In an interview with “Hannity” host Sean Hannity following Thursday night’s presidential debate, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), a candidate in that race, discussed the field and how the contest is shaping up to be like the 1980 presidential election in which Ronald Reagan swept nearly the entire country in his contest with incumbent Jimmy Carter.
Transcript as follows:
HANNITY: Joining us now with reaction, 2016 GOP Presidential candidate, Senator Ted Cruz.
Senator, how are you?
CRUZ: Sean, it’s always great to join you.
HANNITY: What did you think, did you have a good time?
CRUZ: I thought it was terrific. I thought we had a lively debate, I think we covered a lot of territory. And we’re starting to see people being able to make choices.
HANNITY: Let me ask you about this issue. It is an internal intramural battle in the Republican party. You stood to defund and get rid of Obamacare, and you were kind of excoriated by members of your own party. I supported you in that effort. I want to be straight up with my audience here. And I was surprised others didn’t support you.
So do you think this is an intramural squabble? Is this going to be resolved in this presidential race?
CRUZ: Well, I think the really divide is whether we’ll have Republicans that actually do what we said we would do. And the virtue of this debate process is we have the opportunity to really put candidates to a test. In every campaign, there are campaign conservatives, all ten of the people on that stage will naturally say they’re the most conservative person ever. But I think what Republican primary voters are looking for is consistent conservatives. When have they stood when it was difficult? When they were standing, not just against Democrats, but against their own party, against Republicans. You look at the biggest issues, whether it’s Obamacare, everyone on that stage says they oppose Obamacare. When you ask, what have you actually done to stop it…
HANNITY: But is that where the frustration of the conservative base is coming in? That they promise they’ll get rid of Obamacare but they won’t use their constitutional authority, the power of the purse. Or executive amnesty, another example.
CRUZ: Amnesty’s a great example. The majority of the people on that stage have vocally, vigorously, for years supported amnesty. Now let’s flash forward to next year. When we have a general election debate, and we’ve got a Republican standing on the stage with Hillary Clinton. You know, in 2012, we saw what happened when we nominated a candidate who had a health care plan just like Obamacare. We weren’t able to have a clear contrast, because our nominee had proposed something just like that.
HANNITY: Is this Ford and Reagan in ’76? Establishment versus Reagan, the more conservative?
CRUZ: I think it is exactly that dynamic. But I think it’s also 1980. ’76 set the stage for ’80, and the Reagan revolution came from the people. Came from millions of grassroots Americans. Not Washington. One of the great illustrations that we’re seeing the same thing. Our campaign in just over four months has had over 225,000 contributions at tedcruz.org. Tedcruz.org. The average contribution is $68. That’s the power of the grassroots. It is what in 1980 we saw the Reagan revolution.
HANNITY: You mentioned a number of time tonight that you feel politicians are unwilling to speak the truth.
HANNITY: A lot has been made over the speech that you made on the Senate floor. About Mitch McConnell. Mitch McConnell in a room. You said there is no deal, is no deal, is no deal, and you said he lied to you. Did he lie to you?
CRUZ: He told a lie. And I stood on the Senate floor, I described the facts. I said here’s what he said, and here’s what he did. There was no animosity. It wasn’t personal. In my view, speaking the truth is the essence of what political debate is supposed to be about. If you think about it, as conservatives, we were told in 2010, if only we get the house of representatives, things will be better. We won the house and not a thing changed. We were told in 2014, if only we get the Senate and retire Harry Reid; millions of us rose up and did that. And it’s worth asking, what have the Republican majorities done?
We came back right after that election.
HANNITY: By the way, they predicted when did you the filibuster, that it wasn’t be a good year in 2014.
CRUZ: That’s exactly right. All the gray beards said that when I stood 21 hours on the Senate floor filibustering to stop Obamacare, they said we’re going to get destroyed, this is going to reelect Harry Reid as majority leader. That didn’t happen.
HANNITY: Two other moments that I’ve had, that really stood out in my mind. You keep using the term, Washington cartel. Is that Republicans and Democrats?
CRUZ: It is career politicians in both parties who get in bed with lobbyists and special interests, and grow, and grow, and grow government. For example, we just had a big battle over the Export-Import bank. A classic example of corporate welfare and cronyism. In this, Mitch McConnell and Harry Reid are arm in arm in a complete agreement…
HANNITY: This is taxpayer backed loans to big business.
CRUZ: Hundreds of billions of dollars of taxpayer-guaranteed loans going to a handful of giant corporations. They write lobbying checks to politicians in both parties. Now, in the midst of that fight, I tried to introduce amendments on issues that actually the American people care about. Amendments like defunding Planned Parenthood, amendments like stopping this Iran deal. Amendments like Kate’s law which I was asked about tonight. I’ve introduced Kate’s law in the Senate. And it was our own leadership, Republican leadership that blocked the votes on stopping Planned Parenthood, on stopping the Iran deal, on passing Kate’s law, and it’s because McConnell-Reid leadership team is representing the party of Washington.
HANNITY: Senator, great to see you.
CRUZ: Thank you, Sean.
HANNITY: It looks like you had a good time.
CRUZ: I had a lot of fun.
HANNITY: Thank you, Senator, for being with us.
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