STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

Ted Cruz: Americans are 'Dreamers' also

Incumbent Republican Senator Ted Cruz talks about immigration at a debate against his Democratic challenger, Beto O'Rourke.

Posted: Sep 23, 2018 2:29 PM
Updated: Sep 23, 2018 2:29 PM

Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas and his Democratic challenger, Rep. Beto O'Rourke, were asked Friday night -- in what moderators intended to be a polite end to their first debate -- to say something nice about each other.

O'Rourke began by praising Cruz's work ethic and his family's sacrifice. Cruz started with a similar response, pointing out that they both have young children and saying, "Every day, when I leave for the campaign trail, it's hard."

Then he linked O'Rourke to Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and socialism.

"Bernie Sanders believes in what he's fighting for -- he believes in socialism. Now, I think what he's fighting for doesn't work. But I think you are absolutely sincere, like Bernie, that you believe in expanding government and higher taxes," Cruz said. "And I commend you for fighting for what you believe in."

O'Rourke deadpanned: "True to form."

Cruz's backhanded compliment -- and O'Rourke's curt response -- was a fitting coda to an hourlong debate that put on display several of the candidates' biggest differences on issues like standing for the National Anthem, immigration and guns.

Cruz and O'Rourke are facing each other in a surprisingly competitive US Senate race in Texas, a Republican stronghold. Most polls have shown O'Rourke trailing, but after swearing off all political action committee donations, he has proved to be an online fundraising phenomenon, and on Friday night, O'Rourke played up his visits to all 254 counties in Texas. If he wins the race, it could help deliver control of the Senate to Democrats.

Friday night's debate at Southern Methodist University was the first of three debates and a CNN forum the two candidates agreed to before November's midterm elections.

During the debate, O'Rourke supported the rights of NFL players who have protested during the National Anthem, comparing them -- as he did weeks ago in what became a viral video -- to protesters in the civil rights movement.

Cruz shot back that he became a Republican in part because of the party's support for civil rights, while Democrats in the South supported Jim Crow laws. (He did not mention that President Lyndon B. Johnson -- a Democrat from Texas -- signed the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act into law.)

Cruz also said that Martin Luther King Jr., if he were alive, would oppose the anthem protests because he respected the American flag. He said players should protest in a way that doesn't "disrespect the flag."

The two also clashed over immigration, with O'Rourke saying Cruz "has promised to deport each and every single Dreamer" and Cruz saying O'Rourke is "fighting for illegal immigrants" and that "Americans are dreamers also."

They differed on gun rights -- with O'Rourke arguing for some limits on gun rights and saying that "thoughts and prayers are just not going to cut it," and Cruz insisting that "gun control is not the answer."

Cruz also said school shootings are a result of "removing God from the public square," and he called for more armed police officers in schools.

O'Rourke was pressed on his 1998 arrest for drunken driving, and he noted he did not attempt to leave the scene of the accident and called it a "terrible mistake." He said the incident led him to fight to eliminate racial biases from the criminal justice system and help those who have served their time get jobs.

Cruz was asked how he had gone from his 2016 presidential primary battle with President Donald Trump -- in which Trump insulted the appearance of Cruz's wife, Heidi, and accused Cruz's father of being involved in a conspiracy to assassinate John F. Kennedy -- to being political allies now, with Trump planning a trip to Texas.

Cruz said the 2016 election was "unlike any other, and there were some hard shots thrown." But after losing, he said, he decided not to be "selfish, to make it about myself," and instead try to "do something extraordinary" with Trump.

"I've got a responsibility, which is to fight for everybody here and every person in this state," he said.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 253932

Reported Deaths: 5524
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto17120175
Hinds16207322
Harrison13353193
Rankin10689211
Jackson10303183
Lee8796141
Madison8232162
Jones6288110
Forrest5949119
Lauderdale5847180
Lowndes5355116
Lafayette494292
Lamar484165
Washington4777123
Bolivar3966108
Oktibbeha392480
Panola368378
Pontotoc362853
Monroe3533105
Warren348498
Union343060
Marshall341665
Neshoba3370152
Pearl River327899
Leflore3002105
Lincoln297085
Sunflower282669
Tate270862
Hancock266559
Alcorn263253
Itawamba262459
Pike262077
Scott246245
Prentiss245052
Yazoo244355
Copiah240849
Tippah240450
Simpson234867
Leake230564
Coahoma230054
Grenada217770
Covington211371
Marion210672
Adams204670
Winston200164
Wayne199630
George199038
Attala193559
Newton191342
Tishomingo184459
Chickasaw183644
Jasper169735
Holmes168567
Clay159033
Stone142320
Tallahatchie140134
Clarke138660
Calhoun135721
Smith120123
Yalobusha116534
Walthall111836
Noxubee110322
Greene109729
Montgomery109434
Carroll104221
Lawrence102417
Perry101631
Amite97725
Webster92224
Tunica86321
Claiborne86125
Jefferson Davis84125
Humphreys82924
Benton81523
Kemper77120
Quitman6888
Franklin66415
Choctaw60313
Wilkinson58325
Jefferson53819
Sharkey42717
Issaquena1596
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 422598

Reported Deaths: 6120
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson62039921
Mobile30225548
Madison27052186
Tuscaloosa20728267
Montgomery18978305
Shelby18504114
Baldwin16251182
Lee12465101
Morgan12233113
Etowah11735168
Calhoun11122200
Marshall10191107
Houston8598148
Cullman8023105
Limestone800274
Elmore7836101
DeKalb768397
Lauderdale754683
St. Clair7535120
Talladega6166108
Walker5897174
Jackson580341
Colbert532073
Blount530483
Autauga518455
Coffee441056
Dale396181
Franklin366248
Chilton336165
Russell330310
Covington327268
Escambia316842
Dallas303196
Chambers282769
Clarke281433
Tallapoosa2616107
Pike248729
Marion245650
Lawrence243647
Winston226635
Bibb215147
Geneva201435
Marengo199029
Pickens196531
Hale175842
Barbour172936
Butler169658
Fayette168226
Cherokee160330
Henry153621
Monroe145217
Randolph139835
Washington137626
Clay126145
Crenshaw118744
Lamar118019
Cleburne117423
Macon114735
Lowndes110335
Wilcox103121
Bullock99028
Perry97419
Conecuh94420
Sumter89026
Greene76023
Coosa60515
Choctaw51224
Out of AL00
Unassigned00
Tupelo
Clear
55° wxIcon
Hi: 58° Lo: 30°
Feels Like: 55°
Columbus
Clear
53° wxIcon
Hi: 59° Lo: 30°
Feels Like: 53°
Oxford
Clear
52° wxIcon
Hi: 56° Lo: 26°
Feels Like: 52°
Starkville
Clear
54° wxIcon
Hi: 59° Lo: 31°
Feels Like: 54°
WTVA Radar
WTVA Temperatures
WTVA Severe Weather