- The Washington Times - Monday, January 26, 2015

Sen. Ted Cruz, Texas Republican, said the reason for Republicans’ electoral defeat in 2012 can be summed up by the “47 percent” remarks made by GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney.

“The reason Republicans lost can be summed up in two words: ‘47 percent,’ ” Mr. Cruz said.

The comments came during a forum in California moderated by ABC’s Jonathan Karl with Mr. Cruz, Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky and Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida in one of the first debate-style settings of the 2016 presidential cycle.

Mr. Romney, in secretly videotaped remarks during the 2012 campaign, appeared to write off nearly half the country as largely entitlement-dependent who would vote for President Obama no matter what — comments that dogged him for the rest of the campaign and which Democrats have continued to try to hold up as the general thinking of the Republican party.

Mr. Rubio said Mr. Romney “ran the best race he possible could” and that he didn’t want to second-guess the campaign.

Mr. Paul invoked past words from Mr. Romney’s wife on another possible run by Mr. Romney in 2016: “I’m kind of with Ann Romney on this one — no, no, no, no, no.”

In another possible preview of things to come, Mr. Paul split with Mr. Cruz and Mr. Rubio on Iran and Cuba, saying Congress should give President Obama negotiating space before imposing a new round of sanctions on Iran and called it a “form of isolationism” to be “retreating, not engaging” with other countries with respect to Cuba.

The forum hosted by the Freedom Partners Chamber of Commerce, a nonprofit affiliated with the billionaire Koch brothers, was held a day after GOP Rep. Steve King’s Iowa Freedom Summit attracted a host of possible 2016 GOP contenders, including Mr. Cruz, to the Hawkeye state.

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