Ted Cruz, eager to extinguish any lingering liabilities with the conservative base that largely adores him, is quietly inching rightward as he surges into the Republican top tier.
Few in the conservative grass-roots question his standing as a true believer. But with one eye on a threatening ideological competitor, Donald Trump, and another on an useful foil, Marco Rubio, Cruz has over the past four months slowly looked to remove any outstanding impurities that could hinder his hopes to coalesce conservatives around his campaign.
On trade and immigration — two of the most volatile issues in the Republican Party — Cruz has abandoned previous positions that are politically dangerous in the race to the right. The latest shift came Tuesday, when Cruz discarded with his past caution on what to do with those who came to the U.S. illegally, saying finally at CNN’s debate in Las Vegas that he would not support a path to legal status. That move hasn’t been without controversy, as seen in a contentious interview on Fox News Wednesday that put the Texan squarely on the defensive.
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