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Cruz banking on ground work
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U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz addresses a crowd of supporters during a campaign rally Saturday at Bloomingdale. - photo by Photo by Pat Donahue

BLOOMINGDALE—The next time Ted Cruz visits H.B. Waller’s Ottawa Farms in Bloomingdale, former Congressman Jack Kingston vowed to put a gun in the Texas senator’s hands for a dove shoot.

Cruz came to Ottawa Farms for the second time in barely more than a year. Last year, he was there to tout several Georgia Republicans on the verge of the general election. Last Saturday, he addressed several hundred people about his own candidacy for president.

“We are bankrupting our kids and grandkids,” Cruz said. “Our Constitutional rights are under assault each and every day. America has receded from leadership. It has the world a more dangerous place. All across America, people are waking up.  I am here to tell you help is on the way.”

Cruz outlined what he would do on the first day of his presidency, much to the delight of those gathered to hear him.

“I intend to rescind every illegal and unconstitutional measure,” he said.

Among the steps Cruz said he plans to take are having the Department of Justice investigate Planned Parenthood and having the case against the Little Sisters of the Poor, a Catholic charity that has refused to comply with certain aspects of the Affordable Care Act, dismissed.

“We will repeal every word of Obamacare,” Cruz said. “We’re going to pass common sense health care reform that makes health insurance personal and portable and affordable.”

He also said he will “rip to shreds” the pact Western nations reached with Iran on its nuclear program.

“The single greatest national security threat is a nuclear Iran,” he said. “Under no circumstances will Iran be allowed to obtain nuclear weapons.”

Cruz called the parallels between the Obama administration and the Jimmy Carter presidency “uncanny.”

“(It is) the same stagnation and misery and malaise, the same feckless and naïve foreign policy, and the same countries openly laughing at us and mocking us,” he said.

Cruz added he will move the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, something other presidents have promised to do but haven’t, and he will end the Common Core curriculum.

Cruz also reiterated his stance to reinforce the nation’s southern border to quell the influx of illegal immigrants.

“We will finally, finally, finally secure the borders and end sanctuary cities,” he said. “There are 360 jurisdictions that call themselves sanctuary cities. They are going to find every penny of their federal money cut off. We are going to end welfare benefits for those who are here illegally.”

Among his to-do list of items was to take on the “alphabet soup” of government agencies, including the Environmental Protection Agency and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, he said. Cruz also espoused his support of the Second Amendment and added service members would be allowed to have their own personal weapons, in an effort to prevent the shootings at two Chattanooga military facilities earlier this year.

“The next time a Jihadist walks into a recruiting center in Chattanooga, he is going to encounter the business end of firearms wielded by a dozen Marines,” Cruz proclaimed.

Cruz, who also serves on the Senate Armed Services Committee and the Judiciary Committee, also vowed to take the fight to ISIS.

“We will have a president willing to say the words ‘radical Islamic terrorism,’” he declared. “We will not degrade but we will utterly and completely destroy ISIS. If you go and join ISIS, if you take up arms and declare jihad against the United States of America, you are signing your death warrant.”

He drew shouts of approval when he called for an end to the IRS and replacing the nation’s tax system with a flat tax. Cruz issued the same call during his 2014 visit to Ottawa Farms and repeated, somewhat in jest, of turning the 90,000 IRS agents into border protection personnel.

“You have traveled thousands of miles, you swim across the Rio Grande and the first thing you see are 90,000 IRS agents. You’d turn around and go home, too,” he said.

Cruz likened himself to Ronald Reagan, an outsider who was despised by Washington, D.C., he said. Cruz often has clashed with leaders in the Republican party.

He also told the story of his father, who fought against the Batista regime and was imprisoned before fleeing to the U.S. His father was 18 years old and spoke no English when he arrived, with only $100 tucked into his underwear.

“Freedom is real, it’s personal,” Cruz said. “We are the children of those who risked everything for freedom. That is why I am so optimistic.”

While his father had the U.S. as a destination, he said his father wonders what happens if Americans face a similar problem.

“If we lose our freedom here,” he said, “where do we go?”

In national polls, Cruz trails GOP front-runner Donald Trump by 15 points. But Cruz leads in Iowa by four points. Cruz said he is ahead of the pack in the South, especially in the so-called “SEC primary,” when Georgia, Arkansas, Alabama, Texas and Virginia, among others. The South Carolina primary will be held Feb. 20, and the Nevada caucus is set for Feb. 23.

 “March 1 is going to be a spectacular night for conservatives,” Cruz said. “The energy and excitement we’re seeing is incredible. The Republican Party will nominate a real, principled conservative for president.”

Though Cruz has sparred recently with fellow senator and GOP presidential hopeful Marco Rubio, Cruz praised the Florida Republican on Saturday.

“Marco is a very, very talented leader. He is a talented communicator,” he said.

But no campaign has the organization he has on the ground in the early battleground states, Cruz proclaimed.

“We’re seeing conservatives unite behind our campaign,” he said. “That’s why we’re leading in Iowa. That’s a very scary development for the other candidates who are not getting the support they want.

I’m going to stay focused on my optimistic, positive, conservative message. We speak the truth with a smile. The truth is people are fed up with the way we’re going. The Obama-Clinton economy is a disaster. Millions of people are hurting. It’s not working. And if anything, the Obama-Clinton foreign policy is even worse. We need a president who will stand up and keep this nation safe, will defeat radical Islamic terrorism, will destroy ISIS. And that’s exactly what I will do as president.”