(Video above: Yellowhammer’s Cliff Sims interviews U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz)
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) turned a lot of heads during his stump speech during the Tuscaloosa Republican Party’s annual Lincoln-Reagan Dinner on Tuesday. But before wowing the crowd with his conservative vision and oratorical prowess, Cruz sat down with Yellowhammer’s Cliff Sims to talk about the issues that matter to Alabamians.
In a wide-ranging Yellowhammer Radio interview recorded while Cruz and Sims drove from Birmingham to Tuscaloosa, Cruz said he believes his message is resonating with Alabamians because “People are fed up. They’re fed up with Washington, and they’re fed up with what I call ‘campaign conservatives.’ These are politicians that talk real good on the campaign trail, but they haven’t walked the walk. They say one thing and do another. Folks are looking for someone who is a consistent conservative.”
The ‘consistent conservative’ theme was harped on repeatedly by the Texas Senator in the interview and throughout the evening in Tuscaloosa. “In my entire time in public service, what I have tried to do every single day is number one: tell the truth, and number two: do what I said I would do,” he said.
The increasingly important topic of immigration became a major point of discussion and Cruz took the opportunity to point out the ‘lawlessness’ of the Obama Administration.
“This is the most partisan and lawless Department of Justice,” he said, adding that there is “no area where it’s been worse than immigration.”
He cited President Obama’s executive amnesty, which has currently been stalled by a Federal District Court in Texas, as an example of the disregard for the rule of law and separation of powers.
“The first thing I will do in office is rescind every illegal and unconstitutional executive order president Obama has put into place,” the Senator told Sims.
As to his own positions on immigration, Cruz pointed to his record in the U.S. Senate.
“I was Proud to stand shoulder to shoulder with Jeff Sessions against unconstitutional amnesty,” he said. In a Cruz administration, the candidate said the American people can expect that “we will secure the border, we will enforce the law, we will put in the manpower, we will use the laws on the books to build the fences.”
In what has become the customary question in Yellowhammer interviews of Presidential candidates, Sims asked Cruz what he thought about Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL) and the role he could potentially play in his administration.
“I think Jeff Sessions would be extraordinary in a number of positions in a cabinet,” Cruz said. “There have been very few people people who I have worked more closely with than Jeff Sessions. He is someone who stands up and fights for conservative principles, he fights for Alabama, and fights for the rule of law.”
The Texan spoke deeply of his family’s journey to faith.
“I am a Christian first, then a conservative, then a republican, and very much in that order,” he said. “My faith is integral to who I am and to my family.”
When the Senator was a young child, neither of his parents were Christians. His father, who at the time was struggling with alcoholism, left his mother alone to take care of him. One day, his father’s colleague invited him to a Bible study where he found God, became a committed Christian, a returned to his wife and son.
“If people ask me is faith real, I’ll tell you, if it were not for the redemptive love of Jesus Christ, I would’ve been raised by a single mom without my dad in the house.”
The conversation then turned to the religious liberty implications of the Supreme Court’s recent same-sex marriage ruling, and Cruz pointed to his record as Solicitor General in Texas. He effectively defended and won three major religious liberty cases in the SG’s office, including the landmark case of Van Orden v. Perry which allowed the Ten Commandments to remain outside the Texas State Capitol building.
Cruz believes that he stands out among the field of 17 Republican candidates because he stands on what he calls the three legs of the conservative stool: fiscal conservatism, social conservatism, and national security conservatism.
“I think the biggest difference that I’m the one candidate that has a proven record as a consistent conservative over and over and over again,” he said.
Cruz’s trip to Alabama was his second swing through the Yellowhammer State in recent weeks, making it clear he plans to be a major contender in the so called “SEC Primary” on March 1 next year.
Check out the full interview in the video above.