According to data released by Twitter, Donald Trump dominated the Twittersphere, with a 51 percent share of the #GOPDebate Twitter conversation Thursday night.
Marco Rubio was a distant second with 21 percent, followed by Ted Cruz with 14, Ben Carson with nine and John Kasich with five.
The candidates at center stage, Trump, Cruz and Rubio -- who appeared to get more questions than either Kasich or Carson -- had several fiery exchanges, and some lit up social media as the top-tweeted moments.
1. Rubio and Trump: Say it again
Rubio pressed Trump on his plan to replace Obamacare.
"The nice part of the plan -- you'll have many different plans," Trump responded. "You'll have competition, you'll have so many different plans."
Rubio pounced. "Now he's repeating himself," he said, mocking Trump, who objected, "No, no, no." It was an interesting rhetorical gambit for Rubio, given that repetition had blown up his own debate performance just a few weeks ago, when Chris Christie decimated him over 25-second "memorized" lines. The audience rewarded the risk with applause, laughter and cheers for Rubio, even as Trump tried hard to remind them of Rubio's flubbed debate.
"I watched him melt down on stage," Trump said, as Rubio went on: "I see him repeat himself every night; he says five things, everyone's dumb, he's gonna make America great again..."
2. Trump to Cruz: Nervous?
This heated exchange transpired when Cruz took the tack that Trump had been "funding liberal Democratic politicians" for 40 years.
"I funded you. I funded him," Trump countered, addressing the audience. "Can you believe it?"
Cruz admitted that Trump had given him $5,000. He tried to go on, but Trump interrupted him by ridiculing Cruz to the audience, telling them, "He sent me his book with his autograph."
"Donald. Donald. Donald. I understand rules are very hard for you. They're very confusing," Cruz said.
"Mr. Trump, you're doing a great job," Trump said of the Cruz signature on the book he'd received.
"Donald, you can get back on your meds now?" Cruz cracked. "Donald -- Donald, relax."
"Go ahead," Trump said. "I'm relaxed. You're the basket case. Go ahead. Don't get nervous."
Cruz's acid response: "I promise you, Donald, there's nothing about you that makes anyone nervous."
3. Cruz's interrogation of Trump
Cruz accused Trump of advocating socialized health care. "Did you say if you want people to die on the streets, if you don't support socialized health care, you have no heart."
While Trump agreed that he wouldn't let people die on the streets if he were president, he denied Cruz's suggestion that he was liberal on health care.
"[My] plan is very simple. I will not -- we're going to have private -- we are going to have health care, but I will not allow people to die on the sidewalks and the streets of our country if I'm president," Trump said.