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Beto O’Rourke says calling Ted Cruz ‘Lyin’ Ted’ may have been ‘a step too far’

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beto
Democratic Rep. Beto
O’Rourke of Texas.

CNN

  • Democratic Rep. Beto O’Rourke recently called
    Republican Sen. Ted Cruz “Lyin’ Ted,” the same nickname Donald
    Trump used against Cruz during the 2016 Republican
    primaries
  • O’Rourke said the disparaging remarks may have been
    made “in the heat of the moment.”
  • “It’s not something that I feel totally comfortable
    with,” O’Rourke admitted.

Democratic Rep. Beto O’Rourke of Texas said that some of the
disparaging remarks he made during a lively debate this week
against his Republican rival, Sen. Ted Cruz, may have been made
“in the heat of the moment.”

Speaking at a televised CNN event in McAllen, Texas, on Thursday,
O’Rourke recounted the debate with the incumbent senator earlier
this week, in which he labeled Cruz as “Lyin’ Ted.”

“Senator Cruz won’t be honest with you,” O’Rourke said on Monday.
“He’s dishonest. It’s why the president called him ‘Lyin’ Ted’
and it’s why the nickname stuck. Because it’s true.”

Cruz brushed off O’Rourke’s remarks and said the fact that
O’Rourke was reviving the nickname was “clear” evidence that
“pollsters have told him to come out on the attack.”

Donald Trump first gave Cruz that moniker during the contentious
2016 Republican primaries. That, among other things became one of
the many sources of friction between the two during the general
election that year.

Asked on Thursday how he felt about using the nickname, O’Rourke
expressed some regret, but suggested it was an efficient way to
dispel some of the falsehoods leveled against his campaign.


ted cruz
Republican Sen. Ted Cruz
of Texas.

Joe Raedle/Getty
Images


“There have been untold dollars spent on TV ads that are lies,
that are dishonest, trying to scare you about me,” O’Rourke said.
“I decided that I can either spend the debate responding to every
single dishonest thing that [Cruz] said, or I could make sure
that everyone understood exactly what he’s doing.”

“It’s not something that I feel totally comfortable with,”
O’Rourke admitted. “And perhaps in the heat of the moment, I took
a step too far.”

O’Rourke also denied Cruz’s assertion that his use of the
nickname was planned ahead of time, as suggested by pollsters.

“I don’t know that that’s the way I want to be talking in this
campaign,” O’Rourke said.

The race for the senate seat is hitting a fever pitch as early
voting begins on Monday, the same day Trump is scheduled to
headline a campaign rally for Cruz.

Despite lagging in polls, O’Rourke’s campaign raked in over $38
million last quarter — more than the $18 million Trump made, and
more than triple the $12 million Cruz took in.

A Quinnipiac
University poll
conducted earlier this month found Cruz
leading by nine percentage points, while a
New York Times Upshot/Siena College poll
put Cruz ahead by 8
points.

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