WEST DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is out with his first political attack ad aimed squarely at rival Ted Cruz.
The ad, entitled "Clear Difference," paints the Texas senator as a "flip-flopping" politician who once supported allowing the millions of people living in the country illegally to remain. It features footage of Cruz stumbling on his words when asked about the issue in December on Fox News while the phrases "Pro immigration" and "Pro Amnesty" flashed across the screen.
As part of the immigration reform debate in 2013, Cruz introduced an amendment that proposed stripping the option of citizenship but granting eventual legal status for millions. He has since changed his tune.
Trump and Cruz have been engaged in an increasingly hostile war of words as they battle for a win in first-to-vote Iowa, where polls show an increasingly narrow race. The kick-off caucuses will be held on Feb. 1.
The ad includes Trump discussing his own plan for mass deportations, which he described as being the more humane approach.
"Donald trump is simply trying to distract voters from his own support of amnesty," Cruz spokeswoman Catherine Frazier said in a statement.
Cruz's team also released its own attack ad Friday targeting Trump's support for eminent domain laws, which allow the government to seize private property. Trump has voiced support for using the law to build infrastructure like roads and pipelines, as well as expand companies.
The ad describes the process as "a fancy term for politicians seizing private property to enrich the fat cats who bankroll them."
It concludes declaring, "Trump won't change the system. He's what's wrong with it."
Trump has also come under attack by The National Review. The conservative magazine's latest issue features a compilation of essays from prominent conservative thinkers denouncing the billionaire businessman. Trump responded Thursday night by calling the magazine a dying publication in search of publicity.
The magazine also announced in a blog post that the Republican National Committee had disinvited it from participating in an upcoming Republican presidential primary debate next month. It's the latest instance of a media partner being dismissed from a Republican debate because of its editorial content.
New Hampshire's largest newspaper, the Union Leader, was dropped as a co-sponsor of another debate after it published a series of front-page editorials criticizing Trump and endorsed New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.
"We expected this was coming. Small price to pay for speaking the truth about The Donald," the magazine's publisher, Jack Fowler, wrote in the post.