Donald Trump has been mocked by his Republican rivals at a televised debate in Iowa, after quitting the event in a row with Fox News.
He decided to withdraw after the broadcaster refused to drop host Megyn Kelly, whom Mr Trump accused of bias.
The billionaire held a rally nearby, in honour of war veterans, that threatened to overshadow the debate itself.
On Monday, voters in Iowa are due to pick their presidential nominee for each party.
Days ahead of that critical test, Mr Trump’s absence on the stage in Des Moines was keenly felt by his seven rivals in the race to be Republican presidential nominee.
Texas Senator Ted Cruz addressed it with humour in the opening minutes by throwing mock insults at his rivals.
“I’m a maniac and everyone on this stage is stupid, fat and ugly, and Ben [Carson], you’re a terrible surgeon,” he said.
Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush also poked fun at the billionaire businessman, who has often tormented Mr Bush in previous debates.
“I kind of miss Donald Trump; he was a teddy bear to me,” he said with smile.
Follow the latest in the debate
Florida Senator Marco Rubio stood by a previous pledge to shut down mosques where radicalisation is taking place
He also promised to tear up the nuclear deal with Iran on “day one” of being president
Mr Cruz was booed when he accused the Fox presenters of encouraging attacks on him
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie said he knew nothing about the infamous, politically-motivated traffic jam ordered by his aides
Kentucky Senator Paul raised concerns about the US expanding military role in Syria