`If we allow non–believers to elect our leaders …’ Ted Cruz with James Dobson

Good morning Austin:

The evangelical vote is central to Ted Cruz’s hopes of winning the Iowa caucuses March 1. He has picked up the endorsement of many leading evangelical leaders, in Iowa and nationally, perhaps none more important than that of Dr. James Dobson.

Here is how the Cruz campaign announced Dobson’s endorsement last month.

HOUSTON, Texas – Presidential candidate Ted Cruz today announced the endorsement of Dr. James Dobson, one of the nation’s most trusted spokesmen and advisors on marriage, child development and the family.

Dr. Dobson is the founder and president of Family Talk, where he produces a radio program heard on 1300 outlets around the world and on the Internet. Dobson has advised three presidents on matters pertaining to marriage and the family. He is the author of more than 30 books dedicated to preserving and equipping families, including classics such as Love Must Be Tough, Love for a Lifetime, When God Doesn’t Make Sense, The New Dare to Discipline, Bringing Up Girls, Bringing Up Boys, and Your Legacy: The Greatest Gift.

“Ted Cruz’s record on religious liberty, life, and marriage is second to none in this Republican field,” Dobson said. “I have met with the senator on multiple occasions: he is brilliant, articulate, and informed. Shirley and I have been praying for a leader such as this, and we are confident that Ted Cruz has the moral and spiritual foundations to lead our nation with excellence. Speaking as private individuals, we urge conservatives and people of faith to join us in supporting his race for the presidency.”

Dobson earned a Ph.D. in child development from the University of Southern California and holds 17 honorary degrees. In 2008 he was inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame.

“Dr. Dobson has mentored and encouraged three generations of American families,” Ted Cruz said. “Dr. Dobson’s wisdom and common sense have inspired health and healing in millions of lives. He has rallied people around the world with a vision for happy marriages and beautiful home life. I am deeply grateful for Dr. Dobson’s gift to the world – he has been a voice of hope and a guide to many of us, and I am thrilled to have his support.”

Dr. Dobson is married to Shirley Dobson, the Chairwoman of The National Day of Prayer Task Force. Shirley and her team sponsor tens of thousands of prayer gatherings annually, in which millions of Americans participate in prayer for the nation. Together the couple authored Nightlight: A Devotional for Couples. They are the parents of two children and have two grandchildren.

Last night, Dobson came to Winterset, Iowa, to interview Sen. Cruz before a packed-to-overflowing house at the Winterset Stage as the featured event on the first day of Cruz’s six-day, 28-stop tour of Iowa.

Here are some highlights of their conversation.

U.S. Rep. Steve King, the Iowa Republican who has endorsed Cruz and introduced him at each of his stops Monday, introduced Dobson.

King: There is probably not a more astute voice in all the United Sates of America than Rr. James Dobson on family issues and Dr. james Dobson said I’m going to endorse Ted Cruz for president because I see him as a unique and a rare and gifted leader who we need right now …  Not only am I endorsing him on paper but I am al in in making my endorsement.

Dobson: I tell you what, there is a wonderful energy in this room, standing room only, people standing around the edge. That says something about the candidate we here to honor tonight.

The room is not jammed tonight for me. It’s for Sen. Ted Cruz, who I really believe is is going to be the next president of the United States.

There are a lot of good candidates this time around. We are really blessed to have a number o f people who have great ideas and are very qualified and many of them believe the same things I believe.

Washington is in a mess right now. The Congress, the court system, is kind of spiraling out of control and certainly our president isn’t  doing us any good right now. That’s why I looked for a candidate who was strong enough to take on Washington …  I believe Ted Cruz is one of them and it’s why I put my name on the line.

Bringing Cruz on stage, Dobson noted the senator’s grueling campaign schedule, and asked, How in the world are you holding up. You don’t even look tired.

Cruz likened what is he doing to a pastor preaching a sermon and being lifted by the amens of his congregation.

It’s impossible not to be lifted up and inspire, and that’s how I feel every day.

My father was a minister, said Dobson, and he would say, “that’ll preach.” That’ll preach.

Dobson: I worked with Ronald Reagan for five years. I worked with three other president and I have never seen the situation as dire as it is now and I believe you are strong enough to stand up and take on Washington. Are you ready for that job?

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Cruz: Well I hope and believe I am, but I agree, it is an incredibly difficult job. The challenges facing this country have never been greater – the challenges facing the world. And it is a job frankly that is too big for any one person, and if you don’t’ begin every day on your knees asking God for his wisdom and support, I don’t be live you’re fit to do this job.”

Dobson: Would your day-by-day experience with God play a role as president of the United States?

Cruz: Absolutely. Yes. So last night, before we started the bus tour we spent – Heidi and I and our senior team – spent about a half hour on the phone, all in different places, in prayer, and that’s how we began our campaign.

A dear friend of ours, who is our finance chair, he passed on a story that is a powerful analogy, because we are entering the final stretch, we’re entering the stretch where we are less than 30 days away from the Iowa caucuses. In 90 days, by the end of March, it is likely we will know who the nominee is and we know the attacks are coming from every direction and so, Willie (Langston), our finance chairman, he passed on that outside St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City, there is a statue of Jesus as a 12-year-old boy, holding he world with one finger, and if you look directly across from St. Patrick’s’ Cathedral, you’ve got Rockefeller Center, and you have the giant statue of Atlas struggling to hold the world on his shoulder, and the question Willie asked is, `Do we want to try to lift the whole world on our shoulder, do we want to try to carry the burden of this campaign, but,  even more so, the job of being president on our shoulders, or do we want to entrust Jesus who, as a 12-year-old boy would hold the world on his finger?

Dobson and Cruz commiserated about voter turnout among evangelical citizens.

Dobson: Evangelicals – only fifty percent are registered and only fifty percent of those registered actually come out to vote.

That’s 25 percent of evangelicals. That is a disgrace. It’s a disgrace that they would not care enough about our country and the fabric of our nation and our children and all the implications for marriage and everything else, that we wouldn’t give 15 minutes to go register our opinions …

They’re obviously energized here. We’ve got to have huge numbers to get the job done.

Cruz Well, Dr. Dobson, you are absolutely right. In the last presidential election, a majority of evangelicals did not vote. Fifty-four million evangelicals stayed home. In the last election, millions of Reagan Democrats and blue collar Catholics across the Midwest and New England stayed home.

I believe the key to wining in 2016 is very simple. We have to bring back to the polls the millions of conservatives who stayed home. We have to awaken and energize the body of Christ.

We look at our federal government now. We have a federal government that is waging a war on life, a war on marriage, a war on religious liberty. We have a federal government that is advancing a secular agenda, that puts the ability of Bible-believing Christians to live our faith more and more in jeopardy, that is appeasing radical Islamic terrorism, in fact refused to even acknowledge its name. And if you look at the federal government, you might as, why do we have a government attacking life, attacking marriage, attacking faith, attacking religious liberty.

Well is it any wonder when a majority  of believers are staying home?  If we allow non–believers to elect our leaders, we shouldn’t be surprised when our government doesn’t reflect our values.

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They talked about the national debt.

(Dobson complimented Cruz on his beautiful daughters. Thank God they look like their mother,” said Cruz, proof that “God is a benevolent God.”)

At that point, Cruz and Dobson got spritzed with some water from a leaky pipe above.

“The budget is so bad, the pipes are leaking,” Cruz said.

“I thought you were spitting,” Dobson said.

On everyone claiming they will take on the Washington establishment, Cruz said, “the natural next question is, when have you take on Washington, and when have you stood up, not just to Democrats, but leaders in our own party. The last time we beat the Washington cartel, it was 1980.

Dobson said the focus of his concern was the Supreme Court.

Dobson: They’re killing us, they’re absolutely killing us, especially with what they just did with marriage.  Thirty states voted on a definition of marriage and every single one of them voted to put traditional marriage of a man and woman into the constitution, and here you’ve got five members of the judiciary who overrode that. Whatever happened to Abraham Lincoln’s statesman, this is a government of the people, by the people and for the people?

Cruz Dr. Dobson. Let me quote the movie Jerry Maguire. You had me at hello.

Listen our courts are out of control and the Supreme Court in particular. We saw last summer two lawless decisions in the space of 24 hours, back to back.

Cruz: Those decisions were fundamentally illegitimate, they were lawless, and they will not stand.

Dobson: The greatest fear I have for the outcome of this election is that Hillary Clinton will be allowed to make perhaps three and maybe four appointments to that court and, because they have no checks and balances, that’s the end of us. I mean, that is going to be disastrous if it happens.

Cruz:  Dr. Dobson, You are exactly right. As bad, as lawless, as out of control as this court is, the next president will appoint one, two, three, maybe even four Supreme Court justices, and we are one justice away form a five justice ultra-left-wing majority that will tear down our constitutional liberties fundamentally.

Cruz talked about how, as solicitor general for the state of Texas, he successfully defended keeping the Ten Commandments on the state Capitol grounds.

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Cruz: If Hillary Clinton is elected president, we will see the Supreme Court ordering Ten Commandment monuments to be torn down on courthouses and public steps all across this country.

Another major victory we had was defending the Second Amendment right keep and bear arms. We brought together 31 states and went to the Supreme Court and we won 5-4. If Hillary Clinton is elected president, the Supreme Court will rule that no individual Americans has any individual right to keep and bear arms whatsoever, and the government can make it a a felony for you to own a firearm and protect your family.

At that point a voice bellowed from the rear of the hall: Come and take it!

Cruz: Iowa and Texas have some things in common.

Dobson: I’m grateful this is a friendly crowd.

Dobson asked Cruz to outline what he would do his first day in office, the meat of his usual stump speech.

Rescind Obama’s executive orders, launch an investigation of  Planned Parenthood, shred the Iran deal, order the IRS and Justice Department to stop prosecuting people because of their faith and, “Number five –  to begin the process of moving the American embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, the once and eternal capital.”

Then Dobson and Cruz moved on to more explicitly religious terrain.

Dobson:  How can we pray for you, sir?

Cruz: You know it’s a great question and I would ask for three things

Number one, for peace. That has been our prayer – for peace in the midst of the storm, in the midst of the attacks that we have the calm like Jesus when he arose from the slumber on the ship to calm the seas. That we have the peace of serving an almighty God. That no mater what lies, no matter what attacks, no matter what slings and arrows come our way, that everyone that is a part of this team have a peace.

The second thing I would ask for is wisdom. When Solomon was given a choice of anything in the world that he cold have,that is what he asked for.

You talked moments ago about the incredible challenges facing this country, the threat abroad, the threats at home. If there’s one thing you need as a candidate, if there’s one thing you need as a president, it’s wisdom and judgment and discernment.

And the third thing that I would ask for, and I confess this is selfish, but what I would ask that you pray for our girls Caroline and Catherine. They’re seven and five and by far the hardest part of this campaign is leaving the girls.

Cruz talked about FaceTiming that morning with his five-year-old, Catherine, on her new iPad, that morning from his hotel room.

Cruz: I tell you, when you’re the father of two little girls waking out to go on the campaign trail, and one girl grabs one leg, the other girls grabs the other and they say, `Don’t go daddy.’

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That’s hard and it has been hard. Our girls have paid a price in this campaign and we do everyting we can to embrace them with unconditional love, but it is not easy, so I would just ask that you, pray for our girls that they know they are loved by their mom and dad and they are loved by their father in heaven, and that they maintain a spirit of joy and peace as well.

Then Dobson talked to the audience about Cruz’s wife, Heidi.

Dobson:Now I want to tell you something you might not know. He’s got a secret weapon he hasn’t raelly unleashed it yet and her name is Heidi

I heard her speak last weeked nand she is a superstar. She loves the Lord with all of her heart. She is great mother.

I heard her speak and I wasn’t writing it down but here is what I got.

She had to make a decision whether she wanted to make this journey – not that there was anything wrong with your relationship – but to make this journey that took a lot out of her and her children and she was praying and she was asking, `Should I do this for Ted?’ And she came to the conclusion that should do this but not for Ted, but for the Lord. He is asking me to do this.

Is that accurate?

Cruz: The story you told is exactly right.

Heidi spent a lot of years building a very, very successful career and when we were deciding whether to run, particularly if you are the parents of young girls, that’s not an easy decision, and she was struggling with it and she was listening to a CD of Christian songs. Her brother is a missionary in Haiti. His name is Scott and he’s an orthopedic surgeon and cares for kids and he’s been a missionary in Hati for many years, and Heidi’s parents were missionaries and Scott’s wife, Marni, had sent Heidi his CD of Christian songs, and “you just need to listen to this.”

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And she was driving home and there was one song in particular that it said, “Lord, you’ve given us everything we need and you’ve given us so much of what we want, but help us not to seek your hand but to seek your face.” And Heidi literally pulled off to the side of the freeway and began crying, and that became her prayer. Our prayer has never been, we are seeking the hand of God – we haven’t asked, “Give us your help in winning this race.” That’s not our prayer. We are not seeking his hand. Her prayer was, “Let us seek your face, let this campaign reflect your love, reflect your glory and let his will be done,” and that moment changed her heart where she said, “i’m not doing this for Ted, I’m doing it for the Lord, for our country, for our children and the future.

Dobson concluded by saying that, if Cruz is elected, Heidi wold be the first pro-life First Lady since the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision in 1973.

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Dobson: There has never in American history been a pro-life first lady. Think back, Barbara Bush, all the others, going all the way back to 1973 when Roe v. Wade was handed down, there has not been one and first ladies are usually the most respected women in America. They have great influence. They have great power, the influence …. but here hasn’t been one and we’ve got got a chance to get one this time.

Cruz: Dr. Dobson. Thank you for being here. There are some of us who, literally our whole lives, have admired you. You ahve been a voice for Christian values and and an aide to parents raising kids.

With that, Cruz announced the formation of the campaign’s Iowa and national Home School Coalition – some 7,000 strong –  and brought some on stage.

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Izzy Wadsley, 3, is the daughter of Melinda Wadlsey, a home-schooler, who works for the pro-Cruz super PAC Keep the Promise in Iowa. She was at a midday appearance by Cruz Monday in Carroll, Iowa.

Cruz’s day began with a mob scene at King’s Christian Bookstore in Boone, Iowa.

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Cruz’s day ended with a mob scene at Penny’s Diner in Missouri Valley, Iowa, a couple of miles from the Nebraska line.

“Why am I so optimistic? Because it’s 10:30 at night and it’s standing room only in a diner.”

Ted Cruz

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Mark McKinnon, left, executive producer of a Showtime doc on the 2016 election, and Robert Draper, who writes fot the New York Times Magazine.

Mark McKinnon, left, executive producer of a Showtime doc on the 2016 election, and Robert Draper, who writes fot the New York Times Magazine.

Cruz press secretary Catherine Frazier

Cruz press secretary Catherine Frazier

Penny's diner at 2 a.m.

Penny’s diner at 2 a.m.

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