Ted Cruz, Ben Carson attend Lincoln-Reagan Dinner in Houston

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Ted Cruz and Ben Carson made appearances here in Houston for a fundraising dinner in a room filled with state elected officials.

In front of 1,200 active Republicans, the largest crowd ever for a Harris County Republican Party Lincoln-Reagan Dinner, 40 percent of the GOP presidential candidates still standing made their cases for Super Tuesday's biggest prize.

After an introduction from Texas Governor Greg Abbott, who publicly endorsed Texas Sen. Ted Cruz earlier on Wednesday, Cruz took the stage.

"This is Texas' time to choose," he said. "It is the men and women in this room and across this state. The time for the circus I believe has ended."

He echoed a veiled reference to opponent Donald Trump he'd made earlier during a campaign stop in Houston, referring to the popular billionaire as "P.T. Barnum." He argued that choosing Trump would mean the American public couldn't be sure of what kind of president it would get in office.

Cruz spoke fondly of Dr. Ben Carson, who he said was a personal inspiration, and acknowledged the retired neurosurgeon's decency and principles. Carson then took to the stage. He spent his time discussing policy and that he wants to make a difference for future generations.

"You look at what's going on right now, $19 trillion national debt," he said. "That is absurd and Thomas Jefferson said it was immoral to pass debt to the next generation. If we could bring him back today what would he say?"

All five of the men still running for the GOP nomination were invited to speak at the annual fundraising event. Only Cruz and Carson accepted.
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