“The Russian bear is encountering the Obama kitty cat,” Mr. Cruz said to a standing-room only conservative crowd at the annual Americans for Prosperity summit in Dallas.
“The reason Putin feels no fear to march into his neighbors, the reason our allies up and down Europe are terrified of what happens next is because our president is leading from behind,” he added, riffing at the end off a phrase the administration has itself used to defend its foreign policy.
Mr. Cruz, widely seen as a possible top contender for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, said that the U.S. should combat Russia economically by approving U.S. natural gas exports, which would dampen world gas prices and hit the Kremlin where it hurts, “in the cash register.”
Mr. Cruz was among a string of potential 2016 candidates at the summit who condemned the president for saying he did not have a strategy to combat Islamic State militants in Syria and Iraq.
He quoted President Reagan who said his strategy going into battle was “we win and they lose.”
“It’s almost as if President Obama read that and got it backwards,” Mr. Cruz said and added, “We out to bomb [the Islamic State] back to the stone age.”