Ted Cruz delivered a response at Saturday night's GOP debate on the heroin epidemic plaguing New Hampshire that was so powerful even the media room which often buzzes with noise fell silent.
The Texas senator told the story of his late half-sister Miriam who died in 2011 of an overdose.
Here's the transcript of his remarks:
My older sister, Miriam, who was my half-sister, struggled her whole life with drug and alcohol addiction. My father and her mom divorced when she was a little girl and she was angry her whole life, and she ended up marrying a man who had been in and out of jail. She then became a single mom and she herself went to jail several times and she ended up spending some time in a crack house.
I still remember my father and me driving up to get Myriam out of that crack house to try to convince her she needed to be a mom to -- to my nephew Joey.
She wasn't willing to listen. She was not willing to change the path she was on. She was angry. I was -- had just gotten my first job coming out of law school. I took a $20,000 loan on a credit card to put my nephew, Joey, in Valley Forge Military Academy -- he was in sixth grade at the time, to pay his way through that.
And about five, six years ago, Miriam died of an overdose. It was -- the coroner ruled it accidental. We don't know. She went to one night, had taken too many pills, and Joey walked in and found her dead.
This is an absolute epidemic. We need leadership to solve it. Solving it has to occur at the state and local level with programs like A.A., and counseling, and churches and charities. But it also has to be securing the borders, because you have got Mexican cartels that are smuggling vast amounts of heroin into this country.
We know how to secure the borders. What is missing is the political will to do it.
And as president, I will secure the border, we will end this deluge of drugs that is flowing over our southern border and that is killing Americans across this country.
Washington Post reporter Robert Costa tweeted out the reaction from the press room:
Media filing center is silent as Cruz tells story.— Robert Costa (@Robert Costa) 1454813461.0
National Review Editor Rich Lowry was seemingly left stunned:
Great, great answer from Cruz. Wow— Rich Lowry (@Rich Lowry) 1454813498.0
NBC's Luke Russert agreed that it was "very strong":
Cruz answer re opiates with emotional recount of his half-sister's death due to drug addiction very strong. Shows a human side. #GOPDebate— Luke Russert (@Luke Russert) 1454813509.0
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