October 20th, 2013
09:08 AM ET
9 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. Carlos Danger

    "Party Bosses"? What century does this guy think he is in?

    October 20, 2013 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  2. ill

    just because he bypasses the republican party and answers directly for conservative fascist, he thinks he gains more credibility?

    October 20, 2013 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  3. If I had a hammer... I'd whack you in the morning

    Cruz not only do you NOT speak for me, thank you ...you speak for a dwindling minority. Your constituency is afraid of change and you are harvesting their fear in dollars, shame on you Mr Cruze, shame on you.

    October 20, 2013 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  4. Fedupwithcruz

    Mr. Cruz, please stop saying 'the American people'. You may represent the majority view of your radical state, but you certainly don't represent my views, the views of my state, or the views of the majority of Americans.

    October 20, 2013 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  5. jon Rhodes

    Texans would be well advised to replace Cruz with someone who can work WITH others in Washington.

    October 20, 2013 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  6. Born in Brooklyn

    “What I say privately to my colleagues is the same thing I say publicly... what they’re telling their constituents is very different from what they’re saying behind closed doors.” Unless I'm misreading it, sounds like he's calling his Republican colleagues liars.

    October 20, 2013 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  7. America First

    A man who despised his classmates, despised his teachers, despised his fellow senators, despises nearly all the electorate, we call --- A MEGALOMANIAC. This guy clearly didn't get enough attention as a child.

    October 20, 2013 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  8. America First

    He cost the United States of America $24 BILLION dollars simply so we could all watch him read Green Eggs and Ham. That's THREE TIMES THE ENTIRE AUTO SUPPORT BILL COMBINED. The difference, we GAINED 1,000,000 auto jobs, versus now know no one wants to eat green eggs and ham. What an outsized absurdity in a suit.

    October 20, 2013 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  9. TDALLAS

    As a proud Texas, I strain everyday to maintain that pride with the likes of Ted Cruz holding himself out to be a Senator for all of Texas. Senator Cruz was elected by the Tea Party Faction in Texas. Of 16,100,196 eligible voters in the 2012 Senatorial election, only 7,869,166 eligible voters cast their ballot. Senator Cruz won with 4,456,599 votes. That means that only 27.68% of Texas voters cast their ballots for Senator Cruz.

    Senator Cruz states "“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,”. If in fact this clearly states Senators assessment of his responsibilities as Senator for Texas, how can he be so determined to deny affordable health care for 17% of Texans or 6.3 uninsured Texans, the most uninsured of any state in the country.

    Lets face it, this is not about Ted Cruz working for all of Texas, the is about Ted Cruz working for Ted Cruz. Senator Cruz is clearly running for President inspired by President Obama's being elected during his first term as the Senator from Illinois.

    And what about our nation, the United States of America? Who wants a President who will shutdown our government just to get into the headlines in his quest for the Presidency.

    Senator Cruz says he "doesn't work for the party bosses in Washington". Well he clearly doesn't work for the good of Texas or the United States of America either.

    Senator Cruz rode a wave Tea Party extremism to victory in his race for the Senate. He has and continues to embarrass all Texans. He is looked upon across the nation as an idiot with nothing but self serving interests.

    Texas has become the laughing stock of America, all due to our illustrious Senator Cruz.

    Hopefully, he will be a one term Senator.

    October 20, 2013 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  10. omeany

    and he believes in unicorns!

    October 20, 2013 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  11. Ken Barr

    He is beholding to Palin.

    October 20, 2013 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  12. Dave

    How did a partial shutdown of a bloated government cost 24 billion? Can someone explain?

    October 20, 2013 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  13. Tony Antin

    In the first place, he does not represent 26 million, but only those Tparty extremists. In the second place, IF he represents only 26 million Texans, then he is not a United States senator with at least part of his responsibility being the welfare of the nation. It really disturbs me that by doing something bad gains him the publicity that he seeks. To help defeat any Republican candidate, Democrats should seize on the the GOP candidate being on "Cruz Control." Brand them with that label.

    October 20, 2013 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  14. Skarphace

    “I work for 26 million Texans," says Cruz.

    So all 26 Americans agree with your agenda to shut down our government? I doubt it, but you have another 4 years to make people forget about your idiocy, so maybe you will keep your job. Time will tell.

    October 20, 2013 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  15. myway

    Cruz works for the voters of his district and he doesn't give a flying hoot about his party or the rest of the country. This is the result of surgically created congressional districts giving all of us bad politics.

    October 20, 2013 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  16. GBfromOhio

    "I don’t work for the party bosses in Washington ... I work for my own selfish interest even at the risk of destroying the world economy by trying to appeal to a dying group of intolerant extremists"

    October 20, 2013 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  17. Skarphace

    It strikes me as quite hypocritical that the Tea Party wants Cruz as President after claiming that if Obama were born in Kenya then he would not be eligible to be POTUS although Cruz was born in Canada.

    It also strikes me as hypocracy that merely a few days ago they were trying to make it so that nobody could sign up for the ACA and now they are complaining that the websites are not allowing people to get signed up fast enough.

    Teapublicans: America's hypocrites.

    October 20, 2013 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  18. Wife of a disabled vet

    I'm a Texas resident. Ted Cruz does not represent my ideals or beliefs. He does not speak for me.

    October 20, 2013 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  19. mindstorms

    He doesn't work for party bosses he works for Grover Norquist, the Koch brothers and that ilk.

    October 20, 2013 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  20. Rick Patel

    Tall, tough, tenacious Texan Ted Cruz walks tall, stands proudly upon Constitutional tenets, smacks down dreadful
    Democrats, hunts RINOs in all seasons.

    October 20, 2013 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  21. Travis

    Yea you work for your corporate sponsors.

    October 20, 2013 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  22. pkfops01

    Then thing about people who think they are smarter than everyone else is they forget that there are people smarter than them.

    October 20, 2013 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  23. doight

    He takes his orders from Goldman Sachs were his wife works.

    October 20, 2013 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  24. Magister

    Okay, Cruz, then explain: If you don't work for the Party Bosses in D.C., then why did you vote in favor of their plan? You're a joke.

    October 20, 2013 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  25. Faux Scandals

    He works for Billionaires, screw the poor people.

    October 20, 2013 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
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