politician mode and never showed much range in their emotions until their closing statements.

As it stands, Trump could still easily command the polls but Huckabee, Paul and even Kasich showed they’re more than game to take on the businessman’s antics. Christie was also strong at points but not as memorable as the aforementioned surprisingly enough.



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GOP Debate: Candidates Both Shine & Stumble In First Face-Off  was originally published on

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