October 20th, 2013
09:08 AM ET
7 years 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.

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‘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.

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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. Two Faced

    What a megalomaniac.

    October 20, 2013 09:22 am at 9:22 am |
  2. blowme

    If someone shot this punk, others might consider it a blessing.

    October 20, 2013 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
  3. don in albuquerque

    He has made it very plain he does not work for the party bosses. He works for the Kock Bros. The GOP needs to get rid of the Tea Baggers ASAP and force them to form their own party. People like this spell their doom.

    October 20, 2013 09:24 am at 9:24 am |
  4. EastCoastMike

    Maybe this self serving little phony should explain how costing the United States government $24 Billion with the shut down helps the people of Texas....

    October 20, 2013 09:24 am at 9:24 am |
  5. ginly

    Ted Cruz is the only politician I have ever seen who continues to remember that he works for the folks who elected him! I voted for him once, I'm proud of his fight for Texans and all Americans, and I'll vote for him again.

    October 20, 2013 09:26 am at 9:26 am |
  6. the hippies were right

    Sorry Cruz, I am a Texan and you don't work for me, if you did I'd fire you in a second, I don't like dishonest people, and you don't work for 23 million Texans! In the last presidential election 4.5 million voted republican, 3.2 million voted democratic, here in Texas. So either your number is artificially inflated or your head is, and I just stated the true numbers, so we know what the problem is......EGO!

    October 20, 2013 09:27 am at 9:27 am |
  7. T

    ...Cruz simply LIED to his sheeple, that he could throw out the ACA......

    October 20, 2013 09:29 am at 9:29 am |
  8. Anonymous

    No you work for the wanna be party bosses, the Koch brothers.

    October 20, 2013 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
  9. Lonnie

    How do you know Ted Cruz is telling a lie? His mouth is moving.

    October 20, 2013 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
  10. bupali

    How is Obama care raising insurance premium?

    October 20, 2013 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  11. jamesdusch

    You don't work for the people either. You are simply out for your own agenda. That's ok when you can't win an election as Sunday school teacher you'll get it. I know you have your sites on the white house, you dream about it at night i'll bet, fat chance the American people will ever vote for such a radical. thanks for showing us your true colors. LOL

    October 20, 2013 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  12. lloyd roberts

    Wow, so cool. He likes to fight, yeah he ain't no whimp. Yeah, he likes to fight cause it's cool to fight, like in my video games. Yeah, Ted's cool. That approach is great for an MMA fighter, but when you're an adult in the Senate, he sounds and acts like a child. And the people who applaud him in San Antonio, saying things like, cool, wow he the boss. No wonder his heritage breeds dictators like Fidel

    October 20, 2013 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  13. W.G.

    It´s really funny how The GOP (Grand Old Problem) keeps LYING about being the
    party of fisical conservatism yet blow 24 BILLION on NOTHING ! Ted Cruz is a
    liar and a cheat he doesn´t work for those goofballs that are crazy enough to vote
    for him he works for the rich billionaires that give him MONEY !

    October 20, 2013 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  14. Alex Disner

    I don't know if I want to cry or laugh.

    October 20, 2013 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  15. Erik

    A senator's job is to represent his state, not the people. Ted Cruz apparently skipped that day in his civics class, if he even took a civics class.

    October 20, 2013 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  16. Brian Wolfe

    He only represents 4mm Texans since that is all that voted for him , 3 mm voted for Sadler. As a Texan I can't wait for his reelection as I will throw my money and vote behind any candidate that runs against him.

    October 20, 2013 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  17. Muggles 64

    I want to remind Americans Ted 's great failure cost taxpayers 24 billion bucks. We cannot afford food stamps, head start, Medicare for all but the tea pugs can pull a stunt that Ted, due to his high powered education knew would not work. He led the teaparty crowd by the nose for his own benefit . He pulled in millions in contributions while spending 24 billion taxpayer funds. I think he should have to pay us back.

    October 20, 2013 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  18. Mara Tam

    and his brain doesn't work either

    October 20, 2013 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
  19. angryinva

    So it is okay to inflict harm on the American people with a shutdown but not okay if it is because of the ACA. Just a little hypocritical Ted.

    October 20, 2013 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  20. Marylee Patrick

    WHY do you people keep giving the "wackobird" a forum so he can just keep on and keep on telling everyone Obamacare doesn't work??? Don't you know that is why he keeps pounding and pounding on that so people will be swayed by his remarks and not even give the new plan a chance?? He is not an honest person. He has his own agenda and the rest of the country be dammed!!

    October 20, 2013 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  21. sisterchef

    News for Mr. Cruz: You won't be working for those 26 million Texans much longer. We have had it with you. Good thing you have all that extra money stashed away...being unemployed is hard.

    October 20, 2013 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  22. Aston

    Such a jerk. Is he Sarah Palin in disguise. He does look like a woman!

    October 20, 2013 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  23. Tychi

    “I work for 26 million Texans. That’s my job, to fight for them." No, you work for the Tea Party. You work for your own ego and attempt to gain more fame for more responsible political positions. " I don’t work for the party bosses in Washington" There has been a system that has worked in American since 1776, and now you tried your hardest to break it. Traitor.

    October 20, 2013 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  24. JB

    But you just bragged about using that same Bad Samaritan Theory with the shutdown. You did not benefit politically from that and in fact did harm with your effort to be a party boss.

    October 20, 2013 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  25. sara

    26 million Texans? Cruz is as Anti-American as those Texans that wants to secede from their Union. Maybe he'll be the one who lead them to Secede. Thank God.

    October 20, 2013 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
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