Cruz takes aim at top rivals -- especially Trump -- in New Hampshire

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NASHUA, New Hampshire — Ted Cruz feistily took on his chief rivals in a rambunctious town hall on Wednesday night, capping a spirited day for the caucus winner who hours earlier suggested his two young daughters "are better behaved" than Donald Trump.

"It's no surprise that Donald is throwing yet another temper tantrum — or, if you'd like, yet another 'Trumpertantrum,' Cruz told reporters before an event in Goffstown, New Hampshire. "It seems that his reaction to everything is to throw a fit, to engage in insults."

Cruz continued on with his spirited assessments late Wednesday night at the town hall at a local middle school. He scathingly questioned the policy positions of Marco Rubio, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders in what were perhaps Cruz's most targeted, wide-ranging remarks since entering the 2016 race.

See the 2016 candidates speaking after the Iowa caucuses:

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Cruz takes aim at top rivals -- especially Trump -- in New Hampshire
Hillary Clinton, former Secretary of State and 2016 Democratic presidential candidate, left, embraces her husband Bill Clinton, former U.S. President, center, as their daughter Chelsea Clinton looks on during a caucus night party in Des Moines, Iowa, U.S., on Monday, Feb. 1, 2016. Senator Ted Cruz of Texas won the Iowa Republican caucuses in an upset over billionaire Donald Trump, while Clinton was clinging to the narrowest edge over Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont. Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomerg
Donald Trump, president and chief executive of Trump Organization Inc. and 2016 Republican presidential candidate, right, blows a kiss as he walks off stage with his family during a caucus watch party in West Des Moines, Iowa, U.S., on Monday, Feb. 1, 2016. Republicans looking for a candidate who could stop Trump found one on Monday evening, as U.S. Senator Ted Cruz emerged from a brutal campaign with a victory in the first-in-the-nation caucuses. Photographer: Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg via Getty Images
DES MOINES, IA - FEBRUARY 01: Supporters cheer during Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders' (I-VT) caucus night party February 1, 2016 in Des Moines, Iowa. Sanders and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton were locked in a tight race with caucus goers late in the evening. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Senator Ted Cruz, a Republican from Texas and 2016 presidential candidate, greets supporters after being declared the winner of the Iowa caucus during his campaign's caucus night celebration at the Elwell Center on the Iowa State Fairgrounds in Des Moines, Iowa, U.S., on Monday, Feb. 1, 2016. Cruz won the Iowa Republican caucuses in an upset over billionaire Donald Trump, while Democrat Hillary Clinton was clinging to the narrowest edge over Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont. Photographer: Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Hillary Clinton, former Secretary of State and 2016 Democratic presidential candidate, speaks during a caucus night party in Des Moines, Iowa, U.S., on Monday, Feb. 1, 2016. Senator Ted Cruz of Texas won the Iowa Republican caucuses in an upset over billionaire Donald Trump, while Clinton was clinging to the narrowest edge over Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont. Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomerg
DES MOINES, IA - FEBRUARY 1 : Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders stands on stage with his wife Jane O'Meara Sanders during his Caucus night event at the at the Holiday Inn February 1, 2016 in Des Moines, Iowa. Sanders was in a virtual tie with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton late in caucus polling. (Photo by Joshua Lott/Getty Images)
Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump addresses his supporters after finishing second in the Iowa Caucus, in West Des Moines, Iowa, February 1, 2016. Republican Senator Ted Cruz has won the Iowa caucuses -- the first vote in the US presidential race -- in a tight contest with frontrunner Donald Trump and Senator Marco Rubio, US media projections showed. / AFP / Jim WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
DES MOINES, IA - FEBRUARY 01: Democratic presidential candidate former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton greets supporters during her caucus night event in the Olmsted Center at Drake University on February 1, 2016 in Des Moines, Iowa. Clinton is competing with Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) in the Iowa Democratic caucus. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
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His first critique, however, was directed at Sarah Palin, who accused his campaign of "dirty tricks" in allegedly suggesting the night of the Iowa caucus that Ben Carson had dropped out of the race.

Related: 7 Ways the Iowa Caucus Surprised Us

"You know, it's interesting — if you spend too much time with Donald Trump, strange things happen to people," Cruz told the crowd in response to a question from Boston conservative political radio host Jeff Kuhner.

Shifting to policy, Cruz focused several minutes on the future of healthcare in the country, taking repeated shots at the "land of pixie dust" dreamed of by candidates seeking to implement "socialized medicine."

"We don't live in a land of pixie dust," he explained. "I know sometimes this campaign seems like a reality TV show. But if someone wants to be president, they actually have to confront reality. The reality is, socialized medicine is a manifest disaster."

Cruz also took aim at Trump's financial history when an audience member questioned him on his family's connection to Goldman Sachs. Cruz's wife is on unpaid leave from the firm.

In response, Cruz questioned the extent to which Trump owes money returned on his own loans.

"It could literally be billions of dollars that he owes in loans," Cruz openly pondered before the 1,300 in attendance. "It is, for him to make this attack — to use a New York term — is the height of chutzpah."

See photos of Trump and Cruz duking it out in debates:

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Rivals Donald Trump and Ted Cruz duke it out in debates
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Cruz takes aim at top rivals -- especially Trump -- in New Hampshire
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 (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)
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)
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)
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When the Texas senator later answered a question about climate change — which he unflinchingly told the crowd was based on "pseudo-science" — about a dozen protesters broke out into a far-from-unison chant of "climate deniers have got to go."

Cruz took the moment, again, to dig at Trump.

"Apparently someone has invited the children to the event. And it does seem that these particular children attended the Donald Trump school of debate," Cruz said as the protesters marched out of the auditorium. "That — if the facts are uncomfortable, simply yell and scream and stomp your feet rather than actually discuss and address the substance."

But he also took a slight dig at the young protesters themselves for being "precious."

"I understand in our colleges there are some young people who are surrounded by trigger warnings," Cruz continued. "They need a safe space. There are micro-aggressions that they're very — we are raising such precious, precious, fragile young people.

Trump wasn't the only target of Cruz's criticism on Wednesday night, though. The candidate also took a swing at Rubio, telling the crowd that "Marco's views are virtually indistinguishable from Hillary Clinton's" on immigration, U.S. Intelligence gathering and trade policy.

Wednesday's event wrapped up a five-stop day for Cruz across the state. He continues onto four more cities in the Granite State on Thursday.

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