Thursday night's Republican debate officially kicked off when the last notes of the "Star-Spangled Banner" were drowned out by chants of "U.S.A.! U.S.A.!" The University of Houston stage featured the mere dregs of a once-robust primary field; five days before Super Tuesday, the only candidates left were Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, John Kasich and Ben Carson. But what the candidates lacked in numbers, they made up for in crazy-talk — and, at long last, some square blows to Trump. Here were some of the most bizarre moments and biggest zingers of the evening.
1. "Americans know that our nation is heading off the abyss of destruction." -Ben Carson
2. Donald Trump: "I'm the only one on this stage that's hired people."
Marco Rubio: "...Many from other countries, instead of hiring Americans."
3. "When I was leading the fight against the Gang of Eight amnesty bill, where was Donald? He was firing Dennis Rodman on Celebrity Apprentice." -Ted Cruz
4. "The wall just got 10 feet taller.... If I would have used even half of that word, it would have been a national scandal. This guy used a filthy, disgusting word on television, and he should be ashamed of himself." -Donald Trump, who called Ted Cruz a pussy, and dropped an f-bomb in New Hampshire recently, on Vincente Fox's comment Thursday that he's "not going to pay for that fucking wall" Trump keeps talking about on the U.S.-Mexico border
5. "If he builds the wall the way he built Trump Tower, he'll be using illegal immigrant labor to do it." -Marco Rubio
"Such a cute soundbite!" -Donald Trump
6. "You know what they got? They got to take a picture with a cardboard cutout of Donald Trump. That's what they got for $36,000." - Marco Rubio, on students at the sham Trump University
7. "If he hadn't inherited $200 million, you know where Donald Trump would be right now? Selling watches in Manhattan." -Marco Rubio
8. "First of all, I don't believe anything that Telemundo says." -Donald Trump, responding to a question from Telemundo host Maria Celeste Arras
9. "I love Telemundo." -Donald Trump, moments later
10. "We are one liberal justice away from a five-justice radical leftist majority that would undermine our religious liberty." - Ted Cruz
11. "Millions of women are helped by Planned Parenthood." -Donald Trump, correctly
12. "If you don't agree with their lifestyle, say a prayer for them when they leave." -John Kasich, on companies that are forced not to discriminate against same-sex couples
13. "Everybody has the same rights; nobody get extra rights." -Ben Carson on same-sex marriage
14. "The fruit salad of their life is what I'll look at." -Ben Carson, on picking a Supreme Court justice
15. "They're friends of mine, there's some right in the audience. One of them was just waving to me, he was laughing and smiling. He's not laughing so much anymore. Hi." -Donald Trump, on his insurance executive friends (or "friends," as the case may be)
16. "I don't repeat myself. I don't repeat myself." -Donald Trump
17. "If Uncle Joe is smoking like a chimney, everybody's going to hide his cigarettes because they're all interested in what's going on there." -Ben Carson, making the case for shared family health empowerment accounts
18. "Did you say if you want people to die on the streets, if you don't support socialized health care, you have no heart?" -Ted Cruz.
"Correct. I will not let people die on the streets if I'm president." -Donald Trump
19. "First of all, very few people listen to your radio show. That's the good news..." -Donald Trump, responding to a question from moderator Hugh Hewitt
20. "A poll just came out, a Bloomberg poll, where I am beating him so badly that it's, like, embarrassing even for me to say I'm beating him that badly." -Donald Trump to Ted Cruz
21. "Hey, if I can't beat her, you're really going to get killed, aren't you?" -Donald Trump to Ted Cruz, regarding Hillary Clinton
22. "Here's what the Palestinians do: They teach their four-year-old children that killing Jews is a glorious thing." -Marco Rubio
23. "Donald might able to build condos in the Palestinian areas, but this is not a real-estate deal." -Marco Rubio
24. "People say that I whine a lot because I don't get time. Well, I'm going to whine." -Ben Carson
25. "This guy's a choke artist, and this guy's a liar." -Donald Trump on Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz
26. "Can somebody attack me please?" -Ben Carson
27. "I'm relaxed. You're the basket case. Don't get nervous." -Donald Trump to Ted Cruz
28. "You know what you do when you're president? You lock the door! I do this all the time." -John Kasich, on how he would negotiate with Apple
29. "Several years ago, a movie was made about these hands. These hands by the grace of God have saved many lives." -Ben Carson in his closing remarks