Newly announced Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz calls President Barack Obama a "backbencher" amid criticism that Cruz is making his own White House bid during his first term in the Senate, The Hill reports
Cruz defended his brief Senate tenure as wildly productive, while saying Obama did very little as a junior senator from Illinois before running for president, The Hill reports.
"He was a backbencher. He did not engage in a whole lot of issues of consequence," Cruz told host Glenn Beck on his radio show Tuesday.
"In the time I've been there, on issue after issue after issue, I've been leading the fight on conservative principles, leading the fight to stop Obamacare, to stop amnesty, to stop the debt that is crushing our kids and grandkids, to defend our constitutional rights," Cruz asserted.
The conservative Texas senator, 44, also defended his resume as more appropriate for serving in the White House, trumpeting his legal career and experience as a "very significant factor."
"Unlike Barack Obama, I wasn't a community organizer. I spent five-and-a-half years as solicitor general of Texas, representing Texas in front of the Supreme Court, and we won some of the biggest victories in the country defending conservative principles," he said.
Cruz seemed defiant amid criticism from some media outlets that many in his party do not support his brand of conservatism, tinged with an evangelical message that takes on social issues firsthand.
He noted a New York Times story after his presidential announcement at Virginia's Liberty University that seemed to dismiss his power among GOP leadership, calling him "a long shot" candidate
Wrote the Times: "The candidate with the most support from party elites doesn't always win the nomination, but support from elites is probably a prerequisite for victory… Mr. Cruz has done nothing to endear himself to the elites."
The Times noted an April 2013 story in Foreign Policy
, which called Cruz "the most hated man in the Senate."
The term "backbencher" was used to describe Obama's tenure in the Illinois legislature by another likely GOP presidential candidate, Marco Rubio — also a first-term senator, The Washington Times reported.
Rubio noted that he was in leadership at his state legislature in Florida, a contrast to Obama's Illinois statehouse role.
"I would say that my experience has been quite different than President Obama's. He was a backbencher in the state legislature in Illinois; I was in leadership all nine years that I served there, including two as Speaker of the House," Rubio told the Washington Times
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