Senator Ted Cruz’s campaign released a 60-second radio ad mocking Democratic challenger Beto O’Rourke for going by “Beto” rather than “Robert.” The country music jingle said:
‘Liberal Robert wanted to fit in, so he changed his name to Beto and hid it with a grin.’
On Wednesday, CNN’s Chris Cuomo confronted Ted Cruz on “New Day” about the jingle. Cuomo said:
‘You go after Beto for his name. Beto is obviously a nickname — why?
‘First of all, you didn’t like that dirty pool when you were running for president and the president called you “Lyin’ Ted,” you didn’t like that kind of tactic.’
Cuomo went on:
‘And you know what, your name is Rafael, you go by Ted but your middle name is Edward, that’s a more Anglicized version of it. He went the other way and has a more ethnic version of his name — why go after him? You’re both doing the same thing.’
‘You’re absolutely right, my name is Rafael Edward Cruz.’
Cruz then explained that he was named after his father, also Rafael Cruz, who was a Cuban immigrant.
Then, Cruz said:
‘In terms of the jingle, some of it is just have a sense of humor.
‘I just don’t think that’s what folks in Texas want us to focus on. We can get into name calling or talk about why the other person’s such an awful guy, or we can focus on the big things we want to do for the future of our country.’
O’Rourke’s response just went viral.
O'Rourke refuses to engage on Cruz's campaign song mocking his name, saying: "I just don't think that's what folks in Texas want us to focus on … We can focus on the small, mean, petty stuff or we can be big, bold, courageous and confident" https://t.co/6Woz2mxiqX pic.twitter.com/uDMxgOuC7U
— New Day (@NewDay) March 7, 2018
In a phone interview on Tuesday night, O’Rourke was asked about his name and said:
‘My parents have called me Beto from day one, and it’s just — it’s kind of a nickname for Robert in El Paso. It just stuck.’
According to CNN:
‘He declined to comment on the Republican senator, whose given name is Rafael Edward Cruz, going by “Ted.”The Cruz radio ad also goes after O’Rourke for being liberal.“If you’re gonna run in Texas, you can’t be a liberal man,” the song says.’
‘With O’Rourke leading the Democratic field as primary ballots are counted, the two could be headed for a faceoff in November. Texas has long been a Republican stronghold, but O’Rourke has outraised Cruz in recent months. After Hillary Clinton came within 9 percentage points of Donald Trump in 2016, some Democrats are hopeful that the state is poised for a major shift leftward.’
‘The good news is that there are a lot more conservatives in Texas than liberals. If conservatives show up in November, we’ll be just fine.’
‘It was a fresh sign that the 2018 election in Texas, which has not elected a statewide Democrat since 1994, could be more competitive than the state is accustomed to.‘O’Rourke, 45, a three-term congressman, still faces an uphill battle. But there are signs he could at least keep November’s election close, including an impressive turnout among Democrats for Tuesday’s primaries, robust fundraising reports and polls showing declines in popularity for Cruz and President Trump.’