BARRINGTON, N.H. - Sen. Ted Cruz said Sunday that eliminating limits on how much money voters can give politicians would give people a greater say in the political process.
The Texas Republican, in New Hampshire courting grassroots support ahead of an expected presidential run, equated the flow of money to the First Amendment right to free speech: It is something that allows voices to be heard and candidates to be supported.
“I believe in free speech and the First Amendment, which means everyone here has a right to speak out in politics as effectively as possible," Cruz said. "To speak out and make your views known, whether that is standing on a street corner on a soap box, whether that is printing out a yard sign, whether that is spending money to run a radio ad or a TV ad, effectively communicating."
Cruz introduced legislation last year that would eliminate limits on direct political contributions -- rendering super PACs pointless because individuals could give directly to candidates.
"Money absolutely can be speech from Day One," Cruz said.
Gary DiPiero of Saugus, Mass., took that to heart, attempting to give Cruz a blank check. Cruz refused, citing that he is not yet a declared presidential candidate.
"He didn't take it," DiPiero said.
There is, however, a super PAC registered to support Cruz. The Stand for Principle PAC was established last last year.
Cruz recounted having "$35 million in nasty attack ads" leveled against him during his Senate run in Texas, but said his opponents had a constitutional right to run the spots.
Despite his calls for money, Cruz said he hasn't decided whether he will run for president - but noted that in the past week he has visited Iowa, and South Carolina, in addition to New Hampshire -- all states with the nation's earliest presidential primaries and caucuses. He also said his oldest daughter is on board with a potential run because if the family moved into the White House, their new dog would have a yard to play in.