The feud between Republican presidential contenders Donald Trump and Ted Cruz has heated up with Mr Cruz calling the party frontrunner “a snivelling coward” for threatening his wife on Twitter.
The Texas senator also sharpened his attacks on Mr Trump's conservative credentials, linking the brash billionaire to disgraced New York politicians Eliot Spitzer and Anthony Weiner.
Mr Cruz continued bashing Mr Trump for making Mr Cruz's wife, Heidi, a target of social media barbs.
“I have to say, seeing him go deeper and deeper into the gutter, it's not easy to tick me off,” Mr Cruz said at a news conference while campaigning in Dane, Wisconsin.
“But you mess with my wife, you mess with my kids, it'll do it every time.
“Donald, you're a snivelling coward. Leave Heidi the hell alone.”
Mr Cruz's remarks were the latest burst of hostility between the two camps, which earlier this week erupted into full view when Mr Trump accused Mr Cruz of posting a nude photo of Melania Trump on Twitter. Mr Trump responded by threatening to “spill the beans” on Mr Cruz's wife, Heidi.
Mr Cruz denied having anything to do with the image, which was part of an attack by an anti-Trump Super PAC, Make America Awesome.