Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz, ticking off a litany of President Obama policies he opposes, promised Monday to return to a government by Constitution and “stand for liberty” as he officially announced his 2016 presidential bid.

Cruz, speaking to an energetic crowd of students at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va., drew from his background to address his faith and what he sees for the future of the country.

As the first major presidential candidate to officially declare, he told the crowd to “imagine a president that finally, finally, finally secures the borders” and drew applause when he promised to “stand up and defeat radical Islamic terrorism.”

Cruz continued his pledge by telling the crowd to “imagine a president who says I will honor the Constitution and under no circumstances will Iran be allowed to acquire a nuclear weapon.”

He also urged the crowd to imagine a simple flat tax. He added, “imagine abolishing the IRS.”

Cruz spoke on the fifth anniversary of Obama’s health care law — legislation that prompted Cruz to stand for more than 21 hours in the Senate to denounce it in a marathon speech that delighted his Tea Party constituency and other foes of the law. Cheers rose in the hall when Cruz reminded the crowd Monday that Liberty University filed a suit against the law right after its enactment.

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