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.

‘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.

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. Bree

    I guess it's already been well said: this doofus works for himself and his daddy.

    October 20, 2013 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  2. here and back again

    He's right...he doesn't...He works for the Tea Party Extreme right-wing that believes it is better to shut down the Govt to force a change because they are incapable of working through the existing system to achieve a change.

    October 20, 2013 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  3. manhandler1

    Nor does he work for citizens. He works for himself only.

    October 20, 2013 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  4. Tom

    Ted Cruz is probably the worst version of a politician that he could ever be. People that support this jerk are ideological morons.

    October 20, 2013 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  5. Richard_Iowa

    Excellent. Finally, someone with a set.

    October 20, 2013 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  6. Larry in Houston

    as a matter of fact, I hope he actually IS the guy, 'ole Reince Prebus & Company puts IN there, in 2016.....You talk about a landslide ? LOL – I will bet a dime to a dollar it will be the biggest landslide since 1964.... LOL –
    I hope Prebus runs him – LOL – and I would love to see 'ole Cruz do what he's been doing, like taking up all of the oxygen in the room, and every time he is on the Microphone. I can honestly tell you, from the moderate republicans, to the right, they will eventually get tired of hearing his mouth. He will always be on the good side, of the totally right wing of his party.

    October 20, 2013 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  7. Chuck

    Ted Cruz needs to quit saying he speaks for the American people. This is simply a lie. He refuses to recognize the largest group of Americans, democrats, in the last election or moderate Americans. The truth is he represents a few radical religious people. I know a lot of Americans and I know very very few that support Cruz.
    The American way is one of compromise between different points of view. This is not Cruz so I have to question if he is American at all. Even the founding fathers recognized that there are ‘enemies of the United States, foreign and domestic.’
    As an American, how do you feel about Ted Cruz?

    October 20, 2013 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  8. Bill

    Ted Cruz doesn't work for the party bosses in D.C. the way Castro didn't work for the party bosses in Moscow.

    October 20, 2013 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  9. shawn l

    Only four states have a higher rate of poverty than Texas. Alabama, New Mexico, Louisiana and Mississippi. This is entirely due to the republicans courting businesses by exploiting and undermining workers within the state.

    October 20, 2013 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  10. minnie

    He sure as heck is NOT working for this Texan.

    October 20, 2013 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  11. Jim Marler

    This guy will crash and burn.....just give him a little time.

    October 20, 2013 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  12. BD70

    Ted says he doesn't want to hurt the American people but threatens to shutdown our government again. Oxymoron!

    October 20, 2013 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  13. Chuck

    Cruz tells us that Americans will suffer from Health Care Reform. Let’s see, he can’t be speaking for people with pre-existing conditions, people with jobs that do not provide health care benefits, anyone who worries about losing their job, anyone that has been sick, any of the poor, anyone young or anyone that knows any of these folks.
    Other than House Republicans he holds hostage for some reason, can all these many supporter please step forward and let’s count them.

    October 20, 2013 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  14. antoinette fife

    This man does not represent "thePeople" of texas. He represents large big business special interst groups that pour millions into his campaign coffers. He is a very dangerous man.

    October 20, 2013 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  15. Crystal

    I miss Kay Bailey Hutchinson.

    October 20, 2013 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  16. Bill Gates

    Cruz apparently doesn't think he works for the United States, only his state.

    October 20, 2013 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  17. Bill Gates

    Does he work for the United States, or only his state?

    October 20, 2013 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  18. antoinette fife

    Okay let me rephrase- His approach to getting what he wants is just short of extorton legal but stlill a form of extortion. He is saying if I don't get my way I'lll block anything from passing. Isnt goverment about compromise?

    October 20, 2013 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  19. anon

    he is only there to do 2 things talk out of both sides of his mouth and line his own pockets

    October 20, 2013 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  20. Loki

    First off..I want to see the numbers on that 25 Billion...royt. Next, I like Cruz. He speaks for me and I'm from NY. The republicans let us down. He had Obama in the dirt.

    October 20, 2013 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  21. lewtwo

    ‘I don’t work for the party bosses in Washington’

    True enough. His goals are more aligned to those of the Taliban.

    October 20, 2013 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  22. dUB1045`

    Nychsa can we sue Pelosi and Reid and Obama for the Trillions we are going to pay for Obama Care? The lost jobs the financial disaster that will not allow us to compete in the world markets, the lost jobs, etc.

    October 20, 2013 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  23. ya rights

    Your party boss is the Heritage Foundation and you do exactly like they say! Lying is a sin Teddy.

    October 20, 2013 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  24. seemssoobvious

    a modern day Joe McCarthy at best . He has no shame

    October 20, 2013 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  25. America First

    This deranged MEGALOMANIAC is well documented. But the fact he pied piper a bunch of novice newbies in the House shouldn't go unnoticed. This man almost single handedly destroyed the country's creditworthiness, and COST US $24 billion. PAY IT BACK – CRUZ you loonie.

    October 20, 2013 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
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