Today on The Lead with Jake Tapper, Senator and Presidential Candidate Ted Cruz, joined the program to discuss the latest Supreme Court rulings, the 2016 race and more. A full transcript of the interview is below. Visit: http://www.cnn.com/shows/the-lead for additional information.
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JAKE TAPPER, CNN: One of the targets of Governor Christie’s straight talk has been Republican senator Ted Cruz. Yet if you ask the Texas senator, he only has positive things to say about his new rival in the race for the Republican nomination, Cruz also advertising himself as a truth teller who wants to break up what he calls the Washington cartel.
TAPPER: Joining me now, Republican senator from Texas and Republican presidential candidate, Ted Cruz.
Senator, thanks so much for joining THE LEAD again.
SEN. TED CRUZ, R-TX, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Jake, it’s always great to join you.
TAPPER: So I want to get to the book in a second, but I do want to talk about some of the current events that are animating you. You were so upset by the Supreme Court’s decision, its ruling on same-sex marriage. You proposed a constitutional amendment that would implement judicial retention elections.
I have to ask you, though, wouldn’t that make the Supreme Court justices more prone to serving public opinion, not doing what they think is right or what the law dictates?
More beholden to campaign contributors?
CRUZ: Well, listen, if they were doing their job, if they were honoring their judicial oaths, it wouldn’t be necessary. Unfortunately, the justices have injected themselves into politics. We had two decisions last week, both of which were naked acts of judicial activism.
On Thursday, a majority of the justices ignored federal law and rewrote ObamaCare, they just ignored the text of the law and essentially joined with President Obama in forcing this failed law on millions of Americans who have lost now their jobs, who have lost their health care, have lost their doctors, facing skyrocketing premiums.
TAPPER: Well, Senator, what you’re talking about is the fact that what they did not do is take away subsidies for 6.4 million Americans who had subsidies from the federal government, but they didn’t get it through state exchanges. I don’t know that you could really argue that those 6.4 million people were hurt.
CRUZ: Of course you can and a lot of people were hurt because listen, under ObamaCare, it’s the biggest job killer in this country. Millions of Americans have lost their jobs. Millions of Americans, single moms are working part-time, because ObamaCare kicks in at 30 hours a week, they’ve been forced to work 28, 29 hours a week. Six million Americans have had their health insurance cancelled because of ObamaCare, they’ve lost their doctors. And you know, one of the easiest illustrations —
TAPPER: Did you say millions of Americans lost their jobs because of ObamaCare?
CRUZ: Yes, yes, because millions of small businesses are not expanding, are laying people off, are staying under 50 employees, it’s the biggest job killer in this country.
TAPPER: But saying it’s a job killer and businesses are not expanding is not the same as millions of Americans have lost their jobs.
CRUZ: A fair point. I’m including both lost their jobs and haven’t been hired. So I’m on both ends of that. I’ll take that as a friendly amendment.
But let me point out, Jake. Five and a half years ago, President Obama promised the American people, he said that ObamaCare would result in the typical American family’s health insurance premiums dropping $2,500 a year; in fact, the average premium has risen $3,000 a year.
Here’s what I’ve said, Jake, I’ve said, listen, any family whose premiums have dropped $2,500, you should vote for Hillary Clinton. I’ll take everybody else. And you know, we never had a presidential election decided 100 to 0. I’m happy to start with 2016.
TAPPER: I’m sure she would have her own hypothetical. But I appreciate that.
Let me ask you in terms of this retention election idea, would you vote to retain Chief Justice John Roberts?
CRUZ: Well, listen, one step at a time, I will say this, six justices violated their judicial oath on Thursday of last week with ObamaCare. To use John Roberts’ analogy, they stopped serving as umpires, calling balls and strikes. Instead they became players. They put on Obama jerseys and they rewrote the statute.
And then on Friday five justices did the same thing, they rewrote the constitution and decided their own personal policy preferences trumped the considered judgment of elected legislatures across this country.
TAPPER: But do you not see at all why anybody would think that equal protection under the law would apply to same-sex couples wanting to get married?
CRUZ: Look, Jake, I can certainly understand why reasonable minds might disagree as a policy matter on gay marriage. You and I might disagree on that.
But under our Constitution from the beginning of this country, marriage has been a question for the states. And if you support gay marriage, there is an avenue constitutionally to advance that, which is you convince your fellow citizens to change the laws in the states one state at a time. What the Supreme Court said, as Justice Scalia observed in powerful dissent was a fundamental threat to democracy, because the Supreme Court said five unelected lawyers had become the rulers of 320 million Americans. That’s not how our constitutional system is made to work.
TAPPER: Let me ask you a question that I’ve heard from a lot of people who knew you from — when you were part of the Washington cartel, when you were a lawyer and you represented John Boehner back in the ’90s, when you worked in the Bush administration, on the Bush campaign.
A lot of those people who knew you then don’t recognize you now as a, let’s say, firebrand. I’m sure that’s a word you wouldn’t dispute.
They don’t recognize you.
Were you more moderate back then?
Were you holding back your real feelings so as to go along to get along?
Is this the real you?
Help them understand.
CRUZ: Well, listen, I would encourage you and all your viewers to read my book. “A Time for Truth.”
TAPPER: It’s a very good book and I want to get to that in a second.
But can you just answer that question and then I promise I’ll ask you a question about the book, I promise.
CRUZ: But I’m pointing to the book for a reason because, in the book, I tell my personal story. I tell my journey and my family’s story and I had been a passionate advocate for the Constitution and Bill of Rights for over 30 years, literally from when I was a teenager, when I was 13 and 14, touring the state of Texas, speaking about the Constitution.
You suggested firebrand. I don’t accept that term at all.
TAPPER: You don’t? OK.
CRUZ: In my time in Washington, to the best of my knowledge, I have never spoken ill of any senator, Republican or Democrat. What I’ve endeavored to do is two things, tell the truth and do whey said I would do.
But in Washington, D.C., telling the truth is a radical act. And I think people across this country, they are fed up with politicians in both parties who aren’t listening to the American people. You hear that from Republicans, Democrats, independents, Libertarians, “They’re not listening to me.”
And I think that’s why we’re seeing such incredible support on the ground for our presidential campaign is because people are looking for someone they can trust who will actually do what he said he will do.
TAPPER: All right. I will turn to the book, as I promised. You write about the Supreme Court; as you know, you were a clerk for William Rehnquist.
Why don’t you tell our viewers here how you came to be watching — and I’m citing this because it is an amusing anecdote, for no other reason — how you came to be watching hardcore pornography with Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, because it’s a — you start a chapter with that anecdote, so don’t fault me for bringing it up.
CRUZ: No, it is definitely part of the book.
So the term I was clerking was one of the very first Internet porn cases and this was 1996, it was right when the Internet was getting started. And a lot of the justices didn’t really know what this Internet thing was.
And so the court librarians did little training sessions to show the justices, OK, this is how the Internet works. And they paired chambers up, so it so happened that my boss, Chief Justice Rehnquist and Justice O’Connor were paired up together along with their clerks. We were in this little bitty room, and the court librarian was doing a search with the filters all turned off.
And I remember the librarian typed in the word “cantaloupe” — misspelled — and with no filters, cantaloupe misspelled pulled up graphic porn.
And we’re sitting in a tiny little room. I’m inches away from Justice Sandra Day O’Connor and I remember to this day what she said, which is she squinted her eyes and under her breath, she simply said, “Oh, my.”
TAPPER: That’s exactly what I would expect her to say.
All right, Senator Ted Cruz, thank you so much. And best of luck with your book and we’ll see you on the campaign trail.
CRUZ: Excellent. I look forward to it, Jake, thank you.