HENNIKER, N.H. — Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) spoke at a college on a rainy morning here and briefly played professor, weaving a regional history lesson into his pitch to New Hampshire voters.
“New England,” Cruz said, hearkening back to colonial times, “was meant to be the new England, the new land, where we were meant to be free and not have government dictate our faith, dictate our lives.”
Fresh off his win in the Iowa caucuses, Cruz has retooled his entreaty to voters here in New Hampshire, whose electorate is more flinty and independent-minded than Iowa’s deeply religious one. Cruz is applying his same basic message of unbending conservatism rooted in a deep religious faith, but is giving it a more libertarian bent, stressing individual liberties, the Second Amendment and government keeping out of people’s lives.
Cruz is dropping references to Dunkin’ Donuts, a chain that occupies a large portion of the New England psyche, and the New England Patriots. On a swing here last month he repeatedly did an impression of John F. Kennedy. He is even increasing the seemingly endless number of times he mentions Ronald Reagan, reminding audiences that the state backed Reagan, despite “all of the media saying this guy is too far to the right, he’s too conservative,” Cruz told an audience in Nashua, N.H. It is, Cruz said, a way to show that the state should embrace him, too.
“In Iowa you’ve got more evangelicals. In New Hampshire you have more libertarians,” Cruz told reporters on his plane as it traveled from Greenville, S.C., to Manchester, N.H. “That’s why I talk about the Reagan coalition so often. Most candidates are either conservatives who can compete in Iowa or moderates who can compete in New Hampshire. Usually you can’t do both.”
But Cruz believes he can. He has spent months attempting to siphon support from Rand Paul (R-Ky.), and pounced when the libertarian-leaning senator dropped out of the presidential race this week.
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