Washington, Feb 26: Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz, the two Republican candidates who are finding it difficult to stop the onward march of Donald Trump in the race for the GOP nomination, launched a fierce attack on him in the CNN Republican debate in Houston on Thursday, ahead of the crucial Super Tuesday on March 1.
Florida Senator Marco Rubio, who hasn't won a single state in the nomination contests so far, attacked Trump on his idead on immigration, foreign policy and health care besides his business practices. Rubio, who has been endorsed by a number of Republican heavyweight leaders of late, crossed swords with the rea-estate tycoon and accused him of peddling a "fake" university and using Polish workers on a major project.
He said hadn't Trump inherited 200 million dollars, he would be selling watches in Manhattan and closed the occasion with another dig at the latter, calling for an end to: "The silliness. This looniness!"
Texas Senator Ted Cruz, who had stunned Trump's supporters in the opening caucuses in Iowa, has not been able to repeat the same since. He also attacked Trump, saying the latter had previously donated to Democrats who had worked on the so-called Gang of Eight immigration reform bill, the IANS reported.
Cruz said the voters should judge a candidate by looking at their record before they became a candidate for the presidency.
Trump, who won three consecutive pollings in New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada within a fortnight after losing Iowa, said Rubio is someone who could be easily rattled and called Cruz as a friendless outcast in the Senate who never hesitated to employ dirty means while campaigning. He called Rubio a "choke artist" and Cruz a "liar".
Trump expressed his support for Israel during the debate, calling himself the most "pro-Israel" candidate from the Republican side. He, however, said that there was no basis for terming the Israelis and Palestinians as good and bad guys, respectively.
When Trump said he was simply a "negotiator" in the Israel-Palestine issue, Rubio mocked, saying "Palestinians are not a real estate deal, Donald".
Response to Vincente Fox
Trump also responded to former Mexican President Vincente Fox's response to his claim that Mexico would pay for his proposed wall on the borders of the two countries. To Fox's remaek that he would not pay for that f***ing wall, Trump said the wall just got 10-feet taller. He also sought an apology from Fox for the "filthy, disgusting word" he uttered.
The debate was the last chance for Rubio and Cruz to check Trump's momentum before the Super Tuesday, when 11 states will go to the polls.
[With inputs from agencies]