WINNSBORO — A day after Hillary Clinton visited Columbia, Rafael Cruz spoke in Winnsboro.
The septuagenarian pastor is the father of presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and he spoke about his son’s politics to an interested crowd gathered in Cornwallis House Tea Co.
“Thank you very much for being here,” Cruz said.
Cruz, who is a Cuban immigrant, spoke with a slight accent most noticeable when enunciating the -io diphthong, but his message was clear: He believes his son is the candidate best suited for the office of president.
“We need a leader, we don’t need a manager, we need a leader and a fighter, and I believe that leader is my son, Sen. Ted Cruz, whether it’s fighting to repeal every word of Obamacare, whether it’s fighting to protect the religious liberty of every American, whether it’s fighting to preserve the right to keep and bear arms in America,” he said.
Cruz’s praise for his son’s tenacity included a harsh rebuke of the Obama administration, likening the president to Fidel Castro, whom Cruz said used messages of hope and change.
“He (Barrack Obama) has been governing not much differently than the bearded dictator I left behind,” Cruz said.
Cruz drew parallels between the Obama administration and genocidal dictators.
“Think about it,” Cruz said. “Look at every tyrant. Stalin took away the guns. Killed 20 million people. Mao took away the guns. Killed 50 million people. Hitler took away the guns and killed just 6 million Jews. Every tyrant has taken away the guns, and they’ve used them against the people,” he said. “The Obama administration would like nothing more than to disarm America.”
The pastor said, in his opinion, there is no bigger defender of the Second Amendment than his son.
Cruz criticized the Supreme Court’s recent same-sex marriage ruling, the Affordable Care Act and the Iran deal. He echoed his son’s sentiments the nuclear-arms-control deal effectively makes Obama the biggest sponsor of terrorism in the world.
“We’re going to see a nuclear arms race throughout the Middle East and Obama has done this,” Cruz said.
Cruz opined about presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton, stating the United States could not survive her presidency.
“If Hillary Clinton gets the presidency, you can kiss this country goodbye,” Cruz said.
Cruz was similarly critical of conservatives, who take less hard-line stances than Sen. Cruz. Cruz said he feels a moderate candidate earning the Republican Party’s nomination ensures a Democratic party victory.
“If we have a mushy, middle-of-the-road moderate, we will lose to Hillary,” Cruz said. “If a moderate is our standard-bearer, we will lose.”
Cruz later said he is confident his son would “make mincemeat” of Clinton in the debates.
Chastising both parties is in line with the younger Cruz’s stances, as the elder Cruz said his son fights against cronyism in both parties, citing his son’s criticisms of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell as an example.
“Who else has the guts to stand up, not only to the Democrats, but to his own party?” Cruz asked.
Cruz said his son will further alter the status quo by reversing the Supreme Court’s same-sex marriage ruling, rescinding Obama’s executive orders, repealing the Affordable Care Act, and moving away from a system Cruz said he feels breeds useless career politicians who seek re-election rather than to serve constituents.
“He (Sen. Ted Cruz) is an advocate for restricting senators to two terms and congressman for three,” Cruz said.
Cruz said it is important those with conservative political ideologies band together, saying the country is in need of another Reagan Revolution. He said presenting a clear, starch contrast is important, and will allow voters tired of the current political climate to band together.
“Together, we can take back this country,” Cruz said.
The audience was receptive to Cruz’s message.
“He said everything I already believe,” said Win McMaster.
Terry and Judy Cummings had seen Cruz speak in Camden the night before, and felt compelled to see him speak again in Winnsboro.
“I love the passion,” Judy Cummings said. “Everything he says Ted stands for, I agree with.”
Cummings’ husband voiced similar approval, and said he had been won over by a speech he saw Sen. Cruz give at Liberty University. He said he found the directness refreshing, and in his opinion it is difficult to find a politician with Cruz’s candor.
“It’s as rare as uncooked steak,” Cummings said.
Reach Ben Hohenstatt at 803-635-4016. Follow him on Twitter @WinnsboroHerald