Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump leaves with his family following the first Republican presidential debate hosted by Fox News and Facebook at the Quicken Loans Arena on August 6, 2015 in Cleveland, Ohio. Scott Olson/Getty Images/AFP
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Donald Trump refused to rule out an independent White House bid and bristled at questions about his attitudes toward women, leaving his rivals struggling for attention Thursday during a feisty first Republican presidential debate.The nine other Republicans sharing the stage with Trump turned on one another at times but largely avoided direct challenges to the combative real estate mogul who has rocketed to the top of opinion polls in the 2016 race. The debate's feisty tone suited the flamboyant Trump, who has been the center of campaign attention for weeks for his personal attacks on rivals and his scathing comments about U.S. Senator John McCain's war record and about Mexican immigrants.Trump led with 30 percent, while Carson was second at 12 percent and Paul was third with almost 10 percent.Trump's rivals had to decide whether to directly confront him or to try to stay above the fray and look presidential.In addition to challenging Trump on his potential independent run, Paul accused Trump of not realizing that Republicans opposed a single payer healthcare system. But Trump dismissed his attacks. Shortly after the early debate, social media interest in Fiorina surpassed interest in Trump, according to Google analytics.
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