TULSA, OK – Well over 2500 people crowded into the Union High School Performing Arts Center in south Tulsa Thursday evening to hear presidential hopeful Texas Senator Ted Cruz.
This was his third stop in Oklahoma that day. His first appearance was in Oklahoma City with over 1000 in attendance, then on to Bartlesville with over 1300 and ending in Tulsa. There were so many people who came to see the junior senator from Texas that late arrivals had to be turned away in Tulsa.
I was in the upper level of the auditorium to hear his speech. There were so many standing that I decided to give up my seat for an older woman and joined the rest in the back. About half the crowd was made up of people 60 and older. There were a few teenagers, young adults, and a lot of parents with their kids. Some brought homemade signs supporting veterans, others promoting patriotism. This was a working class crowd. With such a high profile presidential candidate, the police both city and county were present. Police even brought a bomb sniffing German shepherd dog. Despite the presence of security there was no tension about the event.
The Tulsa Praise Orchestra warmed up the crowd with patriotic and religious tunes. “Our God is an Awesome God” and “You’re a Grand Old Flag” filled the auditorium. These are not the sort of tunes likely ever heard at an Obama rally.
About 7:08 p.m. Pat Campbell, the morning host on 1170 KFAQ, came on stage to speak to the crowd wearing what looked like a Tony Bahama shirt, jeans and cowboy boots. Campbell told the audience that he endorsed Senator Rick Santorum in 2012 because he believed Santorum was the true conservative in that race. Santorum won Oklahoma in the Super Tuesday primaries that year. He told the audience he decided to endorse Senator Cruz the same day (March 23) that Cruz announced his run for the presidency.
There was an invocation by Pastor Lindzy Slayden Jr. of Friendship Baptist Church in Owasso and the Pledge of Allegiance was lead by state Sen. David Brumbaugh, Broken Arrow-76 (R), who has endorsed Cruz.
“This guy is up against the machine, the Republican establishment.” Campbell said of Cruz. He noted an effort was made last spring in the legislature to move the state primary to April rather than Super Tuesday in early March suggesting the move would have benefited former Florida Governor Jeb Bush. Campbell encouraged people log onto TedCruz.org and make a donation.
Pat Campbell said he wanted to introduce the audience to someone he hopes to call Senator one day, “…and it isn’t [Second District Congressman] Markwayne Mullin.” This resulted in laughter from the audience.
Congressman Jim Bridenstine (R-OK-1), wearing a dark gray suit and tie, came out on stage to thunderous applause. Bridenstine told the audience that Senator Cruz was outside talking to the media and the people who could not get inside the auditorium. He would be about 15 minutes. Bridenstine had to speak for 28 minutes.
The Congressman lamented how too many Republican candidates tell their supporters they are conservatives only to get to Washington to vote for bailouts, earmarks and debt ceiling increases. Congressman Markwayne Mullin comes to mind even though he was not mentioned by Bridenstine. “They campaign one way and then go to Washington, D.C. and do something entirely different,” he said. He said those members of congress are what Senator Cruz calls, “The Washington Cartel.” Bridenstine said those members get taken in by lobbyists who promise to fund their campaigns if they will support the status quo on spending and government growth.
“Two-thirds of federal spending is on auto pilot. It’s called mandatory spending: Medicare, Medicaid, social security.” Bridenstine said the rest has to be appropriated and when there is a government shutdown it does not affect the two-thirds he cited. He said Nevada Senator Harry Reid would not pass anything the House sent him and then at the end of the year, Reid would authorize a continuing resolution to fund the government at the same level as the year before therefore avoiding any cuts in appropriated spending. Bridenstine said the Republicans are doing the same thing now. “Republicans are funding Obamacare, guess what else they are funding? Planned Parenthood.” The crowd booed. He said there is one Senator who has opposed funding these continuing resolutions and that is why he has endorsed Ted Cruz. The crowd roared. Bridenstine later said, “Our job is to make Super Tuesday Super Cruz Day.”
[Tweet ““Our job is to make Super Tuesday Super Cruz Day.” – Congressman Jim Bridenstine”]
Senator Cruz came out to thunderous applause wearing an open collar blue shirt and chinos. He thanked Congressman Bridenstine saying, “He’s a rock-ribbed conservative!” Cruz made mention of the first Republican debates in Cleveland a week earlier and took a jab at Hillary Clinton, “So now the Democrat field consists of a wild-eyed socialist with ideas that are dangerous for America and the world, and Bernie Sanders.” He went on to joke the Democrats are delaying their debates and he thinks they should wait until 2017. A man sitting near me yelled out. “Waiting for Hillary’s trail!”
Cruz spoke very passionately about what he would do on his first day in office as president all the while serving red meat to the audience. The first thing he said he’d do is repeal every unconstitutional Executive Actions passed by this president. “You know, President Obama likes to say, he’s got a phone, he’s got a pen. When you live by the pen you die by the pen. On that pen I’ll have an eraser!”
“You know, President Obama likes to say, he’s got a phone, he’s got a pen. When you live by the pen you die by the pen. On that pen I’ll have an eraser!” – Senator Ted Cruz
The second thing he would do is instruct the Justice Department to open an investigation into Planned Parenthood and prosecute any illegal activities.
The third thing he said he’d do is instruct the Justice Department and the Internal Revenue Service, along with other federal agencies to end persecution of religious beliefs. Regarding the federal Obamacare case against the Little Sisters of the Poor Cruz said, “If you are litigating against nuns, you’ve probably done something wrong!”
[Tweet ““If you are litigating against nuns, you’ve probably done something wrong!” – Senator Ted Cruz”]
Cruz said on January 20th, 2017, instead of a summons The Little Sisters of the Poor will receive a letter from the government telling them their case has been dismissed. He said he wants to invite them to visit the White House.
The forth promise is to “rip to shreds” the nuclear deal with Iran that President Obama is promoting. Cruz mentioned he was criticized by the President and Republican leaders Mitt Romney and Jeb Bush for saying this deal would make President Obama the biggest funder of Islamic terrorism in the world. Cruz makes the allegation because the Iran nuclear deal would release billions of assets frozen from Iran after the fall of the Shah in 1979. Iran is a state sponsor of radical Islam and terrorist networks.
The fifth promise is to move the American Embassy in Tel Aviv, Israel to Jerusalem.
After his first day, he promises to go to Congress to get them to repeal: “Every word of Obamacare.” He would instruct the Department of Education “Which should be abolished,” he said, “That common core ends today!” Wild applause came from the crowd.
Another promise that drew loud applause was to arm those in uniform on military bases and recruitment offices. He promised to rein in the Environmental Protection Agency, end sanctuary city policies that do not report illegal aliens who are arrested, pass a flat tax, and abolish the Internal Revenue Service. “There are 90,000 employees at the IRS. We need to padlock that building! Take all 90,000 put them on our southern border! Now for our friends in the media, I say that somewhat tongue-in-cheek. You think about it, imagine you travel thousands of miles, you’re swimming the Rio Grande. The first thing you see is 90,000 IRS agents!”
Cruz said he is optimistic about his chances since the auditorium was so full the fire marshal forced his campaign to turn hundreds of people away.
He said the times the country are in today are similar to those 35 years ago just before Ronald Reagan began the Reagan revolution. He said the average contribution to his campaign is $68. He plugged his website several times, TedCruz.org. In closing Cruz asked everyone there to contribute, get involved in winning Oklahoma, and to pray for him and his family.
During the speech Cruz mentioned former Florida Governor Jeb Bush. The response from the crowed was no different had Cruz mentioned President Obama or Democrat Senate minority leader Harry Reid.
Tulsa retiree George Wiland said he had been following Ted Cruz since Cruz was elected to the U.S. Senate from Texas in 2012. He said Cruz electrified the audience that evening. He believes Cruz knows how Washington works without being swayed by “the Washington cartel.” Other than Cruz, Mr. Wiland likes Dr. Ben Carson, Clary Fiorina, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and Florida Senator Marco Rubio. When asked whom he would not support, he responded Hillary Clinton.
Jodi Streck is the daughter of George Wiland. She works for the Tulsa County court system. She says she had not made up her mind for whom she will vote, but admitted she’s a fan of Cruz. She is considering Ben Carson, Carly Fiorina, Marco Rubio and Donald Trump. She said she likes what Trump is bringing to the debate.
Linda Wiland, wife of George and mother of Jodi, works as a nurse. She told me she resents what she calls the establishment deciding whose turn it is in the race for president.
Dennis Porebski is an Oral Roberts University graduate from Chicago. He works for St. Francis hospital. “Ted Cruz is basically saying the things Donald Trump is saying without the….how do I put this? Kinda without all the nastiness, the rudeness, the things that people don’t like.” Porebski said Cruz has people fired up while other candidates, with a similar message, are not able to get people as excited about their candidacies. Porebski’s picks are first Rand Paul, then Ted Cruz and Ben Carson. He admitted he is not yet full on for Ted Cruz.
As a writer, I would enjoy seeing other candidates for president come here so that I can write about them. However, after Thursday night, I’m certain Ted Cruz has Oklahoma wrapped up for Super Tuesday next March._ Follow FortySix News on Twitter and Facebook: Follow @FortySixNews