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O'Rourke Comes Out Swinging in Cruz Debate: 'Lyin' Ted'

But Texas senator swings right back
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 17, 2018 3:33 AM CDT
This combination of Sept. 21, 2018, file photos shows Republican US Sen. Ted Cruz, left, and Democratic US Rep. Beto O'Rourke, right, during their first Senate debate in Dallas.   (Tom Fox/The Dallas Morning News via AP, Pool, File)
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(Newser) – Beto O'Rourke was relatively reserved in his first debate against Sen. Ted Cruz last month, the New York Times notes. In Tuesday night's debate in San Antonio, however: The congressman was "sharper and edgier," and the Hill notes that "seasoned debater" Cruz, whose Texas Senate seat is at stake, gave it right back. Some of the barbs that flew back and forth:

  • On the possibility of impeaching President Trump if Democrats take the Senate: Cruz noted it would be "two years of a partisan circus." O'Rourke's response: "It's really interesting to hear you talk about a partisan circus, after your last six years in the US Senate."

  • O'Rourke on Cruz's claim he has a "special relationship" with Trump: "Where is the result of that? You are all talk and no action."
  • Cruz on O'Rourke: "Have you noticed in this debate he doesn't talk about what he has accomplished in Congress? Because he has scored political points rather than accomplishing victories for the people of Texas."
  • During a segment on climate change and oil taxes: "Senator Cruz is not going to be honest with you," O'Rourke said. "He's dishonest, and it's why the president called him Lyin' Ted, and it's why the nickname stuck—because it's true." Cruz's retort: "It's clear Congressman O'Rourke's pollsters have told him to come out on the attack."
  • Cruz during a discussion on civility in politics, addressing one of the moderators: "There is an anger, there is a rage on the far left," then becoming impatient when local reporter Jason Whitely tried to interject: "Don't interrupt me, Jason."
A Texas Tribune fact-check of the debate tries to suss out whose insults hold water. (O'Rourke has raised a stunning amount of money, but it may not matter.)

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