In the 48 hours immediately following the GOP debate, Ted Cruz’s presidential campaign raised over a million dollars.  His performance during the debate included some significant comments directed at the moderators that resulted in the highest score pollster Frank Luntz has seen in his career conducting debate focus groups.

The Business Insider reports:

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) had arguably the most memorable moment from Wednesday night’s Republican primary debate on CNBC when he slammed the moderators.

But for Frank Luntz, the veteran GOP pollster who ran a focus group during the debate, the results were clear.

“I have been doing this since 1996 and tonight is a special moment. I’ve never tested — in any primary debate — a line that scored as well as this,” Luntz said after the debate on Fox News’ “The Kelly File.”

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The line in question:

“Let me say something at the outset: The questions that have been asked so far in this debate illustrate why the American people don’t trust the media,” Cruz said.

He then did a retelling of some of the moderators’ questions to the various candidates on stage.

“This is not a cage match,” he declared. “And you look at the questions: ‘Donald Trump, are you a comic-book villain? Ben Carson, can you do math? John Kasich, will you insult two people over here? Marco Rubio, why don’t you resign? Jeb Bush, why have your numbers fallen?’ How about talking about the substantive issues people care about!”


With such a successful debate, Cruz is now facing increased scrutiny about one issue that is important to Republican primary voters:  his accomplishments in the Senate (or to some, the lack thereof).

Special Report‘s Bret Baier posed the question as submitted via Twitter:

He begins his answer by noting that he “ain’t your guy” if you want someone who is fine with the status quo in Washington and will “go along to get along.”

Baier notes that Cruz has led fights against ObamaCare, Obama’s executive amnesty, and the EPA, yet these things are still around.  Cruz quickly points out that he led the fight against the Schumer, Rubio, et al.’s Gang of Eight and, standing alongside Jeff Sessions, effectively stopped amnesty.  Baier responds, “so a block is a legislative win?”

Cruz goes on to note that he was instrumental in blocking gun control legislation after the Sandy Hook shooting, and he points out that he successfully fought against Obama’s move to ban all flights to Israel by pointing out that this would effectively be an economic boycott.


Asked how he can work with Congress given that he is seen as a divisive figure in Washington, Cruz points out that anyone who is not divisive has never stood against the status quo in Washington:  “that’s how  you are not divisive, you don’t ever take principled stands on anything.”

He then goes on to note that President Reagan was initially loathed by the GOP establishment because he primaried Gerald Ford in 1976.  Indeed, Reagan refused establishment GOP appeals to drop out in order to “unite the party.”   Reagan, Cruz says, changed Congress and changed Washington because he “took his case to the American people,” a strategy that Cruz adopted early on.


You can watch the entire interview here.

It remains to be seen whether or not Republican primary voters will think that blocking bad legislation is an accomplishment or if they believe that he can amass the type of grassroots support that made Reagan such an effective leader, but if his fundraising and rising poll numbers are any indication, it would seem that many already do.


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