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."
The Republicans tried to repeal Obamacare 41 times, knowing full well that it wouldn't pass the Senate or the Preisdent. And ran an entire election against it. And lost! They lost the presidency (again), failed to win the Senate, and gained fewer votes in House races (they only won a majority of seats due to districting). So call that 42 failures to repeal Obamacare.
Which means that we have a party full of people who don't learn from making the same mistake 42 times. Republican readers: I don't know if that's the kind of person you are, but ask yourself: Is that the kind of person you want to represent you?
One day, Republicans will take personal responsibility for their choices as legislators. I might get old and die before they have the courage, but I'm sure that they will... one day.
Shameful and ugly ! The fact is that the whole Shut Down was started and held by "Tea Party". And , this tea party was , and still is bankrolled by Rupert Murdoch, Koch brothers, and some other 1% riches.
Why did Mitt Romney insisted not to reveal his tax records? He paid much less proportional tax. Same as the rest of rich 1%. You guys stole so much from this country through the schemed rules, laws, tax rules in your favor by all the legal system, legislation, and even the media you purchased. 1% owned 43% of national wealth. corrupted and greedy! Yet you still try to squeeze more from us, the 50% owns only 1% of national wealth. You guys are forcing this nation into a real revolution.
Senator Cruz sees himself as a commander leading his troops in battle. His only objective is "winning the battle" regardless of casualites while he sits in his safe bunker..In reality, he's an arrogant , spoiled young man who demands his way even though the Affordable Care Act is settled law. He doesn't care a lick about the people affected by his shutdown. He's enjoying himself. He revels in his raised profile and notoriety. He's a disgrace to his party and the United States Senate.
It is unfortunate that the "leaders" of his party won't put a stop to his nonsense. Mitch McConnell is facing a primary challenge from the right so he won't speak out. John Boehner is afraid that he'll be deposed as House Speaker if he does the right thing by brings a clean CR for a vote. While these guys diither, Sen. Cruz fills the vacuum. Profiles in courage these guys aren't.
II would never vote for anyone supported by Cruz. HE doesn't know how to behave and simply doesn't understand
junior senators should be "seen and not heard" until he learns the rules and follows them and REMEMBERS in Congress one does not represent one's self but all the American people. Green eggs and ham....indeed.
I can't believe this guy is still alive
The sad thing is that whichever side claims a win, the american people have already lost!
And they lost when it went to the Supreme Court !!!
The GOP will win what, Ted? The lowest House of Representatives approval rating in 200 years?
I thought The American People are the ones that should win...not a specific partt.
you are by far one of the biggest idiots to get elected to date...go back to selling cars when you are done with this gig
Actually, Ted Cruz is delusional. Regardless of what happens with the healthcare issue, his political career is going to take an extreme turn come the next election cycle. The same is true for Mark Meadows, Mike Hill and Marco Rubio, as well as newcomer Theodore Yoho.
No one shuts down the government at the people's expense. End of story.
Cuban borne, son of a Communist, Ted Cruz, the Republican poster child for rejecting reality.
Actually, the Cuban borne, communist thing is not true.
See, you don't have to be a Republican to make things up and spread it around as if it were fertilizer.
I want to see Ted Cruz's birth certificate!
Cute how he's trying to put the blame on the other side. The vast majority of the public knows who started it and it's also cute how he thinks this is something to "win"???? He just doesn't get what he has done. There are no winners. :(
Cruz reminds me of Damien Omen.
Sink the republican party, Cruz.
What a sanctimonious, lying sack of $%&#.
If the GOP keeps giving this guy voice in their agenda, they will deserve their assured demise as a national political party.
Didn't Republicans just criticize the President for using the word "Win?"
Stop paying attention to Toiletpaper Crudz.
He gets a boehner every time he sees his name or his smug face in the news.
Somebody get a muzzle on this waste of human flesh.
In your dreams! Go back.
How this maniacal, delusional fruitcake has twisted, sub-versed and lied his way to infamy is a lesson in mass media. There are people in this world who revel in complete chaos and denial. Cruz has serious mental defects and yet there ere many who find that appealing. Calamity and destruction attract like a car wreck. Cruz is a train wreck and loves every minute of carnage.
Cruz can't stop lying.
It's reassuring to know the terrorists can't take away our freedom, let us die awaiting surgery, take away our cars and houses, and throw our starving widows and orphans into the streets. ONLY OUR GOVERNMENT CAN DO THAT!
1,000,000 disabled veterans in backlog, 911 1st responders dying of cancer the government won't pay for a decade later, and now our widows and orphans will be thrown in the streets while their father waits on a surgery that never comes, all while our leaders cut this country up a little finer to split between themselves.
Here's hoping every politician in Washington has a run-in with a disabled veteran they've betrayed, and gets treated to a wall-to-wall counseling session they'll never forget. It's no wonder they had the DHS CLASSIFY DISABLED VETERANS AS TERRORISTS. They were planning for the future.
When our leaders do more damage than our enemies, it's high time we start calling them TERRORISTS as well. At least it would be accurate–unlike labeling our veterans TERRORISTS.
If the most salient feature of a terrorist is ability to terrify, there's nothing to even discuss. I'm a lot more afraid of our leaders than our enemies. At least with enemies, I know what to expect, and the Army would give me a medal for shooting him.
What do you do when your country's leaders are doing more damage than the enemy?
Sen Rafael Cruz is beyond deluded. He's made a lot of noise, pandered to the Teaborgs, and is in the limelight. He couldn't even do a real filibuster, having his TeaNut buddies spell him. He is a showboater.. a phony. And the sooner this knee jerk election of TeaNuts is no longer fashionable, he and others like him will be voted out!