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. Tom

    Let this Cruz guy do what he wants.....he only helps the Democrats more and more every time he opens his mouth. The Tea Party will make so many GOP won blue districts in BLUE states go blue again with their foolishness.......Godspeed to them. That would be such a insane thing to do and would only help the Democrats win the 17 seats they need....

    October 21, 2013 12:45 am at 12:45 am |
  2. valveone

    This is a product of Tom Delay redistricting . TEXAS of all place's now has a TALIBAN TEAPARTY EXTREMIST. They do not compromise which is what a democracy doe's. But say my way or I destroy your way of life, which is what a DICTATOR TED CRUZ is doing. For GOD"S sake TED CRUZ is NOT AMERICAN BORN. WERE ARE THE BIRTHER'S ?. We have a foreign born want to be DICTATOR coming OUT OF TEXAS. Like cancer America needs to remove Texas from it"s union. Before this SELF DESTROYING DISEASE called TED CRUZ and the TEAPARTY destroys America. Which he said he will do again. TEXAS WAKE UP this NON BORN-AMERICAN EXTREMIST is being financed by billionaire brother's. and fear turned to hatred crazy's.

    October 21, 2013 12:57 am at 12:57 am |
  3. VoteForPedro

    Crazy Ted. Gotta love his mental instability. Go on GOP, make him your 2016 pres candidate. I dare ya, double dare ya.

    October 21, 2013 01:07 am at 1:07 am |
  4. valveone

    Ted Cruz name will be placed next to Joe McCarthy. And Hitler and Stallion, Kim Jung crazy, Pol Pot, Dick Cheney. EVIL also has a place in history. I think thats what Ted Cruz is striving for. He know's he will never be president so he settles for 2nd best in the history book's. Ted Cruz makes W Bush look like Ronald Reagan and that is stretching it some. And of course this district which Ted Cruz is from would vote for W Bush again if they had the chance.

    October 21, 2013 01:14 am at 1:14 am |
  5. gustifer53

    Cruz is nothing but a Domestic Taliban Terrorist. He shows daily that he is not an American. I suggest he take his daddy and go back to Cuba...

    October 21, 2013 01:26 am at 1:26 am |
  6. S khan

    Cruz is talking about the American people, what a funny guy, he does not know these are the American people who elected the President> Obama health care was one of the major issues in the presidential election and the people like Cruz including the Republican presidential candidate tried their best to win the election the election opposing Obama's policies including health care but American people defeated them, defeated them, he does not understand these facts. He is trying to destabilize the country's economy that is recovering from a big crash. Instead of apologizing from the American people and feeling shame he is telling people to get ready for another shutdown.

    October 21, 2013 01:33 am at 1:33 am |
  7. Jose M Pulido

    Conniving Canadian citizen Ted Cruz works for the the Tea Baggers' bosses.

    October 21, 2013 01:49 am at 1:49 am |
  8. Jose M Pulido

    Canadian-born Ted Cruz reminds me of petulant Pat Buchanan when the latter was young. Ted Cruz has the same racist, despot, cynical and arrogant as Republican Pat Buchanan.

    October 21, 2013 01:53 am at 1:53 am |
  9. Garrett

    When he said, "The American people don't care about politicians" he became a hero in my book.. 90 to 99% accurate he is.

    October 21, 2013 02:12 am at 2:12 am |
  10. Sly2

    To sly:

    Because I'm not satisfied with it, and the majority of the American people do agree with me on that. Mr. Cruz, keep up the excellent work you're doing. We appreciate you!!

    Someone from Nampa, Idaho.

    October 21, 2013 03:29 am at 3:29 am |
  11. Independant Constitutionalist

    Anyone who bothered to do their research knows this health care law is actually a tax, which is revenue, is required by our constitution to start in the House. This unconstitutional revenue tax started in the Senate. It is therefore not only unconstitutional, it is ILLEGAL. There's a law suit based on that very fact working its way through the courts as we speak.

    Judge Roberts, if you want to call him a judge, was remiss in his duty to uphold our Constitution. He should be removed from the bench, property

    October 21, 2013 03:54 am at 3:54 am |
  12. Name LearnfromHistory

    We are seeing the birth of a modern day Joe McCarthy right before our eyes. The big lie – tell it over and over and eventually it becomes accepted as truth. He is dangerous because he is smart, articulate and without compassion for those he will hurt on his quest for headlines. Beware.

    October 21, 2013 05:56 am at 5:56 am |
  13. Maripil

    Ted Cruz is a complete idiot and clown! He is the male version of Sarah Palin the CLOWN!!

    October 21, 2013 06:21 am at 6:21 am |
  14. Name LearnfromHistory

    A modern day Joe McCarthy right before our eyes, leading the Tea Party lemmings on their crusade against decency,fairness and honesty.

    October 21, 2013 06:53 am at 6:53 am |
  15. sifto

    Cruz is a genius and is loved by Americans

    October 21, 2013 07:20 am at 7:20 am |
  16. sundin39

    Ted Cruz you are my hero and a great American. We know Nobama is the dictator and you sir are the answer for us to get our country back. Thank you Mr.Cruz for all you're trying to accomplish.

    October 21, 2013 07:52 am at 7:52 am |
  17. Name fannie

    I applaud ted cruz for having the courage to stand up against the liberals in both parties.

    October 21, 2013 07:56 am at 7:56 am |
  18. Texans

    Cruz works for the tea party and Koch brothers. His goal is to benefit the top 2% and big business....all at the cost of you and me. Wake up people!

    October 21, 2013 08:02 am at 8:02 am |
  19. Jack

    I'd say Mr. Cruz, you are very childish!

    October 21, 2013 08:06 am at 8:06 am |
  20. pk

    This little jerk is totally self-employed. He works for HIMSELF. All these donations that came his way are going to be used to finanace his bid for the White House. He is an ego-driven opportunistic little troll who won't even make it through the primaries. Let him enjoy his 15 minutes of fame before he winds up on the trash heap with Mitt and Sarah. We're not as dumb as he thinks.

    October 21, 2013 08:15 am at 8:15 am |
  21. JjkName

    Ted Cruz is a dangerous demagogue, who appeals to the worst instincts in people. He deliberately attempts to divide this country by his use of slightly veiled bigotry, racism and hatred. His plan has always been self promotion and his fear mongering uses the same tactics as those seen in the McCarthy era. One hopes that the average American citizen can see through the rhetorical pretzel logic blame game he always attempts to sell every time he appears I'm the media.

    October 21, 2013 08:25 am at 8:25 am |
  22. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    I don’t work for the party bosses in Washington.
    I'm sure 500 other posters have said it before me but it bears repeating:
    "No, you don't workd for the party bosses in Washington, you work for the party bosses outside of Washington: the Koch brothers, the Heritage FFoundation and the Birch Society. And you certainly DO NOT work for us, the middle-class".

    October 21, 2013 08:27 am at 8:27 am |
  23. teaparty days are numbered

    MIKE, I feel you are just repeating unsubstantiated remarks you are hearing from the party of delusion(GOP/TP) ,and you have no unbiased facts and figures to back your claim, maybe at the most you have half truths???

    October 21, 2013 08:29 am at 8:29 am |
  24. Jay

    Reading these comments is so refreshing... Finally it is sounding more and more like we the people are no longer fooled by these jokers... I love everyone of you for being true Amaricans!

    October 21, 2013 08:35 am at 8:35 am |
  25. R Rodriguez

    Ted Cruz – instead of trying to reverse Obamacare, why not give it a chance to succeed and negotiate with the White House on portions that may need improvements. This all or none attitude and approach is "THE PROBLEM" not Obamacare.

    October 21, 2013 08:44 am at 8:44 am |
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