Last week I had the chance to interview Senator Ted Cruz backstage after his “Believe Again” event at Drake University in Des Moines. Considering Cruz’s reputation as an avid gamer, I decided to spice things up by challenging him to a chess match during the interview – doing my best to keep the former Princeton debate champ in check, while also hitting him with questions ranging from campaign strategy to comic book wars.
It turns out that when he’s not haunting the nightmares of Capitol Hill Democrats, the conservative firebrand enjoys swimming, science fiction, and the irreverent political satire of “Team America: World Police”.
Cruz directed harsh criticism at Russian President Vladmir Putin and blamed moderate Republican nominees for the last two presidential losses, pledging to win crossover votes by avoiding the “mushy middle” and reassembling the Reagan coalition.
Cruz struck a lighter tone when asked how he planned to rope millennials into his campaign. While he cited his libertarian streak as a draw to younger voters, he also said he believes that Republicans need to change the way they communicate.
“Would it kill Republicans to crack a joke?” Cruz asked before concluding with a chuckle, “We should have fun, have life, don’t walk around like you’ve got a stick where it doesn’t belong.”
See the rest of the interview below.