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Town Hall Brawl: Clinton and Sanders vs. Trump, Bush and Kasich

TheWrap follows all the action live and on social media as Dems take over MSNBC and Republicans battle it out on CNN

Democrats and Republicans faced off for the first time in this presidential race — at least in the race for TV viewers.

CNN’s Anderson Cooper hosted the remaining three GOP candidates — Jeb Bush, John Kasich and Donald Trump — after the others appeared on CNN Wednesday. Meanwhile, on MSNBC, José Díaz-Balart and Chuck Todd moderated a Democratic presidential town hall from Las Vegas with Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders.

Wednesday night’s CNN Town Hall with Ben Carson, Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio beat MSNBC’s Donald Trump Town Hall in both total viewers and they key demo of adults age 25-54.

Which party did you watch? Doesn’t matter. Your friends at TheWrap had you covered with a roundup of the best comments, analysis and feedback from across social media.

Here is the complete timeline:

4:57: People are psyched for the town halls tonight.


Atheists are watching too…

Some are ditching the town hall for a real circus…

5:05: This guy isn’t into it… at all.

5:06: Quick… no thinking:

5:09: During last night’s town hall people were having fun with #AndersonCooperQuestions. Some want to see what questions he’ll come up with tonight.


5:11: For the second night in a row…



5:15: Meanwhile…

5:20: People are getting impatient…




5:24: Things get heated backstage as Bush spokesperson takes a dig at Trump…

5:28: CNN better get started…


5:32: Apparently CNN is a half hour late because according to Cooper, the network is “waiting [Kasich’s] arrival.”

But some have other theories…

5:38: It seems we’re finally off to the races.

5:41: Kasich is up first. Says he likes this so much better than a debate. Hopes tonight he’ll do OK. He’s asked about a recent town hall where he hugged a supporter going through a tough time who asked for a hug from Kasich and got one. Kasich called it an “extraordinary moment.”

5:44: People are already throwing shade.

5:48: People are liking Kasich’s story.

5:53: Cooper is producing on the fly…


6:00: Kasich is pro-Pope…

6:00: Meanwhile… MSNBC shocks viewers starting right on time. Hallelujah! Sanders is up first.

6:02: Kasich on stopping violence against women: “We have to have a war against that.”

6:05: Sanders is asked about Apple fighting a court order to help the FBI unlock the iPhone of one of the San Bernardino terrorists. He says it’s “complicated.” On the one hand, he’s “very fearful, in America, of Big Brother,” but he also worries about our civil liberties. He ends by saying we should find a middle ground between fighting terrorism and protecting individual rights.


6:07: Kasich on violence against women:

6:09: Sanders has a great response to a question about Clinton’s line that’s he’s a “single-issue candidate.” Says Clinton should come hear him cover 20 topics in rallies.

6:16: We feel you…

6:13: Kasich on replacing Obamacare.

‪6:19: Kasich isn’t ready to measure drapes for the White House…

6:20: Sanders said he wasn’t looking for a fight when he criticized Bill Clinton.

“I was asked to comment on Bill Clinton’s very strong criticisms of me,” Sanders said. “I didn’t go around attacking Bill Clinton.” He praised Clinton, saying he did a good job overall as president.

6:25: Kasich likes “alternative” music…


6:26: Kasich ends his session with an emotional story about his parents’death and how it changed his life.

6:27: Watch Sanders respond to the question: Do you consider yourself a feminist?


6:32: Jeb is wearing cowboy boots with a suit …

6:35: Watch Sanders talk young people and marijuana:

6:35: Jeb compliments his mother before getting choked up talking about his father.

6:40: Sanders: We can’t forget about the veterans…


6:44: Jeb gets emotional about his father…

6:48: Jeb explains why he tweeted a photo of his gun.

6:51: Sanders gets high marks…



6:52: Whoa! Jeb says he “probably would” nominate a Supreme Court Justice if he were in Obama’s position.

6:53: ICYMI…


6:58: People are #FeelingtheBern…

7:00: Meanwhile… Jeb talks ISIS.

7:00: Diaz-Balart tells Sanders that when Latinos hear the words “Democratic socialism,” they tend to think of the authoritarian regimes in Cuba and Venezuela.

Sanders says “Democratic socialism,” means programs like Social Security and universal health care, more in the model of Denmark and Sweden.

7:03: Jeb talks addiction, including the “devastating” effects of marijuana.

7:08: Hillary is pretty in pink.


7:09: Clinton says while she did vote against the confirmation of Justice Samuel Alito, she at least voted. She says Congress should do its job.

7:15: Some Sanders supporters aren’t feeling her answers.


7:13: Clinton is asked about Apple’s refusal to access the phone of the San Bernadino terrorist. “Of course law enforcement has every reason to want to get information off of a killer’s cell phone… And they’re asking for help.” She said she understood why Apple “is worried about opening the door,” that would allow other countries like China, Russia and Iran to demand the same. She calls it a “hard dilemma.”

She then called on the government and great tech companies to “figure out what is the path forward.”

7:15: Trump is up, already talking about Pope Francis.

7:20: Trump defends Marco Rubio… in a very Trump way. He says that Rubio is really not as short as he seems in the picture that surfaced Thursday, where the Florida senator is shaking President Obama’s hand — an image that caused a stir on the campaign trial. Adding to the buzz: It turned out to be a fake. The Photo appeared in the new Cruz campaign website www.therealrubiorecord.com.

According to Trump what bothered Rubio about the photoshopped pic wasn’t the dirty politics or even the fact that he’s made to look like an Obama fan.

Nope. Trump says Rubio is upset about because he looks short in it.

“That was the thing that probably bothered him the most … he’s not too big, but he’s not that small,” Trump says.

7:32: Clinton is asked by Sanders supporter if she would release transcripts or audio recorders of her speeches to financial institutions, Clinton said she would… when everyone else does.

“I was a candidate who went to Wall Street before the crash,” she says. “I went to them and said you are wrecking our economy.”

But the questioner shoots back,”Please just release those transcripts so we know exactly where you stand.”

7:42: Trump won’t say if George W. Bush lied about Iraq.



7:54: The Trump portion is wrapping up with the “personal” questions, starting with his sister being called a “radical pro-abortion” judge by Ted Cruz.

Trump also just says he eats at McDonald’s sometimes. “The food is good, I eat it very carefully.”


7:56: The audience did not like this… Clinton gets booed.


7:59:  Trump’s biggest fault… he never forgets, “which sometimes isn’t a bad thing.” So, his biggest fault is actually an asset. Confused? So are we.

8:15: In conclusion…




we leave you with these words by Clinton:

And if you still haven’t had your fill of politics… you may want to consult a specialist about that. In the meantime… here are some of TheWrap’s breakout stories of the night:

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