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Technical tie in polls pits Rubio and Cruz against each other

The rival conservative senators are striving to paint each other as liberal.

By Ann Marie Awad
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Sens. Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio are spoiling for a fight. Photo by Brian Kersey/UPI
Sens. Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio are spoiling for a fight. Photo by Brian Kersey/UPI | License Photo

WASHINGTON, Dec. 2 (UPI) -- Sen. Ted Cruz and Sen. Marco Rubio are in each others' crosshairs as they attempt to break a tie in the latest polls.

Cruz has accused Rubio of pushing for "amnesty." CNN reports Rubio has called Cruz soft on national security, and has gone so far as to link him to President Barack Obama. Cruz has fired back, suggesting Rubio bears some responsibility for the 2012 terrorist attacks in Benghazi that killed four Americans.

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The latest Quinnipiac polling data, out Wednesday, show Cruz tying with retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson at 16 percent, while Rubio flaunts a slim lead with 17 percent.

Ron Bonjean, a GOP strategist, told CNN that both candidates seem to be positioning themselves for a head-to-head battle in the event that frontrunner Donald Trump exits the race. That seems unlikely, as polling shows Trump continuing to lead the field at 27 percent.

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"Both Rubio and Cruz are positioning themselves for a post-Trump race," Bonjean told CNN Wednesday morning. "The competition is in full swing to try to out-conservative each other."

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An ad run by The Courageous Conservatives PAC, a group supporting Cruz, claims Cruz stopped Rubio from pushing a 2013 immigration bill. The ad paints the bill as "amnesty." PolitiFact reports Cruz was one of 32 senators who voted against the bill, which would have allowed a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants who could prove they entered the country before 1982.

The bill passed the Senate but was ultimately blocked from a House vote by Republicans. PolitiFact rated the ad's claim that Cruz stopped Rubio from passing an amnesty bill as "mostly false."

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