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."
Senator Raphael "Ted" Cruz is an America-hating foreign-born mole who was brought to America as a child, indoctrinated with a deep hatred for America and taught to "be American" in order to enter into the main stream, run for office where he can exercise power and use it to destroy our democracy and our country.
Trace his ancestry! He hates America because of the "injustices" his family told him were done to his people in the distant past. He is a "mole" that was groomed to destroy America! The GOP – once noble Party of Lincoln – has been bamboozled and taken over by this fake American.
If Senator Raphael "Ted" Cruz succeeds in toppling our government, he has very powerful people ready to step in (and possibly his ancestral government) who would run this country like a South American dictatorship.
Wake up, people!!!
Each side putting down the other does nothing.
Give the Republicans SOME of what they want, and start the government today. Done.
But I'm only one rational person in a sea of partisan morons, and rolling in the waves helplessly.
Recall Cruz.. Justaquestion has the right idea
Mr. Cruz may win type of victory known as Pyrrhic.
Cruz and Lee are almost exclusively responsible for the shutdown. They blocked regular order. They blocked a Senate/House Conference Commitee that would have resolved this issue months ago. There desire for drama is holding back is holding back the entire country and the global economy. They should be tried for treason for the damage they have done go the American People.
Disgusting. He asks "how do we win?". Is this a game to Mr.Cruz, to sacrifice our country, withholding pay, stopping services, jeopardizing the economy, making the country a laughingstock of the world... All to WIN? Pride goes before destruction Mr.Cruz. This is disgusting.
Not one of you care about the people who will be paying for this !!!
New polling shows GOP in grave danger now in losing the House in 2014 with 17 vulnerable Tea Party / Republicans losing voters.
Cruz continues to twist his remarks to attempt to blame the President and The Senate for not being willing to "negotiate" and thereby being responsible for "shutting down the Govt". He really must think the American public is SOO stupid that they believe his pretzel logic and not see through his disingenuous efforts. Yes the President and the Senate are unwilling to overturn legal legislation upheld by the Supreme Court and give in to Cruz and his fellow Teahadists extortion. Cruz knows he doesn't have the votes to legally overturn this law so they hold the entire country hostage instead and inflict suffering on hundreds of thousands of Americans
Cruz you are a LOSER and you will LOSE. Americans do not like lying extortionists.
Cruz is like Rant Paul: Playing games with our economy and our nation's future in an effort to make them a shiny enough object to convince the low-information, ignorant repub voter into nominating them for the 2016 candidate.
No one in their right mind holds an entire country hostage over one ideological issue. The acts of Ted Cruz and Mark Meadows and all of their associates who back them are absolutely criminal, and most assuredly, treasonous against the American People. They need to realize that quibbling over trivial matters like the Affordable Health Care act at times like this, is not their job, their job is to make sure they keep the Government running, they hold the purse strings to America's Government and make sure that the Government is running should always be their first priority. After that is taken care of, then they can worry about stuff like the Affordable Health Care Act. It's time to stop "making a stand" as a Republican or as a Democrat and do their jobs.
We all need to stand up againest Ted Cruz and his idiots before they ruin our Country!!
Cruz goes on like a broken record in saying he knows what the Amerian people want--that's really rich, given how hated he is by most Americans and even the repubicans in DC.
If the US defaults, then we should insist upon the impeachment of Sen. Cruz.
Let's be careful !!! The tea party didn't have no one run in 2012!! They are just taking the blame 4 the republicans n return 4 their favors later!
Captain "Ahab" Cruz is seriously trying to take the American ship down with him in his obsession with Barak "MobyDick" Obama.
Why don't the rational Republicans boot this guy out of their already???
Talk Talk Talk, but no Solution.
When somebody says "Defund Your Program or I'll Defund the Government", they are the FIRST MOVER.
Dems did begin the conversation, or write the bill to defund the Government.
GOP Choice, GOP Fault.
As simple as that.
Its absolutely about the GOP, big private health care providers and insurance company's running your congress and the tea party is nothing more puppets for those corporations..how can elected Representative sleep at night knowing that millions of Americans go with healthcare on a daily basis!!
He promises a Republican Party victory. Party above nation. Hmm, would that be like the Communist or the Nazis? As I say riding with the Tea Party is riding with Bin Laden. And he laughing at us.
Standing by Cruz
Republicans are self-destructing.
It's ugly and childish, what's going on in Washington on both sides.......but if we didn't have Congress pushing back, the Obama Administration would have free reign to push an agenda that's twisted and destructively Liberal.
Rational Republicans better reign in Ted Cruz and the Tea Party before they completely destroy the remnants remaining of The Republican Party. Better yet, The Republican Party should disallow the Tea Party members. The Tea Party can form their own party. Ted Cruz receives nice benefits such as health care and pay from the taxpayers of the United States.