Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz was welcomed to the Alzafar Shrine Auditorium Monday by a crowd of more than 1,000 supporters donning “Cruz 2016” shirts and waving signs with “TrusTed” emblazoned across them.
They applauded him several times during the afternoon as he spoke, but perhaps the largest applause was when Cruz promised his supporters that, if elected, he would “repeal every word of Obamacare.”
“The heart of our economy is small business, if you want to hammer the economy then do what we’ve done for the past seven years; hammer the living daylight out of small businesses,” he said. “If you want to unleash the economy, then lift the boot of the federal government off the backs of the necks of small businesses.”
To Cruz, this election is all about three things: jobs, freedom, and security, and he is ambitious in protecting and strengthening all three. If elected, he said, the U.S.-Mexico border would be secured in order to source more jobs to Americans, strengthen the military, and uphold the Second Amendment, to which nearly everyone in attendance gave a standing ovation.
Cruz also championed efforts to abolish the Internal Revenue Service.
For the conservative senator, Monday’s rally in San Antonio was a homecoming. But more importantly, the event was one of his final stops on the campaign trail before the Super Tuesday voting on March 1. The Texas primary awards 155 delegates, the second most in the nation.
Cruz is anticipating a win in his home state over GOP candidates Donald Trump, who leads in the GOP race nationally, and Sen. Marco Rubio, but he adamantly urged Texans to show up on Election Day.
“This is an opportunity for us to stand together and decide, do we want a Washington dealer — someone who will compromise our values, compromise our constitutional rights, will grow the debt and grow Washington — or do we want a proven consistent conservative?” he said.
According to RealClearPolitics poll averages, Cruz leads the polls by eight and one half points over Trump and by 19.4 points over Rubio in Texas.
The senator told the crowd that his consistency is one thing that separates him from the other candidates. Cruz slammed Trump throughout his speech for flip-flopping his political stances over the years for personal gain, garnering hoots and applause from the audience each time.
“We’ve seen dealmakers in Washington cut deal after deal after deal that enrich the special interests, enrich large corporations, and leave behind the working men and women in this country,” he said.
Beyond the flip-flopping, Cruz focused on the alleged tape owned by the New York Times, that shows Trump, off-record, admitting that his plan to build a wall on the Texas-Mexico border was a lie. Cruz demanded, on several occasions, that Trump allow the Times to release the recording to the public.
“If it is in fact the case … then the voters deserve to know and you should be very troubled by a candidate like Donald Trump who tells the New York Times one thing and the voters another.”
Cruz was joined by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and former Gov. Rick Perry who primed the crowd with praise for him before he took the stage. Abbott, who publicly endorsed Cruz last week, said that the country needs someone to “take us down the right path.”
“I know that there are so many people in America who hope when they cast the vote for president that that person will fulfill their promises,”Abbott said. “I know (Cruz) will fulfill the promise of true conservative values for the United States of America.”
Garet Gold, a local physical therapist in the Stone Oak area, believes Cruz can help enact health care reform, and commended him for his consistency in the Senate.
“I think we the people of Texas elected him to be a senator and he did some unpopular things in Washington and I think he did that for us,” Gold said. “(Cruz) really stood up for the people of Texas and was willing to fight for some of the conservative causes and the things that we’re very passionate about.”
Cruz vowed to maintain his commitment to those values even beyond the election.
“The day after I’m elected I will be the exact same person as I am today.”
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*Top image: Republican Presidential candidate Ted Cruz responds to a question alongside Governor Greg Abbott during a press conference held immediately before his appearance. Photo by Scott Ball.