Ted Cruz gets pushback during closed-door meeting
October 3rd, 2013
12:01 PM ET
12 months ago

Ted Cruz gets pushback during closed-door meeting

Washington (CNN) - Sen. Ted Cruz got a lot of pushback from Republican colleagues during a closed-door meeting questioning his relentless effort to tie government funding to derailing Obamacare.

"Cruz was completely unapologetic about the ads that he is featured in on the Senate Conservatives Fund website that attack other Republicans. He sees himself as the only truly pure Republican. His colleagues are furious. He has no successful strategy but has managed to generate grass roots support for his position," one senior Republican source at Wednesday's meeting told CNN Chief Political Analyst Gloria Borger.

Cruz has urged Republicans in the House to stand firm and continue pushing any plan to fund the government to proposals aimed at curtailing the Affordable Care Act.

This summer, he appeared in ads produced by the Senate Conservatives Fund urging Republicans to push Congress to defund Obamacare.

This strategy has upset Senate Republicans and some House GOP members because some privately blame the freshman Texas lawmaker for causing the shutdown and boxing House Speaker John Boehner into a corner.

Cruz's spokesman did not have a response to reports of pushback during the Wednesday meeting. Cruz told Politico the media loves to cover internal Republican disagreements and "apparently some senators are content to fuel those stories with anonymous quotes."

Cruz also was unapologetic talking to conservative talk radio host Laura Ingraham earlier Wednesday.

"We've had now three times, the House has endeavored to pass compromise bills that would keep the government funded, but at the same time would start to address the enormous harms that Obamacare is inflicting on the American people. And three times, Harry Reid has said 'no, absolutely not, I will not talk, I will not compromise, I will not do anything – no.' And as long as he maintains that absolutist position, both Reid and President Obama have said they won't even sit down to talk. They want a shutdown," he said.

At a previous meeting of Senate Republicans, Sen. Susan Collins spoke about some of the ads in Maine that said she was not conservative enough, blaming Cruz for helping to divide the party.

During the Wednesday session, many senators spoke out and aimed their comments directly at Cruz, the GOP source told Borger.

While Cruz initially drew the anger of some Republicans weeks ago when the House passed the first bill to keep the government operating only if Obamacare was defunded because Democrats controlled the Senate, he then staged a 21-hour talkathon last week trying to prevent the Obamacare provision from being removed. He lost that effort but helped cement his stature with the Republican base.

That caused some Republicans to go public with their consternation.

Asked why Boehner can't bring up for consideration any bill he wants, Rep. Devin Nunes, R-California, told CNN Wednesday night that the "leadership made a decision to take the position that we are going to take the Ted Cruz strategy, and we are not going to fund the government until we get rid of Obamacare."

Nunes blames Cruz for causing the GOP not to have a choice and causing a shutdown.

"John Boehner said we'll take this Ted Cruz strategy. You guys went out for two months, made these commitments. We'll take it. We'll implement it. And now, here we are, it's fully implemented. ... I think Ted Cruz is one of the best politicians that's come around in a long time. He's able to rally the base, he's got a lot of money … There's a lot of consultants making money off this and lots of TV ads going on. The problem with it is, it's one thing to be good at politics. It's another thing to be not good at strategy."

Rep. Peter King, R-New York, has previously called Cruz "a fraud" for his promises of defunding Obamacare. But other Republicans are not backing away from Cruz, including Virginia gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuccinelli, who is scheduled to hold an event with the senator on Saturday.

For Democrats, there is little question of who is in fact leading the anti-Obamacare effort and are eager to highlight Cruz's efforts.

"Senator Cruz is now a joint speaker," Reid said Thursday on the Senate floor. "He lectures the House on occasion as he does people over here."

Mo Elleithee, communications director for the Democratic National Committee, said in a statement regarding Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus: "I think he probably has Speaker Cruz Boehner's number somewhere."

– CNN's Kevin Bohn and Bryan Koenig contributed to this story.


Filed under: Congress • Government Shutdown • Ted Cruz
soundoff (508 Responses)
  1. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Take Back The House -aka- No Redemption Votes

    According to one republican, "he pushed us out into oncoming traffic." You should watch the company you keep republicans. Especially with the terrorists fringe with your party. Cruz, Bachmann and Lee, this is what they wanted all along. You don't see them refusing their government pay. But they hate government so much. Make sense to you?

    October 3, 2013 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  2. Lynda/Minnesota

    I am surprised that GOPers didn't see this train wreck coming. Most Americans did. Months ago.

    October 3, 2013 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  3. Sam

    This is another Senator Joe McCarthy. Dangerous for Texas, dangerous for the US.

    October 3, 2013 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  4. navaJohn

    How can someone who's only been a Senator for 8 months take control of the GOP?

    October 3, 2013 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  5. Bob

    The 2014 United States elections will be held on Tuesday, November 4, 2014. During this midterm election year, all 435 seats in the United States House of Representatives and 33 of the 100 seats in the United States Senate will be contested in this election along with 38 state and territorial governorship's, 46 state legislatures (except Louisiana, Mississippi, New Jersey and Virginia), four territorial legislatures and numerous state and local races.

    Time to clean house is 13 months away. Let's do it right this time. Fire them all.

    October 3, 2013 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  6. Cephus

    Whatever grievances one may have it's damn wrong to shut down the government. Congress is there to find solutions not to cause confusion and panic in the market. To be sincere why can't we recall them now and not wait until next year?

    October 3, 2013 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  7. sammiclark

    Oh boy, this guy has NO chance of EVER winning a national election, now! The gop needs to pull their heads out, because people are signing up for insurance, and what are the gop plans for these people? Sorry you don't count, stay uninsured with no healthcare! That could be the nail on the coffin. It is time for the gop to grow a pair and kick out the talibanteapeople or damage their party for YEARS!!!!

    October 3, 2013 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  8. Mancee Grayce

    Cruz is the worst thing to happen to the USA since 9/11. His activities are terrorism at it's purest.

    October 3, 2013 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  9. Joe

    What a fool. Lets take away his health care and then shop around find out what it is all about. this fatcat needs to be put out of his misery. I hope one day he gets sick has no health insurance and goes bankrupt. his election must have been paid for by hospitals who like screwing the amarican public. The american affordable health act is not perfect. It may need changes. but to hold us all hostage is not right. I like to start a common sense party. dump tea party attics and reform our government. the middle clasd is getting screwed by Cruse, the tea party attics and corporate America. I am not a democrat or republican. Need to incinerate both parties. Lack of common sense

    October 3, 2013 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  10. Simon

    "Enormous harms". Define these. Most of the ACA hasn't kicked in yet and many are welcoming it. Cruz is a fool grandstanding for his own benefit. Boehner should bring a clean bill up for a vote.

    October 3, 2013 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  11. rbnlegen

    Cruz and the suicide caucus feel like they can get away with burning every bridge. Congressmen who do not have the same sense that they can't be voted out, ought to be cautious about follwing them out onto those bridges.

    October 3, 2013 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  12. Concerned

    well...well..welll... I hope Cruz is mailing out his resume, since he won't have a job in goverment very shortly. He has just handed back the White House to the Democrats in 2016.

    October 3, 2013 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  13. charles

    Fire on Cruz Missile!!! Democratic plant in the Republican Party

    October 3, 2013 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  14. Lynda/Minnesota

    "How can someone who's only been a Senator for 8 months take control of the GOP?"

    In a word? Corruption.

    In three words? Campaign Finance Corruption.

    October 3, 2013 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  15. Jp

    PS... He is a Canadian!.....

    If all else fails for him, he can move back north and within 6 months have fully funded health care.

    Very surprized that this is not talked about in the media

    October 3, 2013 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  16. Anonymous

    It is difficult for me to be civil when talking about Cruz.

    He says "...start to address the.enormous harms that Obamacare is inflicting on the American people...."
    but he has no concerns about the devastation he is causing all of America.
    The true Republican Americans can take this guy down with one vote. It's one thing to criticize him,
    and another to allow him to continue.
    Maybe they should take Boehner "behind closed doors" and install a backbone in him. Frankly, I'm sick of
    hearing how Boehner didn't want to do this. But he did, and continues to do so.
    If America is going to be run over because scared little mice won't take on the worst of their Party and
    end this now, we are in big trouble.

    October 3, 2013 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  17. rbnlegend

    Bob, I agree, fire them all. The tricky part is getting people to see that they have to fire their own congresscritters. Everyone thinks congress is terrible, but their guy is ok. Fire your own congresscritters.

    October 3, 2013 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  18. Anonymous

    WOW–the entire country is being held hostage by one guy. I knew the Republican Party was stupid, but I didn't realize just how stupid until right now. Let this shutdown continue until Cruz's supporters start feeling it–then he will get himself, and every other Republican voted out of office.

    October 3, 2013 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  19. fku

    Cruz is not even american, he is a canadian that wants to destroy the US.

    October 3, 2013 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  20. JP

    BS...Cruz gets America's SUPPORT

    October 3, 2013 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  21. ac

    The Repubs in Congress created this monster. He is one person, yet by letting him out of his cage, the House leadership allowed the stranglehold he generated by wooing party extremes. Now the part is bound to a speeding train because of Cruz's blind adherence to his tunnel vision, and his refusal to concede that other people might have reasonable points.
    Where is the leadership?? ACA is legislation that PASSED already. Congress cannot get rid of it by refusing to legislate.

    October 3, 2013 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  22. BlueTexan

    I am all for fairness. It is the latest tea party republican talking point. I fail to see anything fair about this hostage taking of the country. I fail to see any fairness in tea party "my way, or the highway" ideology. Where is the fairness in refusing to play by the rules? ACA is law according to the rules. The tail shouldn't wag the dog. This is not patriotism. This is not American. Just because the tea party did not win the presidency, it chooses to tell the rest of us to go to Hades?

    October 3, 2013 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  23. Inpeach cruz

    Ted cruz is a canadian, not an american, he wants to destroy the united states, and bty Cruz is a very american name too...

    October 3, 2013 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  24. bill

    The American people have already spoken to this issue in support of the Affordable Care Act, also President Obama won re-election in a land slide (including getting all swing states!) as support in proxy for the Act, the US Supreme Court has already spoken on this issue and yet these neo-radical GOP extremists are still trying to re-negotiate the will of the American people and hold our country hostage!! They won't even let this issue come to a vote in the House because THEY KNOW it will yet once again pass. This is just another example of the GOP trying to hijack America for their own cause.

    October 3, 2013 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  25. jinx9to88

    News flash Cruz, ACA is going ahead as planned.

    October 3, 2013 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
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