Transcript: Ted Cruz's Family Town Hall With CNN

Ted Cruz, seen during his failed campaign for president last year, has denied he watched and "liked" a porn clip on Twitter. Carlo Allegri/Reuters

Ted Cruz, along with his wife, Heidi, sat down Wednesday night with CNN's Anderson Cooper for an hour-long town hall in New York City. The presidential forum took place less than a week before the state's crucial primary on April 19. Below is a full transcript of the event, provided by CNN in rush form:

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Good evening and welcome to town hall night again here on "360." Last night, Donald Trump and his family. Right now, his leading rival, Ted Cruz, and his wife, Heidi, talking to New York voters only six days before the primary.


ANNOUNCER: Tonight, he says he's winning and Donald Trump is whining.

TED CRUZ: Yelling and screaming, I'm sure some cursing, a lot of whining.

ANNOUNCER: No love lost between the candidate who slammed New York values and his New York opponent.

T. CRUZ: Donald has no solutions to the problems we're facing.

ANNOUNCER: And it's gotten personal.

T. CRUZ: I don't get angry often, but you mess with my wife, you mess with my kids, that will do it every time.

ANNOUNCER: He's defending his wife and counting on her help.

T. CRUZ: I've said many times Heidi is my best friend, and she is.

ANNOUNCER: Cruz family values in a race that could go right to the convention. This is an "Anderson Cooper 360" CNN Republican town hall, candidates and their families, voters seeking answers before making a choice that could make history.


COOPER: And good evening, everyone. We are simulcasting live now on CNN, CNN International, SiriusXM satellite radio channel 116, and Westwood One Radio Network. Welcome to all of you who are joining us. We're here with Texas Senator Ted Cruz. His wife Heidi will be joining us shortly. In the audience, Republicans, all from New York. They came up with the questions they'll ask tonight. We reviewed them just to make sure they don't overlap. I'm going to ask a couple of questions myself as we get started, but as always, this is a chance for voters to hear at length from the candidates and for the first time the people closest to them.

But before we bring out Mrs. Cruz, I want to start with the senator. Thanks very much for being with us.


So last night, Donald Trump was sitting here in that exact same speech, and he told me that the rules are stacked against him. You've heard this before, he's been saying it a lot, that the rules are stacked against him by the establishment, that there are shenanigans going on, that the whole process is rigged, that the RNC doesn't want him to get the nomination. Do you think that's true?

T. CRUZ: Well, listen, I think anyone who knows anything about Washington knows that the establishment is not rooting for me, that they have been battling me every day I've been in the Senate.

But the rules are simple. The way you get elected is that you win a majority of the delegates in elections. What Donald is unhappy about is in the last three weeks there have been a total of 11 elections in four states. And we've beaten Donald in all 11 elections. He's unhappy about that because he's losing at the polls. And so I guess he thinks what he should do is just complain and attack the voters. I think the way you win is you make the case to the voters and you earn their votes.

COOPER: Does he just not have the ground game that you have in these states? Because he says even if he had had more people in Colorado, even if he had had a different...

T. CRUZ: Oh, he's right. He would have lost. For the last three weeks, he's lost over and over again. You know, Donald has a hard ceiling in most states of about 35 percent or 40 percent. So he did well early in the race when there were 16 other candidates, because all of the other votes were dispersed.

Now that the field has narrowed, what we're seeing is that Republicans are uniting behind our campaign and we're beating him over and over and over again. You take Utah. Utah, three weeks ago, we won with 69 percent of the vote. It was a landslide. You take North Dakota two weeks later. They had their convention. We won 18 of the declared delegates. Trump won one.

COOPER: But in Louisiana, he won the popular vote. You got more delegates out of it. He says the will of the people is being overruled.

T. CRUZ: Well, actually in Louisiana, if you look at it, he won the early vote. On the day of Election Day, I beat him pretty significantly. Now, he narrowly eked out a total popular vote victory. We tied in terms of the delegates we got under the rules. And then what happened was, the Rubio delegates have come to us. And that's the way the process works.

COOPER: If Trump emerges with more votes in the popular vote, but at the convention in a second round you get the delegates, you get the nomination, will the will of the people be subverted? Because that's what Trump is saying.

T. CRUZ: And it's a ludicrous argument. There is one way, and there's only one way that you earn the Republican nomination. That is you earn the votes of a majority of the delegates elected by the people. Going back to 1860, that has been consistently for more than a century how the Republican Party -- how we've picked our nominee.

And if Donald can't get a majority, and the reason he's throwing such a fit is the odds are looking more and more likely that he can't get a majority, then we're going to go to Cleveland. And in Cleveland, I believe, if it's a contested convention, I'll have a ton of delegates, he'll have a ton of delegates. And in that situation, we're going to be in the much stronger position, I believe, to earn a majority of the delegates and to continue uniting the party.

COOPER: His new convention manager, who was recently hired, says your folks are using what he called gestapo tactics.

T. CRUZ: Yeah, you know, I have to say, Anderson, it is bizarre. Donald and his team, it's almost like they are subjects in a clinical course in psychology.


There are all sorts of different behaviors they display, but one of them is projection, that the conduct they do regularly they accuse everyone else of doing. So literally, in the last few weeks, Donald's team, Roger Stone, his chief political adviser, was threatening to out the hotel rooms of delegates who dared to cross Trump so they could be intimidated. They're acting like union boss thugs.

In Colorado, I spoke yesterday to the chairman of the Republican Party in Colorado. Trump supporters put out his home address, put out his phone numbers. He got thousands of phone calls, he got death threats. Trump supporters were telling the supporters go to his house and bring their guns.

Look, violence doesn't belong in democracy. And the Trump campaign encourages it over and over again. In Indiana, police are reporting threats of violence against delegates from the Trump campaign.

COOPER: Roger Stone, though, officially has left the Trump campaign.

T. CRUZ: Well, that's what he says, but he planned the campaign. He's been -- he's been...

COOPER: You believe he's still working with the campaign?

T. CRUZ: I think he's their outside henchman. They use him for their dirty work. And he's the one actively encouraging putting out -- we shouldn't be intimidating delegates. And this shouldn't be controversial.

Look, what Donald doesn't like is that he keeps losing elections, whether it was losing in Utah, whether it was losing in North Dakota, or let's take Wisconsin. Wisconsin just about every media pundit said that Cruz could not win in Wisconsin, that it was a perfect state for Donald Trump. It was an Upper Midwest state, not a very large evangelical population, heavily industrial, working class, union members, supposed to be perfect for Trump.

The day before the election, Trump predicted a, quote, "big victory" in Wisconsin. Well, instead we saw a landslide: I won the state with 48 percent of the vote. We won men, we won women, we won young people.

COOPER: You got the endorsement of Governor Walker.

T. CRUZ: Yeah, although we were 10 points up before Walker endorsed. We were very grateful to get the endorsement of Walker. We campaigned with Scott Walker. We campaigned -- what we saw was the party unifying come together. And that's what it's going to take to win the nomination. It's also what it's going to take to win the general.

COOPER: Just yesterday -- you talked about henchmen -- yesterday, you compared Donald Trump to the lead character from "The Godfather," one of my favorite movies. You said -- you said he needs to understand he's not Michael Corleone, he needs to stop threatening the voters and threatening the delegates. Do you actually think Donald Trump is threatening voters and threatening delegates?

T. CRUZ: Well, look...

COOPER: You talk about Roger Stone, but you have no evidence Donald Trump is doing that.

T. CRUZ: Well, I was very glad this morning to wake up that I didn't find a horse's head in my bed. So that was comforting.


Listen, I think it is grotesque to have a campaign that engages in threatening voters. Donald Trump himself from his own mouth at his rallies when there are protesters has told his supporters punch that guy in the face. You know what? I had protesters at my rallies. I don't ask people to punch them in the face. In fact, usually what I'll do is I'll engage them in civil discourse.

They're American citizens. I'm running to be their president. Even if they're liberals and disagree with me, I'm still running to be their president. Now, if they're disruptive, law enforcement will remove them. You don't have a right to silence another speaker.

COOPER: You believe Donald Trump is encouraging violence?

T. CRUZ: He stood at the podium and told his supporters punch that guy in the face. And he said we'll defend you if you do it. That's not funny. It's not funny when Roger Stone, who organized and put together Trump's political campaign, is telling delegates in Cleveland we're going to make public your hotel room so people can come and threaten and intimidate you if you dare vote against Donald Trump.

That is -- you know what that is behaving like? That's behaving like Democrats in 1968 in Chicago. And we're not Democrats. We're not interested in behaving like union thugs. And Donald Trump needs to learn that.


COOPER: Corey Lewandowski, we just found out over an hour ago, Corey Lewandowski, Donald Trump's campaign manager, is not going to be charged for his run-in in Florida with the reporter from Breitbart. Do you think that's the right call? Because when you and I spoke in Milwaukee, you said the incident was consistent with the pattern from the Trump campaign.

T. CRUZ: Well, listen, law enforcement there made a determination about whether to proceed. I'm not going to second-guess their judgment. That's the way the system works, that law enforcement determines whether a crime should be prosecuted.

You know, what I'm focused on is earning the votes to win the nomination and win the general. And, you know, one of the problems with the circus that comes from my opponent in this race is it distracts from all the issues people care about. You know, as I travel the state of New York, what people care about is jobs. What people care about is bringing jobs back to America, is seeing their wages rise.

People are scared. You know, just today, I was in Erie, Pennsylvania. Person after person talked about GE shutting down jobs there, about manufacturing jobs leaving America, about young people who are scared and want a better opportunity. That's what my focus is, is bringing high-paying jobs back to America, not engaging in this circus back and forth.


COOPER: Let me ask you. You've slammed Trump for playing fast and loose in the delegate fight. You sent out an e-mail Monday telling your supporters that they could become, quote, "card-carrying deputy delegates" if they paid $35, but they had to act within 48 hours. What is a card-carrying deputy delegate?

T. CRUZ: Well, listen, I want to say...

COOPER: That makes it sound like they have some power, that they can come to the convention.

T. CRUZ: Well, listen, that was a fundraising e-mail we put out. And I will say, I was very glad to see the Trump attack machine push out our fundraising e-mail. And let me say...

COOPER: But isn't it misleading?

T. CRUZ: And let me say, Anderson, thank you to you and thank you to CNN. And I will point out, all of you can go to and you can contribute $35. And, listen...

COOPER: But why do you have to call it a card-carrying deputy delegate? It sounds like you're a deputy sheriff, which actually doesn't have any power?

T. CRUZ: You know what? My kids have gotten deputy sheriff badges. Those things are fun. You know, when you buy -- when you buy Cracker Jacks, you get a toy...

COOPER: Right, but you're running for president.

T. CRUZ: Look, we have gotten over 1.3 million contributions at...

COOPER: That's a lot of deputy delegates.

T. CRUZ: And you know what? I would be thrilled to have 5 million or 10 million deputy delegates.

COOPER: But they have -- but, I mean, you're just saying that's just a fundraising thing.

T. CRUZ: Oh, yeah, no, no...

COOPER: They have no power. You don't want people to believe that they have some sort of...

T. CRUZ: It was obviously a fundraising e-mail asking people to contribute. And what we've seen -- I mean, when you have over 1.3 million contributions, our average has been about $60, people that go to, they contribute, that is what has enabled us to remain in the race and to prevail over candidates who were supported by all the lobbyists, all the big corporations, all the big money. Our support is the grassroots. And that's what's also enabling us to win race after race after race.

COOPER: Marco Rubio just yesterday said that he hopes, quote, they'll nominate a conservative and that the only one that fits that criteria is you. Is there a chance we could see a Cruz-Rubio unity ticket? Realistically, the two of you could cut a deal in which basically he gives you his delegates.

T. CRUZ: Well, listen, I think very, very highly of Marco. I appreciated those very kind comments he made. I'll tell you, he is an amazing communicator. He's one of the best communicators in the Republican Party. And he ran a campaign that inspired millions across this country. It inspired me. When he ran for Senate in 2010, his underdog race in Florida inspired me. It was one of the inspirations that led me to run two years later in Texas. So I think the world of Marco. And I very much appreciate it.

COOPER: Is that really true? Because you guys had tough words, I mean, during the campaign. Is that just part of how it works?

T. CRUZ: It's a campaign. He was trying to beat me; I was trying to beat him. That's what happens in a campaign. I can tell you, I consider Marco a friend. He's someone...

COOPER: Could you see a Cruz-Rubio ticket?

T. CRUZ: Look, anyone would naturally look at Marco as one of the people who would be a terrific person to consider for VP. And we're in the process now of considering a number of different options.

COOPER: You're not ruling it out?

T. CRUZ: He would be someone that you would be a fool not to look at seriously. He's very, very talented. And, you know, you asked if Marco and I are friends. Let me tell you a story.

So last year, I wrote a book called "A Time for Truth." And in the book, one of the chapters is talking about the year I spent as a law clerk at the Supreme Court. And it describes -- the chapter begins with me watching pornography on the Internet with Sandra Day O'Connor, which was a bit of a bizarre experience.


It was the first of the Internet porn cases to go to the court, and the court librarians were showing the justices what the Internet was, and they'd pull it up, and the story I told, I was clerking for Chief Justice Rehnquist. They paired the chief justice and Justice O'Connor and their law clerks were in this little room looking at this computer screen that pulls up hardcore porn. And Justice O'Connor -- I still remember, she leaned forward and she squinted and said, "Oh, my!"

But the Marco piece of this -- so the book comes out and there were some -- you know, reporters thought that was a funny story, so they wrote about that story. And I'm on a plane and Marco texts me and says, "Holy cow, you watched porn? Our oppo researchers missed that."


Now that was funny. And listen, he's got a good sense of humor. I laughed when he sent that text.

COOPER: Let me ask you about polls. You told our Dana Bash last week that poll after poll after poll shows you beating Secretary Clinton. I've heard you say that. That's not exactly accurate, though. According to PolitiFact, of the nine polls released just in the last month, you beat her in only one. And of the polls taken since February 4th, you win two, you tie two, and you lost in a seventh.

T. CRUZ: Listen...

COOPER: Why do you think you're the best general election candidate against her?

T. CRUZ: Because we will beat Hillary Clinton. If you go back starting from December, there's been poll after poll after poll that has shown me beating Hillary Clinton. Most of the polls either show me beating her or tied with her.

COOPER: But not in the last two months, certainly. Not even in the last month.

T. CRUZ: No, that's not true. Three weeks ago, Fox News showed me leading Hillary Clinton by three points, 47-44...

COOPER: That was the only one.

T. CRUZ: But there are a whole bunch of them that were just a few weeks earlier. But beyond that, you go state by state, key swing states. Ohio just a few weeks ago, I'm leading Hillary Clinton by 2 points, 47 to 45.

Let's take Wisconsin. Wisconsin in presidential races is a blue state. It hasn't gone Republican since 1984. Reagan's re-elect was the last time it went Republican. Marquette University just a couple of weeks ago did a statewide poll. Trump loses to Hillary in Wisconsin by double digits. Hillary and I are tied in Wisconsin at 44-44.

Let's take Pennsylvania. Trump is behind Hillary in the general election in Pennsylvania. Hillary and I are tied in Pennsylvania, another historically blue state in presidential races. But I believe in the general election, we're going to compete and, I think, beat Hillary in Pennsylvania. We're seeing that across the country.

Iowa, another swing state, I'm leading Hillary Clinton. In the state of Iowa, Donald Trump is behind. And one final point, young people. Obama won young people 70-30 in both elections. Right now, I'm 14 points ahead of Hillary Clinton among young people. If the Democrats are losing young people by double-digits, Hillary Clinton is not winning the general election.

COOPER: We've got to take a quick break. When we come back, questions from the audience for Senator Cruz and his wife, Heidi. That and more when our "360" Republican family town hall continues.



COOPER: And welcome back to our final Republican presidential family town hall. We're here with Senator Ted Cruz. Joining us is his wife Heidi. Also their daughters Caroline and Catherine are in the audience, right there in the front row in beautiful yellow.

Welcome to both of you. It's great to have you all here. Let me ask you, Mrs. Cruz, when you first -- when was the first time you thought that Ted Cruz might actually run for president? Was this a conversation you had long ago or is this just something new?

HEIDI CRUZ, WIFE OF TED CRUZ: Well, I guess the first time that we talked about it was the summer before last. So it depends on what you think by long ago. And Ted had been an incredibly effective senator but for a short time, for Texans.

And I just really at the beginning as a professional myself when I thought about doing this for ted, I had to think about that. We support each other unconditionally. And but we had just been through a Senate race. And he was doing a great job as a U.S. senator.

When I thought about our country and the crisis that we're in and the talent that Ted has, it really struck me that I needed to be part of this for our country, not for Ted, not for our family, but for all those other families that are out there that need a strong leader that can return us to a period of prosperity.


COOPER: It's a huge sacrifice though. I mean, you have two young daughters. They are very, very young. What was the calculus going in, just as a family, as a wife?

H. CRUZ: Well, sure, I think you do have to consider a lot of things. But any time you are doing something that's so much greater than yourself, it's incredibly humbling. And so we worked hard as a family to think about what this would mean. And we've been really blessed to have our girls with us on the road.

And it's an incredible learning experience, you know, Anderson, to have the opportunity to travel this country, to meet so many other families across this country in different states that share the same values is really just an incredible blessing.

COOPER: Let's meet some of the voters here in New York. This is Lindsay Blazik (ph), she's a teacher in Bellport, New York. She's undecided. She wants to ask a question to you, Mrs. Cruz.



COOPER: We had an audio problem. So just for the viewers at home, one day she may run for office but she's curious, especially as a mom, what is it like to have your family in the spotlight?

H. CRUZ: Sure. Well, Lindsay, thank you for that question. I hope you do run for office. The more principled people that we can have in public office, I think our country will be a better place. And I'm always inspired by women who run for office and take on a candidacy.


H. CRUZ: And I would say, to answer your question, I don't know that I'm suited to give you advice. You'll do just great yourself. But if I could offer one thing it would be to just be yourself.

I think people and voters want to see genuinely who the candidate and their family is. And so being genuinely who you are and always telling the truth about what you are running on and what you're going to do for them has been really what we've try to do and I think what people appreciated.

COOPER: How do you balance having your kids on the campaign trail but also protecting them from too much attention and the rough and tumble of a campaign?

H. CRUZ: Well, we have given them a lot of choices. And they wanted to come on the road with us. They wanted to be part of this. I think they understand that it is something bigger than our family, as I mentioned.

And they are really excited to be part of something that their dad is doing, that their parents are doing. And they know it's for others. We talked about that from the very beginning. Why would dad run for president?

It was to make this country a better place for other kids as well. And so they were really excited to see what that meant. We have -- any day we go on the campaign trail, whether it be on the bus or driving around in a car, we let them choose what events they want to do. And we have "must dos" and we have a lot that are not "must dos."

And they get to make choices. So in the morning they'll ask me, what are the "must dos" today?

COOPER: Here is another voter. This is Joe Caldarera. He's a law student at Brooklyn Law School who says he supports Donald Trump, but he has a question for Senator Cruz. Joe?

QUESTION: Good evening Senator and Mrs. Cruz. Welcome to the Big Apple.

There are many values in this town that are uniquely New York. And I know I speak for all of us here tonight when I say that we're proud of those values. That being said, recently you've expressed distaste for New York values, or at least liberal New York values.

Now as you know, many Republicans in New York may not be as socially conservative as Republicans in other parts of the United States. If you are our nominee, do you have room for New York Republicans, and New York values in your party?

T. CRUZ: Well, Joe, thank you for that question. Let me congratulate you on being in law school, and good luck to you.

QUESTION: Thank you very much.


T. CRUZ: You know, the phrase "New York values" has been a phrase that folks in the press have been talking about a lot lately. It's actually a phrase that originated with Donald Trump.

And the reason I made that point is that Donald did an interview with "Meet the Press" back in 1999 where he was explaining why in that interview that he supported partial birth abortion.

And his explanation in that interview, he said, hey, I'm from New York. Those are New York values. They're not Iowa values. And that was literally out of his own mouth his explanation for why we supported partial birth abortion.

And so I was doing a radio interview, and this was right before Iowa, where I was asked about it, and I said, well, Donald says he has New York values and not Iowa values. And that was his description.

Now folks in the press reacted like I lit their hair on fire screaming, you know, what a terrible thing. And, you know, Donald immediately, said, well, you're attacking the police and firefighters of 9/11, which was utterly absurd.

Listen, the police and firefighters and first responders that rushed into those buildings were heroes that every American cheered for and celebrated. And I'll tell you, you know, since then, people often in politics want you to run away from something so you get reporters, when I'm here, reporters will yell questions over and over again, will you abandon (ph)?

And I said listen, when I talk about New York values, what I'm talking about are the liberal Democrats who have been, frankly, hurting the people of New York over and over again.

I'm talking about people like Bill de Blasio. One of the first acts he did when he was elected mayor was go up to Harlem and try to shut down charter schools that were educating low-income African-Americans and Hispanics because he was essentially in hock to the union bosses of the teachers unions.

You know, I did a meeting last week in the Bronx. And it was with a series of Hispanic and African-American pastors. And the individual that hosted this meeting was Senator Ruben Diaz.

He's African-American. He's Hispanic. He's a Democratic elected state senator and he explained, and he explained to me in Spanish, he said, you know, he brought up the New York values.

He said, I know exactly what you mean by New York values because he said, I'm a Democrat, Senator Diaz, and my Democratic governor, Andrew Cuomo, said if you are pro-life, if you believe in traditional marriage, if you believe in the Second Amendment, you have no place in the state of New York.

And Senator Diaz was offended by that. And I'll tell you, I think the clearest illustration of New York values has been Mayor de Blasio's repeated pattern of standing with the criminals and the rioters and the looters instead of the police officers.

And that moment when the brave men and women in blue of the NYPD stood up and turned their backs on Mayor de Blasio, cops across this country and Americans across this country cheered.

And so I look forward to representing the people of New York, to working to earn the votes of the people of New York, and to fighting for the hard-working gritty -- New York is an immigrant city, it is a gritty city.

Both Heidi and I have lived in New York. It's a city that attracts the best and brightest and people that want to conquer the world. That can-do spirit we need more of in America.

But the liberal policies of Democrats that are hurting New Yorkers we need a lot less of.

COOPER: So let me ask you this, you've spent…


COOPER: You've lived in Washington. You've worked in Washington. You've lived here in New York. You went to Princeton University undergraduate. You went to Harvard Law School. Are you more a product of the northeast or of Texas?

T. CRUZ: Look, I am very much a product of Texas. I am a Cuban-Irish-Italian-Texan, which is an odd mix to be sure, and you know, I remember when I went off to Harvard Law School, my dad jokingly referred to it as missionary work.

You know, listen, I've been blessed to have had some amazing educational opportunities. When I was admitted to Princeton, I was coming out of a small private school in Houston, Second Baptist High School.

I had 43 people in my graduating class. Nobody from the school had ever gone to an Ivy League school. Nobody in my family had ever gone to an Ivy League school. It wasn't a world we knew about.

The world we knew about, you know, my dad I talk about a lot, how he came from Cuba with nothing. He had been in prison. He had been tortured. And washed dishes making 50 cents an hour to pay his way through University of Texas.

My mom, who is Irish-Italian, was born in Wilmington, Delaware, came from a working class family. She was the first in her family ever to go to college. She went to Rice University, majored in math.

And so to be admitted to Princeton was an extraordinary thing. It was a world, frankly, I didn't know when I arrived there. It was a scary place. You had a lot of young people who were the children of CEOs and titans on Wall Street and people with fame and wealth and power.

You know, my parents went bankrupt when I was in high school. So when I showed up at Princeton my parents were coming out of bankruptcy. I had to work two jobs to help pay my way through.

And so it was a world I didn't know, but I felt incredibly blessed to have the opportunity to get an amazing education. And I remember, when I got the clerkship to work for Chief Justice Rehnquist, a couple of years after I graduated from law school, it was the only time I ever saw my father cry. And it reduced him to tears that his son would go and work for the chief justice.

And the other time my father cried -- I didn't see it, but I know it happened -- is when I was sworn into the Senate and he was up in the chamber. And I think all he could think about as he was looking down was remembering back to being in Austin in 1957 washing dishes. And that teenage kid who couldn't speak English never could have imagined his son would be sworn into office as a senator and now to be running for president. I mean, it has been -- it has been an amazing journey, and it's a journey that can only happen in America. I mean, that's the opportunity of this great nation.

COOPER: Let's meet more voters. This is Shawn Hyms. He is Shawn Hyms over here. He's from Lake Ronkonkoma, New York. He supports you, Senator Cruz.

T. CRUZ: A wise man.

COOPER: His question for Mrs. Cruz.

QUESTION: Thank you.

COOPER: Shawn, welcome.

QUESTION: Thank you, Senator Cruz and Heidi. My question is a little -- I'm curious, where did you two first go on a date together? And what were your impressions of each other?

H. CRUZ: Great question.

T. CRUZ: Well, we met on January 2nd of 2000. So we were both working on the George W. Bush campaign. We were down in Austin. And our first date was just three days later. It was on January 5th. And we were in cubicles, I don't know, about 30 feet apart from each other.

And I don't know, about 9:30 at night, I sauntered over to her cubicle trying to pretend I was cool and said, you know, hey, have you had dinner yet? And it was a campaign, so at 9:30 at night, neither of us had had dinner.

And so we went to a restaurant that was called The Bitter End. And it was just a couple of blocks from the campaign. And we had a dinner that lasted three, four hours. I mean, it was -- we shut the restaurant down. And it was a wonderful dinner. It was a dinner that -- we talked the whole time. You know, and it was -- I got to say, with us, it was love at first sight. I mean, it really was -- you know, I remember at that dinner, I asked her, I said, you know, tell me the history of your family, starting with the birth of your grandparents.

And it was just -- you know, both of us had been coming out of -- we both had had pretty serious long-term relationships. She'd had a serious boyfriend. I had a serious girlfriend. We'd both broken up just a couple of months earlier. And we were both in our late 20s. We were at a point when we were I think looking for someone, and it was -- I mean, she was my soulmate.

And, you know, she was at the time in her second year at Harvard Business School, and she had a month off in January that they didn't have classes. And so that January we dated, and then at the end of January, I drove Heidi to the airport. And I'm dropping her off at the airport, and I said, well, what do we do? And she says, "I want you to call me every night." And I said, "Well, I'm getting home at like 2:00 and 3:00 in the morning." And she'd been on the campaign; she knew that was true. She said, "I don't care. Call me then."

So I would call her every night at either 2:00 or 3:00 in the morning. It'd be 3:00 or 4:00 in the morning East Coast time. And we'd spend a half-hour, we'd spend an hour on the phone. There were a bunch of nights where one or the other of us would fall asleep on the phone and the noise of the phone would wake us up. So what is -- I'll let Heidi tell her story, which may be totally different.


H. CRUZ: Well, I let Ted answer that question, because he loves to answer that question, and so I always let him tell his version.

T. CRUZ: She kind of knows my stories.

H. CRUZ: But it's very accurate. It really was love at first sight. And one thing I want to add to that that I think is worth noting is that Ted is an incredible listener. Ted Cruz is an incredible listener; I want all voters to hear that.

And one reason is he really cares. He really cares about what you're saying. He really cares about what's on your heart. And he cares about the context, not just a fact or a figure, but really, the context around it.

I remember one thing I told you that night. You asked me -- maybe it was even a few days later -- what were some of the things that I particularly liked, a necklace or some flowers. And to the actual venue, not more than a couple of weeks later, appeared in the snow of Boston some beautiful red roses on my doorstep from the exact florist that was very difficult to find.

Ted is a great listener. And my daughters have said many times that at home, off the stage, Mom does all the talking and Dad listens.

COOPER: Oh, is that right?

H. CRUZ: So Ted has many, many qualities, and thoughtfulness is right at the top of the list.

COOPER: Mrs. Cruz, let me ask you. I heard an interview recently where you talked about your wedding night and cans of soup. What -- for those who didn't see that, can you explain this?

H. CRUZ: I will explain. You know, this was an experience at the beginning of our life together. And so I did recount it to Megyn the other day.

COOPER: That's where it was, yes.

H. CRUZ: You know, I grew up in California in a home where my parents spent a lot of time outdoors, so we had our own garden. We grew our own vegetables. And my mom did a lot of things that were homemade. So when I married Ted, we got back from our honeymoon. And he went off to the store and came home by himself. And I was completely shocked to see that he arrived back at our apartment with literally 100 cans of Campbell's Chunky Soup. I'd never bought 100 of anything.

COOPER: All the same?

H. CRUZ: Well, different...

T. CRUZ: Different kinds.

H. CRUZ: Different kinds.

T. CRUZ: Yeah, yes. Some chicken, some beef. You know...


H. CRUZ: This was shocking to me. So we had a tough conversation about it. And I said you don't buy 100 of anything, much less canned soup. You know, we can't do this. I'll be making things. And he said, no, I know you, you won't be making things.

And so the next morning I -- it was a weekend morning -- I loaded up our car before he woke up and returned every single can. And when I got home, I called my mother just to make sure I had done the right thing as a newlywed. And she emphatically disagreed with me.

And so when Ted opened the pantry, I had to tell him quickly that I would go back and buy those cans again. She said, in fact, are you going to cook every night? We were both working at the time. And I'm really not a good cook, Anderson. I've tried. I've burnt most things. I think the last time I tried to make...

T. CRUZ: We're both terrible cooks.

H. CRUZ: ... pasta and shrimp and burned it.

T. CRUZ: That is not a skill either one of us has.

H. CRUZ: So she said wisely...

COOPER: It's good to know what your strengths are.

H. CRUZ: She said wisely, it is not your strength. I cleaned my mother's house growing up. I can clean a house like nobody's business. But I'm not a great cook. So she said, since you probably won't cook a lot for him, you should let the man eat his dinner.

COOPER: All right.


This is Jeffrey Lax. He's a college professor at Kingsborough Community College here in New York. He says he's leaning toward voting for you, Senator Cruz. Jeffrey?

COOPER: More than leaning.


T. CRUZ: Thank you, Jeffrey.

QUESTION: As a father of two little boys who are around the same age as your two little girls, I really respected and admired the way you've engaged your family throughout this campaign. And I also know as a parent that we do a lot of really annoying things to the kids. What would your family say is the most annoying thing about you?

T. CRUZ: Now, Jeffrey, that's a very good question. Let me ask you real quickly. What do you teach? You're a professor of what?

QUESTION: I teach law.

T. CRUZ: Oh, you teach law. Well, very good. Well, it would certainly vary I think in any family. It would depend on who you're talking about. I would suspect, although you can ask her directly, if Heidi were listing something, I suspect what she would say is my iPhone. She hates my iPhone. And I will admit, I am addicted to my iPhone, and I play iPhone games a lot. I'm either on Twitter, an e-mail, or I'm on iPhone games. And Heidi can't stand it. She has many times wanted to throw it out the window.

Now, the flip side is, the girls love the iPhone, and we, in fact, fight and play -- we play "Plants vs. Zombies" together and we play "Candy Crush" and all sorts of games on the iPhone, and it drives Mommy crazy.

The girls, it -- you know, we have something of a game where to get a hug and kiss from the girls, I usually have to do about four laps chasing them in the living room. And one will go one way and one will go the other way, and I have to tackle them. They usually get their good night hugs hanging upside down by their feet. And it's -- we have fun.

I don't know what the girls would say is the most annoying, but I suspect that's what Heidi would.

H. CRUZ: Good answer. That's a good answer. And I guess, Anderson, you could ask him, although it might be risky.

COOPER: Let me ask you, on Twitter, do you follow Donald Trump on Twitter?

T. CRUZ: I do.

COOPER: You do?


T. CRUZ: Although the truth of the matter is, you could sit alone in a woods in the middle of nowhere and somehow still hear Donald's tweets.


COOPER: I want you to -- we're going to have -- another voter -- is David Fettahov (ph) here? Where's David? Oh, do we have -- oh, no, actually, I'm sorry. Let's go -- Diane?

QUESTION: I'm Meghan.

COOPER: You're Meghan. I'm sorry. Meghan, I'm sorry. I've lost your card. Will you just go -- tell us about yourself and what's your question?

QUESTION: Sure. Hi, I'm Meghan Lohne.

T. CRUZ: Hi, Meghan.

QUESTION: I'm undecided currently, although I'm very much enjoying this evening, so who knows?

T. CRUZ: Well, good.

QUESTION: I'm a junior talent agent, and I live in Spanish Harlem.

T. CRUZ: Oh, fabulous.

COOPER: What's your question?

QUESTION: My question is, I think you are just fantastic, Heidi. I really think it's great to have...

H. CRUZ: Oh, thank you.

QUESTION: ... a strong independent woman out in front of young girls. And my question is, if you are first lady, what will be your platform?

H. CRUZ: Oh, thank you so much for that generous question. I have to preface my answer, and I will answer your question, by stating the obvious, which is, we are in the middle of a primary that is tough. There have been a lot of wonderful candidates that we've been working around.

And so we are traveling the states. And so our campaign is spending 100 percent of our effort on winning this primary and on Ted winning the nomination. So not a lot of time or resource has gone into what would be a first lady's platform.

That being said, I do think that to voters, the family is important in what we represent. And one of the reasons that I've been excited even to campaign with Ted alongside him is because of the opportunity to serve others. And there are so many things, so many needs that we have in this country.

In fact, my daughters asked when we launched the campaign, we thought it might be a surprise to them that their father would be running for president. We explained that. Their biggest concern was Mommy not going to the office and what did that mean. And so they asked, what is a first lady?

And I said, well, it's the wife of the president. And Caroline had never heard an answer like that from me, so she said, "Oh, Mom, come on. Let me ask again. What is a first lady? What are you going to do?" She had the exact same question.

And so I described to her some of the things that we could do together. And I think one of the great joys would be doing something for kids. And my two daughters are so near and dear to my heart. And I would love to do something that focused on young girls, their self-esteem and leadership in the world for women.

My parents had my brother and I start a business when we were 6 and 8. We ran that business for about 10 years baking bread. I learned so much through that process. And so something around the concept of entrepreneurship.

And then a cause that Ted and I have always shared that's been near and dear to our hearts that I think is maybe truly one of the most important in this country at this time for kids is school choice. And I would work very hard to ensure that every child in this country had a fair and equal opportunity at a quality education.

COOPER: Well, thank you for your question. This is David Fattakhov. He's a sophomore at Yeshiva University. He says he's leaning towards supporting you, Senator Cruz. David, welcome.

QUESTION: Thank you, Mr. and Mrs. Cruz, for coming out. And I just recently -- or let me put it to you this way. I originally wanted to vote for Marco Rubio. And unfortunately, we saw how it turned out.

One of the reasons why, though, is because he was -- he didn't really engage in any personal attacks. And even when he did for that brief amount of time, he instantly regretted it. He said it was bad for his family. And I'm also aware that recently there is a battle of the wives debate happening.

And I understand that you might not exactly want to engage in this. And my question to you is, do you believe that -- do you believe that having personal -- that attacking somebody's family personally is OK to gain a little more leverage in the political world? And if not, then would you be willing to make a truce with Mr. Trump right now?

T. CRUZ: So, David, thank you for that question. And I very much agree with your sentiments. Of course not. It is not acceptable to attack anyone's spouse, anyone's kids, anyone's family. Those should be off-limits.

And, you know, the personal attacks we've seen in this campaign have been really unfortunate. I don't think they belong in politics. The approach that I've tried to take throughout this campaign and, indeed, throughout my time in the Senate has been that when others attack, that I don't respond in kind, that I don't attack their character, that I don't impugn them directly. Now, policy differences are fair games. If we can talk about differences on tax policy or immigration policy, that's what politics should be.

And so, you know, when you talk about the disputes among the wives, listen, Melania Trump is a beautiful woman. She appears to have been a wonderful mother to their kids. I have never and would never say anything remotely negative about Donald's family or kids. So on my end, there's no truth -- truce to be had, because we shouldn't be engaging those attacks. We should be talking about substance. And frankly, what we ought to be doing is having debates. You remember there was a time when we had Republican debates?

QUESTION: Yeah, it was a great time.

T. CRUZ: This should be a gathering with Anderson moderating and Donald here, but Donald is not willing to debate. He doesn't want to talk about the substance. He doesn't want to talk about the issues. Instead, he wants to tweet attacks.

So I agree with you. It shouldn't go into the gutter. I can't control what others do. But what I can control is that I'm not going to respond in kind. And my focus -- what we're spending every day trying to do is unify Republicans. I mean, the stakes are so great.

We need to bring our party together. We need to be united. Number one, to win the nomination, you've got to unify Republicans. But number two, to beat Hillary Clinton in November, I mean, the stakes facing this country are enormous. And if we don't unite Republicans and we bring together independents and libertarians, and even Democrats, that's the only way to win.

And so my focus is on a positive, optimistic, forward-looking, conservative agenda for this country that's focused on jobs and freedom and security, because I think that's what the American people want.

COOPER: Mrs. Cruz, did you ever think you would have been brought into this by another candidate? I mean, to be in the middle of this has got to be surreal, to say the least.

H. CRUZ: Well, Anderson, as I mentioned to Megyn the other day, I don't tweet, and that has huge advantages. I save a lot of time not tweeting. And so I have just been blessed to not really be impacted by it.

I think we should be talking about the issues only. And Ted has such an optimistic, forward-looking message for this country that does unify this party, focusing on jobs. That's what people care about more than anything else. Focusing on our constitutional liberties, freedom. That's what defines to be an American. That's what makes people proud, not, you know, silliness that people don't care about. It's freedom. It's freedom that people identify with.

And lastly, the issue of security is so critical in this country right now. My brother lives just a mile and a half from where those San Bernardino attacks happened. These security threats have come to our doorstep. I, as a working mom in Houston, Texas, feel less safe than I did eight years ago.

We must focus 100 percent of our energies on that. That's the only way we're going to win. But it's also the only way that we're going to have effective leadership. And so we're spending 100 percent of our time on that. And I have the simplest job description that I've ever had in my entire career, and that is telling the American people about Ted Cruz and why we should be electing him right now. And it's a fun thing to do every day, because all I have to do is tell the truth.

COOPER: I want you to meet Diane Atkins. She's from Brooklyn. She said she's voting for you, Senator Cruz. Diane?

QUESTION: Hi. Hi. First of all, I think the two of you would make America proud as the president and first lady. So impressive. I saw yesterday on another network, you were fantastic. And God bless you both. My question is kind of fun. To Senator Cruz, when was there an instance when you knew you should have taken your wife's advice on something, but you didn't and then you lived to regret it later?

H. CRUZ: Hmm.

T. CRUZ: That's an awfully good question.


QUESTION: No pressure.

H. CRUZ: I am going to learn something tonight.

T. CRUZ: You know, to be honest, there are very few times when I haven't taken her advice. I mean, one of the things -- you know, one of the things about our relationship that is fun, and it actually -- because we started out long-distance, it was actually a great way to build a relationship, where you spend the time on the phone talking constantly. And so we became best friends in the process of falling in love.

And so Heidi now, even when we're on the road, she's in one city, I'm in another city often, and we'll call two, three, four, five times a day and talk about what's going on, what we're doing, and we usually reach decisions collaboratively. I'm failing to come up with an instance when I haven't followed her advice.

COOPER: Mrs. Cruz, do you have one?

H. CRUZ: Well, I can add something in here.


T. CRUZ: She may have a longer list.

H. CRUZ: I can add something in here.

COOPER: I would so love it if you took a list out of your pocket right now.


H. CRUZ: Well, you know, Ted does always do what he says he's going to do, but doesn't always do what he's told.

COOPER: I see.

H. CRUZ: There's a distinction. So sometimes you don't take out the trash right when I ask you to. But that's some advice. But, you know, one thing that's interesting about Ted that I love about Ted is he is very, like I said, thoughtful in a personal way, but he's also very, very thoughtful professionally. And Ted does not often make the mistake of saying things or doing things that he doesn't own.

And so while he's an incredible listener, he's got an amazing team around him, this is an individual that I think is prepared for leadership because he takes responsibility for his actions. And so I usually sleep pretty well at night knowing that he's thought it through.

COOPER: Thank you for question. We've got to take one short break. We're going to be back with the Cruzes and maybe a few surprise guests here on stage right after this.


COOPER: We're back now with more questions for Ted and Heidi, Heidi Cruz, and some special guests the Cruzes wanted to bring on stage, their daughters, Caroline and Catherine. Caroline, how old are you?


How old are you, Caroline?

CAROLINE CRUZ: I'm 7, but my birthday's tomorrow.

COOPER: Tomorrow? Wow! That's awesome.


COOPER: Catherine, how old are you?


COOPER: Five. When is your birthday?

CATHERINE CRUZ: October 27th.

COOPER: Oh, OK. So, Caroline, what are you going to do for your birthday tomorrow? What do you want for your birthday?

CAROLINE CRUZ: Well, I wanted the American Girl doll, Julie, and I'm going to have a Build a Bear party.

COOPER: Oh, cool. Nice.


Do you know what kind of a bear you're going to build?


COOPER: No. Catherine, have you thought about -- are you going to build a bear, too? You're not?

H. CRUZ: Yes, you will.


CAROLINE CRUZ: Yes, you will.

H. CRUZ: Maybe that rainbow bear.

COOPER: Are you going to have cake tomorrow?

CAROLINE CRUZ: Catherine, I don't want you doing the same bear, so...

H. CRUZ: You will? What kind of cake are we going to have? What did we plan?

CAROLINE CRUZ: Chocolate cake.

COOPER: Wow, that's my favorite.

H. CRUZ: And it's going to look like -- what's it going to look like?

CAROLINE CRUZ: It's going to look like one of my rainbow bears.

COOPER: Oh, cool. So you like bears, I'm sensing.

H. CRUZ: Yeah.

CAROLINE CRUZ: Actually it's a rainbow jaguar, but...

COOPER: Oh, OK, that makes sense. It must be fun, I mean, having them -- as you said earlier, I mean, it's got to be an amazing educational experience to have them out on the campaign trail.

H. CRUZ: Well, they've learned a lot. They have a game on their iPads that I would recommend to all parents called Stack the States.

CAROLINE CRUZ: I've completed it in less than a month. You have to earn...


COOPER: How does it work? What do you have to do?

CAROLINE CRUZ: Well, you actually -- so you answer questions, then you get a state, and you have to a point. And every time -- to like -- usually it's about that high, but every level it gets higher and higher, and you -- every time, if you get more than 60 percent of the game, then you earn a state. And it doesn't matter. They're all different questions. It doesn't matter which state you get. And after you get all 50 states, stars pour down.

COOPER: Ah, OK. It's kind of like running for president, it sounds like.

H. CRUZ: Yeah.

T. CRUZ: Well, and she matches the states to where they go in the United States.

CAROLINE CRUZ: And then I figured out, after you match all the states, you can do a second round of it, and so you have 2x of -- and my first 2x state was Florida.

T. CRUZ: Awesome.

COOPER: Wow, that's cool.

H. CRUZ: Very good.

COOPER: That's great.

H. CRUZ: Do you want to tell Anderson what your favorite state is?


H. CRUZ: You don't want to?

COOPER: You're shy?

H. CRUZ: She told me today that her favorite state is New York.

COOPER: Oh, really, OK.


Have you done anything fun here in New York?


COOPER: Have you done anything fun here in New York so far?

CAROLINE CRUZ: I like going to the American Girl doll store.



Well, you're in the right place for it. Let's start to go back to some of the audience questions. Thank you so much for coming up here. Do you want to stay up here or do you want to go back down in the audience?


COOPER: Oh, OK, sure.


COOPER: So let's go to our audience. Bruce Jensen, he's a construction manager from Rockland County, New York, who says he's leaning towards supporting you, Senator Cruz. Bruce, sorry over there. Bruce, welcome.

QUESTION: Senator Cruz, the last president who had a son was George Bush, Sr. All the presidents after him have had daughters. Is there a secret to raising daughters that will get you into the White House?

T. CRUZ: You know, look, it is a great question. I will tell you, raising daughters is a wonderful experience. It is so much fun. Little girls are so much a joy. I remember -- so I'm glad Caroline's 8th birthday party we're doing Build-a-Bear because her 6th birthday party, I remember very well that she had a princess sleepover party. And she had 11 of her classmates come over, and their favorite game at the sleepover party was Attack the Daddy.


And I will tell you, having 11 6-year-old girls dressed as Disney princesses attacking you, I mean, it's out of "Lord of the Flies," it is terrifying.


And there are moments -- I mean, there are moments of humility that being the father of daughters instills in you, such as, you know, more than once they have put every one of their hair ribbons all over daddy. We don't allow photographs of that; that is a rule.


And indeed, just, wha