WASHINGTON — Republicans expected a showdown between businessman Donald Trump and Texas SenTed Cruz on the debate stage Tuesday night — the final GOP debate of 2015.

But Trump didn’t take the bait from CNN moderators, instead heaping praise on the one candidate whose rise threatens Trump’s quest for the nomination.

“Let me just tell you having gotten to know him over the past three or four days, he has a wonderful temperament, he’s just fine,” Trump said of Cruz

Cruz recently pushed Trump from Trump’s first-place spot in the Iowa caucus. A Des Moines Register-Bloomberg poll of the race — widely hailed as the most accurate polls of the caucuses — showed Cruz surging ahead with 31 percent to Trump’s 21 percent. Read more…

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Expected Trump-Cruz fireworks fizzle during GOP debate