Cruz campaign forced to fire national spokesman, apologize for one of its "dirty tricks"

In IA, Cruz said sorry to Carson for lying that his campaign ended. In SC, it's a smear on Rubio about the Bible

By Sophia Tesfaye
February 23, 2016 1:38AM (UTC)
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Republican presidential candidate, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, pauses while speaking at his South Carolina primary night rally at the South Carolina State Fairgrounds in Columbia, S.C., Saturday, Feb. 20, 2016. (AP Photo/ ((AP/Andrew Harnik))

Another Republican presidential primary contest, another rival campaign accusing Ted Cruz of dirty tricks and this time, after losing out to Marco Rubio in South Carolina on Saturday, Cruz's campaign is finally fessing up to their underhanded tactics and apologizing.

A day after Rubio narrowly defeated Cruz for second place in the South Carolina primary, the Cruz campaign put up a video purportedly showing Rubio dismissing the Bible as “not having many answers in it.” In South Carolina, no less.


In the version posted to right-wing websites over the weekend, Rubio is walking into a hotel lobby past Cruz's father Rafael and a Cruz staffer who is apparently reading the Bible. The video subtitles claim that Rubio points to the Bible while saying, "Got a good book there, not many answers in it":

Rubio's campaign wasted little time in responding to the video, claiming that it misquoted the Florida senator and frequenter touter of his Christian faith. Rubio communications director Alex Conant tweeted the video, originally recorded by the University of Pennsylvania's independent student news organization The Daily Pennsylvanian, with a "correct transcript" showing Rubio saying, instead, "all the answers are in there." Contant blasted what he called "another dirty trick by Cruz camp": 


Cruz national spokesman Rick Tyler, who initially shared the misquoted video on Facebook, returned to the social media site late Sunday to retract his post and apologize for spreading a falsehood.

"Since the audio was unclear, I should not have assumed the story was correct. I've deleted the post because I would not knowingly post a false story. But the fact remains that I did post it when I should have checked its accuracy first. I regret the mistake," Tyler wrote.


I want to apologize to Senator Marco Rubio for posting an inaccurate story about him here earlier today. The story...

Posted by Rick Tyler on Sunday, February 21, 2016

During an appearance on Fox News' "America's Newsroom," Tyler elaborated, claiming he asked for the Daily Pennsylvanian video to be corrected and taken down.

"I posted it in haste," Tyler told host Martha MacCallum, apologizing for the video. "I should not have done it. I apologized to Marco Rubio. I apologized to the campaign. I shared [the apology] on Twitter. And I'm sharing it here. It was a mistake and I would not knowingly post something I know to be false. The judgment about what he said was wrong so I apologize about that."

Despite Tyler's public apology tour, Rubio continued to hit what he called a "disturbing pattern of deceptive campaigning" by the Cruz camp.

"Who is going to be held accountable for making up this video," Rubio asked during a campaign stop in Nevada on Monday. "Who was held accountable for lying about Ben Carson?":

Tyler was forced to apologize to Ben Carson's campaign earlier this month for falsely suggesting that the retired neurosurgeon had dropped out of the race in the middle of voting during the Iowa caucuses. The Cruz campaign had initially denied any wrongdoing in that case.

UPDATE: At a press conference this afternoon, Cruz announced that he asked and received the resignation of national spokesman Rick Tyler:

Cruz: U.S. Will Stand with Israel

Sophia Tesfaye

Sophia Tesfaye is Salon's senior editor for news and politics, and resides in Washington, D.C. You can find her on Twitter at @SophiaTesfaye.

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2016 Republican Primary Aol_on Gop Civil War Marco Rubio Religion South Carolina Ted Cruz Video