Donald Trump is leading the race, but Marco Rubio owned the stage — finally turning against Trump in a late effort to block the real estate mogul from running away with the Republican nomination.
Rubio attacked Trump’s character. And Ted Cruz followed up by questioning Trump’s conservative credentials.
The big questions of the night: Which senator did a better job convincing voters they can best take on Trump? Did Rubio’s attacks and interruptions show a new side of himself? Did Cruz do enough to persuade people he’s worth another look? Or did Trump’s dismissive counters — Rubio is a “choke artist,” while Cruz is a “liar” — leave him looking like a strongman swatting away the sorts of politicians that turned his supporters furious in the first place?
Here are six takeaways from the final Republican debate before Super Tuesday:
Rubio stands up to Trump
From the opening minutes, Rubio mercilessly prodded, slammed and taunted Trump, talking over him in the sort of sustained way that Jeb Bush never could.
Rubio called the real estate mogul’s Trump University “a fake school.” He invoked Trump’s business record to question his sincerity on immigration, saying: “You’re the only person on this stage that’s ever been fined for hiring people that worked on your projects illegally.”