By Eliott Rodriguez

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WASHINGTON, D.C. (CBSMiami) — Just when you thought the campaign for president had hit rock bottom, a story in the National Enquirer about alleged affairs has now become a key issue between Ted Cruz and Donald Trump, including talk of mental illness.

Ted Cruz was breathing fire Friday over a tabloid report that he had five extramarital affairs.

“Let me be clear, this National Enquirer story is garbage,” Cruz said in front of a room of supporters and blamed the story on his GOP rival, Trump.

It prompted a response on social media.

Cruz shot back through his campaign manager Jeff Roe’s Twitter account.

“Donald is fond of giving people nicknames. With this pattern, he should not be surprised to see people calling him ‘Sleazy Donald’,” Cruz quipped.

Yet Trump denied the tabloid plant.

“I had nothing to do with it, did not know about it, and have not, as yet, read it,” he said. “Unlike Lyin’ Ted Cruz I do not surround myself with political hacks and henchmen and then pretend total innocence.”

Part of Trump’s attacks come after an anti-Trump Super PAC posted a picture of his wife, Melania.

On Tuesday, Trump threatened Cruz online saying, “Lyin’ Ted Cruz just used a picture of Melania from a G.Q. shoot in his ad. Be careful, Lyin’ Ted, or I will spill the beans on your wife!”

He then retweeted a split-screen photo of Cruz’s wife, Heidi (left), and Trump’s wife, Melania (right).

Cruz is now looking to frame this as a sophomoric pattern for the Trump campaign.

“His first and natural resort is to go to sleaze and to go to slime.”

Eliott Rodriguez