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. allison

    Thank you, Senator Cruz, for standing up for your beliefs and the voters who elected you.

    October 20, 2013 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  2. Kenman

    Typical hateful, attacking liberal comments when someone tries to break the mold of what you would all have said were corrupt, selfish politicians in Washington! It makes about as much sense as the polls saying that you all want to turn over the stock in Washington, BUT not your own representatives! Nothing changes, the corruption, fraud, abuse and overspending continue, because the establishment, the devils in BOTH parties are entrenched and united for THEMSELVES and their perpetual personal advantage!

    And, you same supposedly outraged citizens at the inefficiences and disconnection of Washington are now willing to roll over and let those same self-serving bureaucrats take over your very HEALTH and PHYSICAL well-being, with the largest federal data base ever, containing the personal identification information and financial information that will enable the SEIU union thugs and other Obama supporters acting as "navigators" to have access to all that data that you CANNOT DELETE after it's entered, to manipulate you and future elections.

    You think you aren't heard in Washington NOW, wait until they have your family by the throats AND can decline your very lifesaving healthcare if you oppose your government handlers!

    October 20, 2013 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  3. whitechalk

    What a hypocrite. Cruz says he represents no one but the people of Texas, then claims he fought to defund health care for the good of the American people, who voted in favor of health care. Hypocrite. Cruz also says it's cynical to let health care fail so Republicans can score a political victory, but he made the government shut down to score a political victory for himself and for his party. Hypocrite. Look, I don't like gray beard politicians either, but their hypocrisy is no worse than yours, Mr. Cruz, and at least they didn't support the ignorant spectacle you made of yourself in October. Sophistry is no cover for ignorance, not long term, anyway, and not outside of Texas.

    October 20, 2013 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  4. Hooper

    Every time I think about this tool and the chaos he tried to rain down on all, I can see that monkey on a football everyone's spoke of. His keepers and pen cleaners better try to put a lid on him. He's been a black eye for most, if not all of the republican party. Can't understand why they choose to recognize him as one of their own. Maybe there's a clue here?

    October 20, 2013 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  5. Jim M

    He doesn't work for the American people, either.

    October 20, 2013 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  6. RamboJohnJ

    “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."

    I'd imagine that would've garnered some pretty good laughter...

    October 20, 2013 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  7. Spuds Mackenzie

    Maybe not, but he does work for his billionaire financiers!!!

    October 20, 2013 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  8. Mike B

    Yep , Cruz doesn't work for the party bosses....he also doesn't work for the people he is supposed to represent...Who does he work for? Senator Cruz works for Senator Cruz...

    October 20, 2013 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  9. Uh-Clem

    While he claims to work for 16 million Texans, his support that got him elected totaled only 4.5 million. The entire Tea Party Caucus represents only 12% of the electorate, 16 million across the country. That is the extent of his supporters (at least among the people that vote). His fight against the PPACA is based on fairy tales and devoid of any alternatives. This is the worst kind of politician. Claiming all the time to represent the people while sucking up to the sources of his campaign contributions. This flash in the pan will soon leave his playground when he doesn't get what he wants. We know his dedication to tearing things apart, but we know little about his ability to work with people he may not agree with.

    October 20, 2013 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  10. Mike Trottier

    WE have seen this show before.
    Ted Cruz is just the first guy to fall out of the CLOWN CAR.
    AMERICA is NOT behind Ted Cruz,......Cruz, hopefully, will go the way of Allen West, another loser.
    I REFUSE to vote for a teatard
    I WILL NOT vote for a republican again for a very long time.

    October 20, 2013 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  11. cheskat

    In the '30s the Republicans vowed to dismantle Social Security. In the 60s, they vowed to dismantle Medicare. Now they vow to dismantle the ACA. They really don't get it, do they.

    October 20, 2013 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  12. vic , nashville ,tn

    I didn’t get what I want let me burn the house stupid Idea.
    I hope Ted Cruz agenda fail.
    Smart person will go to the negotiation table to improve ACA

    October 20, 2013 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  13. sunshine

    I hope he runs for president so I can vote for him. I'll probably write him anyway.

    October 20, 2013 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  14. Name


    October 20, 2013 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  15. Not Too Hard To Understand

    Well now the obvious question here is: Does Cruz truly believe he doesn't work for the Koch Bros. or is he really that stupid? Time will tell, I suppose, but we all know where the smart money is.

    October 20, 2013 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  16. Larry B.

    1. Cruz is NOT Hispanic. 2. He should be thoroughly investigated for serious ethics violations such as the recently revealed nondisclosure of investments and also his extremely shady relationship with highly suspect "ministries" such as Purifying Fire Ministries and the Hinn family. Cruz is a grifter, major Pendejo, and a fraud and needs to be called out to explain. I'd also like to see his REAL birth certificate and not the cut and pasted one he supplied to the media. Chances are he really is not an American and, therefore, unqualified for office.

    October 20, 2013 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  17. woody b

    What has Texas really given us lately? Why don't we give it back to Mexico and let them deal with Ted Cruz?

    October 20, 2013 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  18. Dorothy

    Radicals like Cruz tried a different tactic this time. Instead of starting a 3rd party, they took over the Republican party. Here in Kansas there are many people who are Republican, because their great, great grandparents were Republican, but they were Lincoln Republicans; it was a much different party back then. Tea party candidates sneak in during the primaries, running against moderate Republicans. Lazy voters don't go to the primaries. Lazy voters just vote for the party that they have always voted for. A lot of people are waking up, and switching parties. Some of us Independents are registering as Republicans to counter the extremists at the primaries. Hopefully next election will change a lot.

    October 20, 2013 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  19. Tony

    This guy is a fool, wicked, and don't care about the American people. He is out for one thing and one thing only to have his way at the expense of the American people. How can someone stay that Obamacare is hurting the people when it has not even started, how can you say it is a that no one wants it when Millions of people tried to get on the site. Cruz put innocent people in harms way for his cause. He hurt Millions of people – no excuse, he needs to be run out of town. I am an independent and will not vote for another Republican for a very long time.

    October 20, 2013 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  20. Buckwheat

    If he wants to get rid of the ACA, do it legislatively. Don't shut down the country and hold our credit rating and standing in the world hostage. The majority of Americans are moderate on both sides, but we only seem to hear from the noisy fringes on both side who would have you believe it's all or nothing. If the ACA is bad, fix it. In a country as great as ours why do 40 million go without basic health care? This is an opportunity to lead not obstruct.

    October 20, 2013 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  21. MaryM

    What an arrogant sob. Cruz does NOT care about America or Americans, especially Americas Veterans. Our Veterans are extremely angry at Cruz and the TPers for shutting down the government and causing more harm to our country and our Veterans

    October 20, 2013 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  22. Name jk. Sfl. GOP CRUZ conservatives,the garbage of America.

    Oh yea Cruz, you did mind making the American people suffer with your stupid shut down the goverment teaparty stradagy that cost us taxpayers 24 billon dallars, way more then obamacare cost and bumming money off of folkish old ladies and men and pocketing the money when you new you didn't have the votes and never would, you and the other lone Bachman should be hung from the nearest lamppost !!!!!!

    October 20, 2013 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  23. Lizzie

    VoteForPedro, who said "I will not negotiate" Or how about "Pass a clean Bill" and then added so much pork it stinks to high heaven, HINT: The PRESIDENT and his DEMOCRATIC sheeps.

    October 20, 2013 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  24. Just Disgusted

    THe hate fomented by the government media machine is disgusting. CNN and the likes spew Obama's propaganda so loudly and so often that Ted Cruz is under death threats. I remember Nancy Pelosi standing there crying about how scared she was of the Tea Party. Well I'm frightened of the press!! They lie to you all and half of you soak it up hook line and sinker. Then they act on it. Ted Cruz is the only politician who id honest and doesn't say one thing to the people who elected him and another to the press. And CNN and the likes have maligned their readers against him.
    Did Ted Cruz create a 17,000,000,000,000 deficit? Did Ted Cruz do anything other than stan up for his principals? It used to be respected in America. Thanks to CNN and the likes, that is not a virtue any more but an anvil around ones neck. Shame on the main street media for it's portrayal of a true leader.

    October 20, 2013 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  25. Mike

    Just another loud mouth BSer from the anti government GOP. He will always be a side show freak the media goes to when they want a comment from the moron minority group – Ted, Sarah, Sean, Glen, Ann, Rush, etc.

    October 20, 2013 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
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