The 80s synthpop classic “Maniac” tells the story of a “steel-town girl” trying to make it as a dancer in a world where “no one sees her at all.” It’s an unconventional analogy for a presidential election, but at one least Republican candidate appears to identify with Alex Owens, the aspiring performer and protagonist of the 1983 hit movie “Flashdance.”
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) conjured his inner “cold kinetic heat” after fellow Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump referred to him as a “maniac” on Fox News Sunday.
The latest Des Moines Register/Bloomberg Politics Iowa poll shows Cruz leading the GOP field less than two months before the caucuses — with Cruz at 31 percent and Trump in second place with 21 percent among likely Republican caucus goers. Referencing this poll, Fox News’s Chris Wallace asked Trump for his opinion of his fellow candidate.
“I don’t think he’s qualified to be president because I don’t think he has the right temperament,” Trump responded. “I don’t think he has the right judgment. You look at the way he’s dealt with the Senate, where he goes in there like a — well, frankly like a little bit of a maniac.”
After pointing to his own business acumen, Trump went on to say: “You can’t walk into the Senate and scream and call people liars, and not be able to cajole and get along with people. He’ll never get anything done, and that’s the problem with Ted.”
Cruz responded to this jab within hours. “In honor of my friend @realDonaldTrump and good-hearted #Maniacs everywhere,” he tweeted, linking to a YouTube video of the “Maniac” sequence from “Flashdance.”
Minutes before Cruz’s rejoinder, Trump also tweeted an addendum to his remarks during the interview.
The exchange caps a tense weekend between the two Republican Oval Office hopefuls. While Cruz has previously been the Republican presidential candidate most reluctant to criticize — and most ready to praise — Trump, the two have been on the outs since audio surfaced Friday from a Cruz fundraiser where he raised doubts about Trump’s “judgment.”
The Twitter sparring began shortly afterwards, with Trump writing, “Looks like @tedcruz is getting ready to attack. I am leading by so much he must. I hope so, he will fall like all others. Will be easy!” An attempt by Cruz to salvage the relationship by calling Trump “terrific” appears to have fallen on death ears.
Trump commented on Cruz’s Cuban heritage at a rally in Iowa last Friday night.
“I do like Ted Cruz,” Trump told the crowd, “but not a lot of evangelicals come out of Cuba, in all fairness. It’s true. Not a lot come out. But I like him nevertheless.”