Published: Wed, October 17, 2018
Global News | By Blake Casey

Cruz, O'Rourke trade barbs in Senate debate

Cruz, O'Rourke trade barbs in Senate debate

U.S. Rep. Beto O'Rourke speaks during a debate with U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (not shown), at the KENS- 5 TV studios in San Antonio, Texas, U.S., October 16, 2018.

Minutes into the debate, as Cruz accused O'Rourke of supporting a $10-a-barrel tax on oil, the El Paso congressman shot back that Cruz is "dishonest".

O'Rourke, who has his own problems telling the truth, stated, "Senator Cruz is not going to be honest with you".

"It's why the president called him Lyin" Ted and its why the nickname stuck because it's true'.

Even when Cruz tried to say that he and O'Rourke were somewhat in agreement on opposing the Trump administration's tariffs on foreign-made goods, O'Rourke drew laughs by replying, "Really interesting to hear you talk about the partisan circus after your six years in the Senate", a reference to Cruz's days as a tea party insurgent who battled the President Barack Obama at every turn. And he sought to use the GOP president against Cruz, who clashed with Trump on the campaign trail in 2016.

Cruz kept O'Rourke on the defensive when they debated last month in Dallas.

Meanwhile, Cruz edged ahead in the polls.

Trump added, "Ted Cruz has done so much for Texas, including massive cuts in taxes and regulations - which has brought Texas to the best jobs numbers in the history of the state".

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But O'Rourke will need a comeback in conservative Texas, which has not elected a Democrat to statewide office since 1994.

The two also sparred over the issue of judicial appointments, and Cruz said he was "proud" to help confirm both of Trump's nominees to the Supreme Court - Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh.

In a line that underscored Democratic worries that O'Rourke hasn't won over enough Latino voters, Cruz said: "The people of Texas, and I will say, especially the Hispanic community, we don't want to see taxpayer-funded, Medicaid-funded abortions".

O'Rourke's approach did mark a departure from his posture in their first debate last month.

Cruz said O'Rourke was eager to begin impeachment proceedings against Trump that would lead to a partisan circus. He's going to make up positions and votes that I've never held, ' he said during the debate in a San Antonio television studio.

O'Rourke said there needed to be a greater focus on screening methods for people entering the country, and hit Cruz for his vote against a permanent solution for Dreamers, recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

Cue a clip of Cruz declaring that "I'm a big fan of eating White Castle burgers".

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