Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas fired up the faithful at the Conservative Political Action Conference on Saturday by declaring, “We’re here because we’re not willing to give up on America.”
“We are facing a fundamental choice,” the first-term Republican said in his keynote speech at the Gaylord National Resort outside Washington.
Saturday marked the final day of the three-day conference. “A choice that cuts across all issues. It is a choice between surrendering or standing up now to defend our liberty.”
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Cruz then posed questions that raised the energy to the level in the Gaylord to that of an old-fashioned tent revival: “On guns, do we surrender or do we stand up now? On drones, do we surrender or do we stand up now? On spending, do we surrender or do we stand up now? On debt, do we surrender or do we stand up now?
“And, on the Constitution, do we surrender or do we stand up now?” Cruz asked to prolonged applause. “That, my dear friends, is change we can believe in.”
He emphasized that the Republican Party now must “champion growth, growth at every stage to get the economy booming.
“The policies of Barack Obama do not work — and the people that are hurting the most are young people, are African Americans, are Hispanics — and single moms are those who are finding their opportunities shut off to reach the American dream,” Cruz said.
That means repealing Obamacare, the senator said — along with the Dodd-Frank financial reform legislation and “corporate welfare” — and building the Keystone XL pipeline from Canada and reigning in the Environmental Protection Agency.
“In West Texas, the EPA is trying to use a lizard to shut down oil-and-gas production,” Cruz added, referring to the three-inch Dunes Sagebrush Lizard, a candidate for the endangered species list. “You know my view of lizards? They make darn fine boots.”
And besides auditing the Federal Reserve, the Department of Education also needs to be abolished, he said.
“Education is too important for it to be governed by bureaucrats in Washington taking away choices from parents and kids. We need to champion school choice, the civil-rights issue of the next generation.”
And, “We need to stand with Israel,” Cruz said. “We need to stop sending foreign aid to nations that hate us. Just two weeks ago, President Obama canceled White House tours and sent $250 million to Egypt, with no conditions, no strings attached — nothing focusing on U.S. national security. Simply wrote a check.”
Cruz, who was praised earlier Saturday by former Alaska governor and 2008 vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, called for CPAC attendees to join an effort via the website Jobsgrowth.org.
The goal is to develop a “positive, pro-growth economic agenda that could be a ‘Contract With America’ for conservatives going forward to get our economy going and to spread opportunity,” Cruz said.
He also reflected on his father, Rafael, who came to Texas from Cuba at age 18 in 1957 — with “$100 in his underwear, washed dishes making 50 cents hour” — and how he had witnessed his son’s swearing in to Congress in January.
Cruz introduced his father to the CPAC crowd. “I love you, Dad,” he said.
The senator opened his speech by responding to Sen. John McCain of Arizona’s recent attack on him and Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky as “wacko birds” — a comment that the senior GOP senator apologized for on Friday.
“If standing for liberty and standing for the Constitution means I’m a wacko bird, then count me a proud wacko bird,” Cruz said to cheers from the CPAC crowd.
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