Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) was the subject of a GQ profile. Highlights:
— “As a law student at Harvard, he refused to study with anyone who hadn’t been an undergrad at Harvard, Princeton, or Yale. Says Damon Watson, one of Cruz’s law-school roommates: ‘He said he didn’t want anybody from ‘minor Ivies’ like Penn or Brown.’”
— “Cruz blew his first big shot in politics. Back in 2000, he had scored a plum assignment working in the policy shop of George W. Bush’s Austin-based presidential campaign. He distinguished himself in the weeks after the election, serving on the legal team that helped Bush win the Florida recount … But Cruz’s personal style earned him many detractors in BushWorld. … When it came time to divvy up the spoils of victory, many of Cruz’s campaign colleagues headed to the White House; Cruz went to Washington, too — but he was exiled to the outer Siberia of the Federal Trade Commission. Says one friend: ‘He was pretty crushed.’”
— National Review writer Ramesh Ponnuru distills Cruz’s appeal — and how he’s matched to the moment: “The two things that conservatives are tired of are politicians who sell out and politicians who embarrass them by not being able to make an account of themselves.” Cruz is the antithesis of both types. Cruz: “I don’t know a conservative who didn’t feel embarrassed voting in 2006 or 2008. I think the Republican Party lost its way. We didn’t stand for the principles we’re supposed to believe in.” (GQ)
OBAMACARE: Cruz appeared on Fox News’s “Fox News Sunday,” where he outlined his evolving strategy to defund Obamacare via the continuing resolution to fund the government, which now includes blocking consideration for the House bill he pushed for if it looks like Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D) will be able to strip out the provisions that defund Obamacare. FNS host Chris Wallace said on the program that he had Republicans sending him “unsolicited research and questions” on Cruz, a sign of intra-party anger at his bargaining position. (Fox News)
Washington Post‘s Chris Cillizza and Sean Sullivan label this “the most important week” of Cruz’s career: “Cruz has shown a remarkable adeptness at playing the outside game, burnishing his credentials as someone who doesn’t know or care about the ways of Washington because those ways are broken and don’t serve the public. But, this is a week in which Cruz will need to show some level of dexterity at the inside game as well. … While your own party establishment probably can’t keep you from a presidential nomination, they can make it a heck of a lot harder to win one. … [The] key to measuring Cruz’s success will be what approach he takes to making his opposition to Obamacare known and what (if any) impact it has. Does Cruz launch a traditional talking filibuster, a doomed but principled effort to show how strongly he opposes the measure? If he doesn’t, is he able to convince/cajole a handful of wavering Republican senators to vote against cloture? Can Cruz make enough of a stand in the Senate to stiffen the spines of House Republicans — assuming the legislation, sans defunding Obamacare, is headed their way some time in the next week?” (Washington Post)
“After being challenged by House Republicans, Cruz and his allies might have no choice other than to wage some sort of filibuster — perhaps not by traditional means but using procedural tricks. … The conservative effort to tie the funding of the president’s health-care law to whether or not the federal government stays open on Oct. 1 could VERY WELL blow up in the GOP’s face. But even if that happens, some non-DC conservatives are already trying to make Ted Cruz a martyr.” (NBC News)
— Scott Bland
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Senate Intelligence Committee chairman Richard Burr (R-NC) and ranking member Mark Warner (D-VA) will subpoena two businesses owned by former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn. Burr said, "We would like to hear from General Flynn. We'd like to see his documents. We'd like him to tell his story because he publicly said he had a story to tell."