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. A Texan

    He speaks for himself not for all Texans. There are more than six million Texans without insurance and he is a stumbling block to get insurance for those people. He is fraud as senator Peter King said.

    October 20, 2013 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  2. JeffreyRO5

    Cruz is really just a vigilante: someone with the intense backing of a fringe group of believers. I'm not sure these people even have a cause; they just like the idea of "kicking butt and asking questions later." Call it immature, call it small-minded, these people are just troublemakers and have no consideration for anybody else.

    October 20, 2013 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  3. chuck

    All I can say is that as a Canadian living in Alberta, I am so glad cruz in down in the US involved in US politics and not up here involved in our politics. We have enough idiot politicians up here. We do not need another.

    October 20, 2013 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  4. Tampa Tim

    It is time for the single issue senator to start working for the American people, and not the special interest groups.

    October 20, 2013 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  5. James

    He appears to be working for voices in his head which may not have anything to do with reason or interest of this country.

    October 20, 2013 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  6. middle america man

    He actually works for al Qaeda.

    October 20, 2013 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  7. NameLindaHardge

    Ted Cruz does not represent minorities in the state of Texas only the rednecks and they act just like him. Texas is one of the most prejudice states in the US!

    October 20, 2013 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  8. igor1963

    For those who dream about Democratic party win forever – I was born in the country where this happens 95 years ago. No' this is not pretty future for the great people of the us. As for Ted Cruz – america has hope as long as people like him still bother to do something regardless fro his place of birth.

    October 20, 2013 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  9. C

    You may disagree with Cruz, and I get that, but if you are against "politics as usual", please don't discourage his actions. He has opened a rift in the GOP, and while the short term effects seem unhelpful to our Nation, driving a wedge into our political system, at least to me, is a breath of fresh air. I sincerely believe the overall health of the nation will be far better off with more politicians like him. No matter what end of the political spectrum you fall on.

    October 20, 2013 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  10. SteveInMN

    Cruzzy the Clown cost us $24B and 20% of 4th quarter GDP Growth.

    October 20, 2013 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  11. Ancient Texan

    Cruz stood up for America and his approval rating improved from 47% to 74%. McCain, Graham, King, Coker, and Hatch are RINOs and need to be replaced with Conservative Patriots.

    October 20, 2013 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  12. NamePedro C Sanchez.

    Obama Health Care, How can Obama Health Care be Defund when there is so many People line up, waiting for these Health Services? I Believe low income families have been hoping for better health services, and I Believe most of the States need affordable health provisions for all hard working families, I Think Mr. Ted Cruz is far to understand that all hard Working Families needs the function of good Health Reform, Mr Ted, I Believe no one should be denied Health service for any illness as has been in the past. We are humans, therefore we must have better health provisions for those who can not pay top Insurance prizes. MR.CRUZ sorry to let you know, but our new health program will no be off subject. Thanks.

    October 20, 2013 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  13. Rick Norris

    Cruz is right, he doesn't work for the party bosses. He works for the Koch Brothers, Big Business and the rest of the super wealthy that finance the TeaTards. He will push whatever agenda big money tells him to just like the good little lap dog he is. He is an embarrassment to Texas and the United States and we can only hope that he and the rest of the TeaTards are voted out of office before they succeed in destroying this country.

    October 20, 2013 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  14. Anonymous

    This first term congressman from Texas is still an amateur. He needs to shut up, observe for now. As time he stays in congress, he will not get what he wants with that bravado! In the end, he will never get things done for his people that he said he is listening so much!

    October 20, 2013 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  15. resonance

    * Liberals claim to be the majority by the logic that they have elected more politicians.
    * Liberals claim to be charitable in nature to justify liberal programs.
    * Liberals claim to be working and earning and contributing as much or more than conservatives.
    If all of the above is true, then why do we need government programs to help the poor? Are the liberals not charitable enough with all of their proclaimed majority and achievements? There is something wrong with this picture. Maybe that is the reason that Soros became motivated to acquire SKYTL and the voting machines.

    October 20, 2013 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  16. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    The 26 million people of Texas APLOGIZE for sending this fool Cruz to Washington since he doesn't t have the balls to apologize.

    October 20, 2013 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  17. Duh

    You stupid libs stink of fear! Ted is here to stay! This is just the beginning!! Is healthcare.gov still down! I love it!!

    October 20, 2013 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  18. jaibones

    jeebus loving bible humpers
    His "Bad Samaritan" theory sums up the shutdown quite well. He is just too blind to see it.

    October 20, 2013 11:23 am at 11:23 am |

    I love it when Democrats let the mask slip and remind the apolitical "center" what we conservatives are fully aware of - at their core the Dems are anti-Christian atheists, anti-American leftists, and anti-family misfits. Thanks, hater ... remember, clarity is more important than agreement.

    October 20, 2013 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  19. Jim

    Did he change his name to ben Arnold? Is he a traitor? If so then why is he still alive?

    October 20, 2013 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  20. obotmama

    after the incredible failure of obama it will be a 100 years! before another minority is even considered for president!

    October 20, 2013 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  21. dUB1045`

    Don in Albuquerque It is no joke. Look at the damm bill that was passed. 2 Billion Dollars went to Kentucky....
    I still want to know what McCain and McConnell actually stand for and how they differ from Harry Reid and his cronies. We have reached the point where principles are dictated by who has the voting power and the power has centered on those who after decades of education or none believe that the government should be the provider of all their needs and whoever promises them something gets the votes. I am opposed to this at all levels. Ted Cruz may have his own agenda but he expresses my feelings best. People do not want to go to work if they can get what they want from the government. There is not enough money to give them that so we mortgage our children and generations of descendants so Leroy can have a free cell phone....

    October 20, 2013 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  22. blakenaustin

    The more I see Ted Cruz in action, the more I like him. Wish we could clone him and fill Congress with conservatives truly looking out for the interests of the American people.

    October 20, 2013 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  23. gstlab3

    These so called party leaders and other inside the beltway people hate on Mr. Cruz because they fear him because he is right and correct in what he says and does.,
    All that Mr Cruz stands for will upset the free and high living Washington enjoys on the backs of taxpayers..

    October 20, 2013 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  24. Jake

    I hate him but he makes a great point that elected officials need to make decisions that are good for the people, not the political party and clique they belong to. This man is selfish and out of line and is giving the entire Republican party a bad name.

    October 20, 2013 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  25. mbw

    You are not working for me either. The Republican Party in Texas is getting "scarier and scarier". Only a Democratic
    sweep can save us. Hillary Clinton we need you now.

    October 20, 2013 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
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