Amid 2016 speculation, Cruz takes grassroots pitch to New Hampshire
POSTED: Saturday, August 24, 2013 - 5:48pm
UPDATED: Thursday, August 29, 2013 - 11:56am
New Hampshire (CNN) — (CNN) -- Sen. Ted Cruz wrapped up a week in the political spotlight headlining a political fundraiser Friday in New Hampshire, home to the traditional first primary contest in the race for the White House.
The Texas Republican, who is considered a possible contender for the 2016 GOP presidential nomination, was the main attraction at a reception for the New Hampshire Republican Party in Dublin, where he told a receptive crowd that changes in Washington were only possible through mobilizing grassroots activists around issues like defunding President Barack Obama's health care law.
And he singled out the state's freshman Sen. Kelly Ayotte, a Republican, as part of a class of lawmakers in Washington he termed the "children of Reagan," which he said also included Sens. Marco Rubio and Rand Paul - and, as a member of the audience hollered out, Cruz himself.
"Listen to them communicate," he said of his fellow lawmakers. "Listen to Kelly stand up and talk about new market principles. Listen to Marco. Listen to Rand. They're positive, hopeful, optimistic, unifying. Appealing to our better angels. They're echoes of Ronald Reagan. They're not mean, nasty, divisive, using wedge issues."
The Granite State drop-in was the latest in a string of visits to early voting states for Cruz. He's already made two visits this summer to Iowa, whose caucuses kick off the primary and caucus calendar, and in May was in South Carolina, which holds the first southern primary.
The New Hampshire fundraiser was held at the home of former Ambassador Joseph Petrone and his wife, Augusta. The longtime New Hampshire residents are known for their active engagement in Republican politics, and over the years have served as state chairs to presidential campaigns for Reagan, Bob Dole, George W. Bush and Rudy Giuliani.
The trip to New Hampshire concludes a busy week for Cruz, who also made headlines for his newly discovered Canadian citizenship and for getting heckled during a town hall in Houston.
The citizenship issue sprang up after the Dallas Morning News -- citing legal experts -- said Cruz's birthplace in Canada to an American mother makes him a dual U.S.-Canada citizen.
Later the senator declared he was ending any Canadian citizenship he may hold, though the actual process of renouncing Canadian citizenship involves a four-page application and a $100 fee.
Cruz, a leading architect of a plan that would put the government's finances on the line if President Barack Obama's health care plan isn't stripped of its funding, rallied supporters behind that proposal at a rally in Houston on Tuesday. The event was part of a week-long tour sponsored by the conservative group Heritage Action for America that features Cruz's father, Rafael Cruz, as a headliner.
The younger Cruz was interrupted three times by hecklers during his remarks, though each time he allowed the protesters to speak before continuing his anti-Obamacare address. The final heckler was drowned out by chants of "USA" from the crowd.
Cruz, along with fellow Republican Sens. Rubio and Mike Lee, has said he won't support a measure to continue financing the government if it includes funding for Obamacare. The current measure keeping the government funded expires September 30.
Some Republicans contest that tactic won't work, and will instead alienate some Obamacare opponents.
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