AMES-The Republican Party is desperately in need of a leader who can bring the party together and excite the base. Early signs indicate that Texas Senator Ted Cruz might be that man.
There was a palpable excitement inside Stephens Auditorium in Ames before Cruz hit the stage.
“That was the first political speech to get me excited in a very long time,” said Dane Nealson, the chair of the Story County GOP who worked on the presidential campaigns for Tim Pawlenty and Rick Perry. “He’s the best shot I’ve seen so far to unite the factions.”
The Family Leader CEO Bob Vander Plaats, who endorsed Rick Santorum in the 2012 Iowa Caucus, gave a decidedly more enthusiastic introduction for Senator Cruz than he did for Santorum.
“Cruz is a phenomenon that I haven’t seen the like of in a long time, probably ever,” Vander Plaats told TheIowaRepublican.com.
The Texas senator did not disappoint. He scored quickly with a joke about the origin of the word “politics”, noting that “poli” means many, and “tics” means blood sucking parasites. From there, the first term senator from Texas served enough conservative red meat to feed the 1,000 Iowa conservatives in attendance, and leave them asking for seconds.
Much of Ted Cruz’ allure is his willingness to stand up for conservative principles. He is leading a charge in the U.S. senate to defund Obamacare. When he mentioned that during his speech, Cruz received an extended standing ovation. The same thing happened when he said we should abolish the IRS. These are not new lines that are exclusive to Ted Cruz. The difference is, when he says them, you actually believe he will fight for those stances.
Audiences also admire a speaker who can deliver off-the-cuff remarks, something Cruz excels at.
“Vice-president Joe Biden,” Cruz said, pausing as the audience chuckled. “You know, the nice thing is, you don’t even need a punchline,” he added as the chuckles grew to roaring laughter.
Smartly name-dropping and praising popular Iowa officials like Steve King and Chuck Grassley, and collecting data from attendees by having them sign-up to receive texts, Cruz is smartly laying the groundwork for a possible 2016 campaign.
Popular with libertarians, social conservatives and making waves with mainstream Republicans, Ted Cruz is exciting Iowa Caucus goers in ways that few candidates ever have. Although he’s a first-term U.S. senator, Cruz’ accomplishments as solicitor general of Texas adds some hefty and impressive experience to his resume.
During his introduction for Cruz, Bob Vander Plaats reeled off a line of impressive cases and conservative causes Ted Cruz fought for as solicitor general, including keeping the words “under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance.
Following his speech, Cruz spent extensive time chatting with attendees, posing for pictures and answering questions from the media. The hottest rising star in politics remains extremely approachable and that will endear him to presidential voters.
Cruz followed up a very impressive appearance at a pastors’ conference in Ames last month we a home run speech at the Family Leadership Summit. He is hitting all the right notes and taking the steps necessary to build a strong presidential campaign.
We are two and a half years away from the 2016 Iowa Caucuses, but we already have a frontrunner in the race. His name is Ted Cruz.
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