John McCain says that Ted Cruz owes Bob Dole an apology, and Dole says Cruz should "check my voting record."
Appearing on Andrea Mitchell Reports on Friday, the Arizona Republican said that Cruz unfairly described Dole as one of several past presidential candidates who failed to “stand for principle” during a speech Thursday at the CPAC convention.
“All of us remember President Dole, and President McCain and President Romney,” Cruz told the crowd. “Those are good men, they're all decent men but when you don't stand and draw a clear distinction, when you don't stand for principle Democrats celebrate."
Asked by NBC News to respond to the comments, Dole said "Cruz should check my voting record before making comments. I was one of President Reagan's strongest supporters, and my record is that of a traditional Republican conservative."
McCain said he and Romney can take the criticism but that Cruz "crossed a line" by dinging Dole.
“He can say what he wants to about me, he can say anything he wants to about Mitt. Mitt can take it,” McCain told NBC’s Andrea Mitchell of Cruz. “But when he throws Bob Dole in there, I wonder if he thinks that Bob Dole stood for principle on a hilltop in Italy when he was so gravely wounded and left part of his body there fighting for our country.”
In a statement, Cruz spokeswoman Catherine Frazier said the Texas senator "greatly respects" both lawmakers.
"As he noted in his speech, the Senator greatly respects these men, particularly the heroic military service of Sens. Dole and McCain," Frazier said. "Suggesting anything otherwise is just an unnecessary distraction. He will not hesitate to talk about substantive matters of conservative principle that are important to bringing Republicans to victory - even if others may disagree."
First published March 7 2014, 9:47 AM
Kelly Oâ€™Donnell was named Capitol Hill correspondent in December 2007. She contributes to all NBC News properties, including â€œNightly News with Brian Williams,â€ â€œTODAY,â€ and MSNBC. Oâ€™Donnell previously served as White House correspondent for NBC News covering the second term of President George W. Bush from May 2005 to December 2007. Prior to that, Oâ€™Donnell followed a broad range of stories as an NBC News correspondent based in New York City and Los Angeles. She has also served as news anchor for the weekend edition of "TODAY," and as a substitute anchor for other NBC News broadcasts.
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An award winning reporter, O'Donnell was inducted into the Ohio Radio/Television Broadcasters Hall of Fame in September 2004. She has received a regional Emmy Award for outstanding live reporting of an Ohio prison riot, and has received several national Emmy nominations. O'Donnell also received two first place awards from the Los Angeles Press Club for feature reporting, and has twice been part of the "Nightly News" team honored with an Edward R. Murrow Award in 1999 and in 2006.
Oâ€™Donnell first joined NBC News as a correspondent in 1994. Before that, she anchored and reported for WJW-TV, then the CBS affiliate in Cleveland, Ohio. O'Donnell began her broadcast career at WJW-TV as an associate producer and reporter and graduated from Northwestern University.