Kansas City’s top political tough guy shed a tear on TV Sunday morning.
Political consultant Jeff Roe, who is managing Ted Cruz’s presidential campaign, was featured on Fox News Sunday’s “power player” segment, a show-closing bit that generally features host Chris Wallace giving a flattering interview of a news maker.
This week was a little tougher, although still mostly friendly. Wallace called Roe “ruthless” and included a clip from his Axiom Strategies’ video promising bare-knuckled performance for its clients.
Are you, Wallace asked Roe, really ruthless?
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“Your entire life is under is going to go under the microscope (as a candidate),” Roe said. “And I think people want someone with them that will ruthlessly defend them. … Ruthless, the context of it to me is it’s just all in.”
Wallace described Roe’s operation as particularly sophisticated at analyzing data and using it to target phone calls and other campaign messages that hit the ideas most likely to resonate with a particular voter.
That data, Roe said, is making clear why Cruz is running near the top of so many polls in the Republican primary.
“Scrape all the social media messages. Scrape all the nightly analytics. ... ‘Strong, Christian, conservative, leader’ are the big words that we’ve found.”
Wallace did raise Roe’s controversial history, noting that he’d produced commercials attacking former Mayor Kay Barnes’ support of gay rights as reflecting “San Francisco values” when she ran for Congress.
Likewise, Cruz has suggested that Donald Trump isn’t truly conservative as a Manhattan businessman more in line with “New York values.” That line in the last Republican debate gave Trump the chance to invoke how the city rebounded after the Sept. 11,2001, attacks. Some saw it as a win for Trump.
On the Sunday show, Roe said he saw nothing distinctive that grouped the Barnes attack with the line Cruz deployed against Trump.
“It’d be hard pressed to find a campaign that doesn’t talk about values,” he said.
Wallace also noted that four years ago in a Senate primary, Roe worked for a Cruz opponent and crafted an ad that questioned his patriotism by representing a company with ties to China.
Finally, Wallace asked if Cruz could win the presidency.
“Oh. we’ll win. ... We will win because it is hard to stop the movement that has chosen him to be the leader.
“We have millions of people that are donating to the campaign. That’s big stuff.”
“You’re getting emotional,” Wallace noted while Roe teared up.
“It’s important,” Roe said. “Who runs our country is important. And this is an honor to lead with him.”