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Texas Sen. Ted Cruz speaks with Deseret News/KSL Editorial Board

The Deseret News/KSL Editorial Board extended invitations to three presidential candidates visiting Utah to meet with members of the board: Ohio Gov. John Kasich; Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.

Kasich accepted that invitation and met in person Saturday with the board for an hour. Cruz also accepted an invitation but was only available to meet by phone and answered questions for a half hour.

We have provided the audio so you can listen to the meeting with Cruz:

The questions focused on the economy, religious liberty, the Supreme Court, immigration, foreign policy, federalism and federal lands. It should be noted that when Cruz makes reference to Kasich’s inability to win a brokered convention because of Rule 40B (created in 2012), which requires any nominees to have won a majority of eight delegations to be nominated, it is possible the Rules Committee could change the rules at convention.

Following is a transcript of the phone conversation.

Deseret News: Senator, as you know, there has been quite a debate in the country over religious liberty issues. Here in the state of Utah in the last year we were able to forge what we thought was a pretty significant compromise that was able to allow a number of religious organizations and religious conscience issues to be protected while also providing greater civil rights to the LGBT citizens in the state. And we’d just like to get a sense from you about your approach to religious liberty. We know very well your track record with regard to some pretty significant cases. How do you think from the position of president you would be addressing the issues of religious liberty in the country?

Sen. Ted Cruz: Well sure. Religious liberty has been a deep and lifelong passion for me. And I’ve spent the last 20 years fighting to defend religious liberty. When I was the solicitor general of Texas — the chief lawyer in the state in front of the U.S Supreme Court — we ended up litigating and winning landmark cases defending religious liberty. We defended the 10 Commandments monument that stands on the state capitol grounds in Texas and we went to the U.S Supreme Court and we won 5-4. We defended the words, “One nation under God,” in the Pledge of Allegiance on the Federal Court of Appeals. California had struck down the Pledge and we represented all the 50 states and went to the Supreme Court and won unanimously. And when I was in private practice, I represented over 3 million veterans, defending the Mojave Desert veterans memorial. Which is a lone white Latin cross that was erected over 70 years ago to honor the men and women who’d given their lives in World War I. And both the district court and the federal court of appeals that ordered that veterans memorial be torn down, and we went to the U.S. Supreme Court on behalf of 3 million veterans, who I was representing pro bono — for free —and we won 5-4, upholding the Mojave Desert veterans memorial. And indeed I was fortunate also to represent the state of Utah in asking the Supreme Court to hear an appeal of the case that the court of appeals here unfortunately prohibited the state troopers association from honoring fallen troopers with a cross alongside the roadside. And the attorney general of Utah brought me in to represent the state and I was proud to do so. And unfortunately in that particular case the court declined to hear the appeal. So we did not get it before the court.

DN: We appreciate those efforts that deal a lot of with religious symbols and so on. It seems like the real conflict that is going to come before us are where certain kind of regulatory and statutory rights come up against religious conscience. Say in the instance of employment within a private school that may not be fully affiliated with a church, but has a religious mission. How would your administration address those concerns?

TC: If I am elected president, the administration will defend religious liberty across the board. And you are right that the threats we’re seeing to religious liberty are manifesting in a host of different circumstances. One of the most ominous exchanges: when the Supreme Court was hearing arguments in the gay marriage case last year was when Justice Alito asked the Obama administration’s solicitor general if the administration prevailed, would the next step be for the IRS to deny tax exempt status to universities that continue to believe that marriage is the union of one man and one woman. Any by extension that question would apply, as you mentioned, to elementary and secondary schools, to charities, and even potentially to churches. And the answer from the Obama justice department was, yes, yes that was a real possibility that they would go after any group or organization that maintained that marriage was the union of one man and one woman. That is a profound threat to our religious liberty. And as president, I’ve pledged, on the very first day of office, that I will the direct the department of justice, and the IRS and every federal agency that the persecution of religious liberty ends that day. So for example, the Sisters of the Poor, who are a Catholic charity of nuns who have taken vows of poverty, they have devoted their lives to caring for the poor and the elderly. Right now the Obama administration is litigating against the Sisters of the Poor, trying to impose millions of dollars of fines on the sisters under Obamacare, in order to force the nuns to pay for abortion inducing drugs in others. If I am elected president, the Justice Department will dismiss the litigation against the Sister of the Poor, because we will be defending the first amendment rights of our citizens rather than attacking their religious liberty.

DN: Thank you. We have a question from Candice Madsen at KSL Television. Senator Cruz, with the Supreme Court debate going on, do you support the decision of the GOP senators to the (Merrick) Garland nomination? And could you also describe the characteristics of your ideal appointment?

TC: Well, absolutely, yes. I support the Republican leadership’s decision not to hold hearings and not to consider President Obama’s appointment to fill Justice Scalia’s vacancy. It has been 80 years since the Senate has confirmed a nominee who was nominated during an election year. And this year should not be the first time we do so. Justice Scalia was someone who I was blessed to know personally for 20 years. He was an extraordinary jurist. A lion of the law. A ferocious defender of religious liberty, a ferocious defender of free speech and the second amendment in the Bill of Rights. And Justice Scalia’s passing leaves the court hanging in the balance. We are one justice away from a five-justice liberal majority, the likes of which this country has never seen. We’re one justice away from the Supreme Court fundamentally undermining religious liberty for Americans across this country. We’re one justice away from the Supreme Court effectively erasing the Second Amendment and the Bill of Rights, and we’re one justice way from the Supreme Court undermining U.S. sovereignty and making us subject to international courts and international law. And, in my view, 2016 should be a referendum on the Supreme Court. And I cannot wait to stand on the debate stage with Hillary Clinton and make the case that her vision of the Supreme Court and the Constitution and the Bill of Rights is radical, it’s dangerous and undermines the basic liberties of American citizens. And I believe Justice Scalia’s vacancy should be filled by the next president, whoever he or she may be. And, the American people, I believe, do not share Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton’s extreme views undermining our constitutional liberties. Now you ask me what kind of justice I would appoint. Every justice that I appoint to the Supreme Court will be a principled constitutionalist who will be faithful to the law and who will ferociously defend the Bill of Rights for every American.

DN: Now, Senator, with all due respect, with regard to the Garland nomination, it sounds to me like you’ve made a very good argument for why Garland may get a down vote from a Republican Senate. But does it really make sense to have the chief judge of the D.C. circuit kept from even meeting with GOP senators after he’s been duly nominated by the President of the United States?

TC: It does, and within hours of the news breaking of Justice Scalia’s passing, I publicly called on Senate leadership not to hold hearings or consider any appointments to fill this vacancy. And I was very gratified when Mitch McConnell and Chuck Grassley both agreed with that call and announced that we would not hold hearings. And that announcement was made prior to any nomination and is not particular to the individual nominee. It is rather, we should not allow Barack Obama in the final months of a lame duck presidency to make a nomination that would fundamentally change the Supreme Court and would undermine the Bill of Rights for generations. Rather, we should let the people decide. We have an election coming up in just a few months, and we should let the people decide the direction of the Supreme Court and the direction of the Bill of Rights.

DN: Well, it’s clear that we are not going to change your position on this but our readers and listeners have expressed concern, not about … I think they share many of the same concerns you have, Senator, about the overall direction of the court, but again, as to the advice and consent function of the Senate in this process, it seems like it would be a matter of a vote on a particular nominee rather than to obstruct the process for the President who was chosen by the people for a four-year term.

TC: It is true that the president was elected by the people, but in 2014, the people also rose up in overwhelming numbers and elected a Republican Senate. They threw Harry Reid out of his position as majority leader. We elected nine new senators. And elections have consequences. The people were fed up with Barack Obama’s lawlessness and assault on the Bill of Rights. And the Senate is exercising its advice and consent function. The Senate advised the President that it would not consider a nomination made in an election year, but rather it would allow the voters to express their views. If Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton want to put a radical left-wing judge on the Supreme Court, the proper path to going forward is to make that case to the American people and let the voters decide. And that is precisely what we will do in just a few months this November.

DN: Senator, this is Doug Wright. If we could chat for just a moment about immigration, many Americans are obviously concerned about immigration — illegal immigration, even the legal immigration — but there are, many of us believe, some real reality checks out there when we’re talking about 11 to 12 million people that are already here. The one thing I am not hearing from those who would like to excise the country of some of these individuals is the practical plan under which we as decent and law-abiding and even charitable Christian people can do that and accomplish such a goal as basically moving 12 million people out of this country.

TC: Well, we have always been a loving and compassionate people. But it is entirely consistent with compassion to honor the rule of law and to enforce our laws. Just yesterday I was down in Arizona along the Mexican border. And our border is entirely unsecured. I met with ranchers along the border who regularly deal with drug traffickers coming across their land. One woman who is a rancher along the border described how multiple times drug traffickers have broken into her home, have made meals in her kitchen, have taken showers in her bathroom, have slept in her bed. And they live every day under the constant threat of an unsecured border. One of the people that I was with in Arizona yesterday was an individual named Steve Ronnebeck. Steve Ronnebeck, his son Grant was murdered in January of last year. He was a 19-year-old boy. He was working in a convenience store when an illegal alien who’d been in and out of prison, who had been charged with burglary and rape and yet had been released and was in the public, walked in, placed a jar of change on the counter and demanded some cigarettes. And as Grant was counting out the change, this illegal immigrant put a gun in his face. Grant quickly handed over the cigarettes, and yet this illegal immigrant shot him point blank and murdered him, and then reached over and grabbed an additional two packs of cigarettes. Grant Ronnebeck should not have been killed. If we had a federal government that was enforcing the federal immigration law, that illegal immigrant would have been in prison for his crimes or would have been deported upon being released from prison. We have a federal government that does not enforce the laws, and I have laid out a very detailed immigration plan. It’s on our website, tedcruz.org. It is 11 pages, single-spaced, that lays out precisely how we will secure the borders and end illegal immigration. We’re going to build a wall, we’re going to triple the border control, we’re going to increase four-fold the fixed-wing and rotary-wing aircraft so that you can monitor incursions when they’re occurring. We’ll put in place an e-verify system so that people cannot get jobs if they are here illegally. We’ll put in place a strong biometric exit/entry system on visas since 40 percent of illegal immigration doesn’t come across the border but rather people coming on illegal visa and just not leaving. We will end sanctuary cities by cutting off federal tax dollars to those jurisdictions that are defying federal immigration laws. And we will end welfare benefits for those here illegally. We can in fact solve this problem. It’s not that we don’t know how to do so. Other nations on earth, practically every other nation on earth, enforces its immigration laws. If you or I, if any us emigrated illegally to England or France or to China or to Mexico, they would deport us. They enforce their immigration laws. And our laws our worthy of the same respect. And I would note that not only does illegal immigration pose a significant law-enforcement threat and a significant national security threat with the rise of ISIS and radical Islamic terrorism, but it also is having a dramatic effect, taking away jobs and driving down wages for American citizens. We have the lowest percentage of Americans working right now of any year since 1977. Wages have stagnated for 20 years. And it is striking if you look at the data, the state of Arizona recently passed strict laws on illegal immigration. Many of the illegal immigrants left that state, and the effect that Arizona saw, its public expenditures on prisons, on education, on hospitals, decreased hundreds of millions of dollars because of the outflow of illegal immigrants. That meant those hundreds of millions of dollars were there to provide for the citizens of Arizona. But not only that, they saw unemployment go down, and they saw wages go up, particularly in the construction industry, for carpenters, for mechanics, for those who work blue-collar jobs who’ve been hammered under the Obama economy, wages went up and I believe we need a federal government that looks out for American citizens, that fights for the hard-working taxpayers. And that’s what I’ll do as president.

DN: Senator, we know your time is very limited. Just as we come toward the end here, and we’d love as much time with you as possible, but you have a real record as a litigator, as someone who’s been a real fighter for principle on the floor, in the well of the Senate and so on, can you give us an example of how you have helped to govern, how you have helped to be in a governance role that has actually helped to bring people together, manage a large organization, a complex organization, build something, govern something? Can you give us an example in your life of what you’re most proud of in that dimension rather than just arguing principle points?

TC: Well, sure. There are a number of examples. As you mentioned, before I was in the Senate I was the solicitor general of the state of Texas, which is the chief lawyer for the state in front of the United States Supreme Court. And it that role, I managed and supervised every appeal for the state of Texas, for every agency, civil and criminal, in a 4,000-person agency with over 700 attorneys. And so that was an executive role with considerable management, and I held that role for five and a half years. And we led the nation in defending the constitution, defending conservative principles and winning national. In the United States Senate there are a number of examples, both stopping bad policies, which when you have a president who is undermining our liberties, stopping those efforts is a significant victory, and also promoting positive policy. When President Obama and Harry Reid and Chuck Schumer led an effort to undermine the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms following the tragic shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, the president could have used that opportunity to try to bring us together. To focus on going after violent criminals, targeting those who commit crimes of violence. We ought to come down like a ton of bricks on violent criminals. That would have brought Democrats and Republicans together and earned bipartisan support. Unfortunately, President Obama chose a different course. He chose to go the most partisan and extreme route, to join with Chuck Schumer and Harry Reid in an effort to undermine the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms. And at the time, it was right after President Obama’s reelection. The consensus in Washington was that this effort could not be stopped. And I was proud to join with Utah’s Mike Lee leading the fight to defend the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms. And millions of Americans across this country were energized, were mobilized, lit up the phones to their members of congress. And when it came time for a vote, every single one of President Obama’s proposals (that) undermined the Second Amendment was voted down on the Senate floor. Likewise, when establishment Republicans joined with President Obama pushing a massive amnesty plan, I was proud to stand with millions of Americans against amnesty because amnesty is contrary to rule of law and it hurts hard-working Americans by driving down their wages and taking away their jobs. And once again millions of Americans rose up, lit up the phones and the president’s amnesty plan was voted down in the House of Representatives. Both of those were victories stopping bad policies from the president. But I would note on the affirmative side, when the nation of Iran named as its ambassador to the United Nations, Hamid Abutalebi, a known terrorist who participated in holding Americans hostage in the late 1970s, there was great consternation in Washington, and yet the consensus was there was nothing that could be done. I drafted legislation that barred Abutalebi, it barred other known terrorists from being admitted to this country. It passed the Senate, 100 to nothing. It passed the House, 435 to nothing. And it was signed into law by President Obama. And as a result we kept out Hamid Abutalebi, a known terrorist, from this country. Indeed, another example: when the nation of Israel was facing rockets attacks from Hamas, and the Obama FAA canceled all civilian air flights into Israel, I publicly challenged that action and raise the question whether the Obama administration was launching an economic boycott of the nation of Israel. I pointed out that we do not ban flights in Pakistan, into Yemen. We didn’t even ban flights into much of Ukraine, and Ukraine just months earlier had seen a passenger airline shot down with a Russian Buk missile. And so I asked the question, why is it that the Obama administration shut down all air flights into Israel because one rocket had fallen harmlessly a mile away from Ben Gurion airport, one of the safest airports in the world. And why was that particularly time to coincide with John Kerry arriving in the Middle East with $47 million for Gaza that would inevitably end up in the hands of Hamas terrorists. When I raised that question, within hours the State Department was being asked if this was an economic boycott against Israel. Shortly thereafter, former New York mayor, Michael Bloomberg, flew a commercial flight from London to Tel Aviv to demonstrate that the flights were safe. And the consequence of his efforts and mine shined so much light, and heat and attention on the administration’s policies, that within 36 hours they lifted the ban on civilian air flights into the nation of Israel.

DN: Thank you. Do we have time for two more questions, Senator?

TC: Sure. Sure.

DN: Senator, I wanted to ask you about some fiscal issues: balanced budget, national debt, entitlement reform. We’ve seen how difficult it is in Washington to even talk about solutions to some of these problems. And now with the economy improving, it’s even more difficult to talk about them. I’m wondering how as president you would be able to unite the parties behind real solutions to these problems.

TC: That is a tremendously important question. And my presidential campaign so far has focused on three critical issues: jobs, freedom and security. Jobs is my number one priority. If you look at our national fiscal crisis, we have seen the national debt climb from $10 trillion to over $18 trillion. We have seen economic growth stagnate for seven years. The only way to turn around the debt is to restore economic growth. And my number one priority is jobs and economic growth. Since World War II the economy has grown, on average, 3.3 percent a year. From 2008 to today, the economy has grown only 1.2 percent a year on average. If we don’t turn that around, we cannot solve the problems nationally. If we get back to historic levels of growth — 3, 4, 5 percent, every other problem is solvable, whether it’s the national debt, whether it’s strengthening and preserving social security and Medicare, where it’s rebuilding our military, all of those can be solved with growth. And you mentioned solutions. There are candidates in this race who talk in empty slogans but do not have concrete solutions or policy prescriptions. The key to economic growth — the heart of our economy — is small business. Every time the federal government hammers small business we get what we have now, which is economic stagnation and misery and malaise.

DN: Well, Senator, if I could just interrupt. When you talk about growth being the answer to all those problems, but with social security don’t we have a problem with a growing population of retirees? Growth alone won’t solve that problem, will it?

TC: There is no doubt that we need to have social security reform. Far too many politicians run away from it and are afraid to address it. I’m campaigning on social security reform and I think social security reform should follow four principles. For those on social security or near retirement there can be no changes whatsoever. We have made promises, people have ordered their financial affairs counting on those promises. We have made those commitments. But for younger workers — I’m 45 years old — it is hard to find someone my age who thinks social security will be there for us. For younger workers, reform should follow three principles. Number one, we should gradually raise the retirement age for younger workers, giving them time to plan on it, recognizing that people are living a lot longer than we used to. Number two, we need to change the rate of growth of social security benefits for younger workers so that they match inflation rather than exceeding inflation. Those two things bring social security into solvency. The third change that is critical for younger workers is we need to allow younger workers to keep a portion of their tax payment in a personal account like a 401(k) that they own, they control, and they can pass on to their kids and grandkids. And I think there’ve been far too many politicians, both Republicans and Democrats, afraid to lead on this issue. I intend to lead on this issue, but I’d note also, that economic growth is critical to doing this as well, that the federal balance sheet changes dramatically when there is growth. And it shrinks dramatically when there is stagnation, like there is now. And the key to growth is small businesses. In particular, it’s tax reform and regulatory reform. It’s why, as president, I’ve promised to repeal every word of Obamacare. It is the biggest job killer in this country, and to pass in its place common-sense health care reform that makes health insurance personal and portable and affordable and keeps government from getting in between us and our doctors; to pass a simple flat tax where every American can fill out our taxes on a postcard and doing so will enable us to abolish the IRS and I've laid out a very very detailed tax plan to get that done; reigning in the federal government regulators that are hammering small businesses. And the effect of all of that, along with securing the border and stopping illegal immigration, will be that we will see millions and millions of new high-paying jobs, we'll see wages rising for Americans across the country, we'll see young people coming out of school with two, three, four, five job opportunities.

DN: One more question here. Senator, it's Lisa Roche from Deseret News. Mathematically it's very difficult, if not almost impossible for you, to win enough delegates to be nominated outright before the convention. Do you anticipate a brokered convention and who wins in a brokered convention — the candidate with the most votes — you — or Gov. Kasich?

TC: Well, I think there are one or two scenarios that are likely. The first is we continue to have a clear path to earning 1,237 delegates and winning the nomination outright before the convention. There are only two candidates in this race who have any path to winning the nomination. Those two candidates are Donald Trump and myself. The third candidate you mentioned, John Kasich, it is mathematically impossible for him to earn 1,237 delegates and becoming the nominee. He has no chance of beating Donald Trump. And the only role Kasich is playing right now is as a spoiler because every vote for John Kasich is effectively a vote for Donald Trump. Now, for Trump to win 1,237 delegates, he has to do better than he has done to date. He has to win — to get 1,237 delegates, Trump has to win 54 percent of the remaining delegates. To date he has only won 47 percent. And his performance will only get worse. Every time the field narrows Donald Trump does worse because he has a hard ceiling on his support at 35 to 40 percent. For me to win the nomination, we need to win 78 percent of the outstanding delegates. Now that number sounds like a daunting number. But given the delegate allocation rules, that number is entirely achievable. It’s simply earning a majority of the popular vote going forward. Beating Donald Trump in the popular vote will yield north of 80 percent of the delegates. So our first and preferred outcome is win 1,237 delegates before the convention and we are the only candidate that has any plausible path to do so and defeat Donald Trump.

The second option, which is entirely possible, is that no candidate will earn 1,237 delegates. That we’ll enter the convention with Donald Trump and me both having a ton of delegates, both having a thousand or more delegates but both of us falling short of 1,237. Now if that happens, the outcome that some in Washington are pushing for is a brokered convention — a deadlock convention where suddenly they parachute in an establishment choice who wasn’t on the ballot and they white-knight to save them from the voters. That is not going to happen. I believe that would be disastrous if the Washington dealmakers tried to substitute their preferred choice for the will of the voters. And I think you would quite rightly see a revolt from the voters if they tried that.

There is a difference between a brokered convention, where Washington dealmakers pick a brand-new candidate, and a contested convention. A contested convention we saw in 1976 between Gerald Ford and Ronald Reagan. A contested convention would occur if Donald Trump and I both come in with a ton of delegates but both of us are just shy of 1,237, in which case the choice would be made by the delegates, pursuant to the rules. Now that is democracy operating and I believe if we go into a contested convention, that our campaign will earn the 1,237 delegates at the convention to win the nomination.

I would note that under the RNC rules, John Kasich is not eligible to be on the ballot. Under the RNC rules, a candidate must have won eight states in order to be even on the ballot for the delegates to vote at the convention. There are only two candidates who will meet that threshold: Donald Trump and myself. John Kasich lost 27 states in a row. The only state he has won is his home state of Ohio and he’s unlikely to win eight states going forward. And so, Kasich is not even eligible to be voted on at the convention. The convention will have only two candidates on the ballot: Donald Trump and myself. And that is a big part of the reason why yesterday, Gov. Mitt Romney announced that he intends to vote for me in the Utah election and he encouraged all the voters in Utah, and in every other state, to vote for me as well. And indeed, Gov. Romney made clear that our campaign is the only campaign that has a path to beating Donald Trump and he went further. He addressed your question about John Kasich, and Gov. Romney said, “A vote for John Kasich is a vote for Donald Trump” because Kasich’s role now is only to serve as a spoiler and to benefit Donald Trump, and that is the choice the people of Utah face. It's the choice we have nationally.

DN: Senator Cruz, can I? Senator Cruz? Hate to interrupt, but it seems that you keep saying over and over that people should vote for you just so that Trump doesn’t win. But shouldn’t people vote for you just because of what you stand for or are we just voting for you just to vote against Trump?

TC: Absolutely. I am running as the strongest conservative with a proven record of defending the Constitution, defending the Bill of Rights and defending our freedom. As I mentioned, my top priorities are jobs, freedom and security. Every one of those is policy-based, every one of those is based on my record, every one of those is a positive, optimistic vision for this country. And I would note, every one of those values is also a broad, unifying value. None of those are narrow, 51 percent, wedge issues. Those are issues that get 60, 70, 80 percent support among the people and bring us together and unify us. So my message is very much focused on solving the problems of this country. However, it is also the case that 65 to 70 percent of Republicans nationally recognize that Donald Trump is not the best choice to go head-to-head with Hillary Clinton. That if Donald Trump is the nominee, Hillary wins, and Hillary Clinton being elected president I believe would be disastrous for this country. We would lose the Supreme Court for a generation, the Bill of Rights would be undermined for a generation, we would bury our children in debt and their futures would be put into jeopardy. And so for the 65 to 70 percent of Republicans who recognize that nominating Donald Trump means electing Hillary Clinton, the only path to defeating Donald Trump is for us to unite and come together and it’s why I have been so encouraged that Republicans are coming together. You know, this week Marco Rubio has suspended his campaign. Marco is incredibly talented, a wonderful communicator and good friend. What we have seen in the wake of Marco suspending his campaign is the overwhelming majority of Rubio supporters coming to support our campaign and we are working to unify and bring Republicans together. It was why it was so meaningful to earn Gov. Romney’s support; it’s why it’s so meaningful to have earned Senator Mike Lee’s support, who is a tremendous champion for the men and women of the state of Utah and a tremendous champion for the constitution and Bill of Rights and someone who’ve I’ve stood side-by-side with repeatedly and I will note: Utah has an incredibly important voice this Tuesday. An incredibly important voice helping unify Republicans, that we can come together behind a positive, optimistic vision of real solutions for the problems in this country and that’s what our campaign’s working to do every day.

DN: Senator, we really appreciate your time. We know you are trying to get to another event and as we close here I just wanted to let you know, these collective organizations — KSL Television, KSL radio, the Deseret News, our affiliated websites, reach ...

TC: Well, let me say to each of you, thank you for taking the time, I appreciate ya’ll devoting so much time. I’m sorry we couldn’t meet in person. I would have preferred to do it in person. I’m sorry it ended up not proving logistically feasible but I appreciate your generosity of time and I appreciate the seriousness with which you take communicating with the men and women of this great state. You know, in terms of the condition of the country nationally, I’m actually incredibly encouraged. People are waking up. They are waking up powerfully. The energy and enthusiasm we’re seeing is extraordinary. You know, one of the really encouraging facts that we’ve been seeing is that in state after state after state, we are seeing record-shattering turnout, historic turnout, in Republican primaries, and the Democratic turnout is very depressed. I think that is a manifestation of the undeniable truth that the path we’re on isn’t working, that millions of Americans are hurting, and they’re looking, they’re hungry, for meaningful change. And that gives me a great deal of optimism. You know, our campaign, from the beginning, has been supported by the grassroots, has been supported by people on the ground. We’ve received to date over one million contributions from people all over the country. We have over 200,000 volunteers all over the country and that is a reflection of the power of the grassroots of we the people to stand up and hold Washington accountable. And I am very, very encouraged, number one in the primary that we are seeing so many Republicans coming together as we’re touring Utah, as we toured Arizona yesterday. We had on the road with us Carly Fiorina, and Governor Rick Perry and Glenn Beck and Senator Mike Lee. And that really reflects how we’re seeing Republicans unify behind this campaign, as well as Independents and Libertarians, and even a significant number of Democrats coming over and supporting our campaign.

But that also gives me great optimism for November for the general election. I think the excitement, the energy, the enthusiasm is with us, one of the thing that I’ve been very encouraged by is in a significant number of these primaries we have been winning young people, our campaign has been winning young people over and over and over again. We have been competing neck and neck with Donald Trump, with blue collar workers, with working-class voters. The Reagan Democrats, who are really the key to winning a general election, Donald Trump and I are dividing those voters and competing head-to-head and I believe we are going to continue to see this incredible excitement that will manifest in a victory in the primaries, in a victory in the general and I think people are ready for a positive, optimistic, issues-based campaign. One of the things that I have worked hard to do is as other campaigns have engaged in massive personal insults, and going into the gutter and challenging the faith of other individuals. Our campaign has consistently declined to follow that path, declined to go into the gutter. When others have attacked me, I don’t respond in kind. Instead, we keep the focus on issues and substance and solving the problems for the people of this country and I think that’s what Americans want and expect and I’m very encouraged, as I said, by the enthusiasm we’re seeing nationwide.

DN: Senator again, thank you for your time. Safe travels and we hope to see you again in the Beehive state.

TC: I look forward to it. It is a wonderful state with truly wonderful people and I look forward to seeing you again, hopefully in person next time.

DN: OK. Thank you Senator. Have a good afternoon. Thank you.

TC: All the best.

Email: ashill@deseretnews.com

Twitter: @aaronshill

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