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Ted Cruz Wins Presidential Straw Poll at Values Voter Summit

By    |   Saturday, 12 October 2013 08:40 PM

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz won the presidential straw poll at the 2013 Values Voter Summit, Fox News is reporting.

Cruz, a tea party champion who has led the crusade to defund Obamacare, distanced himself from others mentioned as possible 2016 GOP presidential candidates. He took 42 percent of the vote, ahead of former Sen. Rick Santorum and GOP activist Dr. Ben Carson with 13 percent each.

GOP Sens. Rand Paul and Marco Rubio received 6 percent and 5 percent, respectively.

Urgent: Do You Support Sen. Ted Cruz's Efforts to Defund Obamacare? Vote Here.

“I just spoke with Senator Cruz and he wanted me to convey to you his deep appreciation for your enthusiastic and warm welcome yesterday — and that he was very grateful to know that there are Americans across the country who are standing with him as he stands for your values here in Washington, D.C.,” said Tony Perkins, the head of the Family Research Council, which hosted the three — day event, according to The Washington Times.

While popular among conservatives, Cruz has become a polarizing figure in the GOP.
The freshman Texas lawmaker who made a 21-hour speech last month on the Senate floor decrying Obama's health law, has become the face of conservative opposition to the legislation. But some Republican strategists say his crusade to destroy President Barack Obama's healthcare law has been a political disaster.

Urgent: Do You Support Sen. Ted Cruz's Efforts to Defund Obamacare? Vote Here.

Grover Norquist, President of Americans for Tax Reform,
told Newsmax TV's Steve Malzberg that Cruz needlessly dragged Republicans "across broken glass" in his quest to defund the Affordable Care Act and should apologize.

Arizona Sen. John McCain and N.Y. Rep. Peter King have been two of the most vocal opponents of Cruz's tactics. In a CNN interview last month King said Cruz's efforts to defund Obamacare was "a fool's errand."

Cruz has also taken a hit in the polls. A Gallup poll released on Thursday found that he has gained significant name recognition, but the percentage of Americans with an unfavorable view of him has jumped to 36 percent from 18 percent in June.

But at the Values Voter Summit, a gathering of social conservatives and tea party faithful in Washington on Friday, Republican Senator Ted Cruz was unapologetic, defiant and received like a conquering hero.

To multiple standing ovations and cries of "tyranny" every time he mentioned Obama's name, Cruz told a big crowd of conservative Republicans that he knew exactly what he was doing, and battle had only just been joined.

America, he said, was just two years away from oblivion unless there was radical change. And at the heart of what was needed, he said, was "to stop that train wreck, that disaster, that nightmare that is Obamacare."

Cruz was frequently greeted with whoops of support and prolonged applause. He was also met with hecklers, whom he called "President Obama's paid political operatives." They were shouted down and removed.

"If I am not seen again please send a search and rescue team," Cruz said.

Speaking before Cruz was fellow conservative Republican Senator Mike Lee from Utah, who has partnered with Cruz in the fight to dismantle the healthcare law.

"We make no apologies," Lee declared over the failed fight to block Obamacare. "We must stop it, we must defeat it, and we cannot accept it." Lee, too, was given a standing ovation.

Ford O'Connell, a Republican political adviser, said opposition to the healthcare law was justified, but Cruz's tactics were "completely wrong."

"Cruz has done a good job of bringing this to the attention of the American people — but the government shutdown has completely obstructed his message," Ford said.

"The key to successful political negotiating is to pull the right lever at the right time. Unfortunately for the Republican party, the Tea Party caucus is pulling the right lever at the wrong time."

Information from Reuters was used in this report.

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Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, a tea party champion who has led the crusade to defund Obamacare, distanced himself from others potential 2016 GOP presidential candidates, winning the straw poll at the 2013 Values Voter Summit.
Saturday, 12 October 2013 08:40 PM
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