Republican presidential contender Marco Rubio went after 2016 rival Ted Cruz at Thursday night’s GOP debate, alleging the Texas senator had flip-flopped on immigration, among other things, to advance his political career.
“Ted Cruz, you used to say you supported doubling the number of green cards, now you say that you’re against it,” Rubio said. “You used to support a 500 percent increase in the number of guest workers, now you say that you’re against it. You used to support legalizing people that were here illegally, now you say you’re against it. You used to say that you were in favor of birthright citizenship, now you say that you are against it.”
“And by the way, it’s not just on immigration, you used to support TPA, now you say you’re against it,” the Florida senator added. “I saw you on the Senate floor flip your vote on crop insurance because they told you it would help you in Iowa, and last week, we all saw you flip your vote on ethanol in Iowa for the same reason.”
“That is not consistent conservatism, that is political calculation,” Rubio continued. “When I am president, I will work consistently every single day to keep this country safe, not call Edward Snowden, as you did, a great public servant. Edward Snowden is a traitor. And if I am president and we get our hands on him, he is standing trial for treason.”
Rubio finished, making sure to note “one more point.”
“Every single time that there has been a defense bill in the Senate, three people team up to vote against it,” he said. “Bernie Sanders, Rand Paul and Ted Cruz. In fact, the only budget you have ever voted for, Ted, in your entire time in the Senate is a budget from Rand Paul that brags about how it cuts defense.”
“Here’s the bottom line, and I’ll close with this,” Rubio concluded. “If I’m president of the United States and Congress tries to cut the military, I will veto that in a millisecond.”
Cruz was given the chance to respond.
“He had no fewer than 11 attacks there. I appreciate you dumping your oppo-research folder on the debate stage,” Cruz quipped.
“No, it’s your record,” Rubio fired back.
“But I will say, at least half of the things Marco said are flat-out false. They’re absolutely false,” Cruz asserted.
“Let’s start with immigration and have a little bit of clarity,” he continued. “Marco stood with Chuck Schumer and Barack Obama on amnesty. I stood with Jeff Sessions and Steve King. Marco stood today, standing on this stage Marco supports legalization and citizenship for 12 million illegals. I opposed and oppose legalization and citizenship.”
“And by the way, the attack he keeps throwing out on the military budget, Marco knows full well I voted for his amendment to increase military spending to $697 billion,” Cruz said. “What he said, and he said it in the last debate, it’s simply not true. And as president, I will rebuild the military and keep this country safe.”
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