“Did Ted Cruz really want legalization, or didn’t he?”
Megyn Kelly put that question to the Texas senator after the Fox News GOP debate in Iowa Thursday night.
Kelly was addressing Cruz’s claim that he has never supported legalization for illegal immigrants, which has been hotly contested ever since the CNN debate last month.
During an exchange with Senator Rubio back in December about his past positions on immigration Cruz stated unequivocally, “I’ve never supported legalization, I do not intend to support it.”
Since then, Cruz-haters have used that claim to paint the Texas senator as a slimy, soulless, dishonest hypocrite because he has allegedly in the past supported a pathway to legal status for illegal immigrants.
During Thursday’s debate, Kelly challenged the Texas senator on his apparent past support for allowing illegal immigrants to gain “legal status” but not citizenship.
On a post-debate segment on The Kelly File, Cruz and Kelly continued the discussion. She reminded him that he had recently argued that he had never supported legalization.
Cruz said he introduced a series of amendments to the 1,000-page “Gang of Eight” immigration bill and maintained that he never supported the amnesty in the bill.
“I think the record supports you that you did not want it,” Megyn admitted. “It really was a poison pill amendment.”
But she objected to the “acting job” Cruz did in his efforts to sell his amendments.
She pointed out that Cruz had stated that he wanted *the bill* (which contained a path to legal status) to pass. Cruz argued that he wanted immigration reform to pass—but not the bill that was on the table.
Megyn insisted that he said “bill” in the first clip that was shown during the debate, which you can review here.
There’s no denying that Cruz said “bill” in that first clip. “I don’t want this bill to be voted down,” he said.
However, Megyn sided with Cruz again on substance: “the record supports you that it was a poison-pill.” But again, she addressed her discomfort with the way he went about derailing the bill. “You are running on being outside the cartel. That seems a little cartel-ey to me. You’re playing the cartel-ey game.”
“When I campaigned for Senate I said that I was categorically against amnesty. When I got to the Senate, I was categorically against amnesty, and today, I’m categorically opposed to amnesty,” Cruz replied.
Neither Cruz nor Rubio came out of the immigration segment of the debate looking very good. Chris Christie won that exchange by uncorking his “Unfrozen Caveman Governor schtick,” as Ace called it.