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Rubio, moderators push back on Trump’s policy assertions

Thursday’s debate saw the last vestiges of civility stripped away from the GOP race, with the night’s rhetoric ranging from personal slights to outright vulgarity. Sen. Marco Rubio and Sen. Ted Cruz attacked Donald Trump for alleged fraud and for financing Hillary Clinton in 2008; moderators pushed him for policy details. Nevertheless, all four candidates pledged to support the eventual nominee.

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  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    The fur kept flying today, in the raucous Republican presidential race. Donald Trump and his rivals were back on the road hours after their debate in Detroit.

    SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX), Republican Presidential Candidate: So how many of you all watched the debate last night?

    (CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

  • SEN. TED CRUZ:

    We had some fireworks on stage.

    SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R-FL), Republican Presidential Candidate: I'm not here to attack anyone. We did plenty of that last night, I suppose.

    DONALD TRUMP (R), Republican Presidential Candidate: When I'm on a debate stage and, I have all these people throwing things at me, you have got to fight back.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    Fallout from the GOP's full-on civil war still in the air at today's campaign events. The rhetoric last night ranged from personal slights.

    CHRIS WALLACE, Host, "FOX News Sunday": I have a policy question for you, sir.

  • SEN. MARCO RUBIO:

    Let's see if he answers it.

  • DONALD TRUMP:

    I will. Don't worry about it, Marco. Don't worry about it. Don't worry about it, little Marco. I will.

  • SEN. MARCO RUBIO:

    All right, well, let's hear it, big Donald.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    To downright vulgarity.

  • DONALD TRUMP:

    Look at those hands. Are they small hands?

    (LAUGHTER)

  • DONALD TRUMP:

    And he referred to my hands, if they are small, something else must be small. I guarantee you there is no problem. I guarantee you.

    (LAUGHTER)

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    Donald Trump was the overwhelming focus, with rivals Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio on a furious mission to slow his march to the nomination.

    At times, they tag-teamed, as on the Trump University real estate seminars, now the subject of lawsuits claiming fraud.

  • SEN. MARCO RUBIO:

    He's trying to con people into giving him their vote, just like he conned these people.

  • SEN. TED CRUZ:

    And if we nominate Donald, we're going to spend the spring, the fall and the summer with the Republican nominee facing a fraud trial…

  • DONALD TRUMP:

    Oh, stop it.

  • SEN. TED CRUZ:

    … with Hillary Clinton saying…

  • DONALD TRUMP:

    It's just a minor case. It's a minor case.

  • SEN. TED CRUZ:

    … why did you give my campaign and my foundation $100,000?

  • DONALD TRUMP:

    It's a minor civil case.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    FOX News moderators Chris Wallace, Megyn Kelly and Bret Baier also pushed Trump on his changes of position, and on the math behind his proposals.

  • CHRIS WALLACE:

    You say that Medicare could save $300 billion a year negotiating lower drug prices. But Medicare total only spends $78 billion a year on drugs.

    Sir, that's the facts. You are talking about saving more money on Medicare prescription drugs…

  • DONALD TRUMP:

    I'm saying saving through negotiation throughout the economy, you will save $300 billion a year.

  • CHRIS WALLACE:

    But that doesn't really cut the federal deficit.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    And through it all, Ohio Governor John Kasich strove again to stay above the fray.

    GOV. JOHN KASICH (R-OH), Republican Presidential Candidate: I have never tried to go and get into these scrums that we're seeing here on the stage. And people say everywhere I go, you seem to be the adult on the stage.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    In the end, though, all four candidates pledged to support the GOP nominee, whomever that turns out to be.

    Today, Kasich and Cruz just outside Washington to address CPAC, the annual meeting of conservative activists.

  • JOHN KASICH:

    Bringing people together works.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    Rubio is scheduled to speak there tomorrow. But Trump announced he's skipping his appearance to campaign in Kansas instead. Republicans have contests there on Saturday, and in Kentucky, Louisiana and Maine.

    As for the Democrats, Senator Bernie Sanders Edwardsville, Illinois, again slammed Hillary Clinton on trade policy.

    SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (VT-D), Democratic Presidential Candidate: Secretary Clinton supported NAFTA. She supported permanent normal trade relations with China. Those agreements have cost us millions of jobs as a nation.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    In Detroit today, Clinton fired back.

    HILLARY CLINTON (D), Democratic Presidential Candidate: When it comes to trade deals, here's my standard. I won't support any agreement unless it helps create good jobs, at higher wages for American workers and protects our national security.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    The two Democrats have their contests tomorrow in Kansas, Louisiana and Nebraska.

    And late today, Republican presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson made it official: He suspended his campaign.

    We will return to the presidential race, with Mark Shields and David Brooks, later in the program.

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