LYNCHBURG, Virginia — In an exclusive interview with Breitbart News right after his presidential campaign announcement speech here at Liberty University, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) said that in order to win in 2016, he plans to “reassemble” the coalition that propelled Ronald Reagan to victory in 1980.
“I believe 2016 is going to be an election like 1980 and I agree with Ronald Reagan that the way we win is to paint with bold colors not with pale pastels,” Cruz told Breitbart News in a backstage interview, one of just a handful of exclusive interviews Cruz did after his fiery speech to Liberty University’s convocation.
The values that I’m fighting to defend are common sense values for Americans: Live within your means, don’t bankrupt our kids and grandkids, follow the Constitution. It’s only in Washington, D.C., that those are considered extreme ideas. Outside of Washington, the vast majority of Americans share those basic common sense values. I believe we need to reassemble the Reagan Coalition, to unite conservatives and libertarians and Evangelicals and women and young people and Hispanics and Reagan Democrats to build a grassroots army of courageous conservatives who share these common values. The mainstream media narrative is that the Judeo-Christian values this country was founded upon are somehow outmoded or outdated. That’s not the case. These eternal truths, they unite us as a people, and we need to get back to the tested principles that work and that have made America the greatest country in the history of the world.
Cruz channeled Reagan in his speech—in which he asked America to “imagine” a different president, one who stands up for them—a few times, but notably at the end in which he said that if he were elected to the White House he could restore the nation to the being the “shining city on a hill” that Reagan once spoke of.
Cruz’s campaign launched in full force at Liberty University, and there was a complete spin-room operation with reporters who didn’t get sit-down interviews with the senator. Cruz’s top operatives Jeff Roe, Rick Tyler, and Jason Miller each held court with handfuls of reporters in the hallway behind the event much like a spin room after a presidential debate, in which they actively helped shape stories and the narrative in a way that hasn’t been seen from Team Cruz yet at this point.
Cruz, when asked in his interview with Breitbart News what he thinks of the Democratic National Committee saying his announcement of a White House bid “sent shivers down” their spines, said that Obama’s policies aren’t working, so it’s not surprising that they’d resort to such rhetoric.
“I think we’ve seen the results of the Obama agenda and it’s not working. All across this country, millions of Americans are concerned,” Cruz said.
They’re concerned about the direction of this country because what we’re doing, millions of people are hurting. Millions of people are struggling, they’re without jobs, they’ve been forced into part time work and they’re seeing stagnating wages and they’re seeing their constitutional rights under assault. I believe the central issue of this campaign in 2016 will be: “How do we reignite the promise of America?” How do we get back to what has made America exceptional and unique? That is the understanding that our rights, they come from God and not from government, that every one of us can start with nothing and achieve anything from the millions of the single moms waiting tables to the millions of teenage immigrants like my dad, washing dishes or bussing tables, we can achieve anything. But that opportunity has become harder and harder for people to realize and it feels like it’s slipping away. I believe that the only way we change the path this country is on is if millions of courageous conservatives rise up and defend our shared values, if millions of courageous conservatives stand up to reignite the promise of America to bring us back to free market principles and defending our constitutional liberties and restoring America’s leadership.
Cruz also said that part of the reason why he decided to announce on Monday is because it’s such a historically significant day. It’s the five year anniversary of Obamacare being signed into law, and it’s also the 240th anniversary of Patrick Henry giving his “give me liberty or give me death” speech.
“240 years ago today, Patrick Henry stood up just 100 miles away from here in Virginia and uttered the words ‘give me liberty or give me death,’” Cruz said. “That was a clarion cry that sparked the beginning of the miracle of America. Today, I believe in millions of courageous conservatives once again standing up and demanding liberty. Five years ago, the president signed into law Obamacare.”
In 2016, Cruz added, if he’s elected president, he’ll repeal Obamacare and pass healthcare reform that is actually affordable.
“I believe millions of courageous conservatives recognize the utter disaster that law has been and that we together can come together to imagine a new president in 2016 signing legislation repealing every word of Obamacare and passing common sense health reform that keeps the government out of the conversation between you and your doctor and that makes health care personable, portable and affordable,” Cruz said. “Today marks what I hope will be the beginning of what I hope will be a grassroots movement all across this country with millions of courageous conservatives saying ‘we can change the path we’re on’ and ‘we can get back to the principles that have made America a great and exceptional nation, a beacon of hope and light to the world.’”