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The Republican presidential debate Thursday night hosted by Fox News was the highest rated debate of the year, according to preliminary figures.
 
Fox’s debate got a household rating over 11, based on initial Nielsen numbers, compared to the 9.9 rating for the GOP debate last week broadcast by CNN and Telemundo. 
 
{mosads}The last debate got 14.5 million viewers, making it the most-watched event since another CNN debate in December that had 18 million. Viewership numbers for this week’s debate will be released later Friday. 
 
Thursday night’s event in Detroit featured Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz reprising their roles from the previous debate in attacking front-runner Donald Trump, while John Kasich avoided jabbing.
 
It was the smallest crop of debaters to date, with just four candidates on stage. Ben Carson skipped the contest ahead of what is expected to be his formal campaign suspension on Friday.
 
The debate was raucous, and featured an off-color moment from Trump responding to Rubio’s quip about his “small hands.”

“He referred to my hands — if they are small, something else must be small. I guarantee you, there’s no problem,” Trump said.

Thursday’s debate also represented the first time Trump and moderator Megyn Kelly faced off after months of feuding following their exchange at the first debate in August.
 
Fox provided free online streaming for the latest debate, which is expected to be the fourth-highest debate of the cycle after the 24 and 23 million viewers for Fox and CNN debates last year. 
Tags 2016 GOP primary Donald Trump Fox News GOP debates Marco Rubio Ted Cruz

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