(POLITICO) The candidate who dominated search and social media on Thursday night did not even appear on the Republican debate stage.
Donald Trump gained the most Twitter followers of any GOP presidential candidate during the Fox News debate, far ahead of Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz. Rand Paul and Chris Christie rounded out the top five in terms of follower gains. Trump blew away the field on Twitter during the two hours, commanding 36 percent of the conversation compared to Cruz, the next closest with 16 percent, and Rubio, with 13 percent.
The most-tweeted moment of the debate came when Rubio cracked that Bernie Sanders "would make a good president ... of Sweden," with many users pointing out that Sweden does not, in fact, have a president. Other top moments included Cruz's clash with moderator Chris Wallace, Christie's call to "stop the Washington bull," and the time when Carson seemed to be taken by surprise when asked a question.
Advertisement - story continues below