Former New York Gov. George Pataki invoked the long-standing "Eleventh Commandment" of Republican politics on Newsmax TV
on Wednesday, summoning the spirit of Ronald Reagan to discourage in-house criticism of the presidential ambitions of Sen. Ted Cruz.
"It's always disappointing to me when we see Republicans shooting at each other," Pataki, who acknowledged he is considering a run of his own but said, "I don't have a time frame," told "MidPoint" host Ed Berliner.
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Pataki did not dress down his fellow New York Republican, Rep. Pete King
, who greeted Cruz's campaign launch Monday with scorn on Facebook and a promise on CNN to "jump off a bridge" if Cruz becomes the party's nominee.
On Newsmax TV on Tuesday, Denver radio talk show host and former Homeland Security official Mike Brown on Tuesday urged King to "shut up."
Pataki instead played up the party's common ground, saying: "We all understand we have to change the failed Obama-Hillary Clinton policies and replace them with policies that reduce the size and the power of Washington, and [reject] their playing by one set of rules while the American people are governed by other rules.
"Peter King shares that philosophy. I think Ted Cruz shares that philosophy," said the former three-term Republican governor.
"He's an elected official," Pataki said of King. "People can say what they want to say.
"But I'm a believer in Ronald Reagan, when he said the Eleventh Commandment. We're all on the same side," said Pataki, referring to Regan's injunction against Republicans speaking ill of one another.
"We're trying to reduce the size and the power and the intrusiveness of government," said Pataki. "Let's focus on our ideas, our vision, our record, our ability to change this country, as opposed to shooting at each other.
"Let's talk about Hillary Clinton having separate rules, having her own email server
," he said.
"Let's focus on them instead of us, if we want to be critical," he said.
Pataki also backed Cruz's decision to sign up for healthcare
through the Obamacare law that he has reviled and wants to repeal.
"I don't think it's a political ploy," Pataki said of candidate Cruz's moving from coverage offered by his wife's employer to a policy purchased under the healthcare law. "Maybe it is, I don't know. But what I do think is that Sen. Cruz did exactly the right thing."
Pataki as governor was known as a moderate Republican in a Northeastern, liberal-leaning state. But on Wednesday he staunchly defended both Cruz and the conservative, evangelical, heartland movement and small-government philosophy that Cruz embodies.
"You have to put together a broad coalition, including everyone who understands that our freedoms don't come from some leftist group in Washington deciding what we can do," Pataki said of the path to the White House.
He also criticized the left for being more than just merely dismissive of religious constituencies.
"There is an assault on religion in this country — particularly Christianity — among the left, among the elites in academia," said Pataki, "and all of us have to stand up and defend people's rights to have that profound faith."
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