Ted Cruz gets pushback during closed-door meeting
October 3rd, 2013
12:01 PM ET
11 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. sly

    So now Cruz doesn't believe in Democracy?

    I like Democracy. It's worked well in America for over 200 years.

    Keep America the way our Founding Fathers designed it, not the way a rookie illegal Mexican wants it.

    Cruz: America. Love it, or LEAVE it. Your Mexican friends will be happy to have you back.

    October 3, 2013 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  2. don in albuquerque

    The "new republican"? You mean the new and improved Benito don't you?

    October 3, 2013 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  3. De Cruz Sterilizer

    Please define "fanatical terrorist"....
    Answer: Cruz

    October 3, 2013 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  4. BigPPP

    Healthcare is a human right in all developed countries, except for in US it became a "privilege", because the US people enjoy their freedom and liberty of "not having an affordable healthcare"....how intelligent...would that take away your freedom and liberty of "having an affordable healthcare"???

    October 3, 2013 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  5. sam B

    Ex-Republican love your post
    Somebody is calling like it is. Just because the President looks different then the other presidents they hate Him. They say they want their country back. The question is back from who?

    October 3, 2013 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  6. CTYank

    All of you that address comments to Cruz-waste of time. He only hears the voices in his head, and his $$$$ backers.

    October 3, 2013 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  7. ellen

    Wow...some of these comments are misinformed and totally irresponsible. Ted Cruz is fighting for those Americans who didn't want Obamacare, have indicated it through every poll possible, and who the Washington elites have chosen to ignore. He has not ignored. They are jealous of his resolution to continue forward in the face of massive opposition launched by Harry Reid and the Democrats. I watched these Democrats in action in the House alone, and they did not deign to discuss the merits or con of the the bill before them, but chose every speaking opportunity to slam Ted Cruz (via the Tea Party Republicans). Those Republicans not having the backbone to fight back against this Democratic play for complete and total power, are jealous.

    Kudos to Sen Cruz. Harry Reid and Obama, along with the Democratic block are the ones responsible for this shutdown. Hurray for the shutdown, if it forces Harry Reid & Obama do their jobs by representing the wishes of the American people, rather than trying to dictate and preside over them. They (Harry Reid & senators & congressment) aren't subject to Obamacare and will not allow themselves to be, why do they wish to impose that catastrophic system on us???

    October 3, 2013 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  8. Jeff - Sarasota, FL

    "He has no successful strategy but has managed to generate grass roots support for his position,"

    "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."

    "It's one thing to be good at politics. It's another thing to be not good at strategy."

    So what they are basically saying is:

    "Stupid is as stupid does"

    October 3, 2013 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  9. Roger

    Cruz is just the mouth-piece for the likes of the KOCH BROTHERS, who have one thing in mind, MORE PROFITS. Yup, just plain old fashion CAPITALISTIC GREED. What killed our country ? GREED KILLED OUR COUNTRY ! How they look their loved ones in the eye is beyond me. Better yet, how their families look the BROTHERS in the eye is really beyond me.

    October 3, 2013 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  10. walter wood

    Ted Cruz and the teaparty are a lot of things mostly bad.One thing for sure they are not patriots.

    October 3, 2013 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  11. penguin

    If the Republicans don't like the ACA, offer something better that makes health insurance available to all. The Republicans should purge the Tea Party from its Party and tell them to form its own political party

    October 3, 2013 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  12. Catherine

    I have no problem with you not buying health insurance when you can afford it if you have no problem paying up front for every bit of healthcare you get. In an accident? Sure we'll take you to the hospital, you got some cash on you. Get to the hospital, the admitting clerk comes in and says we think you will need $X for treatment. You have somewhat less than that so you are on the meter. When your cash runs out, you are streeted. You die, well, we can cremate you and put you in a pauper's grave if your family doesn't have the cash. To do otherwise, just makes the rest of us pick up your tab and we all know how you feel about people not pulling their own weight and welfare. And everyone, please lay off the Canada comments. He is a U.S. citizen. I didn't like it when the birther loons said that nonsense about Obama and I still don't. (But I do think it is amusing that their latest crush was born in a foreign country.)

    October 3, 2013 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  13. ghostwriter

    It's like only the staunchiest republicans are left defending Cruz. Why are conservatives such slow learners? They trashed the president and democrats for 5 years. Very vocally and very publicly screaming at everything he did. And after losing 2 elections with that tactic, they conclude that they just weren't screaming loud enough.

    It's like waiting for a dumb person to finally get it. You can almost see the light bulb over their heads when they get the "ah ha" moment.

    October 3, 2013 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  14. tstorm92

    Cruz is a terrorist. He fits well in the Republican party.

    October 3, 2013 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  15. tstorm92

    Ted Cruz,; Just another Republican Tea Party "Terrorist". I hope the CIA is keeping tabs on these Tea Party thugs!

    October 3, 2013 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  16. Gene

    If CNN only would really keep them honest. Is the network afraid if Republicans? If Boehner would follow the system that has been in place for years, "let the Senate vote. His job is not as important as hundreds of people. Notice how Anderson doesn't dare speak the truth about Boehner, Cantor, Cruz, McConnell, etc. Why, if he is keeping them honest.

    October 3, 2013 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  17. Name bp

    Whats a 'push back'?

    October 3, 2013 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  18. Catherine

    You know, I keep hearing what a decent guy Boehner is. I'm still waiting for him to show us. The Hassert rule has to be the stupid's ploy ever devised by a politician. What happened to majority rules. Bring the clean CR to the floor, if it passes fine, if it doesn't, then try this other piecemeal garbage. Funny Republicans only want to fund the stuff that they think will get them out of the hot water they find themselves in. I kind of understand what Reid, so badly said, why do they get to decide what they will fund and what they won't? NIH, sure. LIves are at stake. National Parks? Really? The WWII memorial is outside, the 'barricades' are flimsy and everyone is ignoring them anyway (except Republicans in desparate need of a photo op). Sure, I would like to see the Statue of Liberty, but I won't die if I don't. Oh and Reince, it doesn't look good to show up there with a check riding in a LIMO. Makes you look like the Monopoly guy. You just need the monocle and stache.

    October 3, 2013 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  19. A Canadian

    Just a comment regarding Cruz being Canadian. True he was born in Canada, but his mother is American and his father is from Cuba. Personally, I do not like him being linked to Canada as we like to think we have more sense than Mr. Cruz, especially when it comes to universal healthcare! Go Dems!!!

    October 3, 2013 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  20. don in albuquerque

    Ted Cruz? As good a politician as the Koch Bros. can buy? Either they are very stupid, or money is just not worth much.

    October 3, 2013 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  21. Bob Roby

    Beats doing nothing while the uneducated masses sit by and watch the American vision dismantled a piece at a time and replaced with Socialism. It is interesting that a form of government that was better suited for illiterate nations, who had no ability to self-govern, is now emerging here. We have gone from an 80-90% literacy rate to a point in our history where each generation is less literate than its predecessor. We have ignored the reality of this decline...showing deference to teachers controlled by unions who demand we just throw more money at the system. I am tired of watching the horror show, knowing it is controlling our future.

    October 3, 2013 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  22. Ron

    It's amazing that the ones that walk lock-step in this administration's shadow, will call Tea Party followers as unpatriotic. Supporting the country does not translate into supporting the government. Patriotism is toward county, not politicians.

    October 3, 2013 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  23. Joe The Plumber

    Like a prison, the problem with congress is the quality of the inmates. Cant wait for 2014 to throw these tea party crowd out.

    October 3, 2013 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  24. tom l

    @The Real TP,
    "Tom, the threats they have been issuing, the dark warnings all amount to that. You once said you were an independent: please demonstrate that by not issuing blanket statements about people on the Left lying, and diminishing your intelligence in the process. Cruz, Lee, Paul, all of them have been threatening this for months: is that an act of responsible legislating?"

    Hey TP, hope you have been well. To be honest, lately I think your comments have been a lot more emotionally driven. I mean, yesterday the market was down 60 points and you were blaming repubs as if a 60 point drop really matters. I know you have a better understanding of the market and how it works and I know you know that a 60 point drop is nothing. That being said, I believe in this case with your assertion that Cruz "wants" to shut the govt down to be totally off base. He might find it an unfortunate necessity rather than an actual desire. I'm not sure if you will accept this analogy but it's just like a parent who doesn't get their child a toy because they just couldn't afford it. The parent doesn't "want" for the child not to have the toy but does it out of better judgment. Please recognize that I understand that our economy is not a "toy" and I am not saying that Cruz is the "parent". I'm just trying to show you how you are using the wrong word and it changes everything and makes it an emotionally based argument that really isn't true.

    So I stand by my comment that Cruz does not want to but feels that he has no other choice. I think there could be better ways and I believe that they are all just playing us for fools trying to scare us into manufactured panic. I believe that if we take in 250 billion every month in receipts that there is absolutely no reason, no way and no comprehensible thought behind not taking 7 billion of that 250 billion to pay our debts. But I'm open to hear what you have to say and hope you see this post...

    October 3, 2013 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  25. closemindedfk

    @sly
    So what race are you supposed to be if you're American? I'm curious.

    October 3, 2013 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
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