Cruz releases heavily edited ad depicting O'Rourke's comments on flag burning

Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzOn The Money: Conservative blocks disaster relief bill | Trade high on agenda as Trump heads to Japan | Boeing reportedly faces SEC probe over 737 Max | Study finds CEO pay rising twice as fast as worker pay Conservative blocks House passage of disaster relief bill The Hill's Morning Report — After contentious week, Trump heads for Japan MORE (R-Texas) on Tuesday released a heavily edited ad representing his Democratic opponent's comments on flag burning.

In the 25-second video released by Cruz's reelection campaign, Rep. Beto O'RourkeBeto O'RourkeO'Rourke: Trump 'provoking' war with Iran by sending troops to Middle East Buttiegieg backs NFL players' right to protest during anthem: I 'put my life on the line to defend' that Overnight Energy: Democrats ask if EPA chief misled on vehicle emissions | Dem senators want NBC debate focused on climate change | 2020 hopeful John Delaney unveils T climate plan MORE appears to answer a question about "desecrating" the flag by saying he believes it is "inherently American."

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"As a voter, I don't know how I would feel to have my own elected representative being open to kneeling on the Senate floor or encouraging and supporting acts that desecrate our American flag," a constituent says to O'Rourke at a town hall during the video. 

"I think there is something inherently American about that, and so I'm grateful people are willing to do that," O'Rourke says.

A transcript of the event obtained by The Hill shows the Cruz campaign edited significant context from O'Rourke's answer. O'Rourke, according to the transcript, said it is "inherently American" to "nonviolently and peacefully protest" police brutality and racial inequality.

O'Rourke's communications director, Chris Evans, told The Hill that O'Rourke was not discussing "anything about flag-burning or desecrating the flag in his answer." 

The Cruz ad uses 43 of 143 words from the constituent's question and 24 of 615 words from O'Rourke's answer at the Aug. 31 town hall meeting in El Paso, The Dallas Morning News reported.

Cruz spokeswoman Catherine Frazier told the Morning News that she does not believe the clip is misleading.

"Congressman O'Rourke not only called burning the U.S. flag 'inherently American' but also said he was 'grateful' for those willing to commit such an act," she said. "His position is an appalling display of disregard to those who have put their lives on the line to preserve the very freedoms the American flag represents. Texans certainly do not share such views."

Evans, meanwhile, said O'Rourke has only spoken publicly about flag-burning once, when the congressman said he does not think anybody should burn the American flag.

"[Burning the flag] is nothing I’ve ever heard him talk about or suggest," Evans told The Hill.

Cruz has launched multiple attack ads against O'Rourke in recent days, slamming O'Rourke for cursing too much and getting a DWI more than 20 years ago.

Recent polls have shown O'Rourke and Cruz in a dead heat, a surprising feat for a Democrat in the deep-red state.  

A video of O’Rourke defending NFL players who kneel during the national anthem has racked up millions of views after going viral last month.

In the video, O’Rourke, responding to a question at a town hall meeting in August, says he "can think of nothing more American" than the protests against police brutality and racial inequality.