Networks: Cruz Campaign Could Face Some ‘Rough Sledding’; Wants ‘No Abortion’ or ‘Gun Control’

On Monday night, the major broadcast networks devoted full segments to the announcement from Republican Senator Ted Cruz (Tex.) that he will seek the Republican presidential nomination in 2016, with CBS touting how he could face “some rough sledding” if he seeks support from “mainstream Republicans” and ABC made sure to point out his promises of “no abortion, no gay marriage, no gun control,” and “no IRS.” 

ABC’s World News Tonight made the list of conservative viewpoints the centerpiece of their coverage, mentioning it three times with the first coming during an opening tease from anchor David Muir: “Off and running. The first major candidate announcing he's running for president. Promising no abortion, no gay marriage, no gun control, no IRS.”

Reporting on Cruz’s announcement, ABC News chief White House correspondent Jonathan Karl repeated the Texas Senator’s opposition to liberal issues by noting how he mentioned them in the speech as “a twist on the old John Lennon song” (“Imagine Peace”) and proceeded to provide a brief history of Cruz’s tenure in the U.S. Senate: 

So, who is Ted Cruz? He's an uncompromising conservative. The freshman senator that led the fight against ObamaCare that shut down the government. At one point, talking for 21 straight hours on the Senate floor, even reading a little Dr. Seuss. 

Over on the CBS Evening News, national correspondent Chip Reid stated how the junior senator “is already known as an uncompromising conservative and, today, he cemented that reputation before an adoring audience at Virginia's Liberty University, which calls itself the largest Christian school in the world.”

Reid brought up the 2013 government shutdown by reminding viewers that Cruz’s actions “angered leading members of his own party, including Senator John McCain, who called Cruz ‘a wacko bird.’”

At the conclusion of his report from Lynchburg, Reid declared that: 

Cruz's uncompromising conservatism is expected to help him in some early contests, including the Iowa caucuses, but Scott, there could be some rough sledding if his campaign survives to the point where he needs to start asking mainstream Republicans for support.

As for what NBC Nightly News had to offer, Capitol Hill correspondent Kelly O’Donnell noted how Cruz “delivered 30 minutes of fire” without “notes or teleprompter” to “[m]ore than 10,000 students” at Liberty, but added the caveat that the students “were here as a required part of the regular class schedule.”

Near the conclusion of her story, O’Donnell made certain to find a self-described “liberal” and “progressive” student in the audience to criticize Cruz: “I consider myself a liberal, a progressive. I do not agree with many of the things he said.”

With Cruz being the first major candidate (Democrat or Republican) to officially announce their candidacy, it has yet to be seen how the media coverage of Cruz’s event will compare to the others that are certain to be taking place over the next few weeks and months. 

As the networks were quick to highlight the government shutdown, find an audience member opposed to Cruz, or harp on Cruz’s opposition to abortion and gun control, it’d be a tough bet to predict that they will do the same for the handful of Democratic candidates expected to declare their candidacy.

The relevant portions of the transcript from ABC’s World News Tonight with David Muir on February 23 can be found below.

ABC’s World News Tonight with David Muir
March 23, 2015
6:30 p.m. Eastern [TEASE]

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Off and Running]

DAVID MUIR: Off and running. The first major candidate announcing he's running for president. Promising no abortion, no gay marriage, no gun control, no IRS.

(....)

6:34 p.m. Eastern

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE CAPTION: Running for President]

MUIR: Now, to a first in the race for president in 2016. The first major candidate saying he wants the job. Republican Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, announcing on Twitter, tweeting out, “I'm running for president” and today, we heard what he's promising: No abortion, gay marriage, no gun control and he told our Jon Karl today, he will appeal to far more than just conservatives.

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: The Race Is On; Ted Cruz Announces Candidacy]

JONATHAN KARL: Texas Senator Ted Cruz practiced for his big moment, rehearsing the wave with his kids, even the kiss with his wife and today, when he took the stage for real, Cruz made it official with the flair of a televangelist. 

(....)

KARL: In a twist on the old John Lennon song, Cruz told the crowd to imagine a purely conservative presidency. No abortion, no gay marriage, no gun control, no IRS and – 

CRUZ: Imagine in 2017, a new president signing legislation repealing every word of ObamaCare. 

KARL: So, who is Ted Cruz? He's an uncompromising conservative. The freshman senator that led the fight against ObamaCare that shut down the government. At one point, talking for 21 straight hours on the Senate floor, even reading a little Dr. Seuss. 

(....)

KARL: He's Mr. Ivy League. Near the top of his class at Harvard Law, a champion debater at Princeton. Skills he's used to battle Washington Republicans, he says, have gone soft.

The relevant portions of the segment from the CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley on March 23 are transcribed below.

CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley
March 23, 2015
6:40 p.m. Eastern

CHIP REID: Ted Cruz is already known as an uncompromising conservative and today he cemented that reputation before an adoring audience at Virginia's Liberty University, which calls itself the largest Christian school in the world. 

CRUZ: Imagine abolishing the I.R.S. 

REID: Cruz first stole the national spotlight in 2013, his first year in the Senate, when he held the floor for 21 hours. 

CRUZ [on 09/24/13]: I intend to speak in support of defunding ObamaCare until I am no longer able to stand. 

REID: It contributed to a 16-day partial government shutdown that angered leading members of his own party, including Senator John McCain, who called Cruz “a wacko bird.”

(....)

REID: The son of a Cuban dissident and American mother, Cruz graduated from Princeton University and Harvard Law School before serving in the George W. Bush administration and as Solicitor General of Texas. A Southern Baptist, Cruz is deeply religious. 

CRUZ: Our rights don't come to man. They come from God Almighty.

(....)

REID: Cruz's uncompromising conservatism is expected to help him in some early contests, including the Iowa caucuses, but Scott, there could be some rough sledding if his campaign survives to the point where he needs to start asking mainstream Republicans for support.

NB Daily Campaigns & Elections 2016 Presidential Double Standards Conservatives & Republicans ABC World News Tonight CBS CBS Evening News NBC NBC Nightly News Video Jonathan Karl Scott Pelley Chip Reid Lester Holt Kelly O'Donnell David Muir Ted Cruz
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