Dirty tricks

Dirty tricks February 23, 2016

First the Cruz campaign circulated a false rumor that Ben Carson was quitting the race, costing the physician votes in New Hampshire.  Then the Cruz campaign photoshopped a picture of Marco Rubio shaking hands with President Obama.  Now the Cruz campaign has circulated a video allegedly showing Rubio dissing the Bible.  But that’s not what Rubio was saying at all, quite the contrary, as everyone now admits.

Cruz is blaming his communications director Rick Tyler, a former operative for Newt Gingrich, for that latest dirty trick and has asked for his resignation.

Ted Cruz asked his communications director Rick Tyler to resign Monday after Tyler distributed a video that falsely depicted Marco Rubio dismissing the Bible.

The incident comes a day before the Nevada Republican caucuses and in the wake of accusations from rival campaigns in recent weeks about Cruz’s campaign tactics. Donald Trump has called Cruz a “liar” and Rubio and Ben Carson have also blasted the Texas senator. . . .

The story mentioned by Tyler was about a video that shows Rubio walking into a hotel lobby past Cruz’s father Rafael and a staffer reading the Bible, and subtitles in the video misquote Rubio as saying, “Got a good book there, not many answers in it.”

In a corrected version of the video tweeted by Rubio’s communications director, Alex Conant, the subtitles quote Rubio saying, “Got a good book there, all the answers are in there.”

Rubio himself explained to reporters Monday that he was saying the Book of Proverbs is especially helpful.

“I know exactly what I said to that young man. I said, ‘The answer to every question you’ll ever have is in that book,’ and then I pointed to the Book of Proverbs, which he was reading, and then I said ‘Particularly that one,'” Rubio told reporters in Nevada.

Tyler continued, “Since the audio was unclear, I should not have assumed the story was correct. I’ve deleted the post because I would not knowingly post a false story. But the fact remains that I did post it when I should have checked its accuracy first. I regret that mistake.”. . .

The flub by the Cruz campaign comes after Rubio finished narrowly ahead of Cruz for second place in the South Carolina primary Saturday, behind Donald Trump. In the heated contest there, the Cruz campaign was repeatedly accused by both Rubio and Trump for being dishonest and engaging in dirty tactics.

In one incident, the Cruz campaign used an altered photo on an anti-Rubio website showing a smiling Rubio shaking President Barack Obama’s hand, which was featured on a page about the “Rubio-Obama Trade Pact,” accusing Rubio of casting the crucial vote to pass the Trade Promotion Authority bill in the Senate to give Obama authority to negotiate trade deals more quickly. Rubio aide Todd Harris called the photo “deceitful” in a gaggle with reporters where he distributed a printout of the page.

The Cruz campaign later changed the photo, but said it was obviously photoshopped and not an issue. They have fought back at the repeated accusations of dishonesty from the Rubio camp by saying the senator is “screaming liar” in the face of his record and spreading its own rumors.

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