The all new
CBS News App for Android® for iPad® for iPhone®
Fully redesigned. Featuring CBSN, 24/7 live news. Get the App

Donald Trump on Iowa: "I don't have to win it"

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump said he thinks he has a good chance of coming in first in the Iowa caucus Monday, but said a win isn't necessary to his success.

"I don't have to win it," the businessman said in an interview on CBS' "Face the Nation" that aired Sunday. "I have a very substantial lead in New Hampshire. But I think it would be really good to win Iowa. I'd like to win Iowa. I'm doing really well with the evangelicals in Iowa. But I'm also doing tremendously well all over the country with the evangelicals...I think we have a good chance of winning Iowa."

The final pre-caucus poll by the Des Moines Register, which was released Saturday, showed Trump reclaiming the lead spot in that poll for the first time since August. He has the support of 28 percent of likely Republican caucus goers in Iowa, followed by Texas Sen. Ted Cruz with 23 percent. Cruz's support has eroded slightly since mid-December, when he had 31 percent support and a 10-point lead over Trump in the Des Moines Register's December poll.

Trump said he thought Cruz had been "severely affected" by his failure to disclose certain loans on his campaign finance forms, but also by questions about whether the fact that he was born in Canada makes him ineligible to run for president - questions that arose after Trump injected them back into the public debate.

He also said Sunday that Cruz is "not going to get anything done" if he is elected president because he has bad relationships with many of his colleagues in Washington.

When Trump noted that Cruz doesn't have any endorsements from his fellow senators, moderator John Dickerson asked Trump why he would want the endorsements of anyone in Washington, given that he has criticized the people in government as incompetent.

"Sure, but they're not bad people," he said. "A lot of them are very good people. And some are people that won't get it done."

Trump also lauded what he sees as the virtues of being unpredictable, saying that even if he makes voters anxious it will help him be a successful president if elected.

"Our enemies know what we're going to do, whether it's battle, whether it's war, whether it's finance. I mean, you have to be somewhat unpredictable," he said. He cited that as a reason not to answer questions from the media in detail on subjects like military strategy.

"I have a very strong answer in mind. But there's something about giving you that answer that bothers me very much because basically the enemy's getting that answer," Trump said.

He said part of the reason he doesn't display humility is because he would "rather not play my cards" and wants to be unpredictable, but also said he has "much more humility than a lot of people would think."

He also pushed back on questions about whether some of his behavior, such as getting in Twitter fights, is befitting of a president.

"I'm in Twitter wars before, really, I was a politician. And now I'm carrying it out," Trump said. "Having Twitter is great. And between Facebook and Twitter and Instagram, I have 12 million people...So it is a great way of getting the word out."

While he said he has found Facebook and Twitter to be a "wonderful, modern way of communicating," he also insisted, "I'm very capable of slowing down Twitter or doing whatever I want to do."

Asked why he is so popular among working people even though he lives a life that is so distant from them, Trump said they believe he is a job creator. Plus, he said, he grew up "working with people that worked on building houses and building whatever" because his father was a builder in Brooklyn and Queens.

Trump was then asked about the fact that he never had to have a second job or ride multiple buses to work.

"I have the ultimate bus, right? I just call it a 727. I mean, you know, and now it's a 757, actually, when you think of it," Trump mused in response. "But somehow, I've always had great relationships with the workers. I work with them. I used to work, during summer, building houses in Brooklyn and Queens. I mean, I just work with them. These are incredible people."

Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders has said that he can also appeal to some of Trump's voters, but Trump predicted that a lot of Sanders' supporters will cross the aisle to back him.

"One thing we sort of agree on is trade. I mean, we're getting horribly beaten on trade. The difference is, I'll make great trade deals. He is incapable of doing that. He's incapable of it," Trump said.

He also predicted that he'll be able to win states that would be out of reach for a traditional Republican candidate.

"I have a good chance of getting New York, as an example. I have a good chance of getting Virginia. I'll get Pennsylvania. I'll get Ohio. I'll get Michigan. I'll get Florida," he said. "One of the reasons I'll win them, a lot of Democrats are going to cross over to me because they're tired of what's happening."

Trump also defended his decision to skip last Thursday's Republican debate even though in 2011, he criticized Republicans who were going to skip a Newsmax debate as lacking courage.

"Here's the difference. I was treated very unfairly by Fox. They weren't treated badly. I mean, I was treated very, very badly by Fox," he said. "I went out, and I raised $6 million for vets. That's more important, frankly, than doing a debate."

As for predictions about the Superbowl, here's what Trump had to say:

"Your Carolina team is sort of a hot team. And the quarterback's doing great. I very much have always liked Peyton Manning. He's a very good guy. I know him. And he's a very, very good guy. So I have to go with the person I know and I like. I like the other team. I think the other team looks fantastic. Probably, they would be favored by something. But I'll stick with Peyton because he's a very good guy."

  • Rebecca Kaplan

    Rebecca Kaplan is a political reporter for CBSNews.com.