Sen. Ted Cruz fired off his opening shot against his Democratic challenger, Rep. Beto O’Rourke – and he did it with a song.
With the primaries closing on Tuesday,the Texas Republican released his first general election campaign ad, taking aim at O’Rourke for using the name “Beto” to try to “fit in.”
“Liberal Robert wanted to fit in. So he changed his name to Beto. And hid it with a grin,” the country music ditty shared.
O’Rourke defended his nickname as one his family has used since he was born.
“My parents have called me Beto from day one, and it’s just — it’s kind of a nickname for Robert in El Paso. It just stuck,” he told CNN in a phone interview Tuesday.
Just asked @BetoORourke why he goes by “Beto” instead of “Robert.”
“My parents have called me Beto from day one, and it’s just — it’s kind of a nickname for Robert in El Paso. It just stuck,” he said.
— Eric Bradner (@ericbradner) March 7, 2018
O’Rourke, who won the Democratic primary, had also shared a photo of his younger self in a “Beto” sweater on Instagram.
“In terms of the jingle, some of it is just having a sense of humor,” Cruz said on CNN’s “New Day.”
— Mike Hixenbaugh (@Mike_Hixenbaugh) March 7, 2018
“We had some fun with it,” he said.
Of course, this coming from the man who goes by the nickname “Ted.”
A totally fair point. But this is an ad from a senator named Rafael at birth. https://t.co/CY0EiJCGVj
— Ed O’Keefe (@edatpost) March 7, 2018
Chris Cuomo asked the senator why he used the tactic against O’Rourke when he “didn’t like that dirty pool when you were running for president.”
“You’re absolutely right. My name is Rafael Edward Cruz,” Cruz admitted. “I am the son of my father Rafael Cruz, an immigrant from Cuba who came to Texas with nothing.”
In his own appearance on CNN, O’Rourke had a more indirect response to the name game.
“I just don’t think that’s what folks in Texas want us to focus on,” he said..”We can get into name-calling and talk about why the other person is such an awful guy, or we can focus on the big things we want to do for the future of our country, for the generations that will succeed us.”
Cruz told Cuomo he missed the whole point of the one-minute jingle which also took a swipe at the “liberal” candidate, singing “if you’re gonna run in Texas, you can’t be a liberal man.”
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