CNN: Donald Trump throws a grand old party

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No one ever really doubted that Donald Trump could pull off a major counter-programing feat — even when competing with a GOP debate that was expected to draw millions of viewers.

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He did it Thursday night, dazzling a crowd of hundreds of enthusiastic supporters by announcing that he had raised more than $6 million for veterans in one day — $1 million of it from his own checkbook. “We love our vets,” he said.

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“You know, my whole theme is make America great again and that’s what we’re going to do — and we wouldn’t have even been here if it weren’t for our vets,” Trump said.

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Even Trump seemed a bit surprised that he had pulled off his stunt: “Look at all the cameras. This is like the Academy Awards,” the real estate magnate said as he took the stage in an auditorium at Drake University about 20 minutes after the debate began a few miles away. “We’re actually told that we have more cameras than they do by quite a bit, and you know what that’s really in honor of our vets.”

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The rally was a restrained performance by Trump standards. He dispensed with his usual riff about his poll numbers and mostly avoided jabs at his fellow candidates (with the exception of a “low-energy” shot at Jeb Bush).

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Instead he delivered a speech mostly focused on the problems veterans have faced when returning from Iraq and Afghanistan — inadequate healthcare and housing, drug abuse, mental health issues and homelessness.

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Read More: http://www.cnn.com/2016/01/28/politics/donald-trump-2016-election-rally-gop-debate/

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