Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas said Republicans will need to nominate a strong conservative if they hope to win the presidency, but he evaded a question when asked whether he'd like to be that candidate.
ABC's Jonathan Karl cornered Cruz this week in Iowa, and asked him for Sunday's "This Week" whether he wants to be the GOP nominee in 2016.
"I'm not focused on the politics. I've been in the Senate all of seven months. The last office I was elected to was student council," Cruz said.
But Karl noted that Cruz's travel itinerary certainly looks like that of someone with White House ambitions. Cruz has been to, or is scheduled for, trips to New Hampshire, Iowa, South Carolina, Georgia, New York and Florida – all critical states in the GOP presidential nomination battle.
"We are having a national debate about which direction the country should go. What I am doing now is trying to participate in that national debate," Cruz responded when asked flat out whether he is running for president.
Part of that debate has been taking on the agenda of President Barack Obama.
"I don't consider President Obama Enemy No. 1. I think he is someone who believes passionately in his principles, and I respect him for that," Cruz said. "But I think his principles are profoundly dangerous."
Obama won two presidential elections, he says, because Republicans are not standing for their principles.
"When you have a national debt that is larger than our entire economy – the Democrats have driven that, but there are a whole lot of Republicans who were complicit," he said.
Americans fed up with politicians in both parties digging the nation deeper into debt and who are disregarding the Constitution, he added.
Fellow Republican Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida has been seen a chief rival if Cruz chooses to run. Both have Hispanic backgrounds, but differ on a "pathway to citizenship" for the 11 million illegal immigrants currently in the country. Cruz calls a pathway "profoundly unfair" to those here legally.
"I do not believe the House of Representatives will pass a path to citizenship," Cruz said of the other chamber currently looking at a variety of immigration bills.
If the Gang of Eight bill, which Rubio helped craft, became law those 11 million illegals could rise to 20 million to 30 million in another couple of decades, he said.
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