They came at him for playing rough with immigrant Polish workers and for playing nice with Hillary Clinton. They called him out for supporting universal health care and for his neutral position on the Middle East. They ripped his businesses that went bankrupt and his for-profit school (Trump University) that went belly up.
But at the center of the action in this debate carried by CNN and Telemundo was, once again, The Donald. He stood tall with the air of someone in command but under siege.
He swiveled to face Rubio on one side and Cruz on the other, steadfastly holding his own when the overtalk became a shouting match. Swinging his hands and arms in gestures to either side, he gave as good as he got in the rapid-fire marketplace of insults.
Ignore Rubio, he told the viewers, he’s “a choker” who has “meltdowns” — a reference to Rubio’s badly reviewed performance in the last New Hampshire debate on Feb. 6.
The two first-term senators, who have been chasing Trump in the polls and in February vote tallies, came at him on every issue their opposition research teams could muster.