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Feb 9, 2016 1:20 AM

Steinhauser: Trump tells NH1 News he doesn't need to win NH to continue on

NH1 News Political Director

MANCHESTER – Donald Trump says compared to the way that Iowa votes, he likes New Hampshire’s primary “much better.”

And in a one-on-one interview with NH1 News, Trump also said that he can continue on in his bid fore Republican presidential nomination even if he doesn’t finish first in Tuesday’s first-in-the-nation primary. And Trump said that rival Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida had “a very tough night” at this past weekend’s GOP presidential debate.

Trump spoke with NH1 News late Monday afternoon, a couple of hours before held a large rally at the Verizon Wireless Arena, his last major event before Tuesday’s primary.

Trump came in second to Sen. Ted Cruz in Iowa’s Republican caucuses. Cruz has come under fire since the Feb. 1 caucuses for his campaign’s spreading of false rumors to Iowa voters that Ben Carson was dropping out of the race.

Asked if he could continue on even without a first place finish in the Granite State, the GOP front runner said “yes I can but I’d love to finish first here and I think that I probably finished first in Iowa if you add the votes back that were taken away, that were wrongly taken away from Ben Carson, I would have been first there. And I finished a very strong second. So I think I did really great. And it’s a caucus state, not a place that I’m used to. I like this much better, you go in and vote. But I think we’re going to do very well in New Hampshire. I’ve been friendly with the people up here for years. I’ve bonded. I’ve had many friends long before the politics things. I’ve been up here much. I have great friends up here. It’s an amazing place.”

At Saturday night’s debate, Rubio was repeatedly criticized by Christie for what the New Jersey governor termed Rubio’s robotic and scripted answers and his lack of executive experience.

Asked if Christie had a valid point, Trump said “I was watching because I was standing right next to Marco and when he said it once or twice, OK. But then a third time, fourth time, fifth time. I don’t know what happened. I was very surprised because having a good memory and listening and I think the words were just about identical. And I don’t know what he was doing. I’m not sure. But look, everybody can run. It’s up to the voter to see what’s happening. But I think it was a very bad night, debate night, for Marco. So we’ll see. I thought he would maybe be the toughest competition and I haven’t seen any polls or anything, and I guess the ultimate poll is tomorrow night. I know he had a very tough night.”

And Trump pushed back against former Mexican president Felipe Calderon for his comments on Trump’s claim that he would as president get Mexico to pay for a secure wall along the border of the two countries.

“We are not going to pay a single cent for such a stupid wall,” Calderon said.

Trump responded, saying “You watch. They will pay. Mexico will pay. He will take back those words. Right now he deals with us because he thinks we are not being properly led. I will be very nice about it. But Mexico will pay for the wall. It will be a real wall. Mexico will pay for it.”

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