Just one month before the Iowa Caucuses, it sure is getting ugly out there in the race for the GOP nomination – with some of the lowest-polling candidates heaping insults on Republican Iowa front-runners, including charges that Donald Trump is a late-night “Twitter-drunk” and Sen. Ted Cruz isn’t socially conservative enough.
Bush camp: ‘Twitter-drunk Donald’
On Monday evening, Jeb Bush campaign spokeswoman Kristy Campbell tweeted: “Out on Twitter there arose such a clatter, late night twitter-drunk Donald is back at it!”
Campbell was reacting to a Photoshopped image Trump shared with his 5.4 million followers that depicted Bush picking his nose.
Despite Campbell’s “twitter-drunk” claim, Trump has publicly explained for years that he won’t even touch booze since his brother, Fred, died of alcoholism.
“I’ve never had drugs. I’ve never had a cigarette, and I don’t drink coffee,” Trump told Piers Morgan in 2011. “I have other problems, I guess!”
Trump continued, “I had this great brother who had everything going, but he became an alcoholic. Ultimately, he died. … In a certain way, he was one of my great teachers, if not my best. He got me not to smoke, not to drink. I say to people, ‘Don’t drink.’ It’s not that hard.”
By Wednesday, the Bush campaign was taking a New Year’s swipe at Trump with a new ad calling the billionaire real-estate developer a “chaos candidate” and highlighting Trump’s top five “unhinged,” “liberal” and “dishonest” moments:
But the insults didn’t stop there.
Cruz ‘not the social conservative’ he claims to be?
Also this week, Rick Santorum lambasted Cruz, saying the Texas senator is “not the social conservative” he claims to be. Santorum also said neither Cruz nor Trump are “particularly strong social conservatives.”
Santorum accused Cruz of prioritizing states’ rights over defending traditional marriage. As WND reported, Wednesday’s “What Ted Cruz said behind closed doors,” by Politico’s Mike Allen, framed the Republican presidential candidate as a crafty wordsmith who weasels out of debates with first-class wits. The example the website provided, however, merely showed Cruz using message he’s shared on late-night talk shows.
An attendee at a New York fundraiser in December asked Cruz if same-sex marriage was a “top priority.” He replied, “My view on gay marriage is that I’m a constitutionalist and marriage is a question for the states. And so I think if someone wants to change the marriage laws of their state, the way to do so is convince your fellow citizens–and change them democratically, rather than five unelected judges. … Being a constitutionalist is integral to my approach to every other issue. So that I’m very devoted to.”
Cruz then said same-sex marriage wasn’t even a “top-three” priority because fidelity to the U.S. Constitution – his primary driver – trumps all else.
“That cuts across the whole spectrum – whether it’s defending [the] First Amendment, defending religious liberty, stopping courts from making public policy issues that are left to the people,” said Cruz.
On Dec. 23, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee also pounced on Cruz for his stance on marriage, tweeting: “Should conservatives support a corporately-funded candidate that says one thing at a Manhattan fundraiser & another at a Marshaltown church?”
Huckabee slapped Cruz in a series of tweets, adding, “Shouldn’t candidates be expected to have authenticity & consistency, instead of looking at a map to decide what to believe & what to say?”
But the senator laughed off Politico’s so-called revelations when asked by reporters in Tulsa, Oklahoma, on Wednesday.
“Politico runs this banner headline, ‘Secret Tape,’ and it’s almost word for word what I said on Jay Leno. It’s almost word for word what I said on Stephen Colbert,” said Cruz. “It ain’t very secret. I know Colbert may not have a ton of viewers, but saying it on national TV is not a great plan for keeping something secret.”
IJ Review noted that Cruz provided the same message during an appearance on “Late Night with Seth Meyers” in March.
“I’m a constitutionalist. For over 200 years, marriage has been a question for the states. Now, I personally believe in traditional marriage between one man and one woman, but if you want to change the marriage laws, the way to do it constitutionally is convince your fellow citizens, go to your state legislature, and change it,” said Cruz.
Rest of the GOP pack in massive brawl
Meanwhile, second-tier GOP candidates are suddenly unloading on one another. The latest round involves Bush, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Ohio Gov. John Kasich.
A super PAC supporting Bush released an ad ripping Rubio for skipping a Senate meeting after the terror attacks in Paris. Another ad compared Bush’s record while he was governor of Florida to the records of Christie and Kasich.
“Politics first. That’s the Rubio way,” states the first ad.
Christie also slapped Rubio Tuesday for missing a vote on the spending bill. “Dude, show up to work,” Christie said in front of an Iowa crowd.
Rubio fired back at Christie on Fox News: “He’s never in New Jersey. He’s gone half the time.”
Rubio also blasted Bush, saying the former Florida governor is growing “increasingly negative in his attacks.”
Kasich Press Secretary Rob Nichols said of Bush’s attack: “The latest ad from Jeb’s team forgot to check the box for ‘Which governor is living in the past because he has no new ideas for fixing anything? ‘ You only attack those you fear and who’s beating you, so this latest attack by Jeb on Gov. Kasich only reaffirms the governor’s strength in New Hampshire. It’s actually flattering.”
Cruz and Trump surging in Iowa polls
The Iowa Caucuses will be held on Feb. 1. According to the latest Des Moines Register/Bloomberg Politics Iowa Poll, Cruz is leading with 31 percent of likely GOP caucus-goers.
“There’s nobody who’s in that league with him now,” said J. Ann Selzer, the pollster for the Iowa Poll, according to USA Today.
In that poll, Cruz holds a 10-point lead over Trump, at 21 percent. Trump has climbed two points in Iowa since October.
The rest of the GOP candidate are trailing far behind Cruz and Trump in Iowa – Dr. Ben Carson at 13 percent, Rubio at 10 percent and Bush at 6 percent. Christie, Huckabee and Rand Paul are tied at 3 percent. Kasich came in at 2 percent. Santorum and Carly Fiorina received 1 percent. And South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham and former Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore didn’t register in the poll.