Cruz Sets the Immigration Record Straight With Megyn Kelly

The Context

At last night's Fox News/Google GOP Debate in Iowa, Sen. Rubio did a song and dance with Sen. Cruz on immigration. Rubio accused Cruz of supporting a bill that Rubio himself authored as part of the so-called Gang of Eight, trying to make it look like Cruz had flip-flopped his stance on immigration policy. The bill in question allowed for citizenship and legalization. Cruz had introduced a series of amendments, each designed to fix problems in the bill, but the way he handled it keeps coming back to bite him.

The Poison Pill

Rubio's immigration reform bill allowed for both citizenship and legalization. Knowing the bill would not stand without one of those key issues, Cruz proposed an amendment to remove citizenship, leaving the option of legalization. It's what's called a "poison pill," making the bill completely undesirable to the opposition. Now Rubio is trying to say that Cruz was in favor of legalization. Cruz was never in favor of legalization --- and Sen. Rubio knows it.

For the Record

Marco Rubio was part of the Gang of Eight trying to pass immigration reform. It's an extremely complex issue, and he's used that complexity to his advantage this election season to muddy his opponents positions on immigration. Truth be told, Rubio is the candidate that supports giving citizenship and legalization to people who are currently in the U.S. illegally.

"I just can't believe that Marco Rubio is allowed to distort his own record so much," Glenn said Friday on The Glenn Beck Program.

The Kelly File

So, was Megyn Kelly's line of questioning during the debate foul? She presented a series of edited clips that made it appear Sen. Cruz had flip-flopped on the issue of immigration. However, in her follow-up interview (see below), she admitted Cruz's record did not support that argument, that he had been solid on the issue of immigration.

Common Sense Bottom Line

Ted Cruz has never supported amnesty and anyone who says otherwise is playing games. Rubio authored an immigration reform bill that included citizenship and legalization for illegals. Cruz tried to block it. For Rubio to paint Cruz as supporting legalization is blatantly false.

Listen to the exchange on immigration between Megyn Kelly and Senator Cruz, beginning at about 3:45:

Below is a rush transcript of this segment, it might contain errors:

GLENN: Let's go to Mo in California. Hello, Mo.

CALLER: Well, good morning. Thank you guys so much for all you're doing. You know, I have a unique perspective. I listen to all these debates on the radio because I'm always driving. So I'm on the road a lot. I live in California.

I'm a Christian conservative. I've got seven kids, five in the military. I've served myself. So I started out a Ben Carson guy. And I always loved Ted. Now I'm a big Ted fan. I kind of switched over to Ted. I don't think last night did him any favors. I was really concerned with some of the -- him and Rubio -- Marco too, some of the clips they played, I didn't watch the clips, I had to hear them. But by listening to what they were saying, they really did a job on him. He really came across as kind of flippy-floppy. Not what I expected. I was kind of surprised. I do the best I can to read. I listen to you guys all the time. I try to keep as informed as I can. I didn't realize there was a history of changing positions and not being -- I really thought Ted was a lot more solid. I still will vote for him, no doubt.

PAT: He is solid actually.

GLENN: He is. In fact, I want to play the audio because after the debate, Megyn Kelly came up to him -- right after the chute. And she said, "Let's go over this again." Because I don't know what the hell is wrong with Ted on this. He has the best reason for doing this. And he eventually got to it with Megyn Kelly.

PAT: It took a long time though.

GLENN: But it really took a long time.

PAT: And we've looked into this. We've dug into this really deeply. We wanted to know ourselves. And he's got a reasonable explanation for it.

GLENN: I think he just doesn't want to say, "I put a poison pill out."

PAT: He doesn't.

GLENN: But that's exactly what he did, and he admitted that finally with Megyn Kelly last night. But by then, I think the damage was done. But we'll play that really fascinating interview with Megyn Kelly immediately following the debate. Next.

(OUT AT 8:33AM)

GLENN: This is the exchange with Megyn Kelly right after the debate with Ted Cruz. Listen to this.

MEGYN: Was that all an act? It was pretty convincing.

TED: You know, the amendment you're talking about is one sentence. It's 38 words. Anyone can go online on TedCruz.org and read exactly what it said. In those 38 words, it said, "Anyone here illegally is permanently ineligible for citizenship." It didn't say a word about legalization.

MEGYN: But the bill allowed both. The bill you were amending allowed citizenship and legal- --

TED: But, Megyn, the bill was 1,000 pages. I introduced a series of amendments, each designed to fix problems in the bill. The fact that each amendment didn't fix every problem didn't mean that I supported the rest of the bill.

PAT: So that was the exchange.

MEGYN: So what I was trying to get at there was, you know, the bill offered both, legalization and citizenship. And you tried to take away citizenship, which would have allowed legalization still.

But, I mean, I look back at your record a lot to see, "Did Ted Cruz really want legalization, or didn't he?" I think the record supports you, that you did not want it.

PAT: And to your point, Stu, where was that during the debate?

STU: Yeah, I like Megyn Kelly. I think she did generally a good job. This moment bothered me a little bit because she made this big montage of these clips that were like cut up in real short segments.

PAT: That made him look bad.

STU: And said, "What were you doing, just acting out there? What was the deal?"

PAT: Making him look like a flip-flopper.

GLENN: I think that's her job though. As a person in the debate, you're not supposed to -- Chris Wallace was like, "Marco Rubio, that's Ted Cruz over there. Get him." Where a job is not to flip it one way or the other. It's to present it and say, "What were you doing there? What is that? Was that a good piece of acting, or did you mean something different?" I don't think there's anything wrong with that.

STU: I just think if she went through the work and realized and came to the conclusion that he did not support this amnesty in this particular bill, it just seems to me like that should be at least a mention in -- as you're discussing it. You know, she comes here and says multiple times, "I looked at your record. You did not want amnesty. So what's the deal with the parliamentary tricks?"

I mean, that's a fair question. I think he should have to answer that, why did he do it? That's fine. But she did the homework and she came to the come conclusion that he didn't want amnesty, and the way the question came off, to me, at least was like, "Hey, you obviously wanted amnesty and then now -- and now you're saying you didn't."

Again, I'm not blaming her that she did a terrible job or anything by any means. I think she did a good job. I just wish that was part of the question. I think a lot of people in Iowa are saying, "Wow. I just saw 19 clips edited very tightly with very little context." And now Ted is sitting there saying, "Well, look, this is what I tried to do." It seems like he's on the defensive. When Megyn Kelly herself, the person asking the question, has done the math and found out that it wasn't true.

PAT: Knew the answer. Yeah.

GLENN: All right. Play the rest.

MEGYN: It does. That it really was a poison pill amendment. What I was trying to get to you was, it just seems weird for the average person to see, like, the acting when you're trying to sell it, saying I want the bill to pass.

TED: But no, no. What I said was I wanted immigration reform to pass.

MEGYN: You also said the bill.

TED: I didn't say I want the bill to pass.

MEGYN: You did. I have it. I played it. That was the very first sound bite we played. The very first one.

TED: What I said was I want immigration reform to pass, and I've laid out on my website an 11-page very, very detailed immigration plan that I would like to have passed. We've got to secure the borders. We've got to stop illegal immigration.

MEGYN: You were talking about people coming out of the shadows. It seems like acting.

TED: Well, look, what I often do, particularly when debating Democrats -- and I was debating Chuck Schumer there -- is use the language of the Democrats to show their hypocrisy. Because, you know what, Chuck Schumer and the Democrats talked about people coming under the shadows. But it wasn't about that. It was about votes.

MEGYN: And they were saying at the time that it wasn't about citizenship. And you were trying to put the lie to that? Is that the --

TED: Yes. Right.

MEGYN: As I read your testimonials on this, that's how I read it.

GLENN: Yes.

TED: No, that's exactly right. They said it was all about bringing people out of the shadows. And I said, "Well, great. Then you should be happy to take citizenship off the table." And, of course, Chuck Schumer responded, "If there is no citizenship, there is no reform. We'll kill the whole thing." And, you know, there's an old joke that the new politically correct term for illegal aliens is now undocumented Democrats. This was about votes. And that amendment laid that there. And when the hypocrisy was shown to the American people, that's one of the reasons we were able to kill it.

MEGYN: I got it.

TED: It's why Jeff Sessions said if it wasn't for Cruz -- he said, "If Ted wasn't there, they would have passed."

MEGYN: I thought is he lying about this poison pill thing? The record supports you that it was a poison pill.

PAT: Well, there you go. It took a long time to get to. But it was a poison pill. And he was doing parliamentary, he was playing parliamentary politics. He was trying to show the hypocrisy of the left.

GLENN: He was doing exactly what we said he was doing about three months ago.

PAT: Yeah. That's right.

GLENN: Because we looked at it as well.

PAT: And, by the way, Marco Rubio was part of that. They were part -- he was part of the Gang of Eight trying to get that bill passed. He helped write it.

GLENN: But I just can't believe that Marco Rubio is allowed to distort his own record so much.

PAT: I know. I know.

STU: It is comical.

PAT: It's amazing.

GLENN: He's flipped him.

STU: What Rubio was accusing Cruz of inaccurately is -- as an attack --

PAT: Is what he has done?

STU: He's like, "You, jerk, you used to believe the thing that I believed."

PAT: Right.

STU: It's like, wait a minute. So you're saying -- your attack against him is that he may have supported part of the bill that you wrote. That's not -- that shouldn't be a good attack. But it seemed -- it seems to be --

PAT: It's weird that it seems to be working.

STU: You could argue I guess that it's just people trying to hide their record or something, and that's what he's attacking. But the huge negative you'd be accusing Cruz of was saying the same thing you believed then too. And, by the way, that's not true.

PAT: And part of what Rubio said last night was that Cruz is now trying to out-Trump, Trump. Well, Trump is for a path to citizenship. Trump has been the one that's been trumpeting, there's got to be a way for these people to become legal citizens.

STU: You can't kick out people who have been living here 20 years. You can't do that. You can't get them all.

PAT: He just said that.

GLENN: Do you have the audio of that?

PAT: Yeah, I'll have to find that.

GLENN: 68 percent of Iowans still have not made up their mind.

STU: It's amazing.

GLENN: It really is. It really is. This is the weekend most people begin to make their mind up in Iowa, studies show. Tomorrow and the next day.

Featured Image: Fox News anchor and debate moderator Megyn Kelly speaks with Republican Presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) after the Republican Presidential debate sponsored by Fox News and Google at the Iowa Events Center on January 28, 2016 in Des Moines, Iowa. The Democratic and Republican Iowa Caucuses, the first step in nominating a presidential candidate from each party, will take place on February 1. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

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