U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz hinted Saturday that he would make a decision on a possible run for the White House in the first half of 2015, but he said his focus for the next six weeks would be on helping Republicans take back the Senate.
The Texas Republican told Dan Balz of The Washington Post at The Texas Tribune Festival that the 2016 field would probably be defined between January and June of next year. But he did not offer up his name.
Balz introduced the topic by asking Cruz what would keep him out the 2016 presidential election. Cruz allowed that it was a clever way of asking him to disclose his plans. But he said that his focus is on the November midterm elections.
However, he added, Republicans in 2016 should nominate “whoever is making the case that the economic policies we’re seeing are not working, that the assault on constitutional liberties in Washington is unacceptable, that the retreat of American leadership in the world is making the world more dangerous and jeopardizing America.”
He added that he hoped to see up to about a dozen Republicans making the case to primary voters in 2016.
Cruz said his interest lies in changing the “fundamentally corrupt” culture of Washington.
He said the only way to end partisan gridlock is to have the American people decide who should run the government. The answer, he said, would not come from Washington, in part, because of the divide between “career politicians in both parties and the American people.”
He anticipated a verdict from the American people similar to what happened in 1980 when Ronald Reagan won the White House from Jimmy Carter.
One of those similarities between President Obama and Carter, Cruz said, is a foreign policy that is “feckless and naïve.”
Cruz said that Obama is pursuing a strategy against the Islamic State threat in Iraq and Syria that is “fundamentally unserious” and “a photo op policy.”
Obama has stepped up airstrikes on ISIS as part of a long-term goal to destroy the group. His strategy received a boost this week when Congress authorized the training and equipping of Syrian rebel troops to fight against ISIS.
Cruz also went after Obama on his announcement that he would issue an executive order on immigration absent congressional action, only to delay action until after the midterm election.
Cruz called the tactic “one of the most cynical things I have seen.”
He also said news reports pinning partisan gridlock on him and his party are wrong. He said the Republican-led U.S. House has passed 350 pieces of legislation — including bills on immigration and the Keystone pipeline — that aren’t receiving consideration by the Democrat-led Senate.
And, he added, the view by some that he is not interested in compromise is wrong. He said that he is open to making deals that net him less than 100 percent as long as some core principles are not compromised.
“I am absolutely happy to compromise if they are shrinking size and power of Washington,” he said.