Marco Rubio defended his Senate record and Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas apologized for controversial campaign tactics that rivals described as dirty tricks in a wide-ranging Republican debate Saturday, three days before New Hampshire voters go to the polls.
The seven candidates clashed repeatedly over immigration, health care and more obscure issues such as eminent domain, with former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush excoriating businessman Donald Trump, who’d skipped the last debate and who failed to grab the spotlight Saturday, despite standing at center stage.
Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush answers a question as Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida looks on. David Goldman AP
The faceoff among the seven came with Trump dominating polls but Rubio rising. Rubio proved to be the biggest target onstage, facing heated criticism, particularly from a dominant New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who accused the first-term Florida senator of doing little to prepare himself for being president. Cruz was quietly eviscerated by retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, the target of Cruz’s political shenanigans in Iowa.