In Texas, Cruz sounds like he's running in 2016

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In Texas, Cruz sounds like he's running in 2016
Sen. Ted Cruz (TX-R) speaks with members of the media before attending the 2014 Lincoln Day Dinner at the Hilton Miami Airport in Miami, Friday evening, June 20, 2014. (Emily Michot/Miami Herald/MCT via Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - JULY 15: Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, speaks with a reporter in the Senate Reception Room in the Capitol on Tuesday, July 15, 2014. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
NEW ORLEANS, LA - MAY 31: U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) speaks during the final day of the 2014 Republican Leadership Conference on May 31, 2014 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Leaders of the Republican Party spoke at the 2014 Republican Leadership Conference which hosted 1,500 delegates from across the country. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 3: (AFP OUT) Senator from Texas Ted Cruz attends the annual White House Correspondent's Association Gala at the Washington Hilton hotel May 3, 2014 in Washington, D.C. The dinner is an annual event attended by journalists, politicians and celebrities. (Photo by Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty Images)
MANCHESTER, NH - APRIL 12: U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) speaks at the Freedom Summit at The Executive Court Banquet Facility April 12, 2014 in Manchester, New Hampshire. The Freedom Summit held its inaugural event where national conservative leaders bring together grassroots activists on the eve of tax day. Photo by Darren McCollester/Getty Images)
US Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) speaks during the American Conservative Union Conference March 6, 2014 in National Harbor, Maryland. The annual conference is a meeting of politically conservatives Americans. AFP PHOTO/Brendan SMIALOWSKI (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
NATIONAL HARBOR, MD - MARCH 06: Ted Cruz (R-TX) speaks at the CPAC Conference, on March 6, 2014 in National Harbor, Maryland. The American Conservative Union (CPAC) held its 41st annual Conservative Political conference at the Gaylord International Hotel. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
NATIONAL HARBOR, MD - MARCH 06: Ted Cruz (R-TX) speaks at the CPAC Conference, on March 6, 2014 in National Harbor, Maryland. The American Conservative Union (CPAC) held its 41st annual Conservative Political conference at the Gaylord International Hotel. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
US Republican Senator Ted Cruz of Texas walks to participate in a cloture vote to end debate in the Senate on a bill to raise the debt limit until March 2015 at the US Capitol in Washington, DC, on February 12, 2014. The Senate later voted 55-43 to pass the debt ceiling increase and send it to US President Barack Obama for his signature. AFP PHOTO / Saul LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
US Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) delivers a speech at the Heritage Foundation January 28, 2014 in Washington, DC. Cruz and others spoke about the upcoming winter Olympics in Sochi and Russia's human rights record. AFP PHOTO/Brendan SMIALOWSKI (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 06: U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) (R) waits for the Senate subway after a vote January 6, 2014 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. Janet Yellen was confirmed by the Senate with a vote of 56 - 26 to become the first woman to head the Federal Reserve Board. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
FORT WORTH, TX - OCTOBER 22: U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) answers questions from the media after meeting with small business owners during the Fort Worth Small Business Roundtable on October 22, 2013 in Fort Worth, Texas. In the wake of the government shutdown, Cruz warned that the tea party shouldnt be dismissed by Washington political power players. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 16: U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) answers questions from the media after meeting with Republican senators regarding a bipartisan solution for the pending budget and debt limit impasse at the U.S. Capitol October 16, 2013 in Washington, DC. The Senate announced that it had reached a bipartisan deal on funding the federal government and the extending the nation's debt limit after 16 days of a government shutdown. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 16: Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) speaks following a meeting of Senate Republicans on a solution for the pending budget and debt limit impasse at the U.S. Capitol October 16, 2013 in Washington, DC. The Senate announced that it had reached a bipartisan deal on funding the federal government and the extending the nation's debt limit after 16 days of a government shutdown. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
US Senator Ted Cruz walks to a meeting with Senate Republicans on Capitol Hill October 16, 2013 in Washington, DC. US senators scrambled together an eleventh hour compromise Wednesday that they hoped might protect Washington's battered financial standing by heading off fears of a default. The Senate deal must still pass a divided and unpredictable House of Representatives, but lawmakers were hopeful it will allow the US government to reopen and keep borrowing to meet its obligations. AFp PHOTO/Brendan SMIALOWSKI (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
US Senator Ted Cruz, Republican from Texas, speaks to reporters on September 25, 2013, after ending his talk-a-thon on the floor of the US Senate in Washington, DC. Cruz ended his overnight protest against the new health care program at noon. Cruz spoke for than 21 hours, opening the way for a procedural vote on the plan to finance the government only if money pulled from Obamacare. AFP PHOTO/JIM WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
Kay Hymel, from right, Kathy Szeszycki, both of New Orleans and Elle McKnight, third from right, of Pensacola, Fla., hold Ted Cruz signs as they listen to the senator deliver a speech to 2014 Red State Gathering attendees, Friday, Aug. 8, 2014, in Fort Worth, Texas. Possible presidential candidate Cruz predicts Republicans will retake the Senate this year and that "2016 will be even better." (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, pauses as he delivers a speech to 2014 Red State Gathering attendees, Friday, Aug. 8, 2014, in Fort Worth, Texas. Possible presidential candidate Cruz predicts Republicans will retake the Senate this year and that "2016 will be even better." (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
WICHITA, KANSAS- OCTOBER 9: Senator Pat Roberts is joined today October 9,2014 by Senators Ted Cruz and Tom Coburn at rally in WIchita. Sen. Roberts is in a tight race against Independent Greg Orman. (Photo by Mark Reinstein/For The Washington Post via Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 26: Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) speaks at the 2014 Values Voter Summit September 26, 2014 in Washington, DC. The Family Research Council (FRC) hosting its 9th annual Values Voter Summit inviting conservatives to participate in a straw poll. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 26: Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) speaks at the 2014 Values Voter Summit September 26, 2014 in Washington, DC. The Family Research Council (FRC) hosting its 9th annual Values Voter Summit inviting conservatives to participate in a straw poll. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
Senator Ted Cruz, a Republican from Texas, talks to members of the media while walking through the U.S. Capitol basement in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Friday, Dec. 12, 2014. The Senate is poised to take up a $1.1 trillion U.S. government spending bill opposed by two senators who agree on almost nothing -- Democrat Elizabeth Warren and Republican Ted Cruz. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images
WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 3: Sen. Ted Cruz(R-TX) makes remarks outside the Capitol as conservative Republicans rally against the President's immigration executive action, on December, 03, 2014 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Bill O'Leary/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
MYRTLE BEACH, SC - JANUARY 18: Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) greets supporters at the South Carolina Tea Party Coalition convention on January 18, 2015 in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. A variety of conservative presidential hopefuls spoke at the gathering on the second day of a three day event. (Photo by Richard Ellis/Getty Images)
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By WILL WEISSERT

DALLAS (AP) - Republican Sen. Ted Cruz sounds increasingly like he's made up his mind to run for president in 2016, telling an influential gathering of conservative activists Saturday that "we are part of a grassroots fire that is sweeping this country."

"I'm convinced we're going to win in 2014, and 2016 is going to be even better," the Texas Republican said during a summit of Americans for Prosperity, the political arm of the billionaire GOP donors Charles and David Koch. "And in the year 2017, a Republican president in the Rose Garden is going to sign a bill repealing every word of Obamacare."

Cruz joked about inviting President Barack Obama to the border to see where thousands of unaccompanied immigrant children have poured into the U.S. The president declined such an invitation from Texas Gov. Rick Perry.

"I figured out the only way there is a chance in heaven he might come, I'm inviting him to come to a golf course," Cruz said.

Cruz offered a way to deal with Islamic State militants in Iraq. "ISIS says they want to go back and reject modernity," he said. "Well, I think we should help them. We ought to bomb them back to the stone age."

When the crowd of more than 3,000 at a hotel ballroom serenaded him with calls of "Run Ted, Run!" he offered a quip: "Oddly enough, that's the same thing my wife, Heidi, says to me when I go to the gym."

Cruz ignored direct questions about a presidential campaign when he met with reporters after the speech.

He told the conservatives, "Each of you are here because we are part of a grassroots fire that is sweeping this country" and added: "We are building an army."

Two other possible 2016 presidential hopefuls, Perry and Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, spoke to the summit on Friday.

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