Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio’s Campaign Trail Rivalry Intensifies

Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio’s Campaign Trail Rivalry Intensifies

The two men have been waging a war of words over contradicting policy positions on issues like defense spending, foreign policy, and illegal immigration.

Today, Cruz used an interview on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" to offer some jabs at Rubio, who trails him in a new CBS/NYT poll.

"I honored the promises that I made to the men and women who elected me and Marco did not,” Cruz said, referring to Rubio's support for and co-authorship of the “Gang of 8" comprehensive immigration reform bill in 2013. The bill failed.

Rubio has previously accused Cruz of flip-flopping on his immigration stance, something Cruz has denied. The two men say they're friends and the attacks aren’t personal, but they seem to be escalating.

Interestingly, the Florida senator offered a similar criticism of Cruz's relationship with Schumer, a Democrat.

"Ted voted along with Chuck Schumer and other groups to weaken our intelligence gathering capabilities,” said Rubio, referring to Cruz’s support of the USA Freedom Act, which removed the bulk collection of phone metadata by the NSA.

"More data from millions of law abiding citizens is not always better data,” Cruz said. “It didn’t stop Fort Hood, it didn’t stop Boston, it didn’t stop Chattanooga...it failed to detect the San Bernardino plot."

Rubio pounced.

"I never say anything at a fundraiser I wouldn’t say at a public event,” Rubio said. “My message is pretty consistent. Whether it’s in a private meeting with an individual or a group of donors or in a broader setting."

On the campaign trail, both men frequently face questions about each other.

At a recent campaign stop in Greenville, South Carolina, a supporter came up to Cruz and asked how he differed from Rubio. Cruz told the supporter there are “marked differences.” While Cruz often plays up their difference on immigration in television interviews, he offered another issue that matters significantly to the evangelical voters he is courting.