What the third Republican debate mostly lacked in one-on-one fighting — no one chose to take on Ben Carson, as many predicted — it made up for in quotable moments:
Bush, Rubio Spar on Senate's 'French Work Week'
Florida's two presidential candidates took aim at each other early on at Wednesday night's presidential debate on CNBC, and the junior member appeared to get the upper hand.
It began when Sen. Marco Rubio was asked about his voting record in Congress since running for president – he's missed 47 percent of those votes, according to an NBC analysis, and an editorial in the Miami-based Sun Sentinel newspaper this week called for Rubio to resign rather than "rip us off."
Rubio noted that President Barack Obama received the Sun Sentinel's endorsement even though he missed many of his votes while running for president, but Bush chimed in, saying he expected Rubio to work on behalf of his constituents.
"Marco, when you signed up for this, this is a six-year term and you should be showing up to work," Bush said. "The Senate, what is it, like a French work week? You get three days where you have to show up."
But Rubio offered his own cutting retort, noting that Bush had endorsed Sen. John McCain in the 2008 election and that McCain had a similar voting record while he was campaigning.
"I don't remember you ever complaining about John McCain's vote record. The only reason why you're doing it now is because we're running for the same position and someone has convinced you that attacking me is going to help you."
Rubio then pivoted into a campaign pitch: "I'm not running against Governor Bush, I'm not running against anyone on this stage. I'm running for president."
Huckabee's Big, Big Blimp Comparison
Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee took debate question responses to new heights when he was asked about fixing corporate taxes. He used the question to compare government to the runaway blimp that escaped a Maryland military facility earlier on Wednesday.
Huckabee: "If you saw that blimp that got caught loose from Maryland today, it's the perfect example of government. What we had was something the government made, basically a bag of gas that cut loose, destroyed everything in its path, left thousands of people powerless but they couldn't get rid of it because we had too much money invested in it so we had to keep it. That is our government today. We saw it in the blimp."
Trump Brushes Off Kasich's Attack
Ohio Gov. John Kasich voiced early on his "big concern" that the party was "on the verge, perhaps, of picking someone who cannot do this job."
"Folks we gotta wake up. We cannot elect somebody who can't do the job," he said.
Trump replied that Kasich used to be "such a nice guy."
"Then his poll numbers tanked. That's why he's on the end. And he got nasty," Trump said.
Attacks on the Moderators
Republicans have often attacked the "mainstream media" for a perceived left-wing bias, and many candidates at the debate to CNBC moderators, including New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.
He was asked what he thought about the controversy over daily fantasy football betting sites, but Christie thought there are bigger issues that the American people are worried about.
"We have 19 trillion dollars in debt, we have people out of work, we have ISIS and al Qaeda attacking us and we're talking about fantasy football? Can we stop?" Christie said. "Let people play – who cares?"
Rubio at one point said the media was in Democrats' corner.
"The Democrats have the ultimate super PAC — it's called the mainstream media," he said.
Cruz's Media Indictment and Special Offer of a Brownie
Senator Ted Cruz doubled down on the anti-media rhetoric, especially when CNBC's Carl Quintanilla asked about the federal debt limit being raised: "The questions that have been asked thus far in the debate illustrate why the American people don't trust the media. This is not a cage match."
He continued: "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 people care about?"
Facebook said after the debate that no other moment was discussed more on their site. For his part, Quintanilla pointed out that he never got an answer about his substantive question on the debt limit within the time Cruz was allotted.
But Cruz and Quintanilla followed up with a more friendly, joking exchange – including an offer to share something that sounded an awful lot like an edible marijuana product.
"We're clearly not having that beer you mentioned," Quintanilla said to Cruz.
"But I'll buy you a tequilla," Cruz replied. "Or even some famous Colorado brownies."
Colorado legalized recreational marijuana in 2012.