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. cbp

    Does he think we will buy his story? Senator Cruz works for himself. He made that very clear when he "filibustered" for hour after hour. His action was part of the TEA Party plan to shut down the government. Of course, they only wanted certain parts of the government shut down. Parks and monuments were to stay open and any office which helped individuals in any way was to stay closed. Those actions cost the American people millions of dollars. He and his party would not vote, shut down the government, and those people on fixed incomes or those workers near the poverty line took the brunt once again.

    How many people think he reminds them of Joe McCarthy?

    October 20, 2013 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  2. Lilybean58

    I'm actually disappointed when a liar's pants do not catch on fire.

    October 20, 2013 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  3. crob

    The Canadian cruz has lied again. Out of the 26 million Texans, he works for the minority teabers. What does his so called Christian beliefs say about that? Time for this Canadian to be voted out and someone put in that understand what being an American is all about.

    October 20, 2013 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  4. sly

    Does this man have special powers? How in the world does he know what every single American thinks of Obamacare? His comment "the American people are not satisfied with that" ... how does he know that??

    October 20, 2013 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  5. oldsarg

    Ted Cruz and Mike Lee were the ONLY Senators fighting for the people as opposed to fighting for the Parties.

    Nice to see real Americans fighting for the Nation.

    October 20, 2013 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  6. Michigan patriot

    Keep up the good work Mr. Cruz. Don't give up, we need more people like you, that" really" fight for what they believe. Stand proud, you did what you thought it was right, and people won't forget.

    October 20, 2013 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  7. dee

    I'm a Texan and this moron does not "work" for me or the millions an of Texans who can't stand him or his Tea Party buddies...he is bought and paid for by Lobbyists...jerk

    October 20, 2013 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  8. TKO

    Ted Cruz works for one man and one man only–

    Ted Cruz

    October 20, 2013 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  9. Bob

    No, you work to feed your colossal ego.

    October 20, 2013 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  10. dina

    So if all the Texans agree with Cruz, that proves they are just as self serving as he is and pretty stupid.If they hate this country so much and the way it is run, then leave.Go where yo think things are better and you will probably find they are not as good. Get rid of Cruz.He is only interested in his own image and wants to be president. Stupid thought.

    October 20, 2013 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  11. crob

    cruz was born in Canada. Canadian trying to shape American politics.

    October 20, 2013 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  12. Guest

    I love Ted Cruz. He's one of the few in Washington who actually know what is wrong with the economy.

    October 20, 2013 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  13. OrmondGeorge

    "Cruz to CNN: ‘I don’t work for the party bosses in Washington’"

    I work for myself – I'm going to be the next President of the United States of, of... of


    Ted Cruz is a joke and no one is laughing.

    October 20, 2013 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  14. pjoe

    Good job Ted! Keep it up & don't let the punks get to you. Everyone I know loves that you are not bowing down to the party bosses. We need more like you.

    October 20, 2013 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  15. Shan

    and you work for super wealthy
    can you give 24 billion dollars back to treasury from Texas ha???/

    October 20, 2013 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  16. crob

    What kind of true American patriot would vote for and support a foreigner into the senate.

    October 20, 2013 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  17. mike

    thousands of workers have been reduced from full time employment to part time so the employer can avoid the increased cost of health care. Others are getting cancellation notices from their personal health insurance. obama promised people they could keep the insurance they had. he forgot that the insurance company might not agree with that.

    October 20, 2013 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  18. Rick Deckard

    You don't work for party bosses? Pretty soon you'll be able to say "I don't work for any one at all!"

    October 20, 2013 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  19. Mark Bignell

    Hahahahaha. He's a joke and Texans are suckers. When he talks, democrats rake in contributions. Then the Texas republicans who believe Cruz is someone who "Does what he says he'll do" contribute to Cruz. It's the best way the democrats have to drain the funds of Texas republicans. Brilliant!

    October 20, 2013 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  20. Name jk. Sfl. GOP CRUZ conservatives,the garbage of America.

    This teaparty garbage of America will be a one termer and out , you didn't even get the majority of texans to vote for this snake oil sales man, a GOP stooge of the croch brothers, the biggest. Teaparty losers in the USA, a vote for Cruz is a vote for the cruch pigs!!!!

    October 20, 2013 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  21. moondoggie601

    He really does live in his own world. Those that voted for this Bozo must be shaking their heads.

    October 20, 2013 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  22. Jobu

    Try again, Cruz.

    October 20, 2013 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  23. Thorp lastenbar

    This man has absolutely no intelligence whatsoever

    October 20, 2013 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  24. Steve

    You Mr. Cruz work for the American People and you are doing a really, really crappy job at it. What do you and your Tea Baggers have to say for losing America's tax payers, 24 BILLION dollars. Was it really worth it. Grow up!

    October 20, 2013 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  25. manyote

    This Canuban's bosses are wherever the Tea Potty bosses happen to be.

    October 20, 2013 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
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