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."
how long does it take to moderate a comment
I assumed Cruz was a fool based on his involvement in this shutdown. Now I believe he is also out of his mind.
I wonder if when I can't pay my bills or eat if I can count on congress to help me out?
The GOP leadertship must be careful of this dangerous development. A small minority of extremists by itself would be powerless. So it rides piggyback into parliament on the back of one of the established parties and enforces its will on the party leadership. The last time this was done successfully was in 1933 by the German Nazis.
What does he "WIN"?
Why continue to give this guy an audience. Just let him fade away.
Remember cruz this is not a dam game. You know who said that. Dont keep being a fool cruz the people are hurting an it you to blame you an your tea party.
Cruz has already lost and so has the GOP. Cruz isn't going anywhere but down. He's being fazed out and he knows it, the GOP knows it, and the Dems know it. The GOP will quickly distance them selves from Cruz before he does any more damage to the party. Put a fork in him, he's done.
II think, rather I know, the party that is demanding something be done before passing a spending bill is the cause of the shutdown...that would be the Republican party...Cruz, try as you may, you are not fooling the majority of American people
For those who are too young to know, and those who have chosen to forget, Ted Cruz even looks a bit like Joe McCarthy. McCarthy used his position in the Senate in the '50's to conduct a modern-day inquisition aimed at anyone he thought was a Communist, or maybe just didn't like. He would say anything, do anything to get his suspected Communists. He ruined many lives without giving it a thought until Edward R. Murrow challenged his tactics. I hope the President and the Senate will stand firm, because if you give crying babies what they want, they will just cry for more. The only way to deal with extremists is to assure them that they will not win (get what they want) no matter what they do.
The GOP. Fighting for our right to be denied health insurance since 2009.
Iraq, Syria, and Afghanistan all have the same problem. That is, they are beset by radical Islamists who will do anything to get their way. The US has the Tea Party that is being bought off temporarily by the Republicans. The idea is the same, my way or the highway.
Boehner is blind because he wants to be "the boss" but they are a cancer and will destroy
the flesh around them.
There's only one compromise that doesn't come at a terrible political cost. The GOP must drop the power to threaten the full faith and credit of the US.
Does this politician understand that the government shutdown is NOT about Republicans and Democrats winning or losing but about the AMERICAN PEOPLE? Cruz is a discredit to our democratic process: of the people, by the people, FOR the people . . . not a political party or self-interest.
Crazy, scary - Joe McCarthy
Sorry Cruz, but the GOP has already lost this battle. The majority of the populace are royally p1ssed at the GOP and especially the Tea Party for picking this battle.
This guy is a tool.
I'm really starting to think Republicans are bipolar delusional schizophrenic people
These 'fearless' morons are doing more damage to this country than I have ever seen anyone do.
It's not for the 'Common Good' either.
Why does anyone call the ACA an achievement in a news article? It is not achievement. It is a disaster. It tackles a problem and give a solution that is much worse than the original problem. Medical care is undoubtedly going to be better for a few and worse for the vast majority. It is costing us hundreds of billions a year to get worse overall medical care. The average standard of living is going down because of the ACA. It is a disaster.
"But sadly this is Harry Reid’s and President Obama's shutdown."
so, this man throws a hissy fit and when he doesn't get his way blames anyone but himself. he's delusional. even his own party is tired of the hissyfitters faction.
Isn't Cruz a politician? Does he have an outside job? Isn't he on Federal Health and Retirement Benefits? More to the point, doesn't he aspire to become President of the United States for a minimum of four years, after six years as Senator? Wouldn't a ten year tenure make this guy a career politician? Why does he think being a career politician will any different for him than for all the career politicians he claims get "the people" into messes?
We shall see if the very self-serving Mr. Cruz's strategy of potentially wrecking the 401Ks and savings of the "applauding audience" and the rest of us will work.
Political reality tells me the strategy will not work - then again....
In a way, I hope no one 'compromises' on anything.
–>Then after Oct 17 we shall see if the newly [financially (due to crashing)] smaller government will work...
Cruz can lie all he wants, this oe is on t GOP. Americans want healthcare.
Cruz wishes he had oratory skills to persuade. Instead, he repeats the same lame material as if we're children and need reminding of what's happened, only reinforced so the truth is grey.
If ever there was a loser, this man is genuine.