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Cruz pledges to unify GOP, Americans

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz drew a parallel between himself and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, and invoked Presidents John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan as he called Tuesday for unifying Americans.

Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia on April 19, 2016.
Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia on April 19, 2016.Read moreELIZABETH ROBERTSON / Staff Photographer

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz drew a parallel between himself and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, and invoked Presidents John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan as he called Tuesday for unifying Americans.

The GOP presidential candidate, whom some opponents have branded an obstructionist, pledged to bring people together - starting with the Republican Party.

"Join me now on this journey of less talk and more action, real solutions," Cruz told about 100 people at the National Constitution Center.

"Coming together as one, as 'We the people,' does not only mean we say, 'Yes, we can,' " Cruz said. "Here and now, we pledge to each and every one of us, 'Yes, we will.' "

Cruz spoke for about 10 minutes, wrapping up before polls closed in New York state. Cruz finished third there, well behind victor Donald Trump. Ohio Gov. John Kasich came in a distant second.

He opened by saying "God bless New York, and God bless the commonwealth of Pennsylvania," but otherwise didn't mention Tuesday's primary except for a remark downplaying the significance of "a politician winning his home state tonight."

Cruz won his own home state of Texas on Super Tuesday in March, noting then that "any candidate who cannot win his own state, that's a real problem."

He placed himself in a different camp Tuesday - one with Democratic rival Sanders. "This is the year of the outsider," Cruz said. "I'm an outsider. Bernie Sanders is an outsider."

He and Sanders have "the same diagnosis," the Texas senator said, but "very different paths" for the country.

As he criticized President Obama as having "promised us, 'Yes, we can,' " then delivering "more elitist control from Washington," Cruz called on voters "to chart a new American journey forward," led by "millions of others just like you."

While Trump leads polls of Pennsylvania GOP voters, the race for delegates is far from settled. Of the 71 Pennsylvania delegates who will head to the Republican National Convention this summer, 54 unbound delegates - three from each congressional district - will be elected Tuesday.

Cruz's campaign will be working to get pro-Cruz delegates elected, the senator's Pennsylvania campaign chairman, Lowman Henry, said before Cruz's speech Tuesday. He declined to give details, saying, "Stay tuned."

Trump "likes to whine. We like to win," said Henry, the head of a conservative think tank in Harrisburg. "We read the rule book. . . . We out-organized him."

Cruz was introduced by former presidential candidate Carly Fiorina, who repeatedly called him a "constitutional conservative."

Describing Cruz's credentials as a "fearless fighter," Fiorina, former CEO of Hewlett-Packard, said she was "encouraged by the fact that he's made enemies."

Supporters said they believed Cruz would not bend on his principles as president but would still achieve his goals.

"I think he's a person who actually stands for what he believes," said Dan Neff, 28, a physician who lives in Philadelphia. "He knows the limits of what he'll be able to accomplish."

Tony Salvatore of Richboro said Cruz would "bring everything back to the states, shrink the federal government. Or try to do that."

"He's going to kind of go to the people, grass roots," said Salvatore, who owns a beverage business.

Salvatore, like several Cruz supporters, said he planned to find out which delegates running in his district were Cruz backers. Unlike past Pennsylvania primaries, he said, "this does matter."

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