Texas Sen. Ted Cruz said it is vital for conservatives to unite behind him if front-runner Donald Trump is to be defeated in Monday's GOP presidential caucuses in Iowa.
"Meet the Press"
moderator Chuck Todd noted that one of Cruz's main constituency groups, evangelicals, are split between Cruz, surgeon Ben Carson, former Arkanasas Gov. Mike Huckabee and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum.
The trio's support adds up to 14 percent, and, when added to Cruz's 23 percent, it would make him the "runaway winner," Todd noted.
"Is Ben Carson going to cost you Iowa?" he asked.
"The question is going to come 36 hours from now: Do conservatives come together?" Cruz replied. "In past cycles what Washington has always wanted is to splinter and divide conservatives."
Cruz on Monday told a group of Iowa pastors that if Trump wins Iowa, he could be unstoppable. He said Sunday that isn't a given, though it would certainly give Trump momentum.
"I think the stakes are too high to get this wrong, Cruz said. " You know, the most common sentiment you hear from people is they're frustrated with Washington. They're frustrated with politicians. They say one thing and do another. We can't get burned again."
On CNN's "State of the Union,"
Cruz downplayed the importance of a win.
"We don't view any state as a must-win," he said, adding "I think we're positioned to do very well in Iowa."
However, he added, "If conservatives come out we're going to win."
Appearing on "Fox News Sunday,"
Cruz attacked Trump's record, saying the front-runner's personal insults against other candidates, including calling Cruz a "Canadian anchor baby," are only obfuscations of Trump's policy record, which Cruz called liberal.
"Well, for example, on Obamacare, Donald Trump supports expanding Obamacare to make it full on socialized medicine like Bernie Sanders," he said. "You have Hillarycare, Obamacare and Trumpcare. If Donald Trump selected president, the federal government is in charge of our health care. That's his position right now. It is identical to Hillary Clinton."
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