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."
Check his immigration papers, maybe he's illegal? Am waiting for approval on other comments that goes along with this one, even CNN is on his Side!
Cruz looks like Chevy Chase. Chevy Chase is a comedian. Cruz talks like a comedian. Therefore Cruz is a comedian.
Cruz is going to be a one term wonder. hes even n embarresment to texas, which is a feat in itself
Cruz is a political kamikazee pilot
Its time that the tea party forms its own party....as they have destroyed the gop Whats best is that the tea party cannot stand on its own... they are a bunch of real rectums
Democracy is about the government for the people, by the people and of the people. I read that somewhere.
Now it's the government by the lobbyists, for the special interest groups and for the PAC's.
Maybe it is time to flush the political toilet and get rid of the disgust and smell.
Politicians just keep it up, maybe that can't swim.
I had to clean something off the bottom of my shoe this morning from my puppy that cared more about America than Cruz does.
Thanks to the brilliant voters in Texas, we have this super – ego wacko...a very dangerous guy. And not only is he as scary as the Red-obsessed communist hunter McCarthy of the 1950's, but he looks just like him.
Good morning, Low Information Democrats! I was under the impression that you were under the impression that you were winning. Why are you so upset? If this is the end of the GOP*, you should be cheering on Sen Cruz.
Why does CNN even cover this blowhard's bloviating?
If the GOP wants "fairness" then maybe they should be asking themselves what we can do to fix income inequality in the US which has hit an all-time record high and is effectively destroying our middle class.
Cruz is only concerned about his own presidential bid. In his delusional right wing mind, he was going to end Obamacare, or at least delay it until he was running for president and become a new hero for the conservatives who sweep him into the presidency. Now that his plan to harm the country for his personal political gain is failing, he is lashing out, because he knows his presidential fantasy is not going to happen.
You shouldn't have to convince anyone to save themselves: 27% of people in this country voted for these tea party candidates in 2010. Now...we're all suffering and why??? Because a majority decided that off year elections aren't important enough to rouse themselves to vote. Hope we can all learn from this nightmare...
Keep it up Ted. You're sure to be the Democrats greatest asset in 2016.
and America will loose!
60 % of Americans don't want the unaffordable care act. Listen to We The People. Cruz is listening to those that elected him. Finally a politician that does what the people want.
Get em Ted, you da man.
How can the GOP win when "this is no damn game"?
Hey Ted Cruz Dreamer, you know you are a dreamer, Well can you put your hands in your head, oh no! Supertramp
Ted Cruz is an ambulance chaser by training. That explains everything as the majority of these types love the spotlight as in being a trial lawyer fighting those mean insurance companies. Like the local ones here whose motto is "Don't settle for less than you deserve" as in as much as we can get since our 40% depends on it. For a minor accident they tried getting the max in my policy of $50,000 per accident even though damages were about 5% of that. He is a showboat extrordinaire.
If Cruz is so concerned about doing what the American people want he would commit suicide. Oooop. He already did that.
Ted Cruz should stick to reading Dr.Seuss. Maybe he can make a career of it in 2014.
How can this wacko bird Cruz be left to drive everyone crazy? Who does he think he is? If he wants to drive people crazy, he should do so to the people in Texas who elected him NOT the entire nation. This kind of behaviour can't be allowed to continue.
Here is the problem with people like Ted Cruz....it's ALL about winning and has NOTHING to do with the American people or what is in the best interest of our country. The GOP party is not only blind as bats but deaf as well...the losers will be us at the end of the day.
Empty cans make the most noise.