'I want to get the facts straight': Debate moderator booed after quibbling with Ted Cruz on Supreme Court history

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GOP Debate Audience Boos Fact-Checking

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) engaged in a testy early CBS-debate exchange with moderator John Dickerson over President Barack Obama's plan to nominate a successor to Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, who died suddenly earlier Saturday.

"I just want to get the facts straight for the audience. I apologize," Dickerson said.

SEE ALSO: Ted Cruz speaks Spanish on debate stage as he and Marco Rubio accuse each other of 'lies'

But the audience wasn't content with the apology and loudly booed the moderator.

Dickerson had just quibbled with Cruz's history of Supreme Court nominations. Cruz had stated that the US has "80 years of precedent of not confirming Supreme Court justices in an election year."

"I'm sorry to interrupt," Dickerson began.

See more from the GOP debate in South Carolina:

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'I want to get the facts straight': Debate moderator booed after quibbling with Ted Cruz on Supreme Court history
Republican presidential candidates Ted Cruz (L)and Marco Rubio (R) applaud as fellow candidate Donald Trump (C) is introduced during the CBS News Republican Presidential Debate in Greenville, South Carolina, February 13, 2016. / AFP / JIM WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
GREENVILLE, SC - FEBRUARY 13: Republican presidential candidates (L-R) Donald Trump and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) participate in a CBS News GOP Debate February 13, 2016 at the Peace Center in Greenville, South Carolina. Residents of South Carolina will vote for the Republican candidate at the primary on February 20. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
GREENVILLE, SC - FEBRUARY 13: Republican presidential candidate Ohio Governor John Kasich participates in a CBS News GOP Debate February 13, 2016 at the Peace Center in Greenville, South Carolina. Residents of South Carolina will vote for the Republican candidate at the primary on February 20. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio gives a thumbs up after the CBS News Republican Presidential Debate in Greenville, South Carolina, February 13, 2016. / AFP / JIM WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
Ben Carson, retired neurosurgeon and 2016 Republican presidential candidate, speaks during the Republican presidential candidate debate sponsored by CBS News and the Republican National Committee at the Peace Center in Greenville, South Carolina, U.S., on Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016. Donald Trump tops the GOP field with support from 36.3 percent of likely South Carolina Republican primary voters with Ted Cruz at 19.6 percent, according to a poll conducted for the Augusta Chronicle released on Friday. Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images
GREENVILLE, SC - FEBRUARY 13: Republican presidential candidates Ben Carson (R) listens to a TV crew member as Donald Trump (L) smiles during a break of a CBS News GOP Debate February 13, 2016 at the Peace Center in Greenville, South Carolina. Residents of South Carolina will vote for the Republican candidate at the primary on February 20. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
2016 Republican Presidential candidates Donald Trump, president and chief executive of Trump Organization Inc., from left, Senator Marco Rubio, a Republican from Florida, and Ben Carson, retired neurosurgeon, stand on stage at the start of the Republican presidential candidate debate sponsored by CBS News and the Republican National Committee at the Peace Center in Greenville, South Carolina, U.S., on Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016. Donald Trump tops the GOP field with support from 36.3 percent of likely South Carolina Republican primary voters with Ted Cruz at 19.6 percent, according to a poll conducted for the Augusta Chronicle released on Friday. Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images
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The two then debated the facts and the difference on whether any justices had been nominated, but not confirmed, in an election year. Dickerson noted that Justice Anthony Kennedy was confirmed in 1988, an election year, after the Senate had rejected then-President Ronald Reagan's first nominee, Robert Bork.

"But Kennedy was confirmed in '88," Dickerson said.

"No, Kennedy was confirmed in '87," Cruz replied.

"He was appointed in '87, confirmed in '88. That's the question: Is it appointing or confirming. What's the difference?" Dickerson asked.

"In this case, it's both. But if I could answer the question?" Cruz asked.

Other Republican presidential candidates also weighed in on Scalia's death and the path to replace him on the high court.

Dickerson had turned first to Republican front-runner Donald Trump, who urged the GOP-controlled Senate to "delay, delay, delay" confirmation of any justice that Obama nominates.

RELATED: 9 facts you should know about Ted Cruz:

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9 Facts you should know about Ted Cruz
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'I want to get the facts straight': Debate moderator booed after quibbling with Ted Cruz on Supreme Court history

1) His legal name is Rafael Edward Cruz.

(Photo: PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images)

3) He won his Senate seat in 2010 without ever having been elected to public office before. Prior to that he had been appointed to the office of the Solicitor General in Texas.  ​

(Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

4) He had a minor brush with the law in 1987 when he received a ticket for underage possession of alcohol as a senior in high school. ​

(Photo by: Lloyd Bishop/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)

5) He has two Ivy League degrees: an undergraduate degree from Princeton, and a law degree from Harvard.

(Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

8) His father (left) fled Cuba for the United States, worked in the oil industry and eventually became a pastor. He has made headlines for somewhat inflammatory statements, including telling an audience that President Obama should be sent "back to Kenya."

(Ron T. Ennis/Fort Worth Star-Telegram/MCT via Getty Images)

9) He doesn't believe in climate change, an issue many Democrats have lampooned him for, in part because he leads the Senate's Space, Science, and Competitiveness Committee which oversees NASA.​ During a recent appearance on "Late Night with Seth Meyers" Cruz said "Debates on this should follow science and should follow data. Many of the alarmists on global warming, they’ve got a problem because the science doesn’t back them up."

(Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

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