Ted Cruz vs. Chris Matthews: I'm Enjoying Hillary Tell Voters She's Just As Much Of A Socialist As Bernie Sanders

|

Republican presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz faces off with MSNBC's Chris Matthews on the Thursday broadcast of his show Hardball.

CHRIS MATTHEWS: Senator Cruz, thanks for coming back on so soon after your last visit here. And I appreciate that.

I just want to ask you a bigger picture than the little kerfuffle at the border today, which could have been anything. But whatever it was, there wasn't anything.

What has Donald Trump got hold of here, in the biggest possible picture?

I don't think it's just immigration.

What is it that is grabbing the emotions, the thoughts, the hopes or whatever, the fears of the Republican voter who's talking to these pollsters?

SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, listen, I like Donald Trump. I appreciate that he's focusing on illegal immigration. It's an issue I've been fighting a long, long time. I think people are very concerned, for example, about the problems of sanctuary cities and -- and that is something that's a -- that people are finally turning their attention to.

You know, we had just this week in the Senate Judiciary Committee, a number of the family members of -- of people who have been murdered by illegal aliens with criminal convictions the Obama administration has released.

MATTHEWS: Right.

CRUZ: I -- I had an exchange with the head of immigration enforcement enforcement under the Obama administration where I asked her why the Obama administration, in 2013, released 104,000 illegal aliens with criminal convictions, including 198 murderers, over 400 people convicted of sexual assault, over 16,000 drunk drivers.

She couldn't give an answer and I think people are understandably very concerned that this administration refuses to enforce the law and is releasing people with serious criminal convictions that shouldn't be in this country and are here illegally.

MATTHEWS: Are you against local cities, like New York City under Giuliani, where they basically didn't turn in everybody every time there's a police incident?

Or how strong would you be in terms of turning people in at the local level to the I -- to ICE?

CRUZ: Look, sanctuary cities are wrong. The city of San Francisco, we've seen the murder of Kate Steinle...

MATTHEWS: I saw that.

CRUZ: -- she was out on the pier, was shot and murdered. San Francisco is a city that proudly calls itself a sanctuary city. With the case of -- of the illegal immigration and -- and career criminal who murdered Kate Steinle, the federal government had put in what -- what's called a detainer, a request that when he was released, that they be notified so he could be deported. And the city of San Francisco refused to honor that detainer, violated, defied federal law.

And Kate Steinle is dead because of it. And -- and I've joined with a number of senators in a common sense amendment in -- in the U.S. Senate to provide that federal funds will not be provided to cities and local jurisdictions that defy, that actively frustrate federal law and that -- that, in effect, release violent criminals to endanger the safety and security of men and women across this country.

MATTHEWS: When somebody is arrested in a locale like San Francisco or New York, do you think they should be -- if they -- if they're arrested and they find out that they're not here legally, should they be turned over to the immigration authorities?

CRUZ: I think we should enforce federal immigration laws. And I think we should not have...

MATTHEWS: But cities should do it...

CRUZ: -- local officials...

MATTHEWS: -- cities should turn them over.

CRUZ: -- I -- I think we should comply with the law. You know, it's an amazing thing that people treat it as unusual that we should follow the law. When I asked the head of immigration enforcement why did the Obama administration release 104,000 criminals...

MATTHEWS: Right.

CRUZ: -- people with separate criminal convictions who are here illegally, should -- she couldn't answer me. You know, Chris, I asked the question, how many murderers did the Obama administration release yesterday...

MATTHEWS: Yes.

CRUZ: -- who was here illegally?

MATTHEWS: OK...

CRUZ: She said I don't know. That -- that ought to trouble anybody...

MATTHEWS: Yes.

CRUZ: -- anybody with children...

MATTHEWS: Well, maybe you should talk to...

CRUZ: -- that doesn't want murderers on the streets.

MATTHEWS: -- I think you should talk to Rudy Giuliani about this, because the urban officials like mayors of big cities, they're afraid, I think, they've been learned to be afraid that if you turn everybody you deal with over to ICE, to the immigration authorities, you won't get any cooperation from the communities in getting information. They'll just see you as the deporters.

Isn't that...

CRUZ: You know, a...

MATTHEWS: -- a danger to consider -- or not?

CRUZ: I will suggest the very simple principle that we should enforce the law and we should keep violent criminals off the streets.

MATTHEWS: OK.

CRUZ: So in 2013, 16,000 people with drunk driving convictions...

MATTHEWS: All right...

CRUZ: -- you know, imagine if your loved one, if someone in your family was killed by a drunk driver that the federal government had in custody who was here illegally and they simply released that drunk driver at the testimony -- at -- at the hearing.

In the Senate...

MATTHEWS: (INAUDIBLE).

CRUZ: -- we heard testimony from a man...

MATTHEWS: All right, but...

CRUZ: -- who's brother was killed by a drunk driver that had been released by the government. It doesn't make any sense.

MATTHEWS: But you're covering (ph) the immigration issue heavily in the area of crime.

Do you think it's fair to say that when you're talking about immigration, to quickly go to the issue of crime levels in big cities?

Do you think they're related that closely?

CRUZ: Well, I'm focusing very directly on illegal aliens with criminal convictions. When the Obama administration releases 104,000 illegal aliens, all of whom had a separate criminal conviction, yes, there's a direct connection there. When you release 193...

MATTHEWS: Right.

CRUZ: -- illegal aliens a homicide convictions, yes, there's a direct connection there.

MATTHEWS: Well, I agree with that, of course.

Let's go back to the latest polling here. It's fascinating. Look at "The Washington Post"/ABC Poll. Donald Trump is up there and many others are down. Trump is up by 20 points just since May, just a few weeks ago, while Rand Paul is down 5, you're down 4, Rubio, Christie and Santorum are down 3. And so -- and there's an old rule.

You remember Gresham's law from economics, bad money drives good money out of circulation?

What's it feel like to be driven out of circulation, because everybody else seems to be pushed down while Trump goes up.

Is that good for the Republican Party?

CRUZ: Well, I'll tell you what we're seeing on the ground is enormous support and enthusiasm from the grassroots. And everyone just filed their fundraising records. Out of 16 Republican candidates, you know, which candidate made -- raised the most hard money of the entire field?

We did. We raised...

MATTHEWS: I know.

CRUZ: -- $14.3 million. We beat Jeb Bush, who's in second place, with $11.3 million.

And what's amazing, Chris, is that came from 175,000 contributions in all 50 states, all five territories. The average contribution was $81. It came from...

MATTHEWS: But...

CRUZ: -- roughly half the zip codes in America. And I'll tell you why. People are looking for someone who will stand up to the Washington cartel. Right now, I'm in the Senate...

MATTHEWS: Yes.

CRUZ: -- and the reason is we're having a fight over The Export-Import Bank, a classic example of corporate welfare.

And -- and let me say, Chris, your party, the Democrats, have used this...

(CROSSTALK)

CRUZ: A lot of rhetoric about opposing big business and big money. The Democrats, virtually all of them, are supporting this cronyism and corporate welfare. The one person who's standing up strong is Bernie Sanders. This is an issue where Bernie and I are in complete agreement, we need to end this corporate welfare.

But far too many Democrats -- and I will readily admit far too many Republicans -- are supporting hundreds of billions of dollars of loan guarantees to giant corporations at the expense of the taxpayers. I think people are fed up with that. They want someone who will stand with the working man and woman against the bipartisan corruption of Washington.

MATTHEWS: Is that a strategy on the right, to build up Bernie Sanders?

CRUZ: Well, I've said for a long time, I like and respect Bernie Sanders.

MATTHEWS: Well, yes, but you're building him up.

CRUZ: (INAUDIBLE).

MATTHEWS: You just did it. You took an opportunity for a callout there to build him up.

What is the strategy to build up Bernie Sanders from the right-wing perspective?

You're right-wing.

CRUZ: Chris...

MATTHEWS: (INAUDIBLE)...

CRUZ: -- Chris, what I...

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: -- each other.

CRUZ: I respect honesty in politics.

MATTHEWS: OK.

CRUZ: Bernie admits he's a socialist. We can have an honest debate...

MATTHEWS: Well, he is a socialist.

CRUZ: -- about whether...

MATTHEWS: He's admitted it. You admit...

CRUZ: He admit...

MATTHEWS: -- you're a Tea Party guy. That's not a position...

CRUZ: Well, listen, I...

MATTHEWS: -- it's a fact.

CRUZ: But the difference is, I think there are an awful lot of Democrats in the United States Senate whose policies are every bit as liberal or every bit as socialist as Bernie's, but they don't admit it.

I'm enjoying watching Hillary Clinton explain to the voters how she is just as much of a socialist as Bernie Sanders.

I'd rather an honest (INAUDIBLE).

MATTHEWS: Well, that would be a mistake and you know that would be a mistake and that's why you're saying it. If she gets out there and matches Bernie and lets her -- lets him lead her around, she'll end up looking and sounding like him, which will take her from the center.

Let me ask you about you...

CRUZ: Well, but wait (INAUDIBLE) Chris...

MATTHEWS: Suppose you're a candidate...

CRUZ: -- let me -- let me ask you...

MATTHEWS: OK.

CRUZ: -- let me ask you a question on this. We were talking about The Export-Import Bank. The reason I focused on Bernie Sanders is that's one of the few Democrats with the courage to stand against it.

Let me point out another Democrat that had the courage to stand against it, then Senator Barack Obama. When he was a senator, he said The Export-Import Bank is a classic example of corporate welfare.

Now that he's president, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party, they get contributions from big lobbyists in Washington...

MATTHEWS: OK.

CRUZ: -- now he's for corporate welfare.

Bernie is being honest about this and I wish both...

(CROSSTALK)

CRUZ: -- politicians in the Democrat...

MATTHEWS: -- you are building him up.

CRUZ: -- and Republican Party.

MATTHEWS: I mean you're getting so enthusiastic. I know what you're up to. It's called troublemaking.

Let me ask you about your party. So part -- you're watching how this debate is working out, the top 10, Roger Ailes, fine. They've got a top 10 limit, some are in, some are out.

What happens if the convention next summer picks Jeb Bush and John Kasich to be your ticket and the other side picks Hillary Clinton and Sherrod Brown, so you've got two -- you've got two centrist tickets, at least at the top?

Isn't that going to drive Tea Party crazy, crazy...

CRUZ: Let me...

MATTHEWS: -- that you've been cut out of...

CRUZ: -- but let me -- let me see if I can...

MATTHEWS: -- presidential politics?

CRUZ: -- let me be clear, by the way. No one in their right mind would describe Hillary Clinton and Sherrod Brown as a centrist ticket. That would be a far left ticket. And let me be clear, also, if that race...

MATTHEWS: Really?

CRUZ: Hillary and...

MATTHEWS: Hillary Clinton is far left?

CRUZ: -- Hillary and Sherrod would win because you'd turn out the far left base and millions of conservatives would stay home.

That race would make you very happy, Chris, because the way for Republicans to win...

MATTHEWS: You are beating the drum for Bernie Sanders and Sherrod Brown tonight. This is your game. I know what you're trying to get Hillary out so she can go chase this.

I'm asking you, are you in a position to decide between a third party candidate of the Tea Party people, if you have to take on...

CRUZ: Well...

MATTHEWS: -- Jeb Bush in the general election, because you're stuck outside the contest?

If you don't -- if you get a Jeb Bush in there, you can't vote for Bush.

CRUZ: Well, listen, I'll be...

MATTHEWS: You're not with -- you don't want that guy.

CRUZ: -- I'll be...

MATTHEWS: You'd never vote for Bush.

CRUZ: -- I'll be on a -- I'll be unequivocal. I am not a third party guy. I am running in the Republican Party. I will support the Republican nominee. But if we nominate another candidate in the mold of a Bob Dole or a John McCain or a Mitt Romney, all of whom are good, honorable men, but what they did didn't work.

If we do it again, the same millions of conservatives who stayed home in '08 and '12...

MATTHEWS: Right.

CRUZ: -- will stay home in '16 and Hillary wins.

MATTHEWS: Well, just to -- just to tie up that thought, and you've been very clear tonight, is Jeb Bush in that mold?

CRUZ: You know, I'm going to let him speak for himself and the Republican primary voters answer that. I agree with Reagan, the way we win is we paint in bold colors, not pale pastels. And I'll tell you something that will -- that will worry you, Chris, as I travel the country, all over the place, men and women stop me who say I'm a Democrat but you're fighting for me and I'm with you. That's something...

MATTHEWS: OK.

CRUZ: -- that's got to terrify the heck out of a lot of Democrats. We saw, in the last 50 years...

MATTHEWS: OK.

CRUZ: -- there's one Republican who has a group of Democrats named after him, Reagan Democrats. When you paint in bold colors, you build a broad coalition.

MATTHEWS: Well, you're a Bernie Sanders Republican, from what I've heard tonight.

But thank you for coming on.

I understand entirely the strategy you're up to.

Senator Ted Cruz being very strategic tonight.

CRUZ: Thank you, Chris.

Comment
Show commentsHide Comments

Latest Political Videos

Related Videos