Cruz campaign swag

Conservative stars rally around Cruz

By Caroline Kenny

AMES, Iowa–With barely 48 hours to rally support before the Iowa caucuses, Ted Cruz surrounded himself Saturday with conservative luminaries who praised his Christian faith and lauded his devotion to the original intent of the Constitution.

Former Fox News host Glenn Beck likened the first-term Texas senator to George Washington. He said Cruz, 45, has lived and breathed the Constitution and will protect and defend the words and ideals of the founding fathers.

“I’ve never endorsed anybody in my life,” Beck said. “I didn’t trust anybody…Ted has done everything that he said he would.”

Beck was joined onstage by Rep. Steve King and former Iowa politician Bob Vander Plaats, director of The Family Leader and a staunch opponent of abortion and same-sex marriage. Actor Richard Dreyfuss waited backstage.

King echoed Beck’s sentiments. He said he has not endorsed a candidate in eight years, but stepped forward because Cruz’s beliefs align perfectly with his own.

One of the GOP’s fiercest opponents of illegal immigration, King praised Cruz for trustworthiness, his defense of the Constitution and strong religious beliefs, saying those qualities make him worthy to serve in the Oval Office.

“This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to nominate a candidate of this level,” King said. “He’s fought for conservative values his whole life. He has the character, the faith, the desire. We need a candidate to defend our Constitution.”

When Cruz took the stage, he listed several things he plans to do on his first day in office, including reversing President Barack Obama’s executive orders, opening an investigation into Planned Parenthood, and halting religious persecution.

“My third intention on my first day in office as president of the United States is to instruct the Department of Justice and the IRS and every other federal agency that the persecution of religious liberty ends today,” Cruz said.

Some of the loudest applause from the crowd of more than 200 came when Cruz quoted the Bible and cited scripture to explain how he will lead the country. When he quoted 2 Chronicles 7:14, which calls on Christians to pray, humble themselves and turn from their wicked ways, many members of the audience recited the lines from memory.

Cruz told Iowans in the room that he can win the state on Monday if each person in the room brings 10 people to caucus with them.

Although the Des Moines Register/Bloomberg poll released Saturday night showed Cruz trailing Donald Trump, the optimism of his supporter was evident.

“I’ve already got my 10 people. Actually we’ve got more than 100 ready to vote,” said Michael Bruce, an attendee. “The more, the merrier on caucus night.”

Photo at top: Attendees have an array of Cruz campaign gear to choose from at a rally in Ames (Caroline Kenny/MEDILL)