Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump reversed course on flavored e-cigarette ban over fear of job losses: report Trump to award National Medal of Arts to actor Jon Voight Sondland notified Trump officials of investigation push ahead of Ukraine call: report MORE blasted Rand Paul in the opening salvo of the GOP presidential debate on Wednesday night, calling him unfit for the debate stage.  

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"Rand Paul shouldn't even be on this stage. He's No. 11, he's got 1 percent in the polls. I don't know how he got up here. There are far too many people up here anyways," Trump said at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in California. 
 
Paul shot back that the quip showed Trump's lack of judgment; the real estate magnate had initially been asked whether he should be trusted to hold the nuclear codes. But when he added criticism for Trump's recent comments about Carly Fiorina's looks, Trump pounced. 
 
"I never attacked him on his looks, and believe me, there's plenty of subject matter there," Trump said of Paul.

The Wednesday night debate marks the latest test for the broad field of GOP candidates. Candidates at the prime-time debate were the same top 10 as last month’s Fox News debate with the addition of Carly Fiorina, whom CNN added after her poll numbers surged.

Front-runner Donald Trump remains at center stage. His 24 percent in CNN’s average of poll numbers is more than twice the totals of his closest competitors, former Gov. Jeb Bush (Fla.) and Gov. Scott Walker (Wis.). They were also the top three in the Fox debate.  

But Bush and Walker have been sliding in national and early-voting-state polling as as Trump and Ben Carson continue to climb. Carson is in the fourth slot on the debate stage Wednesday night, but has shot up the polls in recent weeks, finishing second to Trump with at least 20 percent of the vote in two prominent national polls released after CNN announced the rankings.