The main GOP debate in Simi Valley took hours, and it felt like it. There were insults and policy clashes. But the large field made it difficult at times to keep track of who was saying what. Still, we managed these five takeaways:
Politicians are evil: The word "politician" has become the dirtiest insult in the Republican lexicon, even among the politicians themselves running for president. It has become as much of a smear as "liberal" was in 1988, when George H.W. Bush used the term to insult Massachusetts Gov. Michael S. Dukakis, the Democrat he clobbered to win the presidency.
Former Hewlett-Packard Chief Executive Carly Fiorina derisively compared Donald Trump's business record to "politicians [who] have run up mountains of debt using other people's money."
Ted Cruz, the Texas senator, was courting voters "looking for someone to stand up to career politicians in both parties." Scott Walker, who began running for the state Assembly when he was 22, tried to gain outsider cred by denouncing congressional Republicans.
Chris Christie, the New Jersey governor, said he was not an insider because "I'm a Republican in New Jersey. I wake up every morning as an outsider."
So who actually owned up to being a politician? Donald Trump, whose large lead in the polls has inspired all the p-word hate: "I'm now a politician for about three months. Obviously, I'm doing pretty well. I'm No. 1 in every poll by a lot."
Trump is still getting under Jeb Bush's skin: Bush had vowed to get more aggressive in response to Trump's insults. And he was.
But his face seethed with anger and frustration nearly every time Trump spoke. And almost everything Trump said about Bush dripped with condescension. The two men stood side by side, as they did in the August debate, and CNN's questioners were eager to pit them against each other in several questions.
"OK, more energy tonight. I like that," Trump said to Bush at one point, cutting off the former Florida governor when he was trying to dig at Trump for donating to Democrats.
When Bush called out Trump for pushing casino gambling in Florida, Trump simply denied it. "I promise if I wanted it, I would have gotten it," Trump said.
"No way," Bush retorted. "Believe me."
Their encounter came to a head when Bush demanded an apology from Trump for injecting his Mexican-born wife into the immigration debate. Trump simply refused.
"I won't do that because I said nothing wrong," he said. "But I hear your wife is a lovely woman."
Fiorina made the most of the big stage: Fiorina, who has risen in polls since August's debate, was the only candidate to graduate from the second-tier debate last month to the main stage Wednesday.
She gave memorable remarks and repeatedly offered some of the most passionate answers while successfully ducking questions she did not want to field. She spoke personally about burying a child who suffered from drug addiction.
She gave Trump a withering look when moderator Jake Tapper asked about his comment in Rolling Stone that mocked her appearance. Then she managed to denounce him without seeming to engage him: "I think women all over this country heard very clearly what Mr. Trump said," she said.
Then she won the crowd with a passionate denunciation of abortion and Planned Parenthood (without saying directly whether she would shut down the government to cut the agency's funding): "This is about the character of our nation," she said, staring at the camera.
Mike Huckabee won the award for hating the Iran nuclear deal the most: It was a fierce competition. The candidates, even those who would not tear it up on Day One of their presidency, all said it was a mistake. But it was Huckabee, the former Arkansas governor, who said that "this is really about the survival of Western civilization."
Runner-up goes to Cruz, who said he would campaign with this slogan: "If you vote for Hillary Clinton, you are voting for the Ayatollah Khamenei" (pregnant pause) "to have a nuclear weapon," referring to Iran's supreme leader.
Real differences in approaches to foreign policy: The field was divided on how or whether to engage America's rivals on the world stage, a difference that often emerges in both parties.
Fiorina, for example, said she would cut off communication with Russian President Vladimir Putin: "We've talked way too much to him."
Florida Sen. Marco Rubio reiterated his assertion that Putin is a "gangster" who is exploiting a leadership vacuum left by the Obama administration in the Middle East, suggesting he would treat Putin with contempt.
Trump, for all his insults of American political leaders, said he would get along with Putin and other global rivals. "I believe that I will get along," he said. "Between that, Ukraine, all of the other problems, we won't have the kind of problems that our country has right now with Russia and many other nations."
It was another example that Trump's tough rhetoric is often accompanied with surprising positions that set him apart from others in the GOP.