Inside the GOP Debate Hall, Whom Did the Crowd Seem to Like the Most?

Two candidates got some rough treatment inside the hall.

Last night was the first serious, substantive debate held with the Republican candidates, and congratulations are due both to Fox Business Channel and to RNC Chairman Reince Priebus. FBM asked serious questions and refrained from “gotcha” tactics, and Priebus — who was actually greeted like a rock star by the crowd before the broadcast began — may have successfully intimidated FBN into avoiding any semblance of CNBC’s outrageous performance.

The Milwaukee Theatre has a seating capacity of about 3,000. From my point of view, just about every seat in the place was occupied. Ticket holders were informed that the doors would open at 4:30 and everyone was to be seated by 5:30 when the doors would be closed; I arrived about 15 minutes early and found myself at the end of a queue roughly a city block long. Nevertheless, attendees were enthusiastic despite the line and the promise of a four-and-a-half-hour, two-debate session. (There were commercial breaks, of course, as well as the long break between the first and second debates during which people could stretch, go to the facilities, and so on, but it was nonetheless heartening to see).

The crowd was orderly and well-mannered — typical of the Midwest, and especially Midwestern Republicans. The same could not be said for the leftist protesters outside.

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