COLUMBIA, S.C. — Ted Cruz has spent less than six months in the U.S. Senate, but he fueled speculation about his political ambitions on Friday night with a coveted speaking role at a state Republican Party dinner in South Carolina, which holds an early presidential primary.
In a speech designed to rally the state party’s most faithful activists, Cruz, R-Texas, sharply criticized the Obama administration for “pushing an agenda aggressively to come after our constitutional right to keep and bear arms.”
He thanked the state’s conservative voters for helping stop the Senate from passing restrictions on guns despite widespread support for some of the proposals.
Cruz, 42, urged Republicans not to become complacent in the aftermath of the party’s electoral losses last year.
“Change happens quickly,” the senator said, recalling that Democrats had warned of a “permanent Republican majority” in 2005.
“In 2006, we lost Congress; 2008, Barack Obama got elected; 2009, Obama-care passes; and here we are today,” Cruz said.
He later said, “I am convinced, with your help, that we’re going to take back the U.S. Senate in 2014.”