Ted Cruz plays up 2016 talk to Texas audience

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, arrives to speak at the Faith and Freedom Coalition's Road to Majority event in Washington, Thursday, June 19, 2014. AP

DALLAS -- Firebrand Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, is sounding increasingly like he's going to heed calls to run for president in 2016.

The tea party favorite's rousing speech Saturday in Dallas energized thousands at the summit of Americans for Prosperity, the political arm of the billionaire industrialist Koch brothers. Cruz said of the Republican party: "We're going to win in 2014 and 2016 is going to be even better."

His speech came a day after two other possible 2016 presidential candidates, Texas Gov. Rick Perry and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, gave spirited addresses. Perry focused on blasting President Obama's recent foreign policy moves; Paul expanded his criticism to early 2016 Democratic presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton.

But the crowd was friendliest to Cruz, whose troublemaking tactics have enraged congressional leaders in both parties but made him a superstar with conservative grassroots activists. He, too, seized the opportunity of a friendly audience at the grassroots gathering and took a swing at the president.

To hoots and hollers, Cruz faux-invited Mr. Obama to a round of his storied pastime, golf: "It almost seems like the PGA ought to put him on retainer," he said. "I don't know about you, but I've never known anyone who plays that much golf. It's almost like he doesn't have a job; like he's retired or something."

Cruz has never ruled out a presidential run and now says "time will tell."

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