Huckabee stands by ad critical of Cruz

Presidential candidate Mike Huckabee is defending an ad critical of 2016 rival Sen. Ted CruzTed CruzTrump meets with Gov. Mike Pence amid VP speculation The Hill's 12:30 Report Trump hires Florida chief strategist, new pollster MORE’s (R-Texas) comments on same-sex marriage.

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On “Fox News Sunday,” the former Arkansas governor was asked whether the pro-Huckabee ad’s editing was selective.

“No, not at all,” Huckabee said. “And there’s nothing selective, there was nothing deceptive. The point is that in Iowa, he’s made a major point, and he’s pitched to evangelicals, as a person who is utterly authentic, he’s going to fight for religious liberty, he’s going to protect the right of people to disagree with decisions on same-sex marriage. But that’s not what you heard in that Manhattan fundraiser, and that's the only thing that I have pointed out.”

A super-PAC called Pursuing America's Greatness recently produced the ad in Iowa, which includes audio of an exchange between Cruz and an unidentified person at a New York fundraiser. The man asks Cruz whether he views his opposition to marriage rights for same-sex couples as a “top-three priority.” In the ad, Cruz is heard simply replying, “No.”

But the ad drew criticism from The Washington Post, which pointed out that Cruz’s comments were longer.

"No, I would say defending the Constitution is a top priority," he said in the audio, obtained by Politico and recorded at a fundraiser in New York. "And that cuts across the whole spectrum — whether it's defending the First Amendment, defending religious liberty, stopping courts from making public policy issues that are left to the people. And I also think the 10th Amendment to the Constitution cuts across a lot of issues."

“Obviously, I had nothing to do with the ad,” Huckabee said on Sunday, noting that it is illegal for campaigns to coordinate with super-PACs. “So there is no coordination or communication there. But it’s just a matter of listening to the transcript and recognizing that it’s not a big issue when he’s in Manhattan but it is a much bigger issue in Iowa.”

Huckabee is targeting Cruz, the front-runner in Iowa, has he looks to improve his standing in early-voting state. Huckabee won the caucuses there when he ran in 2008, but he is currently polling in the middle of the Republican field in the state.

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