CHARLESTON, S.C. -- Neil Cavuto was just starting to ask Gov. John Kasich (R-Ohio) about the "controversial police shootings" he'd dealt with when a clear cry rose up behind him.
"We want Rand! We want Rand!" yelled a group of protesters, invisible to the TV audience.
"All right," deadpanned Cavuto. Kasich briefly joked that the protested might have been commenting on his choice of tie (red). The exchange ended up sliced from the official transcript of the event, which meant that history would record no mention of Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) at the debate he boycotted after narrowly missing a polling cutoff. Only undercard debater and former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum, joking he would "use ten seconds of Rand Paul's time" to finish an answer, mentioned the libertarian-leaning senator.
Paul, meanwhile, was hosting a Q&A from the New York offices of Twitter. Anyone who could turn on Periscope or Facebook could watch as he answered real-time questions.
"We’re live from the Big Apple," Paul said during one of the (intermittent) live streams. "Turn your TV off if you’re bored with the debate. Turn on your computer."
The people inclined to ask questions in such a format -- several thousand, according to a Facebook viewer counter -- were largely friendly to Paul. Strategist Doug Stafford and spokesman Sergio Gor acted as interlocutors.
"What is your message to supporters of Bernie Sanders?" asked one voter.
"He did vote with me on audit the Fed," said Paul. "but our differences are greater than our similarities. I believe that capitalism has created great wealth in our country."
What about Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.), missing the audit vote?
"He’s paid by the taxpayer. It’s a big issue to liberty voters."
How did it feel to be shut out of the Charleston debate?
"The great thing about the Internet, the great thing about a Twitter town hall, is that you can’t be banned from the Internet."
Later, a man identified only as Tom asked Paul if he could get a job in the coming libertarian-leaning president's administration.
"It’s illegal, Tom," said Paul. "All right? I can’t do that. But if you work real hard, there will be a lot of jobs for liberty lovers."