MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Wednesday night’s second debate among Republican presidential candidates had plenty of substance and plenty of fireworks.

Eleven candidates lined the stage in California with Ronald Reagan’s Air Force One jet behind them.

The candidates debated each other, but mostly turned their fire on front-runner Donald Trump.

As expected, Trump fired right back.

“I think his response, his visceral response, is to attack people on their appearance — short, tall, fat, ugly. My goodness, that happened in junior high,” Paul said. “Are we not way above that? Would we not be all worried to have someone like that in charge of the nuclear arsenal?”

“I never attacked him on his look, and believe me, there’s plenty of subject matter right there,” Trump replied.

The debate careened from locker room towel snapping to political philosophy, but from the opening bell, all of the candidates appeared to have a common agenda — get Trump.

Trump traded insults with many of the other candidates.

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker questioned Trump’s temperament to be president and Trump blasted Walker for the “terrible” job he’s doing in the Badger State.

“Mr. Trump, we don’t need an Apprentice in the White House,” Walker said.

There were plenty of political food fights but also a wide-ranging debate on serious issues like immigration, Iran, gay marriage and this one: Should Republicans shut down the government until President Obama agrees to de-fund Planned Parenthood?

A lot of people tonight wondering how Fiorina would respond to Donald Trump’s comments in Rolling Stone magazine. He criticized her looks, saying, “Look at that face. Who would vote for a face like that?

Fiorina seized the moment, turning it into an attack on all women.

“I think women all over the country know exactly what he meant,” she said.

“She’s got a beautiful face and I think she’s a beautiful woman,” Trump fired back.

Pat Kessler

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