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Someone Kept Coughing At The GOP Debate And People Freaked Out

A lot of people got seriously distracted by someone on stage who kept coughing during the CNN Republican presidential debate on Tuesday.

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During CNN's Republican presidential debate Tuesday at the Venetian Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, a lot of people on social media a mysterious cougher on stage.

Who is sick on the stage? *cough* *cough* #GOPDebate

They got concerned.

Somebody on stage needs a cough drop. #GOPDebate


Will the contestant with the tubercular cough please take a lozenge?

As the coughs continued, some people's sympathy turned to disgust.

OK, that cough was disgusting. Seriously.

People questioned why the mic was even on for those who weren't speaking.

If a candidate has a cough and it's not their turn to speak, TURN OFF THEIR MIC FOR A HOT SECOND.

Or why there wasn't a cough button, commonly used by radio presenters to the mute the mic when they need to cough.


Including Rob Lowe...

Has no one at #CNN production heard of a cough button? Good Lord! It sounds like someone's dying up there. #republicandebate

Some even started counting the coughs.

There was a theory the serial cougher was Ben Carson.

Apparently a thing, but it's Carson who is coughing. Appears to have a cold.


To be fair, he might have a cold.

@rorycooper How do you know? I need sourcing.

What is with Ben Carson?? Too much cough syrup? Or did he pull an all-nighter? It's not a soft-spoken thing. He's barely awake!

PLEASE turn off Ben Carson's mic when he's not speaking. Dude's not going to interrupt anyone and his cough is KILLING ME.


Carson's spokespersons said that Carson was indeed the cougher and he's not sick, but has "a nagging cough," according to ABC News reporter Katherine Faulders.

Carson spox on his debate cough (yes, really): Says Carson "keeps a nagging cough for weeks. He's not sick, just working through this cough"

Whoever it was, people could not get past the cougher.

Forget ISIS, what are you people going to do to stop that dude's cough?? #GOPDebate

I hope no one is using “cough” as a GOP Debate Drinking Party word. #GOPDebate

Idea: Rain down cough drops in the commercial break like balloons at a championship basketball game.

Michelle Broder Van Dyke is a reporter and night editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in Hawaii.

Contact Michelle Broder Van Dyke at

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