Fireworks at last night’s FBN Republican presidential debate.  Conflict between Ted Cruz and Donald Trump getting the most attention today, but sparks also flew between Rubio and Christie and Rubio and Cruz. Jeb Bush also got in a few good cracks. Cruz had strong answers to Trump’s challenging whether he was a natural born citizen.

Karen Tumulty and Philip Rucker write today in the Washington Post, “The mutually beneficial campaign detente between Donald Trump and Sen. Ted Cruz (Tex.) came to an end on the debate stage here Thursday. The two Republican presidential candidates, locked in a tight race to win the Feb. 1 Iowa caucuses, argued over whether Cruz meets the constitutional requirements to serve as president and whether Trump is a trustworthy conservative or is tainted by what Cruz called “New York values.”

The New York Times writes, “For much of his career in Washington, Ted Cruz has been dismissed as a cartoonish sideshow -- an ostrich-boot-wearing ideologue who once delivered a sleep-inducing 21-hour monologue on the floor of the Senate reading from the children's story ''Green Eggs and Ham.'' A ''wacko bird,'' in the words of a Republican colleague, Senator John McCain of Arizona. On Thursday night that simplistic, superficial image was swept away.”

Patrick O'Connor, Janet Hook and Beth Reinhard write today in the Wall Street Journal,
“A clash between businessman Donald Trump and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz that has played out on the campaign trail in the past week boiled over Thursdaynight in the sixth Republican presidential debate. The two leading contenders for the GOP nomination engaged in a heated back-and-forth about Mr. Cruz's eligibility to run for president, the depth of Mr. Trump's conservatism and their relative standing in the polls heading into the Feb. 1 Iowa caucuses. The long shadow of the Trump-Cruz rivalry was a measure of how much the GOP race has evolved since the first debate in August, when many Republicans viewed Mr. Trump as a short-lived sensation and Mr. Cruz as a longshot. Now they are the front-runners in a presidential contest that has left party officials and establishment candidates flummoxed over how to respond to the populist anti-Washington anger they have mobilized. Messrs. Trump and Cruz are first and second nationally as the preferred pick of 33% and 20% of Republican primary voters, respectively, according to a new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll.”  

New polling out of the WSJ and NBC News show Trump with a double digit lead. He gets 33% of GOP primary voters. Cruz gets 20%, Rubio gets 13%  and Carson gets 12%.

The unscientific but popular Drudge Report “who won the debate” poll had Trump and Cruz as 1 and 2.  

Lots of live events today. Rubio holding a rally in New Hampshire. Ben Carson has a meet and greet in South Carolina. Donald Trump has a rally at 10:30 in Iowa. Rubio has a town hall in New Hmapshrie at 12:15. Governor Kasich holds a town hall at 1pm.

SC Senator Lindsay Graham has endorsed Jeb Bush. John Roberts.

Also at 1pm, Bill Clinton campaigns for Hillary in Iowa.

Hillary Clinton was on Rachel Maddow and got grilled about attacks on Bernie Sanders. Clinton said it was about substantive issues and not personal attacks. Maddow pushed back saying Clinton was casting aspersions on his character.  

Keep an eye on stocks today. China is now officially in Bear territory after steep declines. Chinese stocks fell more than three and a half percent. Oil now firmly below $30/barrel. It could be a bloodbath on Wall Street today. We also get reads on retails sales and consumer sentiment.

The White House set today to announce a halt on new coal leases on federal land. It’s yet another blow to the ailing Coal industry.

The Michigan governor is asking for help with the water crisis in Flint.

A hurricane in the middle of Winter in the Azores – a Portuguese island chain. 947 miles from Portugal in the middle of the Atlantic. 100 mile an hour winds and 60 foot waves expected.

Indonesia today says ISIS funded the terrorists who attacked a mall in Jakarta yesterday killing two civilians and five terrorists.