In a Texas senate race that's becoming increasingly competitive, words matter. But Republican incumbent Ted Cruz's campaign may not be focusing on the right words in a new attack ad against Cruz's Democratic opponent Beto O'Rourke.
The Cruz campaign chose to focus on O'Rourke's use of swear words--particularly the "F bomb"--in an ad posted to Twitter.
A lighthearted reminder: A #LaborDay picnic is a great place to bring the kids. A Beto O’Rourke rally? Not so much... #TXSen— Ted Cruz (@Ted Cruz) 1535996306.0
The video shows O'Rourke getting passionate while speaking at what appear to be campaign events, using phrases like "How f*cked up is that?", "This is f*cked up," and "What the f*ck are these guys doing?"
But the consensus on Twitter seems to be: "Big f*ckin' deal."
@tedcruz So let me get this straight - saying a curse word is bad but liking a porn video is good old family fun? 👍… https://t.co/X0W2tx6uHl— Janet Janssen (@Janet Janssen) 1535996709.0
@tedcruz Oh Teddy, nice try. @BetoORourke may use cuss words but he has a spine and a moral compass, two things you are lacking.— Ann Kallevig (@Ann Kallevig) 1536031801.0
This isn't the first time Cruz's attempts to vilify his opponent have only ended up making O'Rourke look cooler.
[BETO O’ROURKE] in a band blasts cigs good kisser loves dogs [TED CRUZ] was a mime “liked” porn eats boogers hit h… https://t.co/JKQ7wuiWLe— Jules Suzdaltsev (@Jules Suzdaltsev) 1535566212.0
Beto O'Rourke was in a cool emo band, Foss, when he was in high school. The Texas GOP thinks there's something wron… https://t.co/zEGw0ZOC6k— Howie Klein (@Howie Klein) 1535666537.0
Beto O'Rourke: -fun & handsome dad -probably reads to his kids -could teach them to skateboard or play guitar Ted… https://t.co/QLZEgN7TPZ— 𝑷𝒆𝒕𝒆 𝑩𝒖𝒕𝒕𝒈𝒆𝒊𝒈𝒆𝒓 𝑪𝒐𝒖𝒏𝒕𝒆𝒓 (@𝑷𝒆𝒕𝒆 𝑩𝒖𝒕𝒕𝒈𝒆𝒊𝒈𝒆𝒓 𝑪𝒐𝒖𝒏𝒕𝒆𝒓) 1535916685.0
I want to make fun of this so bad but the fact that the entire theme of these tweets is that Beto O’Rourke is edgie… https://t.co/hTziYGipA5— its pronounced rēgan (@its pronounced rēgan) 1535677249.0
But most accused Cruz of hypocrisy for accepting the endorsement of President Donald Trump.
@tedcruz A lighthearted reminder: #BenedictDonald accused your father of being in on the Kennedy assassination and… https://t.co/wNOh4IMdLH— Norman Goldman (@Norman Goldman) 1536034028.0
@tedcruz So you feel good bout kids going to a Trump rally? ‘Cause crowds at Trump rallies are always SO family fr… https://t.co/MMglraCFqT— Sara H. 👊🏿👊🏾👊🏽👊🏼👊🏻 (@Sara H. 👊🏿👊🏾👊🏽👊🏼👊🏻) 1536053126.0
@tedcruz How’s your friend Mr. Adulterous Lying Traitor??? Is he bringing one of his porn actresses to your picnic? https://t.co/4Z8dP0HR5X— My Vet Will Travel (@My Vet Will Travel) 1536063949.0
The president and Senator Cruz have had a bristly relationship in the past, primarily beginning with the 2016 presidential campaign, when they competed for the Republican nomination.
Then-candidate Trump repeatedly insulted Senator Cruz.
Lying #Ted Cruz just (on election day) came out with a sneak and sleazy Robocall. He holds up the Bible but in fact is a true lowlife pol!— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump) 1455976753.0
I agree with Marco Rubio that Ted Cruz is a liar!— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump) 1455804678.0
How can Ted Cruz be an Evangelical Christian when he lies so much and is so dishonest?— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump) 1455278621.0
Ted Cruz is totally unelectable, if he even gets to run (born in Canada). Will loose big to Hillary. Polls show I beat Hillary easily! WIN!— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump) 1454245585.0
I will be doing a major rally for Senator Ted Cruz in October. I’m picking the biggest stadium in Texas we can find… https://t.co/OeAPVvpUsq— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump) 1535735341.0
The two are scheduled to appear at a rally for Cruz in October. With such a bitter rivalry preceding this new alliance, many see it as a demonstration of Cruz's spinelessness and desperation for political advancement.
It's a vulnerability on which activists like David Hogg are ready to pounce. Hogg helped orchestrate a billboard that will display Trump's bitter tweets against Cruz during the scheduled rally.
So many wonderful selections to choose from... Thank you @POTUS https://t.co/Q9dmuQr2AT— David Hogg text VOTE to 954-954 (@David Hogg text VOTE to 954-954) 1535902040.0
We did it!!!!! Thank you to everyone who contributed. https://t.co/e5WykhREsG— David Hogg text VOTE to 954-954 (@David Hogg text VOTE to 954-954) 1535850873.0
Update Here's the first mock-up: we are making the billboard mobile so we can follow Trump and Rafael around Texas.… https://t.co/r48He8qGnF— David Hogg text VOTE to 954-954 (@David Hogg text VOTE to 954-954) 1535993171.0
And while Texas is usually assuredly red, Beto O'Rourke is proving to be quite more than just a thorn in Cruz's side. While Cruz has always had a likability problem, the tides of public opinion seem to be shifting against him even more, and with them are shifting the polls. Some are even shifting all the way across the aisle.
Republicans are starting to campaign for Beto O’Rourke. Ted Cruz is screwed. https://t.co/pxAUTh3RqK— Denizcan James (@Denizcan James) 1535676310.0
@NateSilver538 I think that's spot on. I'm feeling very purple right now and ordered a "Republicans for Beto" t-shirt today.— Reed Entype (@Reed Entype) 1535737304.0
@BetoORourke My parents are lifelong republicans disillusioned and disheartened by the craven and supplicant behavi… https://t.co/X1OxM7G1sc— jon keenan jr (@jon keenan jr) 1535692829.0
@SavSingleton55 @_alex_joshua If he can't stand up for his family, he won't stand up for Texans. 2/ #RepublicansForBeto— ReaganRepublican (@ReaganRepublican) 1535570436.0
It's surprising enough that a race in a state as red as Texas could be anybody's game, but with upsets abound across primaries and runoffs alike, Beto O'Rourke may just have the momentum to pull off a win in November. And that's a big f*ckin' deal.