Has TrusTED become BusTED?

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You can do dirty things if you have the support of your peers, and Ted Cruz doesn’t.

His skullduggery of the past is now coming back to haunt him.

Marco Rubio won the day before Nevada’s caucuses — and Ted Cruz lost.

While Rubio was racking up big endorsements, he also managed to exact a pound of political flesh from his closest rival on Monday as Cruz’s campaign was thrown into turmoil over new allegations of “dirty tricks.”

“When you stand in front of a sign at every rally that says ‘TrustTED,’ with ‘Ted’ being the key part of the brand, you have to protect that brand at all costs — and they’ve lost that brand,” said Bruce Haynes, a GOP strategist. “Cruz cannot afford three days of the news cycle with everyone scrutinizing everything they’ve done that might be unseemly, so they had one choice to try and stop the bleeding, especially with Rubio on a bit of a rocket ride right now.”    

Cruz abruptly fired communications director Rick Tyler on Monday afternoon, a day after Tyler posted, then deleted, a link to a student newspaper’s blog that had misstated Rubio’s comments about the Bible. The blog quoted Rubio as telling a Cruz staffer reading a Bible on Saturday that the book didn’t “have many answers in it.” Rubio said he actually said “the answer to every question you’ll ever have is in that book.” The blog later added an editor’s note saying that “after reviewing the audio, we feel it is too unclear to say for sure” what Rubio said.

Tyler apologized, but it was not enough, especially after Cruz’s team took criticism for falsely implying, just as Iowans prepared to vote, that rival Ben Carson was getting ready to drop out.

“This campaign now has repeatedly done things that they have to apologize for, and no one is ever held accountable,” Rubio said to reporters in Nevada on Monday. “Who’s going to be held accountable for making up this video? Who is going to be held accountable for lying about Ben Carson? Who was held accountable for the robo-calls, and who was held accountable for the commercials on television that they had to pull down?”

It didn’t take long for Cruz to answer.

“I had made clear in this campaign that we will conduct this campaign with the very highest standards of integrity,” Cruz said Monday afternoon as he told reporters that he had asked for Tyler’s resignation.

“That has been how we’ve conducted it from Day One,” Cruz said. “It is why when other campaigns attack us personally, impugn my integrity or my character, I don’t respond in kind. None of you have heard me throw the kind of insults at Marco Rubio that he throws at me every single day. If other candidates choose to go into the gutter, we will not do the same.

“Rick Tyler’s a good man,” Cruz continued. “This was a grave error of judgment. It turned out the news story he sent around was false, but I’ll tell you, even if it was true, we are not a campaign that is going to question the faith of another candidate.”

Ted Cruz has been playing hard ball for years. He is widely acknowledged as a complete “C U Next Tuesday”. The GOP establishment hate him and they are now moving to ensure he gets rinsed.

This is why I haven’t yet written off Rubio. His strategy is accumulation. Trump’s strategy has been to get early wins and act like the heir apparent…that only works if someone like Rubio isn’t busily accumulating behind you.

But when Trump and Rubio work together there is trouble for Cruz.

Donald Trump, who is polling ahead of Rubio and Cruz in Nevada and a majority of Super Tuesday states, has joined Rubio in attacking the Texas senator’s campaign over questions about its truthfulness. As news of Tyler’s firing broke, Trump fired off five gleeful tweets, one of which called Cruz “the biggest liar in politics.” Another noted that Cruz’s campaign has now apologized to Rubio and Carson: “No wonder he has lost evangelical support.”

At this critical point in the 2016 race, the Tyler saga offered up a split-screen moment that showed two candidacies headed in seemingly different directions. Rubio’s campaign spent Monday touting 12 new endorsements from senators, members of Congress and state-level Republicans. Cruz, meanwhile, spent another day doing damage control and attempting to fight off his biggest self-imposed negative, the “liar” label that his rivals have been applying for weeks.

“They needed a scapegoat,” said one unaligned GOP strategist, who added that “Tyler pushed it too far, especially with attacks on Cruz for playing dirty resonating.”

Cruz is in trouble. The establishment hate him, they even prefer Trump over Cruz.

TrusTED has become BusTED.

 

– Politico


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