Center Barnstead, N.H. – Ted Cruz is brushing off a rebuke from Iowa governor Terry Branstad as yet another sign that the powers that be are trying to keep him out of the White House.
“Well, look, it is no surprise that the establishment is in full panic mode,” Cruz told reporters outside the White Buffalo Trading Post here in Center Barnstead, N.H. Branstad, who is Iowa’s longest-serving governor, told reporters Tuesday morning that he wants to see Cruz defeated in the state’s upcoming caucuses.
Cruz, who is running neck-and-neck with real-estate mogul Donald Trump in the latest Iowa polls, chalked up the remark to little more than predictable opposition from entrenched political interest groups. “We said from the beginning that the Washington cartel was going to panic more and more as conservatives unite behind our campaign, you’re going to see the Washington cartel firing every shot they can, every canon they can, because the Washington cartel lives on cronyism, it lives on making deals, it lives on picking winners and losers and supporting corporate welfare and cronyism. It’s what people are so fed up with,” he said. (Branstad is originally from Leland, Iowa, population 289 at the time of the 2010 census.)
Among the Republican field, Cruz is the fiercest opponent of the Renewable Fuel Standard — he supports a phaseout over five years — of which Branstad, and the vast majority of Iowans, are strong supporters. Branstad made a nod to Cruz’s stance as he urged voters to support a different candidate. “He is the biggest opponent of renewable fuels,” Branstad said, according to the Des Moines Register. ”He’s heavily financed by Big Oil. So we think once Iowans realize that fact, they might find other things attractive but he could be very damaging to our state.”
The Texas senator, for his part, was less interested in Branstad than in the man he now views as his real obstacle to the nomination: Donald Trump. And he pivoted from talk of Branstad to train his fire on the current Republican frontrunner. Fielding a question from Fox News’s Carl Cameron, who asked whether he was equating Branstad’s constituents, many of them Iowa corn farmers, with the crony capitalists running amok in Washington, D.C., Cruz said that “Iowa corn farmers are frustrated with career politicians who make deals every day to grow government, to expand the debt, to do things like fund Planned Parenthood, to do things like support Obamacare, to do things like give in to amnesty.”
He continued: “I will note, Carl, actually on your network Donald Trump just yesterday said that the problem with me is that I wouldn’t go to Washington and make a deal and go along and get along with the Democrats. Well, if you’re looking for someone who’s a dealmaker, who will capitulate even more to the Democrats, who will give in even more to Chuck Schumer and Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi, well then maybe Donald Trump is your man.
Cruz also fielded a question about the rumored emergence of another opponent to his presidential bid: the onetime tea-party superstar and vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin, who supported his Senate bid in 2012 and who some say is on the verge of endorsing Donald Trump this year. ”Without her support I wouldn’t be the Senate today, and so regardless of what Sarah decides to do in 2016, I will always remain a big, big fan of Sarah Palin’s,” Cruz said.