The Ted Cruz campaign yesterday finally backed off a photo-shopped picture of Marco Rubio shaking hands with Barack Obama after an outcry.
At first the Cruz campaign denied any manipulation but after media outlets found the original stock shot top aides provided a substitute.
But they hardly did it meekly. The replacement photo: a real picture of Rubio shaking hands with Obama after a State of the Union speech.
It is the in-your-face election with Cruz and Rubio engaged in last ditch political maneuvers ahead of Saturday’s critical South Carolina primary.
Both senators are vying for second place behind Donald Trump in South Carolina.
Rubio’s forces fought back against the picture, which was in an ad, “Rubio-Obama Trade Pact,” highlighting the Florida senator’s support for giving the president fast-track trade approval. Cruz had been a supporter, too, but switched positions and voted against it.
“The picture's fake and that alone tells you everything I've been saying for the last few days - he's making things up,” Rubio told reporters Thursday in South Carolina.
Rubio supporter Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C. also weighed in, without saying Cruz’s name, but taking him to task for a fake Facebook post of Gowdy withdrawing his endorsement of Rubio.
Cruz has hotly denied that his campaign had anything to do with it, nor with push polling in the Palmetto State against Rubio.
Last night former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who has endorsed Cruz, issued a lengthy complaint about Rubio.
“The Rubio campaign has hypocritically and falsely accused the Cruz campaign of negative push polling, while at the same time hitting South Carolinians all across the state with their own negative and inaccurate push polls against Cruz,” said Perry. He added that the Rubio campaign “feigned outrage” at the fake Facebook post with no evidence it was linked to Cruz.
“The Rubio campaign is papering Cruz events with negative, misleading literature - even at rallies to honor our veterans, including my good friend Medal of Honor recipient Dakota Meyer,” said Perry.
Meyer endorsed Cruz at a South Carolina event. He has drawn attention because of his connection to Sarah Palin - he is the purported father of ex-fiance Bristol Palin’s recently born child. Sarah Palin endorsed Donald Trump.