Ted Cruz Blasts ‘Widely Misreported’ CNN Debate Story, Says Beto Refused to Debate Him One-on-One

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Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) is firing back against what he calls false reports that he backed out of an upcoming CNN debate against Democratic opponent Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas).

“That’s been misreported,” Cruz told IJR when asked why he decided to pull out of the CNN event set to take place later in October. “It’s clear his campaign is reluctant, and has been consistently reluctant, to engage in debates, and this CNN issue has been widely misreported because most of the reports don’t acknowledge that he refused to do an actual debate.”

Cruz argued that the O’Rourke campaign turned down a one-on-one debate between the two Senate candidates. According to the Texas senator, that led CNN to suggest separate town halls “where we’re not in the same room together, not interacting with each other, and that’s what we turned down.”

“I don’t have any particular desire to do an hour interview with CNN,” Cruz added. “I’d rather be campaigning in Texas.”

When IJR asked why he thinks O’Rourke preferred a town hall-style setting instead of a debate, Cruz said he thinks his opponent is betting on the cable news network handling him with kids gloves.

“I think he expects it will be a love fest for him, which is why he wants to do it. But its value to us went down dramatically when he wasn’t willing to be there along with me,” he said.

Cruz also said that he is still 100 percent on board if O’Rourke comes around and is willing to hold a face-to-face debate on CNN instead of separate town hall interviews.

“We did accept it, we explicitly accepted it, and Beto’s campaign turned it down,” Cruz said.

IJR reached out to the O’Rourke campaign for comment but had not heard back at the time of publication.

According to a new Quinnipiac University poll released this week, the incumbent is sitting pretty with a near-double-digit lead over O’Rourke. But based on other polls and experts, the Senate race may be a lot closer than Republicans would like to think. Last month, the Cook Political Report moved the race from leaning Republican to a toss-up for the first time.

And now, with less than four weeks to go until Election Day, O’Rourke is set to have an hour of prime-time CNN coverage to himself — airtime, however, that Cruz said doesn’t concern him one bit.

“I think the CNN audience will be his core base, which are liberal activists across the country, but most of them don’t vote in Texas,” Cruz said.

What do you think?

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  1. Rafael Cruz has had an interesting collection of National Security Advisors working for him since he is on the Senate Armed Services Committee and he himself never had any national security experience.

    Dr. Victoria Coates had NO foreign affairs experience or anything even related to it, at all, but she does have an art history degree. Oh, wow, how did she get that job? Ans: friend of friend

    Then there is that wonderful piece of work Omri Ceren. Just a few years ago, he was lobbying as a foreign agent FOR Lauren Gbagbo, the now ex-leader war criminal of Ivory Coast. So why is THIS guy now one of the top people advising Ted Cruz on national security issues?

    During 2013-2015 Cruz showed up at only 17 SASC meetings. Way to go, Ted.

  2. Ted Cruz would absolutely destroy O’Rouk in an honest, one one one debate. The fake Mex knows it. He can pretend, but we know Cruz is da man.

  3. The fake Mex is no way a match for Ted Cruz in a one on one debate. Ted would own him and that is why Beto keeps ducking out.

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