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On “Meet the Press” Marco Rubio acknowledges Ted Cruz as Iowa front runner

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Presidential candidates Marco Rubio and Bernie Sanders made their final pre-caucus pitches on “Meet the Press” Sunday, downplaying expectations for tomorrow night. Meanwhile, Ted Cruz framed Monday night as a two-man clash between he and Trump, delineating differences between them.

  • Florida’s best hope in the Iowa caucus, Rubio, downplayed expectations by deeming Ted Cruz the “front runner” based on 10,000 volunteers and “getting every endorsement he wanted.” Still, “we feel really good about the progress we’ve made here” in Iowa, Rubio said, even as he claimed he’s been the target of more negative ads than anyone. Rubio lauded the 11 candidates running competitive campaigns in Iowa, saying,  “You’re not going to get real clarity on the race until the field thins out.” He downplayed the “expectation game” in terms of finish, which could be taken to mean that he doesn’t expect to finish in the Top 3.
  • Cruz, on the same program, walked back the “Donald Trump Is Unstoppable If He Wins Iowa” meme that he has pushed out, saying Trump “could be” unstoppable. Trump is advocating “full-on expansion of Obamacare into socialized medicine,” Cruz said,pointing to it as a clear difference between them. Cruz also attempted to take the high road in response to Trump calling him a “Canadian anchor baby,” refusing to  respond with an insult. Cruz tailored his comments to the binary battle between himself and Trump, which mirrors public polls.
  • Bernie Sanders likewise downplayed expectations for Iowa, saying, “We can win here if we pull off a major upset.” He also said, “We have a real shot to win this if we have large voter turnout,” and that “we really do have a path to victory.” He seemed to be prepping for a second-place finish rather than an outright victory speech.

A.G. Gancarski has written a weekly column for Jacksonville’s Folio Weekly since 2003. His writings on politics, culture, and sport have appeared in the Washington Times, the Daily Caller, and the American Conservative. His radio and TV appearances include frequent contributions to WJCT-FM (Jacksonville’s Public Radio station); additionally, he has been a guest on Huff Post Live and the Savage Nation radio show. Gancarski can be reached at

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