Cruz Will Skip State of the Union
Sen. Ted Cruz plans to skip President Barack Obama’s State of the Union speech on Tuesday.
Cruz has opted to continue his political campaign in New Hampshire, noting that he is in a tight presidential race and needs to maintain momentum.
However, Sens. Marco Rubio, Rand Paul, and Bernie Sanders will all attend the speech.
Cruz spokesman Rick Tyler asserted that Cruz didn’t need to attend the speech because he would be “disappointed” with the message no matter what.
“It’s not a snub. He’s going to be in New Hampshire, working hard to win New Hampshire,” Tyler told The Dallas Morning News. “No disrespect. It just is going to work out this way.”
The Hill reports:
Cruz, who leads in Iowa GOP polls, trails in New Hampshire in third place – behind Rubio by more than 2 points and behind GOP front-runner Donald Trump by almost 16 points, according to RealClearPolitics averages.
Skipping the annual address will is not likely to hurt a Republican candidate with primary voters, said Dan Schill, an associate professor at James Madison University who teaches about media and politics.
“I don’t think it will necessarily turn off too many primary voters in New Hampshire and Iowa, but there is that risk,” he said.
Schill added, “The choice to stiff the speech can send a message it’s time for change. It may also backfire for people who see it as not respecting office of the presidency.”
For those who will attend, each receives two tickets, one for themselves and one for a guest.
Schill said State of the Union that who a member of Congress brings as a guest to the State of the Union can often be a “news strategy” to help boost a policy the lawmaker cares about and “make it come to life.”
“It’s a way to try to get journalists to write about their guest and their campaign,” Schill said, adding that it also can “personalize and dramatize issues that a candidate cares about.”
In 2013, Rep. Steve Stockman (R-Texas), for example, invited outspoken musician and gun right supporter Ted Nugent to attend in anticipation of Obama’s remarks on the issue of guns.
And last year, Rubio invited the daughter of a Cuban activist to highlight Rubio’s opposition to Obama’s decision to ease relations with Cuba.
A Sanders Senate spokesman told The Hill that the Vermont senator will be accompanied by his wife Jane. “The senator has brought his wife to past events including the Pope’s address to Congress,” the spokesman said.
Rubio will be bringing a Florida teen whose father was killed in Afghanistan while serving as an Army reservist. The teen founded a group that pays tribute to late veterans, according to WFTV Orlando.
Paul has yet to announce his guest.
The rest of the 2016 presidential field will need to be invited as a guest if they hope to attend. But a handful of the candidates have already confirmed that they’re hitting the campaign trail ahead of early-voting state caucuses and primaries.
Trump, former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee will all be in Iowa campaigning, according to their press aides.
Trump will hold a rally in Cedar Falls, while Fiorina will attend a meet-and-greet, town hall and reception across the Hawkeye State.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie will temporarily pause his campaigning and heading back to his home state to make a similar address — New Jersey’s State of the State — on the same day as Obama’s speech. Christie has been scrutinized for spending more time on the campaign trail than governing in New Jersey.
Former Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore, who barely registers in the polls, will also be away from D.C. to campaign, according to his spokesman.
Photo credit: Jeffrey Malet, maletphoto.com.