Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas on Thursday blasted President Obama as an “unmitigated socialist” while offering the president a bit of measured praise, saying Republicans need to put forth a 2016 nominee as committed to the conservative cause as Mr. Obama is to the liberal one.
“Listen, Barack Obama is not a bad president because he was a senator — Barack Obama is a bad president [because] he’s an unmitigated socialist who won’t stand up and defend the United States of America,” Mr. Cruz said.
Mr. Cruz was the first of 14 GOP presidential contenders scheduled to speak at the Republican Jewish Coalition’s presidential forum Thursday in Washington, D.C.
Mr. Cruz had been asked during a question-and-answer session about Mr. Obama’s relative lack of foreign policy experience before the president’s first White House run. Mr. Obama ran for president as a first-term senator in 2008 — as Mr. Cruz is doing now.
“When the media asks, ‘gosh, aren’t you like Barack Obama?’ my reaction to reporters is, ‘I thought you thought that was a good thing,’” Mr. Cruz said. “Last I checked, he won two presidential elections.”
Mr. Cruz said in the past 50 years, the two moments that had “the greatest impacts on human liberty” were the 1980 election of President Ronald Reagan and the 2008 election of Mr. Obama.
“The first in a very positive way, the second in a very negative way,” he said. “Now, they both share something in common. Both Reagan and Obama believed profoundly in their principles — they had the courage to fight for them.”
“When Barack Obama said he wanted to fundamentally transform this country, he meant it,” Mr. Cruz continued. “And the damage that has been done in the last seven years is enormous, and I believe the only way to undo the damage is as Republicans, we need to nominate a candidate for president as committed to conservative principles as Barack Obama is to liberal principles.”