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GOP Debate Recap: Republican Rivals Pile On Trump in Detroit

'Little Marco,' Hand Size Are Hot Topics at Debate 1:21

Donald Trump's GOP rivals hit the front-runner with a constant stream of attacks in an effort to halt his momentum during Thursday's Republican presidential debate in Detroit.

It was the first debate following Super Tuesday, which saw Donald Trump's lead grow in the race for the nomination.

With a battle raging inside the GOP over how to stop Trump's candidacy, Sens. Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio and Gov. John Kasich built the case against Trump with time running out to stop him from becoming the nominee.

Ben Carson, the fifth remaining GOP candidate, did not attend.

A full recap of the Fox News debate can be found in the NBC News live blog below:

Recap: Detroit GOP Debate

Anna Brand

11th GOP Debate: Check!

11th GOP Debate: Check!

That's a wrap for the Fox News Republican debate in Detroit. For the most heated and critical moments -- and there were a lot -- check out the live blog below.

Watch the Best Moments From the GOP Debate 2:05

For more analysis on the 2016 election head to NBC's Decision 2016 page.

And as always, feedback is welcome @NBCNews.

Anna Brand

The Final Words of the Night (at Least on Stage)

The Final Words of the Night (at Least on Stage)

John Kasich was all about no man left behind. "I have a record of being able to solve problems," he said. "As president, I will go back to Washington" with the "the formulas I've used" and "send power to fix communities to restore the spirit of America."

Marco Rubio on the opportunity that's out there. "If we get this election right and do what needs to be done .... the 21st century will be the greatest."

Ted Cruz talking to soldiers, marines, moms, dads, and sisters fighting for this country, plus police officers, fire fighters, first responders and more: "You've had a president who doesn't agree with you. That is wrong," Cruz said. "In January, 2017 it will end."

Donald Trump said hang tight, "You're going to be very proud of this country in just a few years."

Republican Candidates Say They'll Support Eventual Nominee -- Even Trump

Republican Candidates Say They'll Support Eventual Nominee -- Even Trump

Each of the candidates on stage said they would support the eventual Republican presidential nominee, even if it's Donald Trump.

Marco Rubio said he would support the GOP nominee because Hillary Clinton must be defeated in November.

Ted Cruz said he will support the GOP nominee because he gave the Republican National Committee his word that he would.

John Kasich said he thought he would be the eventual nominee, but conceded that he would support Trump if the real estate developer clinches the title.

Trump, who has flirted with the idea of a third-party run, said he has attracted "millions" of people to the Republican Party. He said he will support the Republican nominee if it's not him.

Anna Brand

Clinton Camp Hits GOPers on Twitter During Debate

Clinton Camp Hits GOPers on Twitter During Debate

That GIF.

Commercial Break! Here's What People Are Searching Online

Commercial Break! Here's What People Are Searching Online

Before the 10 PM hour, Google saw a huge spike in searches for Sen. Ted Cruz. Donald Trump, however, remains the top searched candidate of the night.

And here's what people are talking about on Twitter:

Andrew Rafferty

Kasich Says he Hoped "Things Would Settle Down" after Gay Marriage Ruling

Kasich Says he Hoped "Things Would Settle Down" after Gay Marriage Ruling

Ohio Gov. John Kasich said he hoped "things would settle down" after last year's Supreme Court ruling legalizing same-sex marriage and urged Americans to stop suing each other for discrimination against their sexual orientation.

"Do gay marriage dissenters have rights?" Fox News host Bret Baier asked Kasich.

WATCH: Kasich: 'I will make America great'

Kasich said that if a photographer does not want to work a same-sex marriage ceremony, "find another photographer, don't sue them in court."

Kasich and Ted Cruz both spoke out against the 2015 decision. But when it comes to adoption rights for gay couples, Cruz said it should be "decided at the state level."

Anna Brand

Something Rubio, Trump and Cruz Agree On

Something Rubio, Trump and Cruz Agree On

Asked whether there should be restrictions on the 2nd Amendment, the three GOP frontrunners were in agreement: "No."

We will protect the 2nd Amendment when I'm president," Marco Rubio said. "If you pass a law, I'll follow it. A criminal will not do it."

"Gun laws are not effective," Rubio added. "Criminals will always be well armed."

Donald Trump piggybacked with a solid "no," he is not in favor restrictions on the 2nd Amendment. "I do not support the ban on assault weapons anymore," he said.

Ted Cruz chimed in: "If you care about the 2nd Amendment, then you need to ask who on this stage will not cut a deal with your 2nd Amendment rights."

Anna Brand

Cruz: Save Detroit By Repealing Obamacare

Cruz: Save Detroit By Repealing Obamacare

Asked how Ted Cruz would bring manufacturing jobs back to Detroit, the Texas senator said if you "lift the regulations," you "appeal Obamacare," which is taking away jobs.

"I will pull back the regulations," Cruz said, adding that his tax plan, among other things, will help America compete on a "fair and level playing field."

Kasich Keeps It Positive

Kasich Keeps It Positive

Gov. John Kasich may not be getting much speaking time, but he isn't a man for bickering.

"I appreciate the discussion back and forth," Kasich said referencing tonight's constant back and forth between his three competitors. "But there are a lot of people out there yearning for somebody to bring American back."

He added, "Let's stop fighting!"

Earlier in the night the Ohio governor pointed out that he is the only candidate in the race who actually balanced the budget, worked directly with Reagan, and led a state. Those qualities, he says, that are necessary for a "tested" commander-in-chief.

"People want to know what can you do to solve the problems in Washington," Kasich said. "They want to belive they have the power to fix things where they live and they want the power back so they can do things in their community."

Fiery Kasich Talks Budget During Debate 0:40

Rubio: 'What Happened in Flint Was a Terrible Thing'

Rubio: 'What Happened in Flint Was a Terrible Thing'

Asked about the ongoing water crisis in Flint, Michigan, Marco Rubio said, "What happened in Flint was a terrible thing."

He said he and other Republican candidates have discussed the issue, and hit Democrats for what he said was the politicization of the crisis. Rubio said he doesn't believe local officials woke up one morning with the intention of poisoning people with lead.

"All of us are outraged by what happened," Rubio said.

Andrew Rafferty

Trump Defends his 'University'

Trump Defends his 'University'

Donald Trump's rivals went after the frontrunner for Trump University, the failed enterprise that some participants allege was a fraud.

"He is trying to do to the American people what he did to the people who signed up for this course," Rubio said.

Plaintiffs in the civil case say they signed up for the course to learn Trump's secrets to success. They then were asked for more and more money, while getting little in return, they say.

"Let's see what happens in court," Trump said. He claimed most people who spent money on the course gave it high marks after completion.

Ted Cruz said Republicans are in danger of selecting a nominee facing legal troubles in the heat of the race.

"It's a minor civil case," Trump shot back.

Dealing With ISIS in Libya

Dealing With ISIS in Libya

Marco Rubio, who has called for inserting American special operations forces in greater number into Iraq and Syria, said tonight he would also place them Libya in order to battle ISIS there.

"They do need to be defeated on the ground," Rubio said of the group, adding that the effort will require a "significant number" of American special operations forces and air power.

"That will include, if necessary, operating spaces in Libya," Rubio added.

ISIS, which is headquartered in Syria and holds several large cities in western Iraq, has in recent months taken firmer root in Libya, largely outside of the reach of the American air campaign.

Speaking next, Ohio Gov. John Kasich also said ISIS needs to be pursued in Libya, but he said special operations forces should not be the key element in the strategy.

"I mean, that's not going to work," Kasich said, proposing a coalition approach in the style of the 1991 Persian Gulf War.

"We have to be there on the ground in significant numbers," Kasich said.

Trump on Conflicting Statements: You Have to Be Flexible

Trump on Conflicting Statements: You Have to Be Flexible

Donald Trump defended making conflicting statements on issues including the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the global refugee crisis by saying, "You have to show a degree of flexibility."

Trump appeared more humble than usual after Fox News moderator Megyn Kelly played clips of Trump appearing to change positions on the aforementioned issues.

"I have a very strong core, but I've never seen a successful person who wasn't flexible, who didn't have a certain degree of flexibility," Trump said.

Anna Brand

Why Cruz Flip-Flopped on Edward Snowden

Why Cruz Flip-Flopped on Edward Snowden

Asked why Ted Cruz changed his tune this year on Edward Snowden -- calling him a traitor who should be tried for treason -- Cruz pointed to his background as a lawyer.

"I start with facts and evidence," Cruz said. "I said in that initial statement, if the evidence indicated that Snowden violated the law he should be prosecuted." Cruz added that what Snowden did was make it easier for terrorists to avoid detection.

"Not only did he violate the law," he said. "but he was treasonous."

Trump, who spoke next, said that he had said "from the beginning" that Snowden "was a spy."

"It didn't take me a long time to figure that one out," Trump said.

Andrew Rafferty

Trump Says Military 'Won't Refuse' Torture Orders

Trump Says Military 'Won't Refuse' Torture Orders

Donald Trump dismissed the possibility that the military could ignore orders to torture suspected terrorists or hunt their families.

"They won't refuse, they're not going to refuse me," Trump said.

A number of military experts came out recently to slam Trump's calls for going further than waterboarding and targeting the families of terrorists. They have said it could result in military leaders disobeying the orders of the commander-in-chief.

"We should go for waterboard, but we should go further than waterboarding," Trump said.

Trump: "I Would Never Release Off the Record Conversations"

Trump: "I Would Never Release Off the Record Conversations"

Donald Trump, who frequently calls reporters "disgusting" and "liars" on the stump, still values off the record conversations with them.

A recent Buzzed article claims that in a recent interview with the New York Times, Trump reportedly expressed the possibility of being "flexible" when it comes to his proposed immigration plan, specifically deporting the 11 million undocumented immigrants.

"I may have discussed something like that with the New York Times, but I would never release off the record conversations, I don't think it's fair to do that, frankly with anybody," he said.

Trump Says He Won't Release NY Times Recording 0:42

Sens. Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz pounced on the subject, arguing that the recordings are necessary to shine a light on Trump's true feelings on an issue he has heavily campaign on.

"I think being off the record is a very important thing, it's a very powerful thing," Trump said. "I will say this, these three gentlemen have been off the record with reporters and they honor it, I want to honor it."

Trump said, however, that he will not be "very flexible" when negotiating Mexico building the wall. But he did admit to "changing" and "softening" his positions on immigration.

Anna Brand

Trump: The Border Is a Piece of Swiss Cheese

Trump: The Border Is a Piece of Swiss Cheese

"And we're going to stop people from coming in," Trump said.

Andrew Rafferty

Trump: It's All Business

Trump: It's All Business

Donald Trump's GOP rivals have made a point of bringing up his past financial support of Democratic candidates and causes. But Ted Cruz tried to pin him specifically on his 2008 support for Hillary Clinton's first presidential run.

"Why did you write four checks to Hillary Clinton in 2008?" Cruz asked.

The Texas senator began his question by saying that he could understand why Trump could support candidates for business purposes. But he said Clinton's 2008 run would not have had an impact on his dealings.

Actually, Trump responded, it was for business. He said he was contributing in the hopes of future support for international business purposes.

Trump and Megyn Kelly Meet Again

Trump and Megyn Kelly Meet Again

Donald Trump and Megyn Kelly traded niceties at the GOP debate, months after their clash at the first Republican presidential debate in August.

"You're looking well," Trump told Kelly.

After the August debate, Trump targeted Kelly for what he believed was unfair questioning. In an interview at the time, Trump made what many thought was a reference to menstruation about Kelly. Trump boycotted the last debate where Kelly was a moderator. But on Thursday, it appeared both parties have put the feud aside.

Anna Brand

Trump: By the Way, We're Getting a Wall

Trump: By the Way, We're Getting a Wall

In case you haven't heard, Donald Trump wants to build a wall. It could be 50 feet, it could be 40 feet. To be determined.

Asked by moderator Megyn Kelly how flexible Trump is on this issue of immigration, the business mogul responded, "Not very."