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. rosethornne

    Ted Crudz has a math problem.

    He doesn't work for 26 million Texans, he works for one Texan: his greedy little self.

    Just ask him how much cashola his little stunt raked in for him, while costing the country 24 billion dollars.

    October 20, 2013 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  2. cprice88

    I am a life long Texan and Cruz is an insult to the former great senators from our state. I love his comments that he did not come to DC to play politics. Dofus, you are a politician. Please anyone on this thread show up to work tomorrow and declare that you hate what you do to your boss or employees and see how well that goes over. Texas senators had always been great at getting other senators to see things their way, please see LBJ. Dear small town small brained old white Texan, you boy Cruz has no pull and will never get anything done for our state. Other senators can not wait to vote against anything he proposes,to get done for us.

    October 20, 2013 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  3. Larry Peterson

    The particular story was quoting the findings of Time. I dislike this guy-but fair is fair. If you misquoted I will stop telling everybody what you said-but you should print a retraction.

    October 20, 2013 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  4. ug

    Mccan't does...

    October 20, 2013 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  5. Nychsa

    Can we please sue Texas for the $25B this jerk cost all of us for his publicity stunt???

    October 20, 2013 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  6. This Is What It Smells Like


    VoteForPedro, who said "I will not negotiate" Or how about "Pass a clean Bill" and then added so much pork it stinks to high heaven, HINT: The PRESIDENT and his DEMOCRATIC sheeps.

    MMMmmmmm, it Wasn't the Dems who put the pork in the bill.
    Talk about sheep.

    October 20, 2013 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  7. Anonymous

    I still have that vision where Sarah Palin and Ted Cruz got on TV with the WWII vets and said that it was the democrats fault for the shutdown, it was disgusting to watch that happen on TV. He might have an agenda but to lie to millions of people and the WWII vets to their face has to be an all time low and just plain weird. SMDH.

    October 20, 2013 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  8. ...

    He doesn't work for the party bosses. He works for himself. At the expense of everyone else.

    October 20, 2013 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  9. sally

    It is obvious that Cruz hasn't learned a thing. What a sorry excuse for a senator. He cost the taxpayer 24 billion dollars because he doesn't like a law that has been passed and litigated, not to mention that it stood up to a ridiculous number of challenges from the House.

    October 20, 2013 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  10. bull

    They need to go off and form a new (old) party. The Dixiecrats are back.

    October 20, 2013 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  11. Dr Strangelove

    Apparently there are no people in Texas without health insurance.

    October 20, 2013 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  12. Contessa

    No . . . why work for them when you are a Party Boss??

    October 20, 2013 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  13. TheTraveler

    Ted Cruz works solely for the benefit of Ted Cruz. Period.

    October 20, 2013 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  14. Joe

    99 more senators with the integrity of ted cruz is EXACTLY what america needs.

    Time for silver back trainwrecks like mccain, feinstein, and their ilk to step off.

    October 20, 2013 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  15. Bingo!

    According to Dershowitz, ted cruz better watch himself. Dershowitz says "I think you can make a very strong argument that what Ted Cruz is doing is deeply unconstitutional"

    He also says " I think he deeply believes what he's doing. I don't think of him so much as a tactical or strategic thinker. He’s deeply principled. He thinks he's doing the right thing. That doesn't mean it's the right thing, and he’s very hard to get off that principled argument. I saw that years ago when he was a student. He was not a compromiser."

    In other words, cruz is going to do what cruz wants to do and there's nothing anyone else is going to say or do to change his mind even if cruz is dead wrong (which he is in this case).

    cruz is the type of person who will brainwash himself into believing something is right when the rest of the 316,914,655 people in the USA know he's wrong and keeps telling him he's wrong.

    cruz will argue something until the other person just gives up because they know the guy will go on and on until everyone else passes out due to sleep deprivation. I know one other person who is like him; my brother-in-law. I don't initiate communication with him, I don't look at him, I don't listen to him, I send all his e-mails to the deleted items folder. He's impossible to reason with. If you say the sky is extremely blue today, he'll argue that's is palomino until everyone in the room walks out and disappears. 2 weeks later, he'll start in again on why the sky is not blue. It's unbelievable.

    October 20, 2013 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  16. Hank

    I have two questions; Who the hell does he think he is? Second is he the second cousin twice removed of Sarah Palin? This guy may have a lot of people fooled and the media is fueling his stupidity, but trust he is not in this for the right reasons. If you can't take orders, you can never be a good leader. Turn in your Tea Party/Republican card and become and independent...that is who you are representing "yourself." You actions just cause a $20 Billion dollar shutdown and potentially 800K jobs, but you think you have a plan......Wake Up America. This isn't about the AHCB or big government.

    October 20, 2013 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  17. GOPHypocrites

    Cruz works for PAC Money, he could care less about America.

    October 20, 2013 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  18. Conquistador

    Wow, the libtards here have their manties in a wad over Patriot Ted.... Get used to it, haters... Cruz-Torpedo is aimed right at the command control of your welfare behemoth that has sapped the liberty out of the American dream... Grab as much while you can, the gravy train will soon run out of stock... The American Spirit of freedom will triumph, and you know it, that's why you are scare and full of hate of Sen Cruz...The welfare state will withered in the vine.

    October 20, 2013 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  19. Ben T.

    Neo-fascist. Period.

    October 20, 2013 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  20. Ex republican

    Okay we get it Ted, you wanted to defund healthcare. You did it already! ... by costing the US economy the better part of a billion dollars. The real shame is that the wasted money can't be used now to fund life saving medical care. Let's hope you don't shut down the government again the next time you don't like a bill. Try actually "being" a politician next time. Messing with peoples jobs is not a game to be played.

    October 20, 2013 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  21. my10cents

    I'm trying to decide if Ted Cruz believes his is really the 'messianic' savior of America or if he his doing this only because he believes this battle is his opportunity to power. I know Ted Cruz is not the representative of 25M Texans, that statement on the whole is a lie because even if Texas is a GOP stronghold not every Texan is a GOP supporter. This type of statement reveals Ted Cruz appears to be alright with either deception or gross oversight. I would not usually attribute these characteristics with some one assuming the role of a 'messiah' only because in order to hold the high ground you need to unimpeachable. However if you are simply using a situation to further your own cause then deception and oversight are tools of the trade. I believe that Ted Cruz is way too Machiavellian to be the altruistic savior of America that he wants us to see. I believe that just like the 'green' curtain was pulled back and the 'real' Sarah Palin was exposed so will it happen to Ted Cruz because his ego like Sarah's will be his undoing.

    October 20, 2013 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  22. Liz

    So Ted Cruz doesn't work for America? Just Texas...a state that doesnt' give a damn about women or the under privilaged which are slowly being squeezed out of the state despite how many of them there are. Good to know that the Tea Party doesn't workfor America just their direct voters.

    October 20, 2013 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  23. Mitchyj

    If hes' ain idiot in Washington, he's still an idiot in Texas. Truly a disgraceful American.

    October 20, 2013 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  24. Sporifix

    This is one "People of Texas" who despises Ted Cruz and considers him a dangerous anti-American insurgent who's already done more harm to the nation than Osama bin Laden managed.

    October 20, 2013 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  25. heebeejeebee

    We already knew that. He works for the Koch brothers. Everybody knows that. The guy is a Libertarian disguising himself as a Republican.

    October 20, 2013 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
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