Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

With No Trump in Final Debate, GOP Primary Contenders Focus Criticism on Cruz

Screenshot from Fox News via Youtube
Ted Cruz faced criticism from opponents in the final GOP debate before the primaries, hosted by Fox News.

Texas Senator Ted Cruz took the stage last night in Iowa as the frontrunner – the highest polling candidate in attendance, because Donald Trump refused to show up. So how did Cruz handle the spotlight?

Donald Trump still got the first round of criticism from the other candidates, but the group quickly moved on to Cruz. After about 30 minutes, it appeared to fluster the Senator from Texas when he tried to convince moderator Chris Wallace that he should get a follow-up on a point made by Jeb Bush.

“You don’t get 30 seconds to respond to me,” Wallace said.

“Your question was, you have disagreed with me,” Cruz said.

“You don’t get 30 seconds to respond. I know you like to argue about the rules, but we’re going to conduct the debate,” Wallace said.

Just a couple minutes later, Cruz was given the floor, and he let the FOX News host know how little he liked the moderators’ questions.

“Chris, I would note that the last four questions have been, ‘Rand please attack Ted,’ ‘Marco please attack Ted,’ ‘Chris please attack Ted,’ ‘Jeb please attack Ted,’” Cruz said.

“It is a debate, sir,” was Wallace’s response.

"If you guys ask one more mean question," Cruz said, "I'm going to have to leave the stage."

Cruz has been running first or second in the polls in Iowa for the last couple of months. The absence of Donald Trump last night did provide Cruz some room to lay out his policy plans. But were Iowans listening? The debate was co-sponsored by Google, which had a tally of how much each candidate was Googled during the debate. Throughout the night, in all 50 states, Donald Trump still topped the list.

Ben Philpott is the Managing Editor for KUT. Got a tip? Email him at Follow him on Twitter @BenPhilpottKUT.
Related Content