NBC Hypes Spat Between McCain and 'One of the Tea Party's Most Provocative Figures'

March 7, 2014 | 9:48 PM EST

The 7 March 2014 edition of NBC Nightly News played up the latest dust-up between Senators John McCain and Ted Cruz over the latter's criticism of three of the Republican Party's presidential candidates, including Bob Dole. Brian Williams underlined the apparent "genuine and palpable tension today in Washington," after Senator Cruz criticized Dole, McCain, and Mitt Romney's campaigns during a speech at CPAC: "When you don't stand for principle, Democrats celebrate."

Kelly O'Donnell zeroed in McCain's shot back at Cruz on Andrea Mitchell's MSNBC program, and hyped how "[Cruz], one of the Tea Party's most provocative figures...triggered a new Republican rift" with his remark. O'Donnell also hyped the Texas senator's Friday statement reacting to his colleague from Arizona:

KELLY O'DONNELL: Senator Cruz did not apologize. Today, his office released a statement – saying Cruz 'greatly respects the heroic military service of Senators Dole and McCain. Suggesting anything otherwise is just an unnecessary distraction.' But added that Cruz will not back down on 'matters of conservative principle – even if others may disagree' – fueling a battle that cuts across generations, in a party struggling to find its future voice.