February 20th, 2014
01:34 AM ET
4 years ago

Ted Cruz assails fellow Republican senators for 'trickery'

Beaumont, Texas (CNN) –  Sen. Ted Cruz  accused his own Republican leadership of  “trickery” in trying to force a “show vote” on raising the debt ceiling last week, warning Republicans will get “clobbered in the polls” for not standing up for principle.

"What Republican leadership said is we want this to pass, but if every senator affirmatively consents to doing it on 51 votes, then we can all cast a vote no and we can go home to our constituents and say we opposed it. And listen, that sort of show vote, that sort of trickery to the - to the constituents is why Congress has a 13 percent approval rating.

In my view, we need to be honest with our constituents.  And last week, what it was all about was truth and transparency.  I think all 45 Republicans should have stood together and said of course not.,” Cruz told CNN Chief Congressional Correspondent Dana Bash in a network exclusive interview airing on CNN.

Last week, Cruz angered many fellow Republicans by blocking a vote to raise the debt ceiling and forcing them to take a politically perilous vote.

Cruz's move meant 60 votes were needed to avoid defaulting on America’s loans – so GOP leaders voted against Cruz' filibuster, which put them in the crosshairs of conservatives and frustrated with Cruz

“Go back to those Senate lunches.  I - I won't identify anything, but I'll - I'll tell you several people raised a question just like you did there - why are you trying to throw five Republicans under the bus and make them vote for raising the debt ceiling?

And I'll tell you my response.  My response is I don't want to throw any Republicans under the bus.  I would like to see all 45 Republicans stand together and actually do what we tell our constituents.”

Bash asked whether  – on a human level – whether it stings to have so many fellow senators from his own party so angry with him.

“As a human being, I can't control what they say, how they behave. I can control what I do. So every interaction that I have with every senator, Republican or Democrat, is consistently civil, courteous, respectful, treating them with - with the dignity that they deserve, “ replied Cruz.

Here are other highlights from the interview:

Not worried about standing with other Republicans: Cruz fortified his standing among grassroots conservatives with his opposition to the debt ceiling deal. Last year he was one of the leaders of conservatives who blocked an agreement that would have avoided the 16-day partial federal government shutdown in an effort to defund President Barack Obama’s health care law. If Cruz is worried about relationships with other Republicans in the Senate, he didn't sound like it.

"What I try to keep an eye on is I don’t work for the party bosses in Washington. I work for 26 million Texans,” he said.

Cruz stood by his attempt to block the debt ceiling votes, insisting his efforts were based on transparency and fairness to conservative voters, not to political damage his colleagues in the GOP.

“The funny thing is what I told the voters of Texas, I guarantee you all 45 Republican senators tell voters in their states the same thing, which is they're going to lead the fight to stop the spending and to stop the debt and if 45 Republicans had stood together, nobody gets thrown under the bus.”

Ted on Ted: Republicans have been called to distance themselves from the aging rock star, who has been a frequent GOP campaigner, after he called Obama a "subhuman mongrel." Cruz said he doesn’t share Nugent’s sentiment but, “There's a reason… people listen to him.”

“He has been fighting passionately for Second Amendment rights," Cruz said of Nugent. "And this administration has demonstrated an incredible hostility to the Second Amendment rights of law abiding citizens."

Cruz suggested a double standard in news coverage, insisting that incendiary comments from the left don't get the same attention.

Backbone wins elections: Some Republicans fear Cruz's image outside of the conservative wing might cost them an opportunity to take back the Senate. But Cruz said it's Republicans backing down from principles that's costing them elections.

"The Washington establishment think Republicans win elections by you don't stand for anything, you keep your head down, you don't rock the boat. You know what? Every time we do that we get clobbered in the polls,” Cruz said.

Cruz pointed to the midterm elections in 2010, when the tea party wave swept Republicans into the majority in the House, as the only recent election where his party took a stand.

Obama 'utterly ineffectual' against Putin: Cruz called the Obama administration’s policy toward Russia and the unrest in Ukraine “misguided.”

“You know, if you look at the last five years, one of the tragic results is U.S. leadership has been receding.  We have been shrinking.  And into that vacuum others, like Iran, like Russia, have expanded.  Putin is trying to reassemble the old Soviet Union and - and this administration's foreign policy has been utterly ineffectual standing up to prevent that.”
A shot at a possible rival: Cruz dismissed possible 2016 GOP presidential rival Rand Paul's criticism of Bill Clinton's "predatory behavior" in the White House – he said he had plenty of problems with Clinton's wife.

"I'm a lot less concerned with Bill Clinton's escapades decades ago than I am with Hillary Clinton's consistently wrong record when it comes to foreign policy, when it comes to domestic policy,” Cruz said of the comments from the GOP senator from Kentucky.

"Throughout her tenure, Hillary Clinton has embraced the same far-left agenda. Before Obamacare there was Hillarycare. And that agenda hurts people who are struggling.”

Correct the Record, a group created to defend potential Democratic presidential candidates, took issue with Cruz's comments regarding Clinton.

"Not surprising, Ted Cruz just doesn't know his facts.  Secretary Clinton helped restore America's leadership and standing in the world during a time of global challenges and changes. As a U.S. Senator, she worked to expand health care for National Guard members and reservists.  In the Senate, she worked to strengthen the Children's Health Insurance Program, which increased coverage for children in low  income and working families, a program she helped create as First Lady," said Adrienne Watson, the group's deputy communications director.

Calling out Kerry, doubting climate change:  Cruz said that the data on global warming doesn’t support environmental activists’ argument.

"You always have to be worried about something that is considered a so-called 'scientific theory' that fits every scenario. Climate change, as they've defined it, can never be disproved,” he said.

He called Secretary of State John Kerry’s remarks  that climate change is a national security threat “ironic” considering the other major crises rocking the world.

Secretary of State John Kerry’s recent comments that climate change ranks among the world's most serious problems has sparked outrage, particularly from Republicans.

"He sees a greater threat from your SUV than he does to Iranian nuclear weapons,” Cruz said.

CNN's Dana Davidsen, John Helton, and CNN Senior Congressional Producer Deirdre Walsh contributed to this report

Filed under: Congress • Ted Cruz
soundoff (799 Responses)
  1. urouttolunch

    This was the all-time stupidest political escapade. All these boys had authorized the spending already. So the debt is going to happen, unless they want to increase revenue (aka raise taxes). It's pretty stupid that we allow the two topics to be addressed separately anyway. What a BS move by Cruz and every Republican m0r0n who stood with him. How can we get rid of this doofus in the quickest possible way?

    February 20, 2014 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  2. Brian W

    Good to see the Canadian running high in office.

    February 20, 2014 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  3. Dave

    Cruz is still under the delusion that shutting down the government is totally awesome. The GOP is not listening to him anymore, thank God, and they are stepping aside and letting the Dems run the country. If the voters don't like the decisions the Dems are making then they will be voted out. You know, kinda like we've been running things for a while now as a country.

    February 20, 2014 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  4. SickofitAll

    Attack your own party members? That just shows how well he and his party go towards getting things done, by bickering, backstabbing, and criticizing. It's all political theater no matter who wins it. The day I see a moderate get in office and get things done, heh yeah, those days seem long gone. It's one extreme or the other now, and each side is always pointing out something they feel is an extreme outrageous thing to instill fear so they can get their way. While the American citizens sit here and dump money to pay for this ridiculous theater of back and forth antics we continue to regress towards the same blame game. Is it the "Divided States of America" now?

    February 20, 2014 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  5. tom l

    You are reading too much into the "Cruz birther" comments. It really has nothing to do with the fact that Cruz is part Cuban. It has to do with the fact that Cruz was not born in the United States and therefore is not qualified to run for POTUS. This argument has to do with the Consti tution, not Cuban Hispanics in general.

    On the other hand, the "Obama birther" comments had everything to do with race. Unlike Cruz, Obama was born in the United States. The only reason to claim that Obama was not qualified to be POTUS was because his father was black. You are looking so hard for racism that you can't even see it in your own reflection.
    Skarface, you're joking, right? Cruz isn't eligible to be pres because he was born in Canada? His mother is American. He is American. He is eligible. By your logic, anyone going on a trip out of the country better not give birth to someone because they won't be eligible to be pres? That is as crazy as any birther. I will freely admit that there was some racism with regards to the birther movement, but not nearly what you are making it out to be. They just were looking for excuses for a DEMOCRAT (not an African American) to be president, in most cases. You talk about me reading racism into the comments while you do the exact same thing reading racism where you don't know. Dude, you're a pretty reasonable dude who is a passionate liberal and that's cool; I think you said you are still in college so I would hope you're a liberal at that stage in your life. Howeva, read the vitriol and hatred in the comments. You think someone like Tone or Mallory are joking? The hatred is palpable and way more prevalent than birthers in the repub party. Just read the comments again from my perspective (a libertarian) and you can see how obvious it is.

    February 20, 2014 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  6. it's_all_good

    This smart educated man acts like a loonatic! All to appease the crazies out there – doesn't he think he could get elected with the sane folks? Thank goodness there are more of us than them (today, no promises what tomorrow will bring). Oh, and Teddy, you might ask your daddy a "guest" in our country until he finally took the plunge (you running for office inspired him?) to shut up about our president – some of us take that very seriously – you iknow, a foreigner coming into our country, doing well off the bounty our country offers speaking ill of our president – you just leave that to those of us who have always lived here – okay? Perhaps you need to revisit Cuba? That seems to be the direction you and your son are wanting to take us.

    February 20, 2014 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  7. pizzyonhim

    He's a simple minded moron. When I look at him I wonder what breeding pond he crawled up out of.

    February 20, 2014 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  8. sammy750

    Terrorist Cruz is throwing this nation under the bus trying to promote his extreme views. The State of TX, like Arizona is populated by racist and extremist. So he will continue to be supported.

    February 20, 2014 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  9. Bertha

    The reason republicans will get slammed in the elections is because they have shown they are willing to spend billions of dollars to shut the government down rather that do a budget and raise the debt ceiling. Besides that, they don't like women, they show themselves to be intolerant of the poor, they support the rich getting richer while the rest of us get poorer...to name a few.

    February 20, 2014 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  10. Sniffit

    "tom l: "Reading these comments makes it apparent that racism is alive and well with liberals."

    You are reading too much into the "Cruz birther" comments. It really has nothing to do with the fact that Cruz is part Cuban. It has to do with the fact that Cruz was not born in the United States and therefore is not qualified to run for POTUS."

    WRONG. Cruz is eligible. Live with it. The biggest reason people are doing it is revenge for the completely ridiculous birther nonsense the GOP/Teatrolls and MSM put the country through with respect to Obama. It's a facetious "in your face and how do you like it?" Turnabout is fair play. Tom's whimpering over it and his attempt to claim that the "Cruz Birthers" have surpassed the nationwide, all the time coverage in the MSM of the "Obama Birthers" and their antics is pathetic. The birthers attacked Obama and still do and got HUGE coverage of their nonense, including the innumerable lawsuits they filed to try to get "the real birth certificate" or undo Obama's presidency and their conspiracy theory nonsense about Kenyan birth certificates, his grandmother, or the birth certificate being a forgery...not to mention their use of that crap during election campaigns and their widespread refusal to repudiate those claims when disproven or even agree once he released his birth certificate (saying things like "well, I don't know, I think it's a reasonable question"). The only thing the MSM did different with respect to people playing the birther card on Cruz was immediately write articles thoroughly debunking it, which they didn't have the balls to do when it was Obama because they didn't want to lose "access" to the GOPers/Teatrolls pushing it. You can very easily find the CNN Ticker article doing so for Cruz right quickly once the issue came up...have fun finding one that came that quickly in response to Obama's birther attackers.

    February 20, 2014 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  11. Concerned

    It's funny how the American people are sick and tired of our leadership in all three branches, and when someone comes along that goes against the grain of "the same old song and dance", those same American people are outraged even more.

    Do you people actually WANT change or is it all lip service like our leadership gives us?

    Give'em hell, Ted. I may not agree 100% with your ideology, but someone has to stand up and right the ship.

    February 20, 2014 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  12. victor yao

    Cruz, like his father, will lie while placing his hand on the Bible. His father lies in the house of God that Obama refuses to say the word God in his swearing in oath. Just look at the replay of the swearing in ceremony and you know how shady is his father. It runs in the family.

    February 20, 2014 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  13. Alina1

    Delusional egomaniac..

    February 20, 2014 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  14. Mark

    If this guy were a coach his players would have no idea what they are suppose to do, only what they shouldn't do. All horn, no drive shaft!

    February 20, 2014 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  15. oldbull

    Cruz puts party before country and then himself before his party...Ted Cruz is an egomaniac...He is all about Ted Cruz.

    February 20, 2014 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  16. jamison

    Cruz is EVIL. He reminds me of how the other snake, Joe McCarthy nearly destroyed this country with his hatred and persecution of everyday U.S. citizens. In fact he even looks like Joe the Snake.

    February 20, 2014 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  17. Edward Clark

    It is not a matter of people not liking Congress. But it is because of people like you whose ideas, character & being is too extreme simply because you have communist roots,period!

    February 20, 2014 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  18. happyfrenchman

    I think it is outrageous that anyone describes Ted Nugent as a musician.

    February 20, 2014 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  19. TheSadTruth

    And now the GOP begins to eat its own. 2016 will be the most entertaining election year ever, seeing that the GOP looks like it's abandoned trying to appear normal and is seeking Ted Nugent and Duck Dynasty's fake hillbillies as its spokesmen.

    February 20, 2014 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  20. cedaly1968

    Every time I hear something coming from his mouth I am reminded of an iconic quote from "The Dark Knight Rises"

    "Because some men aren't looking for anything logical, like money. They can't be bought, bullied, reasoned or negotiated with. Some men just want to watch the world burn"

    That man is Ted Cruz, the Republican Senator from Texas.

    February 20, 2014 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  21. sly

    The Party of Stupid just keeps getting dumber.

    To put it bluntly: Ignorant people vote Republican.

    In 2012, the 10 most educated states all voted Obama. 9 of 10 of the least educated states voted Romney. (Forbes Mag).

    I predict their 13% favorable falls to 5% by November.

    February 20, 2014 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  22. ThinkAgain

    @libturds: "Ted Nugent got it right...."

    What's right is how easily manipulated and played for fools folks like you are. Historically, our nation does better – across ALL economic groups – under Democratic policies than under repub ones. The GOP and its puppet masters, the Koch brothers and the like, hate Dem policies for precisely that reason: We help all Americans, not just the top 1% who want to own and control everything.

    President Obama being of mixed race just makes it easy for you and others of your ilk to be yanked around by your short hairs and vote – once again – against your own self-interest.

    Any sane person would be tired of being used by now, but the GOP/tea bag base just keeps coming back for more abuse.


    February 20, 2014 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  23. ChrisM

    Ted "McCarthy" Cruz is just another arrogant fool. He only cares about himself. Bye Bye Cruz

    February 20, 2014 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  24. skarphace

    Tom I: "Skarface, you're joking, right? Cruz isn't eligible to be pres because he was born in Canada?"

    Really? Then what was all that argument about Obama possibly being born in Kenya and having to show his "long-form" birth certificate about? If Obama would have been ineligible to be POTUS because he was born in Kenya to a mother who was an American citizen and a father who was a foreign citizen, then how is Cruz eligible to be POTUS when he was clearly born in Canada to a mother who was an American citizen and a father who was a foreign citizen.

    I am not attempting to say that Cruz is not a "natural born American citizen", as that is another argument. I am attempting to say that if you Tea Freaks are right that Obama would not have been eligible if he was born in Kenya, then clearly Cruz is ineligible because he was born in Canada. Get it now?

    Sniffit: "WRONG. Cruz is eligible. Live with it."

    True. The wording was off. I was attempting to use the Tea Party "birther" argument against themselves.

    February 20, 2014 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  25. what4

    This battle should be fought at budgeting time – not during the time to pay the bills.

    February 20, 2014 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
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