Update: Tuesday, March 17:
(See our earlier story below.)
Texas Sen. Ted Cruz has added a major Seacoast GOP event to his schedule when he returns to New Hampshire at the end of next week.
The Rockingham County Republican Committee and the Seacoast Republican Women will host a brunch at the Portsmouth Country Club in Greenland, on Saturday, March 28, at 10:30 a.m., with Cruz as the featured speaker.
Cruz on Friday, March 27, will appear at a Young America’s Foundation “New England Freedom Conference” at the Radisson Hotel in Nashua.
Cruz was in the state on Sunday and Monday for several stops, including in Barrington, Lincoln and at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics in Manchester.
Jo Horvath, president of the Seacoast Republican Woman, said in a statement, “Ted Cruz is a man of integrity and honor. He is someone whom the young people can admire.”
(Our earlier story on Cruz’s Sunday stop in Barrington follows.)
One of the more than 250 fired-up conservatives who turned out on a cold, wet Sunday afternoon in Barrington wanted “no dodging” from Texas Sen. Ted Cruz. Is he going to run for President or not?
Cruz first noted that “a week ago, I was in Iowa. Yesterday I was in South Carolina and today I’m in New Hampshire. The encouragement we are seeing, particularly in the grassroots, on the ground, has been breathtaking.”
“Everyone here feels the urgency,” he said. “We have got to win in 2016.”
Strafford County, the hotbed of conservative activism first-in-the-nation primary state, did not disappoint the Lone Star state senator at Turbocam, a turbine development firm, which, according to its web site “exists as a business for the purpose of honoring God, creating wealth for its employees, and supporting Christian service to God and people.” The firm is owned by Marian Noronha, who was born and educated in India.
A great room in the facility was filled with Granite Staters who brought food for a potluck lunch and many of whom wore stickers declaring themselves among the “Constitutional Conservatives of New Hampshire.” There were also Republicans from Maine and Massachusetts in the audience.
Cruz, answering a question from former NHGOP chairman and Tea Party leader Jack Kimball, called President Obama “the most lawless President this country has ever seen.” He joked about Hillary Clinton’s foundation taking contributions from foreign nations.
Ted Cruz at Turbocam in Barrington March 15
“I understand the first invitation to come to this event was to Hillary Clinton,” he said, “but they couldn’t get a foreign nation to foot the bill,” he said.
He joked, “Ready for Hillary has announced their director of email security, and it’s good to see Lois Lerner has a new job.”
Cruz, while viewed by the moderate Republicans as too out of touch, too conservative, too much of a “bomb thrower” to be a serious contender, told the New Hampshire Journal in an interview that the “small cluster” of Washington consultants who come up with such a narrative are out of touch with reality.
Washington GOP consultants, he said, view a path to victory as “being infinitesimally to the right of your Democratic opponent so that you capture every marginal voter. You run to the middle and that’s how you win. The problem is we’ve tried that theory and it keeps losing over and over and over again.”
He said New Hampshire “is a state where grassroots matter and it is a wonderful thing for our national democratic process.” New Hampshire, Iowa and South Carolina provide “a good blend of working people having a chance to take a measure of each of the candidates.”
Cruz said he ran in that manner in Texas and won with “an amazing coalition that brought together lots of different elements.
Cruz told the Journal he was “grateful” to have Paul Clement, a solicitor general in the George W. Bush administration and Neal Katyal, former acting solicitor general in the Obama administration, write in the Harvard Law Review that Cruz meets the constitutional standard to run. He was born in Canada, but his mother was U.S. citizen, making Cruz a “natural born citizen” and eligible to serve as President.
“It was clearly was the correct legal answer,” he said. “Will there be some on the political level who still try to use it for mischief? Sure, but that’s part of the process.”
At Turbocam, Cruz said, “If you compare 2004, the last race we won, to 2008 and 2012, by far the biggest difference are the millions of conservatives who showed up in ’04, who stayed home in ’08 and stayed home in even bigger numbers in 2012. And the central question I believe, if we are going to win in 2016, is, how do we bring the millions of conservatives who stayed home, back.
“It is,” Cruz said, “now or never. I don’t think we’ve reached the point of no return yet but we’re close. If we go four or eight more years on this same path, we risk losing the greatest country in the history of the world.”
One man from Massachusetts literally threw his wallet onto the floor next to Cruz to try to urge him to run and said, “We can’t wait for another Republican. We need Ted Cruz.”
Cruz thanked him and said, “Number one – stay tuned.” Second, he said, his daughter told him “it’s OK for me to run for President” because, she told him, “it will finally mean that (her puppy) Snowflake will finally get a backyard to pee in.” The senator said he lives in a Houston high-rise.
He began a two-day swing through the state at Turbocam, then headed north to speak to the Grafton County Republican Committee Lincoln-Reagan Dinner and on Monday will be at a Politics and Eggs Breakfast at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics. He’ll return on March 27 to speak to a rally of young conservatives in Nashua and then return in April for the NHGOP’s “First-in-the-Nation Leadership Summit.”
Cruz called Obamacare “a train wreck, and the Obama-Clinton foreign policy of leading from behind – the whole world’s on fire.” He was cheered when he said “we need to adopt a simple flat tax,” and “we need to abolish the IRS.
“There are 110,000 agents at the IRS, we need to put a padlock on that building and take every one of those one of agents and put them on our southern border,” which he said will convince illegal immigrants to “turn around and go home.”
“We’ve never seen a federal government come after the Bill of Rights like this administration,” Cruz said, adding that on the Second Amendment he believes, “Gun control is you hit what you aim at.”
Opposing limiting financing of campaigns, Cruz said, “Inevitably the people pushing to limit free speech are incumbent politicians in Washington.” He said he introduced legislation to eliminate contribution limits from individuals and required immediate disclosure in 24 hours.
“If we did that,” he said. “Super PACs would go away.”
In his interview with the Journal, Cruz said the “narrative that a lot of people like to push,” that he is too conservative or a “bomb-thrower” or represents “what is wrong with Republicans in Washington,” has become “a narrative of personal attacks, and I do not intend to play that game. I think most people couldn’t care less about a bunch of politicians throwing rocks at each other.”
He said he appreciated NHGOP chairman Jennifer Horn’s defense of Cruz after he was criticized by former NHGOP chair Fergus Cullen, “but in my view I think America is a center-right country and the principles I believe in – live within your means, don’t bankrupt the country, follow the Constitution – these are basic common sense values that every small town in America, every small business, most families understood for centuries.
“It is only in Washington, D.C. that living within your means and following the Constitution are viewed as radical or extreme ideas,” he said. “I believe there is a powerful and diverse coalition across this country of hard-working men and women who want to believe again in the miracle of America.”
Cruz said, “There are a lot of good people considering getting into this race,” but he said GOP primary voters should ask, “Who has been standing up and leading? Who has put action behind words? Who stood up and fought against Obamacare? Whether it is the debt and our debt ceiling, who has stood up and fought to turn that around?” He cited his fight against Obama’s “unconstitutional executive amnesty,” “defending life, defending marriage, defending our First Amendment rights, religious liberty or Second Amendment right to bear arms,” defending Israel and fighting Common Core.
“On every one of those issues, I think primary voters ought to say, ‘Show me. Don’t tell me. Show me where you have stood and led. That will be a major differentiator in this next cycle,” Cruz said.
Cruz also rejected the suggestion by former Gov. Rick Perry and other governors who are preparing to run that they are more equipped to serve as President.”
“I always think it is amusing that it is treated as a news story when governors say they think governors make better candidates for President,” he said. “If you look historically about half the Presidents we’ve had have been governors and about half have been senators. And we’ve had good President who were both. Jimmy Carter was a governor and he was an absolute train wreck.
“The relevant question is not what specific job the candidate has had but who has stood up and led,” he said. “I don’t’ think it is a political advantage to avoid engaging on the great issues and challenges of the day. I what the American people are looking for is a leader who is willing to stand up and lead on the issues that matter.”