August 23rd, 2013
03:13 PM ET
12 months ago

Howard Dean blasts Ted Cruz

(CNN) - Former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean on Thursday described Republican Sen. Ted Cruz and others who support threatening a government shutdown in order to defund Obamacare as "irresponsible" and "petty, radical-right people."

"We can do better this, and I think the American voters are going to throw these people out," he said on CNN's "The Lead with Jake Tapper." "If they keep doing this, the impossible may become possible. We could take back the House in 2014."

In Texas this week, Cruz is holding town halls rallying supporters around the idea of urging Congress to strip money for the president's signature health care plan before voting on the next funding measure in September.

But Dean argued "people do not want to put up with this kind of stuff" and "it's about time Ted Cruz started thinking about America and not himself."

The 2004 Democratic presidential candidate also didn't rule out another White House bid. Dean stopped in Iowa this week and travels to New Hampshire next month, fueling speculation he's considering a run.

But Dean maintained Thursday he's supporting former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, should she decide to launch a campaign.

"I really do think it's much too early to be talking about who's going to run for the president," he said. "Really and truly it's not why I'm going to Iowa and New Hampshire."

However, he didn't shoot down the idea that he could potentially enter the race. "In politics, you never say never about anything."

Dean came under criticism this month from some on the left after he wrote an editorial blasting a provision under Obamacare-the Independent Payment Advisory Board, a panel charged with keeping Medicare costs under control. It was famously dubbed a "death panel" by former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, pointing to a part of the bill that required Medicare to pay for some end-of-life planning counseling sessions.

But Dean, focusing on the cost-cutting responsibilities of the IPAB, argued "regulatory approaches to cost-controls have not worked in 30 years in this country." Several Senate Democrats up for re-election next year also agree with him.

Some liberals, however, were quick to point to Dean's role as an adviser to a Washington law firm that has ties to the health care industry. Defending himself, Dean said it's all too common in Washington for critics to make assumptions based on peoples' connections.

"I was a little disappointed in the left–not for criticizing my views," he said. "It's because the first thing out of their mouth is 'This is about you. You're wrong. You're taking money.' Why can't we have a debate about ideas in this country instead of what our motivations are?"

Calling it a "death panel," however, was a "ridiculous statement" by Palin, he said. "That's not what it is."

"We've got to fundamentally change the system and get rid of fee-for-service medicine," he argued.

A physician, Dean also weighed in on the renewed medical marijuana debate, following CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta's decision to change his mind and support marijuana for medicinal purposes.

Dean said he doesn't have a problem with decriminalizing marijuana, but when it comes to medicine, he "really doesn't like hocus pocus."

"I'm not unwilling to let people use marijuana who have failed on other kinds of treatments. I'm not. But I am unwilling to have the government bless a delivery mechanism which is nonsense. If you want to use medical marijuana, let's use the active ingredients; let's not have people inhale it."


Filed under: Howard Dean • Ted Cruz
soundoff (28 Responses)
  1. hoofhugs

    Read Lois Lowry’s THE GIVER and see how ridicules this sounds.

    August 23, 2013 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  2. sonny chapman

    Ted Cruz looks, acts & talks like Bill O'Reilly. Both Big Bullies ! Now Cruz wants to be paid like O'Reilly $$$$.

    August 23, 2013 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  3. Rudy NYC

    Legal experts weighed in, saying he would likely qualify as a "natural-born citizen" of the U.S.–a requirement for the White House job–but also pointed out he may still be a citizen from Canada.
    -------------------–
    If Cruz was born in Canada, then there is no record of his birth in US records. He may have been born as someone who is eligible to *claim* US citizenship, but his own camp admits [brags about it, actually] that he's never had to fill out any paperwork become a US citizen. I suppose their point is to demonstrate that Cruz is not naturalized.

    They are also exposing the fact that neither Cruz nor his parents have ever formally claimed his US citizenship. He's still a Canadian, despite what he said the other day. In order to renounce his Canadian citizenship he has to file paperwork with the Canadians. It seems it has yet to do so.

    If Cruz has never claimed his US citizenship, then he will *fail* the 14 year citizenship requirement to be POTUS. He has offered no proof, besides hot air, that he's ever formally claimed US citizenship. Cruz is a Canadian.

    August 23, 2013 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  4. PEPPY

    At least Cruz stands for something, unlike most in d.c. who uses their nose for butt parkers.!!!!!

    August 23, 2013 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  5. Sniffit

    "Why can't we have a debate about ideas in this country instead of what our motivations are?""

    Because you're all taking money.

    August 23, 2013 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  6. just saying

    last i heard, obamacare wasn't the entire federal government! not funding obamacare does absolutely nothing to the rest of government. if anything shutsdown, it will be because obama shuts it down to cause pain and problems for the american people. just like he did with the obama sequester.

    August 23, 2013 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  7. Tampa Tim

    PEPPY – What Cruz stands for is what most tea baggers and right wingnuts stand for: domestic terrorism.

    August 23, 2013 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  8. Celeste

    Noisy man born WHERE?

    August 23, 2013 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  9. joney

    Howard is out from under his rock again...

    August 23, 2013 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  10. Tampa Tim

    Just saying – you heard wrong. Fox is lying to you again.

    August 23, 2013 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  11. ThinkAgain

    @sonny chapman: "Ted Cruz looks, acts & talks like Bill O'Reilly. Both Big Bullies ! Now Cruz wants to be paid like O'Reilly $$$$."

    It's the new strategy for GOP politicians who know they'll never make it at the national level: Run around like a chicken with its head cut off, spouting nonsense about the POTUS to build up your "I-so-tough" cred – and then land a gig on the lecture circuit/Fox as a "pundit."

    Not surprising when you consider how dim and greedy these folks are ... the GOP politicians and their intellectually-lazy "base."

    August 23, 2013 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  12. Wake up People!

    No Peppy Lepieux, I am stating a fact. Anybody that puts their paws on me without my permission will regret it. Plain and simple.

    No threat there.

    August 23, 2013 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  13. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Take Back The House -aka- No Redemption Votes

    Quit with the medicinal purposes crap. Marijuana is less harmful than alcohol and cigarrettes, yet marijuana is the illegal controlled substance. People want to get high and by all means, the government should not be hypocritical when it comes to our civil liberties. Either you want us to get drunk and kill entire families on the road or you want us to smoke a pack of stogeys a day and die off from cancer. I say legalize marijuana for recreational purposes NOW and stop with your prison industrial complex.

    August 23, 2013 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  14. Sniffit

    "last i heard, obamacare wasn't the entire federal government! not funding obamacare does absolutely nothing to the rest of government. if anything shutsdown, it will be because obama shuts it down to cause pain and problems for the american people. just like he did with the obama sequester."
    ====
    It'd be a whole lot quicker if you just got all red-faced and screamed "I haven't the slightest clue how budgeting and funding the government works and what it means that certain programs are mandatory or discretionary!!!!! Argle bargle herpa derp!!!!!!!!!!!" and then run around in circles pulling out tufts of your own hair until you fall down in a heap, weeping softly.

    August 23, 2013 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  15. just saying

    Tampa Tim
    Just saying – you heard wrong. Fox is lying to you again.
    ---

    no, the democrats are lying to the american people again. if the government shuts down, it will be because the democrat controlled senate refuses to take up the bill to fund the government (minus obamacare) or votes it down. or obama refuses to sign it. either way, the republicans have funded the government but the democrats refuse to fund the government (minus obamacare).

    August 23, 2013 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  16. Lynda/Minnesota

    "But Dean argued "people do not want to put up with this kind of stuff" and "it's about time Ted Cruz started thinking about America and not himself."

    As entertaining as Ted (the Canadian) Cruz thinks he is, no, I don't want to put up with him too long. Certainly never as President of the United States.

    I could never trust him, you see. He tried to tell me (a responsible voter) that either (1) he didn't understand he has Canadian citizenship; or (2) he certainly understood he is a Canadian by birth but hoped I'd overlook his explanation and consider his Canadianess as insignificant.

    Has he yet "proved" that he is eligible to be a United States Senator through the showing of proper documentation? Or does our Constitution allow us to accept foreign nationals into the Senate? At this point, I don't believe him "just saying" his is a United States citizen is a qualifier. I would need to see the proper paperwork proving his United States citizenship. Something other than his Canadian birth certificate confirming his Canadian birth. And, no. His Cuban citizenship does not qualify him as a United States citizen either.

    He has since pretended to give up his (unbeknownst to him) Canadian citizenship. He now says he has "secret citizenship" in ... well, Ethiopia (of all places). Why Ethiopia of all places? Only Cruz knows for sure. I have my suspicions, though. What is this now? Four countries of citizenship? A real TeaPer record, to be sure.

    From what I've seen of this man as he makes his public rounds, he seems rather disoriented and confused.

    I will refrain from addressing his political views until the above is all sorted out accordingly. Why waste my time on a man I will never vote for by debating policies he will never enact. His ego alone tells me his goal is not the betterment of the American people. His goal is to destroy the Grand Old Party. For that I willingly extend to him all the media attention he desires.

    And then some.

    August 23, 2013 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  17. Tampa Tim

    Time for the right wingnuts to clear their noses so Cruz and Paul will have a place to sit.

    August 23, 2013 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  18. PEPPY

    @T TIMMY (south park timmy?) I think its just swell that you know all, im sure your parents are very proud of you, still living with them !!!! I think you and wake up should get together on the domestic terror acts .

    August 23, 2013 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  19. bill pike

    we saw this idiot in a campaign when he was nuts as nuts go so who cares what he says-well, except for CNN who agrees with obama in a presidential debate and wolfe biased who was upset that cling used a chair. If obama was clever enough to use a chair it would have been funny.

    August 23, 2013 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  20. Name Uche Agonsi

    Cruz is a bad joke. What more evils could come from this guy that campaigns for Govt shutdown without mindful of its effects on Americans, and denounces his country of birth just for power. He cannt be for US presidency under such moral questions.

    August 23, 2013 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  21. MaryM

    Howard is right. The tea party people and the rwnjs have almost destroyed the once great republican party. Please Americans, vote these extremist tea party people out of office new.

    August 23, 2013 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  22. S.B. Stein

    If these opponents talk about their concerns about government rationing, then what do they think for profit health insurance companies are doing? They are rationing when they deny coverage to those that either need it or want to do some medical procedure that can save their life.

    August 23, 2013 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  23. Rick McDaniel

    Howard Dean is a joke, compared to Ted Cruz. Seriously Dean behaves like a complete clown by comparison.

    August 23, 2013 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  24. Gunderson

    Do Howard Dean know government shut down, no government shutdown mean same thing. Either way Chicken Coop burn to ground. Old Gunderson laughing self silly. Install Obama Care, no jobs. Get rid Obama Care jobs come back.

    August 23, 2013 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  25. Tampa Tim

    The republicans have taken credit for the sequester and getting our credit rating lowered. Now it appears they just discovered that it was pretty stupid and want to blame Obama.

    August 23, 2013 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
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