- Donald Trump was the most searched term on Google, according to the internet giant – and he had two of the top three tweeted about moments
- Ben Carson, whose warm and witty final statement was one of the best moments of the night, came second
- Taking the top honors at the earlier, 5 pm Eastern debate for candidates who didn’t qualify for the main event: Carly Fiorina
Donald Trump walked away from last night’s presidential debate the winner – at least of the social media contest.
Trump was the most-searched candidate on Google during the prime-time bash-fest that produced may tweetable moments, as well. He was also the most-mentioned candidate on Facebook and Twitter.
Right behind him was a surprise, breakout star: Ben Carson, a retired neurosurgeon who has not held elected office before, either.
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Carson’s closing speech and his jab at the Washington political class had the Internet abuzz.
‘Well, I haven’t said anything about me being the only one to do anything, so let me try that,’ Carson teased.
‘I am the only one to separate Siamese twins, the only one to operate on babies while they were still in their mothers’ womb, the only one to take out half of a brain although you would think, if you go to Washington, that someone had beat me to it.’
Texas Senator Ted Cruz also made a splash, coming in third on Google.
It was Kentucky Senator Rand Paul and Chris Christie who generated the most chatter, however, when they traded blows about each other’s qualifications to be president.
After Christie claimed that first-term lawmaker Paul sits on a Senate subcommittee ‘just blowing hot air’ about the importance of requiring the NSA to obtain warrants in order to wiretap suspected terrorists, Paul retorted: ‘I don’t trust President Obama with our records. I know you gave him a big hug, and if you want to give him a big hug again, go right ahead.’
Paul was referring to Christie’s handshake with Obama on the tarmac in New Jersey days before the 2012 presidential race. Conservatives point to the embrace, which took place upon Obama’s arrival in the state to view Hurricane Sandy damage, as one of the reasons Mitt Romney lost to the sitting president in November.
Christie had been one of Romney’s best surrogates, and there he was hobnobbing with the president, endorsing his disaster relief efforts at a critical time in the presidential race, Christie’s critics say.
Last night, Christie fired right back at Paul, telling him, ‘Senator Paul, you know, the hugs that I remember are the hugs that I gave to the families who lost their people on September 11.
‘Those are the hugs I remember, and those had nothing to do with politics, unlike what you’re doing by cutting speeches on the floor of the Senate, then putting them on the Internet within half an hour to raise money for your campaign, and while still putting our country at risk.’
Paul was also involved in the second, most-talked about spat of the night.
Having hit Trump at every opportunity throughout the night for everything from his donations to Hillary Clinton’s previous campaigns and her family charity as well as her attendance at his 2005 wedding, Trump finally blew his stack and told Paul, during a segment on healthcare reform, ‘I don’t think you heard me. You’re having a hard time tonight.’
Trump dominated social media earlier in the evening, too, when he battled with moderator Megyn Kelly about his disrespectful comments he’s made to women in the past, namely Rosie O’Donnell.
The real estate dynamo refused to apologize for the remarks and claimed that what he says, ‘oftentimes, it’s fun, it’s kidding, we have a good time.’
‘And honestly, Megyn if you don’t like it. I’m sorry. I’ve been very nice to you, although I could probably maybe not be based on the way you have treated me,’ he said, tacking on, ‘but I wouldn’t do that.’
Taking the top honors at the earlier, 5 pm Eastern debate for candidates who didn’t qualify for the main event: Carly Fiorina.
Fiorina was the top-searched candidate during that time slot in every state in America, with the exceptions of Louisiana, fellow debate participant Bobby Jindal’s home state, and Alaska, where ex-Texas governor Rick Perry reigned supreme.