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."
John Boehner needs to not listen to Cruz and be the speaker of the house. Submit a clean bill without any attachments and move on.
I hope he wrapped his arms around Ken Cucci yesterday for the WORLD to see how tied to the teaterrorists he is. Ted. He's a hint... The GOP is holding this country hostage. If you know ANYTHING about the spirit of America, we LOATHE bullies and terrorists. Enjoy the ride to the bottom of your party's standing and wave goodbye to ANY hope for a run for the presidency in 2016. ~ FORMER republican.
The Tea Party has completely destroyed the Republican party. They are complete fanatics who don't care about anyone but themselves. Until Republicans can get rid of these extreme, right wing nut jobs, these kind of impasses will continue.
Terrorism from inside the Capital. That's what you call it when Republicans hold the nation hostage because they cant democratically change the laws that the American People voted for. Whats next? Declare civil war?
Cruz is a liar.
Wow, this guy is delusional.
What a buffoon
To compromise or not to compromise? Perhaps the conservative Republican caucus can clarify their recommendation, given the following divergent comments:
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.”
“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 ...
Confused? Perhaps that is the objective .....
"The fact that we are here today to debate raising America 's debt limit is a sign of leadership failure. It is a sign that the US Government cannot pay its own bills.
It is a sign that we now depend on ongoing financial assistance from foreign countries to finance our Government's reckless fiscal policies. Increasing America 's debt weakens us domestically and internationally.
Leadership means that, 'the buck stops here.' Instead, Washington is shifting the burden of bad choices today onto the backs of our children and grandchildren. America has a debt problem and a failure of leadership. Americans deserve better."
~ Senator Barack H. Obama, March 2006
Maybe one day American people are the ones whom going to win
is he the only one who does not understand the repubs and americans all lost? if the gop lets him run, everyone will vote for the lesser of the evils once again (mccain/palin)
i think they have medicine for that, don't they?
Pot, meet kettle...
This guy is dumber than a rock.
Cruz should be arrested for commitment first degree stupidity, what a buffoon!
No Senator Cruz, the blame lies on your front door. This is the GOPs fault. The GOP (with the Tea Party pulling strings) allowed this country to shut down. I have never been more ashamed of my Republican party and I don't recognize what it has become.
Cruz has everyone's full support. Shut that loser Obama down!!
The question is: "The GOP will win WHAT?"
A country that the most laughable on the planet.
A country that cannot progress.
A country that's way behind other developing countries.
A country with an even lower credit rating.
A country with high employment.
Cruz is a radical serving only the best interest of himself. He will not have any opportunities for higher office because of his conduct. Thank God
Cruz, we are voting you out of office.
Win? Cruz is only interested in self aggrandizing.
What a windbag. He and Palin sure make a lot of hot air.
Cruz says the public will determine the future of this shutdown. Okay, Cruz, here is my opinion: Give it up. Obamacare is here to stay. There is nothing that you or the rest of the Tea Party freaks can do about it at this point. My recommendation to you and your GOP peers is to send forth a budget bill minus any restrictions on the health care law. Do that and everybody will return to work within 24 hours.
'It’s about time that someone abandoned the notion that compromise is the best way to win'
Once again Tea Party, Obama is one step ahead of you. :D
Sen Cruz is a bigger fool and clown than I first thought! There are people, even in Texas- who want him out of office! Such arrogance by this monster.