By Pat Kessler

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – The first presidential debate of the 2016 campaign season is on the books.

The 10 leading Republican candidates faced off in a prime-time debate Thursday night on Fox News Channel.

The two-hour debate wasn’t without some drama as the candidates battled it out on stage.

The debate generated more interest than any Republican or Democratic debate ever, and it’s now one of the highest rated cable television programs of all time, the Nielsen ratings service reported Friday.

(credit: Fox News)

(credit: Fox News)

An incredible 24 million viewers tuned in to see the debate featuring The Donald. It ranks up there with the National Championship College football game this year and the October 2014 premiere of the The Walking Dead.

That blows away any previous debate ratings for these early presidential debates. Social media on Friday is offering an interesting window into how the public reacted.

Google Trends tracked candidate searches: No surprise, Trump was the most searched; but here’s something unexpected: Dr. Ben Carson ended the debate in a Google search tie with Trump. Marco Rubio was No. 3.

Carson didn’t get a lot of time to talk, but he generated a lot of curiosity when he did.

One thing a lot of people are talking about is a question Trump answered about his views on women.

Moderator Megyn Kelly got up in Donald Trump’s grill with a very pointed question about past comments he’s made.

First, he responds with a joke — a bad one. Then, he doubles down. And then, he goes after Megyn Kelly.

Watch the exchange in the video above.

Trump took to Twitter overnight:



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