Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, held a town hall-style campaign meeting Wednesday in Amarillo where he was confronted by one of his opponent’s supporters.
The senator is running for re-election against Democratic U.S. Rep. Robert Francis “Beto” O’Rourke.
In the biographical information on his website, the challenger touts his background in public service prior to winning his seat in the House, including two terms on the City Council of El Paso, where he was born and raised.
Cruz, who has been in the Senate since 2013, is defending that position by appealing to the conservative values of many Texans, including their deep-seated love for the Second Amendment and desire for a smaller government.
He pointed out some of the differences between himself and O’Rourke on key issues at the event in Amarillo, which was live streamed on Facebook by KAMR-TV.
“On health care, Congressman O’Rourke supports Obamacare and wants to expand it to full-on socialized medicine, putting the federal government in charge of your health care and your doctor,” Cruz said.
At that point, a heckler could be heard from across the room calling Cruz’s comment “a lie.”
Cruz responded that O’Rourke’s views in support of “single-payer, government-controlled health care” could be seen on the Democrat’s website.
The heckler wasn’t satisfied, but the senator stated that he wasn’t there to debate with him and thanked him for coming.
Cruz moved to a new topic, saying, “On the Second Amendment,” but he was immediately cut off by someone from the crowd yelling, “Come and take it!” Several others chimed in, agreeing with the famous phrase from the Battle of Gonzales during the Texas revolution.
The O’Rourke supporter replied to that with a resounding, “Oh, we will!”
His comment was met with boos from the crowd, to the point that Cruz had to ask those in attendance to quiet down.
The senator then pointed out the exchange that had just taken place, with the O’Rourke supporter insinuating that he would like to confiscate Texans’ firearms.
“If you want to sum this entire election up, that’s their approach, they want to come and take it,” Cruz said. “And the question is, is Texas going to stand up and defend our freedom?”
That question resulted in cheers and a standing ovation from the crowd.
After the noise died down, Cruz pointed out that despite his and others’ disagreement with the sentiments shared by the opposition’s supporters, the young man was “accurately representing Congressman O’Rourke’s position.”
Cruz went on to say that O’Rourke is proud of his “F” rating from the National Rifle Association, even to the point of tweeting about it. “He’s campaigning on that,” Cruz said. “That’s a major reason that he says you should vote for him.”
“I retweeted it,” the senator said.
Cruz wrapped up his comments on gun control by saying, “Elections are about choices. And if you want a big government, gun-grabbing liberal, well, the Democrats have given you one.”
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