Ted Cruz, Debate King: What You Need to Know About This Master Orator

ted-cruzGOP presidential hopeful Ted Cruz has an exemplary professional resume. He started out as a lawyer in the Lone Star State before becoming policy advisor in George W. Bush's 2000 presidential campaign. After that, he was elected Junior Senator for the state of Texas.

But you haven't seen the best of Ted Cruz until you've seen him debate.

It's been evidenced all year - Cruz's poll numbers rise immediately following each GOP debate.

After the most recent clash on Dec. 15, Cruz's support climbed 1%, according to CNN on Dec. 17. It had been at 31%, and rose to 32%. The Texas senator took aim at - and held his ground against - another skillful debater, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio.

"Border security is national security," Cruz said during an exchange with Rubio. "And one of the most troubling aspects of the Rubio-Schumer Gang of Eight bill is it gave President Obama blanket authority to admit refugees. We have seen what happened in San Bernardino when you are letting people in and the FBI can't vet them, it puts American citizens at risk." Cruz punctuated his speech with a final joke: "I tell you if I'm elected president, we will secure the border. We will triple the border patrol. We will build a wall that works and I'll get [GOP presidential front-runner] Donald Trump to pay for it."

Cruz's masterful oratory skills are what helped launch his illustrious career. But this silver-tongued talent came from years of practice...

Because before there was "Ted Cruz, Presidential Hopeful," there was "Ted Cruz, Debate King"...

Ted Cruz: Debate King of North America

  1. Ted Cruz, Debate King of High School. As a teenager, Mr. Cruz was a bit of an oratorical prodigy. His father signed him up for classes at the Free Enterprise Institute when he was 13. There, he spent hours studying the Constitution, the Federalist Papers, and other founding documents. In 1985, he became one of five teens in the institute's constitutional collaborators program. He memorized the Constitution, wrote speeches, and performed for Rotary clubs and other groups across Texas. Young Cruz was the star.
  2. Ted Cruz, Debate King of College. In 1991, when Ted Cruz was at Princeton, he won both the U.S. National Debating Championship and the prestigious North American Debating Championship. In many of the debates, reported The New York Times on April 22, Mr. Cruz "represented the conservative, or Clio, side with 'practical, pragmatic positions.'" He even reached the MIT national quarterfinals his senior year, but did not win. However, by this point, he was well-established in the college debate circuit and on his way to an even bigger oratorical competition...
  3. Ted Cruz, Debate King of Grad School. While a grad student at Harvard Law School in 1992, Mr. Cruz was named U.S. National Speaker of the Year. He and his debate partner David Panton also won Team of the Year. They would represent Harvard Law School at the 1995 World Debating Championship, losing in the semi-finals to a team from Australia. Princeton's debate team named a tournament after Cruz: the Ted Cruz Living Memorial Novice Championship.

After all these years of academic debating, it was time for Ted Cruz to put his oratorical skills to work...

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  1. Ted Cruz, Debate King of Law. After graduating Harvard Law School, Mr. Cruz became a partner at the law firm Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, where he led the firm's U.S. Supreme Court and national appellate litigation practice. There, he authored over 80 SCOTUS briefs and presented over 40 oral arguments before the high court. In the landmark case of District of Columbia v. Heller, Cruz assembled a coalition of 31 states in defense of the principle that the 2nd Amendment guarantees an individual right to keep and bear arms.
  2. Ted Cruz, Debate King of the Senate. His October 2011 appearance before the Values Voters Summit helped launch him as a national political figure, leading to a cover story in the National Review shortly thereafter. The right-leaning political media source called him "the great conservative hope." Influential conservatives began endorsing him and gave him speaking slots alongside presidential candidates at national gatherings, where crowds rewarded him with standing ovations.
  3. Ted Cruz, Debate King of the Filibuster. On Sept. 23, 2013, Cruz seized control of the Senate floor at about 2:42 p.m. There, he vowed to "speak in support of defunding Obamacare until I am no longer able to stand." Cruz continued to speak until noon on Sept. 24 - the next day. This marathon speech made Cruz's oratorical tactics even more famous as he touched on a multitude of topics, from Dr. Seuss to college kids' inability to find White Castle burgers during the wee hours. He also read tweets from constituents aloud and related stories from a "lost generation" of young people plagued by the Affordable Care Act.

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