Reports from four stops on the Cruz cruise through TN

As part of a bus tour through Southern states, Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz had four campaign appearances in Tennessee Monday, apparently drawing enthusiastic crowds at each event. Excerpts from reporting that resulted:

From the Times-Free Press after his stop in Chattanooga (No. 1):

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, says Chattanooga unfortunately has joined a group of U.S. cities that have been the victims of what he called radical Islamic terrorism. And if he’s made president in 2016, he would stop that trend, he said Monday.

Cruz, who is seeking the Republican nod in the 2016 presidential election, stood before a crowd of more than 800 Monday during a Tennessee campaign tour that started in Chattanooga.

Behind him were five flags, one for each of the five U.S. servicemen who were gunned down on July 16 after Mohammad Youssef Abdulazeez attacked a military recruiting center and a Marine and Naval reserve center in Chattanooga.

Cruz said Monday the U.S. needs to change its foreign policy and rules of engagement for military to be able to properly defeat terrorist cells in the Middle East. He said airstrikes against the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, are not enough.

“It is all of our hopes and prayers that there are no more flags to represent the four Marines and one sailor,” Cruz said. ” And to the young radical that young radical will know, if you join ISIS, you are signing your death warrant.

From the Daily News Journal after his stop in Murfreesboro (No.2):

Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz brought many people to their feet Monday morning to applaud when the U.S. senator promised to “work with Congress to repeal every word of Obamacare.”

…Cruz pleased the Republican audience by suggesting that his administration would work with Congress to craft a new health care law that would bring down health care costs for everyone, except reporters, he joked.

The packed gym at Patterson Park Community Center also rose when the senator from Texas pledged to undo many policies implemented by Democratic President Barack Obama.

“The persecution of religious liberty ends today,” Cruz told the audience and added that as president he’ll end the Obama administration’s battle against Little Sisters of the Poor, a group of nuns opposed to providing health insurance coverage of birth control or face penalties as part of the Affordable Care Act.

From The Tennessean after his stop in Franklin (No. 3):

Sen. Ted Cruz, one of 17 Republican presidential hopefuls, revved up members of his Middle Tennessee base with a preacher’s energy Monday afternoon during a talk that drew about 1,600 sign-toting, button-wearing supporters to The Factory at Franklin.

…“All across the nation, people are looking up and saying, ‘This doesn’t make any sense, we can’t keep doing this,’ ” the Texas senator said when he took the stage in The Factory’s Jamison Hall. “Let me tell you, help is on the way.”

In his roughly half-hour speech Monday, Cruz laid out a fiercely conservative vision for his first days in office — one that seemed to resonate with his audience of mostly Williamson County residents.

He vowed to rescind President Barack Obama’s executive orders, direct the Department of Justice to investigate Planned Parenthood and “rip to shreds the catastrophic Iranian nuclear deal,” which congressional Republicans have pledged to reject.

Cruz said he’d work to implement a flat tax, so that Americans can do their taxes “on a postcard.”

From the Jackson Sun after his stop in Jackson (No.4):

Most of the crowd who gathered to see Republican presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz speak Monday night at Jackson Fairgrounds Park did almost as much standing and cheering as they did sitting and listening.

The senator from Texas swept into the Family Center Building to chants of “USA!” from the audience of about 550 people. He lauded his grassroots movement in his appeal to gather support from West Tennesseans.

Cruz slammed President Barack Obama’s administration’s handling of the Iran nuclear deal, promised to “repeal every word” of Obamacare, which he called a “train wreck” and vowed to get rid of Common Core and the IRS.

“Look, if you think things are going great in Washington, if you think things are headed in the right direction, or we just need someone to fiddle around the edges, I ain’t your guy,” Cruz said.

“If you think Washington is fundamentally broken, that there is a bipartisan corruption of career politicians in both parties who get in bed with the lobbyists and special interest and that we need to take power out of Washington and back to ‘we the people,’ that is what this campaign is all about,” he said.