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Gaffes, zingers, drinking game: Bipartisan operatives weigh in on first GOP debate




Republican presidential candidates arrive on stage for the Republican presidential debate on August 6, 2015 at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio.
Republican presidential candidates arrive on stage for the Republican presidential debate on August 6, 2015 at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio.
MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images

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Early numbers suggest last night’s Republican debate wasn’t only the most-watched primary debate in history, but might have even garnered twice as large an audience as the record it broke.

And by most accounts, the debate did not disappoint. Despite promises to tone down his provocative rhetoric, Donald Trump showed up in true form, refusing to pledge he wouldn’t run as a third party candidate should he lose the Republican nomination, and shooting barbs back at debate moderator Megyn Kelly.

Former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, who had been jettisoned to the so-called “happy Hour” debate, made a primetime appearance and GOP insiders were overall impressed with Ohio governor John Kasich, Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio, but public opinion was all over the place.

Who do you think came out on top? What did you think of the debate?

Guests:

Matt Rodriguez, Democratic strategist, Rodriguez Strategies; former senior Obama adviser in 2008. He tweets @RodStrategies

Robert G. de Posada, President of ONE Marketing & Research Inc., a public relations and communications firm in D.C. He is the founder of  the nonprofit, The Latino Coalition, and had served on the National Commission to Save and Strengthen Social Security under George W. Bush. He tweets @rdeposada