Conservatives were "embarrassed" to vote in the 2006 and 2008 midterm and presidential elections, even when Sen. John McCain was seeking the presidency, Sen. Ted Cruz says in a wide-ranging interview in October's GQ Magazine
"I don't know a conservative who didn't feel embarrassed voting in 2006 or 2008," the Texas Republican said. "I think the Republican Party lost its way. We didn't stand for the principles we're supposed to believe in."
Cruz and McCain have been butting heads almost from the first moment the tea party-backed freshman senator was sworn into office earlier this year, and his comments in the GQ interview aren't likely to endear him to the veteran senator from Arizona who famously called him and fellow Republicans, Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky and Rep. Justin Amash of Michigan, "wacko birds
" back in March.
McCain apologized soon after the name-calling, but Cruz and McCain still do not see eye-to-eye on most issues. One McCain aide told GQ that the veteran senator "[expletive] hates Cruz."
In addition, Cruz — along with a few of his conservative cohorts — has been criticized strongly by other members of their party for tying the defunding of Obamacare to a temporary spending bill aimed at preventing a government shutdown.
The fiercely ambitious Cruz, meanwhile, has fueled speculation about his own presidential ambitions in 2016 by speaking to Republican groups in early primary states like Iowa and New Hampshire. That fact is highlighted in the GQ article, which profiles the senator as the hard-edged, Princeton- and Harvard Law-educated son of a Cuban immigrant father and an American mother.
The article portrays the former appeals court lawyer as a cocky, intelligent politician whose views are often cheered by tea party supporters while being booed by more established politicians such as McCain.
According to the article, he embraces his differences with other politicians, even wearing McCain's "wacko bird" comment as a badge of honor. In fact, he now displays a baseball cap in his office bearing a picture of the Daffy Duck cartoon character along with the words "Wacko Bird" that supporters from Texas sent him.
The article also details the Cruz family background, beginning with the story of his father, Rafael, who fled Cuba and was eventually admitted to the University of Texas despite speaking little English.
The elder Cruz's freedom flight story has endeared him to his son's tea party supporters, and he has become a powerful conservative speaker in his own right, reports The National Review
. In his speeches, Rafael Cruz has compared President Barack Obama to Cuban dictator Fidel Castro.
But the article also delves into the elder Cruz's early financial problems, a story his senator son usually avoids. Cruz acknowledges in the article that his father started an oil and gas exploration business in the late 1960s, moving his wife to Calgary, Canada, where their son was born.
In 1974, the family moved back to Houston, but in the 1980s his father's business went bankrupt and soon after, his parents divorced.
"My father poured all of my parents' personal assets into the company, and demand for oil and gas exploration just disappeared because oil prices dropped so low," Cruz told GQ.
"There's a whole generation of people in the energy industry at that time that just lost everything."
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