Who Won the Fox Debate? Depends Who You Ask

The pundits' reviews are in.

Trump Trades Blows With GOP Foes at First Debate

While center-stage, poll-topping Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump will likely garner the most attention from Thursday's Fox News debate, influential Republicans, commentators, and reporters gravitated toward Florida Senator Marco Rubio and Ohio Governor John Kasich as winners of Thursday night's theatrics. 

As far as speaking time went, Trump was the clear winner, according to PBS's breakdown:

https://twitter.com/NewsHour/status/629479274068770817

As far as social-media engagement went, Trump was the most-discussed candidate on Facebook, followed by neurosurgeon Ben Carson, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. The most talked-about moment on Facebook was when Christie and Paul went toe-to-toe on the NSA, according to a statement from the social networking site. Conservative radio host Glenn Beck tweeted that that was a breakout moment for Paul. 

Commentator Teagan Goddard zeroed in on the Florida senator and the Ohio governor, while acknowledging that Trump would likely suck up all the attention. 

Former George W. Bush White House press secretary Ari Fleischer liked Kasich (along with Rubio). 

https://mobile.twitter.com/AriFleischer/status/629472450598817792https://twitter.com/AriFleischer/status/629480001415606272https://twitter.com/AriFleischer/status/629488194304745472

For what it's worth, liberal sex columnist Dan Savage picked Kasich, too:

https://twitter.com/fakedansavage/status/629488895231537152

GOP operative Rick Wilson tweeted another vote for Rubio:

https://twitter.com/TheRickWilson/status/629491243656060932

Conservative radio host Dana Loesch also picked Rubio, adding in Texas Senator Ted Cruz to her mix:

https://twitter.com/DLoesch/status/629489852145242112

Loesch was unimpressed by Bush:

https://twitter.com/DLoesch/status/629489685388136448

The Club for Growth concentrated on inveighing against the front-runner. “This sounds like the worst of Washington politicians: Trump is proud that he made money from filing bankruptcies that cost thousands of jobs for Americans,” said Club for Growth President David McIntosh in a statement e-mailed by a spokesman during the debate. “That’s a terrible track record for a man who would inherit a massive national debt that will need to be addressed immediately in January 2017. The last thing we need is Donald bankrupting the United States."

The National Review's Rich Lowry and pollster Frank Luntz praised Carly Fiorina, bypassing the prime-time debate altogether: 

https://twitter.com/FrankLuntz/status/629490757796114432

As it happens, Luntz's Fox News focus group was not blown away by the Republican front-runner, moderator Megyn Kelly tweeted.

https://twitter.com/megynkelly/status/629493369450790912

Former New Kid on the Block Donnie Wahlberg advocated for creating a Frankenstein's monster of several of the contenders:

https://twitter.com/DonnieWahlberg/status/629492298586451968

Texas Governor Greg Abbott chose Trump, particularly impressed by his dig at Rosie O'Donnell:

https://twitter.com/GregAbbott_TX/status/629460080510025728

Trump, in shocking turn, agreed with Abbott and said he was the champion in a statement from his campaign.

"I am very proud of my great performance tonight," he said, according to the statement. "I am not a debate, but I am a winner. If I am elected, I will make this country a total winner—I will make Make America Great again." 

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story misspelled Texas Governor Greg Abbott's last name.

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