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. Rosslaw

    The whole world is laughing. And they are not laughing "with" the teatards.

    October 3, 2013 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  2. nintex

    Some guy once said of political parties, "The spirit of party serves always to distract the public councils and enfeeble the public administration. It agitates the community with ill-founded jealousies and false alarms; kindles the animosity of one part against another; foments occasional riot and insurrection." Oh yeah, that guy was George Washington, in 1796.

    Another old guy also said, "Men are naturally divided into two parties: 1) those who fear and distrust the people, and wish to draw all powers from them into the hands of the higher classes. 2) Those who identify themselves with the people and have confidence in them. In every country there are these two parties." That guy was Thomas Jefferson.

    Not too hard to see Jefferson's prophesies come true in our country today – guess which party is which?

    October 3, 2013 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  3. dc

    "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"

    DO YA THINK? She has voted with the Dems more than with the GOP! Why doesn't she just declare herself a Democrat and be done with it!

    October 3, 2013 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  4. Steve S

    Cruz is what happens, when you bring a cartoon character to life.
    That fact that he's from Texas, only supports my argument.

    October 3, 2013 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  5. just wondering

    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."

    October 3, 2013 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  6. darkbraincomics

    Maybe he should have read from Dr. Seus in that meeting to make it all better?

    October 3, 2013 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  7. scarf

    Republican: Give us 100% of what we want.
    Democrat: No.
    Republican: Give us 99% of what we want.
    Democrat: No.
    Republican: Give us 98% of what we want.
    Democrat: Nol.
    Republican: You guys just won't compromise!

    October 3, 2013 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  8. Craiga

    @nintex – read about Duverger's law. Jefferson's two party theory was incorrect. It's the voting system which is too difficult a change for general public to go through with. Duverger's law.

    October 3, 2013 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  9. freedom


    Obamacare is a monster compared to Romney's mandate. That is the point. Obamacare mandates to individuals AND businesses. It totally debilitates business growth by placing the financial burden of providing healthcare for all of its employees. That is impossible in many cases, and the businesses either close, or don't hire new employees. It is you who seems to not realize the travesty this is, and what it will cause. It will negatively affect this country for many generations to come. That is why we are fighting against it, and support Ted Cruz in his efforts.

    October 3, 2013 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  10. E.L. Cantwell

    Republicans ran a candidate who promised to repeal the ACA and he lost by more than a million votes. Elections have consequences. Democracy only works if you're willing to support it when things don't go your way. The law was passed democratically. If it turns out to be as bad as the Republicans say then, in a real democracy, the voters will make that correction. Obstructionist tactics like this are bad for the party and bad for the country. There was no attempt at this during the previous administration even though there were a lot of real differences between the party. What if a handful of Dems had blocked the government like this over the Iraq war? Everyone would have been yelling "treason". These tactics really seem treasonous to me. As a former Republican I'm really sad about what this will do to the party in the long term. There's not enough spin in the universe to make this anything but stupid. And this is Cruz's first term. Why does he hate America so much?

    October 3, 2013 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  11. Watchout

    Ted Cruz is a "cartoon character". He has no character and no morals. He takes government money, healthcare, living expenses, but don't want to see illegitimate Americans in poverty, low income and under employed to have access to healthcare. These groups who operate on hate and that's what it is are foolish and ignorant. The Koch Brothers and the very greed don't give a crap about them.

    October 3, 2013 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  12. us_1776

    Any day you will see the moderates in the GOP get fed up with this nonsense by the TEA Party and break ranks.

    Mark my words. It's coming.

    There's a lot of smoke coming out of the doors of the GOP right now and 5-alarm blaze is about to break out.


    October 3, 2013 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  13. Clearance

    Cruz followers will soon be doing the goose step behind him.

    October 3, 2013 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  14. Tomo

    Please stop calling them the Tea Party. It only allows them to use it to fuel their fallacy that they are patriots. I prefer the moniker "The Anarchy Reich".

    October 3, 2013 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  15. Scott

    Cruz has put the GOP in the position of defending the ACA or hoping the ACA succeeds. If the ACA goes ahead and stays as unpopular as it is or gets even more unpopular, Cruz can run as an independent and the GOP will have been decimated.

    October 3, 2013 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  16. Exred

    This kind of absolutism from the GOP has it's roots in one of their largest bases, evangelical christianity. It is a meme imported from the idea that the bible is the infallible word of god and can never be questioned, compromised or negotiated. As long as the GOP leadership is composed of evangelical leaning christians and the party depends on these fundamentalists for support, this will not change. They will equate compromise with defeat. This does not bode well for the Republican party.

    October 3, 2013 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
  17. ditdahdit

    When, like Cruz, you have billionaires handing you media money you don't need anybody else.

    October 3, 2013 08:58 pm at 8:58 pm |
  18. esh

    Mr. Cruz....keep it up and you'll be riding out on the horse you rode in on...after one term! Get our federal workers back to work!!!!

    October 3, 2013 09:01 pm at 9:01 pm |
  19. Dan5404

    Cruze, Boehner and McConnell were in the running for Most Despised Politician. But Cruz has pulled so far ahead now, he wins hands down. He'a ldelusional to even think he could get nominated for president. He is hated by the majority off people on both sides.

    October 3, 2013 09:19 pm at 9:19 pm |
  20. Larry

    We don't need to worry about the Debt Ceiling – without a govt it won't be too long before the real effects of Anarchists start to show. This is gonna get real interesting:)

    October 3, 2013 09:58 pm at 9:58 pm |
  21. Is it me?

    The funniest thing I heard all day- "Ted Cruz is the Honey Boo Boo of the Republican Party" He's kind of like Sarah Palin, part two- except Ted is more of a sociopath...don't let those puppy dog eyes fool you!!

    October 3, 2013 10:17 pm at 10:17 pm |
  22. Larry in Houston

    this guy is nothing short of a Liar – I guess he's used to it – guess too much lying in the courtroom. I'm an Independent – but the democrats have been trying to "Negotiate" Months & Months ago...I don't blame Obama for Not Negotiating any more. The republicans such as Cruz & company shut the door months ago, now they want to negotiate. because of the up-coming debt ceiling.

    I've been following politics for the last 50 years – but I've never seen a party as fractured as the Republican Party, 2013. I mean, it's pitiful. I mean, they don't know who to listen to – – LOL – I guess some may listen to the one from Alaska – or the one from Canada / or Texas – then add the ultra right wing, for what they want, I mean, I've never seen anything like it. LOL – it's not just a "fractured" party, it's now a "worthless" party – Guess we'll see how it pans out for them in 2014 –

    October 3, 2013 11:07 pm at 11:07 pm |
  23. rs

    You know, with the raw hatred and dishonesty the GOP displays towards government, government workers, the President, and the American people (those they theoretically work for) it sure seems like they are a really poor bunch to look to for leadership on pretty much anything.

    Perhaps they could all make a career shift to selling used cars? [Apologies to those in the used car trade, you are actually better and more noble than TEA Party Republicans....]

    October 3, 2013 11:12 pm at 11:12 pm |
  24. DAI

    Ted Cruz attacked his alma mater Harvard Law School, now he attacks his republican colleagues WHO HE THINKS HE IS? what a narcissistic little man with lizard hands.!! Of course he also attacks Susan because he doesn't like women in power.

    October 3, 2013 11:23 pm at 11:23 pm |
  25. rs


    The GOP includes old and new – but some of the old was awful – crony capitalism, bailouts, big spending – their fiscal conservatism got lost – but with the new republicans, it's coming back.
    Sure, every "fiscal conservative" blows $600 million a day on a government shut down, $1.5 million a vote on rescinding the ACA (HOW many times now?), throws 800,000 into unemployment, wrecks tourism (and those precious tax dollars derived thereof- just $2.7 million a day just in AZ.).. for what? A program that people are already using to buy healthcare insurance? Too late Bucko, too late.
    Face it, the ACA isn't the cause of your little scam, it's just the excuse.

    October 3, 2013 11:25 pm at 11:25 pm |
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