Steinhauser: Ted Cruz responds to Rand Paul's tough talk
MERRIMACK - Sen. Ted Cruz, back in New Hampshire just two weeks after his last visit.
In between, the Republican from Texas did something no other big name from either of the two major political parties has done, he formally launched a presidential campaign.
The first stop for Cruz during this two day swing, a packed VFW post in Merrimack. Upon arriving, Cruz was greeted by some of his youngest supporters, a handful of little children holding signs supporting the senator's White House bid.
"On Monday I announced my candidacy for president of the United States," Cruz said inside, to a crowd of up to 200 supporters and other conservative activists.
And he touted his fundraising figures, saying "we raised a million dollars in the first day," adding that "within three days we brook two million."
Cruz campaign officials had set the bar low, telling reporters that they initially hoped to raise $1 million in their first week.
Cruz throwing out plenty of red meat to the audience, saying that "I am convinced that come 2017, a new president will repeal every single word of Obamacare," adding that "we need to repeal every single word of Common Core."
The visit to the first-in-the-nation primary state by Cruz comes one day after he supported a plan that would increase the Pentagon's budget, which was offered by Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, who's likely to announce his own White House bid in the near future. Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, who's also close to launching a GOP presidential nomination campaign, blasted the proposal because the new spending wasn't offset by other cuts. Paul called the plan "reckless."
Asked about Paul's comments, Cruz told NH1 News and the NH Journal that "at the end of the day others can choose to throw rocks. I am not going to reciprocate. My answer is simple. I am a big fan of Rand Paul. Period. The end."
And asked about Paul's competing plan, Cruz said "I ended up not supporting that amendment because I had some concerns that it would potentially decrease our military support for the nation of Israel and it also had the potential to undermine important scientific research and programs at NASA. But I think Rand Paul's amendment was a good faith effort to solve the problem. I just ultimately wasn't persuaded that it was the right legislative solution."
Cruz also weighed in on whether another probable GOP presidential candidate, Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin, had changed his position on any pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants in the U.S., an important issue in the race for the Republican nomination.
Cruz told NH1 that "that's going to be a determination for the voters across New Hampshire and the country to make. I think every Republican primary voter ought to hold every one of us to the exact same standard, which is have you told us the truth, and have you done what you've said you've done. In a Republican primary he or she is the most conservative person ever to live. I think the question primary outta voters is ‘show me, show me if you actually have followed through on action.'"