Sen. Ted Cruz on Thursday took a thinly veiled shot at Jeb Bush, saying that Republicans will ensure a Hillary Clinton presidency if they run a more moderate candidate in 2016.
Appearing on CNBC, the Texas Republican and tea party favorite was asked about Bush and said that presidential candidates from the party’s establishment wing — like Arizona Sen. John McCain in 2008 and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney in 2012 — consistently fail to turn out millions of voters.
“If we run another candidate in the mold of a Bob Dole [in 1996] or a John McCain or Mitt Romney, we will end up with the same result, which is millions of people will stay home on Election Day, which is what happened for all three of them,” the senator said. “And if we run another candidate like that, Hillary Clinton will be the next president.”
Clinton, the former secretary of state, is widely considered to be the front-runner for the Democratic nomination if she chooses to run.
Cruz, himself a potential 2016 candidate, was initially asked what he thought of a potential Jeb Bush candidacy. Bush, who has staked out some centrist positions on issues like immigration reform, is openly considering a bid and has some support from the more moderate wing of the Republican Party.
“Jeb has not declared his candidacy. I like Jeb. I’m a fan of Jeb Bush’s. I’m going to let him decide if he’s running first and let the primary voters make a decision,” Cruz said. “But I will say this: We need to learn from history, we need to look to history and what works and what doesn’t.” The senator then went on to make his comments about Dole, McCain and Romney.
Cruz clarified that he thought all three former Republican nominees were “good, honorable men” and “patriots.”
The senator has made similar statements in the past, noting in a June profile in the New Yorker that Republicans are clamoring for “another establishment moderate” in 2016 despite the party’s poor track record with those candidates.
A Washington Post/ABC News poll earlier this month showed Bush leading a crowded GOP primary field, with Cruz finishing in ninth.
Read more: http://www.politico.com/story/2014/10/ted-cruz-jeb-bush-hillary-clinton-112349.html#ixzz3HdLHRqC2