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Texas Sen. Ted Cruz doesn't want to "get down in the mud and engage in personal insults and attacks" — one reason he has declined to criticize Donald Trump more directly in the wake of Trump's plan to ban all Muslims from entering the U.S.
In an interview Tuesday morning with Morning Edition host Steve Inskeep at NPR's Washington headquarters, the GOP presidential candidate explained his own plan to slow immigration from some Muslim countries.
"The first obligation [of the president] is to keep this country safe, and so I've introduced legislation that would suspend for three years refugees from countries where ISIS or al-Qaida control a substantial amount of territory," Cruz said. "And the reason is simple. The FBI has told Congress that the Obama administration cannot vet these refugees. President Obama and Hillary Clinton's plan to bring tens of thousands of Syrian refugees to America, when the FBI says they cannot ascertain if these refugees are ISIS terrorists or not, that makes no sense."
Cruz's plan, which he unveiled at the Capitol on Tuesday alongside Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, would temporarily halt refugees coming to the U.S. from Syria, Yemen, Libya, Somalia and Iraq — all nations with heavy terrorist influences.
Cruz admitted his plan may not solve every problem — one of the attackers in last week's San Bernardino massacre was born in Pakistan — and that broader reforms were needed, but he argued it was a beginning to increase vetting of those coming into the country.
"The problem, Steve — this president doesn't even acknowledge the problem exists, much less put in place serious policies to deal with it," Cruz told Inskeep.
Cruz's plan would include an exemption for people from those countries who are threatened by genocide, but he argued that distinction still didn't impose a religious test.
He pointed out, though, that U.S. law has long included exemptions for religious persecution — and that Christians in the Middle East are victims of that right now.
"What is happening to the Christians by ISIS is qualitatively different," Cruz said. "They are facing genocide in that ISIS is attempting to exterminate the Middle Eastern Christians in a way that is qualitatively different from other people."
Cruz panned President Obama's Sunday evening Oval Office address, slamming him for still refusing to use the term "radical Islamic terrorism."
"[Obama] behaved, I think, like a condescending school marm lecturing the American people against Islamophobia," Cruz said. "In the aftermath of a terrorist attack, we don't need the president who believes he's our intellectual and moral better lecturing the American people."
As to whether Obama was maybe trying to make sure he wasn't singling out Muslims who may be loyal Americans in using careful language, Cruz called that "baloney."
"Last I checked, the Crusades and Inquisitions ended hundreds of years ago. I don't think it's too much to be asking for the president to stay in the current millennium," he said.
As to whether Trump — still leading in most GOP polls, though Cruz has leapfrogged him in some Iowa surveys — went too far Monday in calling for such drastic measures to halt Muslims from entering the U.S., Cruz said he disagrees with the real estate magnate's plan.
"I disagree with Donald on that," Cruz said. "He is welcome to discuss his policy ideas. That is not my view of how we should approach it. My view is we should focus very directly on the threat, which is radical Islamic terrorism and Islamism."
"There are millions of peaceful Muslims in the world," he continued. "There are millions of peaceful Muslims in America. This is not about the Islamic faith. It is about Islamism, which is a very different thing."
But Cruz hasn't been as forceful in criticizing the Republican front-runner for his controversial plan — former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush said Trump had come "unhinged," and South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham called his comments "race-baiting" and "xenophobic."
The first-term Texas senator said he's been happy to criticize what he terms the "Washington cartel" and career politicians, but that in his books and in debates, he has resisted singling out anyone by name.
"I've taken this same approach with regard to every other candidate. It's not just Donald Trump," Cruz said. You don't hear me right now blasting, launching personal insults at Jeb Bush or Marco Rubio or anyone else."
"My approach to politics, and that has been true from Day One in the Senate, that if others choose to insult me and attack me, and — and you know, I'm told once or twice there have been some folks in politics who have said some unpleasant things about me," Cruz laughed. "I do not respond in kind. I do not reciprocate and I don't intend to. I'm not going to get down in the mud and engage in personal insults and attacks."
And as to whether he's holding his fire because he wants to woo Trump supporters, Cruz said, of course he does — because that's just good politics.
"I would like to earn the support of every one of Donald Trump's supporters and every one of Ben Carson's supporters and every one of Marco Rubio's supporters and every one of Jeb Bush's supporters, and I'm working every day to try to earn their support," he said.
Below is a full transcript of Cruz's interview:
INSKEEP: I'm going to get around to asking about Donald Trump, of course, and his remarks yesterday. But I know that you have your own proposals having to do with who does and doesn't get into the United States. So if I may put the question this way, which Muslims do you want to keep out of the United States?
CRUZ: Well, I'm not sure that's the way I would put the question. What I would say is — is — is what is the obligation of the president, commander in chief? And the first obligation is to keep this country safe, and so I've introduced legislation that would suspend for three years refugees from countries where ISIS or al-Qaida control a substantial amount of territory.
And the reason is simple. The FBI has told Congress that the Obama administration cannot vet these refugees. President Obama and Hillary Clinton's plan to bring tens of thousands of Syrian refugees to America, when the FBI says they cannot ascertain if these refugees are ISIS terrorists or not, that makes no sense.
INSKEEP: I've had a look at your legislation. It specifies some countries — Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Syria, Yemen, other countries could be added by the government over time. But I have to note, you're looking at refugees, not broadly people entering the United States, including by easier paths. You're not bringing up Pakistan, which is where one of the San Bernardino attackers came from. You're not bringing up Brussels, which is where some of the Paris attackers came from. Why not?
CRUZ: There is no doubt that we need broader reforms. And, in fact, talking about Brussels and Europe, one of the real challenges is the visa waiver program. And unfortunately if you look at Europe, the problem of terrorism is definitely growing there because of many of these waves of refugees that've flowed into Europe.
But the immediate threat we have is ISIS. The Islamic state has declared jihad on America. They have declared their intention to commit acts of terror like they did in Paris, like occurred in San Bernardino, and they've made clear that they intend to use the refugee program to do that.
And so there is a very simple question that, as far as I'm concerned, the president ought to be asked every time he is asked a question, which is: Why would you bring people in when the FBI tells you they cannot vet them to determine whether or not they're terrorists?
INSKEEP: But can't someone ask you, why would you focus on refugees who tend to be fleeing a situation, and leave alone, at least for the moment, all these other routes, and all other kinds of people who — who actually have proven in a few cases to be dangerous?
CRUZ: Because if you look at, for example, the Paris terrorists, we know that at least one of them came in among the refugees. This is — this is an influx of population where the FBI says they lack the information to ascertain if they're terrorists. What James Comey — and, by the way, James Comey, the head of the FBI, was appointed by Barack Obama. What he told Congress is the FBI lacks the information on who in Syria is involved with Syria, who's involved with the jihadists.
And so as he put it, he said, "We can query the database till the cows come home; we'll get no results because we don't have the underlying information to check them." If you look, for example — you're right. Look, do we need to impose stronger background checks and security checks on immigration more generally in an age of terror? Absolutely. If you look at the wife among the San Bernardino terrorists, she came on a fiancee visa.
The background check vetting for fiancee visas is essentially identical to what President Obama and Hillary Clinton say they want to put on these Syrian refugees. Now, the problem is, look — she put a made-up address, a fictional home address, and yet the background check of the vetting didn't, didn't catch that. And given — given the widespread lethality of radical Islamic terrorism, we need to be serious responding to it.
And the problem, Steve — this president doesn't even acknowledge the problem exists, much less put in place serious policies to deal with it.
INSKEEP: You — you've made an exception for people from those countries who may be victims of genocide, which has been interpreted as people who may be Christian or non-Muslim. Are you actually imposing a religious test here?
CRUZ: Well, it is true the legislation I've introduced has an exception for those who are victims of genocide, those who are religious minorities. Christians could fall into that category; Yazidis could fall into that category.
Now, I would note, the notion of a religious test, our immigration law for decades has included provisions focusing on religious persecution. We have always had a religious test. And what is happening to the Christians by ISIS is qualitatively different. They are facing genocide in that ISIS is attempting to exterminate the Middle Eastern Christians in a way that is qualitatively different from other people.
There are many refugees there that are fleeing war conditions, that are fleeing poverty, that are fleeing chaos. But genocide is something we have always recognized as qualitatively different, when a particular religious minority is being persecuted and being murdered the way Christians are being crucified, beheaded, raped and murdered by ISIS.
INSKEEP: Is there a bigger cultural concern that you're actually speaking to on some level here, Senator — the concern among some in America that there are just too many Muslims coming and that they are culturally inappropriate for the United States?
CRUZ: Look, I can't speak for what concerns you might have or others have. My concern is keeping America safe. And we need a commander in chief whose single-minded focus is protecting this nation.
You know, President Obama, when he addressed the nation, he gave a speech that was so utterly disconnected from the threats facing this country. He gave a speech in which he never once uttered the words "radical Islamic terrorism." Now, why is that? Because he never utters the word. It is a policy throughout the administration that you cannot acknowledge the evil we face. And in fact --
INSKEEP: He did talk about terrorism, if I might, and talked about extreme beliefs among, among Muslims --
CRUZ: But — but this is important. Yes, he talks about terrorism writ large, but he doesn't acknowledge radical Islamic terrorism. It is a particular threat. And he treats it — indeed, I was at the prayer breakfast where the, the National Prayer Breakfast when it was right after, you'll recall, the Jordanian pilot had been lit on fire. The king of Jordan was supposed to be at the prayer breakfast. He flew back to Jordan to deal with the aftermath of that act of terror.
And President Obama got up and gave a remarkable speech where he served as an apologist for radical Islamic terrorists. Now, what does it mean to be an apologist? Because those are strong words. An apologist is someone that gives a rationalization, gives a justification, that steps forward and tries to explain in a reasonable way the conduct of others.
What President Obama says is, "Yes, ISIS are committing terrorist acts." But at the prayer breakfast, he said, "You know what? Christians and Jews have done bad things, too; look at the Crusades; look at the Inquisition."
INSKEEP: Isn't he just trying to make sure that he's not singling out Muslims who may be loyal Americans?
CRUZ: Baloney. Last I checked, the Crusades and Inquisitions ended hundreds of years ago. I don't think it's too much to be asking for the president to stay in the current millennium. And here's the problem. That argument is exactly the argument ISIS uses. They justify their acts of terror based on the Crusades and Inquisition. If the Crusades and Inquisition were happening now, I would readily speak out against them. They were wrong.
But thankfully they are not, and we need a president who can distinguish — you know, I have a book that I wrote this summer that you and I have talked about before. It's called A Time for Truth.
INSKEEP: Right. Yeah.
CRUZ: In that book, I quote Egypt's president, President al-Sisi, who, in a remarkable speech that he gave on January 1st of this year at Cairo University — in that speech, President al-Sisi calls out radical Islamic terrorism, calls out the grave threat, and calls on the Muslim world to rise up against radical Islamic terrorism.
Now, for President al-Sisi to do that — he is a Muslim leader of one of the largest Muslim nations in the world — for him to do that, that was courageous. He was literally putting a bounty on his head for the Islamists who will try to murder him for calling it out. And as I observe in the book, A Time for Truth, what does it say when the president of Egypt shows more courage, more clarity, more willingness to confront this evil threat than does the president of the United States? That's unfortunate.
INSKEEP: Has Donald Trump effectively outbid you here, Senator? Because he's calling to block all Muslims from coming to the United States, which would eliminate any potential Muslim who might be a threat.
CRUZ: Well, I disagree with Donald on that. He — he is welcome to discuss his policy ideas. That — that is not my view of how we should approach it. My view is we should focus very directly on the threat, which is radical Islamic terrorism. And Islamism --
INSKEEP: So, you're fine if plenty of Muslims come by other routes other than what your legislation deals with? You're perfectly comfortable with that?
CRUZ: There are millions of peaceful Muslims in the world. There are millions of peaceful Muslims in America. This is not about the Islamic faith. It is about Islamism, which is a very different thing.
Islamism, you saw with the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood, a belief — the Muslim Brotherhood is a terrorist organization. It funds jihadists across the world. And Islamism is a political and theological belief that the fanatics must bring an Islamic caliphate to this world, that they must forcibly convert or murder all of the infidels, being anyone that doesn't embrace their radical Islamic views, and that they must wage jihad against not just the little Satan, which is what they call Israel, but also the great Satan, which is what they call America. In all of that, they are very candid about saying it is their object to kill as many Americans as possible, and the president refuses to acknowledge this or to do anything serious to defend this.
INSKEEP: I just want to mention, you've said you differ with Donald Trump on this issue. You haven't criticized Mr. Trump, and, in fact, you've been careful over the campaign not to criticize Trump, saying that Republicans really shouldn't be criticizing other Republicans. But when we last talked, it was about a book you wrote that had a chapter in it, called "Mendacity," criticizing your fellow Republicans.
What should we take from the fact that you're not criticizing Donald Trump as he calls to exclude all Muslims from entering the United States?
CRUZ: Well, listen, I am perfectly happy to discuss the mendacity of Washington. That opening chapter in the book A Time For Truth describes the Washington cartel, career politicians in both parties --
INSKEEP: But what about Trump?
CRUZ: — who get in bed with lobbyists and special interest and grow and grow and grow government. Now, I would note, if you look at how I wrote that book, "Mendacity," you don't see me naming individual senators in that chapter. You see me talking about, in the aggregate Republican leadership, I describe what unnamed senators said, but I very consciously did not out any individual senators in describing that.
And, and the reason for that is, is I think every senator can make a choice whether to be a member of the cartel or not, and they can choose by their actions. It is my hope that we will see more and more Republicans and I hope even Democrats making the decision, we're going to value the priorities of the men and women who elected us over the big-money interest of Washington and Wall Street, which, right now, governs what happens in the United States Congress.
The interest of the Washington elites and the establishment trump the interest of working men and women who are getting hammered, and — and you smiled when I said "trump." Look, I get you would love for me to blast Donald Trump and, and I understand that is --
INSKEEP: I don't have a view either way. I'm actually just curious why you don't. And I am wondering if you agree with political analysts who've said Ted Cruz is not criticizing Trump because he actually wants eventually to get the support of Trump voters who agree with Donald Trump and some of his more controversial statements.
CRUZ: Well, Steve, let me say two things on that. Number one, I've taken this same approach with regard to every other candidate. It's not just Donald Trump. You don't hear me right now blasting, launching personal insults at Jeb Bush or Marco Rubio or anyone else. My approach to politics, and that has been true from Day One in the Senate, that if others choose to insult me and attack me, and — and, you know, I'm told once or twice there have been some folks in politics who have said some unpleasant things about me.
INSKEEP: Once or twice.
CRUZ: I do not respond in kind. I do not reciprocate, and I don't intend to. I'm not going to get down in the mud and engage in personal insults and attacks. You remember the first couple of debates — the Republican debates. They're basically food fights.
CRUZ: And — and the moderators are basically, "You, insult you." Those first couple of debates, I — I stayed out of the fray almost entirely. I spoke very little those first couple of debates because I don't think the American people are interested in a bunch of politicians bickering like schoolchildren. They're interested in positive, real results and solutions for our problems.
Now, let me say, secondly, you mentioned some analysts say, "Oh, Cruz is being very clever because he wants Donald Trump supporters." Of course I do. I would like to earn the support of every one of Donald Trump's supporters and every one of Ben Carson's supporters and every one of Marco Rubio's supporters and every one of Jeb Bush's supporters, and I'm working every day to try to earn their support.
This is politics. And my object is, and what we're seeing happening is, to reassemble the old Reagan coalition, to bring together a winning coalition of hard-working men and women who want to believe again in the promise of America.
INSKEEP: A couple of other questions about national security.
You've said in the last few days, regarding ISIS, you want to carpet-bomb them into oblivion. You made a reference to making "sand glow." When I hear "carpet bombing," I think flattening cities. Is that what you want? Do you want to flatten the city of Raqqa, for example?
CRUZ: I think we need to use every military tool at our disposal to defeat ISIS.
INSKEEP: You can flatten a city. Do you want to do that?
CRUZ: The problem with what President Obama is doing is he has not set out the objective of destroying ISIS. And he is not implementing any military means to do so.
You know, last year, we had a hearing in the Senate Armed Services Committee, on which I serve. And the secretary of defense, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs were testifying. And I asked them both, I said, "If the object were to utterly destroy ISIS in 90 days, in your military judgment, what would be required to accomplish that task?"
The answer that General Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs, gave, he said, "I'm sorry; that's simply not possible." I said, "OK. Maybe my time frame is not reasonable, so let me ask you, in whatever time frame is reasonable, if the object is to utterly destroy ISIS, not to weaken them, not to degrade them, but to utterly destroy them, you tell me as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, in your military judgment, what's required to do that and what is the time frame that would be necessary?"
And his answer, he said, "There is no military solution to this problem; the only way to fix it is to change the underlying conditions — the poverty that drives people to radicalism."
INSKEEP: That's what they found out in Iraq, wasn't it?
CRUZ: No. And — and as I said afterwards, with all respect, that is utter nonsense. The solution to this problem isn't expanded Medicaid in Iraq. You know, the State Department spokesperson said the response to terrorism is we need to give them jobs.
You know what? In the 1940s, FDR didn't stand up and say, "The problem is the poverty in Germany, and we need to help the Germans not support the Nazis."
INSKEEP: FDR carpet-bombed cities. Is that what you want to do? Is that what you think the solution is to this problem?
CRUZ: I want to carpet-bomb ISIS. Now when you say "carpet-bomb cities," look, no — no reasonable military endeavor targets civilians. Now, inevitably in war, there are inadvertent collateral casualties. That — it is impossible to wage a war without their being inadvertent collateral casualties. But, but no responsible military action targets civilians.
But let me give you a sense --
INSKEEP: But don't you then end up with the air campaign they already have, where they're being exceedingly careful —
CRUZ: No, no, no.
INSKEEP: — not to hit civilians, but they hit a target when they can find a target?
CRUZ: No, you don't, Steven. And let's go to some facts. In the first Persian Gulf war, we launched roughly 1,100 air attacks a day. We carpet-bombed them into oblivion for 37 days --
INSKEEP: There was a conventional army to strike in that case --
CRUZ: — 1,100 air attacks a day. At the end of 37 days of that, our troops went in and, in 36 hours, mopped up the entire Iraqi army.
INSKEEP: OK. Troops going into Syria?
CRUZ: Right now, today, President Obama is launching between 15 and 30 air attacks a day — 1,100 in the first Persian Gulf war; 15 to 30 today. What we're seeing is photo-op foreign policy. We see a missile here, a bomb there. Looks good on CNN. But it is not designed to actually defeat the terrorists.
And listen, we saw the same principle when President Obama addressed the nation, and he, for one thing, behaved I think like a condescending school marm lecturing the American people against Islamophobia. In the aftermath of a terrorist attack, we don't need the president who believes he's our intellectual and moral better lecturing the American people.
And then secondly, and quite absurdly, his solution to jihadists who are trying to murder us is gun control. He wants to disarm law-abiding American citizens. I think an awful lot of people who watched it, and actually I think an awful lot of people didn't even bother to turn it on, but those who watched it, I think a lot of them said this is someone who is completely out of touch and not serious about solving the problem and keeping our nation safe.
INSKEEP: Do you think there are military targets in Iraq and Syria to justify 1,100 strikes a day?
CRUZ: There are abundant targets. I'll give an example. Mike Morell testified and told Congress that the reason Obama has not bombed ISIS's oil fields is they're concerned about global warming. This is nonsense. This is not a strategy of a serious commander in chief, and those oil fields, by the way, are generating millions of dollars of revenue to ISIS that they are using to fund jihadists, they are using to fund people like the terrorist who committed terror attacks in Paris.
And President Obama's policies, Hillary Clinton's policies are resulting in more dead Americans, and they will result in more dead Americans as the result of terrorism, because they are not serious about defeating the enemy.
INSKEEP: Let's go on to the other subject very briefly here. We've used so much time, I don't want to use more than a couple of minutes here. But you're on your way, as we're talking, to a hearing on climate change.
INSKEEP: "Data or dogma" is part of the question you pose in the name of the hearing. What do you think about what is seen as a broad scientific consensus that there is man-caused climate change?
CRUZ: Well, I believe that public policy should follow the science and follow the data.
I am the son of two mathematicians and computer programmers and scientists. In the debate over global warming, far too often, politicians in Washington, and for that matter a number of scientists receiving large government grants, disregard the science and data and instead push political ideology.
And — and let's step back for a minute. You and I are both old enough to remember 30, 40 years ago, when at the time we were being told by liberal politicians and some scientists that the problem was global cooling --
INSKEEP: There was a moment when some people said that.
CRUZ: — that we were facing the threat --
INSKEEP: But the raw scientific consensus has been building for decades.
CRUZ: — that we were facing the threat of an incoming ice age, and their solution to this problem is that we needed massive government control of the economy, the energy sector and every aspect of our lives. But then, as you noted, the data didn't back that up. What they were saying was disproven by the evidence. The Earth was not cooling.
So then many of those same liberal politicians and a number of those same scientists switched their theory to global warming. You know, I joked yesterday that, that the graphs they had with the temperatures going down, I think maybe they just turned them upside down and used the very same graphs. And so that became their theory, that, that, that global warming was the problem.
INSKEEP: This is a conspiracy, then, in your view.
CRUZ: No. This is — this is liberal politicians who want government power, and they will accept any excuses. Rahm Emanuel, Barack Obama's chief of staff, said you never want to waste a good crisis. So their theory became global warming, and their solution, interestingly enough, was the identical solution they'd advocated before. It was massive government control over the economy, the energy sector and every aspect of our lives. Now --
INSKEEP: And almost all the countries in the world have joined into this approach?
CRUZ: So, so let me ask you a question, Steve. Is there global warming, yes or no?
INSKEEP: According to the scientists --
CRUZ: I'm asking you.
INSKEEP: — absolutely. Sure.
CRUZ: OK. You are incorrect, actually. The scientists don't say there's global warming now. They're shifted their theory a third time, because here's the problem: The scientific evidence doesn't support global warming.
For the last 18 years, the satellite data — we have satellites that, that monitor the atmosphere — the computer models on which all of these apocalyptic predictions were based show that we should have seen dramatic warming over the last 18 years. The satellites that actually measure the temperature showed no significant warming whatsoever.
INSKEEP: I'll just note that NASA analyzes that same data differently, but we can go on.
CRUZ: But — but no, they don't. You can go and look at the, at the data — and, by the way, this hearing, we have a number of scientists who are testifying about the data. The satellites measuring, what NASA also measure — measures — and NOAA, is they rely on the ocean measurements.
Now, interestingly enough, the ocean measurements don't show warming, and what NASA does — and NOAA — is they adjust the numbers. So they, the raw numbers show, show no warming, and so what they do is they subtract — and the series didn't talk about this.
I mean, they don't hide that they're adjusting the numbers, but they subtract from the older temperatures and add to the newer temperatures, and magically, when you subtract the older ones and add to the newer ones, you get warming.
But here's the key point — let me finish this point, because I want to finish this.
INSKEEP: Sure, sure. Finish the point, yeah. And I've got one other question, and I'm going to let you go shortly.
CRUZ: When the data — when the satellite measurements did not show warming, that was an inconvenient truth, as Al Gore might say. So then the theory magically changed a third time.
It's — the reason I asked "Is the earth warming?" and you hesitated, you — you weren't sure on the answer because now the theory has magically morphed a third time.
First, it was global cooling, then it was global warming. Now, "global warming," that term is verboten. Now it is "climate change," and climate change is the perfect pseudoscientific theory for a big-government politician who wants more power.
Why? Because it is a theory that can never be disproven.
INSKEEP: Do you —
CRUZ: Look, you and I both remember when we were in, in high school science, the scientific method. You start with a hypothesis. You then test it with evidence to see if it's true or false, and you try to disprove the hypothesis.
Climate change can never be disproven. Why? Whether it gets hotter or colder, whether it gets wetter or drier, the climate is always changed. It has changed from the dawn of time, it will continue changing until the end of time.
And so it is a theory that, whatever happens, suddenly these scientists, who are receiving government grants to keep researching this, and these politicians — and, interestingly enough, the solution they are proposing for climate change — massive government control of the economy in every aspect of our lives — is exactly the same solution they proposed for global warming, it's exactly the same solution they proposed for global cooling.
And when you see someone proposing the identical policy outcome, no matter what the problem is they're trying to solve, you start to think maybe they just want more power over the economy and our lives.
INSKEEP: Aren't — aren't you the mirror image of that, though? You're working backward from the consequence that you don't want: too much government control, and so you question the science.
CRUZ: No. No, I'm saying we should start with the science and the data.
INSKEEP: Well, let me just ask, do you — do you question, do you question — forgive me, I just know your time is limited — do you question the science on other widely accepted issues? For example, evolution?
CRUZ: There is a fundamental difference, which is, in the name of global warming, you have politicians trying to impose trillions of dollars of cost on the world.
You have politicians — you know, your listeners, I understand, in the I-95 corridor, among the Washington elite, global warming is very popular because it, it, it makes you feel good about caring for the world.
But I'll tell you — you know who I'm concerned about? I'm concerned about the single mom waiting tables right now, who, for seven years of the Obama economy, has been trapped in stagnation, her wages have been stagnating.
She's found it's harder and harder to make ends meet, and what the Washington elites are trying to do is double her energy bill.
INSKEEP: Well, let me ask about this --
CRUZ: That's who I'm concerned — I'm concerned about people like my dad, who was a teenage immigrant, who came from Cuba with nothing, with $100 in his underwear, washed dishes, making 50 cents an hour. The people who are struggling in this country cannot afford Washington elites driving up their cost of living.
You know, the U.S. Black Chamber of Commerce testified at a hearing I chaired. And they said that President Obama's so-called "clean power" regulation, a massively expensive new regulation all in the name of global warming, would cost up to 19 million minority jobs — that 9 million African-Americans would lose their job, and 12 million Hispanics would lose their jobs.
And I don't think politicians should casually be hurting working men and women. It's why people are so frustrated with Washington.
INSKEEP: Do you question other science, like evolution?
CRUZ: I — any good scientist questions all science. If you show me a scientist that stops questioning science, I'll show you someone who isn't a scientist. And I'll tell you, Steve, and I'll tell you why this has shifted.
Look, in the world of global warming, what is the language they use? They call anyone — hold it, let me finish this point.
INSKEEP: Sure, sure. OK.
CRUZ: They call anyone who questions the science, who even points to the satellite data, they call you a, quote, "denier." "Denier" is not the language --
INSKEEP: You're not a denier?
CRUZ: — "denier" is not the language of science. "Denier" is the language of religion. It is heretic. "You are a blasphemer." And what you're seeing — you know, what I would encourage your listeners to do, a couple of months ago, I chaired a hearing in the Senate. And one of the witnesses was the president of the Sierra Club.
The president of the Sierra Club testified about global warming. And I asked him about the science and the evidence. And the president of the Sierra Club had no idea about the basic science and evidence. I would encourage your listeners, go and Google — just Google my name and "Sierra Club." You will very quickly see this exchange. And just watch it.
Because what you will discover, it was actually quite striking, because when I asked him about the basic science, he had no idea whatsoever. He turned repeatedly to his staff that was with him because it was abundant he had no idea of even the rudimentary science behind what he was testifying to.
And the ranking Democrat, Senator Coons, said, "Well, this is unfair to ask the president of the Sierra Club questions about the science on global warming; that was not really what this hearing was about." And, and Senator Coons said, "You need to hold a separate hearing just on global warming, so then the president of the Sierra Club can come in and explain the science." So that's — I want to finish this story very briefly — that's what Democratic Senator Chris Coons said is that we needed a separate hearing.
Now, I observed that I thought it was quite fair to ask him about global warming, given that his entire written testimony and his entire oral testimony in the earlier hearing was about global warming. But as Senator Coons, the ranking Democrat on the committee, suggested, we needed to have a separate hearing on global warming to give the Sierra Club a chance to testify. We invited the president of the Sierra Club to come to testify at this hearing on global warming. He declined. He was unwilling.
Why? Because this isn't science. It's about — it's, it's treated as a theology, but it's about power and money. At the end of the day, it's not complicated. It is, there is a whole lot of power and a whole lot of money to seizing control of the economy. And it's why big-government liberals have wanted to do so, and this is, as Rahm Emanuel says, a great crisis and one you don't want to waste.
INSKEEP: You know that your critics would say that it's about power and money on your side. Let's not go there for the moment, but I want to ask about this, I want to ask about --
CRUZ: But hold it a second. Whose power — let's stop. I mean, if you're --
INSKEEP: The energy industry, oil industry?
CRUZ: — if you're going to talk in ad hominems --
INSKEEP: OK, not meaning to be an ad hominem, but, you know — you know, there are economic interests on all sides here.
CRUZ: If you're going to toss an ad hominem, then let's actually respond, because there's not a moral equivalency. You say it is about power and money. I'm trying to keep power with the American people. I'm trying to keep power with the single mom waiting tables, not to drive up her energy bills. I'm trying to keep power with the teenage immigrant like my dad was, washing dishes.
Now, how is that about power and money other than keeping Washington out of their lives and making it easier for people to achieve the American dream? That's who I'm fighting for.
INSKEEP: Final thing, because you're right: Science changes, science evolves. Our knowledge evolves. And here's something that Ernest Moniz, the energy secretary, argues is evolving. You've said, "Well, look, it's really expensive to address this issue, and so I don't want to do it; I don't want to put a burden on people."
Moniz pointed out on All Things Considered the other day that the cost of renewable and alternative energies has been going down drastically, that technology is constantly advancing. And, on a basic level, of course, pollution is inefficiency. If you can be more efficient, it actually saves people money. If you found out that global warming or climate change, whatever you want to call it, was cheaper to address than it seems to now, would you change your view of it?
CRUZ: Of course there will be alternative energies. We will have innovation. And I promise you this, the alternative energy innovations are not going to come from Washington. They're not going to come from the cronyism of this town. They're not going to come from Solyndra. They're not going to come from corporate welfare of Washington picking winners and losers.
Because when Washington does that, they allocate money based on political concerns, not based on what is necessary. I fully expect in 100 years or maybe 50 years or maybe even 10 or 20 years — I mean, change can be very rapid — that we will move to different energy sources than we are using today. We are using different energy today than we used 100 years from now [sic].
And it may well be things we know of now — things like it may be biofuels, things like ethanol. It may be wind and solar. It may be something we've never thought of that 50 years from now maybe everyone is using. Who knows? It may be something none of us have thought of.
But I also trust that the innovation that will drive that will come from the American free-enterprise system. It will come from innovators putting capital at work. You know, a famed economist, Ludwig von Mises, wrote a fabulous book called On Bureaucracy where he talked about why, why the Solyndras of the world happen — hundreds of millions of dollars of taxpayer money going to fund a company that goes bankrupt but happens to be a big Democratic political supporter.
CRUZ: And what von Mises says is there are those who go into government and say, "I want to make government run really efficiently, and make it run like the private sector." And von Mises, the economist, said, "That will never happen. And the reason is that government lacks the profit motive."
And he explained in the private sector, the profit motive unifies the incentives of everyone in a particular company or institution, from the CEO down to the janitor; that — that if a janitor comes and sticks his head in, he's vacuuming the floor and he sticks his head into the CEO and says, "I've got an idea that will cut costs by 10 percent and increase our revenue by 20 percent." That CEO is going to listen to the janitor. Everyone's incentives are united.
On the other hand, if an executive vice president comes into the CEO and says, "Gosh, I've got an idea to increase our expenses 20 percent and cut our revenues by 10 percent," that moron would be fired on the spot, because the profit motive unifies everyone's incentive. And it's actually quite egalitarian in terms of how it unifies incentives within a private enterprise. And this is true whether it's a giant company or a little mom-and-pop.
You know, I grew up — my parents were small-business owners. I grew up as the son of a small-business owner, seeing the challenges of running a small business, which is what drives economic growth in our economy. The problem, von Mises explained, in government is without a profit motive, what the executive vice president says makes perfect sense in government. Someone comes into a government bureaucrat and says, "I've got a plan to increase our government program by 20 percent, to get even more people dependent on this program, to expand, to grow our Army."
And that's what you see in bureaucracy.
So what happens when government is allocating money for, for example, Solyndra, is they behave based on political motivations. Of course we will have innovation in energy, and — and I am excited to see where that goes. But it'll come from the private sector, not from government.
INSKEEP: Senator Cruz, thanks very much.
CRUZ: Thank you, Steven.
INSKEEP: I have been somewhat abusive of your schedule and went beyond 20 minutes. Thank you for your patience with that. And I know your time is short, so I'm going to lead you right out of here.
I appreciate it, though. Did I miss anything important you wanted to talk about?
CRUZ: Well, I — I was waiting for the endorsement on air.
INSKEEP: Maybe next time. Maybe next time.
CRUZ: Probably not [off-mike].
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