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Marco Rubio robocalls slam Ted Cruz's "dishonest" campaign tactics

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio's presidential campaign is denouncing rival Ted Cruz's campaign tactics as "dishonest," using automated calls to spread that message to residents of South Carolina, just days ahead of the Republican primary in the state.

"I want to alert you to the fact that voters are receiving dishonest push-polls smearing my friend Marco Rubio's conservative record," South Carolina Rep. Trey Gowdy says in a recorded, 54-second message blasted out to 500,000 households earlier this week on Rubio's behalf. "Sadly, the Washington Post discovered these calls have been linked to the Cruz campaign. The truth is Marco Rubio is a rock-solid conservative. He's a committed Christian who will protect all life, defend traditional marriage, cut spending and enforce our immigration laws."

The call ends with a message disclosing that the call was paid for by Marco Rubio for President.

Here's the audio:

The Rubio campaign confirmed the call's authenticity to CBS News, saying the notice is meant to ensure voters are aware of a reported Cruz campaign strategy.

It specifically references a Washington Post report about push polls in South Carolina, which attributes some negative phone calls to the Cruz campaign.

GOP front-runner Donald Trump has also lambasted the push polls, saying they made "sleazy and dishonest" claims of the billionaire businessman.

The Cruz campaign has denied all responsibility for the push polls.

Earlier this week, the Texas senator's team also responded to the Gowdy robocall, telling Time, who first reported the story, that the messages were hypocritical of the Florida senator.

"It is the height of hypocrisy for the Rubio campaign to put out a robocall that lies to South Carolina voters and then falsely accuse the Cruz campaign of the same thing," Brian Phillips, a Cruz spokesperson, said. "Obviously Rubio would rather spend time and money running negative robocalls than talking about his record.

But a senior adviser to Rubio, Joe Pounder, said the calls were only a response to the Cruz campaign.

"We are actively setting the record straight with a call from one of South Carolina's leading Republicans that has a disclaimer clearly identifying our campaign," Pounder told CBS News. "The Cruz campaign wants to reach for new lows and not own up to it."

South Carolina's Republican primary is scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 20.

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