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Welcome to Trail Guide, your daily tour along the road to the White House. Here's what we're watching Sunday, July 26:
Donald Trump's hat has two parody Twitter accounts -- and trademark protection
Cruz calls McConnell a liar again, to the frustration of Senate colleagues
Forget the filibuster. Ted Cruz showed during Sunday's rare Senate session that a few choice words -- in this case, calling his party leader a liar -- can be a potent tool in raising his campaign profile for president.
In a floor speech that lasted just seven minutes, the Republican senator from Texas doubled down on his earlier criticism of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's decision to allow the Sunday vote to resurrect the Export-Import Bank, portraying it as a betrayal of the leader's word not to do so.
“Speaking the truth,” is what Cruz said he was doing, picking up where he had left off Friday, when he said McConnell told “a simple lie” by insisting there was no backroom deal for the bank that is opposed by the powerful Koch brothers but supported by a bipartisan coalition of business interests, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
“My saying so may be uncomfortable,” Cruz said, “but it is a simple fact.”
The Senate is home to four GOP presidential hopefuls (and one independent, who caucuses with
Democrats). From time to time some of them have used the chamber as a venue to turn attention their way.
Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, another GOP candidate, seized the floor for 10 1/2 hours this spring during a filibuster-like speech against the National Security Agency's domestic spying program. It was a fundraising boon to Paul's campaign.
Elder party statesmen have not been amused.
On Sunday, 81-year-old Orrin G. Hatch of Utah, the GOP's most senior senator, opened the chamber's session with a reminder to colleagues of the ground rules.
“Squabbling and acrimony may be tolerated on the campaign trail,” said Hatch, who urged senators colleagues toward comity and decorum, and to keep their egos in check.
“We are not here on some frolic or to pursue personal ambitions,” said Hatch, who has served four decades in the Senate. “We are here because the people of the United States have entrusted us with the solemn responsibility to act on their behalf.”
Cruz waited patiently for his rebuttal, launching a review and defense of his earlier criticism speech -- and a reiteration that the GOP majority was acting no different than Democrats.
“It is entirely consistent with decorum, and with the nature of this body traditionally as the world's greatest deliberative body, to speak the truth,” Cruz said.
But his was not the last word. The Senate voted to advance the Export-Import bank and deny the presidential hopeful a vote on his amendment.
Cruz was left with a moment in the political spotlight, and a policy defeat.