Rebecca Berg, Real Clear Politics:
BOONE, Iowa — With less than a month until Iowa kicks off presidential primary voting, direct attacks among Republican candidates have swelled into a messy food fight — but one leading candidate has remained conspicuously on the sidelines.
“I’m going to keep my focus on a positive, optimistic message for this country,” Ted Cruz told reporters here on Monday before kicking off a six-day bus tour that will take him to 28 counties in the Hawkeye State.
Cruz emerged last month as the new frontrunner in Iowa, overtaking Donald Trump, and he has recently polled well across other key primary states. But just as the surge has put him in a strong position for the Iowa caucuses on Feb. 1, it has also made him a prime target: Rick Santorum released an ad this week suggesting the Texas senator is unserious, while Carly Fiorina said Sunday that Cruz “says whatever he needs to say to get elected.”
Amid this political crunch time, the fresh jabs have hardly been limited to Cruz. In New Hampshire, Chris Christie has recently sharpened his attacks on Marco Rubio, including his attendance record in the Senate. Jeb Bush has continued to target Trump, who continues to take aim at everyone.