It’s been just four months since Ted Cruz took office as the junior Republican Senator from Texas, but the Tea Party darling has already challenged Washington to a fight — and gotten it.
Brash, borderline arrogant, but undeniably whipsmart, Cruz has rankled Democrats and delighted Republicans with his take-no-prisoners, make-no-compromises approach to legislating. His popularity has skyrocketed among a conservative base starved for excitement after enduring milquetoast moderates like Mitt Romney and John McCain.
“Republicans love him because he’s honest, because he’s not afraid to take on the Establishment,” said Vincent Harris, a digital strategist who works with Cruz. “He’s energetic and Republicans are just tired of people who are going along to get along — that is the antithesis of Senator Cruz.”
“He’s conservative and he’s not afraid to talk about — and he’s not afraid to even say and do things that people in the Beltway aren’t used to,” Harris added. “It’s exciting and refreshing.”
Democratic strategist James Carville called Cruz the most fearless and talented Republican in 30 years.
Already, rumours are circulating that Cruz is considering a presidential bid in 2016. That would be an audacious move for the young Senator, particularly considering questions about his eligibility. (Cruz was born in Canada.)
But a brief look at his past — and his rapid ascent to national political stardom – reveals that Cruz usually gets what he wants.
Cruz has always been a talker — at age 22, he was the best college debater in the country. And he's still in the Princeton debate Hall of Fame.
After graduating from Harvard Law School, Cruz clerked for Supreme Court Chief Justice William Rehnquist. Notably, he was the first Hispanic to ever clerk for a Chief Justice.
Later on, during the 2000 Florida recount, Cruz served as a legal advisor for the George Bush campaign, and recruited future Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts to join the team.
And as Texas Solicitor General, he argued nine cases in front of the court, winning five.
In 2012, Cruz rose out of obscurity to defeat Establishment favourite David Dewhurst in Texas' Republican Senate primary — despite being outspent 3 to 1.
He sees communists everywhere. Democratic Senator Barbara Boxer has even compared him to Joseph McCarthy.
He wasn't afraid to smear Obama's defence Secretary nominee Chuck Hagel, hinting that he had ties to foreign governments and even using charts and doctored YouTube clips on the Senate floor.
Cruz is a Tea Party team player. He was one of the first Republican Senators to join Rand Paul's epic filibuster, and read encouraging tweets to raise morale.
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