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March 19th, 2014

One-on-One with Ted Cruz: 2016, Homeschooling, Foreign Policy and Battles with Fellow Republicans

Texas Senator Ted Cruz has quickly built a significant following in our first-in-the-nation caucus state. His visit to Iowa on Tuesday was the fourth trip to the state in less than eight months. He headlined the annual gathering of Iowa’s homeschooling families in Des Moines and a Cerro Gordy County GOP fundraiser in Mason City.

As with his previous visits to Iowa, Senator Cruz won over many who heard him speak. He was very warmly received by the homeschooling community, a vital voting bloc pursued by every Republican presidential hopeful. Cruz catered parts of his speech specifically to the youngsters in attendance, at different times asking for the three, five and 14-year-olds to raise their hands and relating stories to his own family members.

“I think school choice is the civil rights issue of the 21st century,” Cruz said. “Every parent has a right to educate his or her children, to provide the home, to teach the values that the parents believe are right for the children.”

Senator Cruz praised Governor Branstad and the Iowa Legislature for providing more freedom to homeschooling educators as part of their education reform package last year.

The crowds at both the homeschooling events and the GOP fundraiser gave Cruz raucous ovations. There is no question that in terms of making inroads with likely caucusgoers, Ted Cruz is ahead of any of the potential candidates who did not run in 2012.

Cruz’s appearance in Mason City drew a crowd of around 250 and he helped the county party raise more than $8,000.

“Senator Cruz was fired up and so was the audience tonight,” said Cerro Gordo GOP Chairman Gabe Haugland. “He must’ve been interrupted 25 times for applause and made a clear appeal to unite the party around three ideals:  liberty, growth and opportunity, and looking to the American people for solutions.  It was extremely well received.”

During’s one-on-one interview with Senator Cruz, he tiptoed around questions regarding his presidential aspirations, while also noting Iowa’s importance in determining the next leader of our country.

“There’s no doubt that Iowa is at the center of a national debate about the direction our country should go and the direction the Republican Party should go and I certainly want to participate in that debate,” Cruz said. “To turn the country around, we’ve got to get back to the founding principles that made us strong.”

Senator Cruz compared the country’s current condition to that of the late 1970s, when another liberal Democrat occupied the Oval Office.

“In the late 1970s you had Jimmy Carter in the White House. You had the same failed economic policies producing the same economic stagnation and misery,” Cruz said. “You had the same feckless foreign policy, making the world a much more dangerous place and we saw all over the country a grassroots movement that became the Reagan Revolution.”

There are certainly similarities between Ted Cruz and Ronald Reagan. Reagan was ridiculed by the left, much like Cruz is now. Reagan was despised by members of his own party before he won the 1980 general election, much like Cruz is now. And Ted Cruz has a dynamic ability to capture an audience’s attention with a mix of humor, charisma and a strong conservative message grounded in his core values. Those attributes enabled Ronald Reagan to become one of the most beloved president’s of all-time. Obviously, it’s a comparison that Ted Cruz welcomes, as any Republican would.

“What I’m trying to do is encourage, energize and mobilize the grassroots because the only we will pull back from this fiscal is if the American people rise up and say, ‘We want to get back to Morning in America,’” Cruz said, referencing the golden years of the Reagan presidency and the famous ad campaign that secured his reelection in 1984.

Completely opposite of the Reagan foreign policy is that taken by our current president and his current and former secretaries of state, John Kerry and Hillary Clinton. President Obama and his Democrat allies ridiculed GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney during the 2012 campaign for calling Russia our “number one geopolitical foe”. The latest moves by Russia into Ukraine have proven Romney was correct and the Obama White House is floundering to respond.

“I think we’re seeing Putin’s aggression, an act of war, is a direct consequence of an absence of U.S. leadership. For five years, America has receded from the world stage and when America doesn’t lead, it creates a vacuum and into the vacuum steps nations like Russia and Iran and China,” Cruz said.

Senator Cruz outlined a detailed plan for what President Cruz would do to respond to Russian aggression, noting that no one would want to see a military conflict. However, he said the U.S. should install the anti-ballistic missile batteries in eastern Europe that President Obama cancelled in an effort to appease Putin and Russia.

Secondly, Cruz would show American stands with the people of Ukraine who want freedom and immediately sign a free trade agreement with the country.

He also believes the U.S. should help Ukraine install an infrastructure to allow for the importation of liquid natural gas, which Cruz says Russia uses as “economic blackmail” over Ukraine and much of Europe. If Ukraine could import natural gas from the U.S., it would create job and economic growth in both countries, but Cruz says Obama is standing in the way of making that happen.

“The pattern of the Obama-Clinton-Kerry foreign policy has been abandoning our friends and allies and appeasing those who would do us harm. We have seen that across the globe,” Cruz said.

As for the future of the Republican Party, Ted Cruz rejects the notion that you cannot win by running on conservative principles. He says the only election out of the last four when Republicans won, they did it by standing for conservatism. That was during the 2010 Tea Party tidal wave.

Cruz has publicly bickered with his Republican colleagues over which direction the party should go. Recently, even he and Rand Paul, an ally and potential 2016 presidential candidate, have traded barbs with each other. However, Cruz downplayed any rivalry between the two.

“Rand and I are good friends,” Cruz said. “We have worked side-by-side on a great many matters in the senate and I expect we will continue to do so.”

That is, at least until the 2016 campaign kicks into full swing. Democrats are greatly underestimating Ted Cruz. They do so at their own peril. He has a depth of knowledge on the issues and ability to communicate with an audience that is very difficult to match. If he chooses to, Ted Cruz will be a major factor in the 2016 race.

About the Author

Kevin Hall

Kevin Hall brings almost two decades of journalistic experience to TheIowaRepublican. Starting in college as a radio broadcaster, Hall eventually became a television anchor/reporter for stations in North Carolina, Missouri, and Iowa. During the 2007 caucus cycle, Hall changed careers and joined the political realm. He was the northwest Iowa field director for Fred Thompson’s presidential campaign. Hall helped Terry Branstad return to the governor’s office by organizing southwest Iowa for Branstad’s 2010 campaign. Hall serves as a reporter/columnist for

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