Cruz feels the Iowa warmth

Senator+Ted+Cruz+speaks+to+the+audience+at+Cedar+Rapids%2C+Iowa%2C+on+Saturday+5%2C+2015.+Cruz+is+currently+inching+up+in+Republican+polls+to+frontrunner+Donald+Trump+in+Iowa.+%28The+Daily+Iowan%2FPeter+Kim%29

Peter Kim

Senator Ted Cruz speaks to the audience at Cedar Rapids, Iowa, on Saturday 5, 2015. Cruz is currently inching up in Republican polls to frontrunner Donald Trump in Iowa. (The Daily Iowan/Peter Kim)

CEDAR RAPIDS — Greeted with a standing ovation and cheers loud enough that could make one’s ears ring, it was easy to see that Texas Sen. Ted Cruz was the crowd-favorite at the Rising Tide Summit in Cedar Rapids on Dec. 5.

The 44-year-old senator spent his time on stage addressing his opposition to gun control in addition to advocating for stricter regulations for visas and for the vetting process for Syrian refugees.

He also denounced ISIS and “radical Islam.”

“The Obama administration has a hard time distinguishing good guys and bad guys,” Cruz said about President Obama in accusing him of not using the term “radical Islam” (but failing to note that neither did former President George W. Bush, a Republican).

Cruz also addressed the New York Times’ front-page editorial that ran Dec. 5 pushing for stricter gun control following the San Bernardino, California, mass shooting that killed 14 people and wounded at least 17.

“You don’t stop the bad guys by taking away our guns, you stop the bad guys by using our guns,” he said to more than 2,000 attendees at the U.S. Cellular Center in Cedar Rapids. “It is about the God-given right of every American to protect your home, and your rights, and your family.”

His loudest applause from the evening was when he said, “President Obama can’t have our God or our guns.”

Bonnie Clark, a resident of Cedar Rapids, said she thought Cruz promoted the Second Amendment the best of the five Republican presidential candidates at the summit.

“The gun laws, they need to stay,” she said. “They need to just stay. We have a right to protect our homes. I believe in that.”

In addition, Cruz also said he supports not only ethanol but all forms of energy. But he has opposed the Renewable Fuel Standard. The Environmental Protection Agency recently called for a slight increase in the amount of renewable fuels that are required to make up the nation’s supply.

The crowd reaction is not surprising, given Cruz’s recent uptick in polling in Iowa. Cruz is inching up in Republican Iowa polls to frontrunner Donald Trump in the state.

According to a Nov. 24 Quinnipiac University Poll in Iowa, 23 percent of Republican likely caucus-goers said Cruz would be their first choice for president. Trump has the lead with 25 percent, and retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson came in behind Cruz at 18 percent.

With 600 Republican likely caucus-goers surveyed between Nov. 16-22, there is a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.

Not all of the summit attendees felt that Cruz was their favorite, however.

Jennifer Schneider-DeBoer of Fayette County — about an hour north of Cedar Rapids — said she had never been to an event like the summit before and it will make it much more difficult to pick a candidate.

She said Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, who was the first to speak, would have been her pick if she heard all the speech.

The summit started 30 minutes later, with hundreds of attendees still making their way through Secret Service. Fifteen minutes before the summit began, there were still 1,000 people waiting to go through security.

Schneider-DeBoer, however, said she is still unsure of whom she will caucus for once Feb. 1 rolls around.

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