Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) made his official speech announcing he was running for President in 2016 on Monday at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia. His speech focused on the “promise of America” and asked listeners to “imagine” events in the past — both from his own family’s history and the nation’s — and to imagine a bright future for America, restored to the great “shining city on a hill.”
As Breitbart Texas reported, Cruz opted to go ahead and launch a presidential campaign rather than continue to promote his activities through his leadership PAC or with an exploratory committee. A full transcript of the Ted Cruz Presidential Campaign Announcement speech is attached below. A video can be seen on C-SPAN.
Cruz actually made the announcement about ten hours earlier, posting a tweet shortly after midnight Eastern Time. Grassroots conservatives across Texas, and America, cheered the news that the firebrand Senator was throwing his hat in the ring.
Cruz was introduced by Liberty University President Jerry Falwell, Jr., the son of the university’s founder, Jerry Falwell, Sr. Falwell said that he had been contacted about ten days ago by Cruz’s team to see if the Senator could speak at their weekly convocation.
“I was honored that Senator Cruz held Liberty University in such high esteem,” said Falwell, praising Cruz’s faith and leadership. “It is easy to lead the charge when you have an army at your back,” he continued, but Cruz had often stood alone in the Senate, gone against the tide, and had “proven himself to be a man of great character.”
Cruz took the stage to loud cheers. “God Bless Liberty University,” he said. “I am thrilled to join you today at the largest Christian university in the world.”
“Today I want to talk to you about the promise of America,” said Cruz, settling into the theme of his speech.
He started by telling the story of his own family. Many have heard Cruz tell the story about his father, Rafael Cruz, who fled Cuba with a hundred dollars sewn into his underwear, who started washing dishes in Texas.
With this speech, Cruz began with his mother, Eleanor, who grew up in a large Irish and Italian Catholic family, with an alcoholic father who did not believe women needed higher education. Nevertheless, Cruz’s mother would go on to not only be the first person in her family to go to college, but would graduate from Rice University with a degree in mathematics and become a “pioneering computer programmer” in the 1950s and 1960s.
About his father, Cruz spoke of a skinny, intelligent boy growing up in Cuba, who got involved in the student council during the time of Batista, who he described as a “corrupt” and “oppressive” dictator.
“He joins a revolution,” said Cruz, “This boy at age 17 finds himself thrown in prison, finds himself tortured, beaten.” Cruz’s father would flee Cuba at age 18 and come to America.
“Imagine for one second, the hope in his heart,” continued Cruz, “coming to the one land on earth that has welcomed so many millions,” describing how his father had traveled by bus from Key West, Florida to Austin Texas, where he found a job washing dishes.
“Imagine a young married couple,” continued Cruz, talking about his parents in the 1970s, when their jobs had taken them to Calgary. “Neither has a personal relationship with Jesus,” they were drinking too much, and “living a fast life.” Cruz’s father would decide he did not want to be a husband or a father anymore and flew back to Texas, leaving his wife and three year old son behind.
However, when the elder Cruz got to Houston, a friend invited him to church. “And there my father gave his life to Jesus Christ,” said Cruz. “God transformed his heart,” he drove to the airport, bought a ticket, and flew back to be with his family.
“There are people who wonder if faith is real. I can tell you in my family, there is not a second of doubt,” said Cruz, who credits this faith for bringing his family back together.
Cruz then spoke about his wife, Heidi, telling how she had started a bread baking business with her brother as a child going on to a successful career in business.
“And then Heidi becomes my wife and my very best friend in the world, [and] an incredible mom to our two precious little girls, Caroline and Catherine, the joys and loves of our lives.”
Cruz then briefly touched on his teenage years, “learning about liberty” growing up in Houston, but then also seeing his family face challenges, as the family business goes bankrupt during the 1980s oil bust. Cruz described himself as “alone and scared,” far away from his family in school. He got two jobs at age 17 to help pay his way through school, and took out over one hundred thousand dollars in loans.”Loans I suspect a lot of you can relate to,” Cruz said the the collegiate audience. “Loans, I’ll point out, I just paid off a few years ago.”
“These are all our stories, these are who we are as Americans,” said Cruz. “And yet for so many Americans, the promise of America seems so far away.”
“Our rights they don’t come from man, they come from God Almighty,” continued Cruz, and allow people to come to this country with nothing but achieve everything.
Cruz then mentioned a historic event 240 years ago, when a 38 year old attorney named Patrick Henry stood up in Richmond, Virginia, just a few miles away from Liberty University, and gave his famous “Give me liberty, or give me death” speech.
Cruz asked the audience to imagine thousands of “courageous conservatives” standing up and saying “we demand our liberty.”
Today, more than half of evangelical Christians aren’t voting, Cruz said. Imagine instead, “millions of people of faith coming out to the polls and voting our values…millions of young people coming together and saying we will stand for liberty…think how different the world would be.”
Cruz then continued this theme of “imagine,” asking everyone to imagine instead of economic stagnation, growth, flourishing small businesses, and “young people coming out of school with four, five, six job offers” — another line that drew loud cheers from the college audience.
Monday marked another anniversary, said Cruz. Five years ago, President Obama signed Obamacare into law, he said, drawing boos from the crowd. He praised Liberty University for being one of the groups that filed suit against the law “within hours.”
Instead of the joblessness, the millions who are now working part time, lost insurance, who are paying higher premiums, continued Cruz, “imagine a new president in 2017 signing new legislation repealing every word of Obamacare.” Imagine health care reform that keeps government out of the relationship betwee you and your doctor and makes insurance “personal and portable and affordable.”
Instead of a tax code that puts burdens on families, “imagine a simple flat tax that lets every American fill out his or her taxes on a postcard…imagine abolishing the IRS,” said Cruz to cheers.
Instead of amnesty, “imagine a president that finally, finally, finally secures the borders.” Imagine a legal immigration system that “celebrates those who have come to achieve the American dream.”
Instead of government that goes after religious liberty, said Cruz, mentioning the litigation involving Hobby Lobby, the Little Sisters of the Poor, and Liberty University, “imagine a federal government that stands up for the religious rights of every American.”
“Imagine a government works to defend the sanctity of human life,” the Senator continued to cheers, “and to uphold the sacrament of marriage.”
Cruz’s remarks continued along these lines, asking the audience to imagine a federal government that respected the Second Amendment, protected the privacy rights of every American instead of seizing emails and cell phones, and that “embrac[ed] school choice as the civil rights issue of the next generation.”
“Every child in America has a right to a quality education,” said Cruz, regardless of race, wealth, or zip code. He advocated “repealing every word of Common Core, and supported an “all of the above” approach to school choice, including public, private, charter, home, parochial schools.
“Instead of a president how boycotts Prime Minister Netanyahu, imagine a president who stands unapologetically with the nation of Israel.” This line drew one of the loudest cheers of the morning and a standing ovation.
“Imagine a president who stands up and says we will defeat radical Islamic terrorism, and we will call it by its name.”
Cruz then asked the audience to imagine several key moments in American history: hearing Patrick Henry deliver his famous remarks in 1775, watching the signing of the Declaration of Independence in 1776, the incredible odds that General Washington’s troops were facing in 1777, dying in winter with no shoes, against the most powerful army in the world. Living through the Great Depression, with the world on the brink of war, as Franklin D. Roosevelt told America we had nothing to fear but fear itself.
Imagine it is 1989, continued Cruz, “and you and I are listening to Ronald Reagan” and he is saying that we will lower taxes, and end the economic stagnation, and “the very day he was sworn in, our hostages that were languishing in Iran would be released…within the decade,” we would win the Cold War and the Berlin Wall would be torn down.
“That would seem unimaginable, and yet, with the Grace of God, that’s exactly what happened,” said Cruz. “Compared to that, repealing Obamacare and abolishing the IRS ain’t all that tough.”
The power of the American people “knows no bounds,” he continued, and “God isn’t done with America yet.”
Cruz then made his official announcement: “I believe in you, I believe in the power of millions of courageous conservatives rising up to reignite the promise of America…and that is why today I am announcing that I am running for President of the United States,” as the crowd cheered, “Ted, Ted, Ted!”
“It is a time for truth. It is a time for liberty. It is a time to reclaim the Constitution of the United States.”
“I am honored to stand with each and every one of you, courageous conservatives, as we come together to reclaim the promise of America…for our children and our children’s children, we stand together for liberty.”
The answer will not come from Washignton, said Cruz, but from the American people, and “we will get back and restore that shining city on a hill that is the United States of America.”
“Thank you and God bless you!” the new Presidential candidate concluded. Cruz was then joined on stage by his wife, Heidi, who was wearing a classic pink suit and their two daughters, in dresses of a deeper pink, waving American flags as Aaron Tippin’s “Where the Stars and Stripes and the Eagle Fly” played.
This article has been updated.
Follow Sarah Rumpf on Twitter @rumpfshaker.