Live Blog: After Awkward Start, Fireworks at First GOP Debate

By Chris Ariens 

The first GOP debate of the 2016 cycle started at 9 p.m. ET, but Fox News began its coverage at 8:50 p.m., creating some delays, false starts and all around awkwardness, including an introduction and then re-introduction of the candidates. “That was awkward enough,” said Baier as the candidates made their way to the podiums before the 9pm start.

After a quick explanation of the rules, (and the revelation that the Cavaliers shot-clock buzzer would not be used after all) Baier dove in with his first question which was red meat for the GOP crowd at Quicken Loans Arena: “Is there anyone on stage who is unwilling tonight to pledge your support to the eventual nominee of the republican party and pledge to not run an independent campaign against that person?”

Donald Trump was the only one to raise his hand.


“I can totally make the pledge if I’m the nominee,” said Trump. “We want to win and we will win. But I want to win as the Republican.”

Rand Paul then jumped in, “This is what’s wrong. He buys and sells politicians of all stripes.”

9:09: Megan Kelly asks: “Mr. Trump, one of the things people love about you is you speak your mind and you don’t use a politician’s filter. However that is not without its downsides, in particular when it comes to women. You’ve called women you don’t like fat pigs, dogs, slobs and disgusting animals…

“Only Rosie O’Donnell,” Trump interrupted, to cheers from the crowd.

For her part, O’Donnell is not watching the GOP debate. She’s got other plans.

9:25: Trump blames media for twisting his illegal immigration words. “They’re a very dishonest lot, generally speaking in the world of politics, they didn’t cover my statement the way I said it.”

ChristiePaul9:38: Chris Christie and Rand Paul go at it over NSA data collection. Paul to Christie: “I know you gave [Pres. Obama] a big hug and if you want to give him a big hug again, go right ahead.

Christie: “You know, Sen. Paul, the hugs that I remember are the hugs that I gave to the families who lost their people on September 11th.”

9:44: Dr. Ben Carson: “Thank you Megyn, I wasn’t sure I was going to get to talk again.”

9:48: Trump to Paul debating health care: “I don’t think you heard me. You’re having a hard time tonight.”

10:11: Trump snaps at co-moderator Chris Wallace over his corporate bankruptcies. “What am I saying? … You’re living in a world of the make believe, Chris, if you want to know the truth.”

10:26: Megyn to Trump: “When did you actually become a republican?”

10:30: John Kasich shuts down Kelly’s gay marriage question: “We need to give everybody a chance, treat everybody with respect, and let them share in this great American dream that we have, Megyn.”

10:37: Trump on Obama: “I would say he’s incompetent, but that’s not nice.”

11:04: “It’s over … are you relieved?,” Megyn Kelly asks.