December 15, 2015 11:33 PM EST

Donald Trump had kinder words for the GOP establishment than he ever has during his insurgent presidential campaign, using a moment late in the fifth Republican debate Tuesday to say he won’t mount a third-party run as he has so often threatened.

“I have gained great respect for the Republican leadership,” Trump said. “I am very committed to the Republican Party. I feel very honored to be the frontrunner.”

“I’m in first place, not by a little bit, but by a lot,” Trump told CNN’s Chris Cuomo after the debate.

“I want to do it the old fashioned way,” he said of winning the White House, before noting that he hasn’t even started attacking Hillary Clinton yet.

“I haven’t even really gone after her yet,” he said. “I haven’t even focused on Hillary, when I do I think she’s going to fall.”

 

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Write to Charlotte Alter at charlotte.alter@time.com.

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