LAS VEGAS -- In between the predictable repetition of talking points and rehearsed attacks, there was actually some news in tonight's Republican presidential debate. Here's a closer look:
"I really am. I'll be honest, I really am," replied Trump.
He later added: "I will tell you, I am totally committed to the Republican Party. I feel very honored to be the front-runner."
There's been some uncertainty about whether Trump might run as a rogue third-party candidate if his front-running bid for the Republican nod collapses. For now at least, he's put those uncertainties to rest. That's not to say that he might not change his mind in the future, as he has done on other things. But for now, it's welcome news for Republican Party officials nervous about the prospect of Trump running as an independent.
2. Ted Cruz said definitively that he opposes a path to citizenship or legal status for illegal immigrants.
Cruz has hit rival Marco Rubio for supporting what he calls "amnesty," but he has sidestepped questions about whether he supports a path to citizenship or legal status for the nation's 11 million undocumented immigrants. (He even released a recent plan that didn't address the matter.)
“I have never supported legalization, and I do not intend to support legalization,” Cruz said, going further than he has before.
After the debate, Cruz campaign chairman Chad Sweet told reporters that Cruz "unequivocally does not support legalization."
What is his plan for the 11 million living in the country?
"Attrition through enforcement," said Sweet.
3. Trump appeared to be completely unfamiliar with the "nuclear triad."
Asked by Hewitt what his priority is among the nuclear triad -- which refers to submarines, long-range missiles and bombers, each a means of launching a nuclear attack -- Trump appeared not to understand.
First, he gave a lengthy answer on nuclear proliferation. Then, Hewitt pressed him to identify his priority.
"I think, for me, nuclear is just the power, the devastation is very important to me," responded Trump.
To make things worse for him, Sen. Marco Rubio (Fla.) then said: "First, let's explain to people at home who the triad -- what the triad is. Maybe a lot of people haven't heard that terminology before." And then he did.