Some things should be off-limits for political campaigns. For instance, family should be left “the hell alone,” as Cruz said. The Cruz Super PAC attack ad against Trump’s wife was wrong. Trump’s re-tweet of a rude photo of Cruz’ wife was wrong. (Note that both candidates can say they did not “originate” the ad or tweet.) But the latest scene in the nasty soap opera is not just rude, it’s apparently a total fabrication.

It’s the National Enquirer story saying that an unnamed “Washington insider” claims Ted Cruz has five mistresses. The article did, however, name the alleged mistresses. The Enquirer wants you to buy the paper, so it just posted this teaser online, with a headline calling Cruz “pervy.”

However, the GatewayPundit took a photo of the article in a shopping cart. The article shows blacked-out photos of the “hooker, teacher, and coworkers” allegedly sexually involved with Cruz.

Because of the Trump-Cruz rivalry, Cruz immediately jumped to the conclusion that Trump was behind the story. That’s not completely questionable, since Trump has been friends with Enquirer publisher David Pecker. Although there is no evidence to support the claim.

The issue was “under the radar,” traveling in the tabloids and Internet for months until CNN’s Kate Boldman hosted a program on CNN regarding the feud between Trump and Cruz.

When she asked the two guests if the candidates were ready to move on from the hostilities, Trump supporter and Boston Herald columnist Adriana Cohen blew the interview wide open by saying—

“Oh, absolutely I think we should move on,” she responded. “Where we should move to is The National Enquirer story that has reported that Ted Cruz has had affairs with five mistresses, including–you’ve been named as well, Amanda [former Cruz staffer, Amanda Carpenter].”. . .

“If we’re going call Donald Trump’s character into question, I would like Ted Cruz to issue a statement whether or not the National Enquirer story is true, that he has had affairs with many women, including you were named, Amanda,” Cohen repeated. “Will you denounce this story or will you confirm it?”

Carpenter refused to comment, saying questions should be referred to her lawyer. Here is video of the segment:

Despite the Trump-Cruz hostility, and the above CNN confrontation, Trump is not behind the Cruz-affair story, according to many sources, including the Daily Beast:

The truth behind the rumor-mongering, however, is a little more complex. A half-dozen GOP operatives and media figures tell The Daily Beast that Cruz’s opponents have been pushing charges of adultery for at least six months now—and that allies of former GOP presidential hopeful Marco Rubio were involved in spreading the smears.

For months and months, anti-Cruz operatives have pitched a variety of #CruzSexScandal stories to a host of prominent national publications, according to Republican operatives and media figures. The New York Times, The Washington Post, Bloomberg News, Politico, and ABC News—reporters at all those outlets heard some version of the Cruz-is-cheating story. None of them decided to run with rumors. Those publications’ representatives all declined to provide on-the-record comments when The Daily Beast reached out for this article.

The legitimate media left the story alone until CNN inadvertently brought it to the mainstream. It is interesting that Cruz knew about the rumors for months, and is now acting surprised and outraged by the Enquirer story. Perhaps he should have “gotten ahead” of the story, before a publication was finally found to publish it.

Even though Trump was apparently not responsible for the Enquirer story, he is obviously relishing it, complete with a characteristic non-condemnation denial:

“I have no idea whether or not the cover story about Ted Cruz in this week’s issue of the National Enquirer is true or not, but I had absolutely nothing to do with it, did not know about it, and have not, as yet, read it,” he said in a statement.

He then proceeded to praise the publication.

“Ted Cruz’s problem with the National Enquirer is his and his alone, and while they were right about O.J. Simpson, John Edwards, and many others, I certainly hope they are not right about Lyin’ Ted Cruz,” he said.

My own view is that Cruz is too focused on and driven by the advancement of himself and his career to dally, knowing that it didn’t take many irrelevant personal matters to destroy careers of politicians such as Gary Hart, Anthony Weiner, Mark Foley, and Larry Craig. Also, he’s just not a sex symbol. He relishes in being seen as a policy expert and devoutly focused to his campaign message. It’s clear that what Cruz wants above anything is political advancement. He would not make this mistake.

As for the “mainstream media” in this particular episode, they have, so far, disproven the claims that they are “out to get” Republicans. Even though Rubio’s people apparently dropped this tangy story right in their laps, the media left it alone.

Unless there’s any real evidence, reasonable people should see the Cruz-affairs issue as a long-simmering hoax. Somebody owes Cruz an apology. And Cruz apparently owes Trump one, too. And both apologies should come before the Wisconsin primary on April 5.