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Is Ted Cruz-ing to the top of GOP field?

Texas senator Ted Cruz has quietly watched Donald Trump and Ben Carson lead the GOP primary race, reluctant to speak out against either
Ted Cruz: Cruising to the top? 02:03

In the race for the republican presidential nomination, Ted Cruz has bumped Ben Carson out of second place, and now he has his eye on the frontrunner.

New polls show Ted Cruz, Chris Christie surge 04:05

Texas senator Ted Cruz has watched for months as Donald Trump and Ben Carson have dominated the presidential race. Now, with his poll numbers rising, Cruz sees his opening.

Cruz told contributors at a private fund-raiser, the terrorist attacks in Paris and San Bernardino have changed the campaign.

"It's given seriousness to this race. That people are looking for who is prepared to be commander in chief, who understands the threats we face? Who am I comfortable having their finger on the button? That is a question that is a challenging question for both of them," Cruz said in an audio recording released by "The New York Times."

He also predicted he will inherit the Trump and Carson anti-establishment vote

"I believe that gravity will bring both of those campaigns down, and I think the lion's share of their supporters come to us," said Cruz.

Trump responded on Twitter saying if Cruz attacks, "He will fall like all others. Will be easy!"

Trump, who bankrolls his campaign, also said Cruz "should not make statements behind closed doors to his bosses."

Despite his private comments, Cruz has not wanted to publically attack Trump. In a tweet today, he said he will not get in a "cage match" with Trump, adding "sorry to disappoint" and calling Trump "terrific."

Cruz's surge is most visible in Iowa, but in New Hampshire, it's New Jersey Governor Chris Christie who has, according to a new poll, risen to second place. Though at 12 points, Christie still trails Trump by a wide margin.

Many republicans believe terrorism will be the issue Trump and Cruz fight over. Our latest poll found 44 percent of Americans fear another terrorist attack soon.

Terrorism is now considered the most important problem facing the country.

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