By Cox Media Group National Content Desk
BOULDER, Colo. – Republican presidential hopefuls sparred Wednesday night in their third debate – and, unsurprisingly, there were plenty of memorable moments.
Here are some of the best zingers from the face-off, hosted by CNBC in Boulder, Colorado:
1. Bush and Rubio duke it out. The Florida Sun Sentinel recently called for the resignation of Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, who reportedly has missed one-third of this year’s Senate votes.
Jeb Bush seemed to agree, telling Rubio to shape up or ship out.
“You should be showing up to work,” Bush said. “I mean literally, the Senate, what is it, like a French work week? You have like three days where you have to show up? You can campaign or just resign and let someone else take the job.”
Rubio was ready with a quick retort.
“The only reason why you’re [attacking me] now is because we’re running for the same position, and someone has convinced you that attacking me is going to help you,” he said.
2. Cruz calls out the debate moderators. Although plenty of candidates blasted the media in Wednesday’s matchup, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz made headlines with his attack, which received enthusiastic applause from the audience.
“The questions that have been asked so far in this debate illustrate why the American people don’t trust the media,” he said. “This is not a cage match. And if 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?”
He added, “The contrast with the Democratic debate, where every fawning question from the media was, ‘Which of you is more handsome and why?'”
3. Rubio takes aim at Hillary Clinton – and the media, too. The Florida senator also charged at media outlets while taking a swipe at the former secretary of state and Democratic presidential candidate.
“The Democrats have the ultimate super PAC – they’re called the mainstream media,” he said.
“Last week, Hillary Clinton went before a committee. She admitted she had sent emails to her family saying, ‘Hey, this attack in Benghazi was caused by al-Qaida-like elements.’ She spent over a week telling the families of those victims and the American people that it was because of a video. And yet the mainstream media is saying it was the greatest week in Hillary Clinton’s campaign. It was the week she got exposed as a liar. … But she has her super PAC helping her out – the American mainstream media.”
4. Christie blasts fantasy football topic. After Bush told moderators how he’d tackle regulation of the popular pastime, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie stepped in to shut down the line of questioning.
“Wait a second, we have $19 trillion in debt,” Christie said. “We have people out of work. We have ISIS and al-Qaida attacking us. And we’re talking about fantasy football? Can we stop?”
He added, “How about this? How about we get the government to do what they’re supposed to be doing, secure our borders, protect our people, and support American values and American families. Enough on fantasy football. Let people play. Who cares?”
5. Carson takes on “PC culture.” When Ben Carson was asked to address his views on homosexuality, the neurosurgeon said, “I believe that our Constitution protects everybody, regardless of their sexual orientation or any other aspect. I also believe that marriage is between one man and one woman. And there is no reason that you can’t be perfectly fair to the gay community.”
But his comments soon turned toward the issue of political correctness.
“They shouldn’t automatically assume that because you believe that marriage is between one man and one woman that you are a homophobe,” he said. “And this is one of the myths that the left perpetrates on our society, and this is how they frighten people and get people to shut up. You know, that’s what the PC culture is all about, and it’s destroying this nation.”