Updated with NBC News tweet, Rubio statement: Ted Cruz just shot his messenger, announcing that he asked for the resignation of his spokesman Rick Tyler – the guy who represented his campaign on TV news programs – after an inaccurate Tyler re-tweet fueled more “dirty tricks” charges against the GOP candidate.
According to NBC News’ Katy Tur, Tyler wasn’t given much notice:
This morning, Cruz’s communications chief Tyler apologized to Marco Rubio after having tweeted a published report saying Rubio disparaged the Bible to a Cruz staffer in a hotel lobby.
On Sunday, Tyler had tweeted and shared on Facebook a post from student newspaper The Daily Pennsylvanian featuring video of a hotel lobby exchange with a Cruz staffer. The paper reported that Rubio said there were “not many answers” in the Bible that the Cruz staffer was reading; subsequent reports have Rubio saying the Bible has “all the answers.”
“The story misquoted a remark the senator made to the staffer. I assumed wrongly that the story was correct,” Tyler said in his apology. “According to the Cruz staffer, the senator made a friendly and appropriate remark. Since the audio was unclear, I should not have assumed the story was correct. I’ve deleted the post because I would not knowingly post a false story. But the fact remains that I did post it when I should have checked its accuracy first. I regret the mistake.”
At a news conference today, Cruz called Tyler a “good man” who made a “grave error of judgment.”
“It turned out the news story he sent out was false. But even if it was true, we are not a campaign that is going to question the faith of another candidate — even if it was true, our campaign should not have said it. That’s why I’ve asked for Rick Tyler’s resignation, because the standards of conduct in this campaign have been made absolutely clear for every member of the campaign,” Cruz said.
Another “dirty tricks” storyline was not what Cruz needed after finishing third in the South Carolina GOP primary despite his perceived appeal to evangelicals, with 22.3% of the votes, to Rubio’s 22.5% and Donald Trump’s winning 32.5%. Trump walked off with all 50 of the state’s delegates. The Ted Cruz Campaign Rannygazoo list also includes telling caucus-goers in Iowa Ben Carson was dropping out, a voter violation mailer that raised eyebrows, and posting a “photo” of Rubio shaking hands with President Obama in an exchange that never happened.
Guess who wallowed in today’s development like a pig in mud:
Meanwhile, Rubio’s campaign also weighed in, less prolifically: