Republican Sen. Ted Cruz was greeted with a rock star-like ovation at Americans for Prosperity’s “Defending the American Dream” summit in Orlando, which concluded Saturday.
Cruz reportedly finished his 25-minute keynote speech at the conservative activism event to chants of “Run, Ted, run! Run, Ted, run!”
“I will confess that’s the same thing my wife says when I come home from the gym early,” Cruz said.
Libertarian-leaning Cruz also criticized President Obama’s handling of the crisis in Syria. The White House recently announced that Obama will seek authorization for military intervention from Congress.
“In my view, U.S. military force is justified only to protect the vital, national security interests of the United States, and to date the administration has not focused on those interests, at least in its public effort to make the case. So I welcome this debate in Congress,” Cruz said.
Cruz’s summer “Defund Obamacare” tour, an extensive public-relations campaign to block continuing-resolution budget bills until Obamacare is defunded, has made him a top conservative prospect for the 2016 GOP presidential nomination while alienating many moderate Republicans and fellow GOP senators. Cruz has so far responded to criticism of his efforts with humor and relative nonchalance.
Cruz scored an Internet video hit August 20 when he talked down hecklers at a “Defund Obamacare” rally in Dallas, accusing the Obama-affiliated advocacy group Organizing for Action (OFA) of sending paid hecklers to interrupt him. OFA denied the charge.
Cruz’s office also brushed off a recent scathing Washington Post column by “Right Turn” blogger Jennifer Rubin entitled “How smart is Ted Cruz?,” and defended itself from attacks by other Republicans on Capitol Hill.
“It’s a sideshow,” a Republican source on Capitol Hill previously told The Daily Caller about the Defund Obamacare campaign. “We all know what’s going on. They’re just trying to drum up the base. That helps their donations, that helps their data collection.”
Cruz won 45 percent of the vote and the virtual presidential nomination in a 2016 conservative straw poll held at Colorado Christian University’s Western Conservative Summit in late July.