Rising GOP Star Senator Ted Cruz was on ABC’s “This Week” with George Stephanopoulos, where he discussed several issues — the release of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, Obama’s disastrous foreign policy, and Hillary Clinton’s Benghazi stonewalling and reasons she is unfit to be President.
SEN. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: I think where we are today is uncannily, is eerily like the late 1970s. By the way, if there is one person on earth thrilled about the job President Obama is doing, it’s Jimmy Carter.
STEPHANOPOULOS: First let’s get your reaction to the Bergdahl deal.
CRUZ: Well, look, all of us celebrate with Sergeant Bergdahl, with his family, I mean, looking at his parents there, I mean, that’s emotional and it’s powerful.
At the same time the terms of the deal are very troubling.
CRUZ: Well, for one thing, how many soldiers lost their lives to capture those five Taliban terrorists that we just released? You know, Ambassador Rice basically said to you, yes, U.S. policy has changed. Now we make deals with terrorists.
And the question going forward is, have we just put a price on other U.S. soldiers? What does this tell terrorists, that if you capture a U.S. soldier, you can trade that soldier for five terrorists we’ve gone after.
STEPHANOPOULOS: So if you…
CRUZ: I mean, that’s a very dangerous price.
CRUZ: I think it is very disturbing that we are releasing five acknowledged terrorist Taliban leaders in a deal with terrorists. That precedent and — you know, unfortunately, George, it’s part and parcel with the pattern we’ve seen of the Obama administration across the board.
STEPHANOPOULOS: And you saw Secretary — I mean, Ambassador Rice’s response to your criticism of that pattern. Your response to that?
CRUZ: Well, you know, I just got back last week from traveling to Israel and Ukraine and Poland and Estonia. And it was striking — you know, one of the things Ambassador Rice said that was absolutely correct is that American is the indispensable leader.
But what our allies are expressing over and over again is that leadership is missing. And the most frequent thing you hear when you talk to an ambassador, a foreign minister of our friends and allies is they pull you aside quietly in hushed tones; they say, “Where is America?”
When America’s weak, when the American president is weak, it leaves our friends and allies vulnerable and it makes the world a lot more —
STEPHANOPOULOS: So you say — you say you were in Ukraine.
What would you have done different there?
Would you have sent — would you have used military force?
Would you have threatened military force?
CRUZ: There’s a whole range of activity short of what President Obama did at the West Point speech, for example, is he set two straw men.
One, invade or two, do nothing. And there’s a whole range of intermediate steps.
Number one, President Obama should have spoken out clearly in support of freedom, in support of the protesters when the protesters began in the Maidan Square.
I had the privilege of traveling through the Maidan Square, being led by 16-year-old high school girl who saw her compatriots shot by army snipers. And they continue to protest for freedom. America should speak out for freedom.
But then after that, we should stand with our allies and not give into Russia. We should, number one, right now, install the anti-ballistic missile batteries in Eastern Europe, in Poland, the Czech Republic, that were scheduled to go in 2009, that President Obama canceled in an effort to appease Putin. That hadn’t worked.
And number two, we should be using energy as a tool to help liberate the Ukrainian people and to impose costs on Putin. There are over 20 applications to export liquid natural gas bottled up in the Obama administration. He should approve them because that would be a meaningful step to stand with the Ukrainian people and free them from Russia’s economic blackout.
STEPHANOPOULOS: We’ve seen the first chapter of Hillary Clinton’s memoir, “Hard Choices;” it’s about Benghazi. Pretty defiant chapter. Here’s what she had to say about Republicans in Congress.
She says she “will not be a part of a political slugfest on the backs of dead Americans. It’s just plain wrong and it’s unworthy of our great country. Those who insist on politicizing the tragedy will have to do so without me.”
It sounds like she’s says — suggesting, perhaps, that she’s not going to testify in these new investigations.
Should committees force her to testify?
CRUZ: You know, the sad thing with Secretary Clinton is that it seems to be all politics all the time, that from what we know about this book chapter, it’s pure political spin. And she’s more focused on blaming the so-called vast right-wing conspiracy than on the terrorists.
The truth shouldn’t be partisan and there’s a pattern in this administration. The pattern is when a crisis, when a scandal emerges, to express outrage.
We all remember President Obama during the debate with Mitt Romney getting angry and emotional, saying no one is more upset about what happened in Benghazi than I am. And yet it seems that’s the last time he ever uttered the word “Benghazi,” because after that, after expressing outrage, they stonewall for months or years.
And then they say it’s old news —
STEPHANOPOULOS: Rand Paul —
CRUZ: — we need to get to the truth.
STEPHANOPOULOS: — Rand Paul said her handling of Benghazi is disqualifying her from the presidency.
Do you agree?
CRUZ: What I think is that she has deliberately stonewalled. We know, for example, that her chief political aide, Cheryl Mills (ph), went to senior foreign service officers and told them, don’t talk to the press; don’t talk to members of Congress.
You know, I had an exchange on the Senate floor, when I asked the Senate, introduced a unanimous consent resolution for the Senate to form a joint select committee with the House to get to the truth of Benghazi. And Bob — Senator Bob Menendez from New Jersey stood up and objected. And I laid out a dozen questions that still haven’t been answered.
And his response was, he said, I have no idea — this is Menendez speaking — whether President Obama was awake or asleep while this terrorist attack was happening. And he went on to say, I have no idea whether there was anything President Obama could have done to have saved those four brave Americans who died.
But those questions aren’t worthy of being answered.
Listen, if the chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee doesn’t know the answers to those questions, we’re not getting the truth and we deserve — the American people deserve the truth; our men and women in harm’s way deserve the truth.
STEPHANOPOULOS: What’s the 30-second case against Hillary for president?
CRUZ: That her policies, domestically and internationally, haven’t worked, that domestically the Obama economic agenda is a disaster; we’ve got the lowest labor force participation since 1978; millions of hardworking Americans, their lives have gotten harder.
And internationally the Obama-Clinton foreign policy is a disaster. Every region of the world has gotten worse; America has weakened, our enemies have been strengthened. We’re in the middle of cutting a deal right now with Iran that I fear is repeating the mistakes of the Clinton administration in 1990s, setting up Iran, acquiring nuclear weapons capability.
STEPHANOPOULOS: You took on what you called the gray beards in the Republican establishment yesterday at that Republican leadership conference.
But hasn’t the establishment had something of a role in these primaries, beating back the Tea Party again and again and again? And aren’t factions of the Republican Party going to have to come together if you’re going to have any hope of defeating Hillary Clinton or any Democrat in 2016?
CRUZ: Look, there is a debate in Washington, how Republicans win. I think 2014 is going to be a fantastic year for Republicans. I think we’re likely to retake the Senate and I think 2016 is going to be a very strong year for Republicans.
But the debate we’re having right now is how do you win.
Some in Washington think the way you win is you put your head; you don’t rock the boat, you don’t stand for anything.
Every time we do that, George, we lose. From the perspective of the Democrats, they’ve got to be thrilled when Republicans do that because in ’06 it failed; in ’08, it failed; in ’12, it failed.
The way we win is doing what we did in 2010 or, for that matter, in 1980, drawing a line in the sand, standing for principle, drawing a clear distinction and making the case to the American people than an election matters.
So for example, in 2014, we should be saying — and I think a great many Republicans are saying — we will repeal every word of ObamaCare because it isn’t —
STEPHANOPOULOS: A lot of Republicans starting to run away from that.
But you sound like you’re ready to run for president.
CRUZ: You know, what I’m ready to do is to make the case to the American people that the path we’re on isn’t working, that the people who have been hurt the most by the Obama economy are the most vulnerable among us. They’re young people; they’re Hispanics; they’re African Americans. They’re single moms.
In a few weeks ago I was in Nebraska and a single mom came up to me to rally and she hugged my neck, George. And she said — she said, I have six kids at home. My husband left me. He’s not paying child support. I’m working five jobs. None of them are even 30 hours a week because of ObamaCare.
I’m having a hard even putting basic food on the table for my kids and I never see my kids.
What we’re doing isn’t working and those are the people we need to be fighting for so that Americans can have a chance at the American dream.
STEPHANOPOULOS: We just heard a preview at a speech. Come back when you’re ready and make the official announcement.
Senator Cruz, thanks very much.
CRUZ: Thank you, George.