- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 17, 2015

An average of nearly 23 million people tuned in Wednesday to watch the prime-time GOP presidential debate on CNN, shattering ratings records for the network.

Before last night, the highest-rated presidential primary debate was the California Democratic debate on Jan. 31, 2008, which averaged 8.3 million viewers, and its most-watched program ever was a special “Larry King Live” with Ross Perot and Al Gore with 16.8 million total viewers on No. 9, 1993, the network said Thursday.

Last month’s Fox News debate in Ohio drew about 24 million viewers. CNN said its early debate averaged 6.3 million viewers, compared to an average of 6.1 million viewers for Fox News’ early debate.

There were also 4.5 million live video starts of the debate across CNN’s digital platforms, the network said.

GOP front-runner Donald Trump tried to claim some credit Thursday.

“Just announced that in the history of @CNN, last night’s debate was its highest rated ever. Will they send me flowers & a thank you note?” the billionaire businessman tweeted.

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