Exclusive: Sen. Ted Cruz In South Carolina: I’m ‘Very, Very Seriously’ Considering White House Run in 2016

Erich Schlegel/Getty Images/AFP
Erich Schlegel/Getty Images/AFP

MYRTLE BEACH, South Carolina — Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) tells Breitbart News that he’s “very, very seriously” considering launching a presidential candidacy for 2016. Cruz adds that he thinks a bold conservative needs to win the GOP nomination next time around, or else he fears Democrats are likely to win the White House as they did in 2008 and 2012.

“God bless South Carolina. South Carolina has historically played a critical role in helping select Republican presidential nominees,” Cruz said in an interview here at the state’s Tea Party Coalition Convention:

South Carolina’s central role has been ensuring that we nominate a strong conservative. And when Republicans nominate a strong conservative with a positive, optimistic vision, we win. It’s the pathway to victory. So I’m thrilled to be here in South Carolina. You asked about 2016? It’s something I’m looking at very, very seriously. I got to tell you, the encouragement, the expressions of support that we’ve been receiving have been breathtaking. I’ve spent the day just meeting with grassroots activists, sitting here at roundtables with Republican women, with Tea Party leaders, with small business owners, with young people—answering their questions, listening to their concerns. The support we’re seeing at the grassroots but also at the financial level, the support we’re seeing from donors who recognize what we’re doing isn’t working and we’ve got to change paths. Really it’s been humbling and it’s been overwhelming.

When asked if politicians Washington—both the Republican establishment and the Democrats, including Obama—missed the point of the midterm elections, Cruz replied simply “yes.”

Immediately after the resounding midterm electoral victory, featuring millions of conservative voters helping Republicans retake the U.S. Senate majority and expand the GOP’s U.S. House majority, the GOP establishment in Congress rammed through a 1,774-page, $1.1 trillion so-called “cromnibus” spending bill. That bill did nothing to reverse the president’s then-just-announced executive amnesty. Meanwhile, Obama has continued expanding the use of his executive authority by opening up negotiations with Cuba and implementing the executive amnesty—with plans to push other executive actions in the months ahead.

“Number one, President Obama came out of this election—he was right when he said his policies were on the ballot all across this country. There was a referendum on the Obama policies and the American people overwhelmingly rejected the path we’re on,” Cruz said. “But unfortunately when Republicans came back for the lame duck, we quickly went back to business as usual passing a trillion dollar cromnibus that did not reflect the values and priorities the American people had voted for.”

Cruz said that Republicans in Congress can fight for something different—and can lay out a bold contrast to President Obama and the Democrats, if they actually fight:

It is my hope that with Republican majorities that we will stand up and lead, that Republicans will demonstrate we deserve a Republican majority, that we will present a big, bold, positive agenda. It’s what I’m pressing for that we will number one, champion jobs and economic growth and opportunity. We’ll champion energy and tax reform, that we’ll fight to abolish the IRS, to repeal Obamacare, and we’ll honor the commitments we’ve made. Number two, that we’ll fight to defend our constitutional liberty that’s been under assault from the Obama administration and number three that Congress will begin to provide meaningful leadership in the world that’s been so absent from the Obama-Clinton foreign policy of leading from behind. That’s what we should do. I don’t know if it’s what we will. But it’s what I’m going to press to do.

At several points in the interview, which aired on Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot Channel 125, Cruz praised conservative grassroots activists around the country who have been fighting for conservative values:

At the end of the day, our country is not going to be turned around in Washington. If you’re looking to Washington for hope, you will be disappointed. The only avenue to turn this country around is the American people and what gives me excitement as I travel here in South Carolina and as I travel all across the country I see millions of men and women—many of whom have never been involved in politics—standing up and saying enough is enough, stop bankrupting our children and grandchildren. Stop violating the Constitution. Let’s get back to the common sense principles our country was built on. Where we are today reminds me a great deal of the late 1970s. There are powerful similarities between Jimmy Carter and Barack Obama. I think 2016 is going to be very much like 1980 in that the way we win is not to paint as Reagan said in pale pastels but in bold colors. If we provide a clear optimistic alternative, that’s how we win and turn the country around.

Cruz said the “energy and enthusiasm” in South Carolina at the Tea Party convention is “electric” a year out from the GOP primaries for 2016. South Carolina is the first primary state in the south, making it a key stop for Republicans who want to be president.

I think people are impassioned to turn our country around. You asked why people are here, the answer is simple: Our country is in crisis. It is now or never that we turn things around. We haven’t hit the point of no return yet, but we are close. We are very, very close. I think all across this country people are waking up and realizing the path we’re on isn’t working. The Obama economy is a disaster, Obamacare is a train wreck, the lawlessness—executive amnesty—is unconstitutional and wrong. Our Bill of Rights are under assault. The Obama-Clinton foreign policy of leading from behind has made the world much more dangerous. I think people are hungry for a change back to the free market principles and constitutional liberties that have been the foundation of this nation.

Cruz also said he is hopeful Republican leaders in Congress won’t cave in to Obama’s executive amnesty, and will hold the line after blocking funding for its implementation in the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) funding bill. The House passed legislation blocking funding for Obama’s amnesty last week, and the Senate is expected to take it up soon.

My attitude and I think the attitude of millions of voters have toward leadership is very much what Ronald Reagan said the attitude should be with regards to the Soviet Union: Trust, but verify. Republican leaders have promised to fight for the conservative principles that millions of grassroots activists came out and fought for and voted for to put them in office to do. We need to follow through. What I have urged my colleagues, what I have tried to do in my time in the Senate is just two things: Number one, to tell the truth. And number two, to do what I said I would do. What I am urging my colleagues to do is to do what they said would do. All across the country, Republican candidates campaigned saying that if you give us a Republican majority in the Senate we will stop the train wreck that is Obamacare and stop the president’s illegal and unconstitutional executive amnesty. I spent months campaigning all over the country helping to elect Republicans to the Senate, helping retire Harry Reid. Those are the commitments we made to the voters. What I’m urging my colleagues to do is let’s honor the commitments. Let’s have the answer to questions in January be the exact same thing we would have said in October. If we do that, we would have earned the support that voters gave us. And if not then the only answer will be fundamental change by the voters holding all of us accountable and just getting back to the principles that made America strong.


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