RECAP: The big GOP debate

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Bush, Trump Trade Verbal Jabs at Debate

Nine candidates are set to take the stage for the fifth prime-time Republican debate of the year.

Here are the candidates who will be on stage: Real-estate mogul Donald Trump, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Florida), former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R), Sen. Rand Paul (R-Kentucky), retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R), New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) and former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina.

For the second consecutive debate, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (R) was relegated to an an earlier, "undercard" debate.

See images from the debate:

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RECAP: The big GOP debate
Republican presidential candidate businesswoman Carly Fiorina (R) gestures as Florida Sen. Marco Rubio looks on during in the Republican Presidential Debate, hosted by CNN, at The Venetian Las Vegas on December 15, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada. AFP PHOTO/ ROBYN BECK / AFP / ROBYN BECK (Photo credit should read ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images)
Republican presidential candidate Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul gestures during the Republican Presidential Debate, hosted by CNN, at The Venetian Las Vegas on December 15, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada. AFP PHOTO/ ROBYN BECK / AFP / ROBYN BECK (Photo credit should read ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images)
Republican presidential candidate former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush speaks during the Republican Presidential Debate, hosted by CNN, at The Venetian Las Vegas on December 15, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada. AFP PHOTO/ ROBYN BECK / AFP / ROBYN BECK (Photo credit should read ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images)
Republican presidential candidate, businessman Donald Trump, speaks during the Republican Presidential Debate, hosted by CNN, at The Venetian Las Vegas on December 15, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada. AFP PHOTO/ ROBYN BECK / AFP / ROBYN BECK (Photo credit should read ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images)
Republican presidential candidate, retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, speaks during the Republican Presidential Debate, hosted by CNN, at The Venetian Las Vegas on December 15, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada. AFP PHOTO/ ROBYN BECK / AFP / ROBYN BECK (Photo credit should read ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images)
Donald Trump is seen through the heads of audience members during the CNN Republican presidential debate at the Venetian Hotel & Casino on Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2015, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Ted Cruz, right, speaks as Donald Trump looks on during the CNN Republican presidential debate at the Venetian Hotel & Casino on Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2015, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
LAS VEGAS, NV - DECEMBER 15: Republican presidential candidate U.S. Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) (R) speaks as New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie listens during the CNN Republican presidential debate on December 15, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada. This is the last GOP debate of the year, with U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) gaining in the polls in Iowa and other early voting states and Donald Trump rising in national polls. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Republican presidential candidate businesswoman Carly Fiorina speaks during the Republican Presidential Debate, hosted by CNN, at The Venetian Las Vegas on December 15, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada. AFP PHOTO/ ROBYN BECK / AFP / ROBYN BECK (Photo credit should read ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images)
Ben Carson speaks during the CNN Republican presidential debate at the Venetian Hotel & Casino on Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2015, in Las Vegas. Carson said his experience as a pediatric neurosurgeon prepared him to make tough choices as a leader. Asked if he could be "ruthless" as a commander-in-chief and order airstrikes that could kill children, Carson said that when he told children heâd have to take out a brain tumor "they donât like me very much, at that point. But later on they love me." (AP Photo/John Locher)
Donald Trump, second from left, makes a point as Ben Carson, left, Ted Cruz, second from right, and Jeb Bush look on during the CNN Republican presidential debate at the Venetian Hotel & Casino on Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2015, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
LAS VEGAS, NV - DECEMBER 15: Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is introduced during the CNN presidential debate at The Venetian Las Vegas on December 15, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Thirteen Republican presidential candidates are participating in the fifth set of Republican presidential debates. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - DECEMBER 15: Republican presidential candidates (L-R) Ben Carson, Donald Trump and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) stand on stage as they are introduced during the CNN presidential debate at The Venetian Las Vegas on December 15, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Thirteen Republican presidential candidates are participating in the fifth set of Republican presidential debates. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
Ben Carson, left, and Donald Trump laugh during the CNN Republican presidential debate at the Venetian Hotel & Casino on Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2015, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Jeb Bush, right, makes a point as Ted Cruz looks on during the CNN Republican presidential debate at the Venetian Hotel & Casino on Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2015, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Marco Rubio listens to debate moderator Wolf Blitzer during the CNN Republican presidential debate at the Venetian Hotel & Casino on Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2015, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Ted Cruz speaks during the CNN Republican presidential debate at the Venetian Hotel & Casino on Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2015, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
LAS VEGAS, NV - DECEMBER 15: Republican presidential candidate U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) speaks during the CNN Republican presidential debate on December 15, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada. This is the last GOP debate of the year, with U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) gaining in the polls in Iowa and other early voting states and Donald Trump rising in national polls. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - DECEMBER 15: Republican presidential candidate U.S. Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) speaks during the CNN Republican presidential debate on December 15, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada. This is the last GOP debate of the year, with U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) gaining in the polls in Iowa and other early voting states and Donald Trump rising in national polls. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Republican presidential candidate Ohio Governor John Kasich gestures as he speaks during the Republican Presidential Debate, hosted by CNN, at The Venetian Las Vegas on December 15, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada. AFP PHOTO/ ROBYN BECK / AFP / ROBYN BECK (Photo credit should read ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images)
Republican presidential candidate businesswoman Carly Fiorina speaks during the Republican Presidential Debate, hosted by CNN, at The Venetian Las Vegas on December 15, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada. AFP PHOTO/ ROBYN BECK / AFP / ROBYN BECK (Photo credit should read ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - DECEMBER 15: Republican presidential candidate U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) waves as he walks onstage during the CNN Republican presidential debate on December 15, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada. This is the last GOP debate of the year, with U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) gaining in the polls in Iowa and other early voting states and Donald Trump rising in national polls. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Donald Trump, left, and Ted Cruz stand together during the CNN Republican presidential debate at the Venetian Hotel & Casino on Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2015, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Jeb Bush, right, speaks as Ted Cruz looks on during the CNN Republican presidential debate at the Venetian Hotel & Casino on Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2015, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Donald Trump speaks during the CNN Republican presidential debate at the Venetian Hotel & Casino on Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2015, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Carly Fiorina, left, responds to a question from debate moderator Wolf Blitzer during the CNN Republican presidential debate at the Venetian Hotel & Casino on Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2015, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Marco Rubio speaks during the CNN Republican presidential debate at the Venetian Hotel & Casino on Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2015, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Jeb Bush speaks during the CNN Republican presidential debate at the Venetian Hotel & Casino on Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2015, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Chris Christie speaks during the CNN Republican presidential debate at the Venetian Hotel & Casino on Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2015, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Donald Trump, left, and Ted Cruz stand together during the CNN Republican presidential debate at the Venetian Hotel & Casino on Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2015, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Ben Carson speaks during the CNN Republican presidential debate at the Venetian Hotel & Casino on Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2015, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Donald Trump, left, and Ted Cruz shakes hands at the start of the CNN Republican presidential debate at the Venetian Hotel & Casino on Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2015, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Republican presidential candidate Texas Sen. Ted Cruz (L) shakes hands with former Gov. Florida Jeb Bush before the start of the Republican Presidential Debate, hosted by CNN, at The Venetian Las Vegas on December 15, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada. AFP PHOTO / ROBYN BECK / AFP / ROBYN BECK (Photo credit should read ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images)
Republican presidential candidates Florida Sen. Marco Rubio greets retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson before the start of the Republican Presidential Debate, hosted by CNN, at The Venetian Las Vegas on December 15, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada. AFP PHOTO / ROBYN BECK / AFP / ROBYN BECK (Photo credit should read ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - DECEMBER 15: Republican presidential candidates Donald Trump (L) and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) stand on stage as they are introduced during the CNN presidential debate at The Venetian Las Vegas on December 15, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Thirteen Republican presidential candidates are participating in the fifth set of Republican presidential debates. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
2016 Republican presidential candidates Senator Marco Rubio, a Republican from Florida, from left, Ben Carson, retired neurosurgeon, Donald Trump, president and chief executive of Trump Organization Inc., Senator Ted Cruz, a Republican from Texas, and Jeb Bush, former governor of Florida, listen to the U.S. National Anthem during the Republican presidential candidate debate at The Venetian in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S., on Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2015. With less than two months remaining before the Feb. 1 Iowa caucuses and the Feb. 9 New Hampshire primary, middle-of-the-pack candidates hoping for a late surge in the polls have little choice but to come out swinging in tonight's fifth Republican debate. Photographer: Ruth Fremson/Pool via Bloomberg
Republican presidential candidates, from left, John Kasich, Carly Fiorina, Marco Rubio, Ben Carson, Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, and Rand Paul take the stage during the CNN Republican presidential debate at the Venetian Hotel & Casino on Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2015, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
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He he joined Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina), former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pennsylvania), and former New York Gov. George Pataki (R).

The main affair could get chippy, as candidates look to improve their standings with fewer than 50 days before the first votes are cast in the primary process.

Check out our continuous coverage below:

11:00 p.m. — Christie again mentions that his wife worked near the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, a familiar story that he tells on the campaign trail.

10:55 p.m. — Trump reiterated that he would not run as an independent, and would commit to running as a Republican.

"Are you ready to reassure Republicans tonight that you are ready to run as a Republican and abide by the decision of the Republicans?" Moderator Hugh Hewitt.

"I really am," Trump responded.

10:47 p.m. — Talking about the hack of the Office of Inspector General that exposed the personal information of potentially millions of federal employees, Bush said that it was possibly a good thing that members of the press had their information stolen as well.

"Maybe that's the only part that's good news, so that you guys can get a feel for what it's like now to see this type of attack," Bush said, gesturing to reporters.

10:36 p.m. — Kasich laid out why he would pause the entry of Syrian refugees into the US, despite the fact that people allegedly accuse Kasich of having "too big a heart."

"Look, people have accused me at times of having too big of a heart. You know, that's OK. But I have to also say, I must keep the people of my state safe, so take a pause," Kasich said.

10:33 p.m. — When asked if he'd send refugees home, Paul dodged the question.

"I haven't taken a position on sending anyone home," Paul said.

10:16 p.m. — Bush mocked Trump's past admission that he gets some of his foreign policy advice from the Sunday morning political shows.

"I won't get my information from 'the shows.' I don't know if that's Saturday morning or Sunday morning. I don't know which one," Bush said, a reference to Saturday morning cartoons.

Trump scoffed at Bush's comments, mentioning that his poll numbers were far higher than the former governor's.

10:09 p.m. — After several debates of hedging slightly on foreign policy questions, Paul coherently laid out his libertarian-minded foreign policy approach to Syria and Iraq, warning against increased military intervention without a clear strategy for managing the situation.

"We have to have a more realistic foreign policy, and not a utopian one where we say, 'Oh, we're going to spread freedom and democracy and everybody in the Middle East is going to love us," Paul said. "They're not going to love us."

After Christie said that he'd be willing to institute a no-fly zone in Syria, and would shoot down Russian planes flying in the region, Paul hit Christie.

"If you're in favor of World War III, I think you've got your candidate," Paul said.

10:06 p.m. — Cruz attempted to talk over CNN co-moderator Hugh Hewitt. As Cruz continued to speak, he was met with a few scattered boos from the audience.

10:02 p.m. — After Trump said that the US should not be exhausting the federal budget overseas with military conflict, Fiorina slammed Trump.

"That's exactly what President Obama said. I'm amazed to hear that from a Republican presidential candidate," Fiorina said.

9:46 p.m. — When asked about if he would be ready to order airstrikes that would kill civilians, Carson made an analogy to his time performing brain surgery on young children.

"We're going to have to open your head up and take out this tumor," Carson said.

"They're not happy about it believe me and they don't like me very much at that point," Carson said of meeting with his young patients. "But later on, they love me."

Hewitt then asked if Carson would be "OK with the deaths of thousands of innocent children and civilians?"

"You got it. You got it," Carson responded.

9:45 p.m. — Trump's suggestion that he would shut down parts of the Internet where suspected terrorists communicate was met with boos. Scoffing at hostile members of the audience, the real-estate mogul immediately responded.

"These are people that want to kill us, folks," Trump said. "And you're objecting to us infiltrating their conversations? I don't think so. I don't think so."

9:37 p.m. — Trump and Bush had a heated back-and-forth about immigration and Trump's suggestion that families of terrorists should be punished for their family members' actions.

"Two months ago, Donald Trump said that ISIS was not our fight," Bush said.

"And he gets his foreign policy experience from the shows. That is not a serious kind of candidate. We need someone that thinks this through that can lead our country to safety and security."

The exchange quickly devolved into personal attacks.

"I know that you're trying to build up your energy, Jeb, but it's not working," Trump said.

"Donald, you're not going to be able to insult your way to the presidency," Bush responded moments later.

9:31 p.m. — Cruz said that the US government's "political correctness" prevented the government from identifying social media posts that could've tipped off law enforcement before the attack in San Bernardino, California that left 14 people dead.

"Political correctness is killing people," Cruz said.

Despite Cruz's assertion that the female San Bernardino shooter Tashfeen Malik made a "public call to jihad," news outlets including CNN reported this week that Malik's social media messages about jihad were posted on a private Facebook profile using a pseudonym.

9:26 p.m. — Trump said that he would be "open to closing down" parts of the Internet where suspected terrorists communicate.

"I don't want them using our Internet," Trump said.

"We should be using our brilliant people, our most brilliant minds, to figure out how ISIS cannot use the Internet."

Kasich got a chance to respond, saying that Trump's suggestion was not a good idea.

9:20 p.m. — Christie mocked Cruz and Rubio's back-and-forth over the USA Freedom Act, saying that it was typical of the argumentative nature of Congress.

"If your eyes are glazed over like mine, this is what it's like to be on the floor of the US Senate," Christie said.

9:14 p.m. — Rubio and Cruz had a quick exchange about the USA Freedom Act, a bill passed earlier this year which curbed the National Security Agency's dragnet telephone metadata surveillance program. Rubio slammed Cruz for supporting the bill.

"Marco knows what he's saying isn't true," Cruz said. "You know, Mark Levin wrote a column last week that says that the attack ads his super PAC are running are saying the same thing: That they are knowingly false, and they are in fact Alisky-like attacks like Barack Obama."

Paul also jumped in, disagreeing with Rubio as well.

"Rubio has more allegiance to Chuck Schumer and liberals than the Republican party," Paul said.

9:12 p.m. — Kasich criticized the Paris Climate Conference, saying that the US should have been involved in a conference to build a military coalition against ISIS in Syria.

9:05 p.m. — Cruz dodged a question from co-moderator radio host Hugh Hewitt about why he said that he disagreed with Trump's plan to ban Muslims from coming to the US.

"Everyone understands why Mr. Trump has suggested what he has," Cruz said.

9:02 p.m. — Bush criticized Trump's plan to ban Muslims from coming to the US.

"Donald is great at the one-liners, but he's a chaos candidate and he'd be a chaos president," Bush said. "He would not be the commander in chief we need to keep our country safe."

SEE ALSO: Name that tune! Mocking US Republicans, #GOPSongs goes viral on Twitter

8:57 p.m. — During his opening statement, Carson asked the audience for a moment of silence for the victims of a shooting in San Bernardino, California that left 14 people dead.

8:55 p.m. — In his opening remarks, Rubio recalled when his grandfather talked to him about the state of the nation, smoking three cigars a day.

8:49 p.m. — Paul slammed Trump in his opening statement, citing Trump's suggestion that the US may need to shut down parts of the Internet to combat religious extremists.

"The question is — how do we keep America safe from terrorism? Trump says we outta close down 'that Internet thing,'" Paul said. "The question really is — what does he really mean by that? Like they do in North Korea? Like they do in China?"

NOW WATCH: Jeb Bush goes off on Trump after scrapping his trip to Israel

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