It looks like Ted Cruz is about to put his campaign in another gear. The Donald better look out!
POLITICO – The Ted Cruz who came out swinging at Donald Trump on Thursday night is here to stay, now willing to not only answer Trump’s criticisms but to eagerly define his rival’s weaknesses as the 2016 race in Iowa becomes a two-man contest.
“Iowa is three weeks away,” Cruz spokesman Rick Tyler said. “People want to know how you’re different. It’s time to tell how we’re different.”
Indeed, Cruz’s staffers and backers indicated that while Cruz has until now publicly laid off Trump, his team has long been watching closely and waiting for the right time to pounce. They cited moments that took place last summer and in an interview that he gave close to two decades ago as they questioned Trump’s conservative credentials.
Now, after the debate, Cruz’s backers are foreshadowing a pre-Iowa push aimed at differentiating the senator from Trump on everything from policy to character, even as the campaign says it will stick to policy.
“If Donald wants to have honest, open policy contrasts, we’re ready for that,” campaign chairman Chad Sweet said. “If, on the other hand, he’s going to engage in discussions over nonsensical issues, over birther issues or who’s the real evangelical—which, by the way, someone from his background should be careful about questioning the faith of our candidate,” something Trump has also done recently.
Asked what he meant by Trump’s “background,” Sweet continued, referencing a Trump appearance at a cattle call in Iowa last summer. “I think it’s interesting that Trump … basically said at [a] family values forum he’s never asked for forgiveness, but yet he is Christian. I would ask most Christians the question, ‘What is the first thing you do to become a Christian?’ Christians know what the answer to that question is.”
Charlie Condon, the former attorney general of South Carolina and a newly minted surrogate, was more pointed in discussing Trump’s “background,” a preview of the potentially nasty nature of the new Cruz-Trump dynamic.
“A thrice-married man is going to come into South Carolina expecting to be the Republican nominee?” Condon asked incredulously. “He’s pro-choice. He’s pro- gay marriage. He’s against traditional values. He’s New York, and he’s got to talk about that.”
Still, a Cruz adviser cautioned that the relentlessly on-message Cruz is not planning to fly off the handle on Trump.’
“This is about our campaign and us, we’re not going to spend a lot of time reacting to everything,” the source said. “He’ll probably refer people to the debate. I think he’ll say, ‘I stood two-and-a-half feet from him and said it, and everything I said there stands today.’”
But, noted this source, “Ted’s not going to be Donald Trump’s caddy. I think that’s pretty clear from tonight.”
I’m so ready for this. People need to know the difference between Trump’s New York values and the rest of America and Cruz is the perfect person to do it, as we saw last night. But as the article says, don’t expect Cruz to act like Trump and fly off the handle trumping nonsense as legitimate issues.