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Jan 12, 2016 7:52 PM

Steinhauser: Cruz pushes back against Trump in 1-on-1 intv. with NH1 News

NH1 Political Director -

CONCORD – Ted Cruz says that the battle for the Republican presidential nomination is “becoming a two man race between me and Donald Trump.”

WATCH: Ted Cruz gets stage bombed during N.H. 2nd Amendment rally - twice

Cruz arrived in the Granite State one day after Trump, at a rally in Windham, continued his week long line of attacks over Cruz’s birth in Canada, which Trump first made on TV in an exclusive interview with NH1 News last Tuesday in Claremont.

The Republican presidential front runner said Cruz, who’s tied Trump in the latest public opinion surveys in Iowa, “has a problem because the question is ‘is he a natural born citizen’?

“It’s not a settled matter, Trump added. “In the case of Ted, he has to figure it out.”

And Trump warned that “you can’t have a nominee who is going to be subject to be thrown out as a nominee. You just can’t do it. So you’re going to make that decision folks. It’s one of those little decisions. I’m sure that Ted is thrilled that I’m helping him out, but I am. I mean I am. I mean he’s gotta go and gotta fix it. ”

Asked to respond, Cruz told NH1 News “as a legal matter the question is quite straight forward, which is it has been clear under the Constitution and federal law from the very first days of this nation that the child of a U.S. citizen born abroad is a U.S. citizen.”

Cruz suggests Trump ‘a little rattled’

When it was pointed that that the controversy has become a political story more than a legal matter, Cruz said “it starts to suggest maybe he’s feeling a little rattled. You know four weeks ago just about every Republican candidate in the race was attacking Donald Trump. Today just about every Republican candidate in the race is attack me. And that starts to suggest that maybe something has changed in the race.”

“What we’re seeing is conservatives are uniting behind our campaign. We’re seeing conservatives and libertarians and evangelicals, we’re seeing the old Reagan coalition coming back together. And I understand that is making other candidates very nervous. More and more this race is becoming a two man race between me and Donald Trump,” Cruz added.

Asked if Cruz believes that Trump doesn’t have conservative credentials, Cruz said “the difference we have in this race, it’s a difference between campaign conservatives, when they launch a presidential campaign every one of them says they’re a conservative. That’s what you do in a Republican primary. People are fed up. They’re fed up with Washington and they’re fed up with politicians who say one thing and do another. They’re looking for a consistent conservative. Who has the record of fighting for freedom, of fighting for the constitution.”

Cruz touted that the increased incoming fire from rivals for the GOP nomination are a good sign.

I’ll tell you the attacks are only going to get worse. You know there’s an old saying if you’re not taking flak, you’re not over the target. As long as conservatives keep uniting behind our campaign the attacks are going to get worse. That’s why you see Hillary Clinton’s biggest supporters echoing Donald Trump’s attack on me. You know we’ve seen in the past where Democrats try to game the system, and pick the nominee they want to run against. The Hillary Clinton campaign wants to run against Donald Trump,” Cruz suggested.

“National polling shows that I beat Hillary Clinton and Donald doesn’t. Donald loses to Hillary,” Cruz added.

First trip to N.H. in two months

This was Cruz’s first trip to the first-in-the-nation primary state since mid-November, when he filed to put his name on the primary ballot. Instead, he’s spent much of his time on the campaign trail in Iowa and South Carolina, the early voting states with a much more socially conservative Republican primary electorate.

Last week in an exclusive interview with NH1 News, Trump argued that Cruz has “got all his onions in the basket of Iowa, and that’s fine. You know he hasn’t been here very much. I don’t think he intends to be here very much. I’m here all the time.”

Asked to respond, Cruz said “well you know that’s not right. I’ve been in New Hampshire a great deal of time. Last week in this chair my wife Heidi was sitting in this chair with you. We’ve got 10 paid staff members across the state. We’ve got country chairs in all 10 counties in New Hampshire. We’ve got an army of volunteers and I’ll tell you this Sunday we’re starting a bus tour. A four day bus tour, we’re going to go to every county in New Hampshire, have multiple stops all over this state.”

Cruz, who is very open about his faith, enjoys strong support among conservative evangelicals. Asked how much his relationship with God was a factor in his decision in running for president, Cruz told NH1 News “my prayer life is between me and God and me and my family. You know I’ve never liked politicians who stand up and say ‘God told me to run for office.’ You know my view as a believer is great, when God tell me to vote for you we’ll be on the same page. So that is now how I’m running or what I’m running. That being said, I don’t apologize for my faith. I’m a Christian. It’s an integral part of who I am. Those values are values I’m fighting for.”

Cruz stands down protesters on stage

Hours before, at a Second Amendment rally in Hudson, Cruz quickly had to dispatch the two protesters. The two men, who appeared to be supporters of gun control, went up with the senator on the platform as he arrived at the event.

“Why’s everyone so excited about guns,” asked the first protester. “They kill people.”

Cruz asked the man “Sir, who are you?

“Sir, Who are you and what are you doing here?” Cruz again asked. “OK. Sir. Sir. You are welcome to be in the crowd but you’re not part of this group.”

The protester was then removed from the platform.

About a minute later the second protester started speaking loudly.

“We’ve got another young man who’s very confused,” Cruz quickly responded.

“Hey hey, this is not your state. this is not your stage. This is not your stage,” Cruz said as the man was removed.

Moments later Cruz joked “it’s almost like the Bernie Sanders guys are scared. The Bernistas are out in force.”

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