Richmond, Virginia (CNN) - Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, blamed by Democrats and some of his fellow Republicans as a chief architect of the ongoing government shutdown, struck back on Saturday, faulting President Obama and Senate Democrats for the political stalemate.
“Let me be very clear, I don’t think we should be in a shutdown,” Cruz said in a speech to conservatives in the Virginia state capital. “Throughout the course of it, I have said we should not shut down the government. But sadly this is Harry Reid’s and President Obama's shutdown.”
The government shutdown began Tuesday when the president refused to give in to Republican demands that he delay or change the Affordable Care Act, the signature achievement of his first term that began enrolling patients on October 1, in exchange for passing a routine spending bill.
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In the run-up to the shutdown, Cruz - whose profile has risen considerably among conservatives since taking office this year - had lobbied Republicans in the House and Senate not to relent, even as the president was promising not to sign any bill that would alter "Obamacare."
Cruz reminded the audience that House Republicans have passed multiple “narrowly targeted continuing resolutions” to fund parts of the government as negotiations continue, but he criticized Democrats for refusing to pass them.
He said Senate Democrats are “dug in.”
“We are in the midst of a battle,” Cruz said. “Their position is untenable right now.”
Cruz, who spoke without notes for nearly an hour, said Republicans would win the shutdown fight but offered little in the way of concrete solutions.
“How do we win?” he asked. “If you trust the media, if you trust the voices in Washington, if you even trust, god forbid, some of the elected Republicans in Washington, they say we can’t win this fight. The only way to win this fight is the way we won every other fight throughout the history of the republic, which is solutions don’t come from Washington, D.C., they come from the people.”
“Career politicians in both parties have gotten us into this mess,” he said. “But it’s going to be the American people who get us out.”
According to a CBS News poll released this week, 72% of Americans disapprove of the shutdown, and more Americans blame Republicans in Congress than Obama.
But the audience inside a convention center ballroom here was firmly behind Cruz, interrupting his speech frequently with applause.
“It’s about time that someone abandoned the notion that compromise is the best way to win,” said Rev. Mark Morrow, the Williamsburg pastor who introduced Cruz, a freshman senator who was elected in 2012 with tea party backing.
Throughout his remarks, Cruz made clear he cares little for the approval of his colleagues in Washington, Republicans included.
"There are so many elected officials in both parties that desperately crave the adulation of the media and the intelligentsia,” he said.
Virginia’s Republican candidate for governor, attorney general Ken Cuccinelli, spoke earlier in the program, an appearance that had consumed the governor’s race all the week.
Democrats, betting that Cruz’s uncompromising behavior in Washington is toxic to moderate voters in a state whose economic health is tied to the federal government, have been working overtime to portray Cuccinelli as a close ally of Cruz.
His Democratic opponent in the governor’s race, Terry McAuliffe, has accused Cuccinelli of being Robin to Cruz’s Batman, even running a television ad this week saying that “Ted Cruz’s tea party shutdown is hurting Virginia.”
Cuccinelli, whose fortunes depend on turning out conservative base voters on Nov. 5, has been reluctant to criticize his fellow Republicans, including Cruz, over the shutdown.
But his aides have been at pains to put some distance between the Republican candidate and Cruz, noting that his appearance here was not an official campaign event, and that he and Cruz were invited separately to the gala.
Before the event, Cuccinelli and Cruz crossed paths and chatted briefly backstage. A Cuccinelli aide told reporters that Cuccinelli urged Cruz to find a solution to the shutdown.
During his brief remarks, Cuccinelli made no reference to Cruz, and he departed from the convention center soon after leaving the stage.
Cruz, though, lavished praise on Cuccinelli, who was the first state attorney general in the country to sue the federal government over the Affordable Care Act.
"Let me just say for a second how proud I am of my friend Ken Cuccinelli,” Cruz said. “He is smart, he is principled and he is fearless."
Being the history enthusiast I am, I almost ENVY the future generations of children who will be able to read about the great self made, GOP manufactured financial crisis of 2013.
I am certain this history will not be very favorable to Republicans.
Congress has a fiduciary and judicial obligation to pay the bills for the laws they have passed, it is really quite simple.
The GOP is playing d@mn games. We should of known where this was going when they started out by reading Sam I Am and telling stale one liners on the house floor for 21 hours.
Too bad that Cruz only wants a victory for his party at the expense of the American people. Must be his Cuban upbringing.
You have got to be joking. Not a chance in hell that republicans come out of this victorious.
Cruz the pied piper, is leading the Republican party down the road of destruction. Sad...so very sad.
this snake lipped Canadian is listening to John Boehner.his words THIS AIN'T NO DAMN GAME there isn't any winners everybody is a loser
Cruz is delusional. He just cost Cuccinelli the election, he's that toxic.
Is he a american
Sen Ted Cruz will find himself in a lonely position when his colleagues in the Senate and the House come to the realization that he no more than a snake oil salesman for the Tea Party.
The longer the shutdown lasts, the smaller will be the rump of the GOP remaining after it. Thanks Ted, please never give up.
I really don't understand why these idiots want to run for office if they don't like the government. Oh yeah, because they need to get the exposure so they can generate millions on the speaking and writing useless book tour. See Newt, Palin, Bachman. Has a tea party idiot ever brought a meaningful bill up for a vote that didn't end abortion rights or state the prezis a muslim!!
Typical teaparty garbage –
GOP: Let me burn down your house.
GOP: Just the 2nd floor.
GOP: Just the garage.
GOP: Why won't you compromise?!?!?!
Cruz and his ilk have destroyed the republican party. They've turned it into a bastion of evangelical corporatism that looks nothing like the republican party most of us are familiar with if we just think back to pre-TP days.
You can bet the democrats aren't going to let the American public forget this fiasco come 2014, and that will effectively end the republican party's influence at the national level for years to come.
I am glad he is worried about winning for the tea party, because e the losers...Because the American people are the losers.
...never imagine any country could apply 'Sanctions' on its own people... the clever Americans ve done just that ...even without Security Council hehehe ..affecting ordinary lives and workers, travel restrictions and cancellations for even their president and some Insects call it victory...in Africa we say "fools learn thier lesson only when they have lost all thier strength"...Am loving this stand off... Please guys DIG IN DEEPER !!! More Self Imposed Sanctions !!!
The shutdown should have never occurred and could have been avoided. This budget problem could have been settled months ago. But certain members of Congress refused to have a conference on it at least 17 times, when the subject came to the floor of the Senate. This whole situation was planned. I just pray that the American people wake up and see the GAMES that they are playing. We should stop drinking the TEA, because it's killing the GOP.
Watch out America!! This guy is a CROOK!
Cruz is a fraud And those who follow him will go down in flames with him. Enjoy your ride into the abyss.
The USA is becoming more socialist a bit slower than what the Soviet Union became free. But it will likely surpass Russia in socialism if it remains on tract. Only dumb and lazy people "need" big government. For every dollar of tax extracted from the economy through taxation and deficit, the country likely gets back ten cents' worth. For every ten jobs destroyed by tax, government might create one. It's time to learn from history.
Ted Cruz , I have said we should not shut down the government. But sadly this is Harry Reid’s and President Obama's shutdown.
Nice try Green Eggs and Ham Spin master !
Cruz owns the shutdown , take the responsibility like a man !
This is like saying scientists "crave" peer-review in their hypothesis. Here we have Mr. Cruz saying – with no reason to believe he's being hyperbolic – that he's not interested in being correct. In fact, with his dual citizenship and lack of birth certificate, it's seeming as if he isn't even invested in the United States, and we're all waiting for Donald Trump to take up the cause and out Mr. Cruz as the reckless, unpatriotic extremist he's proud of being.
Our country deserves better than the guile, obstruction, and grandstanding; a statesman is defined by the respect he engenders from his opponents – that's how real work gets done. We're talking about someone whos completely blown all the credibility he'll ever have again, and we're even watching the Republican Party applaud his irrational behavior, afraid that without essential and in fact critical thinking skills, his supporters will tear apart anyone who questions their emotional investment in crushing "socialism".
Just don't ask them what socialism is. They have no idea. McCarthy nods in approval.
Irrational Actors: "that's no way to run a railroad, son".
i recall cruz & hannity discussing the defunding of the affordable care act & a government shutdown on hannity's radio show during the summer. it's been planned for a very long time. it just didn't go the way the tea party thought it would. so sad, not but too bad, yes.
“It’s about time that someone abandoned the notion that compromise is the best way to win.”
The people who abandoned it are the wingnuts we don't want running this country. Compromise is what has kept the system working. It's when morons like Cruz and his tea party compatriots refuse to compromise and instead go "my way or the highway" that we get this mess.
Democracy should be about compromises – one side wants some things, the other side has a different set of priorities – and a balance gets struck. Unfortunately some politicians are too blinded by ideology and a pumped up sense of their own rightness to compromise, negotiate and do what needs to be done for the greater good of this country.
The idea that one side can ever get everything it wants and can "win" is absurd.
Cruz is the new Sarah Palin. Outside of his small crowd of sycophants, the majority of people are rolling their eyes at his lame positions and outright lies.
wow ! he is living in a delusion , I do hope the republican's can get him some help before something tragic happens
I'm sorry but does this man have no shame?