Cruz aims to put Trump on defensive over abortion

Story highlights

  • Ted Cruz made his most extensive try yet to tear into Donald Trump's record on abortion on Tuesday
  • Abortion has emerged as the latest terrain for Cruz and Trump to argue over who is the true social conservative in the race

Washington (CNN)Ted Cruz on Tuesday made his most extensive attempt yet to tear into Donald Trump's record on abortion, releasing a five-minute video meant to remind South Carolina voters of Trump's past statement on the issue.

Abortion has emerged as the latest terrain for Cruz and Trump to argue over who is the true social conservative in the race, and the billionaire businessman has charged that the Texas senator is lying. Shortly after Cruz's direct-to-camera video was released, Trump emailed his supporters reiterating that he had merely "evolved" on the social issue that is perhaps most important to evangelical voters.
"Despite Senator Ted Cruz attempting to smear me and totally lie about my beliefs and positions on almost all of the issues, I am a conservative person and I believe in conservative values," Trump wrote. "Like Ronald Reagan, on many issues, I have evolved. I am pro-life and have been for a long time."
That rebuke came after Cruz charged that Trump was "the only" candidate in the GOP field who did not support defunding Planned Parenthood and assailed his past record on abortion rights, which has been the focus of much of the pro-Cruz, anti-Trump paid media.
    "Even now, there's a candidate in the race playing games with the sanctity of life. Donald Trump spent most of his adult life prior to this election enthusiastically pro-abortion -- even for partial birth abortion, if you can believe it," Cruz said.
    Cruz then claimed that Planned Parenthood "named Donald Trump their favorite Republican last fall." Trump does not appear to have received any official award from the organization.
    "If there was ever an award that a Republican politician should be ashamed to receive, that's it," Cruz said.