MILFORD, N.H. — He may have lost in Iowa on Monday, but you wouldn’t have known it if you watched Donald Trump take the stage in New Hampshire Tuesday night.
Trump declared his second-place Iowa finish a success and continued to take shots at the man who bested him, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz.
The way Trump tells it, he was told after his June 2015 announcement that placing in the top 10 "would be lucky."
Continuing to push this new narrative that he never expected the kind of success he has enjoyed for months in the polls, Trump announced that he somehow achieved his goal of a "record" number of votes in Iowa.
That he didn’t get the majority of that "record" apparently doesn't matter.
"We did really well," Trump told a crowd here.
As Trump tells it, had he known in advance they could do so well in Iowa, “maybe I would’ve spent more time there. I would've taken a day or two off from here [New Hampshire], but that wouldn’t have been good.”
That argument is, however, hard to swallow if you consider Trump’s multiple appeals to Iowa voters to help him win there and then run the early state table.
Trump credited himself with the record Republican caucus turnout, eliciting laughs from the crowd of a few thousand supporters when he said "I’m not gonna say that was me, but believe me, it was me."
Trump even had a new endorsement — that of former Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown — to dangle in front of rivals and supporters ahead of the New Hampshire primary next Tuesday.
Responding to reports that Cruz staffers falsely told caucus goers that Ben Carson had dropped out of the race as a recruiting tactic for their candidate, Trump filled the crowd in before delivering more blows to Cruz.
"Did you hear about this one?” Trump asked like a late-night talk show host. "He said 'Ben Carson has quit the race,' and Ben didn’t quit the race. In other words, Ben Carson quit and let me have your vote. What kind of crap is this?"