Ted Cruz was on the Late Show with Stephen Colbert last night.
It’s quite good and both come off well.
Here’s the full segment.
They open with the usual banter.
Colbert: Were you surprised the field got that crowded.
Cruz: There are another dozen coming.
In fact Stephen, are you going to announce tonight
That’s obviously a joke, but, as I wrote last week, in the age of Trump, Colbert might absolutely be the Democrats’ best pick.
To chants of “Stephen, Stephen,” Colbert said:
I ran for president fake twice. I found that exhausting, to even to pretend to do that for three weeks.
Cruz said that he had explained to his seven-year-old daughter, Caroline, “You just have to surgically disconnect your shame sensor.”
Precocious, that Caroline. Like her father.
Cruz: It is relentless, but it is invigorating. I am like a kid in a candy store. I am having so much fun.
Colbert: Who is paying for the candy
That enabled Cruz to brag that he had raised more money in direct contributions to his campaign than any other Republican candidate – “over 175,000 contributions the first two quarters.”
“That’s invigorating,” Cruz said.
Colbert asked Cruz, “What do you make of, what’s the name, Donald Trump, he’s my guest tomorrow night. Any question you would like me to ask him?”
“Would he possibly consider donating $1 billion to our campaign?” Cruz told Colbert.
Colbert asked why voters in a general election should consider voting for a candidate as far right as Cruz.
There is one Republican who has a group of Democrats named after him,” Cruz said, referring to Reagan Democrats.
“Democrats didn’t come over because Reagan was the squishiest middle-of-the-road candidate,” said Cruz.
He cited the example of a woman who approached him in Charleston, S.C., said she had voted for Obama in 2008, didn’t vote in 2012, and planned to vote for Cruz in 2016.
“This woman have a name?” Colbert asked, poising pen over pad. “I just want to fact check that.”
Colbert and Cruz then launched into an extended, serious discussion of whether Cruz could be as flexible on issues as Reagan.
Colbert: Reagan raised taxes. Reagan actually had an amnesty program for illegal immigrants. Neither of those things would allow Reagan to be nominated today. So to what level can you truly emulate Ronald Reagan? Isn’t that form a period of time when he was willing to work with Tip O’Neill across the aisle to get stuff done. Isn’t that want more than anything else – not just principles but action.
Cruz: Well I’ll tell you, number one, as I travel the country, I haven’t seen anyone saying the thing we want of Republicans is to give in more to Barack Obama and the direction we’re going. I don’t hear that across the country.
Colbert: But are those aspects of Reagan something you could agree with? Raising taxes and amnesty for illegal immigrants? Could you agree with Reagan on those two things?
Cruz: No of course not.
Cruz: But Ronald Reagan also signed the largest tax cut in history. He reduced government regulations from Washington. And economic growth exploded. You know when Reagan came in – from 1978 to 1982, economic growth averaged less than one percent a year. here’s only one other four-year period where that’s true. It’s true from 2008 to 2012, and what Reagan did, he cut taxes, he cut regulations, he unchained small businesses and economic growth boomed, millions of people were lifted out of poverty into prosperity and the middle class.
Colbert: But when conditions changed in the country, he reversed his world’s largest tax cut and he raised taxes when revenues did not match the expectations. So it’s a matter of compromising. Will you be willing to compromise with the other side, because I would say it’s possible, it’s entirely possible that your plan might be the right one. If it turns out not to be the right one, would you be willing to compromise with the other side, change your mind and do something that the other side wants and not feel like you capitulated with the devil?
Cruz: So my attitude …
Colbert: Is it possible, because you’re religious man, you’re religious man. And I, dabble. But would you believe that it’s important not to call the other side the devil?
Cruz: Absolutely, there’s nothing diabolical about you.
Colbert: What about your opponents politically? Are they diabolical?
Cruz: Of course not and, in fact, my response in politics when others throw rocks and insults, I don’t respond in kind. And in fact, when others …
Colbert: It’s true. You haven’t.
Cruz: And that’s true of both Republicans and Democrats. When others attack me, I make a point of keeping the focus on substance, keeping the focus on how do we turn this country around. People are fed up. They want jobs and economic growth, and you know, you mentioned before, you said, “Cruz, you’re a very conservative guy,” and what I’m fighting are very simple principles – live within our means, stop bankrupting our kids and grandkids, follow the Constitution …
Colbert: And no gay marriage.
Cruz: No, actually, let’s be precise. Under the Constitution …
Cruz: Marriage is a question for the state.
Colbert: It doesn’t mention marriage in the Constitution.
Cruz: We have had a country for over 200 years …
Colbert: So you may be right, but it doesn’t mention marriage in the Constitution.
Cruz: And that’s exactly why it is a question for the states, because the Tenth Amendment says, if it doesn’t mention it, then it’s a question for the states. That’s in the Bill of Rights. Everything that is not mentioned, is left to the states. So, if you want to change the marriage laws …
Colbert: I’m asking what you want.
Cruz: I believe in democracy. I believe in democracy and I don’t think we should …
(At this point there is some hissing for the audience, and Colbert gestures for them to stop.)
Colbert: No, no, guys, guys, however you feel, he’s my guest so please don’t boo him.
Cruz: I don’t think we should entrust governing our society to five unelected lawyers in Washington. Why would you possibly hand over the rights of 320 million Americans to five lawyers in Washington to say, “we’re going to decide the rule that govern you.” If you want to win an issue, win at the ballot box. Go to the ballot box. That’s the way the Constitution was designed.
Meanwhile, Wendy Davis was part of a panel on The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell last night, defending Planned Parenthood, standing up for Hillary Clinton and suggested that the the Cruz-led strategy to defund Planned Parenthood even at risk of shutting down the government was “political demagoguery of the very worst and most dangerous kind.”
She said Republicans were trying to rewrite, on a national scale, “the exact chapter written in our history books” in Texas, in which, “over 150,000 real women lost the only health care they have.”
Politically, she said, Republicans were hurting themselves in a manner that would be hard to recover from.
She was also asked about recent comments on Muslims made by Republican presidential candidates.
Davis: What’s fascinating is that they seem not to have learned from the last presidential election, their exclusionary conversations created real problems for them.
David also did a Q-and-A for Rolling Stone with Lauren Kelly.
She said she’s launching a new “women’s equality initiative.”
Davis: It’s still in the planning stages. But when I came out of the gubernatorial campaign, I reflected on, “What do I want to do now?” because this is the first time in 16 years that I haven’t been in public office. Not being in office – not having my state senate seat – was much harder than losing that gubernatorial election, because I care so very much about these issues. I gave some thought to, “How do I continue to play a role?” And I just listened for a while, to my own inner voice and to what was happening around me, and I took note of the fact that I continue to have a real audience with young women – millennials in general, but particularly young women, who continue, regardless of where I am, to come up to me and say, “Thank you, please don’t give up, we need you to fight for us.” I paid attention to that, and decided I should use this platform that I have to engage millennials and hopefully to help them see the valuable role they have in the political process.
She said she hopes to run for office again:
Davis: I have no particular path in mind at this point. I am simply keeping myself open for opportunities that make sense.
Davis: It’s really fascinating to observe. It’s particularly interesting to see some of the follow-up editorial commentary about Carly Fiorina and her performance at the last debate. Did she shine in terms of being articulate and intelligent? Absolutely, and I applaud her for that. I love to see women take a national stage and do well. But she also completely betrayed the real issues and concerns of so many women in this country. We can agree to disagree on abortion. We all need to remember that it is constitutionally protected, just like Second Amendment gun rights are constitutionally protected, and yet it receives so much less support in the Republican Party as a whole. But for every one of those candidates, including Carly Fiorina, to adamantly support the idea of de-funding the non-abortion services of Planned Parenthood is an absolute betrayal to hundreds of thousands of women in this country who are going to be impacted by it.