In an already crowded field of likely contenders for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, Ted Cruz has found his way to stand out against potential primary opponent Rand Paul: championing the most fundamental planks of the conservative base.
In a passionate speech Friday morning to conservatives at the Values Voter Summit, Cruz left no room for doubt about where he stands on the social issues that—albeit amid party conflict—still define the GOP.
"How do we win? We defend the values that are American values," he boomed. "We stand for life. We stand for marriage. We stand for Israel. We bring back jobs and opportunity and unleash small businesses to make it easier for people to achieve the American dream."
The annual conference and pep rally, hosted by the conservative Christian group the Family Research Council, offers Republican contenders the opportunity to pitch themselves to a core part of their base. Though no one has officially entered the 2016 race, outspoken audience members made their opinions clear. When Cruz promised the crowd that in 2017, a Republican president would be in the White House, one shouted, "You!"
Cruz called out his Republican colleagues who want to move to more moderate positions on issues such as same-sex marriage and abortion rights, arguing that the winning strategy for the party means staying true to its long-held values.