Trump Claims Cruz 'Stole' Iowa Caucus Victory

"I mean, you never know. I think some people were disappointed that I didn't go into the debate".

The big headline Monday night was a poor showing for the candidacy of Donald Trump, who underperformed both in losing to Sen.

The Cruz campaign apologised to Carson's camp, saying it was a misunderstanding. "That is why all of the polls were so wrong any[sic] why he got far more votes than anticipated".

"During primetime of the Iowa Caucus, Cruz put out a release that @RealBenCarson was quitting the race, and to caucus (or vote) for Cruz", Trump tweeted.

An uncharacteristically humbled Trump, 69, congratulated Cruz and said he still expected to win the Republican nomination.

Several Twitter users also noted Trump's penchant for the quotation: "No one remembers who came in second", a saying attributed to famed golfer Walter Hagen.

Meanwhile, Donald Trump tried to hijack the story to justify his loss and Cruz apologized for what he characterized as a false story spread by CNN.

Cruz, with his ultra-professional campaign and smooth stump style, brought home a huge triumph.

Trump has repeatedly raised the subject of Cruz's birthplace, suggesting that the Texas senator, who was born in Calgary, Alberta, to an American mother, may not be constitutionally eligible to serve as president of the United States.

"We're looking at it right now, but the important point is that at the end of the day we came from nowhere to really startle the entire world, " he said. Marco Rubio's third place finish in Iowa, citing what he called the senator's lack of political experience.

In the weeks before the Iowa caucuses, he held leads in nearly every statewide and national poll though his dominance in Iowa wobbled after Mr Cruz won a key endorsement from a local evangelical Christian leader.

Trump's tone has drastically shifted from Monday night, when he graciously thanked Iowa voters for handing him second place.

Rubio, whose star has risen in recent weeks, won more than 23 percent, anointing him as the Republican establishment candidate of choice best placed to defeat presumed Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. The Iowa caucus was our first chance to see how the nation views its potential presidents.

The two men are going head-to-head for voters in New Hampshire, where Cruz's evangelical Christian credentials will not be as helpful as they were in Iowa.

Cruz Laughs Off #Trumpertantrum: 'Donald's Insults Get More and More Hysterical'
In his response, he explained that Cruz has far right-wing policies that he would pursue if he makes it to the White House. CNN on Wednesday flatly denied that claim in a strongly worded statement.