"Millions of Americans are realizing this isn't working," Cruz said to supporters in New Hampshire. "The Obama economy is a disaster. Obamacare is a train wreck and the Obama-Clinton foreign policy of leading from behind -- the whole world's on fire."
"The world is on fire?" a young girl, whom the Washington Post identified as 3-year-old Julie Trant, said to chuckles from the audience.
"The world is on fire, yes. Your world is on fire," Cruz said as he turned to the girl, who was sitting on her mother's lap.
"But you know what? Your mommy's here and everyone's here to make sure the world you grow up in is even better," he added to applause.
Julie's mother, Michelle, later said that her daughter was far from being in tears over the incident. She said Julie was actually thrilled to see the Texas senator, whom she took to calling "Uncle Cruz" after the speech.
"As a huge Ted Cruz supporter, I said to her 'He will be the one that will put that fire out.' So she looked at him like he's a hero," she told Boston radio station WRKO on Monday.
"She really basically was like 'Oh, this is a great man,'" she added. "He's a firefighter in her mind as a 3-year-old."