The same day that Sens. Ted Cruz and Rand Paul and Ted Cruz were giving speeches to evangelical ministers in Iowa, Rep. Peter King was on MSNBC saying he wanted to run for president to reach a very different set of voters. Cruz told the Iowa Renewal Project in Des Moines on Friday that Republicans should threaten to shut down the government unless President Obama defunds Obamacare, the Des Moines Register's Jennifer Jacobs reports. "Belief, saying I believe in something, is not sitting there quietly doing the golf clap," Cruz said. "We can de-fund Obamacare if conservative leaders who tell their constituents they’re conservative stand up and act like they’re conservative." He got a rapturous response. Pastors laid hands on him. "I don't want to overstate it, but enthusiasm for Cruz here is a little startling," The National Review's Robert Costa tweeted. Evangelical radio host Steve Deace tweeted, "I am cynical and hard to please, but I have never seen anything like Ted Cruz. Could unite conservatives like no one has since Reagan."
The appearance offered a preview of what could be a fascinating 2016 Republican primary. (Rand Paul was scheduled to speak after Cruz.) Cruz talked about stopping same-sex marriage and about his record on religious issues when he was Texas solicitor general. According to the Des Moines Register, pastor Jim Hartman "said he feels inspired by the calls for action at the forum, but burdened by the weight of how difficult it is to persuade some Iowans, especially young people, to side with him in opposition to homosexuality and abortion."