The latest spat between the Cruz and Rubio camps was sparked Thursday by a photoshopped picture of Marco and President Obama shaking hands.
The fake photo appeared on a Cruz campaign site TheRealRubioRecord.com. It was a stock photo, later discovered online, of an African-American businessman shaking the hand of a Latino businessman. The heads of Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Obama were photoshopped in, with the headline “The Rubio-Obama Trade Pact.”
A Rubio adviser highlighted the photo as “phony and deceitful” while on the campaign trail in South Carolina.
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A Cruz spokesman then told CNN they were “confident that our campaign would not use a photo that is not authentic.”
Cruz communications director Rick Tyler then told CNN that “if Rubio has a better picture of him shaking hands with Barack Obama I’m happy to swap it out.”
The Rubio camp fired back with a video from Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.), filmed on Marco’s campaign bus, chiding Cruz: “You’re better than that. You’re running for the highest office in the land. Your campaign ought to be better than that.”
Into the fray stepped former Texas Gov. Rick Perry on behalf of Cruz, slamming “the deceptive, negative tactics being employed by the Rubio campaign and their allies to mislead voters on where Ted Cruz stands and to distract from Rubio’s own problematic record of supporting liberal issues.”
“The Rubio campaign has hypocritically and falsely accused the Cruz campaign of negative push polling, while at the same time hitting South Carolinians all across the state with their own negative and inaccurate push polls against Cruz,” Perry accused in the statement released by Cruz’s campaign.
Rubio told CNN that his campaign raised objections to the faux photo “because it’s not real.”
“It’s a photoshopped picture of something that never happened, which is now par for the course for the Cruz campaign. They make things up,” Rubio said. “In this case, they literally made up a picture. And more importantly, they’re criticizing me on an issue that Ted Cruz was a supporter of. They’re attacking me for the fast-track authority, for negotiating trade. Ted Cruz wrote an opinion piece with Paul Ryan in The Wall Street Journal supporting TPA, supporting fast-track authority.”
“And he only flip-flopped when he got a lot of pressure… So, again, look, this is now a pattern. I mean, every day there is something new that they are making up. And I think voters are beginning to notice. You know, you do it once, it happened. You do it twice, disturbing. You do it every single day, it becomes a very disturbing pattern of misleading voters and saying things that just aren’t true.”
By later in the day, the Cruz camp had replaced the photo on the website with a real photo of Rubio shaking Obama’s hand during an address to a joint session of Congress — a forum with lots of presidential hand-shaking.