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Jul 212013
 

Bill Clark/Roll Call(DES MOINES, Iowa) — In an interview for This Week with ABC News’ Jonathan Karl, Texas Republican Senator Ted Cruz dismissed talk of a potential 2016 White House bid, along with the question of whether he is ready to run for the highest office in the land after having been a senator less than a year.

“We are having a national debate about which direction the country should go…and what I am doing now is trying to participate in that national debate,” Cruz said Friday while in Iowa, a state frequented by those with White House ambitions. “I’m not focused on the politics…the last office I was elected to was student council. So this has been a bit of a whirlwind.”

Karl asked Cruz about his eligibility for the White House, which has been questioned given that he was born in Canada.

“My mother was born in Wilmington, Delaware. She’s a U.S. citizen, so I’m a U.S. citizen,” Cruz said.
“I’m not going to engage in a legal debate. The facts are clear,” he added. “I can tell you where I was born and who my parents were. And then as a legal matter, others can worry about that. I’m not going to engage.”

Cruz has established himself as a staunch opponent of immigration reform that includes a so-called “pathway to citizenship,” for the millions of undocumented immigrants currently in the United States, which is a key component of the immigration bill fellow Republican Sen. Marco Rubio — a potential 2016 presidential primary opponent for Cruz — helped push through the Senate.

Cruz, who said that Rubio ”proceeded in good faith” in his efforts to advance immigration reform, nonetheless said he thought including a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants is unfair to those had have immigrated to the United States legally.

“I think a path to citizenship for those who are here illegally is profoundly unfair to the millions of legal immigrants who followed the rules,” Cruz said, adding that he does not think a bill with such a path can pass the House of Representatives.

During the interview with Karl, Cruz criticized President Obama for trying to advance gun control measures following the December massacre at Sandy Hook elementary school in Connecticut that left 20 children dead.

“I think he had a political agenda, which was to restrict the second amendment right to keep and bear arms of law-abiding citizens… They took advantage of that horrible, tragic shooting to push that agenda. And they didn’t focus actually on solving the problem,” Cruz said.

“I think the policies he was advancing were wrong and were dangerous,” he added. “And the point that I was finishing is I admire and respect him in that he fights for his principles, but I think his principles are profoundly dangerous.”

Karl also asked Cruz about arguing a case in front of the Supreme Court at age 32.

“Scalia, Ginsberg, the chief — it was 30 minutes of getting pounded. It was like a head of tuna being thrown to a school of sharks.” Cruz said.

“I will tell you, I have always liked the fact that I sit in my office and I look at a giant painting of me getting my tail whipped 9-0. And it is very good for instilling humility to look and see, ‘ok, that’s what it looks like to lose.’”

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Jul 202013
 

United States Congress(NEW YORK) — If you’re a 2016 GOP presidential hopeful, watch out for Rep. Peter King’s right hook.

While discussing his boxing skills with ABC News’ Rick Klein, King, R-N.Y., who has been talking up his potential presidential ambitions, took jabs at other possible 2016 contenders.

“I’m going to be feeling out the opponents the first few rounds, throwing jabs and jabs and, when they’re not looking, right cross and it’s all over,” King said.

He even offered some praise for the Democrat who would be the odds-on frontrunner, provided she decided to run.

King believes the Republicans don’t stand a chance if they put up the wrong candidate against Hillary Clinton.

“I think she’s very strong on foreign policy, and I think that if we nominate someone from our isolationist wing of the party, she’ll destroy them,” King said, putting Sens. Rand Paul and Ted Cruz squarely in the isolationist category.

King also had criticism for another potential Republican 2016 hopeful, Sen. Marco Rubio, R- Fla., who King believed failed to deliver on providing aid to the Northeast in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.

“I have a lot of regard for Sen. Rubio, but I have some hard feelings after what he did, voting against aid to New York,” King told ABC News. “[It] shows some narrowness which I’m not over yet.”

That said, King’s issues with the GOP are not only limited to the domestic front. The congressman also thinks Republicans need to participate in a “coherent” foreign policy dialogue and should focus on avoiding “name calling” and “pandering to people’s fears.”

“I like Paul [Ryan],” King said. “But as far as defense, Paul hasn’t really spoken out on defense.”

“So far … no one is out there talking about national defense,” he continued. “The economy’s important, immigration’s important but the fact is if we don’t survive as a nation, none of that matters.”

Without this kind of discussion, King believes Republicans will face an uphill battle, especially if the Democrats nominate Clinton. And he is not alone in thinking that.

On Friday, White House strategist David Axelrod said Clinton would be the most likely Democratic nominee in 2016.

“I think that Hillary Clinton probably will be the candidate,” Axelrod said Friday morning on MSNBC’s Morning Joe.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Mar 172013
 

Douglas Graham/Roll Call(WASHINGTON) — Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, said he’s willing to embrace the “wacko bird” label given to him by Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., if it means he is defending the Constitution.

“If standing for liberty and standing for the Constitution makes you a wacko bird, then count me a proud wacko bird,” Cruz said as he delivered the keynote address Saturday at the Conservative Political Action Conference in National Harbor, Md.

In an interview with the Huffington Post earlier this month, McCain singled out Cruz, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., and Rep. Justin Amash, R-Mich., as “wacko birds” when asked whether he felt they are a “positive force” within the Republican Party.

“They were elected, nobody believes that there was a corrupt election, anything else,” McCain said. “But I also think that when, you know, it’s always the wacko birds on right and left that get the media megaphone.

“I think it can be harmful if there is a belief among the American people that those people are reflective of the views of the majority of Republicans. They’re not,” he said.  McCain apologized for the remark Friday in an interview with Fox News.

As he closed out the three-day conservative convention, Cruz took pride in joining Paul’s 13-hour filibuster over the nomination of John Brennan to be director of the CIA, and without naming names, he criticized the senators who refrained from participating in the filibuster.

“There were more than a few senators who were not there with us that have had their manhood cheapened as a result,” Cruz said.

The filibuster marked Cruz’s first time speaking on the floor of the Senate, a moment to which Cruz said, “to my grave, I will owe Rand Paul a debt of gratitude.”

Even though the Republican Party experienced a loss in the presidential election last November, Cruz argued that it’s the conservative movement that’s heading towards success.

“For the last three weeks, conservatives have been winning, and we’re winning because of you,” Cruz said.

Cruz, who is in his first term as a senator, tied for seventh place in the CPAC straw poll with Dr. Ben Carson, a neurosurgeon, at 4 percent. Paul narrowly won the straw poll. Cruz’s keynote address occurred after straw poll balloting concluded.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Jan 032013
 

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — They have been sworn into the Senate Thursday, but for Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) and Ted Cruz (R-Texas), their kids were the ones who stole the show.

First was Gillibrand’s son, held atop his mother’s hip as she lightly touched the Bible during a mock swear-in with Vice President Joe Biden.

Midway through the oath, Gillibrand’s son reached out his hand and ruffled his mom’s hair.  With a big smile, Gillibrand proceeded with the oath as she tried to tamp down her hair.

Then came Murphy, who carried his son in one arm as he participated in the mock swear-in. (The real swearing-in occurs on the Senate floor; this particular one is a re-enactment for families, friends and photos.) As Murphy lifted his hand to take the oath, the toddler raised his hand as well, providing a perfect photo op for Murphy and his young son together being sworn in as a senator.

And as Catherine Cruz, the youngest daughter of the new Republican senator from Texas, started to cry, Biden quickly picked her up and joked about himself, “That’s a Democrat, I know but that’s O.K.”

Cruz’s wife Heidi quipped back, “She cries loudly for Republicans too.”

Watch more here:

 

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Aug 302012
 

Douglas Graham/Roll Call(TAMPA, Fla.) — With the help of the Tea Party, Ted Cruz bucked the establishment in Texas this summer when he knocked a long-term state politician out of the Republican Senate primary, sending a message that the Tea Party is here to stay.

“I think it is absolutely the future,” Cruz told ABC’s Nightline anchor Terry Moran.  “In 2010, the Tea Party had a lot of protests in the blazing hot sun.  In 2011 and 2012, the Tea Party went to work.  They rolled up their sleeves.  They got involved in the parties.  They got involved in campaigns.  They started block walking, phone banking.”

“In my race, thousands and thousands of Tea Party activists made the difference in the race and it’s a fundamental shift.  It’s getting the Republican Party back to the principles we should have been standing for in the first place,” Cruz told Moran.

Cruz, 41, has never held elective office, but with the support of the Tea Party and prominent Republicans such as former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and former presidential candidate Rick Santorum, he was catapulted to victory this summer in a bitter run-off with Texas Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst for a Senate seat left open by Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas.

When he entered the race, Cruz was polling at just single digits, but he forced Dewhurst, who was backed by Texas Gov. Rick Perry and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, into a run-off in July, demonstrating the frustration Texans had towards the establishment.

“There is a sense that the folks who have been in office for a long time, they don’t get it.  And it is both parties have let us down.  Barack Obama is the most radical president we’ve ever seen but a lot of Republicans have been complicit with the Democrats in growing spending out of control,” Cruz told Moran.  “I think the voters are saying to both parties, ‘Get back to the basic, founding principles of our country — limited government, free markets, individual liberty,’ and I think that’s what this movement all across the country is about.”

A few blocks from the main convention proceedings in Tampa, Fla., hundreds of delegates streamed into a revival style tent on Wednesday to lay the groundwork for an even more conservative Republican future, grooming a whole new crop of leaders, like Cruz, who spoke before the crowd as he was accompanied by his father.

“The stakes have never been higher.  Americans are uniting to turn the country around,” Cruz said.

A magna cum laude graduate of Harvard Law School who attended Princeton University as an undergrad, Cruz served as solicitor general in Texas from 2003 to 2008.  Prior to that, Cruz worked for the Federal Trade Commission and Justice Department, and he clerked for former Chief Justice William Rehnquist, making Cruz the first Latino to clerk for a chief justice.

Cruz is the son of a Cuban immigrant whose story the Texan shared at the convention Tuesday night, even speaking in Spanish — a language in which Cruz is not fluent — to describe his father’s determination to achieve the American dream.

“He fled to Texas in 1957, not speaking English, with $100 sewn into his underwear.  He washed dishes making 50 cents an hour to pay his way through the University of Texas and to start a small business in the oil and gas industry,” Cruz said of his father in a speech at the RNC Tuesday night.  “When he came to America, el no tenia nada, pero tenia corazon.  He had nothing, but he had heart.  A heart for freedom.  Thank you, Dad.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio