Ted Cruz makes Donald Trump his Mitch

Ted Cruz showed remarkable fighting spirit in the Republican presidential debate last night, lacing Donald Trump with the same kind of brilliant and witty lines that he's used in his fights against Mitch McConnell.

When Trump's bogus charges against Cruz's eligibility to be president were raised, Cruz turned the tables on him, remarking that Trump had no problems with his eligibility several months earlier, giving this incredible one liner:

Since September, the Constitution hasn't changed, but the poll numbers have.

Trump looked very uncomfortable at that.  But Cruz was just beginning.  He even pointed out that Trump's own mother was not a "natural born" citizen, and that the same tinfoil hat crowd challenging his own eligibility could challenge Trump's.  The crowd roared with laughter.

When Cruz pressed Trump on why he was pushing this issue now, Trump admitted it was because Cruz was doing better in the polls, and the crowd roared.

The audience was clearly on Cruz's side, booing Trump not once, but several times when Trump pushed his birther argument.

Cruz also made the point that Trump was relying on Harvard Law professor Larry Tribe, a far leftist who supports Hillary Clinton for president.

Trump was made to look small and petty as Cruz came out as the first candidate to challenge Trump in a debate and beat him.

When Cruz was hit by questions about reporting a loan to his campaign, instead of panicking or talking quickly like Marco Rubio, he ridiculed the New York Times, saying one of its writers had compared him to an evil spirit from a horror film, and the audience laughed.

Then Cruz was back on the offensive.  Trump had attacked Cruz obliquely, saying, "Not a lot of evangelicals come from Cuba," and Cruz turned it around on him, saying, "Not a lot of conservatives come out of Manhattan."

The crowd laughed.  Trump responded by talking about New York's response to 9/11...which was quite unrelated.

In general, Trump looked unnerved, as if he had been overmatched.

Cruz was also excellent at turning questions to more interesting topics, like when he was handed a jobs question and instead answered about the humiliation of our military:

I give you my word: if I am elected president, no serviceman or servicewoman will be forced to be on their knees in any nation that captures our fighting men and women. We'll field the full force and fury of the United States of America.

He was given a big round of applause for that.

As for the other candidates, John Kasich was as boring and predictable as ever, talking about his mailman dad, all the committees he served on, and how he came together with a liberal Democrat to form a committee on something or other.  His sleepiest sentence: "At the end of the day, the country needs healed."

Ben Carson was also as sleepy as ever.  Given an easy question about Clinton sex scandals, he went off on an abstract tangent.  And what would he do about ISIS?  "Ask the military leaders what they need and give it to them."

Marco Rubio talked through chunks of his prepared speech at about a mile a minute.  He got in a good attack on Ted Cruz with a laundry list of inconsistencies on immigration, some legitimate, some not (but which all pale in comparison to Trump – unlike Trump, Cruz never supported amnesty for illegal aliens), but Rubio got the worst of it when it was pointed that Rubio did, and continues to, support amnesty for illegal aliens.

The funniest moment in the debate was when we saw Lindsey Graham in the audience...finally, after all these months, he made it to the main debate, and all he had to do to get there was quit!

This article was written by Ed Straker, senior writer of NewsMachete.com, the conservative news site.