'This is the lie that Ted's campaign is built on': Crowd boos during testy Marco Rubio exchange with Ted Cruz

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Rubio and Cruz Clash Over Stances on Immigration

Sens. Marco Rubio (R-Florida) and Ted Cruz (R-Texas) sparred in a tense and heated exchange over immigration at the Thursday-night Republican presidential debate.

The back-and-forth followed a segment during which Fox News moderator Megyn Kelly confronted both candidates over their past statements and positions on immigration reform.

Cruz argued that Rubio had stood with Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-New York), then-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, and President Barack Obama by co-sponsoring a 2013 immigration bill that included a pathway to citizenship for millions of people living in the country illegally.

"When that battle was waged, my friend Sen. Rubio chose to ... support amnesty," Rubio said.

See photos from Thursday night's debate:

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'This is the lie that Ted's campaign is built on': Crowd boos during testy Marco Rubio exchange with Ted Cruz
Republican Presidential candidates (L-R) Texas Senator Ted Cruz, Florida Senator Marco Rubio, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, and Ohio Gov. John Kasich arrive for the Republican Presidential debate sponsored by Fox News at the Iowa Events Center in Des Moines, Iowa on January 28, 2016. / AFP / AFP PHOTO / Jim WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush laugh together after a Republican presidential primary debate, Thursday, Jan. 28, 2016, in Des Moines, Iowa. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)
Republican presidential candidate New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie answers a question as retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson listens during a Republican presidential primary debate, Thursday, Jan. 28, 2016, in Des Moines, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
Jeb Bush speaks as Marco Rubio, right and John Kasich listen during a Republican presidential primary debate, Thursday, Jan. 28, 2016, in Des Moines, Iowa. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)
Republican presidential candidate Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., looks down during a break in the Republican presidential primary debate, Thursday, Jan. 28, 2016, in Des Moines, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
Republican Presidential candidate retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson (L) speaks as Texas Senator Ted Cruz looks on during the Republican Presidential debate sponsored by Fox News at the Iowa Events Center in Des Moines, Iowa on January 28, 2016. / AFP / AFP PHOTO / Jim WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
Republican Presidential candidates participate in the Republican Presidential debate sponsored by Fox News at the Iowa Events Center in Des Moines, Iowa on January 28, 2016. / AFP / AFP PHOTO / Jim WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
Jeb Bush argues a point during a Republican presidential primary debate, Thursday, Jan. 28, 2016, in Des Moines, Iowa. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)
Republican Presidential candidate Florida Senator Marco Rubio (L) looks on as former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush gestures during the Republican Presidential debate sponsored by Fox News at the Iowa Events Center in Des Moines, Iowa on January 28, 2016. / AFP / AFP PHOTO / Jim WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
Republican Presidential candidate Florida Senator Marco Rubio (R) looks on Texas Senator Ted Cruz speaks during the Republican Presidential debate sponsored by Fox News at the Iowa Events Center in Des Moines, Iowa on January 28, 2016. / AFP / AFP PHOTO / Jim WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
Republican Presidential Senator Rand Paul speaks during the Republican Presidential debate sponsored by Fox News at the Iowa Events Center in Des Moines, Iowa on January 28, 2016. / AFP / AFP PHOTO / Jim WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
Republican presidential candidates (L-R) Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, and Ohio Gov. John Kasich stand on the stage during a Republican presidential primary debate, Thursday, Jan. 28, 2016, in Des Moines, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
Republican presidential candidate former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush answers a question as Ohio Gov. John Kasich listens during a Republican presidential primary debate, Thursday, Jan. 28, 2016, in Des Moines, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
Republican Presidential candidate Florida Senator Marco Rubio (R) speaks as Texas Senator Ted Cruz looks on during the Republican Presidential debate sponsored by Fox News at the Iowa Events Center in Des Moines, Iowa on January 28, 2016. / AFP / AFP PHOTO / Jim WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
Chris Christie argues a point during a Republican presidential primary debate, Thursday, Jan. 28, 2016, in Des Moines, Iowa. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)
Rand Paul makes a point during a Republican presidential primary debate, Thursday, Jan. 28, 2016, in Des Moines, Iowa. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)
John Kasich argues a point during a Republican presidential primary debate, Thursday, Jan. 28, 2016, in Des Moines, Iowa. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)
Republican Presidential candidate retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson looks on during the Republican Presidential debate sponsored by Fox News at the Iowa Events Center in Des Moines, Iowa on January 28, 2016. / AFP / AFP PHOTO / Jim WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
Ted Cruz, left, Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush listen to a question from moderator Chris Wallace during a Republican presidential primary debate, Thursday, Jan. 28, 2016, in Des Moines, Iowa. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)
Republican Presidential candidate Senator Rand Paul speaks during the Republican Presidential debate sponsored by Fox News at the Iowa Events Center in Des Moines, Iowa on January 28, 2016. / AFP / AFP PHOTO / Jim WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is seen on the television large monitors during a Republican presidential primary debate, Thursday, Jan. 28, 2016, in Des Moines, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
Republican Presidential candidate former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush speaks during the Republican Presidential debate sponsored by Fox News at the Iowa Events Center in Des Moines, Iowa on January 28, 2016. / AFP / AFP PHOTO / Jim WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
Republican Presidential candidate New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie gestures during the Republican Presidential debate sponsored by Fox News at the Iowa Events Center in Des Moines, Iowa on January 28, 2016. / AFP / AFP PHOTO / Jim WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
Marco Rubio speaks during a Republican presidential primary debate, Thursday, Jan. 28, 2016, in Des Moines, Iowa. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)
Ted Cruz speaks as Marco Rubio listen during a Republican presidential primary debate, Thursday, Jan. 28, 2016, in Des Moines, Iowa. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)
Republican Presidential candidate Texas Senator Ted Cruz gestures during the Republican Presidential debate sponsored by Fox News at the Iowa Events Center in Des Moines, Iowa on January 28, 2016. / AFP / AFP PHOTO / Jim WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
Republican Presidential candidate New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie gestures during the Republican Presidential debate sponsored by Fox News at the Iowa Events Center in Des Moines, Iowa on January 28, 2016. / AFP / AFP PHOTO / Jim WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
Republican Presidential candidate former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (L) looks on as Ohio Gov. John Kasich gestures during the Republican Presidential debate sponsored by Fox News at the Iowa Events Center in Des Moines, Iowa on January 28, 2016. / AFP / AFP PHOTO / Jim WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
Moderators Chris Wallace, Megyn Kelly and Bret Baier smile as they wait for a Republican presidential primary debate, Thursday, Jan. 28, 2016, in Des Moines, Iowa. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)
Republican Presidential candidate former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (L) speaks as Ohio Gov. John Kasich looks on during the Republican Presidential debate sponsored by Fox News at the Iowa Events Center in Des Moines, Iowa on January 28, 2016. / AFP / AFP PHOTO / Jim WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
Moderator Megyn Kelly talks during a Republican presidential primary debate, Thursday, Jan. 28, 2016, in Des Moines, Iowa. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)
Republican Presidential candidates (L-R) Senator Rand Paul, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, Texas Senator Ted Cruz, Florida Senator Marco Rubio, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, and Ohio Gov. John Kasich arrive for the Republican Presidential debate sponsored by Fox News at the Iowa Events Center in Des Moines, Iowa on January 28, 2016. / AFP / AFP PHOTO / Jim WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
Carly Fiorina makes appoint as Mike Huckabee listens during a Republican presidential primary debate, Thursday, Jan. 28, 2016, in Des Moines, Iowa. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)
Mike Huckabee makes a point during a Republican presidential primary debate, Thursday, Jan. 28, 2016, in Des Moines, Iowa. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)
Carly Fiorina makes appoint as Mike Huckabee and Jim Gilmore listen during a Republican presidential primary debate, Thursday, Jan. 28, 2016, in Des Moines, Iowa. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)
Jim Gilmore makes a point during a Republican presidential primary debate, Thursday, Jan. 28, 2016, in Des Moines, Iowa. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)
Mike Huckabee argues a point as Carly Fiorina listen during a Republican presidential primary debate, Thursday, Jan. 28, 2016, in Des Moines, Iowa. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)
Republican presidential candidates (L-R) former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum , businesswoman Carly Fiorina , former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and former Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore stand for group photo before a Republican presidential primary debate, Thursday, Jan. 28, 2016, in Des Moines, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
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Rubio took exception to that characterization. He referred to earlier comments from Sen. Rand Paul (R-Kentucky), who questioned Cruz's "authenticity" while lamenting that other candidates were not as conservative as him.

"This is the lie that Ted's campaign is built on, and Rand touched upon it. That he's the most conservative guy and everyone else is a RINO," Rubio said, using an acronym for "Republican in name only."

"The truth is, Ted, throughout this campaign you've been willing to say and do anything to get votes," he continued. That statement drew a smattering of boos in the crowd.

"Ted, you worked for George W. Bush's campaign," Rubio went on. "You helped design George W. Bush's immigration plan. Now you want to trump Trump on immigration."

Cruz shot back by reiterating his attack on Rubio.

"I like Marco Rubio. He's very charming. He's very smooth. But the facts are simple: Whe ran for election in the state of Florida, he said, 'If you elect me, I will lead the fight against amnesty.' When I ran in Texas, I told the people of Texas, 'If you elect me, I will lead the fight against amnesty.'

He added: "We both made the identical promises, but when we came to Washington we made a different choice."



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