Video: Cruz warns about electing Hillary Clinton, urges voters to fight for their country on Super Tuesday
PERRY -- Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz took aim at front-runner Donald Trump at a rally Saturday.
Cruz spoke to about 600 people gathered at the Georgia National Fairgrounds and Agricenter. The U.S. senator from Texas wasted little time taking shots at Trump, who drew about 6,000 at a Macon rally in November.
Cruz questioned whether Trump really held conservative values.
"It's easy to talk about making America great," Cruz told the audience, referring Trump's campaign slogan. "You can even print that on a baseball cap, but the question is, do you even understand the principles that made America great to start with?"
Cruz had a few criticisms of fellow candidate Marco Rubio, but spent much of his time breaking down Trump.
Cruz touted himself as the true conservative in the race and an outsider willing to take on the Washington establishment.
"If you want to know who will stand up to Washington, ask the very simple question, who is Washington attacking?" he said.
He vowed to repeal "every word of Obamacare," and replace the tax code with "a simple flat tax."
"When we do that, we should abolish the IRS," he said.
He bashed Trump for refusing to show his tax returns, which Cruz suggested was because Trump wants to hide past financial support for liberal causes.
"This is a man who prides himself on not being scared of anything, so what is it he's scared of in not showing his tax returns?" Cruz said.
Georgia's presidential primary election is Tuesday.
Among the attendees at the rally was Donna Cotney of Byron. She said it was the first time she has seen a presidential candidate in person.
"I just think he's the answer that our country needs to go forward after the debacle of the Obama Administration," Cotney said.
Cotney said she has already cast her vote for Cruz during early voting.
"He makes you feel patriotic - that there is hope for America again," she said.
Emmett Young of Macon liked what Cruz had to say.
"That guy's on the ball," Young said. "He's a Christian man. He's a God-fearing man, and he's a smart man, and he's a wonderful, wonderful candidate for president."
Michael Turner of Byron said he liked what Cruz had to say on supporting the Constitution and getting back to the founding principles of the country.
"He was very fired up," Turner said. "I was very excited about it. We can't wait for him to be president of the United States."
Cruz promised to grow the military, including increasing the number of Air Force planes from 4,000 to 6,000.
"America has always been reluctant to use military force," he said. "We are slow to anger. But if and when military force is necessary, we should use overwhelming power, kill the enemy and then get the heck out."
Cruz said he believes America is in similar position now as the late 1970s.
"Same failed economic policy, same feckless and naive foreign policies," he said. "In fact, the exact same countries, Russia and Iran, openly laugh at and mock the president of the United States."
He said that era sparked "the Reagan Revolution," and believes the same thing could happen now.
"It didn't come from Washington," he said. "Washington despised Ronald Reagan. It came from the American people."
Cruz and Rubio are now considered the two candidates with the best chance of halting Trump's run. Eleven states are holding Republican presidential primary elections Tuesday, which is called Super Tuesday.
Cruz said he is currently in "a dead heat" in Georgia. That might be true if he was talking about the race for second. Realclearpolitics.com, in an average of three polls in the state, has Trump at 37 percent, Rubio at 21 percent and Cruz at 18 percent.
Cruz was introduced by Jack Kingston, a former Georgia U.S. representative.
He called Cruz "somebody who came to Washington and actually stuck to his campaign promises. A rare thing. Somebody who believes in the Constitution."