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RUSH: Okay, so there were 10 million people that watched the Fox debate last night. There are 30 million people listening right now to find out what I thought about it.

JOHNNY DONOVAN: And now, from sunny south Florida, it’s Open Line Friday!

RUSH: Is there any doubt about that? It might be 40 million, tuning in right now to find out. And you know what I thought I would do? I thought I’d cop out. I actually toyed with this. By the way, greetings, my friends. Welcome. Great to have you in Open Line Friday. I kind of think I know what you’re gonna be calling about when we go to the phones, but you can call about anything. It doesn’t have to be the debate if you don’t want it to be. That’s the beauty of Open Line Friday. 800-282-2882 is the phone number. The e-mail address, ElRushbo@eibnet.com.

So I thought what I would do, I toyed with this. ‘Cause, you know, folks, when I say something about anything there’s nothing left to be said. I mean, 20, 30, 40 million people tune in here to find out what I thought about it. And what’s the fun of that? Okay. So I spend the first 20 minutes telling you what I thought about it. What does it matter what anybody else says after that, okay?

So I thought what I would do would be to reserve my comments and go to the phones and find out what you thought. And then I thought, no, if I do that, everybody will think I’m copping out. Everybody will think that I’m phoning it in if I do that. But I seriously thought about it, I really did. And maybe I’ll do a mixture of the two, because this debate has engendered a whole lot of comments. And it is all over the place. I have never seen, since 1996 when the Fox News Channel inaugurated, I have never seen the kind of public backlash against Fox personalities that I have seen last night and today. I honestly haven’t.

At the same time, the debate drew an audience, a preliminary audience, of 10 million viewers. It’s a record. No other Republican debate ever, no Democrat primary debate has ever attracted anything like this. How about this interesting statistic. Who do you think got the most airtime last night? (interruption) No. It wasn’t Jeb Bush. Now, be serious. They actually put a clock to this, and they measured how many minutes each person spoke.

Who do you think got the most, call it camera time, airtime, voice time, whatever, who got the most airtime last night in this debate? (interruption) Just take a guess, for crying out loud. (interruption) Who? (interruption) Marco Rubio. No. Dawn, give me a name. Who do you think it was? (interruption) Megyn Kelly is right. The Fox moderators got 31% of the airtime last night. Not a single candidate came anywhere near it. Trump was the closest, and he was second.

The Fox moderators were heard from more last night than were the candidates running for the Republican presidential nomination. There were time limits on the candidates and their answers and replies and rebuttals and rebut-but-buttles, but there were no time limits on the moderators. They could take as long as they wanted answering a question and as long as they wanted interrupting an answer.

I have some headlines here for you. From Brian Maloney, the Media Equalizer: “Liberals, CNN Agree: Fox Did a Great Job!”

From the New York Times: “Fox News Moderators Bring a Sharpened Edge to the Republican Debate Stage.”

From the New York Times: “A Foxy, Rowdy Republican Debate.” Hurray for Fox News. So the New York Times loved it. CNN not even begrudgingly praised Fox News and its moderators for a job well done.

Now we know why Obama was urging everybody to watch the debate last night. Do you know who Hillary watched the debate with? Hillary Clinton was scheduled to show up at an AFL-CIO meeting. Unions. Big donors. She opted out. She went to watch the debate with the Kardashians. (interruption) She did. How else are you gonna compete with Trump and Fox News? You gotta go somewhere where the low-information people think it’s a competition. So she headed over to watch it with the Kardashians. I’m not making any of this up.

The Drive-By Media, I’ve been working feverishly here trying to catalog as much as I have been able to absorb and consume here, and from the Drive-By Media standpoint, the clear winner, the going away winner, the no question about it winner, was John Kasich. They thought that at MSNBC. They thought it at CNN. They thought it in a bunch of places. And you know why? Because they said he was the only guy up there that made people think Republicans actually like people.

John Kasich was the only guy that made viewers realize Republicans might actually care about people, and there were two Kasich answers. I’ll have ’em for you here in a moment coming up on the audio sound bite roster. His answer on — (interruption) you want me to shoot you now? Just wait ’til the first hour is over and then maybe you’ll be asking for a different kind of punishment.

The first answer that they love — the Drive-Bys think the debate was over when Kasich answered Megyn Kelly’s question filled with snark about Jesus, by the way, on the Medicaid expansion. It was Reaganesque, it was optimistic, it was with good cheer, and it made people realize there may be some Republicans who actually like people and care about people. The second answer that Kasich gave that the Drive-Bys loved was his answer on gay marriage.

Now, Drudge did an online poll, Trump was the… I don’t know about the runaway winner there, but at 46%. I’ve been watching and looking at mixed opinion on Trump’s performance. There were a lot of expectations. I was surprised at Trump last night. I thought that he would be more outside the boundaries in order to gain control. Trump shines when he’s running the show, when he’s controlling things. Last night he was reactive, played by the rules, stayed within the time limits and so forth. He was still Trump, I mean, don’t misunderstand, but I was just — and look, there’s no right or wrong here. I’m a just telling you, everybody’s got their thoughts, I’m just telling you what I expected to see in that regard.

I expected to see Trump sort of explode outside the boundaries, the rules, if you will. I understand why he didn’t, don’t misunderstand. Now, Trump people don’t start bombarding me here, ’cause I’m not criticizing. I’m just observing here. I want to play for you what I thought — this is just me. You know me, I’m just a guy on the radio. I’m just one of 200-plus million adults watching the thing last night.

I want to play for you a sound bite that contains what I think was, if not the best, one of the most important things stated last night, and it was in the pregame meal debate. The five p.m. debate. It was Carly Fiorina in her closing statement. I want to play it for you. It’s about 30 seconds. See if you can figure out what it is in this 30-second bite that I really liked.

FIORINA: Hillary Clinton lies about Benghazi, she lies about e-mails, she is still defending Planned Parenthood, and she is still her party’s front-runner. 2016 is gonna be a fight between conservatism and a Democrat Party that is undermining the very character of this nation. We need a nominee who is going to throw every punch, not pull punches, and someone who cannot stumble before he even gets into the ring. I’m not a member of the political class. I am a conservative. I can win this job. I can do this job. I need your help. I need your support. I will, with your help and support, lead the resurgence of this great nation.

RUSH: You know one thing I couldn’t believe last night? It was Republican debate, and George Stephanopoulos was nowhere around. And yet, if I didn’t know any better, I would have watched this thing last night thinking that there is a Republican War on Women based on the questions and the lack of a woman being on the stage among the 10. I thought the War on Woman was a Democrat creation by George Stephanopoulos. The last place I ever thought I would see it continued is Fox News. But you live and learn.

The pull quote in that sound bite: The Democrat Party is “undermining the very character of this nation.” That is it in a nutshell. Politically, culturally, socially. I don’t… I know there were some you hits on Hillary on the nine o’clock debate. I don’t recall any hits on the Democrat Party. Now, I understand. First debate, you’ve got candidates, a lot of them on the stage trying to stand out and get noticed positively, who they are, what they believe, what they are going to do. But I already know that about these people because I’m a student of politics.

So for me it was just a little frustrating ’cause any time there’s an opportunity to define the opposition, I say take it. And we got some defining of the opposition when it came to the Iran deal and Obamacare and things like that, but this country’s in the… [L]ook, folks, this country’s in the mess it’s in because of the Democrat Party. One thing that really kind of burned me was, there’s a lot of “gotcha” in this debate last night, and I don’t know why in the world is it that we are the ones who still have to explain ourselves.

We haven’t created this mess. We have not spent our way to $18 trillion, $7 trillion of it in the last seven years, six years, whatever. We have not destroyed the economy. We have not put the world at great risk because of a deal that’s gonna allow the Iranians to get nuclear weapons. We have not opened the borders of this country. Although our party wants to, we haven’t yet done it. We haven’t opened the borders. We haven’t flooded this country with people that are gonna end up being future Democrat voters.

Why is it we are the ones that continually have to justify our existence? We didn’t make this mess. Just today, there’s new economic news. The labor force participation rate is at an all-time low. We’ve now exceeded 93 million Americans not working, and gobs and gobs of them are capable of working. I, for one, would have liked to have known what we’re gonna do. It was just the first debate, but I get a little defensive and a little off-put at this ongoing, seemingly endless line of thought, train of thought that says we have to justify ourselves and what we think.

And the Democrats? You think Democrats would ever get any of the questions that the Republicans got last night? I doubt it. I made some notes when the thing started, and then I gave up some way in. I just wanted to make sure that I didn’t forget anything ’cause it’s two hours long and all kinds of things were being said. So I was doing start-stop, actually making some notes so things. I might share those with you as the program unfolds. But I do really want to hear what you think, too, folks.

I’m very, very curious to find out what your thoughts on this were last night.

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