DES MOINES, Iowa — Donald Trump won. The Republican debate lost — and so did his rivals.
The Republican candidate skipped the final televised faceoff before Iowans vote in caucuses on Monday. That spared him all but glancing, humorous blows from those battling to catch up.
"Let me say, I'm a maniac and everyone on this stage is stupid, fat and ugly," Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas began. "And Ben, you're a terrible surgeon. Now that we've gotten the Donald Trump portion out of the way ..."
Later, Cruz jokingly threatened to leave the stage if he received any more challenging questions. He drew a few chuckles — but also drew attention to what moderator Megyn Kelly called "The elephant not on the stage."