October 20th, 2013
09:08 AM ET
8 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. giggy

    Another Sarah Palin just wont shut up.

    October 20, 2013 08:15 pm at 8:15 pm |
  2. Don

    If Ted Cruz has aspiration of becoming president, I do hope Donald Dump I mean Trump will ask him for his birth certificate to see where he was born. If it is proven that Ted Cruz was born in Canada, then the birthers of the republican party should shout it from the roof top that Ted Cruz is not constitutionally qualified to be the CEO of the USA. I forget, the Tea Party will seek soon to hatch their own confederate nation when they come to the realization that they will be marginalize come November 2014. They can then have Ted Cruz as their President, Mike Lee as V.P. and Rand Paul as Secretary of State or Minister of Foreign Affairs. They will use the Con-fed-er-ate Dollar (Con$).

    October 20, 2013 08:18 pm at 8:18 pm |
  3. Cruising Along With Cruz

    Canadian Ted is alone on this one. But he has actually done more to further the Democrats in both chambers and to help elect a new Democratic majority in the House in 2014. So, who wants him to stop? The fact that Obamacare has now *risen* to the top in popularity and need in this country is all due to Ted Cruz! So, keep it up Ted, no one could have achieved this great Success this soon for the Democrats but You!

    October 20, 2013 08:21 pm at 8:21 pm |
  4. Name

    This is gross incompetence on his part. I'm calling for his resignation.

    October 20, 2013 08:27 pm at 8:27 pm |
  5. Ed FL

    Evil people like you have no morals and can never be trusted in a free society, and you will be no different. GOODBY !!!!!

    October 20, 2013 08:27 pm at 8:27 pm |
  6. Suemac in WA

    I see a lot of comments here about Cruz's connection with the Koch brothers. Can anyone please take the time to explain who they are, what they do, and how Cruz is connected with them?

    October 20, 2013 08:27 pm at 8:27 pm |
  7. A Gatty

    Mr Cruz,

    With all due respect you don't only represent the fine people of Texas, you have an obligation to all the American people. Obamacare might not be perfect but it's a step in the right direction. If you have the interest of the people in your heart then find ways to make it better not repel it. Also, the American people need jobs, so how about you actually work on that. Jobs is the answer to everything, people with jobs spend money, contribute to social security and Medicare and buy health insurance 🙂 so we as the people of this great country don't have to foot the bill for them through rate hikes year after year. So please stop your arrogance, and base your actions on facts. Obamacre hasn't even been fully implemented yet and you are making all these assumptions based on what ?? Magic 8th ball? Isn't it good for the people not to be denied coverage based on pre existing conditions? Isn't it good for kids to remain on their parents plan till they are 26 and hopefully have a job on their own by then?isnt good for everyone to be able to afford health insurance and not have to lose their backs should they be sick? Isn't good for the people not have to worry about limits should they get an awfull illness? The people like all these things, they just don't like being told they need to get health insurance? They have no problem being told they need car insurance though, what is the difference? Or should we let people drive without ?

    October 20, 2013 08:31 pm at 8:31 pm |
  8. Mike

    Cruz is fighting for American Freedom. Obamacare takes away freedom. Americans can buy freedom each year by paying an Obamacare penalty or paying the healthcare pig, but that's really not freedom. Giving the IRS another 2000 reasons to take your home or bank account is insane. I've been able to buy heath care insurance for decades without the help of Obama and the IRS – it was not that hard nor expensive. With Obamacare monthly premiums are through the roof for these $5000.00 deductible policies – and if you don't pay up the IRS will be knocking on your door...

    October 20, 2013 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  9. winchester74

    the more he talks – the more everyone realizes what a bozo this Canadian Ham really is

    October 20, 2013 08:33 pm at 8:33 pm |
  10. Karin

    That's nice. Now please go away.

    October 20, 2013 08:33 pm at 8:33 pm |
  11. Dick Delson

    He's a man without a brain. The GOP's male version of Sarah THE BIMBO Palin

    October 20, 2013 08:34 pm at 8:34 pm |
  12. FactsRBad

    Ted Cruz works for the interest of Ted Cruz – make no mistake. He could care less about anyone or anything other than his own self promotion. Another political p-r-i-ck.

    October 20, 2013 08:34 pm at 8:34 pm |
  13. John

    HE does not want to hurt the American people. He DID. Businesses were hurt by the billions, hundreds of thousands were out of work, almost shut down important science projects, he tried to impose his will over all of America: No he does not want to hurt the American people. He just DID. Hypocrisy. You notice he never says why ACA is hurting America. He is right there with Sara Palin.

    October 20, 2013 08:35 pm at 8:35 pm |
  14. peavey

    He is a Sociopath.

    October 20, 2013 08:36 pm at 8:36 pm |
  15. nameless

    Wow I cant believe most of these comments. It sounds like most people on here want the government to tell you want to do. Every single one of you who want obamacare are lazy idiots who want the government to take care of you and that is not the American way.

    October 20, 2013 08:36 pm at 8:36 pm |
  16. Pamela

    One should be wary of the Republicans who are funded by the Koch brothers or who have signed a paper pledging themselves to Grover Norquist.

    October 20, 2013 08:36 pm at 8:36 pm |
  17. billy

    The American people aren't with you, Ted. When you believe something that is patently proven false by facts, it makes you a delusional twit.

    October 20, 2013 08:38 pm at 8:38 pm |
  18. Cris smith

    When a group of terrorist PLANS to shutdown the US government, the military seal-team 6 went after them. Now we have a senator WHO really shutdown the US government , should seal team 6 go after him?
    I think he is untouchable because he is a lawmaker and he is above the law.

    October 20, 2013 08:38 pm at 8:38 pm |
  19. Frank

    I wish you didn't work in Washington at all, Cruz.

    October 20, 2013 08:39 pm at 8:39 pm |
  20. Al

    Now that we see that Cruz's actions cost the American people $24 Billion dollars, will a repeat next year mean that he is intentionally hurting this country?

    October 20, 2013 08:40 pm at 8:40 pm |
  21. Douglas

    Of course he doesn't work for the party bosses. He works for the voices in his head.

    October 20, 2013 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
  22. Paul

    “I work for 26 million Texans."

    That's an odd spelling of the Koch brothers.

    October 20, 2013 08:49 pm at 8:49 pm |
  23. His Dreams Are Nightmares For Us

    What never ceases to amaze me is the fact that he is against Obamacare. His being a Canadian, a country that proudly touts their socialized medical benefits for everyone there and that has a great track record of success, that he would be against it here. Canadians are doing GREAT because of it but evidently he does not want the same for the people here and purports to speak for all of us - Not! However, for a man whose *dream it is to keep poor people from seeing a doctor,* speaks volumes for what's in the heart of this man and it isn't in our best interests I can assure you! Just go check it out on your favorite search engine!

    October 20, 2013 08:49 pm at 8:49 pm |
  24. elsapup

    He works for the Koch Brotherhood

    October 20, 2013 08:50 pm at 8:50 pm |
  25. ib1sage

    Ted, you are not speaking for the people but for yourself and those that agree with you and they are in the great minority. You have cost us billions all for a Tea Party temper tantrum that would go no where. Regarding your judgement sir, you have NONE.

    October 20, 2013 08:52 pm at 8:52 pm |
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