In a speech that took longer than expected to rouse the crowd at CPAC today, Senator Ted Cruz (R., Texas) urged the audience to recall which 2016 candidates have stood behind and “fought for” conservative positions, rather than just delivering the rhetoric.
“Talk is cheap,” he said. “We need to look to people who walk the walk, and not just talk to talk.”
Cruz’s highly anticipated speech didn’t obviously outdo the energy of the previous two speakers, New Jersey governor Chris Christie and former HP executive Carly Fiorina, though he drew a packed audience. The senator had delivered a nearly identical speech to bloggers early in the day.
Cruz looked to regain the mantle as the conservative base’s favorite after recent polls showed him falling behind candidates such as Wisconsin governor Scott Walker. He continued to cast himself as an outsider, reminding the audience that their hero, Ronald Reagan, challenged a Republican president in the 1976 primaries.
“I’m convinced 2016 is going to be an election very much like 1980,” he said. He also encouraged Republicans to “reassemble the Reagan coalition.”
It wasn’t until Sean Hannity came out on the stage to interview the senator that the crowd was really ignited. By the end of the Q&A session, Cruz had picked up from his slower start and energized the audience, promising that a Cruz administration would “repeal every blasted word of Obamacare” and “abolish the IRS,” among other crowd favorites.