Ted Cruz has demonstrated a particular grace under attack during the GOP primary race, appearing unwilling to pick up arms for a circular firing squad amongst his fellow GOP candidates.
We shared a notable example here, after being dissed by former President George W. Bush. And, more recently, y’all may have heard about Sen. Cruz’s response to Donald Trump’s characterization of him as a “maniac.”
In last night’s GOP debate, Cruz stuck to his strategy of not attacking, even when encouraged to do so by moderator Dana Bash. And his response to a question last night about whether Trump can be entrusted with the United States nuclear arsenal earned him the most Googled moment by far from last night — suggesting the moment garnered some 2nd looks from many GOP viewers.
See the moment on the far right below, as charted by Google:
As IJReview notes, Sen. Cruz did three key things that inspired viewers to give him a second look online:
1) Cruz doubled down on his insistence that he would not bash Trump:
Cruz stuck to his message, refusing to trash talk Trump even though The Donald has been on the attack.
While other candidates, like Rick Perry and Scott Walker, sunk after they went on the offensive with Trump, Cruz stayed above the fray. His reward? Polling above Donald Trump in Iowa.
2) He invoked Reagan:
Lots of people love former President Ronald Reagan. Just take a look at this poll that has more than half of those polled viewing Reagan as favorable. And this poll that ranks him as one of the best presidents of all time.
3) He criticized Democrats for insufficiently dealing with terrorism:
On how Democrats have combatted ISIS and radical Islam, Cruz said:
“They won’t even call it by its name.”
Americans now say that terrorism is now this country’s #1 problem, even topping the economy.
Well-played, Sen. Cruz. Well-played!
With the primaries fast approaching, the stakes continue to rise. We can only hope that more GOP candidates decide to follow the Eleventh Commandmant, “Thou shalt not speak ill of any fellow Republican.” Let’s save that for our Democrat opponent, as Sen. Cruz demonstrated last night.
[Note: This article was written by Michelle Jesse, Associate Editor]