In case you thought Ted Cruz's "New York values" line on Donald Trump was just a one-off attack, witness this new video from the Cruz campaign.
The video from a 1999 Donald Trump appearance on "Meet the Press" is not a TV ad, but it has all the makings of one. And it erases any doubt about whether "New York values" was intended to be something Cruz would continue to hammer home as voters prepare to cast ballots.
In the video, Trump very much cops to his New York values, citing where he comes from for his positions on no fewer than three issues: gay marriage, support for gays in the military, and so-called "partial-birth" abortion. (He supported the latter two and was undecided on the first.) Each time one of the issues is brought up, Trump volunteers his home town as part of his political identity.
And indeed, there's one money quote from Trump that seems tailor-made for an attack ad in the state that just happens to vote first.
"I've lived in New York City and Manhattan all my life," Trump said. "So, you know, my views are a little different than if I lived in Iowa -- perhaps."
That pretty much says it all when it comes to the Cruz team's attack. And you can bet it had this video in hand long before Cruz first uttered the phrase "New York values."
The above video, of course, comes from a time when Trump didn't consider himself so conservative. And the fact that Trump's political stances have changed is not really news.
But that doesn't seem to have cost him. Why? Perhaps it's because Trump has been so full-throated in all of his policy proposals as a candidate. Perhaps it's because people just like his style. Or perhaps it's because they simply don't know that he used to be pretty liberal. (The vast majority of voters, after all, haven't been paying close attention.)
The Cruz campaign's wager seems to be that it's the last one -- at least for enough voters to make a difference in Iowa. But rather than try to attach the old "flip-flopper" label that has plagued politicians from John Kerry to Mitt Romney, they've come up with a new catch phrase: "New York values."
It was a smart move. It has allowed the Cruz campaign to resurface Trump's old liberal positions in a way that doesn't seem stale and like something the media has covered before. The phrase "New York values" has gotten buzz over the last week in a way "flip-flopper" never would have.
Say what you want about the construct -- and two Fix writers who have lived in New York City have weighed in in its defense -- this appears to be something the Cruz campaign thinks matters to Iowa Republicans. And having come from the Midwest myself, I can vouch for the idea that conservative Midwesterners probably think "New York values" are indeed quite different from their own.
The question there is whether the term plagues Trump. Or, more specifically, whether people think he is irredeemably a New Yorker.
Given quotes like the above one from Trump -- and the Cruz campaign's intense focus on this construct -- it seems we'll find out Feb. 1.