Ben Carson was largely forgotten at the Republican debate Thursday night, but he threw out some memorable lines during his few minutes in the spotlight.
The former neurosurgeon spoke for the least amount of time of the five candidates onstage with just over ten minutes of the more than two-hour debate. (The second lowest was Florida Sen. Marco Rubio with just over sixteen minutes.) Businessman Donald Trump spoke for more than a half hour.
At one point, Carson even begged his rivals to attack him so he would get speaking time in response: “Can somebody attack me, please?” Carson asked about two hours into the debate.
But during those ten minutes of speech, Carson said some wonderfully quotable lines that got the Internet talking.
In his opening statement, Carson said the country is “heading off the abyss of destruction.”
Later, in his most viral moment of the debate, Carson said that to evaluate a potential Supreme Court nominee he would “go through and I would look at what a person’s life has been… The fruit salad of their life is what I will look at.”
During a discussion on health care, Carson invoked a folksy hypothetical: “Uncle Joe is smokin’ like a chimney.”
And during his closing statement, Carson returned to what made him famous in the first place: his so-called “gifted hands.” (He chronicled his career as a neurosurgeon in a book by that name, and later a movie was based off the book.) At the end of the debate Carson held up his hands, palms facing the audience, and said, “A movie was made about these hands. These hands have saved many lives… America, join hands with me.”
Despite Carson’s low poll numbers and small share of screen time Thursday night, his campaign insists it is still moving forward.
“In the past week, many in the political and media establishment have said that Dr. Carson has no path forward in the 2016 presidential race,” communications director Larry Ross said in a statement after the debate. “At tonight’s debate, Dr. Carson once again proved that talking heads and Beltway insiders do not understand him, and never have. … With less than 5 percent of the delegates selected, this presidential race has just begun.”