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ANKENY, Iowa - Conservative broadcaster Glenn Beck endorsed Ted Cruz for president here on Saturday, blasting Donald Trump as a progressive who will be dangerous for the country.
Beck's endorsement is the highest-profile one yet for Cruz, coming nine days before Iowans cast the nation's first votes in the presidential nominating process.
"I am here to announce that I am officially endorsing Ted Cruz to become the first Hispanic president of the United States, the first first-generation president of the United States, the most conservative president of the United States since Ronald Reagan," Beck said at a rally hosted by a constellation of super PACs supporting Cruz at a Bible college here.
Beck said he has never endorsed a candidate before, but was moved to do so by Cruz. Beck said the next president must "be Lincoln and he may also have to be Washington."
"I have prayed for the next George Washington. I believe I have found him," Beck said of Cruz, lavishing praise on the Texas Republican.
Beck's endorsement of Cruz was equally a cry against Trump. Beck blasted the real estate mogul's "hubris" for stating he has never sought forgiveness from God, saying he is a "guy who has a bunch of strip clubs and casinos."
The next president, Beck said, "must have less faith in himself and more faith in God, the Constitution and the American people."
He said that the 2016 election "may be our last shot to save the republic" and implied that Trump is a progressive who should ask conservatives for forgiveness for supporting bailouts, "the nationalization of our banks" and giving campaign contributions to Democrats including former congressman Anthony Weiner and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel.
Trump has "changed almost every fundamental principle he has held since birth," Beck said.
"If Donald Trump wins, it’s going to be a snowball to hell," Beck said. He told Iowans that they are the first line of defense against electing Trump.
"The time for silliness and reality show tactics has passed. It’s been fun. But Iowa, I bet you, I beg you, my children’s future depends on what you do a week from Monday," he said.
In recent days Trump has taunted Beck, calling the conservative commentator a "wacko" and a "failing, crying lost soul." Beck told the crowd here that he can take the personal attacks but that they illustrate a lack of civility and that Americans must be more charitable toward one another.
"I believe that we are a nation of laws and not of men. But we have lost that. So who is it that will lead us back to that place?" Beck asked. "Last names don’t’ mean anything, even if you splash it on the back of a plane or your husband was president or your brother and dad were president," he said, referring to Democrat Hillary Clinton and former Florida governor Jeb Bush.
Beck and Cruz did a mock oath of office on stage, and the commentator handed the Texas Republican a compass he claims belonged to George Washington, allowing the senator to borrow it during the election.
"It's the Constitution, it's not a man who makes America great," Beck told reporters.
Cruz said Beck is "someone on the radio, on TV, really takes time to really educate about our founding principles, to really educate about the core values that came together to form this country, about the core principles behind our Constitution."
Cruz, asked about Trump's assertion that he could shoot people on Fifth Avenue and not lose any voters, said he has "no intention of shooting anyone" during the election.