Ted Cruz: Romney should appeal to Latino 'conservative values'

WASHINGTON – Mitt Romney’s campaign should appeal to “conservative values: faith, family, hard work, responsibility” in making his case to Latino voters, Ted Cruz, the Republicans’ latest rising star, said Sunday.

"A friend of mine, a Hispanic entrepreneur, asked me a question some time ago. He said, ‘When is the last time you saw an Hispanic panhandler?’ I think it’s a great question. I’ll tell you, in my life I never once have seen a Hispanic panhandler because in our community, it would be viewed as shameful to be out on the street begging,” said Cruz, who won an upset victory last week in Texas to become the Republican nominee for the Senate.

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"Those are all conservative values: faith, family, hard work, responsibility. And I think what Gov. Romney needs to do, what he is doing, is defending those values and making the case that the Obama agenda has been incredibly destructive to the Hispanic community," he said.

Since Republicans have a strong lead in the state, Cruz, a favorite of tea party conservatives, is all but assured of victory in the fall over Democrat Paul Sadler, a former state representative.

A graduate of Princeton and Harvard Law School and the former Texas solicitor general, Cruz already is being touted by some Republicans as a future national star who, along with Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), could help counter the party’s deep deficit with Latinos voters.

Like Rubio, the 41-year-old Cruz is the son of Cuban immigrants. Democrats in Texas already have made a point of his ancestry, arguing that the majority of Latinos in the state, who are of Mexican descent, will not flock to a Cuban nominee.

In the interview on "Fox News Sunday," Cruz attributed his victory to a “tidal wave” of conservative sentiment against “career politicians,” taxes and government spending.

 “The American people are looking for new leaders who will step up and stop spending money we don’t have,” he said.

Cruz defeated Texas Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst in a runoff election. Dewhurst had the backing of Republican Gov. Rick Perry, but national tea party groups mobilized supporters for Cruz. Sarah Palin traveled to Texas to campaign for Cruz last weekend.

If he wins, Cruz said, he’s open to compromising with other lawmakers as long as the end result is a slimmer budget.

"I am perfectly happy to compromise and work with anybody: Republicans, Democrats, Libertarians – I’ll work with Martians," said Cruz. "If -- and the if is critical -- they're willing to cut spending and reduce the debt."

He said tea party supporters won’t hesitate to support Romney.

“I have yet to meet a single tea party leader that isn’t going to vote for Mitt Romney and work hard for him because our country is in crisis,” Cruz said. He mentioned Rubio and Paul D. Ryan as two “terrific” possible choices for Romney’s vice presidential pick.

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