Quotes of the day

Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz is scolding GOP rival Marco Rubio for skipping recent Senate debates — but he isn’t using Rubio’s name.

Speaking in Iowa Monday, Cruz said he was “proud to lead” the Senate floor debate to block Planned Parenthood from federal funding last month. The effort failed, but Cruz said: “Where were the other candidates?”

Rubio was the only senator running for president who skipped that debate.

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Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) may have had more money in the bank than any other GOP presidential candidate as the last quarter ended, according to figures released by his campaign.

Cruz’s campaign raised $12.2 million last quarter, giving him a total of $26.5 million raised during the campaign so far. He will report $13.5 million in cash on hand, campaign officials told The Post, meaning he spent about 51 percent of what came in since his campaign started.  For the third quarter his spending rate is 58 percent. The total raised by Cruz falls short of the $20.2 million reported by retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson. But the burn rate — the rate at which Cruz is spending money — is low compared to many of his competitors who have released results for the most recent reporting window: Florida Sen. Marco Rubio tore through 81 percent of the money he pulled in during the third quarter, a high percentage compared with an overall burn rate for Rubio’s spending since he announced his candidacy, about 40 percent…

Cruz campaign officials said in an interview Wednesday that they have built a formidable two-pronged fundraising system designed to provide funds through a long campaign, an effort that draws support from both small-dollar donors and bundlers who bring in larger sums from associates and friends. The campaign has 219 bundlers who secured $9 million for Cruz as of Wednesday, Roe said. He added that the campaign has had 120,000 total donors through the quarter that ended June 30.

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Political experts in our weekly ranking of the Republican candidates have seen a gradual rise for the Texas senator, moving him from 6th place last week to 4th place this week. Many see Cruz as showing signs that he may last long into the Republican nominating contest…

Marco Rubio remains close to the top as well. “Rubio could have moved into first here but his fundraising underwhelmed,” said Todd Spangler of the Detroit Free Press.

“Cruz and Rubio are best positioned to consolidate support as field narrows,” said Republican consultant Matt Mackowiak. “Jeb (Bush) is losing altitude, praying it’s a head to head final with Trump, which appears increasingly unlikely.”

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Author Ed Klein said today on “Fox and Friends” that Bill Clinton sees Sen. Marco Rubio as the biggest threat to his wife becoming president in 2016.

Klein, who just released Unlikeable: The Problem with Hillary, said the information came to him through sources who sat down to dinner with Clinton recently. 

“He went down the entire list of the Republican candidates and he came to the conclusion that Marco Rubio would present Hillary with the greatest challenge because of his age. He represents generational change. He also has a real appeal to the Latino vote. If he can siphon off that vote from Hillary, he could be a real formidable challenger,” said Klein, adding that Mr. Clinton believes Rubio needs to be “destroyed before his candidacy gets off the ground.”

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Cycle after cycle, says Johnson, the percentage of true swing voters shrinks. Therefore, so does the persuadable portion of the electorate. Cruz aims to leaven the electorate with people who, disappointed by economic stagnation and discouraging cultural trends for which Republican nominees seemed to have no answers, have been dormant during recent cycles…

Of the 624 delegates at stake on March 1, 231 are from Cruz’s Texas and Georgia, where Cruz inherited Scott Walker’s entire operation. With Oklahoma, whose closed primary will be especially conservative, these three states have 274 delegates, almost a quarter of the number needed to nominate. Eighty-seven of the 155 delegates allocated on March 5 will be from Louisiana and Kansas. On March 15, when winner-take-all primaries begin and 367 delegates will be allocated, Bush and Marco Rubio will compete for Florida’s 99 delegates, while Cruz is well-positioned for North Carolina’s 72 and Missouri’s 52 (Cruz’s campaign manager, Missourian Jeff Roe, has run many campaigns there).

Whenever this cycle’s winnowing process produces two survivors, they might be two young, Southern, first-term Cuban-American senators. Rubio would be the establishment choice. Cruz, with his theory of the election, would not have it otherwise.

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You could make a strong case that the Republican campaign is shaping up perfectly for Cruz. In the latest Fox poll, he has inched up into double figures, behind frontrunners Donald Trump and Ben Carson. As demonstrated by his rhetoric about jackboots coming to strip your liberties and destroy the country, he’s positioned to claim much of their support should either of them falter. And he has more cash in his campaign chest than any other candidate.

More importantly, if we get a confrontation in Washington over the debt ceiling and budget, as appears almost certain, Cruz is again well positioned to benefit. Given the mood of the party, the only thing that he would like better than playing conservative hero against Majority Leader Harry Reid would be to cast Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in the same role.

A few months from now, assuming that Trump and Carson will indeed fade and that Jeb Bush is going nowhere, it is entirely conceivable that we’ll see Cruz and Marco Rubio as the last two standing, and in that contest Cruz would have the far better claim on the conservative heart of the party.

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Bottom Line: Marco, you can’t cavort with Chuck Schumer, push an amnesty bill, and be the Republican nominee without making amends to us conservatives for your utter, total, and comprehensive failure. You can’t rely on the Jeb! strategy of being the last guy standing, thinking conservatives will have no choice but to back you. Oh, they have a choice all right, and many will choose to burn it all down.

I would be supporting you today except for the amnesty thing. There are a lot of Republicans like me. Here’s how you win us back…

Say this: “Here’s where I stand. Illegal immigration is wrong. Illegal aliens should go home. Period. I will never support allowing any illegal alien who didn’t honorably serve in our military to become a U.S. citizen unless he goes home and reapplies to immigrate the right way – by respecting our laws. The first thing we must do is secure the border with Mexico with a Gulf to Pacific wall. Not a virtual wall. A wall wall, with enough guards to end the flow of illegal aliens.”

Choose a conservative venue with trusted, hardcore conservative figures to take your confession. Not some squishy publication, and not to spineless RINOs. You’ll have them nailed down regardless when Jeb! finally realizes that the dream is over and bails. You need to convince us, the conservatives, the Tea Partiers, the battlecons, Team Pitchfork N’ Torches, the guys who drove Cantor and Boehner out of the house. That’s the only way you might possibly receive our absolution.

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If Rubio were dependable, no one would need to explain how he can recover a conservative reputation. He wouldn’t need to. He would have had the self-discipline not to squander it.

Let Rubio work on redeeming himself without casting a conservative vote for him in the primary. Let Rubio prove he can survive on his own. No one forced him to besmirch his honor. Let him get it back the hard way — without conservative support in the primary…

We certainly have the right to support whomever we want, but if Rubio gets the chance to betray conservatives again, don’t complain when he does it.

Spare yourself the disappointment. Vote for Ted Cruz. Rely on his conservative principles. It’s the right thing to do, which might explain why some people are struggling to do it.

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As a spokesman for the no compromise, anti-establishment wing of his party, Cruz would be the ideal presidential nominee for conservatives tired of Republican leaders. He could ask a like-minded governor, possibly Louisiana’s Bobby Jindal, to join his ticket, giving voters the clear choice that conservatives claim they never have.

But could Cruz win? I don’t think so. He might well carry all or most of the 22 states that McCain carried in 2008, and if the Democratic nominee is damaged badly enough and Barack Obama’s standing in national polls low enough, I suppose it might be possible that he could win.

But it is far more likely that Cruz would underperform among swing voters and suffer additional Republican defections. His nomination would enable Democrats to make the election a referendum on him and the tea party, and it isn’t difficult to imagine 2016 becoming a modern day version of 1964, when Republicans suffered a humiliating defeat…

So why should the GOP nominate Cruz if it entails so much risk? Because a clear and convincing defeat is the only thing in the foreseeable future that has any chance of convincing Freedom Caucus types in the Republican Party that their strategy is flawed and they have helped damage the Republican brand.

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Sen. Rubio is a charming young man whose main disadvantage is to carry the baggage of the Bush administration’s failed foreign policy, tying his tongue in knots while apologizing for the Iraq War. The rest of the Republican field is hardly worth a comment. Rubio would make a terrific VP candidate. It’s a natural: with two Hispanics on the ticket, the Republicans have a better chance of capturing Latino votes.

Ted Cruz, in summary, is best positioned to capture the Republican protest vote, and best positioned on the ground in primary states. He is also without doubt the most intelligent, literate and cultured person running for president, a former national debating champion, and a star student of the conservative philospher Robert George at Princeton as well as the liberal law professor Alan Dershowitz at Harvard.  If I read him correctly, he has paced himself, allowing Donald Trump to grab the headlines, tipping his hat to this wild man of the Republican primaries by way of acknowledging the sympathy he has won from voters. Meanwhile has has spent most of his time building an organization on the ground, in preparation for the moment when the anti-Establishment vote fades. He carries none of the toxic baggage of the Republican foreign-policy establishment; on the contrary, he drew their ire for ridiculing the idea that the U.S, could turn Iraq into Switzerland…

He is in the right part of the Republican Party at the right time. His debating skills and mastery of public policy will show well in a prolonged campaign, especially against a slapdash thinker like Vice President Biden. There simply isn’t anyone else whom the Republicans can run with the same skill set, organizational capacity and ability to unite the party.