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Home / Ted Cruz condemns Planned Parenthood shooter, doubles down on abortion criticisms
CORALVILLE - Republican presidential candidate and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, in Iowa on Monday, rebuffed criticism that heated anti-abortion rhetoric may have helped motivate a shooting at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs last week that killed three.
Cruz condemned suspected shooter Robert L. Dear, but accused the media of 'bending over backward to try to use this horrible crime to advance a political agenda.”
According to reports by several news outlets, Dear told authorities 'no more baby parts” after Friday's shooting, which killed a police officer and two civilians.
'This man is a despicable murderer and should be punished to the full extent of the law, but none of that changes the reality that Planned Parenthood is in the business of buying and selling the body parts of unborn children,” Cruz, 44, told reporters after a town-hall meeting.
One of Cruz' priorities is defunding Planned Parenthood, which reports it allocates 3 percent of its health services for abortion services.
About 150 people came to hear Cruz at the Kirkwood Regional Center at the University of Iowa on the last of a three-day, nine-stop tour of Iowa. Cruz's support is surging in Iowa. He has moved into second place at 23 percent, doubling his support from four weeks ago, and is within the margin of error of front-runner Donald Trump, according to the most recent Quinnipiac University Poll released Nov. 24.
However, the vast majority of his supporters identify themselves as 'very conservative,” according to the poll, which has been a recipe for success in the Iowa caucuses but not the general election.
Cruz spoke for about 20 minutes and took another 45 minutes of questions from a mostly supportive crowd in one of Iowa's most liberal counties - Johnson County.
Cruz hit on key campaign platforms: repealing the Affordable Care Act, dismantling the Internal Revenue Service, defending the right to bear arms and ending Common Core standards.
Cruz addressed the Syrian refugee crises, calling allowing 'tens of thousands of Syrian Muslim refugees” into the United States 'utter lunacy.”
'They want us to believe they are all widows and orphans,” Cruz said. 'We know at least one of the Paris terrorists came among the refugees, and we know that ISIS plans to infiltrate the country using refugees, and we know the head of the FBI ... told Congress the Obama Administration cannot vet the refugees.”
The first-term senator spoke about his foreign affairs outlook, describing himself as in the mold of President Ronald Reagan.
'The best way to avoid a war is to be strong enough that no one wants to mess with the United States,” he said. 'The weakness and appeasement of Obama is provocative and invites military conflict.”
He accused President Barack Obama of sending $100 billion to Ayatollah Khameini, which he said if not stopped will fuel Iran acquiring nuclear weapons. He called preventing Iran and jihadists from getting nuclear weapons his top two priorities, followed by bolstering the U.S. missile defense.
In response to an audience question about whether he and other GOP candidates should condemn inflammatory comments by Trump, Cruz defended declining 'daily invitations” to blast Trump, saying he likes Trump and thanks him for 'framing the central issue of the campaign ... standing up to Washington.” But said he doesn't believe Trump will be the nominee.
Dave Southard, of North Liberty, said Cruz, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and former Hewlett-Packard executive Carly Fiorina are on his shortlist, but said Monday's event solidified his support of Cruz.
'The sincerity. The knowledge. The self-deprecating humor,” Southard said. 'People came in today to challenge him, and he disarmed them. He is the whole package.”