Candidates’ responses to Donald Trump’s no-show, ranked.

The seventh GOP debate led with the obvious question: Fox moderator Megyn Kelly asked the candidates to respond to the “elephant not in the room tonight,” Donald Trump.  

It had to be a question they knew was coming. So how did they do? 

Third place: Marco Rubio, who called Trump an “entertainer” and “the greatest show on Earth.” Like we didn’t know that. 

Runner-up: Jeb Bush, with too much information: “I kinda miss Donald Trump. He was a little teddy-bear to me.” In other words, it smacked exactly of the desperation and awkward delivery that has defined much of his campaign. 

And the winner: Ted Cruz, but not because he led with a lightweight, overly practiced joke in which he called everyone on stage, “stupid fat, and ugly” to mimic Trump. The only real reason he wins is because we now have a soundbite of Ted Cruz calling himself a “maniac.” 

But let’s be honest. Trump’s own commentary on Trump’s no-show probably would’ve been better.