Cruz to Trump: 'Leave Heidi the Hell Alone'
Lindsey Graham wants both men to 'knock it off'
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 25, 2016 12:44 AM CDT
Ted Cruz speaks at a campaign stop as his wife, Heidi, listens on Thursday in Dane, Wis.   (AP Photo/Andy Manis)

(Newser) – The GOP nomination race edged a little closer to becoming a bar brawl on Thursday when Ted Cruz called Donald Trump a "sniveling coward" and told him to "leave Heidi the hell alone." Cruz told reporters in Wisconsin, which holds the next GOP primary on April 5, that Trump is a "small and petty man" for targeting his wife with an insulting tweet, the New York Times reports. "Our spouses and our children are off-bounds," Cruz said, per the Washington Post. "It is not acceptable for a big, loud New York bully to attack my wife. It is not acceptable for him to make insults, to send nasty tweets."

"Real men don't bully women," Cruz said, firing the latest shots in a feud that began on Tuesday, when Trump threatened to "spill the beans" on Heidi Cruz as payback for an ad featuring his own wife, Melania, posted by an anti-Trump super PAC unaffiliated with Cruz. In a Today show interview Thursday, Lindsey Graham told both men to "knock it off" and quipped that it is "a good year to be single." The Post reports that GOP strategists fear Trump's behavior toward women could turn female voters away from the party in a general election. A Post/ABC poll this month found that just 23% of women have a favorable opinion of him. (Megyn Kelly had a one-word response to Trump's Heidi Cruz insult.)