U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) has had a messaging problem since a few days before the Iowa Caucus. His campaign has gotten off message starting with the ill-advised mailer, then an ill-advised message that went out about Ben Carson as Iowans were about to caucus. Since his opponents have attacked him saying he is a dishonest cheater.
When your message has been “TRUSTED” it is extremely damaging when these charges are made. Prior to the South Carolina Primary, the Rubio campaign had fired off several accusations of misconduct by the Cruz campaign without any evidence.
Is this rotten? Yes. Unfortunately what happened in Iowa opened up the Cruz campaign to this.
The only way to combat this is to be totally above board, not engage in personal attacks, and make no more mistakes like what was made in Iowa.
Post-South Carolina the campaign got off to a rocky start. There was a story being circulated yesterday that said Rubio was disrespecting the Bible in an encounter with a Cruz staffer.
I tweeted out a defense of Rubio yesterday when I saw a related story.
— Shane Vander Hart (@shanevanderhart) February 21, 2016
Cruz communications director Rick Tyler shared that article on Facebook and Twitter. The story was shown to be false, and Tyler apologized but the damage was done. Today, Cruz asked for and received Tyler’s resignation for that mistake.
This should send a signal that tactics like this will not be tolerated, and I hope is a step in the right direction to get out from under “dirty tricks” label and get back on message.
Update: The Washington Times reports on Cruz’s comments regarding Tyler’s dismissal:
“The news story was false. That staffer deleted the tweet, apologized and pulled it down, although I’ve spent this morning investigating what happened, and this morning, I asked for Rick Tyler’s resignation,” Mr. Cruz said….
….“I have made clear in this campaign that we will conduct this campaign with the very highest standards of integrity,” Mr. Cruz said. “That has been how we’ve conducted it from day one. It is why, when other campaigns attack us personally, impugn my integrity or my character, I don’t respond in kind.”
Mr. Cruz called Mr. Tyler a “good man” and said it was a “grave error of judgment.”
Mr. Cruz said even if the story had been 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 sent it — that’s why I’ve asked for Rick Tyler’s resignation,” he said. “Because the standards of conduct in this campaign have been made absolutely clear for every member of the campaign.”