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On Monday night in Whitefield, New Hampshire, made it clear he will go far and hard to show the policy differences that distinguish him from his chief opponent in the Republican presidential field, giving voters specific issues that show a distinction between himself and Trump.
Cruz started the second day of his New Hampshire bus tour with only a brief reference to Trump, saying that he'd hire him to build a wall on the border. But as his campaign bus navigated winding snowy New Hampshire roads, Cruz began to add more lines about the real estate mogul in his interactions with New Hampshire voters. By 8 p.m. in Whitefield, Cruz pounced on a question about the national debt and used his answer to pivot to the person who's loomed over the GOP race: Donald Trump.
"Donald, in the last couple of days, has been a little rattled, his poll numbers went down and he got a little upset. And he's welcome to launch whatever insults he likes, I have no intention of reciprocating. Not only am I not going to insult Donald Trump, I will continue to sing his praises personally, but I do think policy differences are fair game," Cruz told the crowd of about 100 people.
Over the weekend, Trump told This Week's George Stephanopoulos that Cruz was "a very nasty guy" and "nobody likes him."
On the campaign trail, Cruz spent more than five minutes talking about Trump, urging those in the audience to look at the records of all the Republican presidential candidates. He told them the race could come down to a two-man race between him and Trump.
"Here's what I'm going to suggest, ignore what all of us say. Don't listen to me, don't listen to Donald, don't listen to anybody. Look to our actions, as the scriptures say, you shall know them by their fruits," Cruz said.
Then he gave those voters a lot to listen to, ticking off policy differences between him and Trump.
On the 2013 fight over the "Gang of Eight" immigration reform bill, Cruz said Trump was “nowhere to be found.” And on the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) and Obama’s stimulus plan: “On both of those, I opposed it. On both of those, Mr. Trump supported it," Cruz said.
Roger Sylvester from Clarksville, New Hampshire, listened to Cruz's riff on policy differences between himself and Trump.
"Unfortunately, you've got to listen to what Ted said tonight, which is what's Trump's history? And he's absolutely right. As Cruz says, ‘You'll know them by their fruit,' and what's Donald's fruit? He doesn't have any,” Sylvester said. "I don't have a problem with what he's [Trump's] saying but I don't see any nuts and bolts. There's no record to go by and there’s no nuts and bolts."