Ted Cruz just announced his 2016 presidential bid at Liberty University

Cruz: 'I'm running for president'

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) spoke about his just-announced 2016 presidential bid at Liberty University Monday morning, the Washington Post reports.

The Tea Party conservative tweeted out his plans to run for president late Sunday night, making him the first major contender to formally announce a bid.

Educated at Harvard University and Princeton University, the 44-year-old lawyer is most widely known for his 2013 attempts to block the Affordable Care Act's implementation, leading to a 16-day federal government shutdown.

This morning, Cruz is scheduled to lead convocation at Liberty—a private, Christian college founded by Jerry Falwell, a fundamentalist preacher and televangelist.

Could the future of higher ed be found at Liberty University?

The venue may represent Cruz's attempt to court social conservatives and young Republicans. A Cruz aide says the university's large alumni network, filled with activists, factored into venue choice.

"Liberty enforces a strong message that taking a stand for what is right speaks volumes about character," says the aide.

Liberty is the world's largest Christian university and in recent decades, has become a "symbolic center of the GOP political-religious universe," writes Chris Cillizza in Washington Post's "The Fix" blog.

Then Gov. Mitt Romney (R-Massachusetts), Gov. Rick Perry (R-Texas), and then Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minnesota) all spoke at the university during the 2012 presidential race, as did Sen. John McCain(R-Arizona) in his 2000 primary campaign.

Cruz spoke there last year as well, warning about the danger religious liberty faces today (Zezima/Costa, Washington Post, 3/23; Cillizza, "The Fix," Washington Post, 3/23).

The takeaway: Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) is to speak about his just-announced 2016 presidential bid at Liberty University today, a venue choice that represents his courting of social conservatives according to political reporters .

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