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Rep. Ros-Lehtinen Praises Cruz Announcement, But Backs Bush

By    |   Monday, 23 Mar 2015 11:06 AM

Florida Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen told Newsmax TV she's excited about Sen. Ted Cruz announcing his candidacy for president, but when asked about the two potential candidates, said she is "already in Jeb Bush's camp."

"I had committed to Jeb early on, and I'm glad I did," Ros-Lehtinen told "America's Forum" host J.D. Hayworth Monday. "I have no regrets about that."

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However, Ros-Lehtinen said she's enjoyed working with Cruz on many issues, including foreign affairs when it comes to punishing the Castro regime, "punishing the Ayatollahs for their nuclear program and helping the people of Iran and making sure that we know the difference between our adversaries and our allies and treating Israel like the ally that it is, instead of the adversary that President [Barack] Obama thinks of Israel as being."

She noted that she and Cruz do usually differ on domestic affairs, but "national security is very important to me."

Further, Cruz's choice of making his announcement at Liberty University in Virginia signals that he will be staking out the Republican conservative base, said Ros-Lehtinen.

The Christian university was founded by the late evangelist Jerry Falwell, and many analysts believe Cruz, as a tea party favorite, picked the venue rather than one in his own home state of Texas as a signal that he will be courting religious conservatives and small-government activists while setting himself up as an anti-establishment candidate.

"He's telling our base, our Republican conservative base, 'I'm your candidate and don't be fooled by others,'" Ros-Lehtinen told Newsmax TV.

Meanwhile, in her state, there are "two great candidates," Bush and Sen. Marco Rubio, who are staking out different parts of the party, and she thinks the differences in candidates is a good thing.

"It's great because people see that we're not a 'one-size-fits-all' party," she said. "The Democrats like to boast and brag incorrectly that they have this great diversity of thought, etc. I don't agree with that."

But as much as she loves Rubio, she said that Bush has been an "excellent governor" in her home state and she and her family have gotten to know and work with him over the years, and they know his family.

"I'm very close to the Bush folks and know how they operate," she told Hayworth. "I know that he's not as conservative as many of our base voters would like, but there are a lot more moderate voices in our party and take away immigration or some other topic, Jeb is a pretty conservative guy, so he can appeal to the conservative base."

Meanwhile, she believes Rubio, Bush, and Cruz will all be able to attract the Hispanic vote, which will likely be crucial in the 2016 race.

The Florida lawmaker also discussed Iran on the Monday show, pointing out that the United States cannot trust the Middle Eastern powerhouse.

"I am the author of the strongest Iran sanctions that we have on the books, sanctions that President Obama has totally ignored and is already looking at how many sanctions we can lift," said Ros-Lehtinen.

In a rally this weekend, Iranians were screaming "death to America," she pointed out, and "the ayatollah was calling for another demand of Iran on these nuclear talks, saying that we've got to lift sanctions first before Iran makes any kind of concessions."

Many in the Obama administration forget that "Iran is the premier state sponsor of terrorism," she continued.

"This is an administration that doesn't know an adversary from an ally and I see a lot of parallels between the way that this administration has handled the Cuba negotiations with what it's trying to do with Iran," she said.

Currently, she said, the United Nations' sanctions and rules on Iran are tougher than the ones from the United States.

"The U.S. has moved the goal posts so low that Iran's threshold for meeting that deal will be so low than that of ours they'll meet it and we'll say, 'Look! How great! Iran is meeting everything that we've demanded, because we demand so little.'"

And she believes that Obama is throwing a "temper tantrum" over Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

"Now I love John McCain, but that's exactly – he stole my line, that's exactly what I told Tony Blinken and the other witnesses that we had in our committee," she said.

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Florida Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen told Newsmax TV she's excited about Sen. Ted Cruz announcing his candidacy for president, but when asked about the two potential candidates, she is "already in Jeb Bush's camp."
Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Ted Cruz, Jeb Bush, 2016 election
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2015-06-23
Monday, 23 Mar 2015 11:06 AM
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