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GOP Debate Highlights: Latino Republican Candidates Trigger Top Twitter Moments

First Posted: Oct 29, 2015 04:39 PM EDT
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Nearly 8-in-10 Latinos use social media, and Twitter was definitely active during the third Republican presidential debate.

Taking into account all ethnicities, Donald Trump was the most discussed White House hopeful on Twitter during Wednesday night's debate. Based on Twitter's data, Trump accounted for 22.3 percent of the conversation share among all the GOP candidates. However, Trump's share of conversation dropped considerably compared to the second Republican presidential primary debate on CNN on Sept. 16. The CNN debate had Trump with 37 percent of the conversation share.

The Twitter conversations were also buzzing for Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas. Cruz, the son of a Cuban immigrant, was responsible for the most-discussed debate moment when he criticized the CNBC moderators and the media.

CNBC anchor Carl Quintanilla, one of three moderators on Wednesday night, had asked Cruz, "Congressional Republicans, Democrats and the White House are about to strike a compromise that would raise the debt limit, prevent a government shutdown, and calm financial markets of the fear that a Washington crisis is on the way. Does your opposition to it show you're not the kind of problem-solver that American voters want?"

Cruz, however, took a moment to criticize the CNBC moderators, which include Becky Quick and John Harwood, for the type of questions they've asked fellow Republican presidential candidates.

"The questions that have been asked so far in this debate illustrate why the American people don't trust the media. This is not a cage match. How about talking about the substantive issues people care about. And you look at the questions -- Donald Trump, are you a comic book villain? Ben Carson, can you do math? John Kasich, will you insult two people over here? Marco Rubio, why don't you resign? Jeb Bush, why have your numbers fallen? How about talking about the substantive issues," Cruz said.

Cruz's response attracted applause of the audience at the University of Colorado in Boulder. On Twitter, his criticisms led to over 20,000 tweets per minute.

Watch how Twitter responded to last night's #GOPDebate, measured in Tweets per minutepic.twitter.com/cAUInYRqyY

- Twitter Data (@TwitterData) October 29, 2015 

Ben Carson narrowly edged out Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., for third place with 12.6 percent and 12.3 percent, respectively.

Rubio, also a son of Cuban immigrants, had a couple most-discussed Twitter moments. His most tweeted moment was also during a criticism of the media. Rubio said the mainstream media has been biased against him and is essentially a super political action committee for current Democratic presidential candidate front-runner Hillary Clinton. Similar to Cruz's critique, Rubio's comment attracted applause from the audience.

Rubio's second most-talked about moment on Twitter, which ranked third overall for the night, was his exchange with former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush. Ahead of the debate, the Florida Sun Sentinel published an editorial criticizing Rubio's absence, and missing votes, in the Senate. After one of the moderators mentioned the editorial, Bush addressed Rubio.

"Marco, when you signed up for this, this was a six-year term and you should be showing up to work. What is this, like a French work week? Just resign and let someone else take the job," Bush said.

Rubio replied, noting the missed Senate votes by former presidential candidates John Kerry, John McCain and Barack Obama. He told Bush, "The only reason you're doing it now is because we're running for the same position."

According to statistics from Engagement Labs, which released rankings on the top performing Republican presidential candidate on Twitter, Carson received more than 15,000 new Twitter followers, followed by Trump with over 7,600, then Rubio and Cruz.

The Pew Research Center noted Latinos use Facebook more than Twitter. On Facebook and taking into account overall users, Engagement Labs reported Rubio was the top performing candidate based on engagement, impact and responsiveness measures.

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For the latest updates, follow Latin Post's Politics Editor Michael Oleaga on Twitter: @EditorMikeO or contact via email: m.oleaga@latinpost.com.

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