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Leading Republicans Deliver Closing Arguments To Iowa Voters


After months of speeches and debates and rallies, the first poll in the presidential campaign that actually matters is just a few days away - Monday's Iowa caucuses. The candidates are making their final pitches to voters, and we want to give you a sense of what that sounds like. So we're going to play excerpts from three speeches delivered in Iowa this week, one from each of the top three GOP candidates there - Donald Trump, Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio. Speaking in Des Moines last night, Mr. Trump said the country needs his leadership.


DONALD TRUMP: We are a country that doesn't win anymore. We don't win anymore. When was the last time we one? We don't win on trade. We don't win in the military. We don't beat ISIS. We don't do anything. We're not good. We're just not the same place. We are going to win so much. We are going to win at the military. We're going to win at the border. We're going to win on trade. We're going to get rid of Obamacare and come up with great, great powerful, wonderful health care.


TRUMP: We're going to win again. I'll tell you what. We're going to win again. We're going to win at every single level. And we're not going to be laughed at throughout the rest of the world because believe me, they laugh at our stupidity. They cannot believe what's happening. We send weapons over to our allies. A gun is fired in the air. They hear one sound of a bullet. They drop the weapons. The enemy takes them, and now people come back from the Middle East, and they tell me, Mr. Trump, they have better weapons than we do. They have the new versions. They have the best weapons - the enemy - not going to happen anymore. It's not going to happen anymore. I will tell you.


CORNISH: Speaking earlier this week, Ted Cruz looked back on an earlier election.


TED CRUZ: You know, scripture tells us there's nothing new under the sun. I think where we are today, it is very, very much like the late 1970s - the Jimmy Carter administration - the same failed economic policies, same feckless and naive foreign policies. In fact, the exact same countries - Russia and Iran openly laughing at and mocking the president of the United States. Now, why does that analogy give me so much hope and optimism? Because we know how that story ended. All across this country millions of men and women rose up and became the Reagan revolution.


CRUZ: And it didn't come from Washington. Washington despised Ronald Reagan. By the way, if you see a candidate who Washington embraces, run and hide.


CRUZ: It came from the American people, and it turned this country around. Why am I so optimistic - because the same thing is happening.

CORNISH: And Marco Rubio said he would unite the Republican Party to win the general election.


MARCO RUBIO: Our problems are real, and we need to confront them because if we solve our problems, our opportunities are extraordinary. This country has a chance to be better than it's ever been. Our children have a chance to be the freest and the most prosperous Americans that have ever lived. But that's not going to happen if we keep playing games, and that's not going to happen if Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders is elected.

In fact, if Bernie Sanders or Hillary Clinton is the next president of the United States, everything Obama has done to this country becomes permanent. The next president will nominate at least two to three Supreme Court justices. What kind of justices are we going to get if it's Hillary Clinton who's choosing them? You're not going to be happy. Obamacare becomes permanent if she wins. The executive orders are here to stay if she wins. Our military continues to get cut if she wins. Our standing in the world continues to diminish if she wins. ISIS will grow - continue to grow unchallenged if she wins. And the American dream will continue to slip away if she wins. This is a serious election about serious issues and serious opportunities. And that's why today I'm asking you for your vote. I need you to caucus for me on Monday night.


CORNISH: Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz and Donald Trump speaking in Iowa this week. We'll hear excerpts from Democratic candidates' speeches elsewhere in the program. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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