Texas Republican Senator Ted Cruz has made individual liberty the key theme of his presidential campaign announcement.
Speaking at Liberty University in Virginia, Ted Cruz is one of several Republican hopefuls to emerge from the Tea Party movement.
He described his mission as “reigniting the promise of America” because “for so many Americans the promise of America seems more and more distant”.
Ted Cruz, 44, is the first high-profile Republican to officially enter the 2016 race.
He urged millions of “courageous conservatives” to rise up and he called on Americans to come together to say: “We demand our liberty.”
The speech followed a middle-of-the-night campaign announcement on Twitter.
Making an appeal to cultural conservatives and religious Republicans, he said: “Our rights don’t come from man but from God Almighty.”
Ted Cruz talked the crowd through his childhood and religious faith before moving on to lay out his political agenda.
He detailed his parents’ journey from Cuba in 1957 and discussed his early childhood in Canada – where he was born – after his father abandoned him and his mother.
Ted Cruz’s father, now an evangelical preacher, moved to the United States and developed a deep Christian faith before returning to his family and moving them to the US.
He spoke on the Senate floor for over 21 hours in a marathon speech that contributed to the 2013 government shutdown and was aimed at encouraging his fellow lawmakers to repeal the president’s healthcare reform, nicknamed ObamaCare.
The speech included a reading of Dr. Seuss’ Green Eggs and Ham to his daughters, who were said to be watching their father on television.
He later joked that the event featured hours of his “favorite sound” – his own voice.
Before entering politics, Ted Cruz worked as a high-profile lawyer representing the State of Texas before the Supreme Court. He also taught law in Texas.
In the George W. Bush administration, Ted Cruz worked for the Federal Trade Commission and as an associate deputy attorney general at the Justice Department.
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