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5 key moments from the Republican debate in Miami

Joe Raedle/Getty Images

There were no references to Donald Trump's penis Thursday night.

Rather, CNN debate moderator Jake Tapper began the Republican debate by graciously asking the four remaining presidential candidates to refrain from talking over each other, and they listened.

Thursday night, the last time the GOP contenders faced off before the second Super Tuesday, took a much more serious tone, covering a wide range of policy issues from trade deals and climate change to Islamophobia and the fight against ISIS.

Here are five key moments from the debate:

1) It wasn't a screaming match

"I would say this. We're all in this together. We're going to come up with solutions. We're going to find the answers to things. And so far I cannot believe how civil it's been up here," Trump commented on the debate, mid-debate.

And he was right. No one could believe how civil the debate was — probably because of how much a screaming match the last one was. We still don't know what this newfound civility did for CNN's ratings, but social media made it clear that the childishly entertaining debates had transformed into something that looked a lot like a GOP debate but sounded more like a boring conversation.

2) Trump thinks most Muslims hate America

In an interview with Anderson Cooper on CNN aired Wednesday, Trump said, "I think Islam hates us," continuing to say it was hard to distinguish between every day Muslims and extremists.

Trump's comment prompted the moderators to ask all the candidates, including Trump, where they stood on Islam.

Trump stood by his statement:

Moderator: Last night you told CNN, quote, Islam hates us. Did you mean all 1.6 billion Muslims?

Trump: I mean a lot of them. I mean a lot of them.

Moderator: Do you want to clarify the comment at all?

Trump: I've been watching the debate today. They're talking about radical Islamic terrorism or radical Islam. I will tell you there's something going on that maybe you don't know about, maybe a lot of other people don't know about, but there's tremendous hatred. And I will stick with exactly what I said to Anderson Cooper.

This isn't off message for Trump, who made headlines earlier in the campaign suggesting the US should temporarily ban all Muslims until it has figured out how to deal with ISIS. Trump backed up his initial comment with a vague anecdote about Muslims chanting "Death to America" in mosques across the Middle East.

However, the other Republican candidates did not stand with Trump as a whole. Rubio used a stump speech about Muslim soldiers that have fought and died for the United States, adding that Trump's vitriolic statements about Muslims make it dangerous for American Christians living abroad in regions where Islam is more widely practiced.

Trump however was unfazed by the disagreement on stage and continued to make an argument that Islam, as a religion, was anti-Western.

3) Rubio had a plan for Cuba

When it came to whether or not the political candidates would maintain diplomatic relations with Cuba, it was clear that Rubio had done his homework. It was less clear if Trump had made a decision on whether or not he would keep the embassy open in Havana:

Moderator: Mr. Trump, there is an embassy. You would have to decide whether to have it open or close it. Which would it be?

Trump: I would probably have the embassy closed until a really good deal was made and struck by the United States.

Rubio: First of all, the embassy, the the former consulate, it's the same building. We can just go back to calling it the consulate. Secondly I don't know where they're going to sue us. Cuba has free elections, Cuba stops putting people in jail for speaking out, it kicks out the Chinese listening station, it stops helping North Korea evade UN sanctions, and they take the fugitives from justice, including the cop killer, and send her back to the United States, that's a good deal.

4) The candidates weighed in on climate change

Rubio has gained the endorsement of Miami's Republican Mayor Tomás Regalado, who had a question for the candidate Thursday night: What are you going to do about climate change?

But it became clear that Rubio did not completely agree with Regalado and was not willing to publicly endorse the scientific consensus on climate change (that it is created by man). Instead he had some pretty creative ways of talking around the fact that he disagreed with one of his supporters (from a city heavily affected by climate change).

First Rubio admitted the climate was changing, but as it always does:

Sure the climate is changing, and one of the reasons is because the climate has always been changing. I think the fundamental question for policy making is, is the climate changing because of certainty we are doing and if so, is there a law you can pass to fix it? South Florida was bit on land that was largely a swamp.

Then Rubio reminded viewers that "America is not a planet. It's a country," and he is "not going to destroy the US economy for a law that will do nothing for our economy."

Kasich, on the other hand, did not see the issue as black and white, showing that he was open to renewables and alternative sources of energy.

"I don't think it has to be either you're for environmental rules or you're not going to have any jobs," Kasich said.

5) Cruz had a comeback for Trump on tariffs

There were a lot of talks on trade deals Thursday — a topic Trump is quick to jump in on with a plan to place tariffs on countries exporting to the US.

"If you don't tax certain products coming into this country from certain countries that are taking advantage of the United States and laughing at our stupidity, we're going to continue to lose businesses and we're going to continue to lose jobs," Trump said.

But Cruz had a counterargument to Trump's tariffs idea that the audience seemed to respond well to:

We've seen prior presidential candidates who propose tariffs. And the effect of a 45 percent tariff would be when you go to the store, to Walmart, when you are shopping for your kids, the prices you pay go up 45 percent.

But not only that. When you put those in place because a tariff is a tax on you, the American people, but the response is that the countries we trade with put in their own tariffs. A much better solution that works is the tax plan I've laid out, which would enable our exports to be tax-free would tax our imports, would not raise prices for Americans and would not result in reciprocal tariffs. Fix the problem, and that's what's missing from what Donald says.