The final Republican debate before the Iowa caucus aired Thursday night on Fox News. One major thing was missing this time—Donald Trump. Without the boisterous candidate there, the other candidates, like Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio and Chris Christie, had a chance to speak up about policy. If you didn’t get to tune into the event, here are the top five moments from the debate.
1. Everyone missed Donald Trump…Sort of
Donald Trump decided to skip the debate this time over a feud with Fox News over Megyn Kelly. The other candidates sort of, kind of, maybe missed him, too! Ted Cruz decided to fill in for Trump’s usual insults and taunting, saying, “Let me say I’m a maniac and everyone on this stage is stupid, fat and ugly. And Ben, you’re a terrible surgeon. Now that we’ve gotten the Donald Trump portion out of the way…”
Meanwhile, the “low energy” Jeb Bush, as Trump has often referred to him, chimed in on missing Trump. “I kind of miss Donald Trump. He was a little teddy bear to me,” he said.
2. The stage was also definitely quieter and more polite without Trump
Without the billionaire blasting his fellow candidates with insults, the politicians in the GOP had a chance to answer the debate questions in the way they probably practiced. They usually turned any tough question into a tried-and-tested response on defeating the Democrats, boosting the economy and defeating ISIS. Trump’s absence also freed up a lot more speaking time for the other candidates—As you can see from this NPR graphic, Cruz and Rubio really got their chance to shine with over 13 minutes of speaking time each.
3. Ted Cruz got the most heat as the frontrunner
Ted Cruz probably would have thanked Donald Trump for showing up to the debate—He took a lot of the criticism and tough questions reserved for the GOP frontrunner and non-establishment candidates. He even called out the bias, commenting, “I would note that the last four questions have been: Rand, please attack Ted. Marco, please attack Ted. Chris, please attack Ted.”
Cruz took the questions well, though, and even poked fun at Trump’s absence, saying, “If you guys ask one more mean question, I may have to leave the stage.”
4. They apparently all have one mission in life: to stop Hillary Clinton
While the very-split GOP candidates do not often agree with each other, they can all come to a conclusion on one thing: They must not let Hillary Clinton win the presidential election.
“One of her first acts might be to pardon herself,” Rubio said of Clinton.
Christie went on to say, “What we need is someone on that stage who has been tested, who has been through it, who has made decisions, who will sit in the chair of consequence and can prosecute the case against Hillary Clinton on that stage.”
5. “Folks, It’s not too late. Enough said.”
This quote from Ben Carson’s closing statement perfectly summarizes the last debate. With Iowa caucuses a mere five days away from the event, the many Republican candidates will soon be narrowed down into just a single person. There’s still time to research the presidential hopefuls and make an informed vote when the time comes!
Who do you think won the GOP debate?