Things are getting ugly in South Carolina in a humongous hurry. Wait, maybe I should say uglIER. The latest flap concerns an item the Ted Cruz campaign had on their webpage that basically accused Marco Rubio of working with Barack Obama on cap and trade. The item had a clearly (and badly) photoshopped picture of Rubio shaking hands with Obama with a huge, goofy grin on his face. Basically, Team Cruz was trying to put the Charlie Crist hug on Rubio himself.

Here’s the image in question:


Now look, this is really obviously a photoshop, and a not very good one at that. Jimmy’s timeline has a pretty good set of images even showing how the photoshop was done, but I don’t really know how many people actually looked at this and thought that such a picture of Rubio and Obama shaking hands actually existed. Someone got around to asking Cruz spox Rick Tyler about it, and he basically denied that the Cruz campaign would do anything like that:  

However, he immediately noted that he had not seen the photo in question, which explains how he could have been so very obviously mistaken:


This prompted Trey Gowdy to release a video calling Cruz a liar, come sweet Meteor of Death, chaos without end:  

It seems fitting that South Carolina would be the place where the two greatest hopes for a conservative Republican nominee since Reagan would engage in nuclear war with each other.

Lost in all the silly furor over the obvious photoshop is the fact that, in this case, the Cruz campaign’s attack on Rubio is absolute and utter crap. As our own Dan McLaughlin noted about this story several months ago, here is what happened:

In 2007, Florida’s newly-elected “Republican” Governor Charlie Crist announced, with much fanfare, a costly “cap and trade” plan to regulate carbon emissions by Florida electric power plants. In the Spring 2008 legislative session, Crist pushed the Florida legislature to adopt his mandates into law. During the months-long public debate on the plan, Florida House Speaker Marco Rubio called for free-market approaches to “clean energy” and decried European-style mandates. Instead of Crist’s plan, the legislature at Rubio’s insistence passed a bill (which Crist reluctantly signed) that instructed the state Department of Environmental Protection to develop a potential plan, which would then go back to the Legislature no sooner than 2010 to put it up for a vote before Crist (who was then projected to be up for re-election in 2010) could actually do anything. The delaying tactic worked: the mandates were never passed into law, Crist ultimately ran away from them while running for Senate in 2009, in large part due to Rubio’s (successful) primary campaign, and by 2013 the whole scheme had been repealed. None of these facts are reasonably in dispute – yet Crist in 2009 ran with a wholly disingenuous attack claiming that Rubio had supported cap-and-trade, and some of Rubio’s critics in this race are recycling that attack. Charlie Crist’s sloppy seconds should be no less nasty this time.

The whole post is worth your time and pretty conclusively demolishes the idea that Rubio is in any way in favor of cap and trade.

In the meantime, back to your regularly scheduled yelling over a bad photoshop job.