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Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by National Industries for the Blind - Schumer: Dem unity will happen eventually; Newsom prevails The Memo: Like the dress or not, Ocasio-Cortez is driving the conversation again Ocasio-Cortez defends attendance of Met Gala amid GOP uproar MORE (R-Texas) said Tuesday he has raised $1 million in the 36 hours since he officially launched his bid for the White House.
In an interview Tuesday night on the Fox News Channel, anchor Megyn Kelly challenged Cruz with criticism from some of his peers who say he’s too polarizing a figure to win a national race.
“If you want a quick indication of the support we’re seeing, the incredible grassroots support — it’s been 36 hours since we launched the campaign,” Cruz said. “In the first day, we raised over $1 million. In one day.”
Kelly pointed to a Politico story that ran Tuesday morning saying Cruz had raised only $500,000 in the 24 hours since his announcement at Liberty University on Monday morning.
“The number that was reported, half a million, that was only halfway through the day,” Cruz said. “It’s been a million bucks in the first day.”
It’s been a whirlwind two days for Cruz, who on Monday morning became the first potential Republican presidential contender to officially announce a bid for the White House.
He has been blanketing the airwaves introducing his family, criticizing President Obama, touting his record in the Senate and kicking back at early criticism from some on the right who say he’s too inexperienced and his style too abrasive for him to compete nationally.
Late Monday, The Wall Street Journal ran an op-ed negatively comparing Cruz to Obama, who also ran for president as a first-term senator. The Wall Street Journal said that, like Obama, Cruz is a first-term Senator “who disdains his colleagues and lacks executive experience.”
Cruz kicked back at that notion Tuesday night.
“There are marked differences between my background and Barack Obama’s,” Cruz said. “In his time in the Senate, he was basically a backbencher. … In my time in the Senate, there were a lot of faults I had, but nobody would accuse me of being a backbencher.”
“In the last two years, virtually nothing passed the Senate,” Cruz continued. “[Senate Minority Leader] Harry Reid and the Democrats basically shut the Senate down. But as a freshman senator, I had more legislation pass the Senate then all but a handful of Republicans.”
Cruz cited his opposition to ObamaCare, the president’s executive actions on immigration, and the ongoing negotiations between the White House and Iran over the country’s nuclear program as evidence he’s been at the forefront of conservative challenges to the Obama White House.
The Texas Republican also argued he brought more experience to the Senate than Obama had before he arrived in Washington.
“Unlike Barack Obama, before the Senate, I wasn’t a community organizer,” Cruz said. “I spent five and a half years as the solicitor general of Texas, the chief lawyer of the state, leading the state in appeals before the U.S. Supreme Court … and over and over again, we led and won national conservative fights.”
Cruz also kicked back at his colleague in the Senate, and potential Republican presidential foe in the primaries, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), who told Kelly the night before that he was more electable than Cruz because he’s looking to broaden the GOP’s appeal.
“When I got elected from the Senate in Texas, we saw a coalition come together — we reassembled the Reagan coalition, bringing together conservatives and Libertarians and evangelicals and Hispanics and Reagan Democrats,” Cruz said.
“In Texas, I won 40 percent of the Hispanic vote at the same time that Mitt Romney was getting clobbered with 27 percent of the Hispanic vote,” he added.
Cruz cited his fundraising haul as evidence his support will endure and his critics will be proven wrong.
“Now all the talking heads in Washington say, 'Cruz can’t raise money because the big lobbyists in Washington aren’t with him. He opposes corporate welfare; he opposes all of the crony capitalism,’ ” Cruz said. “Our campaign is based on courageous conservatives across this country … and that’s where we’re getting the support.”
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