While Cruz predictably saves his strongest criticism for Obama and Clinton—tying them together by repeatedly tagging the current White House approach as an “Obama-Clinton foreign policy”—he spends considerable time contrasting his positions with those of his likely rivals. In fact, Cruz’s desire to exploit Paul’s perceived weakness on foreign policy has in large part driven the Texas senator’s brand-building strategy thus far. It’s certainly what has led Cruz to focus early and often on establishing friends in the pro-Israel community of voters and donors, which remains wary of the libertarian from Kentucky.Cruz has never been shy about showing solidarity with the Jewish state. (It backfired recently when he walked off stage to the sound of booing at an event for persecuted Middle East Christians after telling attendees they had “no greater ally” than Israel.)Cruz has made three trips to Israel in less than two years in office. He has referenced the country thousands of times on the Senate floor, according to the Congressional Record. He has even begun meeting privately with Jewish leaders and advocacy groups during recent trips to early primary states. To leave no doubts, Cruz welcomes visitors to his personal office with a large, framed photograph of himself, his wife, and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.Sources close to Cruz say much of this is meant to exploit the anxiety within the pro-Israel movement about Paul, who once echoed his father in suggesting an end to Israeli foreign aid.
September 29, 2014 at 10:30 AM EDT