A poll of likely voters released by CNN ahead of the debate showed Cruz leading his Democratic challenger by 7 percentage points. "Ted has long had my Strong Endorsement!"
"He's dishonest. It's why the president called him "Lyin" Ted, ' and it's why the nickname stuck, because it's true", said the three-term congressman from El Paso, who is trailing the GOP incumbent in the polls.
In response to a question about the #MeToo movement, O'Rourke said Cruz "inexplicably" voted against the Violence Against Women Act, saying the senator was "all talk and no action". Cruz has painted O'Rourke as too liberal for a deep-red state - out of touch with Texans on issues such as abortion and taxes.
Trump referred to his then-presidential opponent Cruz as "Lyin' Cruz" repeatedly during his 2016 campaign.
A former Ivy League debate champion, Cruz shot back, "It's clear Congressman O'Rourke's pollsters have told him to come out on the attack".
Monday, Linklater sized up Cruz again and hit him where it hurts, mocking his campaign's weird attack on O'Rourke for being a "Triple Meat Whataburger liberal", whatever that means, and showing a clip from the Senate floor during which Cruz proclaims his love for White Castle. A debate that had been planned for September 30 in Houston was postponed amid the battle over Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation to the U.S. Supreme Court, and it has not yet been rescheduled. Bernie Sanders and supported socialized medicine that would cost trillions and require sky-high tax increases.
"Senator Cruz won't be honest with you".
O'Rourke, an El Paso congressman, has used record-setting fundraising and a background as a one-time punk rocker to attract heaps of national attention as he tries to upset Cruz and become the first Democrat to win statewide office in Texas since 1994.
"Every time there is a choice between left-wing national activists and the people of Texas, he goes with left-wing national activists", Cruz said.
Call it post-partisan, or call it a missed opportunity, but O'Rourke has largely tried to parry Cruz's punches, rather than counter them. Cruz said people of both sexes need to be protected from harassment and abuse, adding "we need to protect everyone's rights".
Even though Cruz looks to be in a better position than earlier in the race, Trump is taking the once unthinkable step of staging a rally in a state that's so reliably conservative, heading Monday to an 8,000-seat Houston arena. He highlighted Cruz's 2016 bid for the Republican presidential nomination, saying Cruz hasn't visited all of the 254 counties in Texas, "but has been to all 99 in Iowa".