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Ted Cruz scrambles to atone for saying nice things about Joe Biden

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Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz on the floor of the Senate (screengrab).

Senator Ted Cruz, R-Texas, was ranting and raving like a wild man today, which is most certainly not news. But the backstory is hilarious.

Cruz was inconsolable Wednesday about Twitter’s decision to apply its policies against the spread of hacked materials to New York Post reporting that was based on hacked materials. At issue was the Post’s earnest attempt to invent an October surprise with the “bombshell” that Hunter Biden and the Biden family are responsible for all of the world’s corruption and pedophilia for the past 30 years. Or something of the sort.

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While the Post stories might be traceable to reliable sources in the Kremlin, normal people in the media–including some at Fox News–have not been able to confirm the authenticity of whatever might or might not exist on a personal laptop left in a repair shop. As if it all weren’t sleazy enough, the obvious instigator was Rudy Guiliani, who had apparently picked up some information while running a political errand to Ukraine.

Cruz rushed to the defense of the Post with rage–or at least a fine rendition of rage–as he berated Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey at a Senate Commerce Committee meeting.

“Who the hell elected you and put you in charge of what the media are allowed to report and what the American people are allowed to hear?” Cruz railed, adding that Twitter was functioning as “a Democratic super PAC.”

Were there a God, Dorsey would have come back with something like, “Well, OK, then. We’ll just shut down Donald Trump’s Twitter account permanently. It’s a pain in the butt. Oh, and by the way, a better question is ‘Who the hell elected YOU?”

Sadly, Dorsey did nothing of the kind. He just explained the part about the policy on the hacked materials and why Twitter wasn’t going to allow the New York Post to use its platform to promote content expressly sourced to hacked materials.

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But that’s not the hilarious part. That would be the part about Cruz having been fresh off decrying as irrelevant the very accusations about Hunter Biden that the Post has been spewing.

Cruz had watched the presidential debate with Axios’ Jonathan Swan for “Axios on HBO.” Swan somehow managed to elicit uncommon candor from the senator.

“After watching the Trump-Biden debate on Thursday night, Cruz said he thought Trump had done very well,” Swan reported. “But when asked whether he thought voters were moved by the release of the Hunter Biden emails, Cruz replied, “I don’t think it moves a single voter.”

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As if that weren’t enough, Cruz offered this seemingly nonpartisan analysis to Swan:

“One of Biden’s best points was when he said, ‘All of these attacks back and forth about my family and his family, they don’t matter. What matters is your family,” Cruz said.

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The senator did return to partisan form.

“I think we should be unifying; we should be explaining, we should be lifting people up. I think it’s a turnout election,” Cruz told Swan. “But my assessment of turnout is the left is showing up no matter what. That those who hate Trump will crawl over broken glass to vote against him.”

For his part, Swan noted, “Cruz is not alone in this view (of the Hunter Biden story). One of Trump’s top advisers told me he had urged Trump to stop talking about anything to do with Hunter Biden, Hillary Clinton’s emails or “Russiagate” and to instead focus solely on the economy.

The whole topic was mortifying enough to Cruz that he’s already had his press people clarify that he didn’t actually say what he said. Here’s how that came out at The Hill:

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“Lauren Blair Aronson, a spokeswoman for Cruz, later clarified on Twitter that Cruz was speaking specifically about Trump’s exchange with Biden during the debate and that the senator thinks Hunter Biden’s business activity is cause for concern.

“She tweeted that Cruz’s “comments were about the specific exchange on the Biden allegations during the last debate, not the issue broadly, which the senator said on Fox News, hours before, raises serious questions of corruption that the media has outright ignored.”

All of that might have been slightly more believable had the boss not very specifically uttered the words, “I don’t think it moves a single voter.”

In the business of politics, there’s this thing called “walking back” a story. In the case of Hunter Biden, Cruz is running this one back.

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