Wow. So much for going to bed early last night. The first GOP debate took place in Cleveland last night hosted by FOX, and there were fireworks from the start. Donald Trump started the night off with a bang when he refused to rule out a third party run if he doesn’t get the nomination. Rand Paul accused him of being a spoiler.

Trump took up much of the oxygen in the room throughout the night refusing to back down from some controversial positions, and even adding fuel to the fire in some cases.

The Washington Post’s Dan Balz writes this morning, ” From here forward, the others in the race might be forced to recalibrate their assessments of whether Trump is a comet flashing across the political skies or someone who eventually will have to be confronted directly in order to stop him.”

Karen Tumulty Philip Rucker also in the Washington Post write, “Donald Trump landed on the Republican debate stage like a hand grenade here on Thursday night - serving notice that he may run as an independent if he does not get the party's nomination, dismissing criticism of his insulting comments about women as "political correctness" and flatly calling the nation's leaders "stupid. The current leader of the GOP pack drew boos and cheers from the audience and set the tone for a raucous two-hour debate. And other candidates acknowledged that Trump, a celebrity billionaire known for his showman's flair, has tapped into a genuine current of public outrage and exasperation.”

The Wall Street Journal reporters Patrick O'Connor, Janet Hook and Rebecca Ballhaus write, “It wasn't only Mr. Trump stirring the waters. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Sen. Paul had several tense exchanges, including one over government surveillance programs. The 10 candidates on the Fox News debate stage seemed to divide into those eager to mix it up and those -- former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Sen. Marco Rubio and Govs. Scott Walker of Wisconsin and John Kasich of Ohio -- who seemed more intent on sounding presidential.”

The New York Times today writes, “Unpredictable and often rambunctious, the Republican gathering was anything but a tentative affair, unlike so many other first debates of campaign cycles. Mr. Trump repeatedly made the most of his center-stage position, and ensured he would star in weeks of video clips.”

Politico today has 7 takeaways, “1. Jeb was meh. 2. Trump’s act is wearing thin – especially with women. 3. Paging Ted Cruz.
4. The real Trump effect: Lots of fireworks, less substance. 5. John Kasich is emerging as a top-tier candidate. 6. Rand Paul needed to attack – and he did. 7. Scott Walker was so-so – but had the best line of the night.”

There was also an earlier debate with seven other candidates, and most analysts say Carly Fiorina was the real winner of the night with a clear and crisp delivery and strong attack lines against Hillary Clinton.

We’ve got some recaps, and will do some in-depth analysis of the debates.

In other news,
President Obama leaves for a 17 day vacation today on Martha’s Vineyard.

The Iran nuclear deal may be in serious trouble with two prominent Democrats coming out against the deal. New York Senator Chuck Schumer and Congressman Eliot Engel of New York who is the leading Democrat on the House Committee on Foreign Affairs.

There’s another development out of Iran which is disturbing. Jennifer Griffin broke the story and writes on, “According to two Western intelligence sources, the shadowy Iranian Quds Force commander Qassem Soleimani recently visited Moscow to meet with senior Russian leaders, despite a travel ban and UN security council resolutions barring him from leaving Iran.”

A cyber-attack on the Pentagon came around the same time.

A possible tornado touched down in southeast Alabama damaging a Wal-Mart.

We’re continuing to cover the wildfires burning out West. The biggest.. the Rocky Fire is now 40% contained but it has burned 43 homes. The Governor Jerry Brown says it’s just the beginning “Fasten your seatbelts.” Brown was commenting on the extreme drought that has plagued the Golden state for the past 4 years.

We are awaiting July’s jobs report. Economists expect the economy added 225,000 jobs and an unemployment rate of 5.3%.

We've also learned American Airlines' reservation system SABRE may have been hacked by suspected Chinese hackers. It's unclear if hackers gained access to American Airlines customer accounts. 

For more news, follow me on Twitter: @ClintPHenderson