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Rubio, Cruz Rivalry on Display in GOP Debate

by Andrew Rafferty /

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The two leading senators in the Republican presidential race sparred over their Congressional voting records Tuesday, with Marco Rubio suggesting that a Ted Cruz presidency would leave the country less safe.

Rubio said Cruz’s votes in opposition to the National Defense Authorization Act, which provides funding to the military, “leaves us less safe.”

Cruz said he has voted against the funding bill because, “I told voters in Texas I would oppose any the federal government having the authority to detain U.S. citizens permanently with no due process.”

It was the second major spat between the two surging candidates during the Republican presidential debate. Earlier the two sparred over the USA Freedom Act, which ended the government’s bulk collection of phone metadata. Rubio opposed the bill, saying it made the country less safe, while Cruz supported it for ending the collection of phone records “of millions of law abiding citizens.”

“I promise you the next time there is an attack on this country, the first thing people are going to want to know is: 'Why didn’t we know about it and why didn’t we stop it?'” Rubio said.

“I would note that Marco knows what he’s saying isn’t true,” Cruz said before comparing ads being run by the pro-Rubio super PAC against the Texas senator to “Alinsky like attacks.”

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