September 23, 2016

Ted Cruz endorses Donald Trump

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@PatriciaMazzei

Remember the Ted Cruz who stole the show during July's Republican National Convention, failing to endorse nominee Donald Trump?

He's gone now.

The Texas senator posted a robust Trump endorsement on his Facebook page Friday.

Trump issued a brief statement on Cruz's about-face.

"I am greatly honored by the endorsement of Senator Cruz," he said. "We have fought the battle and he was a tough and brilliant opponent. I look forward to working with him for many years to come in order to make America great again."

Photo credit: J. Scott Applewhite, Associated Press

July 21, 2016

'Rude' Cruz non-endorsement is talk of Florida delegation's GOP convention breakfast

@PatriciaMazzei

INDEPENDENCE, Ohio -- Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump tweeted late Wednesday night it was "no big deal" that primary runner-up Ted Cruz refused to endorse him on the convention floor.

Perhaps not for Trump. But Cruz was all Florida delegates could talk about Thursday at an early-morning breakfast.

"It was unfortunate that he made those statements and he did what he did," Republican Party of Florida Chairman Blaise Ingoglia said. "I do not know if that was the intended outcome of his speech, but if it was, it was an extremely unstatesmanlike, and he probably should have declined the invitation to speak."

At a buffet line, one delegate was overheard telling another Cruz was plain "rude."

The top-billed breakfast speakers also couldn't avoid reflecting on Cruz the day after.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott tried to stay above the fray without referencing Cruz directly. "This is a time to be unified," he told reporters.

Other speakers took Cruz's speech head on.

"I'm a friend of Ted's, and I think he made a mistake last night," U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama said, though he also struck a note of empathy for his Texas colleague. "It's just hard for us, who've been in the center of it, to get along."

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich posited that "part of what's going is the kind of normal turmoil when something historic has occurred."

Cruz, Gingrich added, is "a brilliant Princeton debater and a brilliant Harvard debater" who could "give you a wonderful speech on the theory of kicking over tables." About two-thirds of the way in, he added, "Donald Trump would walk into the room and kick over the table."

"In all fairness to Ted, he has always had this challenge of being sensitive to people," Gingrich continued, drawing laughs. He said a reporter asked him Wednesday night, "Isn’t this a sign of division?"

"Well, there were 5,000 people on one side," Gingrich said. "And Ted."

Object preview

But not all the delegates felt rancor toward Cruz.

“I liked it,” Miami-Dade County alternate delegate Rey Lastre said of the speech. “It’s important to have diversity of opinion. The Republican Party is supposed to be a big tent. I was clapping for Ted. Other people were too."

 

July 20, 2016

Ted Cruz steals Mike Pence's show at GOP convention's unofficial Florida night

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@PatriciaMazzei

CLEVELAND -- Mike Pence was the marquee name at the Wednesday at the Republican National Convention. But Ted Cruz stole the show.

The Texas senator, the last candidate to lose to Donald Trump in the GOP presidential primary, used his prime-time speaking slot not to endorse the nominee, but to lay out a methodical, ideological vision that sounded like the foundation for a potential Cruz candidacy in 2020.

“To those listening, please, don’t stay home in November,” Cruz said. “Stand, and speak, and vote your conscience, vote for candidates up and down the ticket who you trust to defend our freedom and to be faithful to the Constitution.”

Thousands of Trump delegates assembled on the floor of Cleveland’s Quicken Loans Arena did not take it well. By the time Cruz concluded, the riled-up audience jeered and booed him off stage.

It was astonishing political theater.

The night had been intended to celebrate Pence, the Indiana governor Trump selected as his running mate.

“You know, I’m new to this campaign, and honestly, I — I never thought I’d be standing here,” Pence said, pivoting to Trump. “He’s a man known for a large personality, a colorful style and lots of charisma — and so I guess he was just looking for some balance on the ticket.”

Wednesday was also Florida’s unofficial night in the spotlight.

More here.

Photo credit: J. Scott Applewhite, Associated Press

May 09, 2016

Donald Trump's record hiring foreign workers at Mar-A-Lago

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Donald Trump has promised to be the "greatest jobs president that God ever created." But he’s also been attacked for his record of hiring foreign workers.

A Ted Cruz ad that aired in Indiana attacked Trump’s use of temporary foreign visas known as the H-2B program:

"Trump still brings in hundreds of foreign workers to replace Americans," stated the narrator.

Cruz dropped out of the presidential race May 3 after losing Indiana, but we suspect Democrats will be happy to launch this same attack line at Trump in the months to come. So we decided to look into it.

The bottom line: Trump did try to hire hundreds of foreign workers at his Mar-A-Lago resort in Palm Beach, although it’s unclear just how many actually took jobs. The workers also weren’t necessarily replacing Americans, but filled temporary jobs locals allegedly couldn’t do or didn’t want.

Keep reading from PolitiFact Florida.

May 04, 2016

Fact-checking Ted Cruz who dropped out of presidential race

Donald Trump won a decisive victory in the Indiana primary on May 3, and that has prompted Texas Sen. Ted Cruz to suspend his 2016 presidential campaign.

Here is a snapshot of Cruz’s Truth-O-Meter scorecard on the night he pulled out. (See the current state of his scorecard, which updates automatically as we publish new fact-checks.)

Here at PolitiFact, we’ve been fact-checking Cruz since 2011, when he ran against an establishment favorite (then-Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst)  in a primary to win the Republican Senate nomination. He won the general election in 2012 and holds the seat until 2018.

At PolitiFact Florida, we covered the Cruz's battle with U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio about immigration, his misleading claim that the EPA tried to regulate puddles and his attack at the Miami debate about Trump's statement about Israel.

Keep reading our story from PolitiFact about Cruz.

 

May 03, 2016

Ted Cruz drops out of GOP presidential race

@PatriciaMazzei

Ted Cruz lost the Indiana primary resoundingly to Donald Trump on Tuesday, clearing Trump's path to the Republican presidential nomination and prompting Cruz to withdraw from the campaign.

"Together we left it all on the field in Indiana. We gave it everything we've got," Cruz told supporters in Indianapolis. "But the voters chose another path."

The Texas senator said he suspended his campaign "with a heavy heart," because he no longer has a "viable path" to the nomination. That makes Trump the almost-certain nominee, though he has yet to garner the 1,237 delegates needed.

"When we launched this campaign 13 months ago, we saw a movement grow. The pundits all said it was hopeless," Cruz said. "I am so grateful to you.... The movement that you have started is extraordinary."

That leaves a single symbolic rival to Trump: Ohio Gov. John Kasich, who has remained in the race even though he only won his home state and has fewer delegates than Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, who ended his candidacy March 15.

Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus made it clear Tuesday night that Trump is the party's choice (with a typo in the tweet to boot):

From New York, Trump congratulated Cruz, whom he had branded "Lyin' Ted" during the race and with whom he traded forceful accusations earlier Tuesday. By evening, Trump called Cruz a "hell of a competitor."

"He is a tough, smart guy," Trump said. "He's got an amazing future."

The celebrity businessman seemed awed by his own success.

"It's been some unbelievable day and evening and year," Trump said. "It's a beautiful think to watch and a beautiful thing to behold, and we're going to make America great again."

"We are going to win bigly," he added.

April 28, 2016

John Boehner lets it rip on Ted Cruz: 'Lucifer in the flesh'

@PatriciaMazzei

In retirement, John Boehner feels free to speak his mind. 

The former House speaker told a Stanford University audience Wednesday that presidential Republican candidate Ted Cruz is "Lucifer in the flesh."

"I get along with almost everyone, but I have never worked with a more miserable son of a bitch in my life," Boehner said, according to The Stanford Daily.

The Ohio Republican's contempt toward Cruz is well known, stemming from a 2013 government shutdown backed by the Texas senator. In a fundraiser, Boehner once referred to Cruz as a "jackass."

Meanwhile, Boehner described his relationship with front-runner and fellow golfer Donald Trump as one between "texting buddies."

Asked about Boehner's remarks, Cruz told reporters while campaigning in Indiana that the former speaker let his "inner Trump come out."

"John Boehner in his remarks described Donald Trump as his texting and golfing buddy," Cruz said. "So if you want someone that's a texting and golfing buddy, if you're happy with John Boehner as speaker of the House and you want a president like John Boehner, Donald Trump is your man."

This post has been updated.

April 27, 2016

Ted Cruz says Carly Fiorina would be his running mate

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From the Associated Press:

In need of momentum after a five-state shutout, Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz has tapped former technology executive Carly Fiorina to serve as his running mate.

The Texas senator plans to unveil his pick for vice president Wednesday afternoon in Indianapolis, an unusual move for an underdog candidate that reflects the increasing urgency for the fiery conservative to reverse his downward trajectory.

Cruz's plans were confirmed by a Republican with direct knowledge of Fiorina's selection, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the person was not authorized speak before the official announcement.

"Carly is bright, knowledgeable, brings great financial expertise and she's a woman," said Gary Aminoff, the Los Angeles County co-chair of the Cruz campaign. Aminoff said he had also been told Fiorina was Cruz's choice.

The 61-year-old Fiorina, a former chief executive of Hewlett-Packard, has been a prominent Cruz ally since shortly after abandoning her own presidential bid earlier in the year. She was the only woman in the Republican Party's crowded 2016 field.

More here.

April 23, 2016

Ted Cruz is the GOP establishment's last hope: 'He’s still a certified loony... But he’s probably the only hope we have'

Cruz for leary

via @learyreports

TOWSON, Maryland -- As the American Legion hall filled in, the crowd buzzed over the unusual spectacle they were about to witness: A Republican presidential candidate campaigning in this deeply Democratic state.

“We count this year. It’s amazing. We count this year!” said Dave Walcher, an insurance agent from Towson, near Baltimore, who wore a black T-shirt showing Ronald Reagan dressed like a biker. Tuesday’s primary is the first Walcher, 49, can remember mattering.

Just as remarkable is the man responsible for Maryland’s competitive status: Ted Cruz.

He has prevented Donald Trump from wrapping up the nomination and stands, improbably, as the last hope of a GOP establishment that openly loathes the brash, theatrical Texan.

“If the right people don’t like you, then you’re probably the right guy,” said Steven Brosey, 54, who attended the Cruz rally Monday. “Ted Cruz understands the Constitution and has taken unpopular stands. I like that.”

Cruz, 45, was the first Republican candidate to get in the race and has done a lot of things very well, not least of which is to outlast 14 rivals.

He has stuck to his conservative message while avoiding gaffes. Early on he conspicuously avoiding tangling with Trump. His debate performances have been solid. He’s raised a surprising amount of money and poured that into a team that has used voter data to target people with tailored messages.

The result: Key victories, including Iowa, that have stymied Trump’s path to the 1,237 delegates needed for the nomination.

Distrustful of Trump’s ideological conviction, his outlandish style and potential effect on crucial down-ballot races, Republicans are slowly coming around to Cruz.

“I’m getting more comfortable with him,” said St. Petersburg developer Mel Sembler, a major GOP fundraiser and party insider who had supported Jeb Bush. Last Monday, Cruz called Sembler to ask for help. Sembler sent him a $5,400 check and offered to put the campaign in contact with other Florida donors.

“He’s still a certified loony,” said Al Hoffman, another top Florida fundraiser and Bush supporter, referring to some of Cruz’s positions, including abolishing the IRS and mass deportations. “But he’s probably the only hope we have. Anybody but Trump. Let’s hope he learns how to be a president if he can win. In my view it’s a less than 50-50 chance he would even win.”

More here.

Photo credit: Matt Slocum, Associated Press

April 22, 2016

Hillary Clinton would trounce GOP among Florida Hispanics, poll says

via @learyreports

Hillary Clinton would easily win Florida’s growing Hispanic vote over Donald Trump or Ted Cruz, polling released Friday shows.

The America’s Voice poll shows Clinton taking 69 percent of the vote to Trump’s 18 percent.

Against Cruz, Clinton takes 58 percent of the vote compared with the Texan’s 36 percent.

Sixty-eight percent of Florida Hispanic voters say Trump’s immigration views make them less likely to vote Republican in November. That’s 10 percent lower than nationally, reflecting a strong Florida GOP base.

When asked about Trump’s pledge to deport illegal immigrants, 65 percent Florida Hispanics said that makes them much less likely to vote for Trump, again lower than the 80 percent nationally.

Florida Hispanics say immigration reform is a top concern, closely followed by jobs and the economy. Education and Health care follow.

America's Voice advocates for immigration reform and its pollsters are aligned with Clinton.

--ALEX LEARY, Tampa Bay Times