They may have hoped to win over viewers with their principles and policies – but Republican presidential candidates weren’t short on one-liners, either, in their first major clash.
Donald Trump, Chris Christie, Mike Huckabee and Rand Paul all had a zinger up their sleeves in the lengthy clash Thursday night at the Quicken Loans arena in Cleveland, Ohio.
Even more demure candidates like Jeb Bush and Scott Walker managed to raise a laugh alongside those famous for running their mouths, with less popular candidates in their first-round debates distinguishing themselves as well.
The former Arkansas governor, 59, made a self-deprecating jibe about his own age while attacking the state of investment in the U.S. military.
He said: ‘A lot of the B-52s we’re flying, we’ve only got 44 in service combat ready, and the fact is most of them are older than me… and that’s pretty scary’.
The outspoken New Jersey governor had harsh words for Kentucky senator Rand Paul when the two clashed over NSA collection of phone records.
Paul said that he wanted to stop bulk collection and only target those whom authorities already suspect of wrongdoing – which Christie said was impractical and ‘ridiculous’.
But when Paul yelled ‘get a warrant!’ at him, Christie responded: ‘Listen Senator, you know, when you’re sitting in a subcommittee just blowing hot air about this, you can say things like that.
‘When you’re responsible for protecting the lives of the American people, then what you need to do is to make sure you use the system the way it’s supposed to work.’
Usually known as the straight man, Bush managed to inject a burst of humor – and a Sopranos reference – when describing his record while governor of Florida.
Bush said: ‘They call me Veto Corleone… because I vetoed 2,500 separate line items in the budget.’
The pun refers to Vito Corleone, the top New York mafioso in the Godfather films. He has used the joke before, but it still played well among the audience.
Read more: dailymail.co.uk