In June, Ted Cruz promised on NPR that opposition to gay marriage would be “front and center” in his 2016 campaign.
In July, he said the Supreme Court’s decision allowing same-sex marriage was the “very definition of tyranny” and urged states to ignore the ruling.
But in December, behind closed doors at a big-dollar Manhattan fundraiser, the quickly ascending presidential candidate assured a Republican gay-rights supporter that a Cruz administration would not make fighting same-sex marriage a top priority.
In a recording provided to POLITICO, Cruz answers a flat “No” when asked whether fighting gay marriage is a “top-three priority,” an answer that pleased his socially moderate hosts but could surprise some of his evangelical backers.
While Cruz’s private comments to a more moderate GOP audience do not contradict what the Republican Texas senator has said elsewhere, they demonstrate an adeptness at nuance in tone and emphasis that befits his Ivy League background. Indeed, the wording looks jarring when compared with the conservative, evangelical rhetoric he serves at his rallies, which have ballooned in size and excitement as he has moved to the front of the pack in Iowa.
But an adviser to a rival campaign, speaking on condition of anonymity because he wants to stay behind the scenes, said the Manhattan comments could help opponents portray Cruz as “calculating” at a time voters are rewarding authenticity.
“There’s an Iowa Ted and a New York Ted,” the adviser said. “He sounds different behind closed doors.”At The New York Times, Jonathan Martin reports on a campaign memo from 1999:
As one of the architects of Mr. Bush’s immigration platform, Mr. Cruz, then 30, outlined calibrated positions that would appeal to conservatives concerned about border security while portraying Mr. Bush to moderates as an inclusive Republican. The memo, in which Mr. Cruz put his name on every page, was authenticated by another aide on the 2000 Bush campaign.
“America is stronger with the many immigrants who come here to make a new life and participate in the American dream,” Mr. Cruz wrote in capital letters about legal immigrants at the document’s outset.
He also advised that Mr. Bush state his support for increasing caps on visas for high-tech workers — a position that Mr. Cruz held after being elected to the Senate in 2012 but has recently abandoned.
Mr. Cruz urged Mr. Bush, again in capital letters, to state his opposition to illegal immigration and to urge enforcement of border restrictions.
“But, at the same time,” he added in the next sentence, “we need to remember that many of those coming here are coming to feed their families, to have a chance at a better life.”