Cruz Defeats Frontrunner Donald Trump in the Iowa Republican Caucuses

It looks like Ted Cruz is peaking at the right time…

The 45-year-old Cuban-American United States Senator and presidential hopeful won the Iowa Republican caucuses, in the first vote of the US presidential campaign.

Ted Cruz

Cruz bested frontrunner Donald Trump, raising questions about the billionaire’s reliance on his celebrity instead of traditional political organization.

Meanwhile, fellow Latino Marco Rubio‘s stronger-than-expected showing could mark him as the establishment’s best hope against a grassroots revolt in next week’s New Hampshire primary and beyond.

Cruz’s big win sets him up as a force to be reckoned with in the delegate-rich, Southern states to come and offers movement conservatives hope that one of their own can become the Republican nominee for the first time since Ronald Reagan.

“Iowa has sent notice that the Republican nominee and the next President of the United States will not be chosen by the media, will not be chosen by the Washington establishment,” Cruz said.

With about 99% of the GOP vote in, Cruz was ahead of Trump 28% to 24%. Rubio was at 23%.

“It is breathtaking to see what happens when so many Americans stand up and decide they’re fed up with what happens in Washington and they want something different. They want a leader they can trust, they want a leader that stands for them against the corruption of Washington,” Cruz told CNN.

Rubio will also leave Iowa with a leg up over other establishment rivals including former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Ohio Gov. John Kasich, who have a lot at stake in New Hampshire.

“This is the moment they said would never happen. For months, they told us we had no chance,” a jubilant Rubio said. “They told me that I needed to wait my turn, that I needed to wait in line. But tonight here in Iowa, the people of this great state have sent a very clear message — after seven years of Barack Obama, we are not waiting any longer to take our country back.”

Cruz To Stand Next to Donald Trump During Tuesday’s Republican Presidential Debate on CNN

Ted Cruz is right of center…

The 44-year-old half-Cuban American U.S. Senator from Texas and presidential candidate will stand to the right of polling front-runner Donald Trump during CNN’s Republican Presidential Debate from Las Vegas.

Ted Cruz

The cable news network announced its lineup and stage positioning for Tuesday’s debate, with Trump, the polling front-runner, taking the center podium.

Meanwhile, New Jersey governor Chris Christie will take the mainstage, an increase in his polling numbers getting him out of the not-ready-for-primetime debate of lower-pollers.

On the 1,400-seat Venetian Theatre stage for the fifth Republican primetime debate, from left to right, will be: John Kasich, Carly Fiorina, Marco Rubio, Ben Carson, Trump, Cruz, Jeb Bush, Christie and Rand Paul.

CNN Republican Presidential Debate

The lineup and positioning for the earlier debate will be George Pataki, Mike Huckabee, Rick Santorum and Lindsey Graham.

Podium order was determined by the average of the national polls from November and December.

Wolf Blitzer will moderate the 8:30 PM ET primetime debate, with CNN’s Chief Political Correspondent Dana Bash joining Salem Radio Network talk show host Hugh Hewitt as questioners.

The focus of the debate will be national security.

CNN will begin its live coverage of the debates at 6:00 pm ET.

Rubio Named the Winner of the First Republican Debate

Marco Rubio is gaining some respect in his presidential bid…

The 44-year-old Cuban American politician, the junior U.S. Senator from Florida, has emerged as the real winner of the first debate among 10 of the 17 candidates for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination despite the show put on by business tycoon Donald Trump.

Marco Rubio

The nation’s leading media and analysts unanimously gave the win to Rubio – he managed to present himself as the new blood the party needs to inspire voters and defeat the Democratic favorite, Hillary Clinton.

Rubio jumped into the national arena as a senator in 2010, and two years later made a name for himself with his nominating speech for Mitt Romney at the 2012 Republican National Convention.

Nonetheless, Rubio came into the debate as seventh in the polls, far below the big favorites – Trump, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush and Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker.

The latter two disappointed in a debate where they were supposed to look “presidential” in contrast to the buffoonery of Trump, whose outrageous remarks have been the big news of the campaign over the past six weeks.

They committed no real gaffes, but neither Bush nor Walker excited the crowd, while Kentucky Senator Rand Paul and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie engaged in a heated argument about government spying, and Ohio Governor John Kasich had a good night in front of a supportive audience in Cleveland.

Neurosurgeon Ben Carson and Texas Senator Ted Cruz were the invisible men on a night when, except for a few out-of-line remarks, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee also went unnoticed though he came into the debate fourth in the polls.

“Natural talent tends to shine through in big moments when the bright lights turn on. The senator from Florida, who had dipped in polls after a bump in the wake of his announcement, was terrific on Thursday night,” the Washington Post said Friday.

Rubio, without getting theatrical, managed to sell better than any other candidate his “American dream” – he has built an admirable political career despite being the son of a waiter and a housekeeper who left Cuba before the 1959 revolution.

“If I’m our nominee, how is Hillary Clinton gonna lecture me about living paycheck to paycheck? I was raised paycheck to paycheck,” he said.

“How is she – how is she gonna lecture me – how is she gonna lecture me about student loans? I owed over $100,000 just four years ago. If I’m our nominee, we will be the party of the future,” Rubio said.

Besides shaking up the list of favorites, the debate also served to show that Republicans remain very much on the right, which makes life difficult for the most moderate of them, Jeb Bush, and distances them from voting groups that are key to regaining the White House after its eight years as home to a Democrat.

“Overall, however, the debate did little to expand the appeal of the Republican brand. With the exception of Bush’s advocacy of immigration reform, the candidates offered little that would make their party more palatable to the portions of the electorate – especially women, young adults, and minorities – where they have struggled in recent presidential elections,” said William A. Galston, senior fellow in governance studies at the Brookings Institution and former advisor to ex-President Bill Clinton.

“The party’s eventual nominee will have to do more to convince persuadable voters that Republicans stand for more than the sentiments of their aging, mostly white, mainly male, and highly disgruntled base,” the political analyst said.

Bush Makes Debut as a Political Candidate at the Texas Legislative Conference

George P. Bush has made what’s being called a “safe if rather unpolished debut” as a political candidate at the Texas Legislative Conference.

The 36-year-old half-Mexican American attorney gave a keynote speech at the conference on Friday that shined a spotlight on Republican themes like energy independence.

George P. Bush

Despite a speech that lacked the easy manner mastered by other members of his political family, about 200 people at the conference still responded with enthusiastic applause before Bush left the room without shaking many hands or speaking to reporters.

“I can’t contain my burning optimism for being a Texan,” said Bush. “For being born here, for being educated here and having the opportunity to create opportunity here.”

Bush – the grandson of former President George H.W. Bush, the nephew of former President George W. Bush and the son of Florida Gov. Jeb Bush –  left Texas with his family for Florida in the late 1970s. But her returned to the Lone Star State for college and law school. He now resides in Fort Worth with his wife, Amanda.

The keynote address was Bush’s public debut as a political candidate. He formally announced this month that he’ll run for Texas Land Commissioner in 2014 after months of hints about a campaign for a statewide office.

Bush took no big risks and avoided gaffes in a speech that reminded the audience about his nine months deployed in Afghanistan and working with at-risk students in urban schools. But he often stumbled over his words and sometimes appeared to rush through the notes in front of him.

Bush, who said he wears his U.S. Naval Reserve uniform one weekend a month for training at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, sounded most assured and comfortable when discussing the welfare of veterans.

Among the responsibilities overseen by the Texas General Land Office is veterans affairs. Bush vowed to make veterans more aware of the benefits they’re entitled to if elected to land commissioner.

Bush, whose mother was born in Mexico, is considered a rising star among conservative Hispanics, and his political pedigree is hard to match. He has been active in politics for years. Last summer, he was promoted to deputy finance chairman of the Texas Republican Party.

George P. Bush Debating a Run for State Office in Texas

It looks like George Prescott Bush may continue his family’s political legacy…

The 36-year-old half-Mexican American attorney says he’s close to settling on campaigning for the position of Texas Land Commissioner next year. He doesn’t believe he’ll make up his mind until he knows what Texas Governor Rick Perry, a fellow Republican, decides to do.

George P. Bush

“We for sure are running, the question is the office,” Bush told The Associated Press during the first interview about his political future since filing paperwork in November to seek elected office in Texas.

Bush’s father is former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, his grandfather is former President George H.W. Bush and his uncle is former President and Texas Governor George W. Bush. Perry has been governor since George W. left for the White House.

The land commissioner position has traditionally served as a steppingstone to higher office, but Bush said little about any plans to eventually become a national political force.

Instead, Bush spoke about how his past experience as an asset manager would help him manage the Permanent Schools Fund, which pays for public education and is managed by the land commissioner. He also said his perspective as an Afghanistan war veteran will help him use the post to become a leader in veterans’ affairs.

Bush said he would announce his final decision after the Texas Legislature adjourns in May but added that his choice will depend “where the governor’s thinking is.” Perry, who made an unsuccessful run for the Republican nomination in the race for president, remains popular in Texas, and he’s planning to reveal this summer if he’ll seek another term.

Some have speculated that Bush could challenge Perry for governor — and even if he doesn’t, what Perry decides will trigger political dominos falling.

Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson plans to run for lieutenant governor next year, creating a vacancy in his office. But Attorney General Greg Abbott, a Republican, may himself run for governor in 2014, meaning his post could be open too.

Bush suggested he’d be willing to wait his turn politically rather than immediately seeking top positions coveted by others in the state GOP.

“We’ve said that we want to be team players in the party, providing a younger, fresher vision for our values,” he said.

Bush speaks Spanish, and his mother Columba is from Mexico. Conservatives view George P. Bush on the ballot as a way to solidify support among Hispanics.

A Democrat hasn’t won statewide office in Texas since 1994, but Hispanics tend to vote overwhelmingly Democratic and accounted for two-thirds of Texas’ population growth over the last decade. Bush noted: “We’ll be majority Hispanic in six years.”

“I don’t necessarily agree with the idea that having a candidate of Hispanic origin, or someone who can speak Spanish, can automatically obtain these votes,” Bush said of Hispanics. “Having said that, it’s important tactically to have candidates that understand issues of the community.”

Bush said of trying to stand out among his famous political family, “It’s always been the thing of my grandmother to say, ‘Go out and make a name for yourself’ and that’s something that I’ve followed.”

“But who better to ask for advice on politics than two former presidents and a former governor?” he said. “They’re not involved in the day-to-day operations. They’re not involved in formulating my ideology. It’s more of an informal advice.”

Bush said his grandfather inspired him to join the military, and he was deployed to Afghanistan as an intelligence officer in the U.S. Naval Reserve. He said that before enlisting, he knew politics was in his blood but felt he was too inexperienced to run for office.

It wasn’t until the last few months, however, that “I felt it was time for my generation to step forward in state politics,” Bush said.

Bush now spends his time crisscrossing Texas and the country, raising money and meeting with supporters. He was in Austin on Monday and posed for pictures outside the state Capitol before disappearing into meetings with legislators.

Rubio Among the Nine Latinos on Time’s 100 Influentials List

He may be the junior United States Senator from Florida with only about 15 months in office… But, Marco Rubio is already being hailed as one of the most influential people in the world.

The 40-year-old Cuban American politician appears on Time magazine’s just released list of the 100 Most Influential People in the World.

Senator Marco Rubio

“I knew there was something special about Marco Rubio when I first met him as a young Republican city commissioner. Bilingual and bicultural, he represents the best of the emerging second generation of Cuban immigrants,” writes former Florida governor Jeb Bush about the U.S. Senator who is being called a potential vice presidential pick for the Republican Party. “His ascendancy in politics has not surprised me or the people who know him. Rubio’s abiding faith in the promise of America is so compelling.”

But Senator Rubio isn’t the only Latino making Time’s ninth annual list. In all, nine Latinos made the cut, including three females.

Here’s a look at the rest of the world’s most influential Latinos, according to Time.

Louis C.K.

Louis C.K.
The 44-year-old Emmy and Grammy-winning Mexican-American comedian/actor is the star of FX’s comedy series Louie, which he also writes, directs and edits. Comedienne Joan Rivers writes of Louis C.K.:  “When he sent me the Louie episode he wanted me to do, I called him and said, ‘I like it, but I’d like to work with you on this.’ He was wonderful. There is absolutely no ego there — we reworked the script together and we improvised. It was such a meeting of the minds, such a joy.”

José Andrés
Last year, the 42-year-old Spanish chef and activist won the coveted James Beard Foundation‘s Outstanding Chef Award, the highest honor a chef in America can achieve. But José Andrés wasn’t honored for his gastronomic work; he was recognized for his philanthropic efforts. Fellow chef Anthony Bourdain writes about José Andrés: “That this gift of Spain to the U.S. is best known as a great chef with a portfolio of extraordinary restaurants in Washington, Los Angeles and Las Vegas is almost beside the point. He’s bigger and more important than that. No one kitchen — or 10 — can contain him. He is advocate, promoter, entrepreneur, philanthropist, artist. Keep up with him at your peril.”

Dulce Matuz

Dulce Matuz
The 27-year-old Mexican illegal immigrant and advocate is the president of the Arizona Dream Act Coalition, the group working to provide a path to citizenship to children of illegal immigrants. Desperate Housewives actress Eva Longoria writes about Dulce Matuz, who attended high school and college in Arizona: “An undocumented Latina confronted with legal barriers to pursuing her engineering dream, she chose to fight for the right to contribute to the country she has called home since she was young. As president of the Arizona Dream Act Coalition, Dulce promotes a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants who, like her, were brought to the U.S. before they were 16, attend college or serve in the military and are of good moral character. Dulce takes on powerful opponents with grace and conviction, saying, ‘We are Americans, and Americans don’t give up.’”

Eike Batista

Eike Batista
The 55-year-old Brazilian business tycoon, one of the richest people in the world, is the owner and president of Brazilian conglomerate EBX Group. Eike Batista made the list for his commitment to social inclusion initiatives in Rio de Janeiro. The city’s mayor, Eduardo Paes, credited Batista for bolstering Rio’s successful bid to host the 2016 Olympics and for donating to civic initiatives. “He might be Brazil’s richest man and the world’s seventh richest, bringing vital investment to our city from oil and mining, but his most valuable asset is his commitment to Rio’s legacy,” writes Paes.

Juan Manuel Santos

Juan Manuel Santos
The 60-year-old Colombian President may be recognized for helping his country in its bid to be a more developed world player, but Colombian pop singer Shakira believes he’s also a strong leader at home, especially after working directly with President Juan Manuel Santos on education and childhood development programs throughout the country. She writes, “A leader is someone who understands the people’s vision of a better tomorrow and is willing to guide them there. In Colombia, we dream of a future of progress, prosperity and peace. By focusing on education, I believe President Santos is on the right track to make that dream a reality.”

Maria das Graças Silva Foster

Maria das Graças Silva Foster
The Brazilian oil engineer was recently named the CEO of Petrobras, one of the world’s biggest suppliers of oil. She becomes its first female CEO and the first woman to run a major oil company. And, she’s known for being a tough, no-nonsense operator. “Foster, 58, spent her early childhood in a working-class favela on the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro and collected recyclable cans and paper to help pay for school. A chemical engineer by training, she joined Petrobras and stayed for more than 30 years. Her tireless work habits earned her the nickname Caveirao, slang for the armored cars Brazilian police use to clear out slums,” writes Bryan Walsh, a senior editor at Time.

Dilma Rousseff
President
The 64-year-old Brazilian politician, considered one of the world’s most powerful women, is the first woman to hold the office of President in her native country. Argentina’s president Cristina Fernández De Kirchner writes of Rousseff, “She and I share many personal experiences: the drive that comes from our immigrant heritage, youthful activism and militancy and the challenges faced by women as they try to grow in a space dominated by men. And we agree that social inequality is the greatest problem facing our countries. Historically, what was “national” in Latin America used to run counter to the interests of the other nations in our region. Today, with the leadership of Dilma Rousseff, we see a Brazil convinced that its national interest is absolutely linked to the interests of its neighbors.”

Lionel-Messi-Barcelona-Football-Player

Lionel Messi
Earlier this year, the 24-year-old Argentinean soccer star, who plays for Futbol Club Barcelona, claimed his third consecutive FIFA Ballon d’Or, making him the first footballer to win the honor three years in a row. U.S. soccer star Mia Hamm writes of Lionel Messi: “He makes you hold your breath every time he touches the ball. It never seems to leave his feet. His love of the game and the pride he feels while playing for Barcelona and Argentina are palpable. Then you meet him, and you are reminded that he is only 5 ft. 7 in. (170 cm),” says Hamm. “He certainly has the potential to be remembered as the best player of all time, and I am so grateful for his approach to the game in this day and age. Clearly he plays because he loves it, and it shows every time he takes the field.

Click here for Time‘s complete list of influentials.