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Republican rivals take advantage of Trump's absence in Iowa presidential debate

Republican rivals take advantage of Trump's absence in Iowa presidential debate

With Donald Trump boycotting, his Republican rivals used the opportunity to pummel one another Thursday night in a contentious debate that offered one of the last chances to ply Iowans before the first presidential vote of 2016.

Trump was gone but not forgotten.

The first question from co-moderator Megyn Kelly, the target of Trump’s ire, addressed “the elephant not in the room tonight,” a reference to the absent national front-runner.

Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, who is battling the billionaire businessman for Iowa’s top spot, responded in a humorous vein. “Let me say, I’m a maniac and everyone on this stage is stupid, fat and ugly, and Ben...

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