Following Senator Ted Cruz’ recent announcement that he is running for the Republican nomination for president of the United States, the 2016 presidential race is officially underway. Though Cruz is the first major candidate to formally announce his candidacy, US Senator Rand Paul is also expected to launch a campaign for president in the near future.
At Cruz’ speech on Monday at Liberty University, he declared his candidacy and said, “I believe in the power of millions of courageous conservatives rising up to reignite the promise of America and that is why, today, I am announcing that I’m running for president of the United States.” However, Business Insider notes that the photo op sent mixed signals, as many students seen in the background of the above-embedded ABC News broadcast of Cruz’ announcement were wearing bright red “Stand with Rand” T-shirts, signaling their support for Cruz’ likely GOP primary opponent US Senator Rand Paul.
Reason pointed out the fact that Liberty University students were required to attend the speech or face punishment, causing supporters of Senator Paul to wear the shirts in protest.
The shirts were first noticed by The Washington Post‘s Robert Costa who tweeted an image of Cruz surrounded by Paul supporters.
Spotted at Liberty in Cruz crowd: “Stand with Rand” T-shirts pic.twitter.com/PDNKGRwbW2
— Robert Costa (@costareports) March 23, 2015
“Culture jamming” was a tactic widely used by supporters of Rand Paul’s father Ron Paul during the 2008 and 2012 presidential campaigns in an effort to get the word out despite what was widely perceived as a mainstream media blackout of the libertarian-leaning ex-Congressman’s views. Paul’s supporters were often seen in the backgrounds of TV appearances of other candidates carrying campaign signs or wearing campaign apparel.