Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz spoke to a crowd of a few hundred at a rally outside the Republican Party of Arkansas headquarters in Little Rock on Aug. 12.
The Little Rock stop is part of the Texas senator’s weeklong bus tour across the South, which included stops in South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, Mississippi and Oklahoma. Cruz had two other Arkansas stops, in Russellville and Van Buren, planned for later in the day.
“Arkansas is going to play a critical role in the Republican primary,” Cruz said during a short conversation with the media before the rally. He said his campaign is “all in” in the Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina primaries, and the ones that follow across the South, which he referred to as the “SEC primary.”
Arkansas’ primary is March 1.
Cruz discussed his opposition to lifting the embargo with Cuba despite the country’s trade potential with Arkansas rice and poultry farmers, because, he said, “Cuba has been an exporter of terrorism throughout Latin America,” and national security is his No. 1 priority.
Addressing the crowd, Cruz outlined his priorities for his first day in office, if elected, which would include investigating Planned Parenthood, revoking “illegal and unconstitutional executive orders,” “ripping to shreds, the catastrophic Iranian deal” and moving the American embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.
He would also abolish Obamacare, end Common Core and abolish the Internal Revenue Service. Cruz said he vowed to adopt a simple flat tax so that Americans can fill out their taxes on a postcard and place the IRS’s 90,000 employees along the United State’s southern border.
Cruz took frequent jabs at the media during his speech. “By the end of eight years, there will be a whole lot of newspaper editors and reporters who will check themselves into therapy,” he said.
Following the GOP presidential debate on Aug. 7, Cruz is tied for fifth place with former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, according to a Suffolk University poll taken Aug. 7-10.
Cruz said after the debate, his campaign fundraising has “exploded,” and in the 100 hours following the debate, he raised $1.1 million. Overall, he said, his campaign has raised $14.3 million with 175,000 contributors averaging about $68 each.