Repub­li­can debate: The four biggest take­aways from NBC’s Mia­mi matchup

The third Repub­li­can pres­i­den­tial pri­ma­ry debate saw five can­di­dates square off onstage in Mia­mi, Flori­da, Wednes­day night.
Gov. Ron DeSan­tis (R‑FL), for­mer U.S. Ambas­sador to the Unit­ed Nations Nik­ki Haley, entre­pre­neur Vivek Ramaswamy, Sen. Tim Scott (R‑SC), and for­mer New Jer­sey Gov. Chris Christie field­ed ques­tions from NBC mod­er­a­tors Lester Holt, Kris­ten Welk­er, and Hugh Hewitt for two hours.
THREE TAKEAWAYS FROM A ROUGH 2023 ELECTION FOR THE GOP
Their answers to ques­tions, rang­ing poli­cies both for­eign and domes­tic, drilled home a sim­ple mes­sage per­haps best summed up by for­mer Ari­zona Car­di­nals head coach Den­nis Green: “They are who we thought they were.”
Though none of the five seri­ous­ly devi­at­ed from their per­for­mances in past debates this cycle, the evening did pro­duce a num­ber of note­wor­thy moments.
Here’s what you need to know.
THE ELEPHANT NOT IN THE ROOM
For­mer Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump, the far­away front-run­ner for the GOP nom­i­na­tion, chose not to par­tic­i­pate in Wednes­day night’s affair but remaine …