Stephanopoulos Grills Cruz: Will You Cause ‘Cataclysmic Losses’ for GOP?

In an interview with Texas Senator Ted Cruz on ABC’s Good Morning America on Friday, co-host George Stephanopoulos demanded the GOP presidential candidate respond to attacks from former Senator Bob Dole: “But how about the argument he is making? I mean, he repeated that ‘No one likes Ted Cruz,’ but he also said he believes your candidacy, if you’re the nominee, is going to cause ‘cataclysmic losses’ for Republicans.”

Cruz hit back: “You know what? He omitted two words from what he meant to say, which is, “No one in Washington likes Cruz.” Stephanopoulos wondered: “And that doesn't bother you?” Cruz replied: “Listen, I've said many, many times, the biggest divide we’ve got in this country politically, it’s not between Democrats and Republicans, it's between career politicians and Washington in both parties and the American people.”

On Thursday, all three networks seized on Dole blasting Cruz as an unlikable “extremist.”

Tell the Truth 2016

In another question to Cruz on Friday, shown only in the full interview on ABCNews.com, Stephanopoulos touted former Defense Secretary Bob Gates also slamming the GOP candidate: “National security expert Robert Gates, former defense secretary for the Republicans and Democrats, says your idea of carpet bombing ISIS is basically un-American and useless.”

Cruz began to respond: “Well, listen, look, I understand that he’s a former Obama official, that he’s criticizing me, that’s fine.” Stephanopoulos interrupted: “Bush official, too.”

Cruz continued:

...let’s compare the current conflict with ISIS to the first Persian Gulf War....we launched 1,100 air attacks a day. It was saturation carpet bombing....do you how many Obama’s launching right now?...Between 15 and 30. It’s photo-op foreign policy, it’s utterly ineffective, and it’s because the commander-in-chief has put our fighting men and women into combat with rules of engagement that are so tight both arms are tied behind their back. I think that’s immoral.  

Here are transcripts of the exchanges aired on January 22:

7:11 AM ET

(...)

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: You did seem to actually welcome the attack from Bob Dole. But how about the argument he is making? I mean, he repeated that “No one likes Ted Cruz,” but he also said he believes your candidacy, if you’re the nominee, is going to cause “cataclysmic losses” for Republicans.

SEN. TED CRUZ [R-TX]: You know what? He omitted two words from what he meant to say, which is, “No one in Washington likes Cruz.”

STEPHANOPOULOS: And that doesn't bother you?
            
CRUZ: Listen, I've said many, many times, the biggest divide we’ve got in this country politically, it’s not between Democrats and Republicans, it's between career politicians and Washington in both parties and the American people.

STEPHANOPOULOS: What do you make of the fact that it seems like at some level somewhere a lot of top Republicans are coming around to the idea that Donald Trump would be a more electable nominee and he would be a better nominee?

CRUZ: It’s not a question of electability. Listen to what they're saying. You're right, that what we're saying is the Washington establishment is abandoning Marco Rubio and they're rushing to Donald Trump and they've explained why. Bob Dole yesterday explained why. He said, “Donald Trump is someone we can make a deal with. We can cut a deal. We can work with him.” And, listen, if you're someone in this country who thinks we need more Republicans in Washington to cut a deal with the Democrats to agree with Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer, then you ought to vote for Donald Trump.

(...)

[QUESTION ONLY ON ABCNEWS.COM]

STEPHANOPOULOS: National security expert Robert Gates, former defense secretary for the Republicans and Democrats, says your idea of carpet bombing ISIS is basically un-American and useless.

CRUZ: Well, listen, look, I understand that he’s a former Obama official, that he’s criticizing me, that’s fine.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Bush official, too.

CRUZ: That’s his prerogative. But I’ll tell you this, let’s compare the current conflict with ISIS to the first Persian Gulf War. Dessert Storm began 25 years ago this last Saturday. In 1991, we had twice as many planes, 8,000, today we have 4,000. In 1991, we had 529 ships, today we have 270.

STEPHANOPOULOS: You were fighting a standing army then, though.

CRUZ: But, in that first Persian Gulf War, we launched 1,100 air attacks a day. It was saturation carpet bombing. We did that for seven days.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Not of the cities. You were hitting the troops.  

CRUZ: It was targeting the enemy. Yes, that’s what we should be doing, is targeting the enemy. Let’s contrast 1,100 a day – do you how many Obama’s launching right now?  

STEPHANOPOULOS: Not right this second, no.

CRUZ: Between 15 and 30. It’s photo-op foreign policy, it’s utterly ineffective, and it’s because the commander-in-chief has put our fighting men and women into combat with rules of engagement that are so tight both arms are tied behind their back. I think that’s immoral. If we send our sons and daughters into combat, they are going to win. We’re not gonna stop them from defeating the enemy, then we’re gonna bring them home.

(...)

Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen is the Senior News Analyst for MRC