Ted Cruz Lifts Quote From Michael Douglas in 'American President' for Trump Comeback Line

Ted Cruz and American President Still Split - H 2016
Win McNamee/Getty Images; Photofest

In the 1995 Rob Reiner film a Republican candidate attacks the president's love interest.

If a pithy line Ted Cruz used during a Wednesday morning CNN interview to defend his wife from a Donald Trump threat sounded familiar, it's because it was used by a different president, albeit a fictitious one. 

In response to a new feud that began Tuesday night, hours before results started flooding in from Western Tuesday primary states, the GOP front-runner sent an ominous tweet, aimed at the Texas Senator, who he accused of using a semi-nude photo of his wife, Melania, from a previous GQ photo shoot, in an attack ad. Trump said in the cryptic message he would "spill the beans" about Cruz's wife.

Cruz responded to the message a short time later over Twitter, calling Trump a "coward" if he attacked his wife. He then appeared on CNN where he used a line from 1995 Michael Douglas movie The American President. The script was written by Aaron Sorkin.

The use of the line, for which Cruz did not give credit to the film, was pointed out by Free Beacon's Lachlan Markay, who spliced footage of Cruz and the film together to show it was indeed the same line: "You want a character debate, Bob? You better stick with me, 'cause Sydney Ellen Wade is way out of your league."

In the Rob Reiner directed film, Republican presidential candidate Sen. Bob Rumson, played by Richard Dreyfuss, attacks the president's love interest, played by Annette Bening, which prompts Douglas' character to say the line in a speech. 

As for the attack ad featuring Melania Trump, that was done by anti-Trump super PAC Make America Awesome, founded by Liz Mair, in an effort to dissuade Mormon voters from picking the billionaire businessman during the Utah primary.

Cruz said he had nothing to do with the ad, but Trump still does not believe it, as evident by his Wednesday morning tweet.