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Talk radio host Rush Limbaugh inched away from GOP front-runner Donald Trump Monday, suggesting on his radio program that the casino tycoon's recent criticism of Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, raises red flags.

"You cannot legitimately and honestly criticize Cruz's competence, his intelligence, his abilities. He's as bright and competent and capable and smart as anybody, and they all know it," the host said Monday, "A genuine conservative, even in the Republican field, would not go after Cruz this way. So that just raised a red flag for me, made me somewhat curious."

Limbaugh's comments came as part of a broader discussion regarding Cruz's sudden rise in the polls, especially in Iowa where the Texas senator holds a 10 point lead over Trump, according to a new Bloomberg Politics/Des Moines Register poll released Saturday.

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