WASHINGTON • Any year-end holiday moratorium on US presidential campaign feuding has ended with Mr Donald Trump unleashing new attacks on Democratic rival Hillary Clinton and blasting her husband Bill's "terrible record" with women.
Mr Trump, who is leading the pack of Republican contenders, revived a flash-point issue that he brought up last week when he issued a warning about Mrs Clinton campaigning with former president Bill Clinton after she deplored Mr Trump's inflammatory rhetoric.
The message was an ominous one: Mr Clinton's history of marital infidelity will be a drag on his wife's presidential campaign. "If Hillary thinks she can unleash her husband, with his terrible record of women abuse, while playing the women's card on me, she's wrong!" Mr Trump posted to his Twitter followers on Monday.
And in a Sunday interview on Fox News, he declared Mr Clinton "fair game, because his presidency was really considered to be very troubled because of all the things that she's talking to me about".
The remark referred to a recent interview that Mrs Clinton gave to Iowa's Des Moines Register, in which she said Mr Trump had "demonstrated a penchant for sexism" after he used vulgar language to criticise Mrs Clinton's 2008 campaign loss to Mr Barack Obama and declared her bathroom break at the latest Democratic debate "disgusting".
During the debate, Mrs Clinton accused Mr Trump of being "ISIS' best recruiter", referring to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, and said the militants were using videos of his anti-Muslim remarks as a recruiting tool. Mr Trump demanded an apology, but none was given.
Mrs Clinton and Mr Trump are locked in battle for their respective parties' presidential nominations.
Barely a month before the first votes are cast in the state-by-state nomination process, the top candidates appear to be looking past the primaries and going head to head, with Mr Trump reviving a subject that nearly derailed Mr Clinton's presidency.
Mr Clinton had admitted to having an "inappropriate", intimate relationship with an intern while he was president. Other rumours of sexual impropriety dating back to his time as governor of Arkansas have dogged him for years.
At a rally on Monday in New Hampshire, Mr Trump described a Trump-Clinton election match-up as "her worst nightmare" and warned rivals against attacking his campaign. "Every single person that's gone after me is gone," he said to applause at a middle school in Nashua.