Cruz hustles to show softer side, exploit Trump's crises with women

“I want all the women here in Wisconsin and across this country to know how incredibly supportive Ted . . . has always been of all the women in his life,” Heidi Cruz said near the end of the program. “This is a son who was by his mother’s side when she had breast cancer. This is a husband who has suggested that I go for every single promotion I’ve ever gotten — it has always been Ted’s idea that I join the team, that I apply for the job, that I run the group.”

The candidate’s wife went on, detailing her husband’s insistence on a “partnership of equals” in their marriage. She spoke of the frequent bouquets he brings her just to be “thoughtful,” and explained that his caring nature — not his intellect or ambition — made her fall in love with him.

After one particularly polished response from the candidate’s wife, Hagelin turned to the audience. “Isn’t Heidi Cruz the first lady we’ve been waiting for?” The crowd erupted with applause — easily the loudest of the entire event — and gave her an extended standing ovation.

The candidate’s mother, who spoke publicly Wednesday for the first time during her son’s campaign, was equally engaging when sharing stories of her son’s upbringing and the memories they’d made together. Cruz called his mother “a lifelong best friend,” and she spoke of her son’s unyielding devotion and affection. By the time they were finished, Cruz’s wife and mother had done for him what he has struggled to do for himself: Tamed the image of a candidate known primarily for being a political brawler.

“They made him so much more human, so much more relatable,” says Colleen Guger, a 57-year-old homemaker and part-time teacher. Guger arrived at the event leaning toward supporting Cruz in next Tuesday’s Wisconsin primary, and says she left “100 percent” behind him. “I loved what Heidi had to say about how thoughtful he is. And I believe her. There was so much sincerity, it just came from her heart.”