Ted Cruz Addresses Jobs, Freedom, And Security During Oklahoma City Stop
Republican presidential hopeful Ted Cruz closed out a weekend filled with Oklahoma visits by candidates hoping to win the state’s primary election Tuesday, and eventually the White House in November.
Cruz’s visit Sunday evening marks the fourth appearance by a presidential candidate in Oklahoma in a little less than 48 hours. Florida Senator Marco Rubio appeared at the same venue Friday afternoon, while GOP frontrunner Donald Trump spoke a few blocks away at the Cox Convention Center Friday evening. Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders appeared at the Cox Center just a few hours before Cruz’s rally, and former president Bill Clinton campaigned in Edmond on behalf of his wife Hillary on Saturday morning.
The Texas Senator appeared with conservative talk radio host Glenn Beck, who said he rarely endorses a candidate. Gov. Mary Fallin introduced Beck, but stopped short of endorsing Cruz. She also spoke during Rubio’s rally Friday, and appeared at Trump’s campaign event as well.
Oklahoma @GovMaryFallin introduces Glenn Beck. Huge cheer when she says Obama lost all 77 counties. Twice. pic.twitter.com/JK8XWOEMv6— Brian Hardzinski (@brianhardzinski) February 28, 2016
Beck’s introduction lasted longer than Cruz’s remarks, and he pulled props from a silver briefcase onstage, including what he said was a geographic compass owned by George Washington, and letters from Presidents Reagan and Kennedy.
Glenn Beck: If I did the things Hillary Clinton has done, I would be in jail. Crowd roars. pic.twitter.com/uNgsE4CpHK— Brian Hardzinski (@brianhardzinski) February 28, 2016
Once Cruz took the stage, he spent about 25 minutes addressing the audience, who mostly stood shoulder-to-shoulder on the floor of the Chevy Bricktown Events Center. Supporters also lined the balcony, and Cruz told them all this fall’s presidential election boils down to three key issues: Jobs, freedom, and security.
“All of us are here today because America is in crisis,” Cruz said. “Because we’re bankrupting our kids and grandkids. Because our constitutional rights are being assaulted each and every day. And because America has receded from leadership in the world.”
The Senator said the country has been trapped in seven years of “Obama-Clinton stagnation,” and said current economic policy isn’t working. He also made a subtle jab at Trump.
“It’s real easy to talk about making America great again. You can even print that on a baseball cap. But the real question is, do you understand values and principles that made America great in the first place?” Cruz asked. “They key to our economy is small business. It’s the heart of the economy.”
Cruz also said if he’s elected, he’ll repeal every word of the Affordable Care Act, and pass new health care reform that makes insurance personal, portable, and affordable. He also advocated for adopting a flat tax.
“Where every American can fill out our taxes on a postcard, and when we do that, we should abolish the IRS,” Cruz said, which drew a cheer from the crowd.
He criticized politicians, and Washington deal-makers concerned about lobbyist interests, and said that’s most clearly illustrated by immigration, and the 2013 comprehensive immigration reform bill crafted by a bipartisan group of Senators known as the “Gang of Eight.” Cruz called it a “massive amnesty bill,” and highlighted Rubio’s involvement in the legislation, tying him to President Obama then-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.
“I made a very different decision,” Cruz said. “I made the decision to stand with millions of Americans and say, ‘This will not stand,’ and we defeated amnesty in Congress.”
He then brought up Trump, and criticized him for campaign contributions to five members of the Gang of Eight, specifically “open-border Democrats.” Cruz also said he would build a wall between the United States and Mexico, triple the border patrol, and end sanctuary cities.
Cruz then shifted to the second issue he says this election is about – freedom. He started by remembering the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, calling him a “lion of the law.” He said the high court vacancy underscores the stakes of the election. He repeated that the country is “one liberal justice away” from a left-wing majority that would undermine religious liberty.
“We are one justice away from the Supreme Court concluding that your religious freedom can be taken away, and the government can force you to violate your faith on paying a fine,” Cruz said. “We are one justice away from the Supreme Court ordering that Ten Commandments monuments to be torn down all over this country. We are one justice away from the Supreme Court effectively erasing the Second Amendment from the Bill of Rights.”
He shifted to what he called the third critical issue of this election – security. He said for the past seven years president Obama has abandoned and alienated U.S. allies, and appeased enemies. He criticized Trump and Clinton for openness to work with Palestinians.
“If I am elected president, America will stand unapologetically with the nation of Israel,” Cruz said.
Cruz also said he would stand up to terrorism, rebuild the military, and compared his approach to how President Reagan dealt with the Soviets.
The Texas Senator concluded his speech by calling Oklahoma a battleground during the Republican presidential primary on Tuesday, and said he’s the only candidate that’s beaten Trump, and can continue to do so.
Rev. Paul Blair from Fairview Baptist Church in Edmond leads invocation: "Choose those that fear God, & love truth." Cruz is that candidate.— Brian Hardzinski (@brianhardzinski) February 28, 2016
Cathy Costello, widow of slain Okla. labor commissioner Mark Costello, leads crowd in national anthem. pic.twitter.com/gRCzheJwnc— Brian Hardzinski (@brianhardzinski) February 28, 2016
Cruz: So proud to be standing with you. Patriots who love this country. All of us are here because America is in crisis.— Brian Hardzinski (@brianhardzinski) February 28, 2016
Cruz: If we need to, we’ll overwhelming force, kill the enemy, “get the heck outta there.”— Brian Hardzinski (@brianhardzinski) February 28, 2016
Cruz: You want to know who will stand up to Washington? Ask yourself, who is Washington attacking?— Brian Hardzinski (@brianhardzinski) February 28, 2016
Cruz: It took Jimmy Carter to give us Ronald Reagan. And I’m convinced Obama’s longest-lasting legacy will be new generation of GOP leaders.— Brian Hardzinski (@brianhardzinski) February 28, 2016
Several hundred supporters lined up outside during the hours before the doors to the Chevy Bricktown Events Center opened. Edmond resident Jon Rogers said he supports Cruz because he’s kept promises to his constituents, and didn’t fall into what he called the “Washington cartel.”
“The Congress and the Senate are supposed to act upon what the people sent them there to do, and most of them don’t do that anymore,” Rogers said. “To me, Ted Cruz is the person who’s going to hopefully rally back, and just like he’s done in the past, he’s stood up for what he’s said and what his constituents wanted.”
Rogers also said he doesn’t trust Republican frontrunner Donald Trump.
“I understand people are behind him because he’s saying a lot of things that people want to hear as far as politically correctness, or not being politically correct,” Rogers said. “But if you look back at his past, he’s a liar, and he’s too wishy-washy.”
Tyler and Sarah Merrill drove to Oklahoma City from Wellston to see Cruz because they agree with his policies, and his record, and said he’s honest, even though other GOP candidates continue to refer to Cruz as a “liar.”
“He has done what he’s said he’s going to do, even whenever it’s come back to look negatively on him, or people haven’t necessarily liked the way it looks, or other Senators haven’t agreed with him,” Tyler Merrill said. “It’s made it difficult for him in his position in the Senate, but he’s done what’s supposed to. He’s done what he said he was going to do.”
Merrill said he’s for small government, and he doesn’t see that with the other candidates. He referred to Trump as “entertaining.”
“I fear more what would happen after his presidency than to much him being president,” Merrill said.
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