Late night coffee with Ted Cruz
Sen. Ted Cruz speaks to guests at Penny's Diner in Missouri Valley, Iowa while Congressman Steve King looks on.

Late night coffee with Ted Cruz

On Monday evening, Ted Cruz paid a late-night visit to Missouri Valley, Iowa, the last of five meet-and-greet events of the day, which kicked off his “Cruzin to Caucus” bus tour across the state.

Sen. Ted Cruz Speaking at Penny’s Diner.

It was a late event starting at 10:45 pm and set at the tiny Penny’s Diner just off the I-29. I arrived early enough to get a good seat, but soon the place was packed with 200+ supportersreporterscameramenswag-sellers, and other oddballs. Once Cruz arrived (ten minutes early — a first for any candidate I’ve seen), I had to stand precariously on top of a cushioned diner seat to a decent picture of him when he arrived. Congressman Steve King introduced him as he poured coffee in a clever photo op. Then Cruz spoke for twenty minutes, covering all his standard talking points on Radical Islamic Terrorism, abolishing the IRS with a flat tax, and rescinding all of Obama’s unconstitutional executive orders.

Once Cruz was done, he immediately started shaking hands and greeting nearly every person in the diner who came to see him. He signed autographsposed for pictures, and even gave one attendee a hug, something I hadn’t seen any other candidate do. It was a good night, though I was paying for it with sleepy eyes the next morning.

(Flash forward: four years later In a podcast in 2020, Ted Cruz would refer to this event as one of his favorite campaign stops.)