NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, who in a short time has built a solid but controversial record fighting President Obama on key issues, is challenging other Republicans eying the 2016 presidential race to prove they have “bled” opposing the White House.
Mocking candidates in past primary races for having an all-hat, no-cattle approach to key issues, Cruz is urging voters in primary and caucus states to challenge candidates to show where they have led on the policy battlefield.
“There are a lot of good men and women thinking about running in 2016 and we’ve been around the block before,” he said Friday before 4,000 NRA members gathered for the group’s 114th annual meeting. “We understand that in a Republican primary and everyone stands up and says, ‘Gosh diddley, I’m the most conservative guy who ever lived.’
“And somehow actions don’t always seem to follow those words,” added Cruz.The solution: Challenge every Republican to show their wounds. “For far too long politicians have said one thing and done another. Everyone of us should ask any candidate that shows up in front of you, ‘You say you believe these principles, show me. When have you stood up and fought for them, when have you bled for them, and what have you accomplished?'” he said to cheers.
Cruz, who has battled Obama on healthcare, immigration and gun rights, made the challenge as a way to show off his battle scars, an approach that won approval from the NRA group.
“You know,” he said, “I had a former boss who used to say, ‘If I’m ever accused of being a Christian, I’d like there to be enough evidence to convict me.’
“The same is true of being a conservative. In a Republican primary every candidate is going to stand up and say, ‘I oppose Obamacare.’ The question we ought to ask is, ‘Great, when have you stood up and fought to stop Obamacare!’ And every candidate is going to say they don’t support amnesty. Alright, great, ‘When have you stood up and fought the president’s illegal and unconstitutional executive action?'”
In pointing to his Washington record, he won a voice of support in the NRA crowd.
“This next election in 2016 is going to come down to a leader who will tell us the truth and will do what he says he will do,” said Cruz.
A person in crowd yelled, “That’s you!”
Paul Bedard, the Washington Examiner’s “Washington Secrets” columnist, can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.