Sen. Ted Cruz is training his rhetorical fire on President Obama's State of the Union speech.
The Texas Republican, who attracted the spotlight in October with his defund-Obamacare campaign that led to the shutdown, is planning to spend the days leading up to Tuesday's speech on five key issues for conservatives, Cruz said in a statement Wednesday.
"As the president prepares his State of the Union address, he has signaled he has no intention of clearing the air," Cruz said. "The lack of accountability in Washington is creating a crisis of confidence in this country."
Cruz plans to ask Obama to focus on the IRS investigation into conservative groups, National Security Agency surveillance, the economy, Benghazi, and Obamacare.
Cruz's questions to Obama indicate the possible presidential contender's tack going forward. The approach also comes soon after Cruz hired Paul Teller, the former top aide to the House Republican Study Committee who was dismissed amid allegations he shared information with conservative outside groups.
Since Cruz's autumn stand over Obamacare, he has kept a lower profile on the Senate floor. Democrats blocked a pair of his amendments to roll back the law during the omnibus appropriations debate, but Cruz did not block a deal to move up a vote on the bill. He ultimately voted against the $1.1 trillion spending bill.
The senator has seen his poll numbers drop since his overnight floor speech on Obamacare in September. In a recent NBC News/Marist poll, Cruz's support among Republicans and Republican-leaning independents dropped from 10 percent to 5 percent, knocking him from the list of top-five contenders.
This article appears in the January 23, 2014 edition of NJ Daily.