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."
I didn't vote for Cruz–I don't live in Texas-What makes him think he knows what is best for me.
Cruz is a complete nutjob. The word "dumb" does not begin to describe him and the tea party. Texas elected this guy, huh? Just, wow.
You have to wonder about a "reverend" who is against providing healthcare to the poor. Shame that he uses his position to push his personal views....
What does this mean? Is Cruz saying he will keep the government shut down until there are new elections? We are so screwed....
Ya, that's what they said the last time, and the last time before that...
Cruz is a TP terrorist. Stop holding the GOP hostage.
You are going to win. Mr. Cruz? In the words of your own "leader", Mr. Boehner. "This is not a damn game." Loser.
I'm curious what Cruz now defines as "winning." If the Senate & President agree to funding the government piecemeal but never agree to any limitation on Obamacare, Cruz & the GOP will still have lost since that was the entire reason for the shutdown.
Cruz has proven himself delusional about many things over the past year, including particularly his "Green Eggs and Ham" speech. No idea how this clueless twit could be worth listening to now...
Harvard grad leading the Tea Party over a cliff. How ironic and fitting!
NO! The reality is, the GOP will not win. America ultimately loses! The 535+ so-called leaders of this country have known all year that this was pending and did nothing about it. Get off your collective hind-ends and do the job we put you there to do! $&%* or get off the pot!
The GOP will win... and the country will lose. Nuff Said.
Not one member of congress who sits in their seats will get my vote. If you win this, well you lost and splintered your party, lost my vote.....how many of us heard the spin, caught on to the spin and will take it to the next election. last time this happened, 17 years ago, it cost the GOP both houses and the big seat. but this time, all parties will suffer, out with all of you
Even Fox News is starting to discuss how the Affordable Health Care Law is cutting costs and giving hope to all these people with pre existing diseases or low income that did not have an opertunity to buy insurance before. Cruz is licked and Republicans are starting distancing themselves from the Tea Party.
Put a fork in Cruz he is done. Soon the Republicans will be done in his adopted state Texas. I have never seen so many Texas Women so mad and so organized to remove all Republicans from office. Seems Cruz and his Tea Party are running out of voters to alienate, they have finally alienated their own party. Looks like Bonehead will be unemployed for following Cruz's lead in the shutdown.
Looks like Hitler in that photo,,,,,,
This man's methods are an attempt to change the America as we know it.I don't believe him or what he stands for.
Money is his motive. He is placing money ahead of fellow americans at any cost.
He cannot endorse "winning" this "battle" while at the same time allowing americans to be harmed.
We are at a very scarey part in our history when a small fraction of extremists can bring the country to a halt.
He's delusional. Proof positive that there is no cure for stupid
What a jerk! Even his fellow Republicans think this guy is crazy.
Get over it. ACA is law. Cruz is just an opportunist grand stander. He is a side show.
the one that will win is the one that gets the most media coverage its always been that way
Mr Double Ivy League Canadian is knocking the intelligentsia and has offered no plan of his own other than say no to the ACA. This guy lives in a fantasy world.
This man is Delusional. This a democracy Majority Rule.
If you don't like a law, win an electoral majority and change it, do not shut down the country because you don't like a law. Its a L-A-W.
Either this is some Machiavellian move by Bohener to expose the Teaparty for the anti-democracy unpatriotic subversive frauds they are or the GOP is just really stupid.
Playing with American livelihoods because of ACA its wrong, gross abuse of power.
“It’s about time that someone abandoned the notion that compromise is the best way to win,” said Rev. Mark Morrow
At least someone on the right is honest about this compromise farce.
It was never a compromise they were after. It's their way or nothing.
I've never been so disgusted with Washington in general but imo the blame is not equal.
I can't say I have been enthusiastic about Obama's tenure but compared with the actions of the gop, it's easy to decide who I will be voting in 2016.
What needs to be repealed is Senators Cruz election . He is the root to all this. Shutdown mess. Stop being like spoiled brats that want everything their way and think of all the millions of people affected by this govwrent shutdown. Shame on u senator cruz!!!!!!
"Carnival" Cruz is badly mistaken. He needs to stick to reading something that the can understand.