Michael Douglas is that you? Ted Cruz steals line from Aaron Sorkin's "American President" against Donald Trump

Cruz lifted a sound bite nearly verbatim from the 1995 film "The American President."

By Michael Garofalo
Published March 23, 2016 8:33AM (UTC)
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Ted Cruz; Michael Douglas in "The American President" (AP/Pat Sullivan/Universal Pictures/Photo montage by Salon)

After Donald Trump cryptically threatened to "spill the beans" on Ted Cruz's wife in a hostile tweet Tuesday, Cruz hit back with a response that, at first blush, sounded uncharacteristically dignified: "If Donald wants to get into a character fight, he's better off sticking with me, because Heidi is way out of his league."

But if the line sounds vaguely familiar, that's because it's stolen. As the New York Daily News reports, Cruz lifted the sound bite nearly verbatim from the 1995 Rob Reiner film "The American President."


The sappy romance, written by Aaron Sorkin, features Michael Douglas as the widowed president secretly courting a lobbyist played by Annette Benning. After a rival politician attacks Benning's character, Douglas delivers a rousing speech that becomes the movie's climactic moment. It's classic Sorkin: "If you want a character debate Bob, you better stick with me because Sydney Ellen Waid is way out of your league."

Cruz didn't acknowledge that he had borrowed the line, but his version seems a bit too close to the original to be a coincidence. Cruz is a noted movie buff, and has often quoted his favorite flicks on the campaign trail. His rendition of "The Princess Bride" is surprisingly good, but still kind of creepy.

Michael Garofalo

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Election 2016 Ted Cruz The American President