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Politics

Ted Cruz Wraps Up New Hampshire Trip

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Ben Philpott/KUT News
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Sen. Cruz speaks to the Young America's Foundation dinner in Nashua, NH

Texas Senator Ted Cruz ended his first official week as a Presidential candidate in the snow in New Hampshire. As the skies spit small flakes, the kind that shut down most Texas towns but are barely noticed in New England, Cruz turned up the heat indoors with a rousing 40-minute speech that drew six standing ovations.

Tom Fergus was in the crowd of more than 200 people attending the brunch at the Portsmouth Country Club. While national media and some Republican pundits have said Cruz's campaign doesn't have the broad appeal needed to make a successful run, Fergus says Cruz's message fits right in with the "rugged individualist Yankees that we are."

And for all the talk of Ted Cruz the outsider and establishment pariah, some of the people following Cruz over the weekend say he's not coming across that way on the campaign trail. 

"What we're seeing on the road is that Ted Cruz is doing a very good job of casting those principles in a manner that I think broadens their appeal," says Mike Rogers, a writer for the conservative blog GraniteGrok.com. "He doesn't come across as a bomb-throwing extremist when you get him on the stump."

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Credit Ben Philpott/KUT News
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Sen. Cruz greets New Hampshire voters at the Portsmouth Country Club.

One example of that was his speech Friday night at the Young America's Foundation convention in Nashua. When Cruz launched his campaign in front of several thousand college students at Liberty University in Virginia, he delivered a campaign speech to the students, but not necessarily for the students, considering the bigger picture he needed to paint to launch a campaign.

Friday night, most of that red meat was gone. It was replaced with stories about the HBO vampire show True Blood, Jimmy Kimmel, and the power of social media and viral videos. 

John Twarog is a college student from Georgia Southern. He says Cruz appeals to college students because of his record of standing up for his principles. "Ted Cruz is kind of unapologetic, and he doesn't flip flop," and Twarog says that will gain the respect of the younger voter.

Cruz will need support from young and old to make a dent in New Hampshire. He's currently averaging an 8th place finish in the polls.

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Credit Ben Philpott/KUT News
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Sen. Cruz helps his daughter Caroline, age 6, get breakfast at a Republican brunch in Portsmouth.

Former Florida governor Jeb Bush and current Wisconsin governor Scott Walker are currently in the lead.

Cruz now heads back to Texas for a Tuesday fundraiser in Houston. He'll then hit the road again, starting a two-day swing in Iowa on Wednesday.

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