Photographer: Andrew Harnik/AP

9 Behind-the-Scenes Debate Moments You Might Have Missed Last Time

Politics is as much theater as anything else—and that goes doubly for debates. The red, white, and blue backdrops, the flattering lighting, and the candidates' bickering obscure a whole lot of mic checks, make-up touch-ups, and idle chitchat during commercial breaks, not to mention candid moments with the contenders' families.

As we head into Round Two—Wednesday's marathon Republican presidential debates at the Reagan presidential library in Simi Valley California—here's a look back at some of the smaller, unseen moments behind the scenes of the first face-offs on Aug. 6 in Cleveland.

  1. Pick a seat
    Photographer: Andrew Harnik/AP
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    Pick a seat

    During the pre-debate “forum” for seven lower-polling candidates earlier in the day on Aug. 6, the cameras rarely turned to show how empty the audience was.

  2. Kids' table talk
    Photographer: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
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    Kids' table talk

    Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum listens to former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina during a commercial break during the earlier forum. Fiorina's performance in the so-called “undercard debate” or “kids' table debate” won wide praise, and her polling numbers have increased since then. She will stand with 10 other high-polling candidates during the prime-time debate this Wednesday night. Santorum will still be participating in the earlier debate, with three other candidates.

  3. One down
    Photographer: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
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    One down

    Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal talks to former Texas Governor Rick Perry during a commercial break during the last undercard debate. Jindal will again appear in the earlier debate on Wednesday night. Perry was weeks away from suspending his campaign.

  4. Sniffing out spin
    Photographer: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
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    Sniffing out spin

    Police use a dog to do a security sweep of “Spin Alley”—where the candidates go after the debate to speak to reporters about their performances—ahead of the last prime-time event.

  5. Mic check
    Photographer: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
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    Mic check

    Podium microphones are measured before the last prime-time debate. 

  6. Comparing notes
    Photographer: Scott Olson/Getty Images
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    Comparing notes

    Texas Senator Ted Cruz chats with Ohio Governor John Kasich while former Florida Governor Jeb Bush talks to Kentucky Senator Rand Paul in the background during a break in the prime-time debate on Aug. 6, which featured the 10 best-polling candidates in what was then a 17-person field.

  7. Touch up, catch up
    Photographer: MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images
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    Touch up, catch up

    Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker has make-up applied while he speaks to billionaire real estate mogul Donald Trump, the Republican front-runner, during a break in the last prime-time event. Some Republicans suspect Walker, who has lost support as Trump surges, will attack the billionaire on Wednesday.

  8. Family event
    Photographer: Andrew Harnik/AP
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    Family event

    Donald Trump's children, Ivanka Trump and Eric Trump, sit beside the candidate's wife, Melania Trump, as she gets a visit with the daughters of Texas Senator Ted Cruz. Cruz is one of the few candidates who hasn't attacked Trump this cycle.

  9. Kid diplomacy
    Photographer: Andrew Harnik/AP
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    Kid diplomacy

    Ohio Governor John Kasich says hello to Texas Senator Ted Cruz's daughters, Carolina, 7, and Catherine, 4, as Cruz looks on. Kasich has twin teenage daughters.