With each Republican presidential candidate sharing the stage with nine others—and sharing the GOP field with 13 rivals—Wednesday night's debate participants needed to get tough, be bold, and say something that would help them stay at the top, or claw their way there. Here's how they did that, via the Washington Post and AP:
- Donald Trump set his sights on a new target, John Kasich: "John got lucky [in Ohio] with a thing called 'fracking.' He hit oil. Believe me, that is why Ohio is doing well. ... He was so nice. He was such a nice guy, and then his poll numbers tanked. That’s why he’s (standing) on the end.”
- Jeb Bush on Marco Rubio's record of missed votes: "Marco, when you signed up for this, this is a six-year term, and you should be showing up to work. I mean, literally, the Senate—what is it, like a French work week? You get, like, three days where you have to show up? Or just resign, and let somebody else take the job."
- Rubio's retort: “Someone has convinced you that attacking me is going to help you.”
- Bush's kiss: "You find a Democrat that's for cutting spending $10? I'll give him a warm kiss."
- Kasich on his rivals' tax plans: "Why don't we just give a chicken in every pot, while we're, you know, coming up—coming up with these fantasy tax schemes. ... Folks, we gotta wake up. We cannot elect somebody that doesn’t know how to do the job. "
- Ted Cruz on how the CNBC moderators are doing: "This is not a cage match. And, you look at the questions: 'Donald Trump, are you a comic-book villain?' 'Ben Carson, can you do math?' ' John Kasich, will you insult two people over here?' ' Marco Rubio, why don't you resign?' 'Jeb Bush, why have your numbers fallen?' How about talking about the substantive issues the people care about?"
- Rubio on the media: "The Democrats have the ultimate SuperPac. It's called the mainstream media."
- Chris Christie on a question posed about fantasy football: "We have a government involved in fantasy football? We have ISIS and al-Qaeda attacking us and we’re talking about fantasy football? Enough on fantasy football. Let people play! Who cares?"
- Mike Huckabee: "You know, everybody has an 'only guy'—'I'm the only guy this; I'm the only guy that.' Well, let me tell you one thing that I am the only guy: The only guy that has consistently fought the Clinton machine every election I was ever in over the past 26 years. And not only did I fight them, but I beat them."
- Carly Fiorina: "I’m Hillary Clinton’s worst nightmare. In your heart of hearts, you want to see a debate between Carly Fiorina and Hillary Clinton."
- Ben Carson stayed true to form: "I do, however, believe in Reagan's 11th commandment, and will not be engaging in awful things about my compatriots here."
- Rand Paul on the budget deal: "I will spend every ounce of energy to stop it. I will begin tomorrow to filibuster it."
(Read more GOP Debate