My Interview With Ted Cruz
I interviewed Ted Cruz at CPAC for SmartGirlNation, but the audio quality wasn’t great, so to make sure you didn’t miss it, I transcribed it. Enjoy!
Welcome to Smart Girl Nation. This is Kathleen McKinley and today I’m speaking with Mr. Ted Cruz, who is running for the Texas Senate seat now being held Kay Bailey Hutchinson, who will step down in 2012. Thank you for being here Mr. Cruz.
Ted Cruz: Thank you for having me.
SGN: My first question is why you decided now to get into the Senate race?
Ted Cruz: Well, the answer is simple I think the Senate and Washington is where the fight is. This President, President Obama, in my judgment, is the most radical President we have ever seen and he is a true believer committed to growing the size and power and spending of the federal government. And there is a desperate need, I believe, for leadership in Washington to stand up and defend free market principles to defend individual liberty and to defend the constitution.
SGN: My next question is about the Tea party. Many candidates want the support of the Tea party, but they don’t feel they need to be a tea party candidate. How do you feel about that, and how do you think the tea party will affect the 2012 elections.
Ted Cruz: I think the Tea Party is one of the most exciting things to happen in politics in modern times. The tea party is, as you know, an organic movement that grew with millions of Americans standing up to defend individual liberty. And it was really prompted by two things. Number one, Republicans in office failing to stand up for liberty, failing to stand up for limited government, and giving in to bloated and expanded federal government. Number two, President Obama presiding over the most dramatic increase in federal government spending and federal government power in history. As a result millions of Americans all over Texas and all over the nation have stood up and re read the constitution, and now are standing up to ensure that our kids and grandkids can enjoy the same freedom that we have. And I think it’s a tremendous value to our country. The tea party is injecting back bone into an awful lot of politicians that wouldn’t otherwise have it.
SGN: What do you think of the controversy at CPAC over social issues and groups like GOProud and libertarians? How does the GOP mesh the beliefs of so many who hold different beliefs? How do we come together under a big tent?
Ted Cruz: One challenge in any two party system is bringing together different groups of people with different beliefs. I am a conservative, I am an economic conservative, I am a social conservative. But I welcome the support, I welcome the help of anyone who will work together to protect free market principles, to protect individual liberty, and to protect the constitution. I think Obama has been so radical that we are seeing a great awakening all across the country. I am incredibly optimistic as a result of it. And I think all of us should come together to fight to preserve the free market tradition in our country. Our campaign for Senate has been blessed to be supported by a great number of conservatives and a great number of libertarians. And we welcome the support of a broad coalition dedicated to defending liberty.
SGN: If the GOP can take the Senate, what do you think should their priorities?
Ted Cruz: The number one priority in the Senate in my opinion is going to be stopping the Obama agenda, and shrinking the size and power of the federal government. And when I say shrinking I don’t mean just slowing the rate of growth, which is typically Washington speak, if .01 % of the rate of growth is decreased it’s often described as a draconian cut. What the American people are asking for is a serious reduction in the size of the federal government and the power it has over our lives. And that would be my number one priority is fighting to defend individual liberty and free market principles.
SGN: Do you think the GOP understands this window of opportunity we have to say to the American public if we don’t stop spending, if we don’t make cuts, we are in big trouble, and the American people understand that, and will be ok with that? Even if we have to reform the entitlement programs.
Ted Cruz: I think you are exactly right. We do have a window of opportunity. We have an ability to get serious about the fiscal and economic train wreck that this country is unfortunately on the path towards. And because the American people are standing up and focusing on these issues I think there is an opportunity for serious leadership. To be honest, I think what we need in many ways, and you and I have talked about this before, I think the most lasting legacy of the Obama administration will be a new generation of Republican leaders standing up and defending liberty. I agree with you. We have an opportunity to seriously address federal government spending, debt, the deficit and to pair it back in a real way. And to address entitlements which is the only way to substantially address the budget. We have an historic opportunity right now.
SGN: Would you like to tell us about your background.
Ted Cruz: I would be happy to. For five and half years I served as the Solicitor General of Texas. This is the chief lawyer for the state of Texas in front of the U.S. Supreme Court. I was appointed by Attorney General Greg Abbot, my dear friend and mentor. During the time I served, Texas, over and over again, led the nation standing up defending conservative principles, and winning on a national level. We defended the Ten Commandments monument. We went to the U.S. Supreme Court and won 5/4. We defended the pledge of allegiance, and went to the Supreme Court and won unanimously. We defended the 2nd Amendment, the right to keep and bear arms, and won 5/4. Most significantly, a case we have talked about before, Medellin vs. Texas, where the world court, the judicial arm of the United Nations, issued an order to the United States to re-open the convictions of 51 murderers. Texas stood up to the world court and the United Nations. I argued that case twice, and on the other side were over 90 nations and the President of the United States. We vigorously defended U.S. sovereignty and we won 6/3.
SGN: I know your Dad came here from Cuba. It’s a fascinating background story. As you know I have a passion for bringing more Hispanics and blacks in the GOP. How does the GOP do an effective job to reaching out to Hispanic Americans?
Ted Cruz: It’s a critically important question. You mentioned my family background. My Dad came as an immigrant from Cuba. He fought in the Cuban revolution. He was thrown in prison. He was tortured. He was almost killed. He came here as an 18 year old kid in 1957. He didn’t speak English. He had $110 sewn into his underwear. He was admitted to the University of Texas, and he got a job making 50 cents an hour as a dishwasher. That is the American dream. His story is the story of all of us. It’s the story of who we have been as Americans. Every one of us has that kind of story in our background, whether it’s us or parents or our great great grandparents. The way we reach out and connect to the Hispanic community is not doing what many Republican do, which is offering Democrat lite, offering a partial welfare state. I think that reflects a serious misunderstanding of the Hispanic Community. In my opinion the Hispanic community is a profoundly conservative community. The most important values among Latinos are faith, family, and patriotism. A lot of people don’t know that the rate of military enlistment in the Hispanic community is higher than any demographic in this country. No value resonates more strongly the American Dream than the hard work to achieve that dream. And that’s what we, as Republicans and Conservatives, need to be defending. We need to defend the ability for the next entrepreneur starting a business in his or her garage, to work and rise from nothing to achieve that American Dream.
SGN: How do we walk that fine line between reaching out to Hispanic Americans, but also fighting against illegal immigration and for border control? They are two separate issues, but the other side is always painting us as anti immigrant. How do we do a better job of fighting that?
Ted Cruz: There is no doubt that the Democrats and the media love to paint the Republicans as anti immigrant. On the question of illegal immigration I think we should stand firm and stand tall. I am strongly opposed to illegal immigration. I come to it from the perspective as someone who has been in law enforcement most of my adult life. I think particularly in a post 9-11 world we have to enforce the border. It makes no sense that we don’t know who is crossing our border. We don’t know their background. We don’t know their criminal history. Any nation as a matter of national sovereignty secures its border. At the same time we cannot allow our vigilance in securing the border to be used to paint us as anti immigrant. As strongly as we stand against illegal immigration, legal immigration is something completely different. To my mind it’s incredibly important that we remain a nation that not only welcomes legal immigrants, but embraces and celebrates legal immigrants. In fact, the history of our country for generations has been people fleeing oppression, and coming here for liberty and opportunity. It’s that tradition that will cause us to reject the Obama agenda of govt control, because liberty and opportunity are the most fundamental values of who we are as Americans, and that is tied into us being a nation of immigrants.
SGN: Tell me about your family.
Ted Cruz: I am married to Heidi and she is the love of my life. We have two little girls. Caroline is 2 1/2 now, and we have a new baby girl that was born in October, Catherine, who is 3 months old.
SGN: Congratulations on your new baby! I think we are about out of time Thank you so much for talking to us. Where can people find you on the net?
Ted Cruz: Go to TedCruz.org. On Facebook we are Facebook.com/Ted Cruz. Join us to build a community in Texas and America dedicating to defending free market principles, defending liberty, and defending the constitution.