DALLAS - With Super Tuesday just days away, two of the leading Republican contenders traded insults during North Texas appearances on Friday.
Donald Trump said he intends to win Texas and on Friday he had his sites set on Fort Worth. He spoke to more than 7,000 people at the Fort Worth Convention Center and brought New Jersey Chris Christie with him for a surprise endorsement.
"I am proud to be here to endorse Donald Trump for president of the United States," Christie said. "There is no better fighter than Donald Trump and he's going to fight for the American people."
Trump unleashed a raw assault on Marco Rubio, who went after Trump with fury on the debate stage in Houston on Thursday night.
Trump called the first-term Florida senator "a nervous basket case," `'a choke artist," `'a frightened little puppy" and insulted the size of his ears. "This is a low-life," Trump said of Rubio, not leaving out Texas Sen. Ted Cruz. "Cruz lies, but at least it's reasonable lies."
Earlier on Friday in Dallas, Rubio joked that Trump might have wet his pants backstage on debate night.
Rubio described a backstage encounter with Trump on Thursday night during which Trump requested a full-length mirror "maybe to make sure his pants weren't wet."
But Trump drew cheers after sharing his own backstage encounter with Rubio: "He was putting on makeup with a trowel," Trump said. "I will not say that he was trying to cover up his ears."
Scott Elledge traveled from Springtown, Texas to attend the Trump event. He's a big supporter of Trump because "he believes in American exceptionalism. He's not apologetic for us. He says what he all think."
"He's been a businessman. He's been up and down, over and out and still kicking. Marco, he ain't never seen a building to build. He says, 'Where the hell does that wall go?' Because nobody is going to write him a speech about how to build a building," added another Trump supporter.
She is an 81-year-old resident of Georgetown, Texas who has been trying to attend a Trump rally for months. But she didn't want to share her name because she said she doesn't want Florida Sen. Marco Rubio to know who she is.
Rubio met with supporters at Klyde Warren Park in Downtown Dallas around 10 a.m. He told the crowd of about 2,000 people that GOP has been hijacked by a con artist named Donald Trump.
"So we unmasked him last night and let me tell you it's time for you to unmask him as well," he said. "Friends don't let friends vote for con artists."
According to recent polls, Rubio is in third place behind Trump and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz. But he had a good night during the Houston debates. Also, delegates in Texas are awarded proportionately, so it makes sense for him to try to have as strong of a showing in the Lone Star State as possible.
"Of the available choices, I think Marco has done the best job of articulating his positions. I think the kind of man that he is, the kind of president that he would be… I feel most comfortable supporting him over the other options," said James Jenkins, a Rubio supporter from Dallas.
Cruz and Dr. Ben Carson will also be in North Texas soon.
The NE Tarrant Tea Party will host Carson Saturday at 9:30 a.m. at the Westin DFW Airport Hotel. Then on Monday, Cruz will rally at Gilly's in Dallas beginning at 9 a.m.
Early voting for the Texas primaries ends at 7 p.m. Friday.
Already more people have taken advantage of the option compared to the past four years. Turnout locally is up 140 percent over the same period in 2012.
Election Day is Tuesday.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.