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. bisusinha

    That's a shame that being a lawyer this guy is not following the law of humanity. If he does not work for the GOP Bosses, does he work for Kock Bros and get rich quickly!!!!!

    October 20, 2013 10:33 am at 10:33 am |

    couple of things pass my mind.
    Is he from America? I would like to see a birth certificate-
    When does he and his cronies get arrested ffor Sedition?

    October 20, 2013 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  3. enzo

    Most democrats are TOO IGNORANT to know that there have been MANY MANY political parties in the U.S. history BESIDES the broken democrats and republicans. The liberals think everyone should FALL IN LINE well they don't.

    October 20, 2013 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  4. enzo

    I also noticed how the liberals are so RACIST against Republican hispanics why is that??????????????

    October 20, 2013 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  5. Lizzie

    Jim, Hitler managed to have the majority of people follow him, ever wonder how he done that, by promissing them FREE everything, rich is bad, poor is good.

    October 20, 2013 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  6. La

    Love you ted cruz standing by you

    October 20, 2013 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  7. ST

    Cruz might be crazy, BUT he never ever even once call the name Obama. In any interview or speeches he makes, he always calls him President Obama. At least he has that little respect.

    October 20, 2013 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  8. MadinHampton

    Hmmm, ACA inflicting harm is bad but the harm done to Americans and the country's reputation is okay

    October 20, 2013 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  9. David Rutledge

    'Ted Cruz does not work for party bosses' – right, Ted Cruz works for Ted Cruz – screw the country, it's all about TC. Ugly vicious moron.

    October 20, 2013 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  10. A VERY Angry Fed Up Registered Voter in CT

    This man should be thoroughly investigated by the Feds because what he caused with his not-so-little "stunt" amounts to nothing more than domestic terrorism, in my opinion. He managed to shut down an entire country and keep it that way for an extended period of time, messed with people's lives by stealing money from them used to support their families (including military service members who risk life and limb defending this country), and caused fear and anguish for many. The man is a menace.

    October 20, 2013 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  11. GI Joe

    ha ha ha ha === he's a free agent looking for the highest bidder. LOL

    October 20, 2013 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  12. Name

    Cruz didn't mention that he really represents the insurance industry.

    October 20, 2013 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  13. *sigh*

    Come election time he'll serve his party masters.

    October 20, 2013 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  14. Peg

    This pinhead guy even makes Sarah Palin look good

    October 20, 2013 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  15. Timothy

    LOL...honestly...this is the guy I would want representing me...you can have the guy that folds! I certainly would not want to go against him without a mob behind me and it appears the Repub establishment is the same. Could be an interesting political figure to watch but I am not sure I could support him. Fanaticism can do absolutely wonderful things but it can do absolutely horrible things. In a period such as this (political, economic turmoil) such personalities rise up and capture the support of many and movements grow out of them. Obama seemed to be that person but he is proving not strong enough- not passionate or focussed enough- he acts more like someone being handled. This guy seems like he cannot be handled and has that blinded drive. I'm withholding judgement and watching to see what comes. Pretty fascinating time, personalities bubbling up.

    October 20, 2013 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  16. VoteForPedro

    This guy Cruz, is dangerous for America. He doesn't understand that a politician must work with others, negotiate, and yes even compromise. He's in the wrong job. Maybe being a prison guard, where he can get his way, even push people around once in awhile....would be a better job fit. But right now, he's just a reckless bu11y in DC. Shame on Texans who voted for Cruz.

    October 20, 2013 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  17. mainepotter

    Q: What's the difference between Ted Cruz and Justin Bieber? A: Bieber is mature.

    October 20, 2013 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  18. jb1963

    He is not for Texas or Americans. He is looking out for Cruz. He wants to be president so bad.

    October 20, 2013 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  19. plain and simple

    Ted Cruz works for Ted Cruz!!!

    October 20, 2013 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  20. David

    Ann Coulter loves to compare the American Revolution with the French. How ours was a battle of ideas to change the course of history, and theirs of mob violence to achieve the same. The more I see the entrenched party bosses of both "sides", as if there actually was a difference between the Democratic Socialists and the Republican Benedict Arnolds, the more favorably I'm beginning to view the French revolution. It's tragic there isn't a guillotine in every D.C. park and street corner. Cruz. the mob will crush you in the end, but you have my support.

    October 20, 2013 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  21. Lynda/Minnesota

    "Cruz acts like hes the only Sen for TX"

    You hit the nail on the head. Ted acts. As in Ted is giving us another of his Green Eggs and Ham performances. He bloviates much and says very little. He also snickers at the very Americans he's trying to dupe with his double-talk. No doubt he holds us all in contempt, but he especially mocks those who don't see through his word charades. It is they he insults most because it is they who support him with dollars and misplaced idolatry.

    Although he IS correct in saying he doesn't work for America. He works for the Brothers-Koch.

    October 20, 2013 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  22. Sparrow

    Cruz, great you dont work for the party boss in washington, why cant you open a new party and then run for it instead of running for the republican party?

    October 20, 2013 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  23. Brad

    He is simply stumping for a higher political position in the future. God help us if he gets it,

    October 20, 2013 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  24. cel1

    Mr. Cruz needs t understand that while he does not work FOR party bosses, he must work WITH them to come to consensus about what should be done to help 330 million Americans, not just the Texans who elected him. At this po9int, he is only representing a small minority in Texas. Get on board the USA Train, Mr. Cruz. It's about the entire country, not just one backward southern state.

    October 20, 2013 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  25. tony

    Cruz's are companies too!

    October 20, 2013 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
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