GOP Candidates on Best Behavior to Start Debate
'I can't believe how civil it's been up here'
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 10, 2016 8:40 PM CST
The candidates take the stage for Thursday's GOP debate in Florida.   (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

(Newser) – The Republican presidential debate Thursday in Florida was—as Harry Enten at FiveThirtyEight puts it—a "180-degree turn from the last debate" when Donald Trump famously reassured America on the size of his penis. The opening questions of the debate hit topics including trade, jobs, education, and social security. FiveThirtyEight notes it was both a "serious tone" and a "pretty stark change in tone" from the last debate, with none of the candidates particularly disagreeing with one another. "I can't believe how civil it's been up here," Trump added at the end of one of his responses.

Trump even used his opening statement to call for Republican unity, as long as that's unity behind him, Politico reports. "I think frankly the Republican establishment, or whatever you want to call it, should embrace what is happening,” Trump said. It's unclear how the less combative, less crude debate tenor will play out for the candidates. "The civility may be a good thing for voters, but it's really boring television," Clare Malone at FiveThirtyEight writes.