Donald Trump goes off on 8-minute riff against Ted Cruz at campaign rally

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Trump Takes Swipes at Cruz, Clinton

Real-estate mogul Donald Trump unloaded on Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), his top primary rival, for more than eight minutes during a Wednesday campaign speech in Iowa.

Trump, the Republican presidential front-runner, started with his favorite anti-Cruz topic: Canada.

Cruz was born in Canada to an American mother, and most legal experts believe he qualifies as "natural-born" citizen to run for president under the US Constitution. But Trump says he isn't so sure.

"I'm very good when it comes to the law. I've been through plenty of law," Trump said after declaring that "anchor babies" aren't guaranteed US citizenship if they're born on US soil. (This also flies against the current legal consensus.)

"Speaking of law: Ted. Do we all like Ted Cruz? I like him," Trump continued.

"A lot of people don't like him, frankly," he marveled. "But look, Ted Cruz has a problem. He's got a problem. He was born in Canada. He's a Canadian citizen until just recently. Canadian citizen! And he's running for president."

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Trump claimed that "a lot of lawyers" believe Cruz isn't eligible for the presidency. He also said some of the best attorneys in the country believe that Cruz's eligibility is "unsettled law" because the courts have yet to rule on the issue. He speculated on what would happen if Cruz won the Republican nomination.

"Let's see you have him as a candidate. And he's running. And then you find out you lose in court. You don't have a candidate all of a sudden," Trump said. "Or lets say even worse: Let's say he wins and the courts say that he's not allowed to run. I mean, you've got to find out."

He asked: "How can you be running with a cloud over your head?"

Trump then compared Cruz's situation to the questions dogging Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton and her use of a private email server at the State Department.

See Trump and Cruz duke it out at the last GOP debate:

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Donald Trump goes off on 8-minute riff against Ted Cruz at campaign rally
NORTH CHARLESTON, SC - JANUARY 14: Republican presidential candidates (L-R) Donald Trump and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) participate in the Fox Business Network Republican presidential debate at the North Charleston Coliseum and Performing Arts Center on January 14, 2016 in North Charleston, South Carolina. The sixth Republican debate is held in two parts, one main debate for the top seven candidates, and another for three other candidates lower in the current polls. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
Republican presidential candidate, businessman Donald Trump speaks with the moderators as Republican presidential candidate, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, looks on during the Fox Business Network Republican presidential debate at the North Charleston Coliseum, Thursday, Jan. 14, 2016, in North Charleston, S.C. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)
Republican presidential candidate, businessman Donald Trump, left, speaks as Republican presidential candidate, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, speaks during the Fox Business Network Republican presidential debate at the North Charleston Coliseum, Thursday, Jan. 14, 2016, in North Charleston, S.C. (AP Photo/Rainier Ehrhardt)
Republican presidential candidate, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, speaks as Republican presidential candidate, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., left, and Republican presidential candidate, businessman Donald Trump gestures during the Fox Business Network Republican presidential debate at the North Charleston Coliseum, Thursday, Jan. 14, 2016, in North Charleston, S.C. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)
Republican presidential candidate, businessman Donald Trump speaks as Republican presidential candidate, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, looks on during the Fox Business Network Republican presidential debate at the North Charleston Coliseum, Thursday, Jan. 14, 2016, in North Charleston, S.C. (AP Photo/Rainier Ehrhardt)
Republican presidential candidate, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, right, speaks as Republican presidential candidate, businessman Donald Trump looks on during the Fox Business Network Republican presidential debate at the North Charleston Coliseum, Thursday, Jan. 14, 2016, in North Charleston, S.C. (AP Photo/Rainier Ehrhardt)
Republican Presidential candidate businessman Donald Trump (L) speaks next to Texas Senator Ted Cruz during the Republican Presidential debate sponsored by Fox Business and the Republican National Committee at the North Charleston Coliseum and Performing Arts Center in Charleston, South Carolina on January 14, 2016. / AFP / TIMOTHY A. CLARY (Photo credit should read TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)
NORTH CHARLESTON, SC - JANUARY 14: Republican presidential candidates (L-R) Donald Trump and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) participate in the Fox Business Network Republican presidential debate at the North Charleston Coliseum and Performing Arts Center on January 14, 2016 in North Charleston, South Carolina. The sixth Republican debate is held in two parts, one main debate for the top seven candidates, and another for three other candidates lower in the current polls. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
2016 Republican presidential candidates, from left, Senator Marco Rubio, a Republican from Florida, Donald Trump, president and chief executive of Trump Organization Inc., and Senator Ted Cruz, a Republican from Texas, arrive for the Republican presidential candidate debate at the North Charleston Coliseum in North Charleston, South Carolina, U.S., on Thursday, Jan. 14, 2016. The sixth Republican debate comes at a time with less than three weeks before Iowa caucus-goers cast the first votes of the 2016 presidential election on February 1. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images
LAS VEGAS, NV - DECEMBER 15: Republican presidential candidates Donald Trump (L) and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), interact at the conclusion of the CNN republican presidential debate at The Venetian Las Vegas on December 15, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Thirteen Republican presidential candidates are participating in the fifth set of Republican presidential debates. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Ted Cruz, right, makes a point as Donald Trump reacts during the CNN Republican presidential debate at the Venetian Hotel & Casino on Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2015, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
LAS VEGAS, NV - DECEMBER 15: Republican presidential candidate U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) speaks during the CNN Republican presidential debate on December 15, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada. This is the last GOP debate of the year, with U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) gaining in the polls in Iowa and other early voting states and Donald Trump rising in national polls. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Republican presidential candidate businessman Donald Trump (L) pat the back of Texas Sen. Ted Cruz during the Republican Presidential Debate, hosted by CNN, at The Venetian Las Vegas on December 15, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada. AFP PHOTO/ ROBYN BECK / AFP / ROBYN BECK (Photo credit should read ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images)
Donald Trump, left, and Ted Cruz joke about remarks Cruz has made about Trump's temperament during the CNN Republican presidential debate at the Venetian Hotel & Casino on Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2015, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
MILWAUKEE, WI - NOVEMBER 10: Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump (L) and Ben Carson (C) looks on as U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) speaks during the Republican Presidential Debate sponsored by Fox Business and the Wall Street Journal at the Milwaukee Theatre on November 10, 2015 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The fourth Republican debate is held in two parts, one main debate for the top eight candidates, and another for four other candidates lower in the current polls. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
Donald Trump, left, and Ted Cruz shakes hands at the start of the CNN Republican presidential debate at the Venetian Hotel & Casino on Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2015, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
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"Hillary's running with a cloud over her head, too," Trump said, laughing at a supporter in the crowd who said "indictment."

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Trump continued to riff for a while about Cruz's eligibility and then switched over to his other attack line against Cruz: a pair of unreported bankloans that helped finance his 2012 Senate race in Texas. The New York Times first reported last week on the loans, which were from Goldman Sachs and Citibank.

Cruz dismissed the issue as a "paperwork error," but Trmp called it a "big no-no" and "absolutely wrong" during his Wednesday event.

"Here's a guy with two bank loans — that we know of," Trump said. "Goldman Sachs owns him. Remember that folks: They own him. And what he did was wrong. Because he didn't want you to know that he's dealing with banks," he added.

Trump said Cruz claiming ignorance on both the citizenship and the bank-loan reports was "worse than Hillary, when you think about it."

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Later, Trump hailed Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad (R) for publicly stating this week that Iowans should not support Cruz. Branstad noted Cruz's opposition to the ethanol fuel subsidies that help fund the state's corn industry. But Trump said Branstad's opposition to Cruz "has to do more than with ethanol."

"He's an amazing guy, I can tell you that," Trump said of Branstad.

For his part, Cruz has also dished out attacks left and right against Trump as the two have locked horns for the past two weeks. Although Trump is ahead nationally, the two candidates are roughly tied among likely Iowa caucus-goers, who on February 1 will be first voters to weigh in on the Republican primary.

In 16 minutes of a Monday radio interview, Cruz hit Trump for bragging about his dealmaking ability, for expressing support for the bank bailout, for praising President Barack Obama's stimulus package, for once supporting universal healthcare, for giving money to Democrats, for not speaking out when Congress was debating comprehensive immigration reform, for contributing to the Clinton Foundation, for supposedly flip-flopping too recently on the issues, and for once touting socially liberal views, among other things.

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