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Last month, Cruz told an influential group of home-school advocates in Iowa that the United States was founded on Christian values. He also told a separate group of anti-abortion rights activists in Washington that they should not compromise on their beliefs.

In coming weeks, Cruz plans to speak to a “Freedom Summit” in New Hampshire, the early voting state, along with potential rivals Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee.

Cruz also plans to attend a Free Enterprise Foundation dinner a few days later at The Citadel in yet another early voting state, South Carolina.

The targeted outreach to different segments of the Republican Party is necessary if Cruz is going to expand his appeal beyond the tea party-aligned wings of the GOP that consider him among the favorites at this early stage of the 2016 contest.

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Elliott reported from Washington.

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Follow Philip Elliott on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/philip_elliott