Ted Cruz speaks out after Kimmel, concludes visit with OC fundraiser

- Texas Sen. Ted Cruz is set to conclude a two-day visit to Southern California today by raising funds for his campaign for the Republican presidential nomination at a luncheon in Newport Beach and guesting on a radio talk show.

Tickets for the luncheon at the Pacific Club are $1,000, according to an invitation obtained by City News Service.

Two of Cruz's former rivals for the nomination will attend the luncheon, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and former Hewlett-Packard Chairman and CEO Carly Fiorina, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Cruz is also is scheduled to guest on "John and Ken" on KFI-AM (640) at 5 p.m.

Cruz taped an appearance on the ABC late-night talk show "Jimmy Kimmel Live" Wednesday.

Kimmel introduced the 45-year-old Cruz as "the only person running for president to publicly admit to having been bitten by octopus."

Early in the interview Cruz recalled spending a summer when he was a law student working at a downtown Los Angeles law firm and "had a terrific time."

Cruz revealed a high school ambition to move to California to become an actor, but said his parents were "horrified" by the idea.

"They thought it was a disastrous plan," Cruz said. "I think everything was great except that I didn't have good looks and I didn't have talent."

Cruz and Kimmel sparred over President Barack Obama's health care law. Cruz called it a "disaster" that "is killing jobs all across this country." Kimmel asked "Is it really a disaster cause it just doesn't feel like it is? I have not heard one story from a person I know that indicates" that.

Cruz responded "I agree it's probably not a disaster with millionaire Hollywood movie stars and rock stars, so in the circles that are coming here, it hasn't been a disaster. "I just spent the last several days campaigning in Wisconsin. Over and over again I had people come up to me and say, `My health insurance premiums went up. They doubled, they tripled. I've had to cancel my health insurance because I can't afford it."'

Cruz said in every roundtable discussion he has conducted with small business owners, at least half of them have listed Obama's health care law as the "single biggest challenge they're facing."

Kimmel also questioned Cruz's call for law enforcement to patrol Muslim neighborhoods. Cruz said "we need law enforcement to work cooperatively with the community to prevent radicalization and to stop terror attacks before they occur."

In a second segment, Kimmel emphasized personal questions, getting Cruz to reveal that the first concert he attended was of the Australian rock band Men at Work when he was in junior high school; he has seen all seven "Star Wars" films and Mueslix is his favorite cereal.

FOX 11's Victoria Spilabotte spoke with Ted Cruz after the Jimmy Kimmel show appearence:

“It was terrific,” Sen. Ted Cruz, (R) Texas, said after his appearance on Jimmy Kimmel. “We had some fun, we had some jokes and we laughed.”

Wednesday’s show was the republican presidential hopeful’s first time as a guest on the late night talk show.

Hundreds of fans lined to see Cruz and Kimmel go at it.

“Jimmy stood his ground on some of the issues because Jimmy and Ted differ in their opinions and that’s what the country is about,” Dan Berend, Kimmel Audience Member, said. 

The audience heard Cruz talk a bit about his policies and plans for the future, which he repeated on his way out of the studio.

“If i”m elected President we will repeal every word of Obamacare, we will pass a simple flat tax and abolish the IRS,” he said.

Cruz on Donald Trump's recent statement on abortion: “That comment was wrong and it’s the latest demonstration of how little Donald has thought about the serious issues facing this country. I am pro-life. Being pro-life means standing and defending the unborn, but it also means defending moms, defending women, and defending the incredible gift women have to bring life into the world. And Donald’s comments… they were unfortunate, they were wrong, and I strongly disagree with them.” 

Many who had been in the audience wondered if the candidate - who is often seen as serious and stiff - could lighten up for late night.

“He seemed a little awkward to me,” one audience member said.

“He had a good sense of humor - he became more relatable,” another said.

Emily Reynolds, a Bernie Sanders supporter, made sure she sat front and center.

“He looked at me right during a commercial break and he smiled at me,” Reynolds said. “I just shook my head and then his smile just slipped off his face.”

But Cruz was all smiles after the show where he greeted fans taking photos and selfies.

The Senator is continuing on the campaign trail in California for the next two days.

“I’m looking forward to competing here in the primary in California,” Cruz said. “For the first time in a long long time the California Republican Primary is really going to matter.”

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