Ted Cruz takes political ambition to the next level

  • Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, is seen through an American flag after announcing his campaign for president, March 23, 2015, at Liberty University, founded by the late Rev. Jerry Falwell, in Lynchburg, Va. Cruz, who announced his candidacy on Twitter in the early morning hours, is the first major candidate in the 2016 race for president.
  • Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and his wife Heidi watch as their daughter Caroline, 6, center, high-fives members of the crowd after Cruz announced his campaign for president, March 23, 2015, at Liberty University. Also pictured is Catherine Cruz, 4, left.
  • Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, his wife Heidi, and their two daughters Catherine, 4, right, and Caroline, 6, second from right, arrive for a walk-through for Cruz’s Monday morning speech where he launched his campaign for president of the United States at Liberty University, on March 22, 2015 in Lynchburg, Va.
  • Texas Sen. Ted Cruz takes a few minutes to go through and organize the papers piled on his desk at his office in Washington, D.C. on April 1, 2014.
  • Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, takes the elevator down as he leaves the Senate floor as debate ends on the Senate immigration reform bill on June 27, 2013.
  • Texas Sen. Ted Cruz grabs his things to leave the office, walking by an enlargement of a photo of his daughters watching him deliver his famous filibuster on TV.
  • Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, left, and Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, walk to a vote on Capitol Hill, Oct. 16, 2013 in Washington, D.C. The U.S. Senate passed legislation to compromise on budget and debt concerns to reopen the U.S. federal government.
  • Texas Sen. Ted Cruz asks his new media director Josh Perry to find a “Tonight Show” monologue that features jokes about the Affordable Care Act in Washington, D.C. on April 1, 2014.
  • Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, right, questions the witness as Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, listens during the Senate Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights Subcommittee hearing on “Proposals to Reduce Gun Violence: Protecting Our Communities While Respecting the Second Amendment.” in the Hart Senate Office Building on Feb. 12, 2013.
  • Ted Cruz stands in front of iconic images of the United States as he addresses the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla., Aug. 28, 2012.
  • Sen. Ted Cruz speaks to reporters on Capitol Hill, Oct. 16, 2013 in Washington, D.C. Senators scrambled together an 11th hour compromise that they hoped might protect Washington’s battered financial standing by heading off fears of a default.
  • A campaign sign for Republican candidate for U.S. Senate Ted Cruz is reflected in the sunglasses of campaign intern Lorenzo Garcia as he waits for Cruz to arrive outside a polling location, Nov. 6, 2012, in Houston. Cruz was running against Democrat Paul Sadler to replace retiring U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison.
  • U.S. Senate candidate Ted Cruz greets supporters at The Tea Party Express rally at the Capitol in Austin, Texas, on May 6, 2012. Thousands attended the event, which included speeches by Paul and Cruz.
  • Republican candidate for Senate Ted Cruz, left, raises his hand with his father Rafael, right, while holding his daughter Caroline during a victory speech, Nov. 6, 2012, in Houston. Cruz defeated Democrat Paul Sadler to replace retiring U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison.
  • Ted Cruz, Republican candidate for U.S. Senate, walks to a news conference, the day after defeating Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst in a runoff primary election, Wednesday, Aug. 1, 2012, in Houston. Cruz says his tea party supporters who helped him pull off an upset in the Republican primary runoff are “everyday Texans” who want common sense answers to problems plaguing the country.

of

Updated

Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas on Monday became the first major candidate to officially announce a bid for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, pledging to bring a hardline conservative approach to the campaign trail.  

“I believe in you and the power of millions of courageous conservatives rising up to reignite the promise of America and that is why I am announcing that I am running for the president of the United States,” Cruz said to cheers.

RELATED: Ted Cruz’s tech problem

Cruz delivered his speech at Liberty University to a packed stadium of students, who were required by the school to attend the regular convocation event. They nonetheless gave him a standing ovation as he took the stage, and he garnered plenty of applause throughout the talk. Students kept any snark to their phones, where they filled up anonymous message board app Yik Yak with mid-speech takes. Liberty University President Jerry Falwell Jr. introduced the candidate after the gathering was kicked off by a Christian rock performance.

The senator asked the students over and over again to “imagine” a world in which his agenda had been enacted, including the repeal of Obamacare, the dissolution of the Internal Revenue Service, and a flat tax that Americans pay at the same rate regardless of income — as well as a president who “finally, finally, finally secures the borders.”

Speak Out