Rubio took on Trump differently than Fiorina or Bush, dispatching the front-runner without attacking him directly, instead steering the debate toward his strengths.
When Trump pointed out Rubio’s voting absences in the Senate, Rubio refused to retort with an attack of his own.
“You’re right, I have missed some votes, and I’ll tell you why, Mr. Trump. Because in my years in the Senate, I’ve figured out very quickly that the political establishment in Washington, D.C. in both political parties is completely out of touch with the lives of our people,” Rubio said. “That’s why I’m missing votes. Because I am leaving the Senate, I’m not running for re-election, and I’m running for president because I know this: unless we have the right president, we cannot make America fulfill its potential, but with the right person in office, the 21st century can be the greatest era that our nation has ever known.”