Republican presidential candidate Texas Senator Ted Cruz explained a tweet in which he referred to fellow candidate Donald Trump as “terrific” by stating “What I’m not interested in doing is what Donald’s pattern has been, which is the personal attacks,” but he was happy to draw a distinction on issues, which he said the campaign should be about during CNN’s Republican Town Hall on Tuesday.
The Establishment's only hope: Trump & me in a cage match.
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) December 11, 2015
Cruz was asked, “[E]arly on in the campaign, it seems like you made a political calculation not to go after him [Trump]. Just last week on a radio program, you said that essentially those candidates who did go after him early on were roadkill, you needed to build your base. Back in December you tweeted ‘The Establishment’s only hope: Trump & me in a cage match. Sorry to disappoint — Donald Trump is terrific.’ That was after he’d already made fun of Carly Fiorina’s face. That was after he had gone after Megyn Kelly. At that point, in December, did you really believe Donald Trump was terrific?”
Cruz responded, “Look, what I knew is that the media was engaged in a lovefest.”
Moderator Anderson Cooper interjected, “Sounds like you were engaged in a lovefest, though.”
After the two discussed the media’s treatment of Trump, and Cruz said that Trump was “terrified” to debate him. Cooper asked, “But when you called him ‘terrific’ back in December, did you really believe that, or was that political calculation?”
Cruz responded, “Well, let me make a point. There has been a distinction that I have followed throughout, which is that I keep the focus on issues and substance. So, I’m happy to draw a distinction with Donald Trump, on the issues, whether it is economic policy, that he doesn’t have a policy to bring jobs back to America, whether it is national security, where he is advocating for a far too weak foreign policy that leaves us vulnerable. What I’m not interested in doing is what Donald’s pattern has been, which is the personal attacks, it’s going to the gutter, it’s attacking family members. None of that has any place in politics.”
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