Sparks fly at final GOP debate of the year

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LAS VEGAS - Sparks flew Tuesday night during the final GOP debate of the yearas front-runner Donald Trump was once again the focus of attacks, but other candidates had sharp disagreements as well.

The event was the first gathering of the GOP candidates since the terror attack in San Bernardino.  As expected, national security was the hot topic of the evening, including Trump’s call to ban all Muslims from entering the US.

“This is not a serious proposal,” Jeb Bush said about the Trump plan.  “He’s a chaos candidate, and he’d be a chaos president.”

Trump spent much of the night punching back at the former Florida governor.

“With Jeb’s attitude, we will never be great again, I can tell you," he said.

The other big battle of the night was Marco Rubio vs. Ted Cruz, who went at it over immigration.

“I personally am open to allowing people to apply for a green card,” Rubio said.

Cruz was quick to argue that Rubio wasn’t hard enough on illegal immigration.

“He was fighting to grant amnesty and not to secure the border,” Cruz said.  “I was fighting to secure the border.”

Playing peacemaker was Ohio governor John Kasich.

“All the fighting and arguing is not advancing us,” he said.  “It is not the way we are going to strengthen our country.”

Carly Fiorina played up the fact that she was the only woman in the field, and the only Fortune 500 CEO.

“To wage war, we need a commander in chief who has made tough calls in tough times,” she said. “Not first term senators who have never made an executive decision in their life.”

What to do about Syria and Mideast terrorism got lot of attention.

“I would talk to Vladimir Putin a lot,” Chris Christie said. "And I would say, listen Mr. President, there’s a no fly zone in Syria.”

Christie said he would shoot down Russian planes who violate the policy.

“If you are in favor of World War III, you have your candidate,” Rand Paul said about Christie and his aggressive approach to the Middle East.

Trump doubled-down on his plan to shut down part of the internet as a strategy to combat terrorism.

“I sure has hell don’t want to let people who want to kill us and kill our nation use our internet,” he said.

This weekend, the three leading Democrats hold their final debate on the year in New Hampshire.