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. Mitchell

    This guy is so totally out of touch with the impact of his extremist tactics on middle and lower class Americans that it is inevitable that he will continue to terrorize us with the threat of future shutdowns. The ACA is the law of the land – get over it Ted. You are an amateur and your continued defiance of the realities of your actions continue to effect not our economy but also the standing of our country worldwide.

    PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE TEXAS – get rid of this guy.

    October 20, 2013 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  2. MJW

    Texans, seriously!!!!! You all have to get serious and not let this self aggrandizing idiot speak for you. Also, you gave us GWB, which lead to the greatest depression since 1930. Then you tried Rick "I can't remember" Perry, a total embarrassment. He was quickly dismissed from public sphere. Now you send us this lunatic. How much more do you have down there? You all have to send someone the rest of the country can respect even if we are on opposite sides. This one is a disaster. Can't wait to see him gone. Send someone that will not embarrass you.

    October 20, 2013 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  3. Pamela

    How can he state that he represents 26 million Texans? He has no clue what is best for America. He already cost this country 24 billion. Cruz must like to cause suffering because he sure did a good job this time around. Hate to see the economic consequences of a 2nd shutdown in December.

    October 20, 2013 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  4. stta

    Mr. Cruz doesn't sound like he understands math. He is blaming the failure of his tactics on the Senate Republicans for not backing him? I would like to see the number of Democrats he had lined up to vote with him to pass a bill to stop the ACA being the Democrats are the majority of the Senate. He seems to be delusional to not see there was no way it would pass the Senate and the Republicans telling him so were correct. We really don't need delusional people in government, we need realists. Great to see all them Texans cheering on faux responsibility wrapped up in irresponsibility.

    October 20, 2013 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  5. jugglingforacurefilms1

    It would be scary to wake up one morning and there be only Democrats, Republicans, or some other political party. The parties checking one another lends to our security. But the Government shutdown was selfish and harmed our country.

    October 20, 2013 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  6. Jon

    Why has this snake not slithered off yet?

    October 20, 2013 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  7. MrJ

    Vote him out Texas. The rest of us Americans won't tolerate this foolishness for much longer. Where are the moderates in that state? He needs to go away!! He filibusters and causes a shutdown, but doesn't offer anything substantive in return. Don't break my country over the approval of a few rebel flag waving rednecks.... Hell bent on destroying a country and president isn't a solution. Like it or not Obama is president.... Breaking out the rebel flags at a tea party didn't exactly invite me to come into their tent. These people don't represent the America that I know and love....

    October 20, 2013 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  8. Bonzy

    Cruz frequently plays loose with the facts. "Bad Samaritan"? Oh yeah, when he does it, it is "standing up for your principles", when everyone else does it, they are "Bad Samaritans". As one of those 26 million Texans, I can't find a single other Texan that thinks he is doing a good job. He may appeal to the fringe, but that is more like 26,000, rather than 26 million. He is delusional and doomed for failure.

    October 20, 2013 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  9. tullymd

    He works for Lucifer. Actually he might be Lucifer.

    October 20, 2013 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  10. CM46

    Cruz simply and only works for Cruz. He has no interest in what the American people want.

    October 20, 2013 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  11. MobyTheMinnow

    He doesn't work for anyone but Grover Norquist. Or Rush Limburger. Or Mickey Mouse.

    October 20, 2013 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  12. Are you kidding me?

    This person should be locked up in GITMO. End of story!

    October 20, 2013 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  13. Thad

    When Mr.Cruz speaks of Americans he represents, my thought is that his stream of specious McCarthyesque drivel needs to just stop. He no more represents me than his infamous predecessor and philosophical kindred spirit

    October 20, 2013 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  14. navaJohn

    U.S. enemy #1. Why does Texas always give the nation terrible politicians that do terrible things to the rest of the country?

    October 20, 2013 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  15. Ralph

    Cruz is a simple minded person with an ego as big as the universe. The only thing Cruz is about is he's EGO He knows nothing about running a country just look at resume. Having him run our government is like having a dog catcher operate on your brain.

    October 20, 2013 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  16. Whitley

    The way he is trying to wreck our economy, it would seem he works for our enemies!

    October 20, 2013 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  17. MobyTheMinnow

    Everytime Grover Norquist wiggles his fingers Ted Cruz makes a funny face. That's not where your supposed to put your hand for a puppet.

    October 20, 2013 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  18. annieL

    About those "26 million Texans" he claims to represent. I wonder how many of them have health insurance. I wonder if he is just counting the ones who already do and don't need to buy on the exchanges and get a subsidy so they can afford it. I wonder if he has a plan for all those uninsured Texans after he brings down the ACA? He's a BIG talker and a tough guy because he and his Goldman Sachs employee wife and their children never have to worry about paying THEIR medical bills. .

    October 20, 2013 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  19. debbie

    I find Cruz refreshing. He's speaking the truth concerning Obama Care and he does care that much of America has no desire for this health law. This administration is the most divisive, speaking untruths every time he opens his mouth. It should matter to all of us to have such an administration leading our nation.

    October 20, 2013 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  20. Chuck

    Ted Cruz, he might just be the the USA's own Hugo Chavez, ala Tea Party.

    October 20, 2013 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  21. uscitizen1679

    Give Texas back to the Mexicans, and then put a mine field on the US side. With very few exceptions they are an albatross around the neck of the nation. A dead stinking fish.
    Better yet, give them their independence and let them go it alone. Declare them a terrorist nation, inhabited by terrorist monkeys. They don't deserve the stars and stripes, and the stars and stripes certainly don't deserve them or that miscreant product of the maple leaf.

    October 20, 2013 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
  22. Edgar G.

    “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.......isn't this what he did by pulling this BS move trying to repeal ObamaCare. He force the government to shut down hurting hundreds of thousand of americans just to prove his point or make some kind of changes...

    October 20, 2013 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  23. Robert

    Hey Ted just because your against your bosses doesn't mean your not an idiot! Trust me here.To me your one of the Saturday night live crew that has been headlining the Repub Party! You guys have actually made John McCain look great!

    October 20, 2013 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  24. PTAllen

    Here lies the inherent problem withj our system of government. Cruz is an egotistical, self-serving, tea bag party line hauler, but he may very well be telling the truth when he says he is serving the interests of his constituents, maybe, but there in lies the rub, he is supposed to be represent his constituency at a national level, while doing what is best for the country as a whole, not just his constituency. that's where we get bogged down. The ACA is a good program for the country, and in time most folks will come to realize that, but you have group's that are completely against on principle as government overreach, even though it will benefit them, and they will make use of it. Just like social security and medicare and medicaid, why? because people know yopu can't afford medical and prescriptions on your own, unless you make over $200,000 a year.

    October 20, 2013 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  25. Tom the Realtor

    Mr. Cruz, your 15 minutes are now over... NEXT!

    October 20, 2013 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
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