UPDATE: 11:40 p.m. EST — As the Republican presidential candidates battled it out on stage Thursday night, the Democrats took to Twitter to rebut the GOP. Front-runner Hillary Clinton was the most prolific, tweeting about taxes, anti-Muslim sentiment and gun control, while former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley didn't post at all. Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., called out real estate tycoon Donald Trump directly, writing that "no, we're not going to hate Latinos or Muslims."

Here's a sampling of what the Democrats wrote during the debate:

Former Sen. Jim Webb, D-Va., who is considering an independent bid for the presidency, didn't tweet anything himself. But he did post one retweet:

UPDATE: 11:30 p.m. EST — The GOP primary debate Thursday night in South Carolina, wrapped up shortly before 11:30 p.m. with closing statements that ranged from Dr. Ben Carson mentioning his "travels around this country" to Texas Sen. Ted Cruz referencing the "13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi" movie due for release Friday.

Social media got its final digs in, too:

UPDATE: 11:05 p.m. EST — As the sixth Republican presidential debate stretched past 11 p.m. Thursday, the Internet collectively began to wonder just how long the event would go.

UPDATE: 10:50 p.m. EST — Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, who was dropped this week to the undercard debate, may have not appeared on TV Thursday night, but he did make a splash on social media. The #RandRally hashtag was trending in the United States as the debate wore on. Supporters took to Twitter to compliment the candidate and his event:

UPDATE: 10:39 p.m. EST — Social media users continued to post about Texas Sen. Ted Cruz's criticism of "New York values" at the GOP presidential debate Thursday, with others riffing off of billionaire Donald Trump's assertion that the New York Times is always wrong. Throughout it all, a small crowd simply made "Star Wars" jokes.

UPDATE: 10:21 p.m. EST — Retired neurosurgeon Dr. Ben Carson asked a debate moderator Thursday night to repeat a question before answering it, causing social media to joke about whether he was asleep on stage. Carson has become famous for his laid-back attitude at GOP debates, which "Saturday Night Live" performer Jay Pharoah has spent the past few months impersonating

UPDATE: 10:10 p.m. EST — Billionaire Donald Trump scored points with northerners Thursday at the GOP debate when he fought Texas Sen. Ted Cruz on the latter's comments that Trump embodied "New York values." Trump responded by talking about the strength of the city after the 9/11 terrorist attack.

Twitter appeared impressed by Trump's rebuttal.

Other social media users, many of them New York residents, made fun of the concept itself.

UPDATE: 10:04 p.m. EST — New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie attacked a politician not even onstage at the Republican debate Thursday: President Barack Obama. Christie vowed to "kick [his] rear-end out of the White House." 

UPDATE: 9:57 p.m. EST — After mogul Donald Trump and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz had a brief shouting match about the latter's citizenship at the sixth GOP debate Thursday, Twitter users jumped on the drama. Several jokes revolved around former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush's grasps for speaking time.

UPDATE: 9:42 p.m. EST — Marco Rubio attacked Chris Christie for being too similar to President Barack Obama Thursday night. It was the latest trading of insults during a night full of heat.

UPDATE: 9:35 p.m. EST — Donald Trump admitted during the GOP debate Thursday that he is attacking Ted Cruz about his Canadian birth because he is improving in the polls. Twitter loved every minute of what, Marco Rubio, called an "episode of Court TV."

UPDATE: 9:28 p.m. EST — Social media was full of one-liners by the first commercial break in the sixth Republican debate Thursday. 

UPDATE: 9:20 p.m. EST — New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie accused President Barack Obama of painting too rosy a picture of the United States in Tuesday's State of the Union address. Christie, speaking at the sixth GOP debate Thursday night, said he was happy to hear the moderators mention events like the growth of the Islamic State group, North Korea's nuclear test claims and Iran's detention of 10 American sailors.

"I watched story time with Barack Obama. I gotta tell you, it sounded like everything in the world was going amazing," Christie said.

Twitter lit up immediately with jokes:

Original story:

The first Republican presidential debate of 2016 was set for Thursday night, and with just weeks to go until the Feb. 1 Iowa caucuses, it promised to be a good one. Front-runner Donald Trump and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz have been sparring all week over the latter's eligibility to run for president, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul decided to boycott the undercard debate because he didn't make the main one and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush was still trying to reclaim the spotlight.

Fox Business held two primary debates at 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. EST at the North Charleston Arena in South Carolina. The JV lineup included former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, while the mainstage participants were Trump, Cruz, Bush, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, retired neurosurgeon Dr. Ben Carson, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Ohio Gov. John Kasich.

Trump was in first place among the presidential hopefuls Thursday afternoon, with the backing of 35 percent of likely GOP primary voters. Cruz came in second with 19 percent, and Rubio joined him in the double digits with 11.3 percent. Carson came next, then Bush and Christie, according to Real Clear Politics.

Because the race was so tight and the caucuses were so imminent, pundits were expecting Thursday's debate to get heated. The Huffington Post wrote that "The Republican Debate Is Going To Be A Wild Free-For-All," while The Hill predicted a Cruz-Rubio dustup to accompany the Trump-Cruz "dogfight." The New York Times put it more delicately, reporting, "Face-offs held in the final weeks and days before the nominating contests tend to matter more. And the attacks tend to get rougher."

If the candidates don't accomplish what they're hoping to Thursday, they have one more chance before the Iowa caucuses: There's another GOP debate scheduled for Jan. 28 in Des Moines.

Check back for updates.