- The Washington Times - Sunday, February 7, 2016

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump said Sunday that his second-place finish in the Iowa caucuses “wasn’t a loss” and that he anticipates winning the New Hampshire primary on Tuesday.

“There wasn’t a loss. I came in second,” Mr. Trump said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “And I only came in second because of the fact that [Texas Sen. Ted] Cruz took a lot of votes away from [Ben] Carson that should not have been taken away. I mean, he’s apologized, but I don’t know what comes of that. Let’s see what happens.”

The flamboyant businessman has been topping the polls in the Granite State, just as he had been in Iowa before his finishing second in the caucuses. He blamed his ranking on Mr. Cruz, arguing that the Texas senator’s camp spread rumors about Mr. Carson dropping out of the race and “stealing” his votes.

He defended his “ground game” in Iowa and in New Hampshire, saying that although he had not established a strong campaign network in those states, his message and popularity are resonating enough with voters to bring home a win.

“I don’t call that a loss, I mean, coming in second,” he said. “A lot of people — a lot of governors and senators that came in way behind — would have liked to have come in second. That, I can tell you. So, I don’t think you can really call that a loss, do you think?”

Mr. Trump said he picked up only one fewer delegate than Mr. Cruz — “and maybe that gets turned over” — and that he had a “great relationship” with people in New Hampshire.

“In New Hampshire, I think I’m going to do very well,” the real estate mogul said. “I have a great relationship between the vets and all of the people of New Hampshire. They just seem to be very positive for me. They have known me for a long time. And they’re great people. I think I’m going to do very well in New Hampshire.”

In New Hampshire, he will be the interesting position of competing with Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernard Sanders of Vermont for independent votes. The open primary system in the state means that unaffiliated voters can cast ballots in either party’s primary without registering, leaving the two polar-opposite candidates seeking support from the same group of voters.

While he and Mr. Sanders “both agree that we’re getting ripped off by China, by Japan, by Mexico, by everybody we do business with,” Mr. Trump said he is the only candidate who can do something about it.

“I’m going to renegotiate those trade deals and make them good. And, believe me, they’re going to be really good,” he said. “I have got the greatest people in the world. I have — Carl Icahn endorsed me, the great businessman. I have many other great businessmen are endorsing me or have endorsed me.”

“Bernie can’t do anything about it, because it’s not his thing. He won’t be able to do anything about it,” he said. “I will create absolute gold out of those deals, whereas, right now, we’re losing tens of billions and even hundreds of billions of dollars. I will create gold, and Bernie will just talk about how bad they are.”

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