Republican Ted Cruz has rubbished an article in the National Enquirer tabloid newspaper accusing him of extramarital affairs as "garbage, complete and utter lies". He has accused his rival for the republican nomination, Donald Trump, of being the source of the story.
"It's tabloid smear, and it is a smear that has come from Donald Trump and his henchmen," Mr Cruz told reporters at a press conference in Wisconsin on Friday, as the battle for the Republican presidential nomination reached new levels of personal rancour.
A spokesperson for Mr Trump, the front-runner in the race for the nomination, rejected Senator Cruz's accusation his campaign was behind the article.
"There is zero truth to that," said Trump spokesperson Hope Hicks, in response to Mr Cruz's charge. The National Enquirer could not immediately be reached for comment.
Senator Cruz said the story was evidence Mr Trump is unfit to be president.
"This man would be an embarrassment," Mr Cruz said.
The National Enquirer, a tabloid known for its gossip and unflattering celebrity photos, published blurred images of five women with whom it said Mr Cruz has had affairs. The newspaper did not name the women. Mr Cruz is married to Heidi Cruz, who was campaigning with him on Friday.
The article exploded on the social media site Twitter overnight on Thursday.
Mr Trump and Senator Cruz have sparred in recent days about their respective wives. Earlier this week Mr Trump accused Mr Cruz of posting a nude photo of Trump's wife, Melania, on Twitter. Mr Trump responded by threatening to "spill the beans" on Mr Cruz's wife.