Senator John McCain (shown) yesterday accused Senator Ted Cruz of having “crossed a line” when the Texas Republican claimed that the GOP’s most recent losing presidential candidates — Bob Dole, McCain, and Mitt Romney — “don’t stand for principle.” McCain, the five-term Republican senator from Arizona and the party’s 2008 nominee, said Cruz owed Dole an apology.

Cruz, in a speech Thursday at the Conservative Political Action Conference, told the crowd the three losing presidential candidates should have stood up for their views. “All of us remember President Dole, President McCain, and President Romney,” Cruz said facetiously. “All of those are good men, those are decent men — but when you don’t stand and draw a clear distinction, when you don’t stand for principle, Democrats celebrate,” he said.

“He can say what he wants to about me and he can say anything he wants to about Mitt,” the senator from Arizona said on MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell Reports. “But when he throws Bob Dole in there, I wonder if he thinks that Bob Dole stood for principle on that hilltop in Italy, when he was so gravely wounded and left part of his body there fighting for our country?”

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