Political pundits are weighing in on Texas Sen. Ted Cruz's chances to win the Republican presidential nomination after his announcement Monday that he'll take a shot at the White House
in 2016 – and are questioning whether his Ivy League credentials might turn off his base.
NBC political correspondent Kasie Hunt, for example, ticked off a background that could turn toxic.
"He grew up in Houston, attended Princeton and Harvard," she noted in a report on MSNBC, posted by Mediaite
. "So, not necessarily the type of pedigree that would immediately seem to appeal to the base of the party, but at the same time those are the voters he is going after here."
Cruz declared his candidacy at Liberty University
, founded by the late Rev. Jerry Falwell, where they don't teach evolution but instead focus instruction on a "robust, Young-Earth creationist view of Earth history," according to the university's website.
But Howard Fineman
, a veteran Newsweek correspondent who now serves as the Huffington Post's global editorial director, thinks that may be exactly the reason for Cruz's appeal to GOP voters, especially younger ones.
"Cruz is an anti-intellectual intellectual … And that could be just perfect for the Republican Party of today," Fineman writes in the Huffington Post
"[T]he Young Americans for Liberty loved his loathing of the party elders, and his determination to shove a stick between the spokes of the system," he adds. "He is a libertarian, traditional conservative, war hawk and evangelical Baptist son of a preacher who fled Fidel Castro's Cuba.
"There are plenty of philosophical and tactical contradictions in Cruz's construct, but he ignores them all. He is an academic star with two Ivy League degrees. Yet he is making the formal announcement of his candidacy at the Falwell family's evangelical enterprise, Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia."
Even Hunt noted there are more positives than negatives, listing Cruz's mainstream credentials, including his clerkship at the Supreme Court, his stint as Texas solicitor general and his work on the 2000 Bush campaign.
"Cruz has been unapologetic and straightforward about his ambitions to run for president, and that's led him here today to becoming the first Republican to announce he will run for president in 2016," she reports.
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