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."
When we tackle in Libya, Somalia terrorists why we can not tackle these home-grown terrorists of Al Queda?
Is it the duty of Congress and a few loonies to hold the country hostage?
So anytime the Dems don't like a law that the GOP passed, they can simply shut down the gov until the GOP gives in.
Yeah, that's the way to run a democracy, mm hmm.
I am not watching any cnn show that features this Marxist. You people are only playing into his lust for the spotlight.
Cruz endorsement of Cucinelli is the kiss if death for him in Northern Virginia.
This losing and others are letting little kids die from not being able to get the meds. and treatments they need. All because they never want to concede the fact that they aren't the only ones to make laws. Their all a bunch of little kids with grown bodies crying, if I can't get my way, nobody going to get it.
Too bad these dumb politicians view this as winning and losing. A Government Shutdown, political inaction, and steamrolled legislation – i.e. obamacare – is a loss.
If he won than thanks because I have health insurance. And if winning is everything the clock is ticking toward midterm elections.
what will they win?
If Peter King dislikes you, you must be doing something right!
Ken Cuccinelli had problems before this appearance.
One can only hope that publicly aligning himself with Ted Cruz will remove any possibility of him winning.
Repeating the same lies over and over don't make them true Ted.
The "king" of made in China, India, and the Philapines is doing what?
Ted Cruz is delusional. But as a Virginian, I'd like to thank him for stopping by and adding some more nails to Cuccinelli's coffin.
Oh yeah, a free paid vacation courtesy of the Tea party for Federal workers. That will really make this American support the republicans next election. And I am a Republican. They will destroy the party.
What exactly are you winning. Are you keeping your pay check, because thanks to you I am not getting one. Are you gping to pay my mortgage and feed my family. Nobody is winning.
Great ! The GOP wins and the American people lose.
This is the man who insists that he is a natural born U.S. citizen because his mother was a U.S. citizen. Funny, he never mentioned this when the birthers claimed that Obama's mother, a U.S. citizen, was not enough to make Obama a natural born U.S. citizen.
This guy is delusional. And anyone who listens to him is delusional as well. Republicans criticized President Obama for giving subsidies to 'green' businesses saying he was 'picking winners and losers'. But here they are 'picking winners and losers' in government. All while listening to the mad piper from TexASS.
Here's the sadness of the republican party today. They make up any fact they want to fit any situation that they make happen, and start believing in these made up facts. Conservatives, PLEASE TAKE YOUR PARTY BACK. We need a viable 2 party system. Why are you true conservatives willing to give yours to clowns?
"The fact we are here today talking about raising the debt limit is a sign of leadership failure." Said Obama. "I will halve the deficit." Said Obama. "I will give us politicians waivers." Said Obama. "I will not talk with lobbyists." Said Obama. "I will manipulate the American people." Said Obama.
Cruz is the best friend the Senate Democratic Campaign Committee ever had.
Cruz is a Canadian from Calgary, whose father fought for the Communists in Cuba. Just another sleazy opportunist gaming the system. Where are the Birthers now?
When is this delusional hack and his Tea Party cronies going to realize how our system of government really works (majority rules) and stop holding the government hostage. What they are doing borders on criminal... Not to mention, House Speaker Boehner needs to grow a pair and get the government working again!
Cruzers say that democracy won't win this one, they have another method that works better than democracy. This is just the test run, if it works here, it could work in all other matters, reverse just about everything they don't like. There would be no need of having elections, no need for a Supreme Court, actually, no need for a President. Probably no need for a Congress, just have those with the most money make all the decisions. People could work to survive under the conditions that the rich mandate, with no interference from any kind of government. Afterall, government, or people, just get in the way of businesses making more profit. If it weren't for government, or people, the rich could be even richer. Like in the case of Koch bro's, people have to buy that stuff, it's not that they make a choice, most of their stuff is generic, and essential commodities. You really can't boycott petroleum, it's essential, so the Koch's get richer, even though they shut down government, there's no boycott of their products. The only real thing people can do is vote, that has some limited effect yet, but that won't be for several months. In general, it could be the end of democracy, and the advent of a new form of government.