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Trump Focuses On Iowa 'Cuz We Have To Win'


And the Iowa caucuses, they're now just weeks away. Candidates for the Republican nomination are gearing up for their first real test. And that has particular significance for Donald Trump, who so far has been able to measure his political strength by polls alone and not votes. NPR's Sarah McCammon attended a rally for Trump in Iowa last night.

SARAH MCCAMMON, BYLINE: Donald Trump stood before a packed arena last night in Council Bluffs, near the Missouri River. He told the crowd that he came prepared.


DONALD TRUMP: I even brought my Bible, the evangelicals, OK? We love the evangelicals.

MCCAMMON: That group is key to winning Iowa's Republican caucuses. Trump said he loves the Bible even more than one of his own books.


TRUMP: It's the best. We love "The Art Of The Deal." But the Bible is far, far, far superior, right? Yes.

MCCAMMON: Trump told Iowans that if he becomes president, he'll make sure their coveted first-in-the-nation status is preserved. He also promised to campaign in the state so much in the coming weeks that Iowans will say...


TRUMP: We can't stand him anymore. But I'm going to be here anyway 'cause we have to win.

MCCAMMON: He did not focus on polls that show him slipping, as rival Ted Cruz surges in Iowa. Trump took this jab at the Texas senator, whose father was born in Cuba.


TRUMP: You've got to remember, in all fairness, to the best of my knowledge, not too many evangelicals come out of Cuba, OK? Just remember that.

MCCAMMON: Nineteen-year-old Ryan McDermott of Council Bluffs says he's deciding between Trump and Cruz. He likes Trump's bold tone.

RYAN MCDERMOTT: He says how it is. He doesn't sugarcoat it. That's kind of what America needs.

MCCAMMON: But McDermott says any Republican would be better than a Democrat. Trump not only needs to win over undecided voters but also make sure his supporters turn out on caucus night, as he reminded voters in Council Bluffs.


TRUMP: So February 1, get out and vote. Get out and vote. Thank you. Thank you, everybody.

MCCAMMON: A message Iowans will be hearing from lots of presidential hopefuls in the coming weeks. Sarah McCammon, NPR News, Council Bluffs, Iowa. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.