The Latest: Cruz focuses on Trump policy, not personal life – Washington Post

DES MOINES, Iowa — Here are the latest developments from the 2016 race for president, one week out from the Iowa caucuses. All times local.

2:15 p.m.

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz continues to resist launching personal attacks against Republican rival Donald Trump, even after the billionaire called Cruz a liar.

Cruz, who is Trump’s leading rival in next week’s Iowa caucuses, and was asked during a Tuesday appearance in Albia, Iowa, about another senator’s criticism of Trump’s personal life. But he did not engage, saying that he’ll focus instead on his differences with the GOP front-runner on policies and their record.

When asked in what state Cruz thinks he can beat Trump, Cruz said he’s running a national campaign and no state is a must win.

Cruz will finish visiting all 99 of Iowa’s counties Monday, the day of the caucuses. He says more than 1,500 precinct captains and 12,000 volunteers statewide are a “grass roots army” that will lead him to victory.


11:25 a.m.

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders is meeting with a steel workers local union in Des Moines, making the case for expanding Social Security benefits and fighting trade deals he says would hurt workers.

The Democratic presidential candidate says he believes he has “an excellent chance to win” next week’s Iowa caucuses “if we have a large voter turnout.”

Sanders addressed a few hundred members of United Steelworkers Local 310L on Tuesday. The national union has not yet endorsed a presidential candidate. It had offered encouragement to Vice President Joe Biden when Biden considered and ultimately passed on a 2016 campaign.

Sanders notes his support for expanding Social Security benefits as a key difference with rival Hillary Clinton. The self-described democratic socialist also is discussing his longtime opposition to trade deals that he says would lead to a “race to the bottom” for U.S. workers.


11:10 a.m.

A week after heaping praise on Donald Trump before a speech at Liberty University, the school’s president Jerry Falwell Jr. is officially throwing his support behind the Republican presidential candidate.

The backing comes just days before the lead-off caucuses in Iowa. Trump’s top challenger there is Ted Cruz, the son of an evangelical pastor.

Cruz launched his campaign at Liberty and is banking on support from Christian conservatives to push him toward the nomination.

Falwell Jr. praised Trump in an introduction at the school last week, comparing Trump to his late father.

The campaign already had been using Falwell’s remarks in a radio ad.


11 a.m.

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz says with just six days until the Iowa caucuses, it’s time for voters to decide who they trust.

And without naming names, Cruz said Tuesday that shouldn’t be Donald Trump.

Though he didn’t say Trump’s name during a stop in Osceola, Iowa, Cruz highlighted his Republican rival’s past support for the federal government stimulus package and bank bailout.

Cruz is campaigning with former Texas Gov. Rick Perry and Iowa congressman Steve King.

Perry calls his fellow Texan a great listener who will defend the Constitution.

Perry says he didn’t get to know Cruz until after Cruz called him after Perry dropped his own presidential bid in September. He says they spent a day talking at Perry’s home. Perry says Cruz will listen to voters as well.


10:35 a.m.

John Kasich has New Hampshire to himself Tuesday, as many of his rivals are campaigning in Iowa with less than a week to go until the caucuses.

He’s kicking off a day in the first primary state at a town hall in a cozy tavern in New Boston. Speaking to a relatively small crowd, Kasich is pitching himself as a different kind of Republican who is willing to tackle problems such as climate change and race relations in America.

Kasich says his experience as a governor and legislator give him a unique perspective on the value of working across the aisle to get things done.

Kasich is banking his presidential hopes on New Hampshire, all but ignoring Iowa as he seeks to become the establishment alternative to Trump in New Hampshire’s Feb. 9 primary. He’s excitedly touting recent endorsements by the Boston Globe and Concord Monitor at his events.


9:15 a.m.

Former New York Gov. George Pataki says he is endorsing Florida Sen. Marco Rubio’s bid for the White House.

Speaking to FOX News Tuesday, Pataki said Rubio is the one candidate in either party with the ability to bring the American people together.

“Hillary Clinton is always dividing us for her benefit. Donald Trump is dividing us so he gets the benefit,” he said. “Marco Rubio is going to bring us together, and make us understand we are all Americans with a common future.”

The freshman senator from Florida is trailing in Iowa preference polls behind GOP rivals Ted Cruz and Donald Trump, but he has received more support than either candidate from members of the House and Senate.


8:30 a.m.

Hillary Clinton is using a new television ad in Iowa to portray her commitment to families as longstanding and consistent.

The new ad from Clinton’s campaign uses archival footage of Clinton to paint a chronological picture of her experience advocating for children and families. She ends the ad by saying she’s spent her life fighting and she’s not stopping now. In a twist on the required tagline, she says, “I’m Hillary Clinton and I’ve always approved this message.”

The ad comes as Clinton works to portray opponent Bernie Sanders as less experienced and less ready to handle the job of being president. Clinton is also working to push back at suggestions she’s new to the economic issues driving Sanders’ campaign.


6:40 a.m.

Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry is joining fellow Texan Sen. Ted Cruz’s campaign in Iowa.

Perry is scheduled to make seven stops with Cruz in central Iowa on Tuesday, along with Iowa congressman Steve King and Bob Vander Plaats, head of the social conservative advocacy group The Family Leader.

Perry is the longest-serving governor in Texas history and twice ran unsuccessfully for president. He announced his endorsement of Cruz on Monday.

Perry’s once-promising 2012 presidential run collapsed after a series of gaffes, and he was the first GOP presidential hopeful to drop out this cycle amid sluggish fundraising.

Cruz is one of the favorites in Monday’s caucuses, with polls showing him near the top of the field along with billionaire Donald Trump.


6:10 a.m.

Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump says his biggest rival, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, is “nervous” with less than a week to go before Iowa’s lead-off caucuses.

Speaking to MSNBC and FOX News early Tuesday, Trump lashed out at his opponent, calling him “a big mess” and claiming “people have realized he probably can’t even run for president.”

The two Republicans are locked in a tight race in first-to-vote Iowa, but Trump is the national front-runner.

Trump also said the recent endorsement he received from conservative firebrand Sarah Palin “threw an ax into the machinery for Cruz because, man, he expected that endorsement 100 percent.”

Cruz has said that he will continue to be a big fan of Palin’s, regardless who she backs in the campaign. On MSNBC, Trump touted another big endorsement expected later Tuesday.

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