Donald Trump is no longer the star of The Apprentice, firing wannabe executives at his whim. He has, however, managed to turn the Republican primary season into a different kind of reality show, one in which every one-liner he fires at his rivals gets maximum media attention.
At all of the GOP presidential debates so far, the opinionated Republican real-estate mogul has, quite literally, taken center-stage. And although Trump ceded his top spot in the polls to rival candidate Ben Carson this week, he still commanded the spotlight at Wednesday night's CNBC debate.
The topic of the day was the U.S. economy, an area in which many Trump supporters expected their favorite candidate to shine, given his business background. And he did his part to meet their expectations, delivering plenty of the acerbic quips for which he's famous.
Whether you think he did well based on the substance of his answers, however, probably depends on your politics. For those of you without cable or the perseverance to watch another two-hour debate with 10 people at the podiums, here's a sample of what you missed:
On personal weaknesses: Wednesday's debate opened with moderators asking each candidate to describe his or her greatest weakness, warning them away from tried-and-true interview responses like, "I'm a perfectionist," or "I'm a workaholic."
Some offered saccharine responses nonetheless, while others pivoted to topics they preferred to discuss.
Trump's answer sounded a bit like something out of Don Corleone's playbook.
"I trust people too much," Trump answered. "And when they let me down, if they let me down, I never forgive. I find it very, very hard to forgive people that deceived me.
Colin Firth's Mr. Darcy gave a similar reply to Elizabeth Bennett in the BBC dramatization of Pride and Prejudice when asked about his faults. "My good opinion, once lost, is lost forever," he observed. The object of his affections agreed that it was a weakness -- but one she could not bring herself to laugh at.
On gun control: The recent spike in campus shootings has moved gun control to the top of American's minds.
While polling shows that Republicans and Democrats alike are in favor of laws that make it more difficult for criminals to get guns, some wings of the GOP argue that carrying weapons keeps people safe.
Trump, evidently, agrees. He said that he has a concealed weapons permit from the state of New York, but played it cagey about how often he walks around armed.
"I like to be unpredictable, so that people don't know exactly when I'm carrying," Trump said.
On handling the national debt: Trump doesn't consider four bankruptcies by companies he backed a blemish on his record.
If anything, he said in response to a question characterizing bankruptcy as a broken promise, it's a strength that makes him uniquely qualified to handle the country's $18.5 trillion dollar debt.
"I came out great, but I guess I'm supposed to come out great," he said, referring to casino bankruptcies that he blamed on "disgraceful" conditions in Atlantic City, N.J.
"That's what I can do for the country," he added. "Boy, am I good at solving debt problems. Nobody can solve them like me."