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For GOP, debate was glimpse of what could have been

1 year 8 months 3 weeks ago Friday, January 29 2016 Jan 29, 2016 January 29, 2016 3:57 AM January 29, 2016 in News
Source: Associated Press
By: Julie Pace and Jill Colvin

DES MOINES, Iowa- For the Republican candidates for president, it was a glimpse of what could have been.

Front-runner Donald Trump's boycott of the final debate before the Iowa caucuses created space for his rivals to delve more deeply into their differences on immigration, foreign policy and their approach to governing.

And for some candidates, Trump's absence from the debate stage Thursday night appeared to ease some of the tension created by his sharply personal attacks.

Iowa voters kick off the 2016 nominating process Monday, offering the first indications of whether Trump's abrupt decision to skip the debate will have any impact on his standing atop the GOP field.

His lead in Iowa had already been more tenuous, with Texas Sen. Ted Cruz pulling support from conservative and evangelical voters.

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