O'Rourke attacks Cruz as 'dishonest' in testy 2nd Texas Senate debate

Larry Hoffman
October 19, 2018

Cruz has been a full-throated supporter of the president he battled during the presidential race two years ago, and hopes that the joint appearance will assuage some conservatives around the state who were angered by the past animosity.

This comment seems to raise some questions about how Trump defines "long".

The hour-long debate showcased a major shift in tone for O'Rourke, who rarely says the names of Cruz or President Donald Trump on the campaign trail and has often bypassed his opportunities to take direct shots at Cruz. Cruz called Trump a "sniveling coward" and refused to endorse him when he spoke at the Republican National Convention, prompting viewers to boo him off the stage.

"He's dishonest", O'Rourke said of Cruz at one point. "Cruz accepted $120,000 from the Political Actions Committees who represent the corporate interests that benefited from this tax cut", O'Rourke charged.

"Beto is a Flake!" he wrote. "It's why the president called him "Lyin" Ted, ' and it's why the nickname stuck ― because it's true".

O'Rourke has shattered fundraising records and attracted national attention, but polls that once showed him staying within striking distance now have Cruz ahead.

Democrat Beto O'Rourke is hoping to reverse polls showing him fading against Republican incumbent Ted Cruz in the second debate of a Texas Senate race that's become one of the nation's most-watched.

A poll average compiled by Real Clear Politics gave Cruz a lead of 7 percentage points, and a new CNN poll published on Tuesday gave Cruz a similar 7-point margin. O'Rourke accused Cruz of not doing enough to stand up to Trump when it came to Russian Federation and that the state needs a "full-time senator" rather than someone who concentrates on running for president.

O'Rourke's approach did mark a departure from his posture in their first debate last month. Cruz said people of both sexes need to be protected from harassment and abuse, adding "we need to protect everyone's rights".

It's the race's last scheduled debate after one in Houston was cancelled amid Senate floor votes.

Both candidates lobbed attacks throughout, taking more aggressive stances as the race enters the final stretch and Democrats try to keep their fledgling hopes of re-taking the Senate alive despite a hard host of races in many states President Donald Trump won handily in 2016.

Even though Cruz looks to be in a better position than earlier in the race, Trump is taking the once unthinkable step of staging a rally in a state that's so reliably conservative, heading Monday to an 8,000-seat Houston arena.

The two also sparred over Cruz's role in the 2013 shutdown of the federal government, which he largely spearheaded as a means of opposing the Affordable Care Act, known as ObamaCare.

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