It was almost a nice moment during a heated one-hour political debate.
Republican U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz and Democrat U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke, embroiled in a fierce battle for a U.S. Senate seat, were asked to say something they admire about their opponent.
O’Rourke went first and noted that both he and Cruz have small children — and it’s tough to leave them to do their jobs.
“I know how hard he works. I know how much time he spends away from his kids. I know what a sacrifice that is to his family,” O’Rourke said. “I know that he’s doing it for one reason. He wants to serve his country.”
O’Rourke added that, while he and Cruz disagree on the best moves to make, he has no question that Cruz “wants to do the best for America.”
“So, thank you, Sen. Cruz, for your public service.”
Cruz said he agreed that being away from their children is hard on elected officials.
“I know the sacrifice you are putting in every day,” Cruz told O’Rourke.
“I think Congressman O’Rourke is passionate, he is energetic,” Cruz then told the crowd. “He believes in what he is fighting for.”
Cruz then likened O’Rourke to former Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders.
Like Sanders, Cruz said O’Rourke believes in socialism.
“I think what he’s fighting for doesn’t work,” Cruz said. “But you are fighting for the principles you believe in and I commend that.”
When Cruz stopped speaking, O’Rourke wryly deadpanned: “True to form.”
Friday night was the first debate for Cruz and O’Rourke.
There are two other debates — Sept. 30 at the University of Houston and Oct. 16 in San Antonio.