Florida senator tells the Guardian his Republican rival advocated immigration reform but ‘now he’s pretending that that never happened and it did’
Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz, the two Republican candidates each vying to prove themselves the most viable alternative to Donald Trump, have been locked in a heated battle over immigration in the run-up to the Iowa caucuses on Monday night.
Speaking to the Guardian as voting in the key state was about to begin, Rubio maintained that his record on immigration had been clear whereas Cruz, he said, had misled the American public.
“Ted Cruz presents and portrays himself as this purist who’s never supported anything that even comes close to legalization [for undocumented immigrants] when in fact he did,” the Florida senator said after a town hall in Cedar Rapids on Sunday.
“He helped design George W Bush’s legalization policy as a candidate, he openly and repeatedly talked about reaching a compromise on people that are here illegally … He said he wanted to see immigration reform pass, he wanted to see people come out of the shadows. And now he’s pretending that that never happened and it did.
“It’s not about immigration. It’s about the calculation that he thinks he can say and do anything and people aren’t going to notice,” Rubio said.
Rubio did not enter the final stretch of the Iowa caucus at the top of the polls, but nonetheless his rivals felt sufficiently threatened to spend at least $20m on ads attacking him – largely focused on his record on immigration. At present he stands third in polling behind Cruz and frontrunner Donald Trump in Iowa, and third in the national Republican race.
Cruz’s closing argument across Iowa drew heavily on Rubio’s support in 2013 for a comprehensive bill to make the case that “a vote for Marco Rubio is a vote for amnesty”.
By The Guardian
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