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."
I hope he enjoys winning, while the rest of America is losing.
There are no winners, this is not some game.
Cruz: Can I kill you?
Cruz: Can I cut your leg?
Cruz: Can I cut your arm?
Cruz: Can I at least cut your finger?
Cruz: Ladies and gentlemen, Obama refuses to negotiate.
You've already lost.
This man should be on America's most wanted list as terrorist and anarchist. We can afford to go to Libya, etc to root out Al Qaeda. Why not Texas or DC!
He strikes me as delusional.
This guy wants to see his name in the paper. He doesn't care about Americans. Congress, Please stop listening to his anarchy!
Cruz is cruzing in the WRONG direction and he thinks the common American's are really stupid!!
I thought Boehner said this wasn't "a damn game" and then this tool comes talking about a republican victory. Just another small example of the hypocrisy that exists in this party.
Of course he will win....Mr. Cruz is still getting paid and will for life. He will still have the best benefits for life. Wake up America! Why should our leaders have better then the people they are leading!
What an idiot
Yes Ted, the gop will win......the right to be called extinct. Aren't you proud of yourselves?
The Tea Party is responsible for this shut down along with MR. Cruz and his financial backers the Koch family (in the old days, we'd call them organized crime syndicates). I would even be surprised if the Koch Brothers were not behind the computer glitches in signing up folks for the ACA. Super Mouth Cruz, Pretty Boy Cantor, Dimwit Mitch, and Crybaby Boehner-kind of all sound like gangster nicknames don't they?
Win what? Winning the lost of election in 2014? I had voted for the Republican in the past , NEVER NEVER EVER again!
No matter how hard he tries to make the shutdown the fault of the Dems, the whole world know he is the primary instigator. Anybody who thinks like him, and anyone who is so in love with his own face, should be sent to China or Mexico.
He should go back and ask Charlie Sheen how that "winning" thing worked for him. Lost his top rated TV show while mouthing off and acting irrational. Cruz is on that same road
USA Citzxens – 0
May God save us from this crazy, dangerous man!!! He has no agenda other than a personal one. He may speak for some of the American people but he does not speak for a majority.
The only thing missing in Mr Cruz salute is to bend his hand straight like Hitler He got Hitler's salute with a bend..
Cruz helps precipitate the government shutdown but of course it is the other guys fault. It is, in the sense that they did not surrender to his attempted extortion. If he were to win this round it seems to me that this would be his standard tactic in the future, threatening shutdown or debt default unless we gave in to his demands of the moment whenever government funding or a debt extension was due. This isn't the strategy of someone who wants to run a country (as he clearly does), but rather the strategy of a would-be demagogue. At least that's the way I see it, though obviously many would disagree with my opinion.
Mr. Cruz is seriously misjudging the mood of the American middle class voter and so is the GOP. We know who (Sheldon Adelson, Charles and David Koch, Harold C. Simmons, Robert Perry, John Joe Ricketts, Peter Thiel) is really pulling the strings of the Tea Party idealogues and WHY they are pulling the strings. These folks and other wealthy right-wing, anti-people's government mega doners simply feel they have the right to control our government and our economy and they don't give a whit what the shut-down is costing. The Tea Party is the last remnants of the American middle class who actually are willling to be their puppets. Thanks to "citizens united", the puppet masters will spare nothing to keep our government in dissarray. That Cruz refers to a shut down (that could possible lead to an economic disaster in the U.S. and the world) as a "fight" to win is a huge tell regarding his intelligence. The GOP is in shambles.
I want everyone to know that many Texans are reasonable, courteous people. Ted Cruz is a whacko, an embarrassment to the state of Texas.
Senator Ted Cruz is a clown. The Tea Party radicals have already lost.
I wonder what insurance companies contribute to Cruz' campaigns??? If the insurance companies don't want affordable health care, then that tells me that I SHOULD want it.