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

    he is still getting paid to go to work, he has nothing to lose, It is all about pride now for both sides. Apparently the "grass roots" people don't realize that they are just pawns in this game, because certaintly no one is united in D.C. for the american people as a whole.

    October 3, 2013 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  2. justaman

    I'm with Bob (above) with one exception: have a committee of say 1elderly farmer, 1 elderly factory worker, 1 nurse, 1 police officer, 1 fireman, and 1 rep from each of the 4 branches of the military interview any of them that want to run again. If they don't pass the basic interview for common sense, courage, and compassion for their fellow man – they cannot run for elected office.

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

    It's time for the Republicans to face the music and admit they made a mistake putting all their eggs in the Cruz basket. As a lifelong Republican and a conservative, Cruz and the T-Publicans do not appeal to me in the least. I believe many Republicans in Congress followed their leadership blindly into the obyss and now need to grow a pair to get out of this mess. If you think your careers are in jeapardy going against Cruz, you are wrong. Listen to what the true Republican base is trying to tell you and stop this madness before it's too late.

    October 3, 2013 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  4. Kevin D.

    I find it hilarious that the "Party of No" is now the Democrats! All I hear is "no negotiations until you do as I say". Even the President is spouting this garbage... Newsflash, the House has the purse strings! That's the wonderful checks and balances the founding fathers placed to combat against extremism by one party. We would never have this situation had the Dems not forced the ACA on the country using their extreme tricks in 2009. Reid and Pelosi never imagined that the same tactic that they used to pass the ACA (changing the appropriation rules, preventing counter amendments and blocking house votes) would be used against them this time. I guess Karma came full circle. The sad thing is the no one will remember this in 20 years except that it happened on Obama's watch. What wonderful leadership we have from our president.....

    October 3, 2013 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  5. God/Heaven

    Gawd I hope Cruz runs for POTUS in 16

    October 3, 2013 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  6. x2023

    As a Texan, this is a complete embarrassment. He does not represent plenty of Texans who think this guy is a complete deranged nut being puppeteer-ed by the Tea Party. He knows/cares so little about those without healthcare and the experiences they have to go through. His wife works at Goldman Sachs...must be nice not to worry about things so many millions of Americans must. No amount of money will make this man sane.

    October 3, 2013 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  7. jinx9to88

    May not be this election cycle, but best believe Texas will be a blue state and those gerrymandered districts will be gone!!! And the likes of Ted Cruz's will be gone.

    October 3, 2013 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  8. Gargelygoop

    Both parties are at fault, The GOP and the dems pass garbage and then rather than correct their poorly constructed legislation, would rather bicker for political leverage. Yeah, Obama is not a credible leader at all, Reid, Pelosi, and since I'm addressing fail liberals, I cannot exclude Feinstein. These people are really clueless when it comes to governence of a country. This doesn't mean I support the Cruzs,Boehners,Mccains, or the any other GOP goofs. Even if these people passed a debt resolution and avoided the shutdown, They would still all be doing a very sub par job and failing to achieve any real improvement with the direction this country is going. Both of these party line incumbents need the axe sure and swift to their political ambitions. You have to start somewhere and I'd say since we are limited by the vote, then those are the people that need replaced a soon as possible. I also want to say that just because we the people didn't want some shallow,ego-centrist,snob fool named Romney in the presidency, didn't mean that Obama care was acceptable either. They both are garbage and our country would be better off if the constituency just voted on this for itself, The electronic age says we don't need these patsy fool politicians misrepresenting our will anymore. WE THE PEOPLE have a voice and are quite capable in the modern world of representing ourselves.

    October 3, 2013 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  9. works4me

    This male version of Sarah Palin is yet another disease that the Republicans have unleashed on themselves. Just how can they permit a freshman Senator like this one even speak, let alone rant the lies and consistent BS he is. This guy needs to go!

    October 3, 2013 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  10. 333maxwell

    Dear Republicans.

    Please rein in your Tea Party who are deliberately tampering our economic recovery with these silly stunts, or the very angry people in the United States WILL.

    And just like in the movie Frankenstein, we will be coming after the monster through 'your' house. Dig?

    Thanks.

    Sincerely, the sensible American voters.

    October 3, 2013 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  11. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    navaJohn

    How can someone who's only been a Senator for 8 months take control of the GOP?
    -------------------------------------------------
    The same way that the Teatarded Brigade minority has taken control of the House: Koch Brothers pulling the strings, filling their coffers, strong-arming dissidents.
    Money. Money. Money.

    October 3, 2013 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  12. bill

    It is truly a sick sick joke how the Republicans talk about negotiation when America has already negotiated and decided this issue. Just because the will of the American people are against the will of the GOP the Republicans feel like they need to hold America hostage yet again! After the last Great Recession the GOP created for us, as well as the nightmare that was the dubya administration, they have absolutely ZERO credibility when it comes to what is best for America and Americans!

    October 3, 2013 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  13. DannyTV

    The absence of leadership in the Republican party has allowed anarchy to reign. The moderates and intellectuals fled during W's terms...Put a fork in the Republican party...its O-V-E-R.

    October 3, 2013 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  14. Tom123

    Congress (esp. the GOP), America's Homegrown Terrorists.

    Who needs foreign terrorists when we have Congress and their fanaticism? Congress has shown to be more than willing and able to hurt America and bring it to its knees more than any foreign terrorists could. Go on vacation and delay funding for hurricane Sandy relief – no problem! Delay funding for children's cancer research – no problem! Close America's monuments to American heroes like WWII veterans – no problem! Cost business and citizens billions and billions in lost money – no problem! Stop Congressional paychecks – well, that's a problem! Congress deserves to be FIRED for NON-PERFORMANCE and DEPORTED as UNDESIRABLES.

    October 3, 2013 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  15. Sophie Meyer

    So where has old Rafael the bomb thrower been? Has he been relegated to the same secured hiding place that Paul Ryan was relegated to in the last election?

    It really doesn't matter. As long as every republican house member refuses to stand up to him and his crazy caucus, they are all complicit in this unnecessary fiasco. They are all Ted Cruz. Spineless cowards.

    October 3, 2013 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  16. Al

    Who the hell are Cruz and Boehner for shutting down an entire country. Each is is ONE Congress Member, representing ONE district. And who the hell are they for deciding single handedly that Obamacare is bad. The whole of Congress already passed it, long ago. It is done! Got it, Teddy boy and Johnny boy? It is OVER. Pass the damn budget.

    October 3, 2013 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  17. Maryellen

    How can this idiot hijack the republican party and get away with it? He has got to be stopped and I guess the GOP doesn't have the -– to do it. They need to put their big boy pants on and apologize to the American people for creating this hurtful circus. Obamacare is here to stay, it is law, get over it and start doing your job! I am so angry right now I see red!

    October 3, 2013 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  18. Zack

    Ted Cruz is the best thing that could had happen to Democrats ... now I see them taking both the House and Senate in upcoming elections. Heck, you don't even need to like ObamaCare to realize that holding the government hostage so that a small minory can have its way on a law is a really bad precedent.

    October 3, 2013 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  19. bill

    I have to give it to the GOP, they are better at destroying and bringing down America better than the Taliban ever could hope to be. Ted Cruz is more dangerous to Americans than Bin Laden ever was.

    October 3, 2013 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  20. Pat Carr

    This creep will be getting the bill from me for my wife's lost wages. If anything is won from this tragedy, i hope it is that utter filth like Cruz won't get elected again

    October 3, 2013 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  21. al

    Boehner is weak and spineless and Cruz is nothing more than a political terrorist determined to force his views on the entire country even thought they disagree with him.

    October 3, 2013 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  22. Be A True Leader

    Voters:Talk is cheap, take action at the poll in 2014. Kick all moron incumbents out, especially extremists from GOP and Tea party. Majority-but-Silence Voters in States which have extremists from GOP and Tea party in the House and Senate, your chance to kick them out before these morons do more damages to our GREAT COUNTRY.

    Show them who are really BOSS vote them out.

    United We Stand.

    October 3, 2013 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  23. Marie MD

    Keep,pushing him all the way back to Canada where he belongs. We really should consider him a foreign terrorist. He' wasn't born in the US.
    @x2023, on Meet the press he said he is representing 26 million texans. Glad to know not everybody in your state are as bat $ hit crazy as he is.
    The teatards are the ones who want to take away our rights and then they play the victims. Disgusting bunch of slime.

    October 3, 2013 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  24. The Elephant in The Room

    Ted Cruz does not care about anyone but himsellf. Not the poor, not women, not children, not citizens of states [PA, OH,, WI, IN, VA, MO], not the majority of Republicans, not John Boehner. In 2016 Cruz will run for Presidsent [and lose], by 2018. he will be out of office, and 2 months later he will be making $1M per year on the Fox & book tour. The time to take him out is NOW.

    October 3, 2013 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  25. Mark in Omaha

    Dear GOP, stop using the lunatic fringe (Cruz, Palin, Bachmann, Perry) as your poster children if you want to shed your hateful image. Just sayin

    October 3, 2013 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
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