Just days before the Super Tuesday primaries, the five remaining Republican presidential candidates faced off Thursday night in Houston. The GOP debate came two days after Donald Trump’s enormous win in the Nevada Republican caucus, and during a week when the other Republican candidates ramped up their attacks against the New York billionaire.

Facing the reality that Trump is well on his way to having the number of delegates necessary to win the Republican nomination, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio both lashed out at the front-runner over the past few days in the hopes of stopping his momentum. Rubio, taking a stronger stance than in the past, criticized Trump for ignoring policy details and Cruz continued to trade barbs with the businessman on Twitter and in interviews.

Before the debate was scheduled to begin at 8:30 p.m. EST, the various candidates were already focused on campaigning in states that will vote in the crucial wave of primaries on Tuesday. Cruz was likely hoping that the debate’s location would give him a home-state advantage and help him launch a comeback after coming in third behind Trump and Rubio in both Nevada and South Carolina.

image (1) Final share of #GOPDebate Twitter conversation. Photo: Twitter

Ohio Gov. John Kasich and neurosurgeon Ben Carson needed a good night to show voters they were still viable options after low finishes in the past few nominating contests. As Trump has continued to dominate the early state contests, establishment Republicans have worried that Kasich’s candidacy is splitting the mainstream vote and drawing support away from Rubio.

Kasich has shown little sign that he is ready to drop out, but the polling did not look good for him ahead of Thursday’s debate. He held 9.3 percent in the Real Clear Politics average of national polls, while Trump led the pack with 33.2 percent.

You can find some of the best highlights of the debate Thursday below. First is a compilation of fiesty exchanges throughout the evening between Trump and Rubio:

The evening kicked off with the introduction of two special guests: Former President George H.W. Bush and Barbara Bush.



The first question of the night was about immigration, and Donald Trump said that after deporting undocumented immigrants, he would allow the “good ones” back in through a legal process. Cruz, on the other hand, would not “forgive those who break the law” and let them back into the United States.



The candidates sparred over who had supported amnesty and why exactly Trump has criticized former presidential candidate Mitt Romney.



Trump reminded everyone that Cruz is not very popular in Washington, D.C.



Rubio went after Trump for being soft on immigration and said the New York billionaire had hired undocumented immigrants from Poland in the past.

Rubio criticized Trump over his previous business struggles.



When Trump was asked about a poll saying that Hispanics do not view him favorably, he replied that he does not trust Telemundo, the Spanish-language network co-hosting the debate.



When Cruz was asked if he trusted Trump to nominate conservative justices to the Supreme Court, he said no.



Trump spoke about Planned Parenthood during the debate.



Ben Carson had one of the more memorable lines of the night talking about the Supreme Court.



Once the conversation turned to health care, Trump said he would get rid of Obamacare, but Rubio questioned the front-runner’s plan.




In his signature style, Trump took a dig at Hugh Hewitt, one of the debate’s moderators, saying no one listens to his radio show.



When the moderators brought up Romney’s speculation that Trump may have a “bombshell” in his tax returns, Trump disputed the claim.



Rubio, for his part, said he would release his tax returns Friday or Saturday.



The candidates argued over who would be best to defeat Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton in the general election.



The moderators asked Trump about his previous comments saying he would remain neutral in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and Trump professed his love for Israel. Both Rubio and Cruz used the opportunity to say they would be more supportive of Israel than Trump.





Here, Trump talked about beating Cruz.



On the topic of Israel, Trump said his negotiating skills would help him but Rubio criticized Trump for suggesting dealing with the Middle East conflict was “a real estate deal.”



Carson was having a rough night.



Things got complicated during the Republican debate when Trump, Cruz and Rubio all wanted to make points at the same time.


When the candidates were asked about the the federal government asking Apple to unlock the iPhone of the San Bernardino, California shooter, Rubio, Cruz, Carson and Kasich all said they would force the company to comply.



GOPDebate Republican presidential candidates Marco Rubio and Donald Trump both speak Thursday night at the debate sponsored by CNN for the 2016 Republican U.S. presidential candidates in Houston, Texas. Photo: Reuters/Mike Stone