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"Because everyone knows exactly where he stands."

That's the voiceover from Ted Cruz's first round of television ads currently running in Iowa. The claim fits with the image of a rock solid conservative who doesn't waver under pressure that the Texas senator has cultivated, successfully, on his swift climb up the political ladder to his position as a leading contender for the Republican presidential nomination. But is it true? Not necessarily to the extent that both Cruz's supporters and detractors might believe.

Cruz hasn't moderated on politically-charged issues since launching his 2016 campaign last March. If anything, Cruz has hardened his stance on immigration, trade and other policies that matter to the coalition of conservative voters he views as his ticket to the nomination. But underneath Cruz's carefully crafted persona of principled inflexibility is a pragmatist who continues to change his mind on key issues and make other tactical adjustments that serve his broader political agenda.

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