When asked about his competitor Donald Trump’s calling the primary process "rigged," Cruz responded by saying it was typical of the real estate mogul.
"Donald is not a complicated man to understand,” Cruz said today. “He doesn't handle losing well.”
He fielded questions from a group of registered Republicans, talking about guns, religious liberty and so-called New York values.
When asked about the phrase, which Cruz used in campaign ads against Trump and while campaigning in South Carolina, Cruz said he was repurposing a phrase that he claims Trump himself used during an interview in the late-1990s.
"He was explaining his longtime support for partial-birth abortion. I was repeating Donald's own phrasing," Cruz said.
Trump said in a 1999 interview that "I hate the concept of abortion ... but still I just believe in choice," then suggesting that his stances of social issues were shaped by his New York City upbringing.
"It may be a little bit of a New York background," Trump explained in the televised interview.
Today's live event in ABC News' Times Square studio comes one day before the New York primary. The latest poll, released Friday by WNBC/WSJ/Marist, had Cruz with the lowest percentage of all three Republican candidates. Trump leads the field by 33 points with 54 percent, Gov. John Kasich follows with 21 percent and Cruz had 18 percent.
Cruz's wife Heidi also joined the conversation, talking about her interests in business and politics started at a young age when she and her brother started a bread business. She noted that during that period, she realized that "regulators" caused difficulty for small businesses, like her "thriving bread business."