Republican presidential candidate Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzHospitals in underserved communities face huge cuts in reckless 'Build Back Better' plan To counter China, the Senate must confirm US ambassadors The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Congress avoids shutdown MORE on Friday released a television spot in Iowa calling rival Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioOvernight Defense & National Security — US tries to deter Russian invasion of Ukraine Senate eyes plan B amid defense bill standoff To counter China, the Senate must confirm US ambassadors MORE the GOP’s answer to President Obama.
“[He is] the Republican Obama who championed Obama’s amnesty and led the ‘Gang of Eight,’ ” it added, referencing Rubio’s role in failed 2013 legislation that would have built a citizenship pathway for illegal immigrants.
“I’m in favor of a mandate that they go out and design a cap-and-trade or a carbon-tax program,” Rubio is shown saying.
The commercial also describes Cruz as a crusader against the Obama administration’s policies.
“They call Ted Cruz Obama’s nemesis because Cruz fought to defund ObamaCare,” it said.
“He said no to big spending and stopped amnesty in its tracks. Caucus for Cruz to undo Obama’s damage.”
The ad’s release comes three days before Iowa’s critical first-in-the-nation caucuses Monday.
Rubio's campaign late Friday said the ad was political distortion in a statement to The Hill.
"Instead of campaigning on his record, Senator Cruz is pumping millions into negative and false attack ads days before the caucus because he knows Marco is gaining momentum," said spokesman Joe Pounder.
"Considering that he stood with Barack Obama just months ago to weaken our intelligence programs, this ad is another in a litany of examples of Ted Cruz desperately saying or doing anything to try to win an election."
Rubio's camp took particular issue with the ad's portrayal of his cap-and-trade stance.
They highlighted a 2010 interview with the Florida lawmaker detailing his actual position.
"I'm in favor of giving the Department of Environmental Protection a mandate that they go out and design a cap-and-trade or a carbon-tax program and bring it back to the legislature for ratification sometime in the next two years," Rubio says in the clip.
"I'm in favor of them designing it — I'm not in favor of them designing it and implementing it," he adds.
Reports emerged Friday that Cruz is focusing his negative advertising against Rubio in the Hawkeye State. Cruz’s presidential campaign reportedly hopes it can blunt Rubio’s rising momentum.
- Updated at 8:10 p.m.