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Sen. Ted Cruz met with about 20 conservatives at the Virginia home of writer and activist Brent Bozell to discuss the future of the Texas Republican as well as that of the conservative movement.
The dinner meeting’s core purpose was how to position Cruz for a future run at the White House.
Cruz’s chief of staff, Paul Teller, was also in attendance, as well as “some of the most powerful figures in the conservative movement,” according to The Hill.
Those seated at the dinner table included Heritage Foundation President Jim DeMint, Club for Growth President David McIntosh, direct-mail guru Richard Viguerie, National Rifle Association board member and former Cincinnati Mayor Ken Blackwell, and Susan B. Anthony List President Marjorie Dannenfelser.
Many viewed Cruz’s failed 2016 presidential effort to that of former President Ronald Reagan’s failed 1976 bid — the cause was just but his time wasn’t yet right.
Bozell declined to offer The Hill off-the-record conversations made at the meeting, but emphasized it “was not about what Ted Cruz was going to do with Donald Trump,” the presumptive Republican presidential nominee.
“There was just discussion of the future of the movement and the future of Ted Cruz as the leader of the movement,” Bozell told The Hill.
“There are a lot of similarities with Reagan in ’76, where Reagan came very close and then in ’80 won the presidency,” he said.
“It wasn’t a function of ignoring [Trump] or he wasn’t worth our time. … There were people in that room who’ve taken different positions on this race. You’ve got the Never Trump and you’ve got people who are for Trump in that room.
“I wanted to keep the focus on the future of the movement and Ted Cruz.”
There was “a feeling of enthusiasm for [Cruz] going forward,” Bozell told The Hill.
“He was with kindred spirits, and I would say most people in that room see him as the leader of the conservative movement.”
Others in attendance considered Cruz as conservatism’s last best hope.
“I think [Cruz] earned the position of being the leader of the conservative movement in terms of an elected official,” McIntosh told The Hill on Wednesday.
“Talking to him … I think he’s thinking about how to do that and ready to step into that leadership role,” he added, saying he wouldn’t get into private conversations had at the dinner.
“I’m a huge Ronald Reagan fan so the analogy I used with Ted is, ‘You’re Ronald Reagan in 1977 and you’ve got a choice: Are you going to take on the leadership of the movement?’ ”
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