Donald Trump changes tune on wages after Bernie Sanders broadside

Trump Says American Wages Are Too High...

Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump has appeared to take a new position on US wages.

After previously saying wages were "too high," Trump instead stressed Sunday and again Monday that they were actually "too low."

"Wages in are country are too low, good jobs are too few, and people have lost faith in our leaders. We need smart and strong leadership now!" Trump tweeted Monday morning.

The apparent shift came after Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont), a Democratic presidential candidate, said in a Sunday interview that his message would resonate among Trump's working-class supporters.

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Donald Trump changes tune on wages after Bernie Sanders broadside

15. George Pataki, former New York governor

From the outset, Pataki has been mostly an afterthought in the race, though he brings a strong résumé as the former governor of the Empire State.

Still, he has barely registered in national or early-state polls. And nothing has been able to jump-start his campaign: not his continued feuding with Trump, and not his performances in the lower-tier, undercard debates.

When Pataki inadvertently referred to Trump as "president" during last week's undercard debate, Trump quipped that he didn't "want his endorsement."

National polling average among Republican voters: 0.1% (13th)
Iowa: 0.2% (12th)
New Hampshire: N/A
South Carolina: N/A

STOCK: Neutral
Last month: N/A

(Bloomberg via Getty Images)

14. Rick Santorum, Republican, former senator from Pennsylvania

It's sometimes easy to forget that Santorum won 11 states in his 2012 primary matchup with Mitt Romney, the eventual Republican nominee — including the Iowa caucus.

That's because he still hasn't even been a blip on the radar in the 2016 race.

He is facing stauncher competition this time around, and he has not solved his biggest problem from 2012: money. He raised less than $400,000 in third-quarter fund-raising and had just more than $200,000 in cash on hand, the kind of money that doesn't bode well for staying power in a crowded field.

The state that provided his biggest win in 2012, Iowa, also hasn't given him the same kind of love. Despite focusing on the Hawkeye State, he still barely registers in polling there, placing 11th in an average of recent polls. He has lingered around that level since he entered the race.

National polling average among Republican voters: 0.6% (11th)
Iowa: 0.7% (11th)
New Hampshire: N/A
South Carolina: 0.7% (12th)

STOCK: Neutral
Last month: 15

(Bloomberg via Getty Images)

13. Martin O'Malley, Democrat, former Maryland governor

O'Malley has watched as Bernie Sanders has entrenched himself as the progressive alternative to Hillary Clinton, outflanking O'Malley's attempts to outflank Clinton from the left.

Despite a vigorous campaign schedule, O'Malley is still not well known nationally, and he has been unable to boost his poll numbers even in a three-way race.

O'Malley has an accomplished progressive record as governor, with achievements — on immigration, criminal justice, same-sex marriage, and healthcare, among others — that he can legitimately tout to Democratic voters. 

But he hasn't been able to break out of the doldrums. His failure to have a breakout-type moment in the third Democratic debate may have sealed his fate in the race.

National polling average among Democratic voters: 4% (3rd)
Iowa: 5% (3rd)
New Hampshire: 1.3% (3rd)
South Carolina: 3.3% (3rd)

STOCK: Falling
Last month: 13

(Photo by Luke William Pasley/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)

12. Mike Huckabee, Republican, former Arkansas governor

Huckabee has continued an attempt to endear himself to conservative, evangelical voters. But he's clearly falling short.

The first part of his presumed theoretical path to the nomination — winning Iowa, the state he captured in 2008 — is in serious limbo. He polls just eighth in the Hawkeye State, and he has kept slipping there over the past few months.

This Republican field may be too crowded for a candidate like Huckabee. He is extremely popular with evangelical conservatives, but many of those conservatives look as if they're flocking to candidates such Trump and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas).

National polling average among Republican voters: 2% (10th)
Iowa: 2% (T-8th)

New Hampshire: 0.3% (10th)
South Carolina: 1.3% (T-11th)

STOCK: Falling
Last month: 12

(Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

11. John Kasich, Republican, Ohio governor

Kasich was one of the biggest winners of the first prime-time Republican debate in August. But he has struggled to build much momentum ever since.

Kasich sits just ninth in polls nationally. And in New Hampshire, where he had surged after investing significant resources, he's polling in just sixth place, behind fellow establishment-minded candidates like Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey and former Gov. Jeb Bush of Florida.

Those who talk up Kasich believe he is a Christie-type without the baggage of the past year and a half — that is, a successful governor with a record to point to and clear bipartisan appeal. He also has a plethora of experience from serving nearly two decades in Congress, including foreign-policy areas and his time as chair of the US House Budget Committee.

But that same bipartisan brand could hurt Kasich with the GOP base. He is to the left of most GOP candidates on immigration reform, and he expanded the federal Medicaid program under the Affordable Care Act — two issues that could doom him with hard-line conservatives.

National polling average among Republican voters: 2.1% (9th)
Iowa: 1.3% (10th)
New Hampshire: 7.7% (6th)
South Carolina: 1.3% (T-10th)

STOCK: Falling
Last month: 10

(Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

8. Bernie Sanders, Democrat, senator from Vermont

Sanders' campaign shocked political observers by raising more than $27 million in the third quarter, more than any Republican presidential candidate and just $3 million behind Clinton. And he might be on track to raise more than the former secretary of state in 2015's final quarter.

His momentum, and the grassroots support and donations behind it, have evoked comparisons to the rise of Barack Obama, then an Illinois senator, in 2008.

But Sanders still faces daunting challenges against the behemoth that is Clinton and her campaign. There are questions about whether he's a legitimate threat in the long haul and about his viability as a potential nominee in a general election.

But he continues to put himself in prime position to influence the Democratic debate and perhaps at least score an upset victory in the first-in-the-nation primary state of New Hampshire.

National polling average among Democratic voters: 30.5% (2nd)
Iowa: 36.8% (2nd)
New Hampshire: 51.3% (1st)
South Carolina: 23.3% (2nd)

STOCK: Neutral
Last month: 7

(Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

7. Ben Carson, Republican, retired neurosurgeon

Carson continues to fall after a stunning rise that peaked in October, when he became the first Republican since July to overtake Donald Trump for first place in a national poll.

Like Trump, Carson is a Washington outsider who has shown that he can appeal to a broader electorate. And like Trump, even some of the more controversial things to come out of Carson's mouth — such as his recent comments about Muslims — have helped his fundraising and poll numbers.

But his time in the intense spotlight looks like it might finally be taking its toll. He has dipped back to fourth place nationally and in Iowa, as scrutiny over his potential as commander in chief has piled up, as he has seen more established candidates like Cruz and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Florida) rise.

His national poll numbers have dipped about 15 points over the past two months.

National polling average among Republican voters: 10% (4th)
Iowa: 10% (4th)
New Hampshire: 5.3% (7th)
South Carolina: 11.3% (4th)

STOCK: Falling
Last month: 5

(Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

6. Chris Christie, Republican, New Jersey governor

Christie is the biggest mover from month to month, jumping from ninth to sixth in our rankings. 

Christie has appeared to benefit from an increased focus on national security after the terrorist attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, California, over the past two months.. Lately, he has been surging in the first-in-the-nation primary state of New Hampshire, where he has put in more time than any GOP candidate in the race.

That time has apparently been well spent: He's now nipping at Rubio's heels in what is shaping up to be an establishment race for second place behind Trump. His standing is up from seventh last month, behind fellow establishment-type candidates like Rubio, Bush, and Kasich.

National polling average among Republican voters: 3.5% (6th)
Iowa: 2% (T-8th)
New Hampshire: 11.3% (4th)
South Carolina: 3% (T-6th)

STOCK: Rising
Last month: 9

(Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

5. Jeb Bush, Republican, former Florida governor

Bush, once viewed as the clear front-runner, has seen Donald Trump sap the momentum he had built after his official campaign announcement in June. His poll numbers have slumped across the board — his 17% national average in July has dipped 12.5 points over the past five months.

But lately, there have been signs of life in what had been a stumbling candidacy. With increasing frequency, he  has been assailing Trump on the campaign trail, attempting to cast himself as the main establishment alternative to the real-estate mogul.

Bush has showed, too, that he is a dynamic fundraiser. And he retains significant resources that could prove to be a game-changer in the long haul.

An aligned super PAC raised more than $100 million in the first six months of the year. And Bush entered the home stretch with more cash on hand for the primary than any candidate aside from Cruz and Carson.

National polling average among Republican voters: 4.5% (5th)
Iowa: 5.2% (5th)
New Hampshire: 8% (5th)
South Carolina: 7.3% (5th)

STOCK: Rising
Last month: 5

(Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

4. Marco Rubio, Republican, senator from Florida

Want proof that Rubio's and Cruz's campaigns believe they'll eventually be the final two candidates in the Republican race? Just look at their constant sniping over the past month.

Off strong debate performances, Rubio quickly became a rising establishment favorite for the Republican nomination. But he has stagnated somewhat over the last month, while Cruz has surged ahead of him in Iowa and has tied him in the more establishment-friendly New Hampshire.

One concern is his fundraising: He raised less than $6 million in the third quarter. But deep-pocketed donors are showing signs of potentially rallying around him.

The other concern that's on the minds of many in the Republican political establishment: Which early state can he actually win? Cruz has leapfrogged him in Iowa. Christie might in New Hampshire. And his organization in other states has been viewed as subpar. 

National polling average among Republican voters: 12.3% (3rd)
Iowa: 12.3% (3rd)
New Hampshire: 12% (T-2nd)
South Carolina: 12.7% (3rd)

STOCK: Neutral
Last month: 3

(Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

3. Ted Cruz, Republican, senator from Texas

Cruz has quietly run an under-the-radar campaign that has put him in sneakily good position to be one of the finalists for the nomination.

It's finally starting to pay off — in a big way.

Cruz is amid the top tier of GOP polling, and he has surged to a lead over Trump in Iowa. He has jumped 7 points nationally, 15 points in Iowa, and 8 points in South Carolina over the past month.

Meanwhile, his eye-popping fundraising numbers mean that he will most likely be in the race for the long haul. He raised the third-most of any Republican candidate last quarter, and he had the most cash on hand entering the home stretch.

Cruz inspires a flood of enthusiasm among the GOP base, and he may be the best-positioned candidate from within the political sphere to back up the notion that he's not a typical politician, that he is the outsider the base wants despite his day job in Washington.

National polling average among Republican voters: 18% (2nd)
Iowa: 30.2% (1st)
New Hampshire: 12% (T-2nd)
South Carolina: 19.3% (2nd)

STOCK: Rising
Last month: 4

(Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

1. Hillary Clinton, Democrat, former secretary of state

Clinton is No. 1 here because she has proved formidable in polling and fundraising. And she clearly looks to be able to glide to the nomination, perhaps early on in the voting process, because of the slimmer competition on the Democratic side.

The summer provided sign after sign of her potential vulnerabilities as a candidate. She saw Sanders sap enthusiasm — and supporters — in key early states like Iowa and, especially, New Hampshire. Her popularity plunged. And she trailed a host of leading Republican candidates in theoretical general-election matchups.

But she has turned things around in the fall. She's up overwhelmingly in Iowa. And in South Carolina,, her near-70% standing is a signal of her "firewall" after the first two voting states.

Meanwhile, she has continued to clean up on the fundraising circuit. She raised more than any other presidential candidate last quarter — almost $30 million — and she holds a whopping $33 million cash on hand.

National polling average among Democratic voters: 56.9% (1st)
Iowa: 51.7% (1st)
New Hampshire: 42.7% (2nd)
South Carolina: 68% (1st)

STOCK: Neutral
Last month: 1

(Bloomberg via Getty Images)

"Look, many of Trump's supporters are a working-class people, and they're angry," Sanders said on CBS' "Face the Nation," according to the show's transcript. "And they're angry because they're working longer hours for lower wages. They're angry because their jobs have left this country and gone to China or other low-wage countries."

Sanders added: "In fact, he has said that he thinks wages in America are too high."

Trump responded by accusing Sanders of lying:

Trump, however, has indeed said that wages — among many other things in the US — are too high.

In a Fox Business Network debate in November, Trump used his opening statement to say, "Taxes too high, wages too high. We're not going to be able to compete against the world."

And Trump doubled down on his position during a "Morning Joe" interview the day after that debate.

"It's a tough position politically," Trump acknowledged on the MSNBC show. "We have to become competitive with the world. Our taxes are too high — our wages are too high. Everything is too high. We have to compete with other countries."

Trump made both comments while discussing the US' minimum wage. He later insisted that he was referring only to the minimum wage, not wages in general, according to Politico.

View Trump's Monday tweets on the topic below:

MORE:Donald Trump doubles down: 'Our wages are too high'

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SEE ALSO: 140 times Donald Trump called somebody 'dummy' or 'dopey' on Twitter

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