We’re just over 24 hours away from the next Republican debate coming up on Saturday evening from South Carolina. The race on the Republican side has gone from relatively bitter in New Hampshire into a full on brawl of candidates vying for slices of the electorate. In the top tier, Ted Cruz and Donald Trump are locked in a battle over allegations of misleading attack ads and push-polling. In the establishment lane, Jeb Bush has declared war on Marco Rubio with the intentions of knocking him out of contention.

Report om Trump and Cruz from Politico:

Donald Trump has a new line of attack against Ted Cruz — he’s a liar.

Over the past 24 hours, Trump has tweeted five times in some variation that the Texas senator is not truthful.

It all started Thursday morning with a tweet from the billionaire that Cruz was making negative robo-polls. Cruz flat-out denied the allegations Thursday to reporters before a rally in Fort Mill, South Carolina.

“We are getting reports from many voters that the Cruz people are back to doing very sleazy and dishonest ‘pushpolls’ on me. We are watching!” Trump tweeted.

“I have no idea. We had nothing to do with them. I don’t know what they were. We had nothing to do with them. So I had read reports of what is being said but somebody else is doing them, not us,” Cruz said.
But Trump was not swayed.

Pay attention to Ted Cruz in the hours following the debate tomorrow. At this point, he’s still hitting Trump, but there could be a time when he turns attention on Rubio if his Trump attacks aren’t working. If Rubio is holding some reasonable support in South Carolina, it may be easier to go after those voters than enter a dogfight next week wit Trump.

Next, the status of Rubio and Bush via ABC News:

Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush fired back on attacks leveled by rival Marco Rubio that the former Florida governor has little or no foreign policy experience. “To suggest that he has foreign policy experience and I don’t is kind of ludicrous,” Bush told ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos in an interview on “Good Morning America” today. “I’m pretty fluent on foreign policy issues,” Bush added.

“I look forward to debating Marco on these issues.” Rubio said on the campaign trail in South Carolina earlier this week that Bush has “no foreign policy experience.” “I thank God every day that George W. Bush was president, but Jeb has no foreign policy experience,” he added. Bush’s brother, former President George W. Bush, will make his first public appearance on the campaign trail this year in South Carolina on Monday.

The foreign policy issue will get more attention this week with the decision of President George W. Bush to join his brother on the campaign trail. South Carolina has always been friendly to the Bush family, and clearly Jeb needs all the help he can get. However, having the former President hitting the trail certainly opens up questions about the Iraq War and will likely force Jeb into some uncomfortable answers about how he would handle the world compared to his brother.

We have still seen no new polling out of South Carolina for several weeks now. There have been some rumored polls leaked earlier this week, but I don’t feel comfortable sharing any of them as they’re all being released anonymously so there is no way to know if they’re credible.

The next Republican debate is coming up on Saturday, February 13, hosted by CBS News. More details to follow.