Reviled in Washington, Ted Cruz Stands Tall In Texas

Image: Reviled in Washington, Ted Cruz Stands Tall In Texas

Friday, 11 Oct 2013 09:26 AM

By John Gizzi

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Widely condemned by Democrats and privately cursed by several fellow Republicans for his role as the architect of his party's assault on Obamacare in the government funding debate, Sen. Ted Cruz nonetheless appears to have won the hearts and minds of those who count the most — the voters in Texas who elected him last year.

In an exclusive interview with Newsmax, Cruz said "much of the reason that Texans are on our side is that they believe we're listening to them and are fighting their fight — to restore jobs and economic growth."

Recalling his recent trips across the state, the senator said that "listening to Texans, I find that the overwhelming concerns are jobs and economic growth. And they believe very strongly that Obamacare is the single biggest threat to those two goals."

Urgent: Do You Support Sen. Ted Cruz's Efforts to Defund Obamacare? Vote Here.

Although no polls have been taken on Cruz himself among Lone Star State voters since his 21-hour marathon Senate speech last month, a pollster who has done survey research for other GOP office-seekers in Texas, and who requested anonymity, told Newsmax that "when you put Ted Cruz's name in and ask what you think of him, the numbers go through the roof. He's sure got a following at home."

Cruz's speech has evolved into something with a life of its own.

According to data from television ratings company Rentrak, provided to New York Times media reporter Brian Stelter, viewership on CSPAN2, the cable channel which covers the U.S. Senate and its proceedings, increased fivefold on the day Cruz began speaking.

During the week of the senator's speech, Cruz spokesman Sean Rushton told Newsmax, "Our office has received 11,102 calls. Of them, 10,487 favored passing a continuing resolution with Obamacare defunded, which is the senator's position. That's about 94.5 percent of callers to our office."

Cruz made it clear to Newsmax that his battle to defund Obamacare does not include risking a default on the U.S. debt.

"Under no circumstances should the U.S. ever default on its debt," Cruz said.

"The House has passed a bill that would eliminate the possibility of ever doing that and making sure we always honor our debt. [Pennsylvania Republican] Pat Toomey offered a counterpart measure in the Senate, but Harry Reid and the Democrats killed it in the Senate. During the debate, Sen. Reid, in fact, disparagingly called it the 'pay China first' bill and stopped legislation that would have taken default on the debt off the table — permanently."

With his fellow Democrats in the Senate stopping that measure, President Barack Obama "has made a cynical decision to threaten default rather than take if off the table," Cruz said.

Austin Republican activist Reid Rousselot seemed to speaking for many of his fellow GOP volunteers when he told Newsmax: "The average Texan does not care at all what any politician or pundit from either party in Washington, D.C., says about our elected representatives. Texas elected Ted Cruz to go to Washington, D.C., and fight against the constant intrusion into our lives with regulations, taxes and mandates."

Urgent: Do You Support Sen. Ted Cruz's Efforts to Defund Obamacare? Vote Here.

"Sen. Cruz is doing exactly what we sent him there to do, which is to wage a fight against the growing Washington leviathan," Rousselot said. "As far as we are concerned, the more we hear non-Texans complain about our representatives, the more popular they become at home because it tells us that they are doing the job we elected them to do — fighting for the liberty and freedoms of Texans."

John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax.

© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

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