With Donald Trump boycotting Thursday night's Fox News Republican presidential debate, the remaining GOP contenders took the stage in Des Moines looking to shore up support before the state’s caucuses Monday.

Rubio and Cruz stepped in to fill the void, speaking much more than the other candidates. Cruz, the candidate on the stage polling highest, spent much of his time fending off attacks on his record.


(Update: The numbers in this chart have been corrected to account for only for words spoken by candidates in the debate.)

Trump's absence seemed to unburden Jeb Bush, who spoke the third most. "I kind of miss Donald Trump," Bush said — no doubt in jest. "He was a little teddy bear to me."

Carson again turned in a quiet performance, speaking only 7 percent of all the words spoken by candidates in the debate. He spent his closing statement on a 52-word recitation of some version of the Preamble to the Constitution.

Rather than dwell on Trump's absence, though, the candidates largely steered clear, instead devoting their time to attacking Hillary Clinton. Rubio and Christie made the most use of this strategy, perhaps to a fault, says The Fix's Chris Cillizza.


But despite any hopes the candidates may have had to the contrary, America hasn't forgotten Donald Trump. A look at Google Trends during the debate shows Trump garnered more search interest than any of the other candidates, despite not being onstage.