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Hugh Hewitt Book Club

Ted Cruz Says Candidates Bear Responsibility For The Culture Of Their Campaigns

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The Audio:


The transcript:

HH: Senator Cruz joins us. Senator Cruz, I must say I was thinking of you and Heidi today when I was listening to all of the eulogies about Nancy and Ron Reagan. Your wife and your two beautiful daughters were there in the front row last night. It’s got to be stressful on them.

TC: You know, it is, but they’ve actually been, they’ve been phenomenal. Heidi has been on the road campaigning non-stop. I mean, she is truly a road warrior. She’s in Missouri right now campaigning. I’m in Chicago campaigning. And the girls have been, they’ve had fun with it. They go on the road with us. They get out and shake hands and wave, and it’s stressful on them, but at the same time, it has been an amazing journey, and really, the most incredible thing is we’ve gotten the opportunity to meet and get to know just unbelievable people across the country who are really, really passionate to turn the country around.

HH: Now Senator Ted Cruz, if people want to support you, I watched in pretty great amazement last night, two hours up close and personal of substantive discussion. So on a substantive basis, I had Tim Miller on earlier who’s opposing Donald Trump. What is the most significant difference that revealed itself in your mind last night on the stage?

TC: Well, I think it was clear that you know, Donald said that nobody knows the system better than him. And that may well be right, because Donald Trump is the system. Donald Trump is Washington. Donald Trump is big business. And for everyone who is frustrated with Washington, who is frustrated with politicians who have lied to him, who haven’t done what they said, and who have broken their promises, who have been part of the Washington corruption, I understand that frustration. I understand that anger. It’s well justified. But you do not respond to the corruption of Washington by supporting an individual like Donald Trump who has been enmeshed in that corruption for 40 years. And it became evident. You know, several times, I asked Donald, name one time when you have ever stood up to Washington, where you’ve ever taken on the lobbyists on anything. And he couldn’t point to a single instance. Name one government program you would eliminate. He couldn’t point to a single program. And I think that’s why we need our support continuing to grow and grow and grow, because when people look to, okay, who has a record of actually standing up to the corruption in Washington, standing with the hard-working taxpayer, I’m the one candidate with a proven record of doing that over and over again, which explains why there have been so many slings and arrows tossed our direction, because when you take on Washington, Washington doesn’t like it.

HH: People are rallying to you, including Mike Lee today. I am curious, though, if your rallies have been marred by the kind of incidents that are actually maybe unfolding tonight at a Donald Trump rally. We are watching it very closely. There are reports of a large number of demonstrators. And Tim Miller called it a culture of violence that surrounds and propagates the Trump campaign. That might be overstating it, superPAC style. But have you had any of these incidents, Senator Cruz, that have gotten that ugly?

TC: No, not remotely, and there’s no doubt that a candidate bears responsibility for the culture that is set from the top. And you know, my approach, listen, it comes from how you view the voters. You know, Donald demands of the voters that they stand up and pledge their allegiance to him, pledge that they would vote for him. As I mentioned last night, I think that gets it exactly backwards. This is a job interview. You know, kings and queens demand of their subjects that they pledge allegiance to them, but in America, we don’t pledge allegiance to men. We pledge allegiance to the flag. We pledge allegiance to the Constitution. But we don’t pledge allegiance to men. And this is very much, each of us should be asking to work for 330 million Americans. And what I am doing is pledging my allegiance to you. And part of that is reflected on how you approach protestors, because if you are the monarch from on high, then the protestor is disloyal and needs to be cast out and punished. You know, my approach, often, Hugh, with protestors, is if they’re being civil, I’ll often engage with them. You know, we had an event up in Maine, a huge rally in Maine. There were several college kids that stood up and began protesting. And I said all right, stand up, tell me what your concern is, let’s talk about it, let’s talk about illegal immigration. Let’s talk about climate change. And I ended up having an impromptu ten minute debate with a protestor on substance, and said listen, if you don’t have a right to shout down this event. If you’re disruptive the police officers will escort you out. But if you want to engage in civil discourse, we can talk about it. In fact, I remember there was one event, Hugh, you may have seen a video of it online where we were doing an event outside the White House protesting this terrible Iran deal and focusing on the American hostages.

HH: I did. That’s on…

TC: And we had protestors from Code Pink that began yelling us down. And I invited Medea Benjamin, who’s the head of Code Pink, I said listen, you can’t shout this down and silence our speech. But if you want, pick one of you, and they picked Medea Benjamin, come on up to the microphone. I’ll give you my microphone. You make the case they this deal is a good deal, and I’ll argue the other side. And we had about a 25 minute impromptu, civil, respectful debate on the substance. I think that’s reflective of a candidate who views the voters with respect, not as potential subjects for a monarch.

HH: 45 seconds, Senator Cruz, are you open to more debates. If the invitation is extended, will you accept them? And from the RNC and a media partner, and will you sit down for long form interviews with MSM?

MS: Absolutely, yes. I think we ought to have debates, particularly next week, I hope and believe the race will formally narrow to two voters. Right now, there’s only one candidate who can beat Donald Trump, that Donald and I are the only two with any plausible path to the nomination. And when we’re one on one, there need to be one on one debates.

HH: Senator Ted Cruz, always a pleasure to talk to you. Thank you for joining me. Good to see you last night. My best to your wonderful wife and daughters.

End of interview.


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