October 20th, 2013
09:08 AM ET
6 months ago

Cruz to CNN: ‘I don’t work for the party bosses in Washington’

(CNN) – Back in his home state after the reopening of the government, Sen. Ted Cruz didn’t rule out the idea of again staging the strategy that helped lead to the 16-day partial shutdown and bashed his fellow Senate Republicans for not trying hard enough to dismantle Obamacare.

The Texas Republican, in an exclusive interview with CNN Chief Congressional Correspondent Dana Bash in San Antonio, was unapologetic for fighting to defund President Obama’s health care law in the face of outsized odds, saying he doesn’t work for the “party bosses” in Washington.

‘Part of the club’

Asked whether it bothered him that so many Republican senators expressed outrage at his approach - one that involved a 21-hour talkathon on the Senate floor - the first-year senator said, “not remotely.”

“I work for 26 million Texans. That’s my job, to fight for them. I don’t work for the party bosses in Washington. I work for the people of Texas, and I fight for them,” he said in the interview that aired Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

Ted Cruz, back in Texas, rails against fellow Senate Republicans

“Look, the reason people are frustrated all over the country is that far too many people get elected and they think they’re there to be part of the club,” he continued.

Bash added that one of Cruz’s colleagues told her that Republicans in the Senate strongly opposed the senator’s attempt, with one of them saying “it was like an intervention” when they privately tried to convince him to back down.

“They told me that you really didn’t flinch,” Bash said.

But Cruz said he gave the same answer to his Republican colleagues behind closed doors as he gives in front of the cameras.

“What I say privately to my colleagues is the same thing I say publicly,” he said. “And you know what’s interesting? Virtually every person in that room that was criticizing what (Utah Sen.) Mike Lee and I were doing would have said very different things if a camera was in this room. Because what they’re telling their constituents is very different from what they’re saying behind closed doors.”

Police investigating threats against Ted Cruz

Cruz was well received at San Antonio event on Saturday. He entered to a standing ovation and his remarks were met with cheers of "We love Ted Cruz."

"It was tremendously uplifting. It's really good to be home," Cruz said, joking that "it's kind of like DC, except in D.C. they're yelling different things."

‘A very different result’

House Republicans followed Cruz’s rallying cry to attach anti-Obamacare provisions to must-pass spending legislation, but the Democratic-controlled Senate refused to take up anything but a “clean” short-term spending bill, meaning one without anything related to health care.

House Republicans first passed legislation that would defund the law and then a bill that would delay it. Softening some more, they passed a bill that would delay just the individual mandate. But the Senate, with the backing of the White House, continued to reject the legislation, demanding only a clean bill.

With no agreement, the government shutdown took effect October 1.

A defeated GOP wants to unite, move on, fight another day

Even though Republicans are the minority in the Senate, Cruz said, the shutdown could have been avoided if those in his party united to support their colleagues on the other side of Capitol Hill.

“Imagine if Senate Republicans had come together, had united and stood side-by-side with House Republicans and had said, ‘we’re with the American people. We want to fund our government. We want to fund every aspect of our government, but we want to answer the American people who are being hurt because of Obamacare,’ ” he said. “We would have ended up with a very different result.”

Republican Sen. John McCain, however, said Sunday on "State of the Union" that the approach "was a fool's errand to start with."

"It was never going to succeed," he added.

Not ruling it out

Ultimately, the House and Senate passed legislation last week that would fund the government through January 15 and extend the debt limit through February 7. In the meantime, select members of the House and Senate will meet to hammer out a long-term budget plan.

“The deal this week was a lousy deal for the American people,” Cruz argued.

While Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and McCain have ruled out another government shutdown in the near future, Cruz didn’t take the option off the table.

McCain: No more shutdowns, 'I guarantee it' | McConnell: Further shutdowns 'off the table'

“There will be time enough to talk about specific strategies, specific tactics,” he told Bash. “There are a lot politicians in Washington who want to put Obamacare behind us. Say OK, fine, no more. No more discussing Obamacare. And you know what? The American people are not satisfied with that.”

Some Republican lawmakers argue that rather than taking an aggressive approach against the federal health care law, they just should let it fail on its own, as many of them believe it will.

But Cruz said that was an ill-conceived tactic.

“There are some Republican gray-beards in Washington who make the point ‘Let's just let this collapse … and then Republicans will benefit,’ ” Cruz said, adding that he “profoundly” disagrees with the approach.

“I consider that theory the ‘Bad Samaritan’ theory. Basically, inflict a bunch of harm on the American people and hope we benefit politically from it. What a terrible, cynical approach. I am not interested in seeing the American people suffer just because my party might benefit politically if they blame the Democrats for the foolish policies that have been imposed.”

Watch State of the Union with Candy Crowley Sundays at 9am ET. For the latest from State of the Union click here.


Filed under: Government Shutdown • Ted Cruz • Texas • TV-State of the Union
soundoff (632 Responses)
  1. Anonymous

    So if his views are so divergent from the rest of his party, why do Republican's still allow him to be part of their caucus?

    October 20, 2013 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  2. TNPatriot

    Cruz is correct, he does not work for the party bosses, but he lies when he says he works for Texans. The TRUTH is that Cruz works directly for the Koch brothers.

    October 20, 2013 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  3. Doris Durand

    He reminds me of the late Senator McCarthy, stating things that are not true but hearing him repeat the lies over begin to sound true. He is a lot like Sarah Palin, loving the media being there, taking in every word. Last Sunday he was with the Vets, along with Sarah and Senator Lee. One never heard a word from Senator Lee only Sarah and Ted stealing the media attention from the vets. I watch the video when he apologized for using the phrases Bataam Death March to surviving Vets of that death march. I felt so bad for those old vets to have to listen to this arrogant man whose apology did not see sincere.

    October 20, 2013 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  4. Willa45

    Presumably, every single bill that is put up for a vote (in both House and Senate) has to be 'clean'. To attach anything to a proposed congressional bill (other than provisions related to the bill itself) should be considered 'pork' and a travesty.

    These practices should not be acceptable because they don't keep our lawmakers honest. Even congressmen need boundaries too. Things like term limits, a cap on recess time, no lobbying allowed, no taking bribes, etc. We need some meaningful Congressional reform and based on the recent crisis, we need it with urgency!

    October 20, 2013 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  5. Bill

    85% of Americans have an unfavorable rating of Ted Cruz.
    I guess that shows that you can't con the American People.

    GOP Leaders are now calling this the most shameful time for the GOP in history.

    October 20, 2013 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  6. Steve Hamilton

    If Cruz has designs on running for the presidency in 2016, he is very shortsighted. All of his recent and ongoing actions pander to the far right wing radicals, aimed towards getting nominated. What he fails to take into account is that those actions will insure that he will lose the general election, particularly if gerrymandering is eliminated next year.

    October 20, 2013 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  7. cosprons

    Ted Cruz cares about one thing only: Ted Cruz! His only work is self aggrandizement. He cares not an iota for the folks of Texas or our state. He is a Canadian (which is not a bad thing to be)..He understands nothing about finance, world trade, and paying one's bills! He does not understand how our government is suppose to function; He is not listening at all to the preponderant number of American people let alone Texans. however, this wack-job really needs to visit his physician as he is suffering from terminal cranial-rectal insertion! Oh! Wack-jobs: Louis Gomert, another Texas potato head, has just stated that John McCain is an Al Quaida supporter! We all need to change our voting ways, friends!! Pax!

    October 20, 2013 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  8. John

    Ted Cruz is no one's fool. The extremely liberal Harvard professor Alan Dershowitz has already commented that Ted Cruz was one of the most gifted and brilliant students he ever had, despite their political differences. Ted Cruz (potential hispanic contender for the White House) scares the s–t out of every Democrat and Republican in Washington. And for all you haters, just stand back and see what happens. He is scaring the Washington establishment to death and it's long overdue....

    October 20, 2013 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  9. dUB1045`

    The people who voted in the Affordable Care Act should be viewed as Traitors. Look at the impact on the economy. Cruz led a revolt that shut down the government for a few days. Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi strong armed a bill thru that is going to destroy the way we have lived on all fronts. Jobs, Privacy, Favoritism, etc. People who criticize Cruz are obviously on the dole and expect to get more government benefits. They are the ones who in a couple of years will be complaining that they are not getting enough and should be given more from uncle sam.

    The ordinary citizen has been sold down the river for a few pieces of sliver that will never materialize. Look where GM is building their Autos that will be "exported" to the world market. Government handouts and see where Chrysler is building Autos.

    October 20, 2013 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  10. John doe

    two clowns make a double clown

    cruz+palin=lunatic

    October 20, 2013 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  11. Joseph Varfley

    Cruz is one crazy senator from the bush. He has no idea how people, I means common people are living. Your nonsense should be only in Taxes. We have nowhere to express ourselves like you have your stupid self on Capital Hill talking to the media. I wish you and your kids or family members were seriously sick and had no health inserance. Keep your stupidness to your family. You don't represent me. Two million people are not majority of the United States you are ignorance.
    I hate to see stupid people like you Cruz. You are a disgrace to our community.

    October 20, 2013 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  12. Name

    He's a leader

    October 20, 2013 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  13. ClydeTheSlyde

    "I don't work for the party bosses, I work for the Koch brothers like everyone else in the Tea Party." – Ted Cruz

    October 20, 2013 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  14. John

    Ted Cruz is no one's fool. The extremely liberal Harvard professor Alan Dershowitz has already commented that Ted Cruz was one of the most gifted and brilliant students he ever had, despite their political differences. Ted Cruz (potential hispanic contender for the White House) scares every Democrat and Republican in Washington. And for all you haters, just stand back and see what happens. He is scaring the Washington establishment to death and it's long overdue....

    October 20, 2013 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  15. longfisch

    There are lots of comments saying Sen. Cruz does not work them or represent them because they are Texas Democrats. Do you feel our President does not work for or represent the millions of Americans that did not vote Democrat?

    He represents Texas and has chosen to represent and work for all of his fellow Texans even if you did not vote for him, and you consider this a bad thing? If he had said I only work for and represent the people who voted for me and I do not represent the people who voted for my opponent, would you have been happier? I understand he does not represent your views, but he is keeping his campaign promises to the majority that elected him over the representative you voted for, write him a letter, this is how Democracy works, remember?

    October 20, 2013 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  16. independant jim

    he works strictly for the insurance industry and Big Business Capitalists ..He does not work for party bosses or America

    October 20, 2013 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  17. scoop

    He sure did them a great favor by costing them billions of dollars because of the shutdown. Now he can cost them more to try to keep people from seeing who is giving huge donations to political funds. That include corporations who we all know will police themselves and have the people's best interests at heart, not profits. He should just change his name to Sam I Am. I do not like Obamacare Ham. I am a grandstander I am.

    October 20, 2013 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  18. raul c.

    He might not work for party bosses but he still works from someone who wants for him to carry his/their party's messages to a different party or group. What a hypocrite...

    October 20, 2013 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  19. Larry Peterson

    I read yesterday in CNN that Cruz was being investigated by the Senate Ethics committee for failure to disclose money that he had in a Jamaican business. There is no mention of that today. Do you still stand with yesterday,s news?

    October 20, 2013 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  20. Dr Albert Gortenbull

    Obamacare is a disaster. America is on the verge of bankruptcy. Cruz and Lee are warning Americans that things in Washington must change! The Fascist in Chief is leading America in the same direction that Juan Peron lead Argentina Albert

    October 20, 2013 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  21. Faian Borre

    Mr. Cruz. We had wlwctions and The People chose to go with Obama Care. You should ashame of yourself for being an embarrassment to this country. Go back to Canada!

    October 20, 2013 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  22. Anonymous

    Crud, er. Cruz is correct. He doesn't work for the party bosses. He works for the Koch brothers. It is both sad and scary that clearly defective people such as Cruz are allowed near any seat of power. Cruz – another reason to use condoms.

    October 20, 2013 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  23. ClydeTheSlyde

    Ted is easily the most brilliant politician in D.C, and the most handsome as well. I could listen to him talk for hours!

    Sincerely,
    Ted

    October 20, 2013 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  24. Steve Hamilton

    Let's review who won't vote for Cruz in 2016, if he runs: women, hourly employees, union members, business interests, government employees, military personnel and veterans, Asian Immigrants, the poor, the elderly, the unemployed, and moderates. right wing radicals represent only about 20% of the voter base. Good luck to him!!!

    October 20, 2013 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  25. Faian Borre

    Mr. Cruz. We had elections in 2012 and The People chose to go with Obama Care. You should be ashamed of yourself for being an embarrassment to this country. Go back to Canada!
    (Sorry for my typos- just using my IPhone)

    October 20, 2013 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
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