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Primary Debates and Forums

Fox News Republican Presidential Debate in Detroit
Thursday, March 3, 2016 at Fox Theatre in Detroit, MI.
L-R: Rubio, Trump, Cruz, Kasich.                                                                                                                                               FOX News 

Thursday, March 3, 2016 at 9:00 p.m. ET.

Post-Debate  |  video  |  transcript: WaPo | NYT

Sponsors:  Fox News Channel, partnering with Facebook.

Candidates: Ted Cruz, John Kasich, Marco Rubio, Donald Trump.

Moderators: Special Report anchor Bret Baier, The Kelly File anchor Megyn Kelly and FOX News Sunday host Chris Wallace.

Audience:  The Fox Theatre can seat a bit more than 5,000 people; the audience was large and at times loud.

Format:  One minute to answer each question, and 30 seconds for followups or rebuttals.  30-second closing statements. 

Overview:  Insults and cross talk.  The reviews on this debate were scathing.  Frank Luntz suggested P.T. Barnum and Jerry Springer as moderators; other commentators described it "embarrassing" and "bleak."  The Washington Post's Ruth Marcus penned a column headlined "The Detroit GOP debate was presidential politics' worst day ever." 

The ratings did well, however.  Fox News reported that the "debate ranks as the fourth-highest primary debate in history," was "the second highest-rated telecast in FNC’s nearly 20 year history," and was "the most-watched primary event ever, via live stream," peaking at 1,489,937 concurrent streams.