Sen. Ted Cruz sounded increasingly like a 2016 presidential candidate, telling conservatives in Dallas they're part of a "grassroots" movement "sweeping the country." The Associated Press reported the the senator's rousing speech Saturday energized thousands at the “Defending The American Dream” summit, run by billionaire GOP donors Charles and David Koch's political organization, Americans for Prosperity.
“Each of you are here because we are part of a grassroots fire that is sweeping this country," Cruz (R-Texas) told the adoring crowd. "We are building an army."
"I'm convinced we're going to win in 2014, and 2016 is going to be even better. ... And in the year 2017, a Republican president in the Rose Garden is going to sign a bill repealing every word of Obamacare," he told the assembled crowd.
Fox News reported members of the audience shouted "Run Ted, Run!" at Cruz, who ignored direct questions about a presidential campaign when he met with reporters after the speech. Despite this coyness, Cruz clearly set out his policy platform at the event, the Los Angeles Times reported. He vowed to roll back Obamacare, oppose an "amnesty" for immigrants who entered the U.S. illegally, and suggested the U.S. attack Islamic State forces -- "bomb them back to the Stone Age."
Cruz is not the only aspirant for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination who has been wooing voters at the conference. Texas Gov Rick Perry and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul both addressed crowds earlier in the week.
But CBS News reported the crowd was friendliest to Cruz, whose troublemaking tactics have enraged congressional leaders in both parties but made him a superstar with conservative grassroots activists.