Ted Cruz gets pushback during closed-door meeting
October 3rd, 2013
12:01 PM ET
7 years ago

Ted Cruz gets pushback during closed-door meeting

Washington (CNN) – Sen. Ted Cruz got a lot of pushback from Republican colleagues during a closed-door meeting questioning his relentless effort to tie government funding to derailing Obamacare.

"Cruz was completely unapologetic about the ads that he is featured in on the Senate Conservatives Fund website that attack other Republicans. He sees himself as the only truly pure Republican. His colleagues are furious. He has no successful strategy but has managed to generate grass roots support for his position," one senior Republican source at Wednesday's meeting told CNN Chief Political Analyst Gloria Borger.

Cruz has urged Republicans in the House to stand firm and continue pushing any plan to fund the government to proposals aimed at curtailing the Affordable Care Act.

This summer, he appeared in ads produced by the Senate Conservatives Fund urging Republicans to push Congress to defund Obamacare.

This strategy has upset Senate Republicans and some House GOP members because some privately blame the freshman Texas lawmaker for causing the shutdown and boxing House Speaker John Boehner into a corner.

Cruz's spokesman did not have a response to reports of pushback during the Wednesday meeting. Cruz told Politico the media loves to cover internal Republican disagreements and "apparently some senators are content to fuel those stories with anonymous quotes."

Cruz also was unapologetic talking to conservative talk radio host Laura Ingraham earlier Wednesday.

"We've had now three times, the House has endeavored to pass compromise bills that would keep the government funded, but at the same time would start to address the enormous harms that Obamacare is inflicting on the American people. And three times, Harry Reid has said 'no, absolutely not, I will not talk, I will not compromise, I will not do anything – no.' And as long as he maintains that absolutist position, both Reid and President Obama have said they won't even sit down to talk. They want a shutdown," he said.

At a previous meeting of Senate Republicans, Sen. Susan Collins spoke about some of the ads in Maine that said she was not conservative enough, blaming Cruz for helping to divide the party.

During the Wednesday session, many senators spoke out and aimed their comments directly at Cruz, the GOP source told Borger.

While Cruz initially drew the anger of some Republicans weeks ago when the House passed the first bill to keep the government operating only if Obamacare was defunded because Democrats controlled the Senate, he then staged a 21-hour talkathon last week trying to prevent the Obamacare provision from being removed. He lost that effort but helped cement his stature with the Republican base.

That caused some Republicans to go public with their consternation.

Asked why Boehner can't bring up for consideration any bill he wants, Rep. Devin Nunes, R-California, told CNN Wednesday night that the "leadership made a decision to take the position that we are going to take the Ted Cruz strategy, and we are not going to fund the government until we get rid of Obamacare."

Nunes blames Cruz for causing the GOP not to have a choice and causing a shutdown.

"John Boehner said we'll take this Ted Cruz strategy. You guys went out for two months, made these commitments. We'll take it. We'll implement it. And now, here we are, it's fully implemented. ... I think Ted Cruz is one of the best politicians that's come around in a long time. He's able to rally the base, he's got a lot of money … There's a lot of consultants making money off this and lots of TV ads going on. The problem with it is, it's one thing to be good at politics. It's another thing to be not good at strategy."

Rep. Peter King, R-New York, has previously called Cruz "a fraud" for his promises of defunding Obamacare. But other Republicans are not backing away from Cruz, including Virginia gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuccinelli, who is scheduled to hold an event with the senator on Saturday.

For Democrats, there is little question of who is in fact leading the anti-Obamacare effort and are eager to highlight Cruz's efforts.

"Senator Cruz is now a joint speaker," Reid said Thursday on the Senate floor. "He lectures the House on occasion as he does people over here."

Mo Elleithee, communications director for the Democratic National Committee, said in a statement regarding Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus: "I think he probably has Speaker Cruz Boehner's number somewhere."

- CNN's Kevin Bohn and Bryan Koenig contributed to this story.

Filed under: Congress • Government Shutdown • Ted Cruz
soundoff (508 Responses)
  1. wendel

    more than half of Americans like Obama care that's why we voted the man in for a second term. Stop trying to make it look like the country does not want this. A group of repos don't want this and have stirred up this mess. How many times can it get voted on 401 already. Even the supream court has voted . So stop already

    October 3, 2013 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  2. Fair is fair

    Stand strong GOP !

    October 3, 2013 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  3. ghostwriter

    When Grover says puts a republican on blast, he's gotta be out there. Even he is taking shots at Cruz.

    October 3, 2013 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  4. Tony

    Cruz and friends need to move back to Cruz's home land- Canada.

    October 3, 2013 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  5. The Elephant in The Room

    These Anti-Obamites only understand brute force. Mr. Obama should have Joe Biden call Coryn & Cruz into his office and tell ythem that he will VETO the next 5 bills that would benefit Texas. It's time to make Cruz a liability to his constiuents.

    October 3, 2013 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  6. raforrester

    So a minority faction of a minority party is bullying the party leadership into extorting the rest of the government into doing what it wants, for its own purposes, and those purposes don't include the welfare of the citizens of the US. The big question is who is setting the agenda of the Tea Party? My guess is that it is being decided by one or two people, like the Koch brothers, and what they want has nothing to do with Obamacare or shutting down the government. That is all a smokescreen to distract everyone from the real issues affecting the US. It is just a part of the war on America that was started by the Lewis Powell Doctrine. We are heading toward a dictatorship all right, but it isn't any president who will be dictator. It will be somebody hiding behind all of his elected stooges.

    October 3, 2013 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  7. Name Uche Agonsi

    If there is anyone worse than Cruz today in US, that man is Speaker Boehner. I have never seen such a so-called leader in my life that allowed himself to be manipulated by kids, lunatics and money. If he is really a leader he should talk about projects that would benefit majority of American people , not allow most working families to be put out of work, with kids crying for hunger and healthcare because of keystone pipelines and tax cuts for few rich Americans. The whole world is aghast with the potential damage & chaos Boehner & the lunatic friends are about throwing America and the rest of the world into.

    October 3, 2013 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  8. Peter

    As much as Mr. Cruz would like to be the Speaker, he was born in Canada so he can't be second in line to become the President.

    October 3, 2013 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  9. Angry Citizen

    Wes – What exactly are you trying to say??? Cruz is an embarassment to Texas, the Senate and the Country as a whole. Tip O'Neill never shutdown the government - in fact he and Reagan always worked together to get budgets passed and understood that they were working together for the good of the country not for the good of their respective parties. Tip and Ronnie had far too much respect for their duties and responsibilities to engage in the shenanigans that we are witnessing today. The Tea Party Republicans have to understand that they lost the most recent election (2012) and lost their battle on the Affordable Health Care Act. They had a chance to participate in the crafting of the Act, chose not to and therefore have to live with the consequences. To attempt to change legislation that has passed through both houses, been signed by the President and successfully survived legal challenge to the Supreme Court during budget negotiations is nothing short of blackmail. I think that you need a lesson in civics as you clearly do not understand the legislative process. If the Republicans want to change the AHCA then they have to win a national election and take control of the Senate, so they can amend or abolish the Act, but we all know that the RNC is on the "crazy train" these days being driven by the far far far right wing nut jobs and the likelihood of them winning such an election any time soon is very dim.

    October 3, 2013 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  10. manti

    Hey Mr Cruz.........."Oh what tangled webs we weave.....................". I will NEVER vote Republican again.....ever.

    October 3, 2013 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  11. mkaipo

    "I'm from Texas and am ashamed of Ted Cruz and his abhorrent antics. America, please know he does not represent all Texans. Just the really moronic ones." Well, Gene2, get out there and get your fellow Texans to vote him out along with the other GOP (Grand Obstructionist Party) conservatives.

    October 3, 2013 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  12. Angry_Dad

    CRUZing for brusing.

    October 3, 2013 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  13. Marcia

    Cruz wants to be American's HiITLER-check ou German history and how Hitler cam to power-tooooo many scary similarities

    October 3, 2013 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  14. Jim

    Ted Cruz is in no way a Tea party Texan, He is a a nobody who made it big hanging on to his wifes dress, She rules him totaly. She being managent at Goldman Sachs

    October 3, 2013 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  15. Ed

    I"ve work 37 years I find myself unemployed at a time there are few jobs not wanting anything to disrupt the slow growth in our economy, I payed healh insurence all my life 37 years. Now that I need it, I have none, I was expeting to get some this october . now who knows? I am also a vet and now that is being disruptedalso. Please I beg congress to stop playing games with peoples lives and throwing monkey wrenchs into the countrys recovery all for the pleasure of making our elected President look bad. STOP THE GAMES CALL THE VOTE Please

    October 3, 2013 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  16. gordon michaud

    OK, Here we are, a nation of PRIMA DONNA'S in congress. They seem to be more concerned about which network is going to let them air their personal opinion. This is becoming a nation of Honey BooBoo's. Stupid people willing to do anything, no matter how stupid, to get their moment of lights on primetime TV. Not the basis of government I want to see, and not what the Founding Fathers envisioned for this country. I am an INDEPENDENT Voter, and have been so all my life for the very reasons I see before me. THE TWO PARTY SYSTEM DOES NOT WORK. All it has done so far, is to polarize the public in such a gridlock of personal opinion that now has us paralized and unable to function Normally. I hate to say the obvious, but I doubt that even the LORD GOD would not want anythng to do with us. I think that this government is pushing itself into a new form of revolution from the grass roots poor against the wealthy and privileged. These selfish congresspeople need to get in touch with reality of life in the real world, get off their Washington Pedestals, get dirty and in touch with what the real people they represent have to put up with every day just to survive. WAKE-UP WASHINGTON before the rest of take steps to wake you up and vote you OUT.!!! There are a lot of mad people out here, just waiting for their time to come, don't encourage them by being stupid. We don't care about personal vendetas that the congress members have with the President, they are there to do the job of administering the country, not destroying it!!!

    October 3, 2013 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  17. somebody

    RI Jim

    While I agree in principle on reducing the size of the Federal Government, I am adamantly opposed to the Republicans' strategy for attempting to do so. Holding the country's economy hostage in pursuit of their blind ideology is short sighted, misguided, and just plain WRONG.

    I completely agree! The goal of reducing the size of the Government and a balanced budget is good but HOW you get there really matters. The approach being taken by the Tea Baggers is completely wrong.
    BTW, by next October the ACA will have been in full effect for a year. The GOP is going to have zero credibility when people discover they like having health insurance. Gerrymandering may save them the house but this latest stunt isn't helping them at all.

    October 3, 2013 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  18. Bill

    It's about time the spineless GOP stands up to this lying con man...

    October 3, 2013 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  19. Jason P

    You voters better take care of these Republican buffoons next year. The sane public is tired of this CRAP!

    October 3, 2013 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  20. rs

    Ryan in Texas

    SO a Democrat can be liberal, like Obama.
    But a Republican cannot be conservative, like Cruz?
    There is nothing about a foaming radical like Cruz that can be termed "conservative".

    October 3, 2013 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  21. sly

    "Cruz, the Canadian Bin Laden".

    I like that – except I'd invite Bin Laden to dinner WAY before the racist Cruz.

    October 3, 2013 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  22. gg

    To paraphrase the late Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir, if the Republicans loved America as much as they hate Obama, we would have a chance to make progress for our country.

    October 3, 2013 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  23. GinnyG

    Gee, Cruz is getting push back? Imagine that. Why doesn't he just read them Green Eggs and Ham again. That ought to fix it. Thanks to Cruz and the rest of the worthless Tea Baggers, the United States is NOW the laughing stock of the world. Who is going to take our government seriously after this fiasco? And the very idea that even today a few of the die hard fanatics are glad that they shut down the government - the message they are sending is they do NOT CARE WHAT HAPPENS TO OUR COUNTRY AS LONG AS THEY GET THEIR WAY. Then the other fool that indicated that they won't be disrespected and won't budge until they get something in return; however, he doesn't know what that is???????????????????? I have come to the conclusion that we don't have to worry about foreign terrorists undermining our government. We elected our own homegrown terrorists and they are trying to destroy our government. And to add insult to injury, they are still getting their paycheck which a few are donating to charity. Only a handful have deferred receiving their paycheck; however, HOW MANY OF THEM ARE ELIGIBLE FOR THEIR LIFETIME RETIREMENT AND HEALTH CARE PACKAGE. HOW MANY OF THEM WILL BE ELIGIBLE FOR THEIR LIFETIME RETIREMENT AND HEALTH CARE PACKAGE BY THE 2014 ELECTIONS? So even if we succeed in voting these non-performing representatives out of office, WE WILL STILL BE PAYING THEM. We have to change the system. If they shut down the government, they should not only be docked their pay - they should pay a fine for every day the government is shut down. They shouldn't be able to leave the House or the Senate until a bill has been passed. No catered meals. Just stale sandwiches, warm water and bad coffee. Plus, if they shut down the government - they FORFEIT their retirement and health care. And their paychecks, their fines, and the money that would have gone to fund their retirement and health care would go into a slush fund to help the people they are harming the most - our elderly, our children, our veterans.

    October 3, 2013 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  24. raforrester

    The Republican Party is in a death spiral. The Tea Party has hijacked it and is running it off the cliff, and the more the GOP does their bidding, the more moderate Republicans will exit, until the only ones left will be paranoid right-wing extremists who are willing to do anything to get their way. As for the Tea Party, they have no hope for the future, because the demographics are against them. They have to seize power now, because the young generations coming of age are overwhelmingly liberal and moderate. So whoever is controlling the Tea Party, like the Koch Brothers, knows that they have to get their agenda set in stone now in order to preserve their power.

    October 3, 2013 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  25. ShawnDH

    He's disgusting.

    October 3, 2013 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
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