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Aug 31, 2015 11:14 PM

Steinhauser: Cruz 'praising' Trump, says he'll benefit from Trump attention

NH1 Political Director -

CONCORD – Ted Cruz says “I think a number of positive things have come from” fellow Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s White House bid.

And in a one-on-one interview with NH1 News, the senator from Texas added that unlike many other GOP presidential contenders, he’s praising Trump.

“You know an awful lot of Republican candidates in the presidential field have gone out of their way to smack Donald Trump with a stick. I think that’s wrong. I think that’s foolish. I think it doesn’t make sense. Not only have I refused to do so, but I have been very consistent in praising Donald Trump and praising the people who are coming out to see him,” Cruz told NH1 News.

Cruz spoke with NH1 News on Monday, minutes before headlining a gathering of the New Hampshire House Business Caucus at The Draft in downtown Concord. The stop was part of a jam-packed two day swing for Cruz in the first-in-the-nation primary state.

Cruz listed two positive things that Trump’s explosive candidacy has done.

“One, he’s forced the media, finally, to focus on illegal immigration. Now illegal immigration is an issue I’ve been leading the fight on for many, many, years.”

Cruz touted that he was the only candidate “who has consistently and always opposed amnesty,” adding that “I’m glad that Donald Trump’s forcing the media to talk about illegal immigration because when primary voters ask the natural second question, who has a record on this issue, who’s been leading on illegal immigration, there’s a big difference between my record and that of the other candidates.”

Cruz went on to say that “a second reason I’m happy that Donald is in the race is that he’s got a real ability to attract an awful lot of attention.”

He went on to highlight that the first Republican presidential debate, held August 6th in Cleveland, was the most watched presidential primary debate in history. And Cruz said he’ll benefit from the all the attention Trump’s garnering.

“Our national support doubled coming out of that debate. We raised $1.1 million dollars in the first 100 hours coming out of that debate. So I’m thrilled that that many eyeballs, that many millions of people turned on the debate because of Donald Trump. And had an opportunity to hear my positive, optimistic, hopeful, conservative message and ended up supporting my campaign,” Cruz said.

Cruz is teaming up with Trump at a rally September 9 in Washington to highlight opposition to the controversial deal the U.S. and other leading powers struck with Iran to curb the Tehran regime’s nuclear ambitions.

“I invited Donald Trump to come join me at the rally,” Cruz stated.

Cruz admitted that Trump’s inclusion at the event “will bring a whole lot of folks in the media who will suddenly turn on their TV cameras and discover that the issue of stopping this Iran deal actually matters. And it’s going to bring people out as well. I think this Iran deal is catastrophic, it’s the single biggest security threat facing America today is the threat of a nuclear Iran, and I have been leading the fight to stop this catastrophic Iran deal. I’m very grateful for Donald to come and join our efforts and to lend his support.”

Asked if he would consider being Trump’s running mate on a GOP presidential ticket, Cruz said “you know I am running to be president. This campaign is focused on winning the job and then turning this country around. That is my focus because I’m not running for any other job other than to be president.”

Cruz also touted his top surrogates in the state.

“Our statewide co-chairmen are former Sen. Bob Smith, former House Speaker Bill O’Brien and executive councilor Dave Wheeler. Three of the strongest most respected conservative leaders in the state of New Hampshire. We’ve got an incredible leadership team state wide,” Cruz said.

The two-day swing was the first trip to New Hampshire Cruz has made since May 30. Since then he’s made four visits each to Iowa, the first caucus state, and South Carolina, which holds the first southern primary.

Asked whether we’ll see more of Cruz in the Granite State going forward, Cruz said “I intend to spend a whole lot more time in New Hampshire between now and Election Day. Our approach to this campaign, we are all in in Iowa. We are all in in New Hampshire. We are all in in South Carolina.”

To accentuate his point, a few minutes later Cruz said that “we are fully committed to New Hampshire. We are going to spend a ton of time on the ground doing house parties, doing town halls, just answering questions. Sitting down and allowing the men and women of New Hampshire to do what they take so seriously, the responsibly to look us in the eyes and take a measure of every candidate, are you telling the truth, or are you just blowing smoke.”

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