Rubio and allies renew Trump attacks after wild debate

Published 10:02 am Friday, February 26, 2016

HOUSTON — Marco Rubio waged an all-out verbal assault on Donald Trump Friday morning as his allies prepared to spend millions on new attack ads in key states, promising an aggressive and well-funded takedown effort the morning after the Republican front-runner was knocked on his heels on the debate stage.

Rubio, the leading aggressor during the debate, picked up where he left off Friday morning. In several television interviews, he questioned Trump’s business background, his ability to lead the nation, and repeatedly called the billionaire businessman a “con artist” who has spent decades “sticking it to the little guy.”

“A con artist is about to take over the Republican Party and the conservative movement, and we have to put a stop to it,” Rubio charged on CBS’ “This Morning.”

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The comments come as the GOP presidential candidates barreled into the final stretch to Super Tuesday following after a name-calling, insult-trading, finger-pointing final debate in which Rubio and Ted Cruz engaged in a tag-team attack intended to slow Trump’s momentum before it’s too late.

“I’ve dealt with tougher,” Trump sniffed after taking incoming for two-plus hours Thursday night. He said he knew the attacks were coming because “they’re desperate. They’re losing by massive amounts.”

Eleven states vote in Tuesday’s mega-round of voting, with 595 delegates at stake. Trump, with three straight victories behind him, has the momentum, and his rivals know they have to change that dynamic to have any hope of derailing his steamroll toward the nomination.

As Trump’s rivals ratcheted up their criticism, a pro-Rubio super PAC also announced plans to start running new Trump attack ads in key states Friday morning.