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O'Rourke walks back 'Lyin' Ted' line

POLITICO logo POLITICO 10/21/2018 By Quint Forgey
a man standing in front of a stage: “That wasn't the best phrase for me to use," said Rep. Beto O'Rourke. © Tom Reel-Pool/Getty Images “That wasn't the best phrase for me to use," said Rep. Beto O'Rourke.

Texas Senate candidate Beto O'Rourke walked back an insult he leveled last week against incumbent Ted Cruz that echoed then-candidate Donald Trump's favorite jab at the Republican senator during the 2016 presidential campaign.

"He's dishonest," O'Rourke, a Democratic congressman, said of Cruz during the pair's second debate on Tuesday in San Antonio. "That's why the president called him 'Lyin' Ted,' and it's why the nickname stuck — because it's true."

But O'Rourke appeared to regret that line of attack in a pre-recorded interview on ABC's "This Week" that aired Sunday.

“That wasn't the best phrase for me to use, but, you know, I'm going to do my best to stay focused on the future," he said.

O'Rourke's performance in the San Antonio debate signaled the more aggressive approach his insurgent campaign is taking in the final two weeks before the midterm elections, as Cruz continues to lead in recent polls by several points.

Trump is scheduled to campaign for Cruz at a rally in Houston on Monday.

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