Who Won The CNBC Republican Debate? Marco Rubio Comes Out on Top Over Donald Trump

AP

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio spent the most time talking of all candidates at CNBC's third Republican debate on Wednesday, according to NPR Politics — and social media users are saying he spoke the most strategically as well.

Rubio firmly pushed back against strong attacks from the moderators and his opponents on his personal finances and spotty Senate voting record. "If you can turn the tables in a convincing way when you are under attack or heavy scrutiny, you can probably survive," the Washington Post's Sean Sullivan reported.

Twitter users are electing Rubio as the "clear winner" and the only candidate that gives a "presidential vibe":

Rubio's strongest moments: When Jeb Bush attempted to call out Rubio for his weak Senate attendance record, which was highlighted in an editorial by the Florida Sun-Sentinel on Wednesday, his plan backfired. "This was a six-year term and you should be showing up to work," Bush said. In response, Rubio pointed out that Bush admires Sen. John McCain of Arizona, who also skipped votes when running for President in 2008.

"I don't remember you ever complaining about John McCain's voting record," Rubio said. "Someone has convinced you that attacking me is going to help you." Rubio also reminded the audience that the Sun-Sentinel endorsed him for Senate in 2010. Mic drop.

When questioned about his personal finances, Rubio employed a familiar yet effective rhetoric of his: talking about his middle class roots. 

"I didn't inherit any money," Rubio said. "My dad was a bartender, my mother was a maid, they worked hard to provide us the chance at a better life. They didn't save any money for us to go to school, I had to work my way through school, I had to borrow money through school."