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Ted Cruz Gets Taste of ‘New York Values’


With just one week to go before the New York presidential primaries, Texas Senator Ted Cruz is learning firsthand the meaning of its city and state "values."

In January, Cruz uttered his now infamous line of attack during a GOP debate, intended to strip businessman Donald Trump of conservative credentials.

"I think most people know what New York values are," said Cruz, calling it a "socially liberal" city focused on "money and the media."

His remarks were seen as an attempt to gain traction with South Carolina's conservative, largely evangelical base of voters — Cruz's stronghold along the southern "Bible Belt." Instead, it misfired and insulted an entire city.

Now, with 95 delegates at stake in a hotly contested election year, the Texas senator has had no choice but to attempt to make amends.

It has not gone as planned.

Jeers, protests

Cruz got a lukewarm welcome last week during a campaign rally in the Bronx, a New York borough that has a large Latino and African-American population.

Supporters of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump try to get autographs after a rally at Griffiss International Airport in Rome, New York, April 12, 2016.

Supporters of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump try to get autographs after a rally at Griffiss International Airport in Rome, New York, April 12, 2016.

Amid jeers and protests — one Bronx resident called Cruz a "right-wing bigot" — Cruz endured a poorly attended gathering and was forced to cancel an afternoon high school visit after its students threatened to walk out.

Elsewhere in New York City, residents have given Cruz a taste of their "values."

"Cruz has to go back home. Look at his face," said Bella, an elderly Russian American resident of Brooklyn.

Apology, with qualifications

When New York City and state leaders asked the Texas senator to apologize for his comments, he agreed, but with qualifications.

"I apologize to all the pro-life and pro-marriage and pro-Second Amendment New Yorkers who were told by [New York] Governor [Andrew] Cuomo that they have no place in New York because that's not who New Yorkers are," Cruz said.

But any last-ditch effort to reach out to New York's conservative base may be for naught.

Although Cruz remains in second place among Republicans nationwide, he is running 35 percentage points behind Trump in the state's latest polls.

"He does not like New York. And he does not like the people of New York, and that came out loud and clear," Trump said during a rally in Albany. "His words were 'New York values.' Take a look at the scorn on his face when he said it, am I right?"

Republican presidential candidate, Ohio Gov. John Kasich, looks at a picture of the White House made by students at a religious school in the Brooklyn borough of New York, April 12, 2016.

Republican presidential candidate, Ohio Gov. John Kasich, looks at a picture of the White House made by students at a religious school in the Brooklyn borough of New York, April 12, 2016.

In addition, Ohio Governor John Kasich, who is running second and leads Cruz, launched a new TV ad called "Values," in which a narrator accuses Cruz of divisive tactics, while painting Kasich as a uniting force.

Pockets of support

Generally speaking, New York's Republicans are less socially conservative than Southern evangelicals.

But that doesn't mean Cruz hasn't found pockets of support, including members of the Orthodox Jewish Community in Brighton Beach, where many share his definition of family values.

"He stands for moral values. [It is] important to have a strong family unit," said Daniel, a Brooklyn resident. "I'm also grateful to him for his support of the Jewish people."

Others support his tough stance on immigration.

"If someone breaks into your house, you don't let them stay in your house. If someone breaks into the country, we got to send them back," said another.

But Cruz, who rolled his first matzo balls with the Jewish community last week, appears to be running out of time to persuade New Yorkers to choose him over Trump and Kasich.

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