New York Times
By Matt Flegenheimer
February 29, 2016
On the eve of what could be the most important day of his candidacy, Senator Ted Cruz on Monday took furious aim at Donald J. Trump’s signature issue — his hard-line immigration positions — suggesting that Mr. Trump was insulting the intelligence of his supporters.
Noting that Mr. Trump had recently said that he “loved the poorly educated,” Mr. Cruz said the Republican front-runner in the polls seemed to be hoodwinking his supporters.
“Donald Trump’s record on immigration is terrible,” the senator told reporters. “Nobody who supports open-border Democrats for 40 years can care about securing the borders.”
Mr. Cruz seized on a BuzzFeed report on Monday that questioned Mr. Trump’s commitment to his immigration stances. According to the report, Mr. Trump raised doubts about standing by his own views during an off-the-record meeting in early January with the editorial board of The New York Times and Dean Baquet, the executive editor of The Times.
Andrew Rosenthal, editorial page editor of The Times, did not comment on the contents of the meeting, but said that if Mr. Trump “wants to call up and ask us to release this transcript, he’s free to do that and then we can decide what we would do.”
Before a rollicking home-state crowd inside an auditorium here, Mr. Cruz on Monday called on Mr. Trump to ask for the details of the meeting to be released.
“If you’re sitting in Manhattan telling The New York Times that you’re lying to the voters, the voters have a right to know,” Mr. Cruz said to cheers.
In one sense, Mr. Cruz was walking a delicate line. On Sunday, one of his chief allies in the Senate, Jeff Sessions of Alabama, endorsed Mr. Trump. Mr. Cruz has cited Mr. Sessions as someone who stood “shoulder to shoulder” with him to stifle immigration legislation in 2013.
Asked whether the endorsement undercut his argument against Mr. Trump, Mr. Cruz was careful to avoid criticizing Mr. Sessions directly.
“Jeff Sessions is a good man, he is a good friend and he is a principled senator who fights passionately for his causes,” Mr. Cruz said. “Donald Trump’s record is open for everyone to examine. It is a fact that for four decades Donald Trump has supported open-border Democrats.”
In his remarks, Mr. Cruz also folded in an attack on the immigration record of Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, while still managing a hit on Mr. Trump.
“When Marco Rubio was leading the Gang of Eight, Donald Trump was funding the Gang of Eight,” Mr. Cruz said of the 2013 legislation that Mr. Rubio helped engineer.
“Sick!” someone shouted from the crowd.
At his news conference, Mr. Cruz said his was “the only campaign that has a shot of beating Donald Trump on Super Tuesday.”
He also dismissed any discussion of a brokered convention, suggesting that Mr. Rubio and Gov. John Kasich of Ohio would be doing Republicans no favors if they pledged to fight into the summer to prevent Mr. Trump’s nomination.
“A campaign sticking around when you can’t win a state and you’re not amassing delegates — that doesn’t stop Donald Trump,” he said. “We need to come together. And I think after Super Tuesday, we will see this race become more and more a two-man race.”
He described a contested convention as “the great hope of the Republican establishment.”
“It is how they are drowning away their sorrows,” he said. “They say, ‘We’ll have a brokered convention and all these crazy voters will go one way and then we’ll step in with all of our money and we will anoint our white knight to ride in and save the day.’”
He concluded: “We’re not going to have a brokered convention. The voters are going to decide.”
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