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A handful of moms dominated buzz about the 2016 election's first round of debates last night, which is kind of interesting since the roster of candidates was all male. The New York Times and other pundits called Senator Marco Rubio of Florida the top performer last night, after he showed a solid presence—delivering no gaffes and convincing many that he could break through and hold strong in a general election.
But none of that would have been possible without the moderator and Fox News pundit Megyn Kelly, who is getting major props for handling The Donald so deftly that she earned herself a number of mentions in one of his most entertaining tics: insult tirades on Twitter.
"Wow, @megynkelly really bombed tonight," he tweeted. He later said, "I really enjoyed the debate tonight even though the @FoxNews trio, especially @megynkelly, was not very good or professional!" Her "unprofessional" behavior included asking the businessman who discovered politics (and, apparently, conservative values) later in life when he became a Republican. She also confronted him repeatedly about misogynistic comments he's made about women in the past and recently.
"You've called women you don't like 'fat pigs,' 'dogs,' 'slobs' and 'disgusting animals,'" Kelly said to Trump. He, in turn, quickly replied, "Only Rosie O'Donnell." O'Donnell is also no stranger to Trump's tweeted ire. The mother of five responded quickly and in fewer than 140 characters, "Try explaining that 2 ur kids."
Another mom/grandmother, Hillary Clinton, got some press last night for a series of selfies with two other famous-for-being-famous moms, Kris Jenner and Kim Kardashian.
The purported top Democratic candidate and former first lady also got some nods from her supporters for her deft trolling of the Republican candidates. Her campaign offered a press filing room in their Brooklyn offices for reporters covering the debate. The walls of the room, Business Insider reports, were covered with posters of a number of last night's Republican candidates. Each image included a quote of past statements in which the candidate had praised Clinton.
From Donald Trump: "Hillary Clinton I think is a terrific woman ... I think she works hard and I think she does a good job. I like her."
Jeb Bush: "Former Secretary Clinton has dedicated her life to serving and engaging people across the world in democracy."
But it wasn't all digs and undermining and over-the-airwaves misogyny. They did manage to speak to some of the issues, including ones on the minds of parents around the U.S. Jeb Bush was asked to defend his stance on Common Core State Standards. The former governor of Florida was an early adopted of the federal push into what had until recently been left to local and state school boards, learning standards for American kids. CCSS hasn't been popular among conservatives and has especially been opposed by Tea Party supporters. Bush told the audience that he supports still supports the standards, but with some caution.
"I'm for higher standards measured in an intellectually honest way, with abundant school choice, ending social promotion," Bush said. "And I know how to do this because as governor of the state of Florida, I created the first statewide voucher program in the country, the second statewide voucher program in the country and the third statewide voucher program in the country."
Another debate among Republican hopefuls is set for Sept. 16 at the Reagan Library in Simi Valley, Calif., and will air on CNN, according to the full schedule of planned debates in the lead-up to the Republican primaries.
The field may have whittled itself down or the stage could be more crowded than ever. But Rubio, Scott Walker and John Kasich will likely be among them, if this first debate is any indication of who should make it to the next round. And though the issues divide liberals and conservatives, one thing pretty much unites the country: Trump is so entertaining in this forum, he's got everyone supporting his race to the White House.