Texan kicks off campaign with a pitch aimed at Christian conservatives
♦By Rich Shumate, Chickenfriedpolitics.com editor
LYNCHBURG, Virginia (CFP) — U.S. Senator Ted Cruz of Texas has become the first candidate in either party to announce a run for the White House in 2016, with an exhortation to Christian conservatives to get involved in the political process and vote their “values.”
“What is the promise of America?” Cruz asked students at Liberty University, where he announced his campaign March 23. “The revolutionary idea that this country was founded upon, which is that our rights don’t come from man. They come from Almighty God. And that the purpose of the Constitution, as Thomas Jefferson put it, is to serve as chains to bind the mischief of government.”
Rather than announce his campaign in his home state of Texas, Cruz chose Liberty University, a 13,000-student school in Lynchburg, Virginia, founded by the late Rev. Jerry Falwell, a leader in the Christian conservative political movement who also founded the Moral Majority in 1979.
In his opening campaign salvo, Cruz, who wore a headset microphone and paced across the stage as he spoke, asked the crowd to “imagine millions of courageous conservatives, all across America, rising up together to say in unison, ‘We demand our liberty.'”
“Instead of a federal government that works to undermine our values, imagine a federal government that works to defend the sanctity of human life and to uphold the sacrament of marriage.”
And on the fifth anniversary of the signing of Obamacare into law, Cruz vowed as president to sign legislation “repealing every word” of the health care law.
Cruz, 44, a Harvard Law School graduate and one-time national debating champion, won his Senate seat in 2012 in an upset made possible by Tea Party support. In the Senate, he has been an occasional thorn in the side of GOP leaders and was among the Republicans who helped trigger a government shutdown in 2013 in a dispute with Democrats over repealing Obamacare.
Cruz is one of nine Southerners — eight Republicans and one Democrat — considering a White House bid in 2016.
Among the other potential Southern GOP candidates are former governors Jeb Bush of Florida, Mike Huckabee of Arkansas and Rick Perry of Texas; U.S. Senators Rand Paul of Kentucky, Marco Rubio of Florida, and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina; and Governor Bobby Jindal of Louisiana.
On the Democratic side, former U.S. Senator Jim Webb of Virginia has already launched an exploratory committee for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination — a race that’s expected to be dominated by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, a former first lady of Arkansas.
View Cruz’s announcement speech: