Published: Sat, September 22, 2018
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

Cruz, O'Rourke Hold First Debate In Dallas

Cruz, O'Rourke Hold First Debate In Dallas

For those who like watching with a partisan support group, the O'Rourke campaign has organized a San Antonio watch party at Burleson Beer Garden, and there's also one sponsored by the Bexar County Democratic Party.

O'Rourke added that, while he and Cruz disagree on the best moves to make, he has no question that Cruz "wants to do the best for America".

"We're talking about criminal justice reform", O'Rourke said to the audience, "let's talk about where this problem started".

The debate will be a major test for O'Rourke, a former member of a punk rock band who has become a cause célèbre for many Democrats who believe he can be an effective messenger for progressive policies like marijuana legalization and raising the minimum wage. Ted Cruz met with voters Thursday in Webster.

A truck sporting a billboard plastered with a negative tweet from Trump about Cruz during the presidential campaign was parked outside the debate hall hours before the two men were set to face off.

President Donald Trump has announced that he'll rally in Texas for his once bitter rival Cruz next month - previously unthinkable in a state where Republicans usually rack up landslide victories. Mentioning some lower-level judges Mr. O'Rourke said were unsavory yet earned Mr. Cruz's endorsement, Mr. O'Rourke contended Judge Kavanaugh's record with voting rights cases should give marginalized or minority populations in Texas pause.

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Looming over the race is the omnipresence of President Trump. How could he square such harsh charges with support now, Mr. Cruz was asked? "Cruz, for your public service".

O'Rourke criticized Cruz during the debate for failing to rebuke Trump administration tariffs against China that he said would hurt Texas trade interests, including farming.

"I know how hard he works". Cruz dismissed many such visits as photo-ops.

Such work would prove hard, Mr. Cruz said, given Mr. O'Rourke "has never talked to the president and wants to vote for impeachment".

"He's going to fight to raise your taxes", Mr. Cruz said.

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