Ted Cruz's tacit message: I'm no Rand Paul on Israel

Danielle Pletka, vice president of foreign and defense policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute, said drawing a contrast with Paul would be crucial to Cruz’s White House aspirations.

“Ted Cruz knows he needs to be not Rand Paul if he is to run successfully for president,” she said.

However, Cruz has yet to convince some crucial players that he shares Reagan’s foreign policy convictions and commitment to defending U.S. interests internationally.

“I haven’t seen him talk about our presence in Afghanistan; I haven’t seen talk about Syria in a serious way; I haven’t seen him talk about anything other than what he thinks are the hot-button electoral issues, i.e. Russia and Israel,” said Pletka. “I’d be delighted if Ted Cruz was a foreign policy Reaganite, but so far, I’m withholding judgment.”