GOP Debate: Who won and everything else to know

Sep 17, 2015 12:37 PM by NBC News

We get it. Not everyone sits through every moment of every presidential debate, especially if it's three hours long. But for any moments you missed, we've got you covered.

Okay, so what were the big moments everyone's going to be talking about today?

There was lots of substance on foreign policy, differences between the candidates on immigration, and even reforms to curb drug abuse. (You can read our full blow-by-blow coverage and analysis of the debate here and here.)

But for your water-cooler purposes, Facebook says that these were the three top moments discussed on the social media platform.

1) Carly Fiorina responds to Donald Trump's comments on her appearance.

In a recent interview in Rolling Stone, Trump suggested that Fiorina's physical appearance would keep voters from backing her. ("Look at that face!" he cried.) Asked about the comment during the debate, Fiorina coolly replied that "I think women all over this country heard very clearly what Mr. Trump said."

Trump played nice in his reply, saying "I think she's got a beautiful face and I think she's a beautiful woman."

2) Donald Trump, Carly Fiorina, and Chris Christie debate the merits of their business track-records

We knew that Fiorina and Trump, both candidates running on their business credentials, were likely to mix it up on their respective records. But Chris Christie was also able to jump in and capitalize on the moment, deriding the two for "childish" arguing.

As the real estate mogul and the former HP chief argued, Christie interjected: "The fact is that we don't want to hear about your careers, back and forth and volleying back and forth about who did well and who did poorly. You're both successful people. Congratulations. You know who's not successful? The middle class in this country who's getting plowed over by Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. Let's start talking about those issues tonight and stop this childish back-and-forth between the two of you."

That earned big applause in the Reagan Library.

3) Donald Trump criticizes Rand Paul's appearance.

You didn't think we'd get through a GOP debate without some kind of banter about the relative attractiveness of the candidates, did you?

Here's what went down: At the very start of the debate, Trump said that Rand Paul had no business being on stage with the rest of the candidates.

Rand Paul shot back: "I'm very concerned about him -- having him in charge of the nuclear weapons, because I think his response, his -- his visceral response to attack people on their appearance -- short, tall, fat, ugly -- my goodness, that happened in junior high. Are we not way above that? "

Here's how Donald Trump responded: "I never attacked him on his look, and believe me, there's plenty of subject matter right there."

So, who won?

Most analysts said that Carly Fiorina was a standout performer on the debate stage. She muscled her way into the 11th spot after failing to make the first primetime debate in August, and it's clear that she earned it. She was poised, precise, and she inserted herself into the conversation aggressively despite not being in the middle of the stage. Her strong denunciation of Planned Parenthood, her attacks on Hillary Clinton's record and her emotional story about losing a child to addiction all earned big responses.

Donald Trump was less visible than he was in the first debate last month. He took some aggressive shots at foes Rand Paul and Jeb Bush, but he was flagging by the end of the three-hour extravaganza. He had little to say during the debate's segments on foreign policy. His dust-ups with Fiorina and Jeb Bush were big, talked-about moments, but it's not clear that he came out on top.

Chris Christie got more airtime than a candidate at the bottom of the polling tally usually would, including his derision of Fiorina and Trump over their business records.

Who high-fived?

Apparently, Donald Trump loves high-fives. He gave some skin to both of the candidates next to him.

He and Ben Carson shared a moment celebrating their opposition to the Iraq War….

… And Jeb Bush and Trump exchanged some bro love when the two joked about their Secret Service code-names - "EverReady" for Bush ("It's very high energy, Donald!") and "Humble" for Trump.


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