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Trump Accuses Cruz of Flip-Flopping on Ethanol

Minneapolis Star Tribune

January 10, 2016

By Jose A. DelReal

– GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump is escalating his criticism of rival Sen. Ted Cruz in Iowa, painting him as a political follower beholden to pro-oil special interests and the donor class.

Trump's strategy: to raise further questions about Cruz's stance on ethanol — an important industry in the Hawkeye State — in the final weeks before the Feb. 1 caucuses. Cruz has faced renewed scrutiny over his opposition to the 2005 Renewable Fuel Standard, which requires gasoline to be blended with amounts of corn ethanol and is set to expire in 2022.

"As you know, my primary opponent in Iowa — only in Iowa, because Ted actually isn't doing very well in New Hampshire, but in Iowa he's doing well — was totally opposed to ethanol and the ethanol industry because he's with the oil industry. He's from Texas, I guess that makes sense," Trump said Saturday at a rally in Ottumwa.

His criticism comes amid a growing battle between the two candidates for the top spot in polls of Iowa voters. A Fox News survey of Iowa voters had Cruz leading Trump among likely GOP caucusgorers, 27 percent to 23 percent.

While touting his own ­support for the industry, Trump said he believes Cruz's position on ethanol has undergone "a very big change." Cruz has softened his position in recent years, calling for legislation that would gradually phase out the ethanol blending requirement.

"He was getting clobbered and all of a sudden he said, 'Uh, oh, I'm for ethanol.' You can't do that. You can't do that. With three weeks to go, you're not allowed to do that. Nobody really believes it," Trump said.

Supporters and spectators waited outside of the Bridge View Center in Ottumwa — a small town in southern Iowa — where a harsh cold wind blew as they waited for a chance to hear one of Trump's notoriously raucous speeches. Though the crowd capacity in the auditorium was about 650, according to police, the overflow area held about 1,000.

Trump has a series of stops in Iowa planned for the next three weeks leading to the caucuses. This is a contrast to his previous campaigning in Iowa, where he has darted in for occasional rallies before huge crowds, relying on TV news coverage to reach Iowans.

Trump's rallies Saturday afternoon in Ottumwa and Clear Lake came after an 11-day absence from the state.

"Next couple of weeks, I'm going to be seeing you so much that you're going to be so sick of me," Trump said at the Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake.

Read the original story: Trump Accuses Cruz of Flip-Flopping on Ethanol