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Cruz campaign clarifies 'BBQ ban' joke about O'Rourke

First it was talk of tofu and hair dye. Now, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz is joking that if Congressmen Beto O'Rourke wins, it'll be 'bye bye barbecue.'

HOUSTON – U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz is doubling down on his argument that his challenger, Congressmen Beto O'Rourke wants to turn Texas into California.

First it was talk of tofu and hair dye. Now, he's joking that if O'Rourke wins, it'll be 'bye bye barbecue.'

These latest comments came out on Saturday in Columbus, but you know sometimes it takes a while to make it from a small town political rally to the national media – in this case, the Washington Post, CNN and even some overseas newspapers and websites.

First of all, as a campaign spokeswoman tweeted, yes, the senator is joking. O'Rourke does not actually want to outlaw Texas barbecue.

In fact, he's held campaign events at barbecue joints across Texas. But in all seriousness, with election day just over a month and a half out, we want to know what issue is most important for you -- guns, immigration or the economy.

If it's something else, tweet us with the #HTownRush.

Now, the barbecue comments highlight what Cruz has been doing lately trying to influence voters by arguing O’Rourke doesn't represent Texas values.

It's been a theme he's hit on repeatedly, and he may be getting some mileage out of it.

On Tuesday, new poll numbers showed Cruz leads O’Rourke by 9 points when it comes to likely voters.

So back to the barbecue. Cruz fired off a tweet Tuesday: When @peta protested my town hall — and gave away barbecued tofu — I joked that was because if Beto won, he'd ban BBQ. Lefty commentators and reporters have been melting down, screaming "not true." Uh, guys, put your trigger warnings down; it's just a joke!

Of course, a lot of critics say it's just Cruz avoiding talking about actual issues.

What do you think?