LIVE: The Florida GOP debate

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GOP Debate Tonight in Miami

The clock is ticking for Donald Trump's primary rivals attempt toslow him down as the Republican Party holds its 12th debate on Thursday in Miami.

Trump, the GOP presidential frontrunner, said he's going for the "knockout punch" by winning Florida and Ohio, the two biggest winner-take-all states in terms of delegates. Both states vote next week.

Florida, the home state of Sen. Marco Rubio, is the largest winner-take-all state of the season. It awards 99 delegates to its victor. Rubio trails Trump in his state by roughly 15 points, according to the the RealClearPolitics average of several polls.

Click through reactions to the CNN debate here:

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Twitter Reactions GOP debate 3/10
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LIVE: The Florida GOP debate
Asked about violent rallies, Trump defends his supporters as angry patriots. Then totally ignores question about his tone inciting violence.
This debate is so subdued. I am so disappointed.
Trump: "Nobody knows the system better than me."
How long until the first question about Trump steaks? #GOPDebate
A rather tame start to the #GOPDebate
Marco seems nervous. This is his home court... Yikes. #GOPDebate
Is it just me, or is everyone just talking in circles? #GOPDebate
#GOPDebate Kasich is great VP material
Donald Trump giving Education Secretary to guy who thinks Joseph built the pyramids to hold grain.
Trump says Ben Carson will be very involved in his education policy.
#Carson is endorsing #Trump?? #GOPDebate
What word did we use before we described everything as a DISASTER?
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The prospects seem bit better for Gov. John Kasich in his home state. A recent Fox News poll had Kasich leading Trump by five points in Ohio, and he trails Trump in the RealClearPolitics average by just 2.5%. The Buckeye State, with 66 delegates, is the second largest winner-take-all primary state for the GOP.

SEE ALSO: Here are some potential Donald Trump running mates if he wins the GOP nomination

In terms of delegates, Rubio and Kasich are far behind Trump and the fourth GOP candidate, Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, who has won several primary contests against Trump. But Trump nevertheless holds a nearly 100-delegate lead over Cruz.

Thursday's CNN debate is likely the candidates' final opportunity make an impression on many voters in the key states voting next Tuesday. The debate will be moderated by CNN's Jake Tapper. It begins at 8:30 p.m. and is being held at the University of Miami in Miami, Florida.

See below for updates:

10:33 p.m. EST: "They have anger that's unbelievable," Trump said when asked about the protester who allegedly sucker punched a protester at a Wednesday rally of his.

"I certainly don't condone that at all Jake," he said, adding, "We have some protesters who are bad dudes. They have done bad things. They are swinging. They are really dangerous."

10:25 p.m. EST: "They have anger that's unbelievable," Trump said when asked about the protester who allegedly sucker punched a protester at a Wednesday rally of his.

"I certainly don't condone that at all Jake," he said, adding, "We have some protesters who are bad dudes. They have done bad things. They are swinging. They are really dangerous."

10:25 p.m. EST: Trump gave an odd answer about whether a "strong" leader is a compliment or not.

Tapper asked him about his previous statements where he said Russian President Vladimir Putin was a "strong" leader and that the Chinese government displayed "strength" in Tiananmen Square.

Trump said he doesn't equate "strong" with the leader being good, and he didn't equate it with an endorsement.

10:19 p.m. EST: "Sure, the climate is changing ... there has never been a time when the climate has not changed," Rubio said when a question from Miami's mayor was posed about rising sea levels causing flooding in the city.

"Is there a law in Washington we can pass to change the weather," he said. "There's no such thing."

10:01 p.m. EST: Kasich said he doesn't "believe there is any longterm permanent peace solution" between the Israelis and the Palestinians.

9:58 p.m. EST: "I was the grand marshal of the Israeli Day parade down Fifth Avenue," Trump said when asked who's side he's on in the Israeli/Palestinian conflict.

Trump has insisted that a position of neutrality is needed to make a deal for peace in the country.

9:55 p.m. EST: "The answer is not simply yelling 'China bad. Muslims bad,'" Cruz said in an obvious shot at Trump's rhetoric throughout the campaign.

9:46 p.m. EST: Tapper asked Trump about his statement to CNN on Wednesday that "Islam hates us."

"I mean a lot of them," Trump said, adding that he's sticking by his previous statement.

Rubio then said "Presidents can't just say whatever they want."

He added that Trump's words have consequences around the world.

"I'm not interested in being politically correct," Rubio said. "I'm interested in being correct."

Trump shot back, saying how, although he'd obey the law, he'd expand the law regarding torture.

Rubio said "of course" he wouldn't try and kill the families of terrorists.

9:38 p.m. EST: "He's right about the problems. But his solutions don't work," Cruz said about Trump's policy points.

9:33 p.m. EST: "So far, I cannot believe how civil it's been up here," Trump said.

9:28 p.m. EST: Presented with a potential conflict with Rubio, Trump, sounding much more presidential, didn't take the bait. Rubio, who wasn't quite attacking the candidate himself, said Trump's plan to cut fraud and abuse wasn't quite enough.

Trump was then asked what he thought about Rubio saying his numbers didn't add up. Trump responded, saying he didn't think Rubio said that, and went into how he believes the government doesn't properly bid out its projects, which he said he will do a better job of in office, making up budget deficits in the process.

9:25 p.m. EST: "It's a very, very, very boring thing to watch," Trump said about the Democratic primary race between former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont.

9:17 p.m. EST: Trump admitted what many confirmed hours before — retired neurosurgeon and former 2016 GOP presidential candidate Ben Carson will be endorsing him tomorrow.

"I was with Dr. Ben Carson today, who's endorsing me by the way tomorrow morning," Trump said, adding he'd want Carson to work with him on education policy.

9:15 p.m. EST: The candidates have spoken for the first fifteen minutes about their positions on both trade and immigration — and they have yet to attack each other.

9:12 p.m. EST: Kasich said he would possibly be "running for president of Croatia" at the moment if his family wasn't able to immigrate to the United States.

Images from the CNN debate:

23 PHOTOS
GOP debate at University of Miami
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LIVE: The Florida GOP debate
Republican presidential candidate, businessman Donald Trump, right and Republican presidential candidate, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., speak during a break in the Republican presidential debate sponsored by CNN, Salem Media Group and the Washington Times at the University of Miami, Thursday, March 10, 2016, in Coral Gables, Fla. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
Republican presidential candidate, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, left, answers a question as Republican presidential candidate, Ohio Gov. John Kasich , listens, during the Republican presidential debate sponsored by CNN, Salem Media Group and the Washington Times at the University of Miami, Thursday, March 10, 2016, in Coral Gables, Fla. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
Republican presidential candidate, businessman Donald Trump speaks during the Republican presidential debate sponsored by CNN, Salem Media Group and the Washington Times at the University of Miami, Thursday, March 10, 2016, in Coral Gables, Fla. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
Republican presidential candidate, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., answers a question as CNN moderator Jake Tapper listens, during the Republican presidential debate sponsored by CNN, Salem Media Group and the Washington Times at the University of Miami, Thursday, March 10, 2016, in Coral Gables, Fla. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
Republican presidential candidate, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, speaks during the Republican presidential debate sponsored by CNN, Salem Media Group and the Washington Times at the University of Miami, Thursday, March 10, 2016, in Coral Gables, Fla. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
Republican presidential candidates Donald Trump, speaks as Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, Ohio Gov. John Kasich, right, and Republican presidential candidate, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., left, listen, during the Republican presidential debate sponsored by CNN, Salem Media Group and the Washington Times at the University of Miami, Thursday, March 10, 2016, in Coral Gables, Fla. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
Republican Presidential candidate Ted Cruz speaks during the CNN Debate in Miami on March 10, 2016. / AFP / RHONA WISE (Photo credit should read RHONA WISE/AFP/Getty Images)
Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during the CNN Debate in Miami on March 10, 2016. / AFP / RHONA WISE (Photo credit should read RHONA WISE/AFP/Getty Images)
Republican Presidential candidate, Florida Senator Marco Rubio speaks during the CNN Debate in Miami on March 10, 2016. / AFP / RHONA WISE (Photo credit should read RHONA WISE/AFP/Getty Images)
CORAL GABLES, FL - MARCH 10: Republican presidential candidates, Donald Trump and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), are seen during the CNN, Salem Media Group, The Washington Times Republican Presidential Primary Debate on the campus of the University of Miami on March 10, 2016 in Coral Gables, Florida. The candidates continue to campaign before the March 15th Florida primary. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
Republican presidential candidate, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, speaks during the Republican presidential debate sponsored by CNN, Salem Media Group and the Washington Times at the University of Miami, Thursday, March 10, 2016, in Coral Gables, Fla. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
Republican presidential candidate, businessman Donald Trump, speaks during the Republican presidential debate sponsored by CNN, Salem Media Group and the Washington Times at the University of Miami, Thursday, March 10, 2016, in Coral Gables, Fla. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
Republican presidential candidate, Ohio Gov. John Kasich, speaks during the Republican presidential debate sponsored by CNN, Salem Media Group and the Washington Times at the University of Miami, Thursday, March 10, 2016, in Coral Gables, Fla. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
Republican presidential candidate, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., speaks during the Republican presidential debate sponsored by CNN, Salem Media Group and the Washington Times at the University of Miami, Thursday, March 10, 2016, in Coral Gables, Fla. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
Republican presidential candidates, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., left, Donald Trump, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and Ohio Gov. John Kasich, right, stand together before the start of the Republican presidential debate sponsored by CNN, Salem Media Group and the Washington Times at the University of Miami, Thursday, March 10, 2016, in Coral Gables, Fla. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
CORAL GABLES, FL - MARCH 10: Republican presidential candidates, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), Donald Trump, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), and Ohio Gov. John Kasich listen to the national anthem before the CNN, Salem Media Group, The Washington Times Republican Presidential Primary Debate on the campus of the University of Miami on March 10, 2016 in Coral Gables, Florida. The candidates continue to campaign before the March 15th Florida primary. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
Republican presidential candidate, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, left, shakes hands with Republican presidential candidate, Ohio Gov. John Kasich, at the start of the Republican presidential debate sponsored by CNN, Salem Media Group and the Washington Times at the University of Miami, Thursday, March 10, 2016, in Coral Gables, Fla. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
CORAL GABLES, FL - MARCH 10: Republican presidential candidates Donald Trump and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), along with Ohio Gov. John Kasich and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) (not seen) listen to the national anthem before the start of the CNN, Salem Media Group, The Washington Times Republican Presidential Primary Debate on the campus of the University of Miami on March 10, 2016 in Coral Gables, Florida. The candidates continue to campaign before the March 15th Florida primary. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
CORAL GABLES, FL - MARCH 10: Republican presidential candidates, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), Donald Trump and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) are seen during the CNN, Salem Media Group, The Washington Times Republican Presidential Primary Debate on the campus of the University of Miami on March 10, 2016 in Coral Gables, Florida. The candidates continue to campaign before the March 15th Florida primary. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
CORAL GABLES, FL - MARCH 10: Republican presidential candidates, Donald Trump, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), and Ohio Gov. John Kasich stand on stage as they arrive for the CNN, Salem Media Group, The Washington Times Republican Presidential Primary Debate on the campus of the University of Miami on March 10, 2016 in Coral Gables, Florida. The candidates continue to campaign before the March 15th Florida primary. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
Republican Presidential candidate and Texas Senator Ted Cruz speaks during the CNN Republican Presidential Debate March 10, 2016 in Miami, Florida. / AFP / RHONA WISE (Photo credit should read RHONA WISE/AFP/Getty Images)
Republican Presidential candidates (L-R) Marco Rubio, Donald Trump, Ted Cruz and John Kasich participate in the CNN Presidential Debate March 10, 2016 in Miami. / AFP / RHONA WISE (Photo credit should read RHONA WISE/AFP/Getty Images)
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