What Would The Republican Race Look Like Without Trump?

Asked if he skipped the debate to purposely wound Cruz's campaign, Trump replied: "I'd like to tell you it was by design, maybe it was by instinct".

Ted Cruz, the hyper-conservative Texas senator, opened the debate in Iowa with a mocking impression of Mr Trump's blunt, insulting style.

"She is not qualified to be president of the United States", New Jersey governor Chris Christie said.

In an attempt to reach every last voter in Iowa before the caucuses on Monday, Florida Sen. and Republican candidate for president Marco Rubio continued to make his way through the state Saturday, including a town hall meeting at the Scheman Building at Iowa State University. "You are depriving people of seeing you in a forum they want to see you in", O'Reilly said to Trump before asking him point blank if he'd reconsider. "And Ben, you're a bad surgeon", Cruz said, looking mischievously at retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson. Then he thanked his fellow candidates for showing Iowa voters respect by showing up. "He was a little teddy bear to me", said Bush, who has famously feuded with Trump on the campaign trail.

Asked if he'll show for the next GOP presidential debate in New Hampshire, Trump said, "I think I will be there".

"We have to stick up for ourselves as people and we have to stick up for our country if we're being mistreated", he told the rally.

Donald Trump not surprisingly claims he's the victor in the fight with Fox News Thursday night, after he held his own impromptu veterans benefit in Des Moines, Iowa in lieu of attending the network's Republican primary debate.

And when Trump skipped Thursday night's debate, ratings dropped to just half the total viewership of the previous Fox News debate in August.

During his event, Trump called out the names of some of the major event donors, including business mogul Carl Icahn and billionaire casino magnate Phil Ruffin, who also made an appearance on stage Thursday.

"So did you", Mr Bush said, interrupting him, to applause.

K9s for Warriors, which trains rescue dogs to be service animals for veterans, received a call from a Trump campaign representative asking if the group was interested in accepting funds from the event, according to executive director Rory Diamond.

CNN's debate in December had 18 million.

The money is going to 22 different veterans organizations, including Disabled American Veterans Charitable Service Trust of Cold Springs, Kentucky; Fisher House Foundation; K9s for Warriors of Ponte Verde, Florida; and Partners for Patriots in Liberty, Tennessee.

Assembled on the debate stage will be the smallest GOP gathering yet for the 2016 race: Jeb Bush, Ben Carson, Chris Christie, Ted Cruz, John Kasich, Rand Paul and Marco Rubio.

There are reasons for Trump to feel secure at the top: his supporters are the most confident among the top three candidates, with 71% saying they've decided, compared to 61% for Cruz and 47% for Rubio.

With Fox carrying the debate, other cable channels were likely to show Trump's event, stealing away at least some viewers who would have otherwise watched the contest. It may have been meant as a joking swipe at the absent Trump, but many in the audience didn't seem to know whether to laugh. I think, frankly, if you have border security, you can have legalization. "Federal government can play a role in allowing them to do that but the process of statehood or the status of Puerto Rico won't be solved until we get to the bigger issue of how you deal with the structural economic problems that they're facing right now", said Bush.

Kate Middleton to give first interview in more than five years
Presenters Ant and Dec said, "We are honoured to be hosting this special celebration of Her Majesty the Queen's 90th birthday". Earlier this year, Ant and Dec interviewed Prince Charles as part of a Prince's Trust documentary for ITV .