Republican 2016 presidential candidates pose at the start of the first official Republican presidential candidates debate of the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign in Cleveland

Republican debate smashes records as Trump dominates

Republican 2016 presidential candidates pose at the start of the first official Republican presidential candidates debate of the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign in ClevelandBy Lisa Richwine and Alistair Bell LOS ANGELES/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Republican candidates’ debate on Fox News Channel attracted 24 million viewers, more than double the prior record for a presidential primary forum, with social media data suggesting combative billionaire Donald Trump was the main attraction. Republicans will mostly welcome the attention to mainstream candidates like Marco Rubio, the U.S. senator from Florida, and Jeb Bush, the former Florida governor, as they try to prevent a Democrat winning the White House in November 2016 for the third time in a row. The size of the audience blew past predictions by media experts and was more than double Fox News Channel’s previous largest audience, the 11.8 million viewers who tuned in on election night in November 2012.

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