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Cruz doubles down: Donald, let’s debate

Republican presidential candidate, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, speaks Wednesday, Jan. 27, 2016, in West Des Moines, Iowa.
Republican presidential candidate, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, speaks Wednesday, Jan. 27, 2016, in West Des Moines, Iowa. AP

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, pressed Donald Trump Wednesday evening to go “mano a mano” with him in a debate match Saturday night after the New York billionaire refused to attend the GOP presidential debate Thursday night.

Cruz told a crowd of about 500 in West Des Moines that Trump owed it to the people of Iowa to debate him just before the Feb. 1 caucuses, even if he found Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly “really, really scary.” Trump has refused to debate if Kelly is a questioner.

So, Cruz reiterated his challenge that Trump and he, who are polling first and second in Iowa and nationally, debate one on one - and he’s even booked a venue.

The event would take place at Western Iowa Tech Community College in Sioux City Saturday, January 30th at 8:00 p.m. Cruz suggested the moderators could be radio hosts Mark Levin, Sean Hannity or Rush Limbaugh, or that it be a town hall format with each side controlling half of the tickets to the venue.

“We owe it to the men and women of Iowa to ensure that they hear jointly and directly from the two leading Republican candidates so that they may contrast our positions on the critical issues we face as a nation as they make their final choice leading up to Monday’s caucuses,” said Cruz.

Cruz sent a letter to Trump, which was released by the Cruz campaign, outlining his offer. Earlier Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski gave ABC News an unlikely scenario: “If he's the last man standing and it comes down to a two-person race Donald Trump will be happy to debate him."

Trump has already scheduled a competing event to the Fox debate Thursday night, a rally honoring veterans.

Meanwhile, some top Cruz donors offered to give veterans groups $1.5 million if Trump would debate Cruz before the Iowa caucuses.

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