Donald Trump won Thursday’s first GOP presidential debate on at least one metric: the real estate billionaire spoke for nearly two minutes more than the next most loquacious candidate, Jeb Bush.
NPR reporter Domenico Montanaro kept a running tally of the 10 candidates’ talking time during the two-hour contest, which was held in Cleveland and moderated by Fox News.
FINAL Talk Times: 1 Trump 10:30 2 Bush 8:33 3 Huck 6:32 4 Carsn/Crz 6:28 6 Kasch 6:25 7 Rubio 6:22 8 Chrste 6:03 9 Walkr 5:43 10 Paul 4:51
— Domenico Montanaro (@DomenicoNPR) August 7, 2015
Trump got additional time right at the outset of the debate. Fox News’ Bret Baier asked the candidates whether they would pledge to support the eventual GOP nominee and whether they would pledge not to run as an Independent. Trump declined to make either promise and spent 30 seconds defending his position. Trump was also given additional time to answer a question about immigration from Chris Wallace, one of Fox’s debate moderators.
Though Kentucky U.S. Sen. Rand Paul clocked the least amount of speaking time, he got into two of the more memorable battles to have erupted during the debate. Paul engaged Trump when the reality TV star refused to pledge to the Republican party. And he got into it with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie on the issue of domestic spying by the NSA. The two candidates have jabbed each other on the issue in the past. Christie supports NSA monitoring while Paul opposes it.
Bush’s additional talking time was a function of his frontrunner status. Though he trails Trump in most polls taken before the debate, he is still considered to be the favorite for the GOP nomination. Because of that, he was given a chance to respond to more questions than most other candidates.