Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) launched his toughest attack on Sen. Marco Rubio's (R-FL) foreign policy yet, trying to tie him to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (D).
Cruz: "Senator Rubio emphatically supported Hillary Clinton in toppling [Muammar] Qaddafi in Libya. I think that made no sense. ... The terrorist attack that occurred in Benghazi was a direct result of that massive foreign policy blunder."
Cruz also argued against getting involved in the Syrian civil war: "The enemy of my enemy is not necessarily my friend. ... If the Obama administration and the Washington neo-cons succeed in toppling [Bashar al-] Assad, Syria will be handed over to radical Islamic terrorists. ISIS will rule Syria." (Bloomberg)
JIMINY CRICKET! Cruz, responding to a voter's question about "making contraception available to women who want to control their own bodies," went off on Democrats for falsely accusing Republicans of being "the condom police."
Cruz: "Hillary Clinton embraces abortion on demand in all circumstances up until the moment of birth. Partial-birth abortion with taxpayer funding, with no notification for parents in any circumstances -- 91% of Americans say that's nuts. ... So what do they do, they try to shift it. The war on women wasn't that, it was contraceptives. Now listen, I have been a conservative my entire life. I have never met anybody, any conservative who wants to ban contraceptives."
Cruz continued: "As I noted, Heidi and I, we have two little girls. I'm very glad we don't have 17. ... And it's a great example when the war on women came up, Republicans would curl up in a ball, they'd say, 'Don't hurt me.' Jiminy Cricket! ... Last I checked we don't have a rubber shortage in America. When I was in college we had a machine in the bathroom, you put .50 cents in and voila!" (CNN)
VIOLENT DEMOCRATS? Cruz said most violent criminals identify as Democrats.
Cruz, on Hugh Hewitt's radio show: "Here is the simple and undeniable fact – the overwhelming majority of violent criminals are Democrats. ... There is a reason why for years the Democrats have been viewed as soft on crime because they go in and appoint to the bench judges who release violent criminals. ... The Democrats know that convicted felons tend to vote Democrat." (Hugh Hewitt Show)
ALIENATING FRIENDS. "Axiom Strategies, the Kansas City consulting firm founded by [Cruz campaign manager Jeff] Roe, has long been involved with super PACs seeking to oust" Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-KS).
"On that Wednesday at the Capitol Hill Club, according to a source inside the room," Rep Paul Gosar (R-WY) "paused the table’s discussion of political strategy to confront Roe directly about Axiom’s actions, asking why he was helping run a super PAC hell-bent on unseating a 'good conservative.' Huelskamp had already left the room by then, but his staff stayed behind. 'It seemed clear to everyone that the question was planted by Huelskamp,' the source says. 'And for Roe and Cruz, the question didn’t seem unexpected.'"
Cruz and Roe responded saying Roe works full time on Cruz's campaign now and had no involvement with the super PAC "but according to multiple sources, tensions have simmered between Cruz and Huelskamp ever since the Texas senator enlisted Roe to run his presidential campaign. Cruz endorsed Huelskamp in his 2014 congressional bid, leading Huelskamp to consider him an ally — until Cruz joined forces with his most prominent foe." (National Review)
Zach Montellaro is an Associate Web Producer for National Journal Hotline. Zach also assists the TwentySixteen podcast crew with pre-show research and preparation. Zach was born on Long Island and is currently a senior at The George Washington University, where he is the managing editor of the independent student newspaper, The GW Hatchet.