This made me laugh out loud.

Rep. Peter King (R-NY) appeared on CNN’s The Situation Room Monday afternoon and when Wolf Blitzer asked him to explain his statement that compared Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) to a “carnival barker,” the Republican congressman opted not to walk back his comments but instead take about a dozen steps forward.

“We need intelligent debate in the country. Ted Cruz may be an intelligent person, but he doesn’t carry out an intelligent debate,” King said. “He oversimplifies, he exaggerates and he basically led the Republican Party over the cliff in the fall of 2013. He has shown no qualifications, no legislation being passed, doesn’t provide leadership and he has no real experience. So, to me, he is just a guy with a big mouth and no results.”

But would King support Cruz if he ended up becoming the Republican Party nominee for 2016?

“I hope that day never comes,” King told Blitzer. “I will jump off that bridge when we come to it.”

I might add that Rep. King lumped Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky in the same lack-of-talent pool.

This is what I predicted would happen. The early attacks on Senator Cruz are more personal than ideological in nature. Of course there is a big ideological divide between Rep. Peter King and Senator Cruz, but King would rather not get into the specifics too much. Rather than pointing out precisely where he disagrees with Cruz, he attacks him for lacking experience, temperament, judgment, and seriousness. I expect this to be the path that most of the Republican candidates follow.

[Cross-posted at Progress Pond]

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Martin Longman is the web editor for the Washington Monthly. See all his writing at