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."
Biden in 2016.
Hey nutbag, "the people" (as in the MAJORITY of the people believe YOU'RE the PROBLEM, not the solution.
Cruz and the rest of his tea-bagging nincompoops should be recalled to their home Districts and horsewhipped.
Cruz–how arrogant–this isn't YOUR country or the Republicans country–IT'S OUR COUNTRY–if you were a true leader you would lead ALL of us and not a small-minded group of hijackers who are in the process of destroying EVERYTHING to suit their own narrow-minded desires.
Oh that crazy Canadian ! He's such a fibber
The blowhard teabafoons Cruz and his buttboddy couche will both be kicked to the curb in their next elections with the rest of the GOP garbage of America !!!!!!!
Ted "Green Eggs and Ham" Cruz has proven himself totally clueless and delusional for weeks now. Why any news outlet considers his views worth reporting on is beyond me...
No Mr. Cruz, this IS your shutdown. The ACA is law and your demands are precisely as has been described by some in the media as a "ransom demand for hostages". The ACA being the hostage and your demand for changes being the ransom. If you want to change the law there are avenues to do so and this is NOT one of them. No matter how you want to twist the narrative this is YOUR shutdown buddy and even a number of individuals in your own party know it and have said so. Why don't you go back to Canada and wreck their political system, Jerk!
So all Congress is about is who has the votes at a certain time,
not what's good for the country.
Cruz promises Republican victory. “This isn't some dam**n game,” Boehner told Cruz. If Cruz grows a little mustache he'll look like another famous person in history. Heil Cruz!
not only is cruz delusional, he's genuinely certifiable. in this age of insanity, cruz stands head and shoulders above his peers.
I thought this was not about "winning" Mr. Boehner? So it is just a game?
Cruz is a little twerp. He is blamed for the shutdown. Not Obama, not Reid. He and John Boehner. Obama doesn't have to negotiate. The ACA is settled law, upheld by the Supreme Court. When the mid-terms come up, the GOP will be shown the door.
Ted Ruiz is playing the long game. He knows the GOP will not win this battle, but his profile has exploded nationally. He's setting the stage for his 2016 presidential campaign. If – and it's a longshot – he wins the Republican nomination, he will lose badly to our next President, Hilary Clinton.
The word "delusional" comes to mind. Man, were the 1960's good to him!
Can he promise republicans their reelection next year?
What a clown!! Tea Partiers have blown so much air up Cruz's pants that he is waving at them like a god. The Republicans have already won: A booby prize for the ages. Their feelings have been hurt and now they are taking it out on the American people. Vote'em out in 2014 and thereafter.
I am not a fan of Mr. Cruz. He reminds me of Nero fiddling watching Rome burn wasting time with his I 'want attention' speech.
He must not be talking about presidential elections.
Why Does he want GOP to win He should be wanting Americans to wIn this is Not a game
There is no winning. The U.S. is a laughing stock at this point. The next will be financial impacts - going backwards. This is no game. It's not a sport. There will be no heros at the end of this. I, for one, will remember the name Cruz in the next Presidential election cycle. It's not a good memory.
Ted Cruz is insane and will go as far as defaulting on our debt to get what he wants. You can look at them eyes and tell he is a crazy person!
This proves how awful Cruz is. He just sees the showdown as a party battle. He doesn't care about the outcome for the public, just for the party. The Tea Party is made up of ret@rds.
Cruz functions under the same principles as Nazies did. He has a dark vision for America.
What Mr. Bohner needs to do is put up a clean Budget up for a vote and let the members freely vote. Mr.Boehner, stop putting politics before the country's and our well being.
This guy is delusional. The male equivalent of Sarah Palin, too. Not a good look.