By Jessica McBride Special to Published Aug 07, 2015 at 9:16 AM

The first GOP presidential debate Thursday night was weird. It was weird in a sort of informative and entertaining way, but it was weird. This was partly the moderators’ doing. They abandoned the usual niceties and acted more like prosecutors facing hostile witnesses from the get go. Really, it was a "get Trump" debate right out of the gate. You knew that the second Megyn Kelly interrogated him about calling women fat pigs, dogs, slobs, and disgusting animals. In the same sentence.

And you knew it was really getting weird when he didn’t deny it.

Most people will learn about the debate through the media filter. The media will declare Trump’s candidacy dead, but the "Media vs. Trump" is a narrative that usually helps Trump. So time will tell.

In truth, there were a lot of good people on the stage, and one candidate (Carly Fiorina) who definitely should have been on it. We also learned some nice things (Scott Walker has a Harley! John Kasich’s dad was a mailman! Chris Christie hugged a bunch of 9/11 victims’ families!)

The debate elevated some people (Kasich, for example) and weakened others (why didn’t Walker show up?). But here are the weirdest things we learned:

1. Donald Trump thinks Rosie O’Donnell is a dog.

2. Ben Carson once separated Siamese twins.

3. Jeb Bush served on the Bloomberg Foundation.

4. Hillary Clinton went to Donald Trump’s wedding.

5. Donald Trump thinks American politicians are stupid.

6. Chris Christie once hugged Barack Obama.

7. When asked if he would consider running as an independent, Trump would only say he wouldn't run as an independent if he's the Republican nominee (he actually said it that way. Really? No kidding, Trump). 

8. Donald Trump bribes politicians.

9. Megyn Kelly channels Rachel Maddow pretty well.

10. Jeb Bush thinks his brother’s war was a mistake.

11. Scott Walker isn’t as good at debating people who aren’t Mary Burke.

12. Scott Walker is an aggressively normal imperfect man with a Harley.

13. The reason Hillary Clinton went to Donald Trump’s wedding was because he gave her money.

14. Scott Walker opposes abortion even if the woman’s life is at risk.

15. Rand Paul thinks Donald Trump buys and sells politicians of all stripes.

16. Donald Trump says he buys and sells politicians of all stripes, including Rand Paul.

17. Rick Perry thinks Ronald Reagan’s name is Ronald Raven.

18. Donald Trump once supported partial-birth abortion.

19. Ben Carson thought Alan Greenspan was treasury secretary.

20. Ronald Reagan expanded Medicaid several times.

21. Ronald Reagan evolved.

22. If Iran was a stock, Trump thinks you should buy it.

23. Jeb Bush claims he didn’t call Trump a clown, buffoon, and asshole after all.

24. Jeb Bush came up with a comprehensive strategy on immigration just this week!

25. Donald Trump wants to build a big door in the wall he wants to build at the border.

26. Jeb Bush’s nickname in Florida was the name of a Mafia don. 

27. Scott Walker wants to put troops in Poland (to be fair, if Putin starts to destabilize NATO allies, that is).

28. Marco Rubio owed over $100,000 in student loans just four years ago.

29. Mike Huckabee thinks the purpose of the military is to kill and break things.

30. ISIS is driving around in U.S. Humvees worth a billion dollars.

31. John Kasich recently attended a gay wedding (actually, that one should go under nice things people said they did. It's not weird to attend a gay wedding; it's just weird a Republican candidate brought up attending a gay wedding in a Republican debate).

32. Fox News doesn’t want Trump to win.

33. Scott Walker wants to put troops in the Baltics (see #27 for caveat).

34. Scott Walker wants to arm the Ukraine.

35. Trump thinks Rosie O’Donnell is a slob.

Jessica McBride Special to

Jessica McBride spent a decade as an investigative, crime, and general assignment reporter for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and is a former City Hall reporter/current columnist for the Waukesha Freeman.

She is the recipient of national and state journalism awards in topics that include short feature writing, investigative journalism, spot news reporting, magazine writing, blogging, web journalism, column writing, and background/interpretive reporting. McBride, a senior journalism lecturer at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, has taught journalism courses since 2000.

Her journalistic and opinion work has also appeared in broadcast, newspaper, magazine, and online formats, including, Milwaukee Magazine, Wisconsin Public Radio, El Conquistador Latino newspaper, Investigation Discovery Channel, History Channel, WMCS 1290 AM, WTMJ 620 AM, and She is the recipient of the 2008 UWM Alumni Foundation teaching excellence award for academic staff for her work in media diversity and innovative media formats and is the co-founder of Media, the UWM journalism department's award-winning online news site. McBride comes from a long-time Milwaukee journalism family. Her grandparents, Raymond and Marian McBride, were reporters for the Milwaukee Journal and Milwaukee Sentinel.

Her opinions reflect her own not the institution where she works.