Ted Cruz, while campaigning in Indiana today, was ambushed by a group of Trump supporters, holding up signs protesting against “Lyin’ Ted.” Cruz, undaunted, crossed the street and entered the fray, intent on securing as many votes as he can in the upcoming Indiana primary – which could deal a potentially fatal blow to the Cruz campaign.
Ted Cruz was in a restaurant in Marion, Indiana, and after spotting the protesters on the other side of the street, he invited the press to follow him over – to film him talking to the Donald Trump supporters who were waving signs and jeering the Texas Senator from afar, reports the New York Times.
During the seven-minute debate with a middle-aged Trump supporter, Ted Cruz argued passionately for the man’s vote – but the Trump supporter wasn’t having it.
“I personally ask you to reconsider your position to keep running. You’ve been mathematically eliminated, you’re not gonna be able to seal the nomination,” said the Trump supporter who declined to identify himself.
Ted Cruz stood firm, standing before a crowd of Trump supporters, who jeered and cajoled the Texas Senator every time he asked a question. Cruz pushed back, asking the man what he liked about Donald Trump, to which the man replied “everything,” before finally relenting that his support for Trump was due to his promise to build a wall between the United States and Mexico.
“Hold on,” Ted Cruz said, in an attempt to seize the opportunity. “He told the New York Times editorial board he’s not going to build the wall or deport anyone,” Ted Cruz followed up.
“Lyin’ Ted!” the Trump supporter shouted. Cruz shook his head and pressed on.
“Civilized people don’t yell. Sir, with all respect, Trump is deceiving you. He is playing you for a chump. Ask yourself two questions: why is it the mainstream media wants Donald Trump to be the nominee? And why is it that John Boehner supports Donald Trump?”
Ted Cruz tries his best to persuade the Trump supporters but ultimately fails, the crowd just shouts him down every time he speaks, but the exchange is already taking off on social media. The 7-minute debate between Cruz and the Trump supporter is unique in this campaign cycle, it’s easily the longest debate any of the candidates has had with an individual supporter of their opponent, and in some ways reflects Ted Cruz’s strategy for Indiana: talk to everyone, get as many individual votes as possible.
The Cruz campaign has been crisscrossing Indiana with Governor Mike Pence, in a campaign strategy that looks more like a gubernatorial run than a presidential campaign — and that could be a winning strategy for Ted Cruz. Cruz is forgoing the typical presidential campaign stops in big population centers throughout Indiana, and has campaigned in small towns all across the state, showing up in restaurants and town halls, talking to individual voters and trying his best to win them over to his side, CNN.
“I have defended the Second Amendment in front of the Supreme Court of the United States, do you know that Donald Trump supported the Clinton ban on firearms? And that is a fact,” Ted Cruz told the group of Trump supporters he confronted earlier today.
It’s an unusual move for a presidential candidate to walk into the lion’s den and talk face-to-face with a crowd of rowdy protesters — a point Ted Cruz made just before he departed the impromptu debate.
“I appreciate your being out here speaking. If I were Donald Trump, I wouldn’t have come over and talked to you. I wouldn’t have shown you that respect. In fact, you know what I would’ve done, I would’ve told the folks over there, go over and punch those guys in the face. That’s what Donald does to protesters,” Ted Cruz said, delivering his parting shot before returning to the campaign trail.
[Photo by AP Photo/AJ Mast]