Critics from the Republican Primary are pouncing on Ted Cruz this weekend as rumors fly regarding the Texas Senator's stance on immigration. During a town hall meeting on Saturday, opponent Jeb Bush weighed in, accusing Cruz of flip-flopping on the issue, reports CNN.
"[They're] spinning on the top of the needle with this trying to contort themselves into views that they didn't have in the recent past," Jeb Bush told the town hall meeting on Saturday.
The rumors about Ted Cruz's stance on immigration stem from a 2013 bill which provided a path to legalization for undocumented immigrants. Cruz voted in favor of that bill but claims his vote wasn't what it seemed. The amendment to the bill, which would have provided a path to legal status for undocumented workers, was actually proposed and introduced by Cruz, but he claims it was a legislative trick — a feint to show that Democrats supported what Republicans derisively call "amnesty."
Though in 2013, Cruz had a decidedly different point of view. Speaking with CBS News, Cruz was a vocal supporter of the bill.
"[The bill] would fix the problem and allow for those 11 million people who are here illegally, a legal status with citizenship off the table. I believe that is the compromise that can pass," Cruz told Jan Crawford of CBS News in 2013.
The bill in question would have prevented undocumented migrants from obtaining citizenship if they entered the country legally, but they would have been permitted to stay, according to the Cruz amendment, not citizens but legal residents.
More recently, Cruz has backed off of that position, and continues to seek distance from the 2013 bill, going so far as to suggest he didn't really want the bill to pass. He was just playing along to make a point."The fact that I introduced an amendment to remove part of the 'gang of eight' bill doesn't mean I support the rest of the bill," Cruz told Fox News on Wednesday. "What that amendment did is it revealed the hypocrisy of Chuck Schumer and the Senate Democrats and the establishment Republicans who were supporting it."
Opponent Marco Rubio is one of many Republicans who see it differently.
"I think Ted wanted to leave the option of legalization open, I know he never brings up his support of legalization in Iowa or in his stump speeches but he supports legalization and I think his hope was once he got into the general election to then start talking about legalization as a way to attract more voters," Rubio told a town hall meeting in Iowa Thursday night.
Not only does Ted Cruz continue to deny these charges, but he claims his opinions on immigration haven't changed, that they've never wavered and he's absolutely and always been a staunch opponent to any kind of legalization.
"I have never supported legalization and I do not intend to support legalization," Cruz told CBS News.
The attacks from opponents Rubio and Bush have called into question Cruz's reputation as a "straight talker," one Republican commentator has characterized it as a "devastating blow" to the Cruz campaign.
"By going after Cruz on this issue, [Rubio] is saying 'wait a minute, you've portrayed yourself as a straight talker, and you're lying through your teeth,' " says Republican strategist Ford O'Connell.Much of the contention stems from a Fox News interview Cruz gave Wednesday night, during which Bret Baier called out the Texas Senator on his stance on immigration. Baier brought up the 2013 bill, and Cruz continued to deny that he truly wanted the bill to pass, that his amendment was a "poison pill" intended to stop the bill's passage, reports the Huffington Post.
"Looking back at what you said then and what you're saying now, which one should people believe?" Baier candidly asked Cruz.
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