The three men leading Marco Rubio’s presidential campaign were huddled in a Las Vegas war room when Ted Cruz walked into their trap.
Their candidate had been sparring with his rival on the GOP debate stage for two hours already. But when Rubio ad-libbed an interrogation of Cruz’s past position on legalizing undocumented immigrants, they knew the Texas senator wouldn’t be able to contain himself.
“I have never supported legalization, and I do not intend to support legalization,” Cruz declared.
In that moment, Rubio campaign manager Terry Sullivan, top adviser Todd Harris and communications director Alex Conant recognized what they’d accomplished because they’d been planning this exchange all along. Not only had Cruz just contradicted his own statements from 2013, he’d used words that gave them the opening they’d been wanting to turn their rival’s anti-establishment narrative on its head.
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