When Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz sneered at what he called Donald Trump's "New York values" in their party's latest debate, some New Yorkers took it personally.
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The ever-combative Daily News tabloid published a big front-page illustration of the Statue of Liberty giving Cruz the finger, with the headline: "DROP DEAD, TED." And in a reference to the Texas senator's birthplace, the tabloid added: "You don't like N.Y. values? Go back to Canada!"
On the morning after Thursday night's debate, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, denounced the candidate and demanded an apology for comments he called "obnoxious on every level."
New York state's record of going for the Democrat in the presidential election means that Republicans rarely have to worry about insulting its biggest city. It has long been a winning strategy in more conservative parts of the country, namely the Midwest and the South.
During the debate, moderator Maria Bartiromo asked Cruz to explain past comments he had made about Trump embodying "New York values."
"You know, I think most people know exactly what New York values are," Cruz said.
"I am from New York. I don't," Bartiromo said.
So the conservative explained: "Listen, there are many, many wonderful, wonderful working men and women in the state of New York. But everyone understands that the values in New York City are socially liberal or pro-abortion or pro-gay-marriage, focus around money and the media."
Trump responded by defending his home city as being filled with "loving people, wonderful people." And he cited the city's response to the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
"When the World Trade Center came down, I saw something that no place on Earth could have handled more beautifully, more humanely than New York," he said. "We rebuilt downtown Manhattan, and everybody in the world watched and everybody in the world loved New York and loved New Yorkers. And I have to tell you, that was a very insulting statement that Ted made."
The use of "New York values" as a term of abuse rankled some city residents.
"Like that's a bad thing?" said Willie Perry, a real estate salesman and registered Republican, as he headed to work. "Actually it's a good thing. I think that's ludicrous."
Not a lot of New Yorkers have given money to Cruz's bid for the White House. His campaign took in only about $487,000 from New York contributors through Sept. 30, according to the most recent filings. But one New Yorker, Wall Street hedge fund mogul Robert Mercer, contributed $11 million last April to a super politival action committee that supports Cruz.
Cruz "has no trouble taking money from New York City, but he's quick to insult our people and our values," said Mayor Bill de Blasio, a liberal Democrat.