Republican front-runners Donald Trump and brain surgeon Ben Carson stayed largely in the background during Wednesday night’s debate as their fellow opponents attacked each other and the moderators.
Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush took a swing at Sen. Marco Rubio for missing some Senate floor votes while on the campaign trail.
“What is this, like a French work week? Just resign and let someone else take the job,” Bush said.
Rubio came back just as hard. “Someone has convinced you that attacking me is going to help you … It’s not. I’m not running against anyone else on the stage. I’m running for president.”
Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas bashed the media and the moderators and got a rousing round of applause.
“The questions asked in this debate illustrate why the American people don’t trust the media,” Cruz told the audience in Boulder, Colorado. “Everyone home tonight knows that the moderators have no intention of voting in a Republican primary.”
Rubio pitched in, accusing the media of being soft on Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton and said she had been “exposed as a liar” during last week’s congressional hearings on the Benghazi, Libya, terrorist attack on the U.S. embassy there.
The third GOP debate was hosted by CNBC, with Carl Quintanilla, Becky Quick and John Harwood as the main moderators. Ahead of the debate, the network promised to “focus on the key issues that matter to all voters — job growth, taxes, technology and the health of our national economy.”
Speaking to INSIDE EDITION, Donald Trump's family agreed that the environment was less than welcoming.
"We're a very close knit family," his son Eric said. "Glad we were here to support in front of such hostile people."
Donald Trump's Wife Melania, who rarely speaks on the campaign trail, added to IE: "I think he did very well."
Trump got a big laugh during the debate when he was asked if he carried a gun, given that he has a concealed weapon permit in New York.
“Yes I do,” he said, adding he would not say when or how often because he didn’t “want you guys to know.”
And there was a cringe-worthy moment from Jeb Bush as he spoke about taxes.
"You show me a Democrat for cutting taxes, for cutting spending, I'll give them a warm kiss," he said.
Wednesday’s Republican primary face-off marked the first time that Trump has not been the favorite front-runner. A poll released Tuesday showed him trailing surgeon Carson.
Trump took a swipe at Carson’s religion — Seventh-day Adventist —over the weekend in Iowa, where Trump lost to his opponent in a series of statewide polls.