A super PAC supporting Texas Sen. Ted Cruz in his bid for the Republican presidential nomination is expanding its efforts in South Carolina with an ad airing during Super Bowl 50 that jabs at one of his rivals, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio.
Keep The Promise I said it paid $465,500 to air two television ads in South Carolina in the run-up to the state’s primary on Feb. 20. During Sunday's Super Bowl, an ad called “Leadership” will air in the state.
The ad references the world's need for leadership as the United States faces various problems -- showing footage of ISIS and Russian President Vladimir Putin -- before it questions Rubio's leadership abilities and shows a clip of him saying, “I know I have a debate but I got to get this fantasy football thing right.” The ad ends with text reading, “Tell Marco Rubio: America can't afford to gamble with its safety.”
“Sen. Rubio continues to fumble the ball on the goal line, doubling down on his support of illegal immigrants who have broken the law,” Kellyanne Conway, the president of Keep the Promise I, said in a news release announcing the ad buys. "Voters don’t want a candidate advocating for college tuition discounts for children of illegal immigrants when they themselves are struggling to save money to put their own kids through college."
“We believe South Carolina is prime real estate for voters looking for a solid leader with experience and grit, who isn’t afraid to stand up for his principles, answer the tough questions, and has a conservative playbook ready to deploy from Day one,” Conway said.
Rubio and Cruz have increasingly taken steps to distinguish themselves from one another leading up to the New Hampshire primary.
A super PAC supporting Rubio released an ad late last month depicting Cruz as fickle. His campaign has also handed out calculators at Cruz's campaign stops in New Hampshire in an attempt to describe him as calculated.
"He's willing to do anything to win this election," Rubio said of Cruz last week.
Cruz has said that Rubio's third place finish in Iowa has been treated as a victory by the media.
"That's an odd collection of words. 'Impressive 3rd place finish.' Usually those don’t go together, but yet in the media’s telling, bronze is the new gold," said Cruz at a town hall in Nashua, N.H., last week.