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Ted Cruz: Making U.S. women eligible to be drafted is 'nuts'

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Story highlights

  • Ted Cruz told a New Hampshire audience Sunday that requiring women to sign up for the draft is "nuts"
  • It's a break from several Republican presidential rivals

Peterborough, New Hampshire (CNN)Ted Cruz told a New Hampshire audience Sunday that requiring women to sign up for the draft is "nuts," breaking with the views of several Republican presidential rivals.

Two days before the New Hampshire primary Cruz veered off his stump speech to blast his GOP competitors on the issue, which came up at the ABC debate Saturday. Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush and Chris Christie all said or suggested they'd support women being required to enroll in Selective Service and be eligible for the draft, since female service members can now serve in combat roles. Cruz was not asked.
    "It was striking that three different people on that stage came out in support of drafting women into combat in the military," Cruz said. "I have to admit, as I was sitting there listening to that conversation, my reaction was: Are you guys nuts?"
    "We have had enough with political correctness -- especially in the military," Cruz said to loud applause in the town building. "Political correctness is dangerous, and the idea that we would draft our daughters, to forcibly bring them into the military and put them in close contact -- I think is wrong, it is immoral, and if I am president, we ain't doing it."
    Cruz pointed to his daughters to complete the contrast with those rivals.
    "I'm the father of two little girls. I love those girls with all my heart. They are capable of doing anything in their hearts' desire, but the idea that their government would forcibly put them in the foxhole with a 220-pound psychopath trying to kill them, doesn't make any sense at all."
    Cruz also shared an extensive rebuke of eminent domain abuse, something that has been part of his closing argument in this state. Cruz has attacked Donald Trump for his support for eminent domain power for private use -- which is opposed by much of the conservative movement and is controversial in New Hampshire -- though Trump's name was unsaid.
    But Cruz's arguments may have fallen on the wrong ears. When an introducer asked how many of the people packed in to the town center here were not from New Hampshire, about half of those gathered raised their hands.