With his poll numbers surging, and despite attempts by some in the media to paint his campaign as "peaking too soon," Republican presidential candidate U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz is very confident headed into the Christmas break.
Republican voters in Iowa will head to their precinct caucuses in less than 40 days. And right now, he's leading in all of the latest in-state polls. He recently sat down with National Review Chief Political Correspondent Tim Alberta about the state of the campaign.
He said the race will eventually become a two-man race between himself—saying he's already captured the "conservative lane"—and an "establishment" candidate. He made no mention of current national front-runner Donald Trump in his analysis.
"I believe I will be that conservative candidate," he told Alberta. "I don't know who the moderate candidate will be."
Cruz did suggest Marco Rubio would be the "establishment" candidate he will battle to the finish at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland. However, he said, New Hampshire stands in Rubio's way.
"Marco is perceived by many to be the most formidable candidate in the moderate lane. But he has serious competition in the moderate lane," he told Alberta. "Look, the winner of the moderate lane has to win New Hampshire. And right now there are a number of moderates who are competing vigorously for New Hampshire, and at this point it is not clear to me who will win."
Cruz also reiterated his refusal to support both citizenship and legalization for illegals, and doubled down on his claims that the Gang of Eight bill in 2013 was only meant to create "undocumented Democrats." In spite of those positions, he said he believed, as the GOP nominee, he could attract far more Hispanic voters in 2016 than Mitt Romney did in 2012.
"I think the establishment Republicans who are pitching the theory that Republicans must embrace amnesty in order to win Hispanic votes—and in order to have a chance at winning the election—are engaged in fiction writing and fraud on a massive level," Cruz said. "The data do not support that preposterous theory."
He took another swipe at Rubio, suggesting it would be a mistake to support his alleged pro-amnesty positions just as it was for Republicans to back Romney in 2012.
"That same Republican-party establishment who thought it was a great idea to nominate a candidate who had designed and implemented a program just like Obamacare now thinks it's a terrific idea to nominate a candidate who agrees with Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton on amnesty," he told Alberta. "If we do that—if the Republican nominee shares the very same views on amnesty for 12 million people that Hillary Clinton does—millions of working men and women will stay home, we will lose, and Hillary Clinton becomes the next president."
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