Ted Cruz challenges Donald Trump to 'mano-a-mano' debate

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Trump: I Probably Won't Be Doing the (Fox) Debate



FAIRFIELD, Iowa — Ted Cruz challenged Donald Trump on Tuesday night to a one-on-one debate "anytime between now and the Iowa caucus."

Less than an hour after Trump's campaign told reporters the front-runner will skip Thursday's GOP debate, Cruz, looking to have his moment with Trump, suggested to a crowd in Fairfield, Iowa, that "Donald is a fragile soul" and is "scared to face Megyn Kelly" — the FOX News moderator who riled Trump in the first Republican debate back in August.

"We'll do 90 minutes, Lincoln-Douglas, mano-a-mano, Donald and me," Cruz said. "He can lay out his vision for this country, and I can lay out my vision for this country in front of the men and women of Iowa."

Cruz, who has shied away from non-issue attacks on Trump, suggested Trump's "hair might stand on end" if Kelly "asked him mean questions."

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Ted Cruz challenges Donald Trump to 'mano-a-mano' debate
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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The Texas senator also questioned why Trump would be "afraid" to debate him head-to-head.

"He's been saying this past week he thinks I'm stupid," Cruz slyly said on conservative Mark Levin's radio program also on Tuesday night. "He should do very well with someone who is so stupid — away from moderators he's so afraid of."

Cruz furthered his attack on Trump's decision to bow out of the debate, asking Levin how Trump would handle friction with other world leaders.

"I promise you Putin is a lot scarier than Megyn Kelly," Cruz said. "I'd like to hear Donald explain to the American people and to the people of Iowa how he is prepared to be commander-in-chief if he's terrified by a television host."

Trump has just recently faced increased scrutiny by the other candidates over his past positions, which used to skew quite liberal.

The Cruz campaign also released a TV ad on Monday beginning to hit Trump for the view changes.

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