U.S. presidential candidates made the rounds of morning talk shows Sunday as part of a last-ditch effort to gain support ahead of Monday’s Iowa caucuses. Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., said the key to his winning the Democratic caucuses will be turnout among young people, while Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, took on his Republican party rivals, slamming Donald Trump for refusing to participate in last week’s debate and challenging Florida Sen. Marco Rubio's stance on immigration. Rubio, meanwhile, accused Cruz of “making stuff up.”
The latest Iowa Poll by the Des Moines Register and Bloomberg puts Trump in the lead on the GOP side with 28 percent support, with 71 percent of those responding saying their minds are made up. Among all voters, Cruz came in second with 23 percent. But among caucus-goers who think of themselves as mainstream, Trump garners 34 percent to 21 percent for Rubio and 10 percent for Cruz.
On the Democratic side, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has 45 percent support to 42 percent for Sanders, who has captured the imagination of those less than 35 years old. Sixty-three percent of that age group say they support Sanders, even though, if elected, he would be the oldest president in history. Former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley registers only 3 percent support. The poll was conducted Jan. 26-29, among 3,019 voters. The margin of error was 4 percentage points.
Sanders, who sang “This Land Is Your Land” with indie rockers Vampire Weekend at the University of Iowa Saturday, said on CNN “State of the Union” his campaign appeals to young people who want some control and to those who are “tired of [the] establishment and establishment politics.” He welcomed additional debates before key primaries, including one in Flint, Michigan, where the population has been poisoned by high levels of lead in their water.
Sanders hit his favorite themes — universal healthcare, his vote on the Iraq war — but refused to talk about the controversy surrounding Clinton’s use of a private email server during her tenure at the State Department. “I do not want to politicize that issue. It’s not my style,” Sanders said. “I want to focus on the issues impacting the middle class.”
Clinton on ABC’s “This Week” said she’s in favor of releasing all her emails and likened the controversy to Benghazi.
“I take classified information very seriously. You know, you can't get information off the classified system in the State Department to put onto an unclassified system, no matter what that system is,” Clinton said.
Cruz on “State of the Union” likened Trump’s decision not to participate in last week’s debate to declining to show up for a job interview and still expecting to get hired. “Donald did not want his record challenged. It’s the same reason he engages in insults,” Cruz said, likening Trump’s stand on healthcare to Sanders’ and his economic policies to President Obama’s, citing Trump’s support for the bank bailout and stimulus. On NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Cruz said Trump is too willing to cut deals and is not a true conservative.
Ted Cruz is totally unelectable, if he even gets to run (born in Canada). Will loose big to Hillary. Polls show I beat Hillary easily! WIN!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 31, 2016
Trump said on CBS’s “Face the Nation” he would indeed cut deals because that’s the way things get done. “I’m a tough guy to make a deal with,” he said, noting Cruz has been unable to get backing from any of his fellow senators.
Trump also defended his decision to skip the debate, saying Fox had treated him unfairly and by the time they started negotiating to get him to reconsider, “My counter-event had taken off.”
By not doing the failed, poorly rated debate, I was able to make the point of not allowing "unfairness" - while raising $6,000,000 for VETS.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 31, 2016
The real estate mogul said he doesn’t have to win Iowa to maintain his front-runner status and eventually capture the nomination. He predicted Democrats will cross over to support him and attacked Cruz for not disclosing the loans he took from Goldman Sachs. He also again said Cruz is not eligible to be president because he was born in Canada.
Trump said on ABC’s “This Week” you “need a dealmaker” in the White House, saying he gets along with everybody — Democrats, liberals and conservatives — and described Cruz as “nasty” and “a total liar.”
“When I was in business, I got along with Democrats, I got along with liberals, I got along with conservatives and Republicans. I happen to have a conservative way of thought. I happen to be a Republican,” Trump said. “But when you're a businessman, you have to get along with everybody. You can't just say, I'm going to get along with this small group, because you won't be able to function that way.”
On healthcare, Trump said he would repeal and replace healthcare reform, saying he would work out deals with hospitals and doctors but denying he would support single-payer.
“I want people taken care of. I have a heart. I want people taken care of. If people have no money, we have to help people,” he said. “But that doesn't mean single-payer. It means we have to help people. If somebody has no money, and they're lying in the middle of the street and they're dying, I'm going to take care of that person.”
Rubio called Trump “the greatest show on Earth. He’s very entertaining.” But, Rubio cautioned, this election may be the last chance to get things right.
“If we get this election wrong, there may be no turning back. … We’re not going to turn the country around if a socialist like Bernie Sanders or Hillary Clinton is elected,” Rubio said on “State of the Union.”
Rubio said on “Meet the Press” his position on immigration continually has been misrepresented by Cruz, who has said Rubio is pushing amnesty for undocumented immigrants. Rubio said issues like amnesty cannot even be considered until the nation’s borders are secured and the flow of undocumented immigrants is stemmed.
On “Face the Nation,” Rubio called Cruz calculating, saying he is someone who shifts positions depending on the circumstances.