Monday, Linklater sized up Cruz again and hit him where it hurts, mocking his campaign's freaky attack on O'Rourke for being a "Triple Meat Whataburger liberal", whatever that means, and showing a clip from the Senate floor during which Cruz proclaims his love for White Castle. But with polls showing him slipping farther behind just three weeks before the November 6 election, and six days before early voting starts in Texas, O'Rourke switched his approach. Meanwhile, Cruz edged ahead in the polls.
A former Ivy League debate champion, Cruz shot back, "It's clear Mr. O'Rourke's pollsters have told him to come out on the attack".
Trump weighed in on Twitter Wednesday morning with strong praise of Cruz for securing cuts in taxes and regulations and protecting gun rights. "The tariffs that the president has levied, the trade wars that he has led us into, is hurting no state more than it's hurting Texas". He watches carefully over your 2nd Amendment.
Cruz consistently sought to portray O'Rourke as an "extremist" on issues ranging from health care to abortion to illegal immigration, saying the El Paso Democrat is running a campaign that appeals to "left-wing national activists", and not the state of Texas. "O'Rourke would blow it all!" he said.
O'Rourke's position on impeaching the president apparently has changed during the campaign.
O'Rourke is giving up his El Paso congressional seat to challenge Cruz and shattered Senate fundraising records with an astounding $38-plus million in the three months through September.
Cruz has made gains in Texas by hammering O'Rourke as out of step with Texas voters because of his liberal stances, including his support for universal healthcare, a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants, and some gun-control measures.More news: Liverpool do not want to sign Aaron Ramsey
"Ted Cruz is for Ted Cruz", he said.
O'Rourke continued his more combative approach through the debate. "I mean, everybody I know in Texas likes Whataburger".
Call it post-partisan, or call it a missed opportunity, but O'Rourke has largely tried to parry Cruz's punches, rather than counter them.
O'Rourke offered a deadpan response, telling Cruz it is "really interesting to hear you talk about a partisan circus after your last six years in the Senate".
O'Rourke said there needed to be a greater focus on screening methods for people entering the country, and hit Cruz for his vote against a permanent solution for Dreamers, recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.
Cue a clip of Cruz declaring that "I'm a big fan of eating White Castle burgers".