Thursday on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” host Joe Scarborough, former Obama “car czar” Steve Rattner and Bloomberg’s Mark Halperin all weighed in on a story in The Wall Street Journal alleging Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), a candidate for the 2016 GOP presidential nomination, didn’t properly disclose loans he received for his 2012 senatorial bid.
According to Rattner, it is “a little bit of a foot fault,” but it also contradicts the claim he put every penny of his liquid net worth into that 2012 campaign.
“What he did, as best we could tell from the papers today is he essentially got a margin loan from Goldman Sachs,” Rattner said. “It means you put up stocks worth twice that and then they lend you half the value of whatever the stocks are. So that’s fairly conventional assuming the terms are. And by the way, I never thought I’d be in the position of defending Ted Cruz. From what we know now, I think it’s a little bit of a foot fault. The things that are a little odd is that Cruz said he’d put every penny of his liquid net worth back into the campaign back in 2012 but instead what he seems to have done is not sold his stocks and borrowed money against it and put that into the campaign.”
Halperin said it was a big deal because it makes Cruz vulnerable because it exposes his ties to the investment bank Goldman Sachs.
“I think it’s a big deal for two reasons,” Halperin said. “One is it brings up his ties to Goldman Sachs. His wife worked there, is on leave. And Goldman Sachs is probably in certain Republican populist circles is one of the worst brand name possible to be associated with and it puts Ted Cruz now under the microscope. It means he’s in the barrel to deal with the story. He did disclose it in some forums. There’s no illegality here but it does provide a moment of testing for Ted Cruz. As well as he’s done, he’s not been scrutinized all that much and that’s coming.
Scarborough argued that it feeds into a larger narrative that Cruz was a “hypocrite” and “phony” because while he preaches populist Tea Party message, Cruz actually has the pedigree of an East Coast establishment figure.
“Mark, The big complaint when you talk to Republicans, especially Republicans who worked with him Bush campaigns and past administrations is they are say he’s a hypocrite, they say he’s a phony. They say he preaches populism but he went to the best Ivy League schools in America, deep ties with Goldman Sachs, he was George W. Bush’s — at the center of that campaign. He was Mr. Republican establishment, is plugged into the East Coast establishment as you can be and then in 2010 the Tea Party movement erupted and suddenly he became a Tea Partier’s partier. I wonder if that’s why this Goldman Sachs story stings so much. You’ve heard it, too. Didn’t know Ted before this but that is a constant knock is that he’s a phony and this seems to feed into that, doesn’t it?”
Halperin went on to suggest that there was an inside battle for the establishment support between Cruz and Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump because while they’re not the so-called establishment’s first choices, they both have qualities that appeal to that segment of the GOP.
“It’s a constant knock, and it one that he’s well aware of,” Halperin replied. “And again Princeton, Harvard Law School, Goldman Sachs, it does not get more East Coast establishment than those institutions. There’s an interesting battle going on between Trump and Cruz. Right now, those are the two front-runners and nobody’s close almost by any measure. Is the establishment looking at those two guys, and you see some people in the establishment saying given what you just said about Ted Cruz, ‘You know what, we can deal with Donald Trump. There is some upside there.’ Cruz has also got some ties to the establishment and there some people saying, ‘You know what, maybe because of his background, maybe we can live with Ted Cruz as our nominee.’ It’s an interesting battle because neither is going all-in for the establishment. But, they both recognize their chances are better long-term to be the nominee and win the general election if they win that sidebar contest, even as their main emphasis is still anti-establishment.”
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