Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX)
Iowa Freedom Summit
Hoyt-Sherman Place
Des Moines, Iowa
January 24, 2015

Wow.  God bless the great state of Iowa.  I want to thank each and every one of you for being here.  I want to thank Citizens United and my good friend Steve King for putting this on.  You know Steve and I spent all week in Washington, DC  so it is great to be back in America.


We're living in remarkable times.  Just a couple of weeks ago, walking down the hall of the Capitol, I ran into a janitor carrying a screwdriver, who was coming to change the sign on Harry Reid's door.

And Iowa played a big part in that by sending us Joni Ernst.

And I for one sure am glad that we have a farmer as chairman of the Judiciary Committee.

Today is the 50th anniversary of Winston Churchill's passing.  Churchill stood as a lion in winter, a voice against the darkness that was sweeping the globe.  And I'll tell you 50 years later we are facing threats every bit as ominous.  And today, like then, we need the clarity of thought and voice and action that Churchill provided.  One of the very first acts President Obama did upon being elected was sending Churchill's bust back to the U.K., and I think that foreshadowed everything that was to come the next six years.

Now I'll tell you I'm very happy that here with me today is my wife Heidi.  Heidi is an incredible mom, she's a fantastic businesswoman, and she is my very best friend in the entire world.  And you know we're blessed to have two little girls at home.  Caroline who's six, Catherine who's four.  And I'll tell you Heidi and I are here for the same reason that all of y'all are here.  Because we look at what's happening in this country and we fear for our children; we fear for our grandchildren.

So what I want to talk to you about today is reigniting the miracle of America.  This country was built on an extraordinary miracle.  The miracle of America began with a revolutionary idea, which is that our rights, they don't come from government, they come from God Almighty.  And the Constitution, it serves as Jefferson said, as chains to bind the mischief of government.

This country was built on incredible opportunity that if you're a single mom waiting tables you can do anything; if you're a teenage immigrant washing dishes you can do anything.  There's been no country in the history of the world that has allowed so many millions with nothing to come and seek the unlimited dreams of their potential. 

And third, the miracle of America has been American exceptionalism, that we are the indispensable nation, a voice, a clarion voice for freedom and we will back down to no face of tyranny.

Now how do we bring that back.  How do we reignite the miracle of America?  It is the most important cause that unifies us together and Iowa believes in the miracle of America.

Number one we champion jobs and economic growth and opportunity.  We bring back and environment where small businesses are growing. are creating opportunity; we get the senseless obstacles from Washington out of the way.  That means tax reform and regulatory reform.  It means sending the locusts of the EPA back to Washington.  I was once out in West Texas and I said, you know the thing about folks from the EPA is unlike locusts you can't use pesticide against them, and an old farmer looked at me and said, wanna bet? 

And the most important regulatory reform we can do is we need to repeal every word of Obamacare.  We need tax reform.  And the most important tax reform we can do is we need to abolish the IRS.  We need a simple flat tax that's fair, that every American can fill out his or her taxes on a post card.  There are 110,000 employees at the IRS.  We need to padlock that building and put every one of those 110,000 on our Southern border.  Now I say that somewhat tongue in cheek, but think about it for a second.  Imagine you had traveled thousands of miles through Central America, through the heat.  You're swimming across the Rio Grande, and the first thing you see is 110,000 IRS agents.  You'd turn around and go home too.

The second key to reigniting the miracle of America is we need to defend our constitutional rights. Every single one of them.  The First Amendment, the Second Amendment, the Fourth, the Fifth, the Tenth Amendment.  You know no liberty has been more under assault in recent years than religious liberty.  Whether it is the federal government going after Hobby Lobby, a Christian company, or going after the Little Sisters of the Poor.  And by the way, here's a real good rule of thumb: if you're litigating against nuns, as the Obama administration is, you've probably done something wrong.

You know I'm sorry to say one of the most graphic threats to religious liberty occurred in my home town of Houston, where the City of Houston subpoenad five pastors and demanded of those pastors hand over your sermons, hand over your sermon notes. 

Now let me tell you a story that's going to lift up your hearts.  When that happened, that Wednesday, I decided we were going to try to bring together a group of pastors to have a rally in defense of religious liberty.  So Heidi and I, we're members of First Baptist in Houston, we called our pastor, Pastor Greg Mott.  And I said Pastor, you've seen what's happened with the subpoenas.  He said, oh yeah Ted, I've been praying about it all morning.  And I said well listen, we want to hold a rally; we want to bring pastors together; we want to do it tomorrow, Thursday at 11 a.m..  And I wanted to ask you, can we do it at the church; would you be willing to host it at the church? 

And Pastor Greg begins laughing.  And he said, you know Ted, God sometimes moves in ways we cannot understand long before we have any awareness of it.  He said a month ago, God put it on my heart to begin praying for our city, and a month ago he said, I reached out to pastors across the city of Houston and invited them to come to my office to pray for our city.  He said we have 50 pastors from around the city coming to my office tomorrow at 10 a.m..  I'll tell you it took both our breaths away.  And so the next morning I joined those pastors at 10 a.m.; we spent an hour on our knees in prayer for the city.  We then went down to a rally with over 50 pastors from across racial lines, across ethnic lines, across denominational lines.  Heck, we even had First Baptists and Second Baptists.  And that ain't easy. 

And we stood in that rally together and we said, Caeser has no jurisdiction over the pulpit.  And when you subpoena one pastor, you subpoena every pastor.  Now I'll tell you believers all over Texas, all over the country lifted up the situation.  Conservatives spoke out, and the heat and pressure was so great that the city folded under and withdrew the subpoena.  We've got to defend our constitutional liberties.

And third, we need to restore America's leadership in the world.  Over the past six years we have seen the fruits of the Obama-Clinton foreign policy of receding from leadership in the world.  Leading from behind doesn't work.  Just a couple of weeks ago we were horrified at the terrorist attack in the streets of Paris, and then horrified again when over 40 world leaders came in solidarity and yet missing from that rally, graphically, was the United States of America.

You cannot fight and win a war on radical Islamic terrorism if you're unwilling to utter the words radical Islamic terrorism.  I would note that the depraved men who flew the planes into the twin towers and the Pentagon and to that field in Pennsylvania, they weren't a bunch of ticked off Presbyterians.  I think some of the Presbyterians like that. 

And you know Paris also illustrates that a big ocean doesn't mean we're protected from radical Islamic terrorism.  It's one of the reasons I've joined with Steve King and Chuck Grassley to introduce the Expatriate Terrorist Act that says that if an American takes up arms with ISIS, he forfeits his or her citizenship.

Now Iowa, Iowa plays a unique and special role in the political process.  The men and women gathered here today and across the state, you have a responsibility that you take very seriously to scrutinize any candidate for national office, to look them in the eyes and to hold them to account.  I've got to say a lot of people have the reaction: I don't trust politicians.  And that's worth applauding because I agree with it.  You know in a Republican primary every candidate's going to come in front of you and say, I'm the most conservative guy to ever live.  Gosh darn it, hoo diddly, I'm conservative.

Well you know what, talk is cheap.  The word tells them you shall know them by their fruit.  And one of the most important roles that the men and women in this room, the men and women in Iowa will play is to look each candidate in the eye and say, don't talk, show me.

If you say you support liberty, show me where you stood up and fought for it. 

If you say you support religious liberty, show me where you stood up and fought for it.

If you say you oppose Obamacare, show me where you stood up and fought against it.

If you say you oppose the president's unconstitutional executive amnesty, show me where you stood up and fought.

If you say you support life and you support marriage, show me where you stood up and fought.

If you say you'll stand up to the Washington establishment, the career politicians of both parties that have gotten us in this mess, show me where you've stood up and fought.

If you say you oppose Common Core, show me where you've stood up and fought.

And if you say you stand with our friend and ally the nation of Israel, show me where you've stood up and fought.

Together, we need to reassemble the Reagan coalition.  We need to unify, we need to bring together conservatives and evangelicals and libertarians and Republican women and Reagan Democrats and young people.  We need to bring together a coalition of Americans who want to believe again in the miracle of America.

Now some might say, this is hard; this is really hard.  The media tells us it can't be done.  The media says give up, abandon hope, go on home.  But you know each of us has seen miracles every day.  We've seen miracles in our own lives, in our own families.  Many of y'all here know my father, Pastor Rafael Cruz.

My dad has been my hero my entire life.  When he fled Cuba as a teenager with nothing after being imprisoned and tortured he was full of hope and opportunity.  But let me tell you a different aspect of his story you may not have heard.  Which is he and my mother moved to Canada in the oil and gas business.  The Canucks in the room they're giving us some love. 

And I'll tell you, when I was born, when I was a little boy neither of my parents knew Christ.  Both of them were living fast lives, both of them were drinking too much.  And when I was three years old my dad decided he didn't want to be married any more.  He didn't want to be a dad to his three-year old son.  So my father got on a plane and he flew back to Houston.  And back in Houston he was working in the oil and gas business when a friend and colleague invited him to a Bible study and invited him to Clay Road Baptist Church.  And he gave his life to Jesus.  And it transformed his heart and he went to the airport and he bought a plane ticket and he flew back to Calgary, and he flew back to my mother and he flew back to me. 

You know some people ask if faith is real.  I can tell you first hand in my family and my life if it were not for the redeeming love, if it were not for faith in Jesus Christ I would have been raised by a single mom without the love of my father in the household.

Men and women all throughout here have experienced miracles just like that in our lives, transforming.  The Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me.  Compared to that the challenges we face in this country are nothing.

From the beginning of this country, God's providential blessing has been on the United States of America. 

When we stood up against the mightiest army on the face of the Earth and won a revolution as a rag-tag bunch of colonists, it was only with God's blessing that we did so. 

When we survived the horrible Civil War that ripped us apart to expunge the original sin of slavery, it was only with God's blessing that we came back and were stitched together as a nation.

When we stood with Winston Churchill to defeat the Nazis and the scourge of evil, it was only with God's blessing that we saved freedom on this planet. 

And when President Reagan stood before the Brandenberg Gate and said Mr. Gorbachev tear down this wall, it was only with God's grace and blessing that we won the Cold War.

We have done it before over and over again, and we can do it again.  We can come together.   And the answer, the reason I am hopeful, the reason I am optimistic is because of each and every one of you.  The answer is the grassroots, is the American people.  We are working to build a grassroots army all across this country.  The answer will not come from Washington; it will only come from the American people.  So I would ask every one of you that has your cell phone, I would ask you on your cell phone to text the word "Constitution" to the number 33733.  I'm going to give you that again.  The word "Constitution" to the number 33733.  What we're working to do is to bring together that same coalition of men and women across Iowa, across this country to say we do not accept losing this country.  We will together reignite the miracle of America; we will together bring back that shining city on a hill that is the United States of America.  Thank you and God bless you.



Transcript © 2015 Eric M. Appleman/Democracy in Action.