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."
Which states are controlled by crazy loony Republican Tea Party? I only know about Kansas. Please fellow people list the rest. Everybody needs to know that everyone needs to vote to get these conniving thieves out of office at the State and Federal level.
Maybe Cruz and his other Tea Party Crusaders need to be sent the overages this is costing many families and the country for his foolish behavior. He really wants the economy to crash and burn.
A woman I knew died with breast cancer because her family could not afford healthcare. She did not abuse the system. She didn't even go to seek medical attention due to not having insurance and not wanting to jeopardize their finances. She left behind a husband, two older boys, a toddler, brothers, and parents... I guess the Republicans and the Tea Party are perfectly ok sitting in their gilded cage with health benefits and other benefits courtesy of the taxpayers of America.
Cruz control is on, but nobody is at the controls of the Republican Tea Party. Crash landing predicted in the very near future.
The Tea Party members of the Republican party are destroying our country. I plan to do my part and vote them out.
Time to put this joker out of our misery. There must be some legal way to have this guy brought into court and tried for treason.
This is truly disgusting!! The ever vain and arrogant jr. senator from Texas, Ted Cruz is on a self aggrandizement crusade using the debt ceiling next to show himself in his mind as "fearless, brave," gimme a break..how about crazy, risk taking and thoughtless with no respect for this country, its citizens or their needs. For him there is only "TED," "The Magnificent." Boehner is too scared to tell Cruz to sit down and shut up and I join others who hope and pray that their brinksmanship does not destroy the American economy and negatively influence the global. Those who care about our kids should be up in arms. National health insure is dangerous,? How about throwing the country into a deep and deadly recession because you want to win, be famous and powerful..but at all our expense????
Never, never in American history have we defaulted on a debt. Never, never in American history has the level of brinksmanship, black mail and bribery reached the point that Cruz and Boehner have doubled down on. Shame on you!
When you people say things like Cruz is going to wreck the country and so on it displays your ignorance of how government was designed to work, and how it has in fact worked throughout history. You are sheep listening to the democrat and old media machine trying to scare you into giving obama a blank check.
Victory for whom and what would any supposed victory look like in the middle of a mess that leaves health care in the nation a mess on top of a mess?
Is this fanatical politician and the dirty-thirty extremist Republicans in the House so caught up in their vandalism that they can imagine that the general public will do anything but turn upon them in vengeful anger?
This kind of scentless destruction was depicted in the surrealistic war film “Apocalypse Now” that reflected the all too real insane of a commander in the actual assault on and animation of My Lai who insisted, "We had to destroy the village in order to save it."
Enough of this partial shutdown. How about giving Ted Cruz and his ilk what they want, SHUT THE WHOLE THING DOWN, everything but medical and hospital care. No checks for anyone, FAA totally shut down, ground the planes. Make it as uncomfortable for Congress as they are making it for everyone else.
I have read the comments here and I cannot believe what I am reading. I have voted both democrat and republican in the past. I just have to say every responder to this post is trully blind to what is happening in Washington. You all want to blame the Republicans. Why? THEY did not close the WW2 memorial (Obama did). THEY did not close National Parks (Obama did). THEY did not close Biscayne bay in Florida to stop access to the FREAKING ocean (Obama did). BUT....Obama DID keep his precious golf course open. Harry Reid DID say "why should we fund the NIH to continue cancer research for children. There are none so blind as those that will not see...and ALL of you prior to me responding are BLIND as to what is REALLY happening in Clown Town. Wake the heck up. It is NOT racial......it is NOT along party lines...it IS about a President that clearly is in above his head and doesn't have a CLUE on doing what is right. Obamacare is a train wreck if it is funded. WHY the heck you cannot SEE that fro yourself is beyond me.
What color is the sky in this moran's world?
What color is the sky in this moron's world?
Cruz is terrifying! Today he threw Republicans under the bus in that speech. I hope they heard it. They stood by him and let him drive the bus over the cliff. Yes we know things change by being bold, driving awareness and building consensus. Yes, we know how laws are made. Yes, we know we need to control our expenses and stream line our programs/processes. The President agreed to a CR at spending level they asked for. He didn't ask for a blank check and that was never his request or an option. Cruz doesn't seem to get the process. Although, he looked and sounded knowledgeable on the Senate floor on Friday – I will give him that – it was also clear that he wants to select the programs to fund one at a time. If we let him do that, isn't that the same as letting him singlehandedly determine the budget, the programs, and promises we will keep?
Cruz, you have already lost...no matter what the democrats throw your way as a life line will not change the fact that you have single handidly ruined the republican party.
A victory for republicans and a loss for america.
Just get rid off all these rethuglicans idiots in 2014. Drive national evil away.
liberal loons are out of their basements , I guess they need a diaper change
what is sad is no one is working on jobs and Obama happy with the growth now.
Time for Seal Team 6.
What a loser...why doesn't he go back to Canada...we don't want him here! Lowlife jerk!
Napoleon said the same words at Waterloo. We all know how that ended for Napoleon.
David Alexander You said "I just have to say every responder to this post is trully blind to what is happening in Washington. You all want to blame the Republicans. Why?" I have voted for Republicans and Democrats as you said that you did. Why do I blame Republicans for what's happening? I blame them, Boehner in particular, because if he would allow a clean continuing resolution without amendments, like defunding Obamacare, it would pass the House since enough Republicans would join Democrats in passing that. He won't do it, because he knows that if he did, the tea party and other conservative members in the House would strip him of his Speaker of the House title. He's more concerned about his job than he is the American people.
As someone in a country that prides itself on having a National healthcare program. I look at what is happening in the USA and can only shake my head in wonder. The Republicans LOST the election. Get over it and get on with governing.