On Monday morning, presumed Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton gained an official opponent. Republican Senator Ted Cruz announced his presidential bid on Twitter just after midnight, writing, "I'm running for president and I hope to earn your support!" As 2016's first official major candidate, and a well-known hardline conservative, Cruz might be a long shot. Although the Texas senator has won over supporters from the far right, Cruz has said some pretty absurd things that will make it hard to win over virtually anyone else. Cruz's quotes give Bushisms a run for their money, which might not be the kind of run he's looking for as a presidential candidate.
Later on Monday, during his announcement speech at Liberty University in Virginia, Cruz appealed to his fellow right-wingers once again, telling the audience:
I believe in you. I believe in the power of millions of courageous conservatives rising up to re-ignite the promise of America.
He also spouted some of his signature right-wing ideology, suggesting that as president he would repeal Obamacare, dismantle the Internal Revenue Service, and "defend the sanctity of human life and uphold the sacrament of marriage."
While his ideas might please Tea Party conservatives and evangelical Christians, Cruz has been known to alienate the country's more moderate demographic, including within his own party. Leaning to either side of the political spectrum is already a precarious balancing act when mounting a campaign, but it's how Cruz vocalizes his uber-conservatism that will likely be his downfall.
Here are Cruz's nine most absurd quotes that should make you think twice before supporting him for 2016.
On Climate Change
In February 2014, Cruz said in an interview with CNN:
You know, back in the '70s — I remember the '70s, we were told there was global cooling. And everyone was told global cooling was a really big problem. And then that faded. And then we were told by Al Gore and others there was global warming and that was going to be a big problem. ... And the problem with climate change is there's never been a day in the history of the world in which the climate is not changing.
Cruz has no shortage of criticism for President Obama. In October 2013, Cruz told the audience at the Values Voter Summit in Washington, D.C. that Obama was violating the entire Bill of Rights (the first 10 amendments in the Constitution).
You look at our Constitution, you look at our Bill of Rights, this is an administration that seems bound and determined to violate every single one of our Bill or Rights. ... I don’t know that they’ve yet violated the Third Amendment, but I expect them to start quartering soldiers in people’s homes soon.
At a stop in Barrington, New Hampshire, last week, Cruz told the audience:
The Obama economy is a disaster, Obamacare is a trainwreck, and the Obama-Clinton foreign policy of leading from behind — the whole world is on fire.
That last bit scared a 3-year-old girl in the audience.
During his Senate run in 2011, Cruz told the conservative website The Daily Caller:
I think President Obama is the most radical president this nation’s ever seen. And in particular, I think he is a true believer in government control of the economy and of our everyday lives. In my judgment, we are facing what I consider to be the epic battle of our generation, quite literally the battle over whether we remain a free market nation.
But what Cruz loathes the most about the Obama administration seems to be Obamacare. In September 2013, he compared those who were reluctant to defund Obamacare to Nazi placaters. During a Senate floor speech, Cruz said:
If you go to the 1940s, Nazi Germany. Look, we saw in Britain, Neville Chamberlain, who told the British people, "Accept the Nazis. Yes, they'll dominate the continent of Europe but that's not our problem. Let's appease them. Why? Because it can't be done. We can't possibly stand against them."
That comparison is beyond extreme — pulling the Nazi card to discuss anything other than persecution and/or genocide is pretty tasteless.
In September 2014, Cruz compared the Obama administration's coalition plan to combat ISIS to social work. He told Fox News' Sean Hannity:
Look, it's not our job to be social workers in Iraq and put them all on expanded Medicaid. It is our job to kill terrorists who have declared war on America and who have demonstrated the intention and capability to murder innocent Americans.
On Net Neutrality
In November, Cruz used his comments opposing net neutrality as an opportunity to squeeze in a dig at Obamacare. He tweeted:
"Net Neutrality" is Obamacare for the Internet; the Internet should not operate at the speed of government.
In an interview with Fox News Sunday in 2012, Cruz emphasized his willingness to work with anyone on the economy, no matter their party... or species.
I am perfectly happy to compromise and work with anybody. Republicans, Democrats, Libertarians. I’ll work with Martians. If — and the if is critical — they're willing to cut spending and reduce the debt.
And at a subcommittee hearing on asteroids in March 2013, Cruz said:
I was disappointed that Bruce Willis was not available to be a fifth witness on the panel. There probably is no doubt that actually Hollywood has done more to focus attention on this issue than perhaps a thousand congressional hearings could do.
If that's what he believes, then maybe Hollywood is where he belongs. I'd so much rather Ted Cruz play a president than be president.
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