Cruz refers to controversial law as advice to conservative group
December 5th, 2013
03:12 PM ET
9 months ago

Cruz refers to controversial law as advice to conservative group

Washington (CNN) – Republican Sen. Ted Cruz's advice for a conservative group facing criticism and hardship: "Stand your ground."

The choice of words appeared to be a reference to a string of negative press the American Legislative Exchange Council – a group made up of conservative legislators and corporate members – received for backing laws similar to the controversial "Stand your ground" self-defense law that made national headlines in 2012 and 2013.

"I will tell you this, my advice to ALEC is very, very simple: Stand your ground," Cruz said to applause and a cheer of "hear, hear" from the audience at ALEC's winter meeting in Washington.

ALEC Spokesman Bill Meierling said he thought Cruz was referring to the controversial law and the criticism the group had received for backing similar proposals.

"I believe that he used that as a rhetorical device because it is a phrase that everyone in this room recognizes because of the challenges of the past two years," said Bill Meierling, ALEC's senior director of communication. "Every single person also knows that we no longer have any model policy on that issue, or any firearms issues for that matter."

"Stand Your Ground" is a self-defense law that was adopted by Florida in 2005. ALEC, a group that works with state legislatures and corporate sponsors to back legislation, took a similar policy and made it one of their "model bills," meaning the group approved of its passage in other states. After Florida's passage, around 10 other states passed similar legislation.

The law – which allows people to use deadly force to defend themselves anywhere they feel a reasonable fear of death or serious injury – was at the center of the 2012 killing of Trayvon Martin. George Zimmerman, a Florida neighborhood watch volunteer, shot Martin on February 26, 2012 and claimed self-defense. Martin's family said Zimmerman profiled Martin.

The case grabbed national headlines with much of the trial being aired live. In July 2013, Zimmerman was found not guilty for the Martin murder.

But ALEC's support of laws like "Stand Your Ground" became a contentious issue for the group and led many corporate sponsors and legislators to withdraw their support. In a story published earlier this week, the Guardian newspaper chronicled funding lapses the group is currently experiencing because corporate members and legislators fled in the face for "Stand Your Ground."

Meierling, the group’s senior director of communications, acknowledged the issues "Stand Your Ground" created in an interview with CNN.

"Did the challengers of 2012 effect or impact our membership," he posited. "Absolutely."

Following the "Stand Your Ground" controversy, Meierling said corporate sponsors like McDonalds, Kraft, WalMart dropped their support for the organization. The spokesman also said those departures – and the difficult times of 2012 – allowed ALEC to look in the mirror and decide who they want to be.

In response, Meierling said ALEC has moved away from supporting legislation that does not address "limited government, free markets and federalism" which including ending its support to policies like "Stand Your Ground" and 400 other laws.

Cruz's speech – which he delivered by pacing the stage extemporaneously – went over well with the audience of 900 legislators, corporate sponsors and other interested parties. Multiple times during his remarks the audience roared with applause and as legislators left the hall, many spoke highly of the Texas lawmaker.

On top of standing their ground, Cruz encouraged the group to empower the American people.

"Every one of you knows the answers to the challenges we have in this country are not going to come from Washington, D.C.," he said. "They are going to come from the American people."

Cruz knocked the Obama administration repeatedly, faulting the President, Obamacare, foreign policy and gun policy.

He also took on the idea that the Republican Party is only the party of big business, an attack that Democrats usually use against other GOP lawmakers. Instead, Cruz said, big business "does great with big government."

"If you were flying a private jet five years ago, you are still flying a private jet," he said. "But who are the losers in the Obama economy? They are young people, they are Hispanics, they are African Americans, they are single moms. They are the ones who are losing their jobs."

Outside the hotel where Cruz was speaking, a number of liberal and labor groups got together to protest ALEC. Holding signs like "A Legislator for Every Corporation," the protestors chanted "Hey, hey, ho, ho, corporate greed has got to go."

Three floors down from the street, however, the protestors’ chants could only be heard as they were retold by legislators.


Filed under: Ted Cruz
soundoff (37 Responses)
  1. CB FL

    If the REPUGS don't extend workman's comp that expires at the end of Dec. Which is in the middle of winter leaving people with no heat or worse putting family's on the street. They will not have to worry about Nov. 2014

    December 5, 2013 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  2. Lynda/Minnesota

    @ Dominican mama: "Please tell Rudy! Lol!"

    Can you hear DM4O now, Rudy?

    December 5, 2013 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  3. Ol' Yeller

    @The Real Tom Paine
    "All the things necessary to help people to rise up the economic ladder have been dismantled, all because a few people decide that poverty and working crushing hours for low pay and no benefits is somehow ennobling."

    Yes... remember when dubya said to the lady, who was trying to explain her plight to him, that she was working 3 jobs and still couldn't make ends meet... he interrupts her and says (with that Alfred E. Neumann grin on his face), "Now isn't that uniquely Merican?"
    Lord I am so thankful he is gone. Even if President Obama WAS the inept leader the republicants try to make him out to be, he would still be tenfold better than what the 'What, me worry?' guy

    December 5, 2013 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  4. emskadittle

    so being born in Canada isn't a problem but being born in Hawaii is?

    December 5, 2013 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  5. Name jk. Sfl. GOP CRUZ lee&rubio 24billion dallar LOSS of your tax money conservatives,the garbage of America.

    Cruz is a Canadian Cuban PIG along with his fake pastor father!!!!!!

    December 5, 2013 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  6. just saying

    like i have said all along... the democrat party is an ongoing criminal conspiracy that should be prosecuted under the rico statutes. this just goes to prove how corrupt and lawless they truly are.

    December 5, 2013 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  7. Tampa Tim

    Republican outreach: Today Boehner sewed up the gay vote, Cruz got the support of the republican FL legislature. Who else is left for them to reach out to?

    December 5, 2013 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  8. Jules

    CB FL – I am sure you mean unemployment comp and not workers comp which is what happens when someone is hurt on the job – they can file a workers comp claim. Yes – the extended unemployment is set to end 3 days after Christmas. Merry Christmas all of you unemployed – of course the GOP will say Happy Holidays because the only way you could mistake them for Christians is because they say they are – unfortunately they never walk their talk.

    December 5, 2013 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  9. Graham Krueger

    The problem with stand your ground:

    I walk up and punch you. You punch me back, scaring me-it's a good thing I have a gun, because it is now legal to shoot you.

    December 5, 2013 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  10. The Real Tom Paine

    -Ol' Yeller

    @The Real Tom Paine
    "All the things necessary to help people to rise up the economic ladder have been dismantled, all because a few people decide that poverty and working crushing hours for low pay and no benefits is somehow ennobling."

    Yes... remember when dubya said to the lady, who was trying to explain her plight to him, that she was working 3 jobs and still couldn't make ends meet... he interrupts her and says (with that Alfred E. Neumann grin on his face), "Now isn't that uniquely Merican?"
    Lord I am so thankful he is gone. Even if President Obama WAS the inept leader the republicants try to make him out to be, he would still be tenfold better than what the 'What, me worry?' guy
    *******************
    Well, I'm also gald he's gone, but Cruz is brilliant at debating people and can present a case that would make you want to work 3 part-time jobs because he's convinced you that is in your best interest. Cruz needs to be exposed for what he is: the Objectivist advocate for the GOP/Libertarians who truly believes what he is selling, and has no concerns about the effect of his ideas would have on this country. I look at Texas, and I see a basket case: so much potential, and so little of it being used in a thoughtful way. He's one of the reasons why its a basket case.

    December 5, 2013 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  11. Lynda/Minnesota

    Sniffit

    GOP/Teatrolls outreach is clearly on a roll.
    --------------

    Well, yes. They do THINK they're on a roll. I'll give them that.

    December 5, 2013 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  12. Me

    NATHAN WIMBERLY

    Keep talkin Rapheal Cruz. The Guns Over People tea potty desperation grows and grows.
    ___________
    Guess you haven't been paying attention lately, desperation comes from Obama and liberals lately, anything to detract from a failed law. You are going to be sorely disappointed come 2014 and 2016!!! LMFOA

    December 5, 2013 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
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