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It’s easy to tell when Ted Cruz feels threatened.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) debuted a new campaign ad on Monday, this time focusing on the hot-button, and all important, issue of kneeling during the national anthem.
The ad comes after Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas), Cruz’s Democratic opponent, was shown on video at a town hall in Houston saying that there is “nothing more American” than protesting injustice when asked about his stance on NFL players kneeling during the anthem.
“I can think of nothing more American than to peacefully stand up or take a knee for your rights anytime, anywhere, anyplace,” the Senate hopeful said in a four-minute response that went viral last week.
Cruz’s new ad, titled “Stand for the Anthem,” starts with dramatic piano music, then launches into footage from the Houston event. O’Rourke’s response to the question about his stance on kneeling during the anthem fades out to applause.
“Nothing more American? Liberal Hollywood was thrilled,” continued a voice-over.
The ad, which clocks in at just over a minute, continues to show Vietnam War vet Tim Lee, who lost his legs in combat, speaking at a campaign event for Cruz.
“I lost two legs for this country, I’m not able to stand, but I sure expect you to stand for me when that national anthem is being played,” Lee says to the crowd.
While some gave Cruz plaudits for the ad, lots of Twitter users took the opportunity to criticize Cruz and support O’Rourke:
There needs to be a Medical Study done on how Ted Cruz can stand up without a Spine . pic.twitter.com/k44lRAPg4A— MrCalvin (@MrCalvin14) August 28, 2018
....you couldn't even stand up for your wife and father being humiliated by Trump. Coward.— Bruno Amato (@BrunoAmato_1) August 28, 2018
#Istand but my father served for 20 years in the USAF so you can do whatever you want.— Michelle Greer (@michellegreer) August 27, 2018
We live in a free country. If you want to live in a place that dictates how to be patriotic, move to North Korea.
O’Rourke, the representative from Texas’ 16th Congressional district, has performed better than expected in the campaign. A recent Marist College poll had O’Rourke within four points of Cruz, and one from Emerson College showed an even tighter margin of one point.
Neither the Cruz nor the O’Rourke campaigns responded to request for comment by press time
Ellen Ioanes is the FOIA reporter at the Daily Dot, where she covers U.S. politics. She is a graduate of Columbia Journalism School, and her work has appeared in the Guardian, the Center for Public Integrity, HuffPost India, and more.