Ted Cruz

People Who Love Ted Cruz Assure Us 'He Is One Of The Most Likeable People You Will Ever Meet'

On his radio program today, Glenn Beck sat down with Drew Ryun, political director of the pro-Ted Cruz Trusted Leadership super PAC, where they assured everyone that the notoriously universally hated Republican presidential candidate is actually really nice and funny and well-liked.

Young people, in particular, love Cruz, Ryun asserted, because "he is one of the most likeable people you will ever meet" and "he resonates with them."

Beck was in complete agreement, saying that young people on his staff are constantly telling him that Cruz "is the nicest guy [they have] ever seen, and funny."

In a Washington Post poll released yesterday, 50 percent of young adults and 53 percent of voters overall had an unfavorable opinion of Cruz.

We Agree With Glenn Beck: It's Weird To Think That His Good Friend Ted Cruz Might Become President

Earlier this week, Glenn Beck broadcast his radio program from home because his good friend Ted Cruz was visiting, hanging out and using Beck's home to shoot footage for his presidential campaign.

As Beck noted when he returned to the studio the following day, it's pretty weird that someone who might become the president was just hanging out in Beck's kitchen.

"Yesterday, I had the opportunity to sit with Ted Cruz," Beck stated, "and it was really a remarkable day. At one point, they were shooting some things for the campaign, they used my yard to shoot some things outside and I was standing there, I'm watching the crew work and they're working on the language in his speech and everything else and I'm just standing back on the driveway and I'm just watching this thing happen and I look at my wife and I said, 'I can't believe that the guy who might possibly be the president of the United States is at our house, is on our lawn."

"It was just bizarre," he stated. "I've been friends with him for a while, but it's weird to think that this guy might now be the president of the United States and you know him. And so he was walking back into the house and I said, 'Ted, I don't mean to be weird here, but it's really weird to think that you might the president of the United States and you're in my kitchen.'"

We couldn't agree more.

Cruz Dodges Personhood Question: 'I'm Not Going To Get Into The Labels'

Back in February, we wondered what exactly Ted Cruz’s position on the anti-abortion strategy of fetal “personhood" was. At a campaign stop in Iowa, Cruz said that he hasn’t “supported personhood legislation,” but over the past several years the Texas senator had made several statements supportive of personhood laws and amendments, which would outlaw all abortion and could even jeopardize some forms of birth control.

True to form, when Cruz was asked directly about his stance on “personhood” today, he dodged the question, saying that he didn’t want to talk about “labels.”

Eliza Collins at Politico reports that according to a partial transcript of an interview with MSNBC’s Chuck Todd that will be broadcast tonight, Cruz was not eager to clarify his views about the issue:

Pointing to the Texas senator's past history of wavering before eventually signing a pledge promising to support a personhood amendment to the Constitution in 2015, Todd asked, “Where are you on personhood? Are you going to pursue this as an agenda or are you just simply supporting the idea? Do you know what I mean by the difference?”

“Well listen, some of the labels in this debate can get confusing because different people mean different things about labels. I don’t want to get in a back and forth on labels,” Cruz responded. “I believe every human life is a gift from God and we should cherish and protect and celebrate them.”

Cruz … declined to answer when pressed if he thinks IUDs, which some conservatives oppose, are an acceptable form of contraceptive.

Todd then returned to personhood, asking: "Are you going to pursue it as an addendum?”

“I told you I’m not going to get into the labels, but what I will say is we should protect life. But I’m not interested in anything that restricts birth control. And I’m not interested in anything that restricts in vitro fertilization because I think parents who are struggling to create life, to have a child, that is a wonderful thing,” Cruz said, dodging further questions from Todd.

“Well, no one is questioning whether you’re pro-life. This is a different. That’s why I’m asking. Would you pursue this?” Todd asked again.

“I will happily support anything that protects life. And protecting life is a value that matters. Whether it is stopping partial birth abortion, which I think is a barbarism. Or whether it is fairly enforcing the criminal laws against Planned Parenthood. You know, a few months ago, we had this series of videos that were horrifying,” Cruz said.

Cruz is correct to say that the “personhood” label can “mean different things”… but he has in the past endorsed nearly every one of those different meanings.

One “personhood” strategy is to pass an amendment to the U.S. Constitution declaring that personhood begins at conception, which would not only overturn Roe v. Wade but would actively outlaw abortion nationwide; Cruz endorsed that strategy when he signed a pledge for a Georgia anti-abortion group last year.

Another strategy is to pass statewide “personhood” amendments, which would create challenges to Roe v. Wade in the courts; Cruz endorsed that strategy in a video address he recorded in South Carolina in February.

“Personhood” can also mean the dubious effort to bypass Roe v. Wade by simply passing federal legislation declaring that embryos and fetuses are “persons” under the Constitution; Cruz said last year that such a strategy would “absolutely” work.

So, Cruz has pledged to support a federal amendment, praised state-level amendments, and endorsed a federal legislative strategy all aimed at establishing legal “personhood” for zygotes and fetuses, but also says that he has never “supported personhood legislation.”

It’s no wonder he doesn’t want to talk about labels.

Right Wing Round-Up - 4/13/16

Glenn Beck Claims That Ted Cruz 'Chewed Out' His Staff For Allowing Him To Appear At Kevin Swanson's 'Kill The Gays' Rally

Earlier today, we wrote a post pointing out that Republican presidential hopeful Ted Cruz is not being honest about his response to his attendance last year at a conference organized by radical anti-gay activist Kevin Swanson, falsely claiming that he was not aware of Swanson's views before he attended and that he immediately denounced them once he learned about them.

This is nonsense, as Swanson's views were well documented long before Cruz attended the rally and Cruz himself was directly confronted about them by CNN's Jake Tapper the day before he spoke alongside Swanson. Both Cruz and his father, Rafael Cruz, nonetheless agreed to appear at the conference and then his campaign proceeded to dismiss any criticism of his decision.

Ben Carson, on the other hand, reportedly dropped out of the conference because of Swanson's notorious extremism.

Now, Cruz is attempting to rewrite history and, in doing so, apparently lying to Glenn Beck's face about it.

On his radio show today, Beck revealed that Cruz was at Beck's home yesterday for several hours, just hanging out and shooting footage for campaign commercials, when Beck's daughter asked him about his decision to appear at Swanson's rally.

Beck was obviously only vaguely familiar with the controversy, judging by the fact that he wrongly claimed that it took place in Ohio (it was in Iowa) and falsely said that Swanson made his outrageous remarks defending the death penalty for homosexuality the day before Cruz even spoke at the rally (actually, Swanson made the case twice; once just before Cruz spoke and again the day after.)

According to Beck, when his daughter asked Cruz about his participation, Cruz declared that Swanson and his views are "reprehensible" and that he "chewed [his] staff out" for allegedly not knowing about Swanson's views and for allowing him to appear at Swanson's conference.

Beck reported that Cruz told his daughter that "not only did I not know that, I think that was absolutely reprehensible, bigoted, despicable, I want nothing to do with him or any kind of alliances to people like that."

In our post this morning, we noted that Beck himself declared just last week that he had never seen Cruz lie in either his public or his private life.

Well, now Beck has seen Cruz do both, because Cruz was directly informed of Swanson's views on national television the day before the conference and openly dismissed any concerns about appearing with him. If nobody on the Cruz campaign was aware of Swanson's extreme views, it is only because they didn't bother to check since Swanson's long history of unrepentant bigotry has been well documented

Cruz Endorser John Zmirak: LGBT People 'Fundamentally Dissatisfied With The Way God Made Them'

Conservative columnist John Zmirak, whose endorsement Ted Cruz proudly posted on his presidential campaign website last month, reacted last week to a controversial anti-trans law in North Carolina by writing a column titled “There’s a Bearded Trannie in the Stall Next to Your Daughter and You’d Better Learn to Like It.”

Zmirak’s perceptive thoughts on this issue naturally earned him invitations from a few conservative radio hosts to discuss it further. In an interview yesterday with Steve Deace, an influential Iowa radio host and fellow Cruz supporter, Zmirak insisted that laws targeting transgender people won’t affect transgender people as long as they “make some attempt to alter their appearance.” He also claimed that the “gay lobby” will never be satisfied because they’re “fundamentally dissatisfied with the way God made them.”

“It boils down to this,” Zmirak said. “The gay lobby will never be satisfied. They cannot be satisfied because they’re fundamentally dissatisfied with the way God made them. They are in rebellion and they’re in permanent rebellion. It is literally impossible to satisfy the gay lobby because even if you give them everything they want, they will be just as miserable and just as angry, because it’s not about politics, it’s about them struggling and suffering because their lifestyles are out of accord with natural law.”

He went on to claim that a law like North Carolina’s wouldn’t actually affect transgender people. “Of the people who identify as transgender,” he said, “most of them make some attempt to alter their appearance so that really nobody would know their sex going into the bathroom. They’re wearing a wig, you know, maybe that’s just an ugly woman. So these bills, these laws that make bathrooms gender neutral are designed specifically for men who dress as men to go into the women’s room, women who dress as women to go into the men’s room. What is that about? It’s about undermining the idea of heteronormativity.”

LGBT people, he said, “can’t stand the fact that they’re 2 percent of the population, they want to convince us that they’re actually 30 or 40 percent, that everyone’s secretly a little gay, and that is to assuage their sense of guilt, their sense that they are violating natural law. Natural law is the law that God wrote on our hearts, which even pagans, if they use their reason, can see.”

In a separate interview with Pennsylvania talk radio host Bobby Gunther Walsh on Monday, Zmirak said that the LGBT movement is pushing its messages in schools because “they want to make sure that as many people end up gay as possible,” which he said showed the movement’s “incredible intolerance.”

Glenn Beck Claims That He Has 'Never Seen Ted Cruz Lie.' Well, Allow Us To Show You

On his television show last Thursday, Glenn Beck spoke with a woman in his studio audience who was frustrated that she has been unable to convince her friends to support Ted Cruz for president and was seeking advice from Beck on how best to respond to their claims that all politicians are liars who cannot be trusted.

Beck, who is close personal friends with Cruz, assured her that unlike all other politicians, Cruz never lies.

"I have never seen Ted Cruz lie. Never," Beck told her. "I've not seen the man lie; not personally or professionally have I seen him be anything but 100 percent straight up."

Allow us to call Beck's attention to our post from yesterday in which Cruz repeatedly lied about his appearance at last year's National Religious Liberties Conference in Iowa that was hosted and organized by anti-gay extremist Kevin Swanson.

Swanson's extremist views and his belief that gays should be put to death were well-known and publicized before Cruz and other Republican presidential hopefuls attended the conference and Cruz himself was confronted about his participation by CNN's Jake Tapper the day before he was scheduled to appear.

Cruz dismissed Tapper's concerns and appeared on stage with Swanson at his conference and then, when others in the media tried to get Cruz to explain his participation, his campaign dismissed them as well. At one point, Cruz's campaign spokesman told MSNBC's Rachel Maddow that Swanson's repeated calls to impose the death penalty for homosexuality from the stage were simply "not explicit" enough for the campaign bother commenting on or condemning.

Finally, a month after he participated in the conference and cozied up to Swanson, the Cruz campaign quietly acknowledged that it may have been a mistake for the Texas senator to participate.

But, as Miranda reported yesterday, that is not the tale that Cruz is telling now, as he's falsely claiming that he was unaware of Swanson's views before attending and that he publicly denounced those views once he learned about them.

"He was an individual I didn’t know, I'd never met him," Cruz said of Swanson. "I went to a conference on religious liberty because it is an issue I care very much about. After the conference, his comments were drawn to my attention and I denounced them at the time, I think they're wrong, I totally disagree with them. I didn’t know this fellow and when I saw what he said, I came out publicly and said I disagree with what he’s saying."

Cruz's claim that he was unaware of Swanson's views before attending his conference and that he immediately and publicly denounced them as soon as he learned of them are both unequivocal and demonstrable lies.

So if Glenn Beck wants to continue to insist that he's never heard his good friend Ted Cruz openly lie in either his personal or political life, we'd love to hear him explain this ... along with several of Cruz's other falsehoods and bogus claims.

Did NOM Lower Standards For 'Marriage Champion' Cruz?

Before the 2012 election, the National Organization for Marriage released a marriage pledge and badgered Republican presidential candidates to sign it. NOM has done the same thing this time around, but there are telling differences between the two pledges.

In fact, NOM’s favored 2016 candidate, Ted Cruz, could not have signed the pledge from four years ago. As we’ve reported, Cruz signed NOM’s current marriage pledge and won the group’s endorsement. He was able to sign the new version thanks to a slight change in wording that seems designed to make the pledge palatable to Cruz while not calling attention to NOM’s retreat from a key demand made of 2012 candidates.

The first element of that pledge, which was released in 2011, was: “Support an amendment to the United States Constitution defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman.” NOM’s key demand was very clear: a constitutional amendment that would override state marriage equality laws as well as any court rulings in favor of marriage equality, much like the Federal Marriage Amendment proposed by President Bush.

But the equivalent first plank of this election’s marriage pledge, which NOM released last summer, is a vow to “support a federal constitutional amendment that protects marriage as the union of one man and one woman.” Defines became protects. That word change apparently gave Cruz enough wiggle room to sign the pledge even though the constitutional amendment he favors would not enshrine a federal definition of marriage as a man and a woman, but would allow each state to make its own laws about marriage, overturning the Supreme Court’s marriage equality decision.

NOM praises Cruz for sponsoring what it now says is “one of our key objectives” — “an amendment to the U.S. Constitution restoring the right of states to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman.” In a December 9 press release announcing its endorsement, the group called Cruz “someone we can absolutely count on to fight to restore marriage to our nation’s laws and defend the religious liberty of the tens of millions of Americans who believe that marriage is the union of one man and one woman.” NOM pledged to do “everything in their power to support his election.”

Cruz seemingly tries to downplay the intensity of his opposition to LGBT equality when campaigning in places like New York and California. The newly nebulous language of NOM’s pledge allows him to continue telling anti-LGBT activists that their issues are a priority for him while insisting to less socially conservative audiences that his marriage equality opposition is grounded in a belief in states’ rights.

Along with the demand for a constitutional definition of marriage, the most recent pledge drops a couple of other planks: that a candidate defend the Defense of Marriage Act in court — moot after the Supreme Court struck down DOMA’s key provision; and a pledge to “support legislation that would return to the people of D.C. their right to vote for marriage” — which reflected Religious Right outrage at the time that district officials and courts rejected a referendum on D.C.’s marriage equality law as a violation of its Human Rights Act. 

The two pledges include some similar provisions, including a promise to appoint judges and an attorney general who will uphold the “original meaning” of the Constitution and to support investigations of harassment of traditional marriage supporters. The pledge Cruz signed this time around also commits him to working to review “regulatory, administrative and executive actions taken by the current Administration that have the effect of undermining marriage” and “working to restore our policies to be consistent with the proper understanding of marriage as the union of one man and one woman.”

It is worth noting that the pledge Cruz signed calls for support of the so-called First Amendment Defense Act, the federal version of the “religious liberty” laws being promoted at the state level to give legal protections to people and organizations that discriminate against same-sex couples. And it would be interesting to hear a reporter ask Cruz what he means by pledging to “prevent the promotion of a redefined version of marriage in public schools and other government entities.”


Does Ted Cruz's Religious Liberty Message Include Muslims?

Last week, BuzzFeed released a story about how Muslims in Tennessee have faced a rash of threats, vandalism, hate crimes and, in at least one case, a firebombing. Buzzfeed notes that the state “became a key battleground in a national anti-Muslim movement whose influence has culminated, for now, in the presidential campaigns of Republican frontrunners Donald Trump and Ted Cruz, both of whom are being advised by people whose views on Islam were once considered too extreme for mainstream politics.”

One of the advisers BuzzFeed mentions is Frank Gaffney, president of the Center for Security Policy, whose group’s material was cited by Trump when he called for Muslims to be banned from the country and who has since emerged as an official adviser to Cruz on security issues. Cruz has defended Gaffney as “a serious thinker” and once claimed that “Sharia law is an enormous problem” in the United States.

Buzzfeed recounts Gaffney’s effort, along with another future Cruz campaign leader, Kevin Kookogey, to smear a state government official who was Muslim:

In 2012, Tennessee’s Republican governor, Bill Haslam, appointed a young lawyer named Samar Ali to the state’s economic development agency. The hiring caused a furious backlash, with several local and national figures claiming Ali had been brought on to make Tennessee “Sharia-compliant.” Many of the accusations came from the Center for Security Policy, a major anti-Muslim group run by former Reagan-era defense official Frank Gaffney. A resolution to condemn Ali’s hiring was pushed by Kevin Kookogey, who was then the chairman of the Williamson County Republican Party and is now the Tennessee chairman of Ted Cruz’s campaign. Gaffney is now one of Cruz’s foreign-policy advisers.

The furor gave Ali a sharp sense of whiplash. She was born and raised in Nashville, the daughter of Palestinian and Syrian immigrants, and she describes her childhood as “almost Pollyannish.” She considered herself a patriot. “I took an oath of office to uphold the U.S. constitution,” she says. Yet there she stood, publicly accused of belonging to a jihadist fifth column. “It was a very painful experience.”

Gaffney’s group said that Ali would bring “financial jihadists” into “the Volunteer state for infiltration and influence operations,” warning that “someone in a powerful position on the inside of the halls of power in the state can only be viewed as an opportunity for those who seek to embed Shariah law into America’s financial system.”

Gaffney also testified on behalf of a group that sought to block the construction of a mosque in the town of Murfreesboro.

According to the Associated Press, the lawyer representing the mosque opponents argued that the mosque was part of “a conspiracy to take over America” and “replace the Constitution with extremist Islamic law” and questioned “whether the world’s second-biggest faith qualifies as a religion” protected by the First Amendment. The Justice Department had to take the unusual step of filing a brief affirming that Islam is in fact a religion.

“Gaffney testified that Shariah, and by extension the new mosque, poses a threat to America,” the AP reported.

“I don’t hold myself out as an expert on Sharia Law,” Gaffney said. “But I have talked a lot about that as a threat.”

“Any elected official responsible for their community should be concerned about their presence,” he told the court. (Following the hearing, Gaffney alleged to reporters that President Obama’s security adviser John Brennan — now the director of the CIA — was committing felony sedition because of his views on Islam.)

When the mosque opponents failed to prohibit the establishment of the Murfreesboro mosque, they asked the county government to seize the building as a threat to public safety, citing Gaffney’s testimony that it could be used to spread terrorism.

While this lawsuit was once seen as bizarre and unusual, its message has been embraced by those close to Cruz. And not just Gaffney.

In fact, the arguments that the Murfreesboro mosque opponents made are very similar to those put forward by Cruz national security adviser Jerry Boykin, who has said that “Islam is not a religion and does not deserve First Amendment protections” and wants “no mosques in America,” and by Cruz adviser Andy McCarthy, who has similarly stated that the government should not treat Islam as a religious faith.

The chairman of Cruz’s “religious liberty advisory council,” Tony Perkins, has similarly stated that Islam is not a religion protected by the Constitution.

It is no wonder, then, that Cruz, who has made specious tales of anti-Christian discrimination and warnings about dire threats to religious liberty central pieces of his campaign, just recently called for the government to profile Muslims and “patrol and secure Muslim neighborhoods.”

Ted Cruz Downplays Marriage Equality Opposition In California

In an interview yesterday with the “John and Ken Show,” a Southern California talk radio program, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, downplayed his opposition to marriage equality, saying that “of course” there should be no nationwide definition of marriage.

Cruz is currently sponsoring a constitutional amendment that would allow states to ban gay people from marrying and has repeatedly said that he believes marriage law should be a state issue. However, like he did when speaking to New York funders last year, in the California interview Cruz downplayed his culture-war rhetoric about marriage, saying that states are free to adopt marriage laws “that reflect the values of the citizens of that state.”

“Well, listen, I’m a constitutionalist, and under the Constitution marriage is a question for the states,” he said. “It shouldn’t be five unelected judges in Washington setting public policy for the whole country. If someone wants to change the marriage laws of their state, there’s a way to do it under the Constitution, which is you convince your fellow citizens to change the marriage laws.”

“But isn’t marriage so intrinsic and important that we should have a nationwide standard on it, don’t you think?” one of the hosts asked Cruz.

“Of course not,” he responded. “There are no nationwide marriage laws.”

As Brian noted last year after Cruz’s New York remarks, while the senator tells everyone that he wants to return marriage decisions to the states, he presents his case in remarkably different ways to different audiences:

The Texas senator also joined Rick Santorum, Ben Carson and then-presidential candidate Bobby Jindal in signing the group’s presidential pledge , vowing to work towards banning same-sex marriage, to order government offices to “restore our policies to be consistent with the proper understanding of marriage as the union of one man and one woman” and “prevent the promotion of a redefined version of marriage in public schools and other government entities.”

Cruz has told Religious Right outlets that gay marriage would pose a “real threat” to “our liberties,” usher in the end of free speech , and lead to such immense religious persecution that civil disobedience would be needed. He even once alleged that the gay rights movement is waging “jihad” against freedom and likened the Supreme Court’s marriage equality ruling to “Nazi decrees.”

During a November conference call with anti-gay activists, Cruz promised “to defend marriage on every front” against the “lawless” and “illegitimate” Supreme Court decision. Cruz even went as far as saying that he would direct the federal government not to recognize the Obergefell ruling: “We will not use the federal government to enforce this lawless decision that is a usurpation of the authority of we the people in this country.”

Cruz Tries To Rewrite History, Claims He 'Denounced' Radical 'Kill-The-Gays' Pastor

Last year, Sen. Ted Cruz, his father Rafael Cruz, and two of his then-rivals in the Republican presidential race attended a “religious liberty” conference in Iowa hosted by Kevin Swanson, a radical pastor who had a long record of viciously anti-gay rhetoric, which he continued at the conference itself by expounding at length about his view that the Bible commands governments to put gay people to death.

Before the conference, we publicized Swanson’s history — including his discussions of the death penalty for gay people — leading one Republican presidential candidate, Ben Carson, to drop out of the conference.

A few days before the conference, CNN’s Jake Tapper read Cruz a few of Swanson’s statements and asked him about the wisdom of appearing alongside Swanson. Cruz claimed ignorance about Swanson and then dodged the question.

Cruz went ahead to the conference, where he joined Swanson for one-on-one discussion. On the same stage that weekend, Swanson went on several unhinged rants about gay peopleHarry Potter and wildfires.

Immediately after the conference, MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow ran a segment about Cruz’s participation. When a Des Moines Register reporter asked the Cruz campaign for a comment, she got no answer.

Then, three weeks later, Maddow ran another segment about Cruz’s participation in the conference and finally got a statement out of his campaign about it. A Cruz spokesman, in response to a video of Swanson screaming about the death penalty for gay people, told Maddow that Swanson’s calls for the execution of gay people were “not explicit" enough for the campaign to even bother commenting on or condemning him.

Then, finally, one full month after Swanson’s conference, a Cruz spokesman quietly told USA Today that “it was a mistake for Senator Cruz to appear at the event” given Swanson’s “offensive comments.”

But that is not the story that Cruz told the “John and Ken Show,” a California talk radio program, when he was asked about his attendance at the conference yesterday. Instead, Cruz claimed that he was unaware of Swanson’s views before attending and falsely asserted that he “denounced them at the time,” once he learned about them.

“He was an individual I didn’t know, I’d never met him,” Cruz said of Swanson. “I went to a conference on religious liberty because it is an issue I care very much about. After the conference, his comments were drawn to my attention and I denounced them at the time, I think they're wrong, I totally disagree with them. I didn’t know this fellow and when I saw what he said, I came out publicly and said I disagree with what he’s saying.”

“We need to be bringing people together and we need to be standing up for the rights of every American, that’s what I’ve done in the Senate and that’s what I’ll do as president,” he added.

For the record, here is a clip of Cruz’s conversation with Swanson in which he insisted that "any president who doesn't begin every day on his knees isn't fit to be commander-in-chief of this nation":

“I stand unequivocally with Kim Davis,” Cruz told Swanson, referring to the Kentucky county clerk who had attempted to prevent her office from issuing marriage licenses following the Supreme Court's marriage equality decision. He added that the Supreme Court's ruling was “fundamentally illegitimate” and lavished praise on Swanson for publicizing “the threat” it posed to Christians’ liberties.

Keep in mind that this conversation took place after Cruz had been repeatedly warned about Swanson’s views and after Swanson himself had on the same stage announced that homosexuality is “worthy of death." 

Cruz & Backers Exploit Broken Campaign Finance System

“Emergency: Ted Cruz under attack” declares the urgent subject line in Monday morning’s email. “The attacks from Donald Trump and the establishment are absolutely blistering,” reads the letter begging for contributions, “and Ted Cruz urgently needs our help to lock up this nomination.”

Really? Hasn’t the “establishment” been busy easing Cruz’s path to the nomination by trying to derail Donald Trump? Never mind. “With the continued support of grassroots patriots like us, Ted is well on his way to securing the necessary delegates and winning the nomination.”

This fundraising pitch did not come from the Cruz campaign, but from one of the growing army of super PACs working to get him elected. The “grassroots patriots” behind this particular super PAC, Keep the Promise III, are fracking billionaires Dan and Farris Wilks, who along with their wives gave $15 million to get the super PAC going. Keep the Promise III also goes by the name “Reigniting the Promise.”

Cruz’s presidential bid is benefitting from the no-holds-barred campaign finance system created by the Supreme Court’s conservative majority, which trashed previous campaign finance regulations in Citizens United and other rulings. Those rulings gave rise to the creation of super PACs, which are allowed to take contributions of unlimited size.

Super PACs are only permitted by law to make independent expenditures. They are not allowed to coordinate with campaigns. But thanks to loose rules and enforcement by the perpetually gridlocked Federal Election Commission, Cruz and the super PACs supporting him have made a mockery of those rules.

Last week the Washington Post reported that super PACs are no longer just raising money and buying ads, but are actually taking over operations traditionally performed by candidates’ campaign committees, like holding pre-election rallies featuring the candidate. Cruz super PACs have, the Post reported, been “effectively serving as an extension of Cruz’s official campaign, hosting major rallies for him from South Carolina to Utah.”

The tactic serves to offload costs onto the super PAC, which has been financed by six-figure checks from wealthy Cruz supporters — allowing Cruz to harbor his resources for a drawn-out Republican nomination battle with front-runner Donald Trump.

How is this possible given rules against coordination? Cruz supporters say the candidate is simply invited to appear at the events as a “special guest,” which his campaign lawyers say is good enough to meet flimsy campaign finance rules. But Larry Noble of the nonpartisan Campaign Legal Center told the Post, “It’s one thing to have a candidate appear at something billed as a super PAC fundraiser. What this has morphed into is the super PAC putting on campaign events, and that is illegal.”

It’s actually hard to keep track of all the Cruz-supporting super PACs. There’s a family of four separate but affiliated super PACs operating under the Keep the Promise name – all funded by wealthy individuals, one of them now run by discredited Christian-nationalist “historian” David Barton. In December the Sunlight Foundation counted eight pro-Cruz super PACs. Since then, former Texas governor Rick Perry helped launch Keep the Promise to Veterans, and some of the same people behind the Keep the Promise super PACs decided that Cruz needed yet another one, and the Trusted Leadership PAC was born.

Politico reported in February that five of the major Cruz super PACs had spent $10.5 million in January and had $25.6 million cash on hand at the end of that month. Since then they’ve been spending heavily and the new Trusted Leadership PAC is meant to replenish the coffers for all the delegate battles between now and the convention. Cruz also benefits from super PAC spending that is aimed at denying Trump the delegates he needs to win the nomination.

The super PACs wield their muscle in a variety of ways. Last month Keep the Promise hosted a campaign rally for Cruz in Arizona, and the super PAC denied access to a reporter from the Phoenix New Times because a KTP official said the paper writes “hit pieces on Republicans.”

Cruz Promotes Support of Demon-Hunting, Anti-Gay Exorcist State Legislator Gordon Klingenschmitt

This weekend Sen. Ted Cruz announced the support of demon-hunting, anti-gay exorcist and Colorado state Rep. Gordon Klingenschmitt as part of his Colorado Leadership Team, stating “I am honored to have the support of so many courageous conservatives in Colorado.”

People For the American Way (PFAW) has long tracked the shocking and downright bizarre anti-Obama, anti-women, and anti-LGBT comments of Rep. Klingenschmitt. He was mocked on the Daily Show just last week for his comments against transgender people, and he’s been criticized by his fellow Republican lawmakers for his outrageous remarks, including his claim that a vicious attack on a pregnant woman in Colorado was caused by the “curse of God upon America” for legal abortion. An overview of Klingenschmitt’s extremism, including videos, is here from Right Wing Watch, a project of PFAW.

“Cruz’s choice to align with Klingenschmitt, who has been repeatedly denounced even by members of his own party, shows how dangerous a Ted Cruz presidency would be to most Americans,” said PFAW President Michael Keegan. “Even among far-right activists, Klingenschmitt’s comments stand out. Rep. Klingenschmitt has declared that ‘demonic spirits’ rule President Obama, that God cursed America for legal abortion through a brutal attack on a pregnant woman, and that teaching children about marriage equality subjects children to ‘rape, at least in their mind.’ Cruz’s decision to advertise his association with Klingenschmitt shows just how ugly his own extreme anti-gay agenda as president would be.”

Klingenschmitt is only the latest in a long list of endorsements and partnerships that Cruz has fostered with far-right extremists. For example, Cruz’s pro-life co-chair, Troy Newman, has written that God is punishing America for failing to institute the death penalty for abortion providers. Cruz has campaigned alongside Kevin Swanson, who believes a just government would execute gay people. Cruz has also touted the support of Mike Bickle, who believes that God sent Hitler as a “hunter” for the Jewish people.  For more information or to schedule an interview about the leaders and activists Cruz has engaged for his campaign, please email media@pfaw.org.

People For the American Way is a progressive advocacy organization founded to fight right-wing extremism and defend constitutional values including free expression, religious liberty, equal justice under the law, and the right to meaningfully participate in our democracy.


Ted Cruz Is 'Honored' To Have The Support Of Colorado's Demon-Hunting, Anti-Gay Exorcist State Legislator Gordon Klingenschmitt

We have noted several times before that there seems to be no activist who is too extreme to be embraced by Ted Cruz's presidential campaign, so we were not particularly surprised when the Texas senator recently announced that infamous demon-hunting, anti-gay exorcist/state legislator Gordon Klingenschmitt would be part of his Colorado leadership team.

Cruz Advisers: Obama Using 'White Privilege And Nonsense Like That' To Weaken The Military

The Center for Security Policy’s Frank Gaffney and the Family Research Council’s Jerry Boykin, both national security advisors to Sen. Ted Cruz, discussed on Gaffney’s radio program yesterday how they believe President Obama is, perhaps intentionally, weakening the military by allowing women in combat and training troops on what Boykin called “white privilege and nonsense like that.”

Gaffney asked Boykin if he thought that “the policies that the president has been pursuing” that he claimed have “diminished the readiness” of the military are “designed to have that effect” or if it’s just a coincidence.

Boykin responded that while he “can’t answer what this administration is thinking,” it’s “certainly a possibility” that the president is intentionally weakening the military.

He contrasted the recent capture of an American boat in Iranian waters to the Vietnam era, when “to get a statement out of a POW that was being held in Hanoi, you had to beat that man almost to the point of killing him.”

“Frank, what’s happened to our military?” he asked. “Now, I’ll tell you what part of it is. They have not spent their time being trained on the code of conduct. They’ve spent their time being trained on tolerance and inclusion.”

“Diversity, sensitivity, and white privilege,” Gaffney said derisively.

“Yeah, that’s right,” Boykin said, “on white privilege and nonsense like that. That’s where they spend their training time. I get feedback from military people all the time. 'Sir, we spent the entire week doing nothing but classroom training on tolerance and integrating women into the infantry.' And, I mean, Frank, we’re wasting precious training time at a time when our enemies are growing stronger and we’re growing weaker.”

Earlier in the interview, Boykin and Gaffney took aim at one of their favorite targets, the Southern Poverty Law Center, which Boykin called “probably, next to the Muslim Brotherhood, the most evil group in America.”

The two also revealed that in February Boykin presented Gaffney with the “George Washington Leadership Award” on behalf of the Council for National Policy, a secretive conservative umbrella group that is currently led by Family Research Council President Tony Perkins.

Glenn Beck Says Nobody Can Understand The Moses-Like Burden That Ted Cruz Carries

Glenn Beck is not just a passionate defender of Ted Cruz's presidential campaign, but he is also close personal friends with the Texas senator, with whom he is regularly in contact.

On his television program last night, Beck told his studio audience that he sent Cruz and his wife Heidi a note of support over Easter weekend in the wake of a report in the National Enquirer alleging that Cruz had engaged in several adulterous affairs.

Beck explained that he sent the note in an effort to offer encouragement because nobody knows what it is like to carry the Moses-like burden that Cruz bears.

"These guys actually believe it like we believe it," Beck said. "Imagine being in a position to where you believe it, you believe the country is at the end, you believe that God is telling you, 'Step up to the plate.' You believe that you, just like Moses, may be slow in speech and not the perfect guy, but you know if you get in there, you can actually do something and you've tried to stay loyal. Do you know what that life is like for two years of tearing yourself apart, of 'please Lord, just tell me, just tell me, just tell me, I'll do it, just tell me.' And the burden of I blew it? Oh my gosh, I don't want to be them."

Troy Newman Struggles To Explain Position On Abortion Punishment: 'You Have To Draw The Line Somewhere'

Troy Newman, the head of the anti-abortion group Operation Rescue and co-chair of a “pro-life” coalition for Sen. Ted Cruz’s presidential campaign, has drawn some heat for a book he wrote in the early 2000s that argued that the U.S. has affronted God by failing to execute abortion providers.

Newman says that he was not actually arguing for the execution of abortion providers but was rather building up an Old Testament case that he then superseded with a New Testament message of mercy and redemption, an argument that he made again in an interview with Alan Colmes yesterday.

Newman, however, struggled to explain to Colmes his case that he doesn’t want a legal punishment for women who have abortions — whom he refers to in his book as “contract killers” — but does want abortion providers to be tried for murder.

“Yes, abortion is murder,” he told Colmes. “You punish the murderers. You punish the murderers, Alan, who are the abortionists.”

“If you’re hiring the murderer, wouldn’t you also be punished?” Colmes asked.

“No, traditionally in America, we’ve never punished a woman because she’s a secondary victim, the first victim is the innocent baby,” Newman responded. He later argued that it’s “more than likely” that a woman who has an abortion has been “coerced.”

When Colmes pressed further, Newman said that “you have to draw the line someplace” and that he draws the line at “punishing the abortionists” and “the likes of Planned Parenthood.”

“What should the punishment be for an abortion provider?” Colmes asked.

“Well, if it’s murder, then they should serve time,” Newman responded, “Whether it’s first, second, third degree, that’s for the courts to decide.”

He added that he was “against the death penalty” and that “life in prison” would be the proper punishment for an abortion provider.

If Republicans Get Their Wish On The Supreme Court, What Would Trump Or Cruz Do?

By Miranda Blue, Elliot Mincberg and Brian Tashman

Republicans in the Senate, pushed by outside conservative interest groups, are promising to block President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee, Merrick Garland, and arguing that the next president should fill the current vacancy, in the hope that a Republican president will name a conservative ideologue to the bench.

Even if the Senate does confirm Garland, the next president will likely be charged with nominating at least one person to the Supreme Court, and possibly more. Since it looks like either Donald Trump or Ted Cruz will win the Republican presidential nomination, looking at both men’s past statements gives us an idea of the kind of justices that Republicans are hoping for.

Trump and Cruz have both signaled that they would appease their base by nominating justices who would shift the court far to the right. Cruz has lamented that some justices nominated by Republican presidents have strayed from the party line on issues like abortion rights and has vowed that he would appoint “rock-ribbed conservatives” who have a “long paper trail” to demonstrate their “conservative” bona fides.

Trump, dogged by worries among movement conservatives that he would betray them when it comes to Supreme Court nominations, has promised to pick any Supreme Court nominees off a list he develops in partnership with the conservative Heritage Foundation and the Federalist Society.

Both candidates have indicated that they would nominate judges who would vote to overturn Roe v. Wade and Obergefell v. Hodges, the landmark abortion rights and marriage equality decisions. Trump, although he appears not to understand the central legal issue of Roe, has said that the decision “can be changed” through the right judicial nominations since “you know, things are put there and are passed but they can be unpassed with time.” Cruz has warned that unless a true conservative like him picks the next justice, the Supreme Court will soon be “mandating unlimited abortion.” Trump has said that Obergefell was wrongly decided, while Cruz has called the decision “fundamentally illegitimate” and said it can be ignored by the president.

Cruz has made the future of the court a centerpiece of his campaign, while Trump may not actually understand how the Supreme Court works. But both have made clear that as president they would work to shift the court even farther to the right on the issues important to social conservatives and to the corporate Right.

What would a court shaped by a President Trump or a President Cruz look like? Looking at a few of the possible judicial nominees whose names have been dropped by candidates or who have been recommended by the Heritage Foundation, we can get an idea of the kind of ideological conservatives whom Republicans are hoping to put on the bench.

William H. Pryor

One possible Supreme Court nominee whom Trump has specifically praised is William H. Pryor, selected by President George W. Bush to be on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit. Formerly Alabama’s attorney general, Pryor has a history of extreme right-wing activism, severely criticizing not just women’s right to choose under Roe v. Wade but even the constitutionality of the New Deal.

Pryor has called Roe the “worst abomination in the history of constitutional law.” He has claimed that with the New Deal and other measures, the U.S. has “strayed too far in the expansion of the federal government,” and asserted that it “should not be in the business of public education nor the control of street crime.” As a judge, he has helped uphold a restrictive Georgia voter ID law and joined just one other judge on the 11th Circuit in claiming that “racially disparate effects” should not be enough to prove a violation of Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, even though the Supreme Court has ruled precisely the opposite.

Pryor came first on a wish list of Supreme Court picks that the Heritage Foundation published shortly after Trump promised to consult them before naming justices.

Diane Sykes

Trump has also repeatedly named Diane Sykes, a Seventh Circuit federal appeals court judge appointed by President George W. Bush, as a potential Supreme Court nominee. Sykes, who previously served on the Wisconsin Supreme Court and a trial court, has also won high praise from the Heritage Foundation and from right-wing Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker.

In a series of dissents, Sykes has argued in favor of big business and against consumers and discrimination victims, including cases where she tried to limit corporate liability for product defects and overturn a $1 million damages award, to protect a corporation from having to defend against an employee’s claim of discrimination under the Americans with Disabilities Act, and to reverse a $3.5 million bad faith judgment in favor of a Lutheran church against its insurance company.

She showed her anti-reproductive-choice views in providing a lenient sentence to two anti-abortion protesters who had to be forcibly removed from blocking the entrance to a Milwaukee abortion clinic and had previously been arrested 100 times for such offenses; Sykes nevertheless praised them for their “fine character” and expressed “respect” for the “ultimate goals” the blockade “sought to achieve.”

She asserted in dissent that a jury verdict against a criminal defendant should have been upheld even though there was extensive evidence that one of the jurors did not understand English (including a statement from the juror himself), which disqualified him from serving on a jury under Wisconsin law; that a prosecutor should be immune from a claim that he fabricated false evidence that wrongly convicted a man for 17 years; and that a conviction under federal law against someone convicted of domestic violence for possessing firearms should be reversed and that the law itself could well be unconstitutional, in disagreement with all 10 other judges on the court of appeals. She voted in favor of a Wisconsin voter ID law and of a claim by a student group that it should receive state funding and recognition despite its violation of a university rule prohibiting against discrimination based on sexual orientation, an issue on which the Supreme Court reached exactly the opposite conclusion several years later.

Steven Colloton

The third name on Heritage’s list of possible Supreme Court nominees is Judge Steven Colloton, who was appointed by President George W. Bush to the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals, after previous service for Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr and as a U.S. attorney.

Colloton has been at the forefront of a number of troubling Eighth Circuit rulings, including writing decisions that reversed an $8.1 million award to whistleblowers who helped bring a defective pricing and kickback claim against a large corporation and a nearly $19 million class action judgment against Tyson Foods for violating the federal Fair Labor Standards Act. He also joined a ruling making the Eighth Circuit the only appellate court in the country that found that the Obama administration’s efforts to accommodate religious universities and other religious nonprofit objectors to the provision of contraceptive coverage under the ACA was insufficient, an issue now being considered by the Supreme Court.

Even more troubling, Colloton has dissented from a number of Eighth Circuit rulings that have upheld the rights of employees, consumers and others against big business and government agencies. He dissented from a decision giving African-American shoppers the opportunity to prove discrimination claims against a large department store, and then saw his view prevail by one vote when the full Eighth Circuit reheard the case. In another case, he dissented from a decision finding that a city had violated the Voting Rights Act by improperly diluting the voting strength of Native Americans.

Colloton dissented from rulings that gave individuals a chance to prove claims of use of excessive force and, in one case, that a city’s policy to use police dogs to bite and hold suspects without any warning was unconstitutional. In three separate cases, he dissented from decisions that employees should at least get the chance to prove in court that their employers retaliated against them for filing sex harassment, age discrimination, or other discrimination claims. In two more decisions, he argued in dissent that public employees should not have the opportunity to prove that they were retaliated against for speaking out in violation of their First Amendment rights. Yet he also claimed in a dissent that the First Amendment rights of a candidate for state supreme court justice were violated by a state judicial code of conduct restricting solicitation and other campaign activity in order to promote judicial impartiality and ethical conduct by judges. Even the conservative Roberts Court that decided the Citizens United case has agreed that these concerns justify solicitation restrictions in state supreme court elections.

Mike Lee

Sen. Mike Lee of Utah is Cruz’s closest ally in the Senate and Cruz has said that Lee “would look good” on the Supreme Court. Lee also made the Heritage Foundation’s shortlist of potential Supreme Court justices.

Lee is a fervent “tenther,” someone who believes the 10th Amendment to the Constitution radically restricts the authority of the federal government. As Jeffrey Rosen wrote in the New York Times Magazine in 2010, “Lee offered glimpses of a truly radical vision of the U.S. Constitution, one that sees the document as divinely inspired and views much of what the federal government currently does as unconstitutional.” Among the areas that Lee has suggested it is unconstitutional for the federal government to be engaged in:

  • Social Security,
  • Medicare and Medicaid,
  • child labor laws,
  • food safety,
  • disaster relief,
  • food stamps,
  • the Violence Against Women Act,
  • and, of course, the Affordable Care Act.

Lee has criticized the Supreme Court’s rulings on abortion rights and marriage equality, calling Roe v. Wade an “unconscionable decision” that “defied the spirit and the letter” of the Constitution and responding to Obergefell by introducing a measure that would protect anti-LGBT discrimination.

Ted Cruz

While we don’t expect Cruz to name himself to the Supreme Court, as recently as December Trump was receptive to the idea of extending an olive branch to his main Republican presidential rival in the form of a Supreme Court nomination.

A Justice Cruz would certainly align with Trump’s stated priorities of reversing the Obergefell marriage equality decision and making sure Roe v. Wade is “unpassed.” Cruz, who served as the solicitor general of Texas before his election to the U.S. Senate, has gone so far as to call for the U.S. government to defy Obergefell and to claim that Congress could ban abortion without overturning Roe. Before running for the Senate, Cruz proposed an unconstitutional plan to nullify the Affordable Care Act; last year, he said that a Supreme Court ruling rejecting a clearly meritless challenge to the ACA was the “lawless” work of “rogue justices.” Cruz is known for having politicized the Texas solicitor general’s office, filing dozens of Supreme Court amicus briefs defending conservative positions on hot-button issues such as gun rights and abortion. On the campaign trail, he frequently boasts of his work as an attorney fighting church-state separation.

If Cruz were to become a Supreme Court justice, however, we wonder if he would stick with his idea of subjecting justices to retention elections.

This post has been updated to clarify the circumstances of a case in which Sykes asserted in a dissent that a jury verdict should have been upheld despite evidence that one juror was disqualified from serving.

Steve King: GOP Primary Voters Channeling The Spirit Of The Revolutionary War

Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, who has endorsed Texas Sen. Ted Cruz’s presidential run, said in an interview with Breitbart’s Stephen Bannon yesterday that the success of “anti-establishment candidates” like Cruz and Donald Trump in the Republican primary shows that Republican voters are channeling the spirit of the American Revolution.

King attributed the success of Cruz and Trump to frustration that Republican leaders in Congress “haven’t followed through on their promises” to repeal the Affordable Care Act, block executive actions on immigration, or call out the president “on his constitutional violations of all kinds.”

He explained that it all started with the Tea Party, which he described as a Christian conservative movement with an energy that “goes back to the pipes of the Revolutionary War” and that is now reflected by the majority of the Republican electorate.

We have watched this within the Tea Party, and they are full-spectrum, conservative Christian, constitutional conservatives for the most part — and they don’t exclude people who are conservatives that happen to be of another faith or religion at all, they’re very welcoming to all people that would join the cause — but that energy and fervor that goes back to that, let’s say goes back to the pipes of the revolutionary war, that’s something that motivates us, we’re rooted in our history, it’s a common historical experience that we have.

And they know that the Declaration and the Constitution were shaped then, and if we fail to adhere to those values, if this is the time to restore and refurbish the pillars of American exceptionalism, that if we fail, our Constitution will be lost. And that’s the 80 percent out there of the Republicans and that’s about the zero percent of the Democrats.

King also explained that he knew he could count on Cruz in 2013 when he held an all-day press conference in protest of the Gang of Eight immigration bill and “for 45 minutes, [Cruz] delivered chapter and verse of everything that I have fought for and believed in with regard to the immigration issue.”

He said that his respect for Cruz was further cemented when he learned that the Texas senator “was raised with the Bible and the Constitution at the kitchen table, side by side, indexed to each other” and that’s when “I knew that it’s in his bones.”

Frank Gaffney: Ted Cruz Will Save America From Sharia Law

Today on “Breitbart News Daily,” anti-Muslim conspiracy theorist and Ted Cruz adviser Frank Gaffney spoke with host Stephen Bannon about the Texas senator’s support for a police program in New York that monitored Muslims.

Bannon thanked Cruz for praising the NYPD’s Demographic Unit, which Bannon said “was so successful” in combating security threats. However, the Associated Press reported that the NYPD itself acknowledged that the since-abandoned spying program “never generated a lead or triggered a terrorism investigation.”

Gaffney said that the GOP presidential candidate wants to make sure that no neighborhood becomes “dominated by folks who are engaged in a practice that is anti-constitutional and hostile to the values of our country, specifically those who are seeking to impose a program they call Sharia.”

He went on to say that Sharia law is “manifesting itself” in “parts of the United States,” although he didn’t say which U.S. localities he believes have fallen to Islamic rule.

Cruz himself has warned that the imposition of “Sharia law is an enormous problem” in the U.S. and called on the federal government to “empower law enforcement to patrol and secure Muslim neighborhoods before they become radicalized.”

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