The exchange between Ted Cruz and Donald Trump on “NY values” was one of the highlights of last night’s debate.

While Cruz clearly was referring to liberalism, he used a phrase that left him open to Trump’s counterattack invoking 9/11:

The media is thrilled with Trump’s response. Of course, much of that media is in or from NY City. I expressed last night that I wasn’t sure that the issue would play in Trump’s favor outside NY.

I was born in NYC, spent my early childhood there, grew up in and returned to the NYC suburbs after law school until moving to Rhode Island in 1993. And since 2008 have lived (originally part time now full time) in Ithaca.

I understand what Cruz was referring to. And it has nothing to do with knocking the heroism of NY police and firemen, or how New Yorkers reacted under attack. It has everything to do with political, economic and social outlooks which are not accepted in the Republican Party in general much less among conservatives.

The Cruz campaign apparently thinks this is a fight it needs to have, via Washington Examiner:

Ted Cruz attacking Donald Trump for his “New York values” isn’t all that surprising, nor was it a spur of the moment retort.

The top two contenders for the Republican presidential nomination are competing aggressively for evangelicals and other socially conservative voters who are influential in the crucial Iowa caucuses. Cruz’s implicit charge is that the thrice-married, four-times bankrupted Trump lives his life just like all the other Manhattan liberals, and an obvious play to depress the reality television star’s support among heartland conservatives.

The swipe was straight out of the playbook of the Texas senator’s bulldog campaign manager, Missourian Jeff Roe. That means — along with most moves Cruz makes — that it was probably deliberately calibrated and carefully planned. In 2008, Roe produced a television spot for a client, Rep. Sam Graves, R-Mo., that painted Democratic challenger Kay Barnes as a social and fiscal liberal who was “pushing their San Francisco values.”

(added) Here is the Tim Russert interview to which Cruz was referring during the debate (via Patterico):

The Cruz campaign is doubling down, via Politico, Cruz plotting new attacks on Trump:

The Ted Cruz who came out swinging at Donald Trump on Thursday night is here to stay, now willing to not only answer Trump’s criticisms but to eagerly define his rival’s weaknesses as the 2016 race in Iowa becomes a two-man contest.

“Iowa is three weeks away,” Cruz spokesman Rick Tyler said. “People want to know how you’re different. It’s time to tell how we’re different.”

Does it really hurt Cruz to have the NY Daily News run a cover with the Statue of Liberty giving him the finger? It’s reminiscent of the famous New Yorker cover of how New Yorkers* view the world. (See Featured Image) (*NY City-ers, to be more precise).

Being a “natural born New Yorker,” I can assure you that the New Yorker cover is absolutely accurate as to how New York City-ers view the rest of the country. And the rest of the country knows it. That’s why I doubt the issue will hurt Cruz, and may actually help him.

UPDATE: Cruz “apologizes”:

Dave Weigel at WaPo recounts Cruz’s “apology”:

I apologize to the millions of New Yorkers that have been held down by liberal policies in New York City.

I apologize to the hard-working men and women in the state of New York who have been denied jobs because Gov. Cuomo won’t allow fracking. Even though there have been many high-paying jobs just south in Pennsylvania, New Yorkers have been denied the chance to provide for their families.

I apologize to all the pro-life, pro-marriage, pro-Second Amendment New Yorkers told by Gov. Cuomo that they have no place in New York, because that’s not who New Yorkers are.

I apologize to all the small businesses that have been driven out of New York City by crushing taxes and regulations.

I apologize to all of the African American children who Mayor De Blasio tried to throw out of their schools that were providing a lifeline to the American dream.

And I apologize to all of the cops, firefighters, and 9/11 heroes who had no choice but to stand and turn their backs on Mayor De Blasio, because Mayor De Blasio, over and over again, stands with the looters and criminals rather than the brave men and women of law enforcement.