Less than 24 hours before start of the Iowa caucuses, the 15-odd presidential candidates engaged in something close to an all out brawl Sunday.
Cruz went after Rubio. Rubio went after Cruz, and so did Donald Trump, calling Cruz "a total liar."
Bernie Sanders argued he is more electable than Hillary Clinton and labeled the Washington Post part of a Democratic establishment that is targeting him because his ambitions, including a government-run healthcare system and large, new taxes, exceed theirs.
Rand Paul, who was tossed from the main debate stage earlier this month, only to return and deliver one of his stronger performances (in the Trump-less debate) says to be prepared for an Iowa surprise from him.
Trump grew frustrated Sunday with Sen. Ted Cruz's suggestions that Trump supports Obamacare. "Look, Ted Cruz is a total liar," Trump said on "This Week." "I am so against Obamacare. I've been saying it for two years in my speeches. I'm going to repeal and replace Obamacare. I don't even know where he gets this. But he's a liar."
Bernie Sanders said Sunday that rival Hillary Clinton would create bigger problems for Democrats than he would as the nominee for president. "Hillary Clinton will be the problem," the Vermont senator said Sunday on NBC's "Meet the Press," one day before the Iowa caucuses in which he and Clinton are running in a near dead heat. "Our campaign is the campaign that is generating excitement and energy that will result in a high voter turnout," Sanders argued.
On the matter of her email server, Sanders said, "It's a very serious issue," but hesistated to formally attack her for it, as he has all campaign. Sanders said he wants the legal process to sort it out.
Ted Cruz ratcheted up his rhetoric against rival Marco Rubio Sunday, claiming a vote for Rubio is tantamount to support for amnesty for undocumented immigrants. "A vote for Marco is a vote for amnesty… The fact that on a signature issue, Marco Rubio broke his promise to the American people, is significant," Cruz said.
"That's not how we're going to do it when I'm president," Rubio said when asked by "Meet the Press" host Chuck Todd why he won't simply repudiate his 2013 support for the "Gang of Eight" immigration bill. "That's not going to be the law that we're going to pass." The Florida senator said it is now clear "you are not going to be able to do anything" on immigration until you bring illegal immigration under control to the satisfaction of voters.
Donald Trump's original pick to win the Super Bowl, the New England Patriots, lost last week, but the avowed fan of winners is placing his bets on the team who beat them: the Denver Broncos. While Trump think's Patriots' quarterback Tom Brady is the "greatest," for the Feb. 7 championship game, Trump said he'll stick with Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning "because he's a very good guy."
Ted Cruz brushed off accusations that he wouldn't work with Democrats as president, saying Sunday that he would even be able to work with Nancy Pelosi, the liberal House Minority Leader."Are you and Nancy Pelosi going to be able to get stuff done?" "Meet the Press" host Chuck Todd asked the Texas Republican in an interview aired Sunday. "Absolutely," the Texas Republican responded, dismissing the suggestion raised by his rival Donald Trump that only Trump had the ability to cut deals with Democrats.
Cruz made the case he can work with Pelosi while running an online ad that faults Trump for saying he work with those he disagrees with, including Pelosi. "America doesn't need a deal maker," the ad says.
Hillary Clinton on Sunday compared concerns over her private email server to criticism of her handling of the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2012, Benghazi attack. Both are coordinated partisan campaigns, Clinton said. "This is very much like Benghazi," Clinton said on ABC's "This Week."
Bernie Sanders defended his agenda Sunday against concerns about him and his campaign raised by Hillary Clinton and the Washington Post. The Vermont senator responded to a Post editorial last week, which the Clinton campaign is disseminating in Iowa, that says Sanders is not a "truth teller." Sanders said criticism results from campaign pledges that exceed the more cautious positions of Democratic party insiders. "I am being attacked because I am too ambitious," Sanders said on CNN's "State of the Union."
"You have to stick up for your rights," the Republican poll-leader said in an appearance on "Fox News Sunday," the first appearance on the network since he skipped their debate Thursday night. "Just like if I were running the country, I'd stick up for our country," Trump said.
"Cruz's voting record has been against ethanol," Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad said during a panel on Iowa politics on "Fox News Sunday." "It's been against the tax credit for wind energy, and those are thousands of jobs in our state." Branstad, also a Republican, has declined to endorse any candidate but encouraged Iowans to vote against the Texas Republican because of his stance on subsidies. "We've got a lot of really great candidates and most of them support renewable energy," he said Sunday.
Rand Paul said Sunday that he might win Monday's Iowa caucuses and will significantly outperform recent polls he claimed are not capturing his younger supporters. "We think we're a lot stronger than the polls represent," the Kentucky senator told a panel on NBC's "Meet the Press." The polls "are skewed all over," he claimed, arguing he is disproportionately popular among younger Republican voters.