Republican U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump gives a thumbs-up during a speech at a  Donald Trump for president rally in Las Vegas

At Las Vegas debate, Republican Cruz may have a Trump problem

Republican U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump gives a thumbs-up during a speech at a Donald Trump for president rally in Las VegasBy Steve Holland LAS VEGAS (Reuters) – Ted Cruz has avoided direct confrontations with Donald Trump throughout the New York billionaire’s long run as the Republican front-runner for the 2016 presidential nomination. Trump, who has seen Cruz surge ahead of him in polls in the early voting state of Iowa, has begun an onslaught against the U.S. senator from Texas and could ratchet up his attacks at the nationally televised forum in Las Vegas. Trump called Cruz a “maniac” on Sunday, an indication that he is prepared to take aim at Cruz as he has successfully done against rivals Ben Carson, Jeb Bush, Rand Paul and John Kasich.

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