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.
Watch CNN's "State of the Union" for an exclusive interview with Republican Sen. Ted Cruz at 9 a.m. and noon ET.
Follow @politicalticker Follow @PeterHambyCNN
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."
It makes me so mad that he thinks we're all that dumb to listen to him twist this. The gall.
Classic case of living in an echo chamber. Let him give that same speech to a random, not prescreened audience and check the reaction. If all you ever do is preach to the choir, how would you have any clue what the rest of the village feels?
SSDD. Move along folks. Nothing to see here....
Has John Boehner explained to Cruz that "this isn't some damn game"?
They'll win when the prize for the party with the most clowns.
Cruz is blowing smoke.
If the Dems cave, then Cruz looks like a hero to the Tea Partiers. If the GOP caves, then the elephants' long memories will make Cruz a dead man walking politically.
Right now, it looks like the GOP is frantically trying to find a way out. They've already granted federal workers back pay, which makes the entire shutdown a pointless waste of money, exactly what the GOP says they're against. They're floating a pointless six week delay. They're praying that Obama offers them a way to save face, and he's not doing it.
Cruz is trying to bolster morale in the GOP as it's crumbling.
ince the Koch brothers are so heavily involved in financing the effort to defund Obmacare why don't we the average citizens try to defund the Koch brothers sources of wealth by not buying Brawny Paper towels, Stainmaster carpet, Dixie cup products and Lycra products and any other products and services from which they derive their immense wealth.
Cruz – do everyone a favor and resign NOW, don't wait until next elections where you'll be a thing of the past. This is your 10 minutes of fame and it's over...
Meant to say they win as the party of clowns.....which is being disrespectful to clowns. Oh well, I don't like or trust clowns.
There aren't many people left who are still buying that "it's Obama's and the senates fault". We all know it is you and your TBaggie friends who are the problem. I just hope that people still remember next year at election time.
OBAMA and the Congress ALL OF THEM- need to be put in a room without comunication with the outside till they find an end to all this. ENOUGH WITH THE CHILDISH FIGHTING!!! These are suppose to be educated adults.
Hard times and nursery rhymes.
Ted Cruz is a foolish man and a misguided idiot that will bring this country to ruin. Republicans have no power but God does. Let's see if he think he is more powerful than God.
Ted Cruz is the Joe McCarthy of the 21st century. Dangerous, shoots from the hips, and ultimately, shamed.
Unfortunately a GOP victory is all Cruz cares about. The American people will lose-Cruz doesn't care.
Cruz is delusional as is most of the Republican party right now. What if the tables were turned and the GOP was trying to pass a clean CR and Democrats demanded that there be a national gun registry or at the very least a return to the ban on semi-automatic weapons as the price for getting that passed. Or demand a repeal of the Patriot Act? You think Republicans would go along with that?
Obama and the Democrats are 100% right on this issue. You don't get to hold the government and the economy hostage simply because you don't like a law that was passed properly, upheld by the Supreme Court and validated in the last election.
If people hate Obamacare SOOOOOO much, why don't we have President Romney right now? Why did Dems PICK UP seats in the Senate and House in 2012?
ELECTIONS HAVE CONSEQUENCES. You want to repeal a law? Pursuade enough voters to vote for people who agree with you. Can't do that? Then tough cookies. Deal with it and move on.
God I hope people wake up in 2014 and get rid of these clowns. ALL OF THEM.
"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.”
That's a Palin-esque quote if ever there was one, which is to say that even if you can pick through the terrible grammar to get to the point, the point itself is idiotic. Solutions NEVER come from Washington? Not the Emancipation Proclamation? Not WWII? Not the interstate highway system? This guy is about as close to a Hitler figure as we have in our government right now. If the quote from the pastor that introduced him doesn't give you chills, you should be paying more attention.
I need to monkey the dig hole with sticky pink goop for food and health before her eggs spawn yolk.
Sorry, but it's the GOP way.
Ted Cruz also believes literally in the argument behind "stop hitting yourself"
That's some powerful stuff he's smoking. It reeks of desperation.
This guy is playing GAMES with people's lives! "Win"?? What a jerk. And this is their "rising star", huh?
Look, The Affordable Care Act is the Law! It was passed 4 years ago. Legislation is about compromise. If you can't deal with it Ted and all you right wingnut teapartyers, then quit. What is there to negotiate? Nothing. Legislation by terrorism (which is what this attempt by Cruz and the rest of his 2 year old companions) and potentially forcing the US into is default is tantamount to treason in my opinion. They should be summarily removed from office and tried for criminal offense. Shame on you Ted, shame. You are a disgrace to this nation.
1. Virginia can send a message by defeating Cuccinelli.
2. Cruz appears to be exactly what he criticises: "There are so many elected officials in both parties that desperately crave the adulation of the media and the intelligentsia". He desperatey craves the attention of extremists.
3. Just because you say something over and over, it does not make it true (republican spin that the shutdown is the fault of the Democrats). In fact, the shutdown is the fault of both parties. The system is broken. Baseball used to be America's pastime, now it is partisan politics.
Cruz is looking for a win. He is part of game playing politicians who care more about their ego then the American Public.
Cruz, you are a so short-sighted! There is no "winner" when you shut down key government services and sabotage the paychecks of hard-working civil servants. You don't get it. The majority of us have zero respect for your fanaticism and blackmail tactics.. You have soiled our Congressional process . You think the end justifies the means. It doesn't. And, NO, you will never "win". You have simply ratcheted down the ability of the Congress to reach good compromise and convinced most of us that representatives like you are a liability to the counry, not an asset.