Smart strategy or overconfidence? Rubio plays hard-to-get with voters

20 Jan 2016 | Author: | No comments yet »

Does the son of a preacherman hold the Trump card?.

He is attracting supporters — loyal, angry, often new to politics — willing to wait in the cold or the sun or the parking lot of a strip mall to see him. “Why am I so optimistic?” Senator Ted Cruz shouted during his speech here, marveling at the venue his following now required. “Because we’re in an airplane hangar instead of a Denny’s!” As he vaults toward the top of the Republican presidential field, leading some Iowa polls and climbing nationally, Mr.

Surging presidential candidate Ted Cruz continues to maintain a strong lead over Donald Trump in the critical early-voting state of Iowa, a new poll released Sunday showed. For months, Trump had remained the front-runner in the Hawkeye State, which hosts the nation’s first contest on Feb. 1, but the Texas senator has consistently gained on him in polls, and surpassed him altogether earlier this month. The Republican establishment has been praying for the emergence of a candidate who is popular but still accepts its core values – including those that win the presidency.

Republican activists — including many who appreciate Rubio’s formidable political gifts and view him as the party’s best hope for beating Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton — say they are alarmed at his seeming disdain for the day-to-day grind of retail politics. Even some staunch supporters are anxious. “Rubio has not put in the face time that he really needs to have, I don’t think,” said Al Phillips, an influential South Carolina pastor who backs Rubio. “I think that’s been somewhat to his detriment.” That may be, as some of his allies fret privately, a sign of overconfidence in his own abilities. Marco Rubio came in third in the poll with 12% support, while retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, who has fallen rapidly in all polls, came in fourth with just 6% support. He hopes that by doing so he will steal away the legions of mostly white, disaffected “angry voters” that Mr Trump’s surge has brought to the forefront of the political debate.. Or it may be a smart strategic decision that the personal touch is overrated in an era in which celebrity billionaire Donald Trump is leading the field with a campaign that consists largely of mega-rallies, barrages of tweets and television interviews that are literally phoned in.

Nationally too he has been crept up in the polls, taking up the mantle as primary challenger to the real-estate billionaire when Ben Carson, a retired neurosurgeon, dropped away. Mr Cruz has established a successful populist campaign despite his background as a lawyer and graduate of both Harvard and Princeton, two Ivy League universities. Nevertheless, Cruz suggested over the weekend that, if elected, he would be receptive to naming the Florida senator to a cabinet-level position in his administration. “Marco is a very, very talented leader. Cruz has sharpened his already uncompromising language, eager to retain his own hold on popular anger against the political class, and to demonstrate conservative purity amid attacks from Senator Marco Rubio over immigration and national security policies.

He’s a friend of mine, he’s charming, he’s an incredible communicator,” Cruz said at a campaign event in Georgia on Saturday. “There are multiple issues on which he’s tried to do these sorts of things. He has coined a new phrase, “undocumented Democrats,” to describe those in the country illegally, and beefed up sections of his stump speech focused on immigration.

But connecting in the early states has traditionally been a different kind of endeavor, one in which voters expect to get to know the candidates on a one-on-one level. Rubio had at last described his views on immigration “not only on Spanish-language television but on English-language television,” echoing some far-right commentators who have suggested that Mr. In fact changed his vote on the floor of the Senate,” Rubio added. “If you’re going to attack someone on a policy issue, you need to be clear about where you stand on the issue and where you stood in the past.” He has refused to compromise with Democrats or even his own Republican party on legislation that requires bipartisanship to pass – even when its failure would have dangerous consequences.

Cruz pledged to oppose legal status for undocumented immigrants “today, tomorrow, forever.” If the Cruz campaign fears that his words will narrow his path in a possible general election, the candidate has betrayed little unease. And Rubio has limited interaction with the news media who cover him. “Is his campaign a little more superficial than that of other people in his bracket in New Hampshire? Seuss’s “Green Eggs and Ham” as a bedtime story to his two young daughters watching in Houston, who were supposedly watching their father on a live television feed. Trump’s, as the campaign delivers a taste of the primary season to parts of the country often ignored in the weeks before states like Iowa and New Hampshire go to the polls. “Here they’re not going to have a lot of opportunities to engage with a presidential campaign,” Jeff Roe, Mr.

A top party official from a critical swing state who spoke on the condition of anonymity on a topic of increasing sensitivity in GOP circles said that other contenders are becoming familiar faces to voters there. “The big question is, where is Marco Rubio? People have tried to get him to attend stuff, and he just hasn’t,” the state party leader said. “Well, I just spent two hours meeting people and working here, and we’re going to continue to do that,” Rubio told reporters after a recent town hall in Muscatine.

And those, along with the evangelicals, are commanding a majority of the vote.” “Since Ted was a kid, he has spent hours reading and studying the Bible,” he said. “We spent many hours talking about the Bible and the role of personal faith”. He added: “We love to be campaigning in Iowa.” Rubio’s aides also argue that he is engaging with voters at a moment when they are beginning to pay close attention to the race. Mr Cruz announced his candidacy for president from Liberty University, America’s biggest evangelical institution, which denies evolution and teaches that the earth is only 6,000 years old.

They got on a bus, were taken to the airplane hangar and waited in an unseasonable chill to cheer the senator when he arrived with his family by chartered plane. Rubio’s campaign announced Friday, for instance, that he will be spending three days in New Hampshire between now and Christmas, during which he will hold four town halls and a pancake breakfast. When dealing with matters he is passionate about, such as his opposition to the Supreme Court’s decision to legalise gay marriage, he invites his audience to “pray”. Always impatient to make the next move up the ladder, he comes from a huge and diverse state where financial resources and a media presence are the most important ingredients of political success. In a recent interview with a local US media outlet, he acted out – with voice impersonations – his favorite part of the movie ‘The Princess Bride’.

Mr Panton, his college roommate, told The Sunday Telegraph he had learned this skill during their university days where the two of them would “host Princess Bride parties” where friends would come and watch the movie and recite parts of it. In another video, intended to show Mr Cruz’s support for guns, the candidate is seen cooking bacon by wrapping a slice around the barrel of a gun, and firing the weapon until the heat of the weapon cooks the it. Cruz in Kennesaw. “Trump’s a Northern guy.” Mike Homan, 35, of Dallas, Ga., attended the event with a Trump supporter, Howard Adkins, whom he hoped to flip. Rubio has one of the largest followings on Twitter among presidential candidates — more than a million people — and he uses Snapchat regularly. “This is how I would reinvigorate American manufacturing,” Rubio tweeted recently, linking to a page on his website featuring pictures and remarks from an Iowa speech.

The other Floridian in the race, former governor Jeb Bush, campaigns in a very different style, making himself more accessible to voters and the media than just about any other candidate. Trump and most other candidates, has installed formidable ground-game operations across several states that vote on March 1, viewing the South as central to building a delegate lead. Cruz will continue his Super Tuesday tour this week in Tennessee, Arkansas and Oklahoma, three more states that the campaign expects to be favorable turf for a conservative. Campaigns are about seeking the support of the voters.” At a candidate forum in Des Moines late last month sponsored by the Family Leader, a Christian conservative organization, Rubio spoke but did not stick around afterward, even though his campaign had rented a reception room.

Cruz, on the other hand, was there until nearly midnight. “We heard about it — and heard about it frequently — from Rubio supporters, that they were disappointed” at his abrupt exit, said Family Leader head Bob Vander Plaats, who endorsed Cruz less than three weeks after the forum. Cruz from the stage — and a Santa Claus-based strategy to collect contact information. (The campaign has recruited actors to play Santa at every stop, allowing voters to pose for pictures that they can only access by entering their names, emails and ZIP codes on Mr.

Rubio’s campaign events are crisp and well-staged, with presidential-level accouterments, such as Secret Service-style earpieces sported by some aides. The campaign ran a campy parody ad in Iowa during Saturday Night Live, with the Cruz family reading Christmas tales like “How Obamacare Stole Christmas” and “Rudolph the Underemployed Reindeer.” The ad placement stemmed from an equal-time request made after Mr. I think his team had a skewed view of Iowa based on their involvement with [now-senator] Joni Ernst last year, and how they helped her win her primary.

Roe, the campaign manager, said before the Daphne rally on Saturday, interrupting his explanation of the strategy every few moments to spit chewing tobacco into a water bottle. But this is a caucus, not a primary, which requires months of relationship-building that he never did.” Rubio’s relative indifference toward wooing key activists contrasts with his eagerness to land top donors. George Seay, a Dallas-based investment manager and top Rubio donor, first got to know him at an intimate 2009 dinner while he was running for the Senate.

Not long after Rubio arrived in Washington, the pair took a 45-minute stroll from his Senate office building to a local Catholic church, where Rubio was going to attend midday Mass. They talked about family and their lives outside work. “It was the most relaxed, down-to-earth, low-key, get-to-know-you kind of visit I’ve probably ever had with a senator I didn’t know very well,” Seay said.

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