NEW YORK – Republican presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz, Texas, stressed during a closed-door meeting with New York City Christian leaders earlier this week that for the first time in history an astounding 65 percent of Americans do not think that their children will have a better life than them.
Cruz, who is the first in an expected crowded Republican field to officially launch a presidential campaign, said that this depressing outlook is unacceptable and that there is a need to restore hope for those who have lost their faith in America's leadership.
"America wants to believe that America has a bright future. They want to stand with Israel. They want to defeat radical Islamic terrorism," said the junior senator who was recently honored with an award at a Zionist Organization of America event for being a pro-Israel U.S. legislator.
"They want to adhere to and honor the Constitution. Under no circumstance should Iran be allowed to have a nuclear weapon. They believe in the free market system and that people should rise economically, being rewarded for hard work."
"My plan is to inspire and mobilize the conservative base and the church," Cruz proclaimed. "If they come out to vote as they did in 2004, we will win the election."
The unabashed conservative lawmaker spoke at the Union League Club and was accompanied by his wife, Heidi. Gregory Thornbury, president of Kings' College in New York City, hosted the event that was populated by the city's conservative leaders from business and academia, as well as church leaders from various denominations.
"In the movie, 'The Usual Suspects,' there is a line that says, 'the greatest trick the devil ever pulled was to get the world to believe that he didn't exist,'" Cruz said, "and the trick that is being played on conservative people and Christians in America is that the general public doesn't agree with their beliefs or positions."
When Cruz opened the floor up for questions, one pastor said, "I appreciate your consistency. As far as I can tell you are as far from a flip flopper as you can get. I believe that the country is ready for someone who says what he believes in and will do what he believes in."
The White House hopeful responded, "On my website we don't have an Issues section. Every candidate will poll the people and tell the people where they stand on the issues according to the poll results. I am not going to do that. I am going to point to what I have done. I have remained consistent. I have argued for the freedom of religion before the Supreme Court on two occasions and have won. After [Texas] pastors' sermons were subpoenaed by the mayor of Houston, I called my pastor at First Baptist of Houston and asked if we could call pastors together to rally for the freedom of religion in America. My pastor responded by telling me that 'there are no coincidences with God. Tomorrow, I will have 50 local pastors at my church. We have come together to pray.' We had the rally and within days the mayor had pulled his legal threat to gather the sermons from Houston pastors."
Cruz, whose father is a pastor, and his wife, Heidi, who is the daughter of missionaries, have been members of the First Baptist Church of Houston for about 10 years. The Texas senator is an outspoken conservative Christian who chose to announce his bid for the White House at Liberty University, the largest evangelical university in the world, on Monday. During the Union League Club event, he revealed that he had a "whirlwind" week that included having 140,000 visits to his website and raising $1 million in a single day.
While the audience at Union League Club was supportive of Cruz, he has not been well received by everyone. He was among the discussion topics on the Bill O'Reilly show this week and Bernie Goldberg, a regular contributor to the show, called Cruz "polarizing," saying that he had no chance to win, but O'Reilly disagreed. Also talk show host and actress Whoopi Goldberg lampooned Ted Cruz's beliefs, saying that no one should be allowed to be president who is pro-life and therefore anti-woman.
Cruz is the son of a Cuban immigrant and graduated from Princeton where he already exhibited political aspirations and attempted to run for office but failed. During his time at Princeton, he dominated the competitive collegiate parliamentary debate world, winning the North American Championships in 1992, when he and his partner, David Panton, were named as the top two collegiate debaters in the U.S. (Ted Cruz was #1.) After Princeton, Cruz went on to study law at Harvard.