Politics
Texas Sen. Ted Cruz speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference on March 16, 2013, in National Harbor, Md. (Photo: Grae Stafford / The Daily Caller) Texas Sen. Ted Cruz speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference on March 16, 2013, in National Harbor, Md. (Photo: Grae Stafford / The Daily Caller)  

Why Ted Cruz is not a typical freshman senator

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Alex Pappas
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      Alex Pappas

      Alex Pappas is a Washington D.C.-based political reporter for The Daily Caller. He has also written for The Washington Examiner and the Mobile Press-Register. Pappas is a graduate of The University of the South in Sewanee, Tenn., where he was editor-in-chief of The Sewanee Purple. While in college, he did internships at NBC's Meet the Press and the White House. He grew up in Mobile, Ala., where he graduated from St. Paul's Episcopal School. He and his wife live on Capitol Hill.

Dianne Feinstein was agitated.

The Democratic senator from California did not like the line of questioning she was getting from Sen. Ted Cruz, the freshman Republican from Texas, as she defended her so-called assault weapons bill before the Senate Judiciary Committee in March.

Cruz was reciting from the Constitution. He then asked that given Feinstein’s position on the government banning certain types of guns: Would she also approve of the government banning books it found harmful?

“I’m not a sixth grader,” Feinstein responded, expressing contempt for the question. She went on to point out that she had “studied the Constitution myself,” and “am reasonably well-educated.”

“I thank you for the lecture,” she added.

The heated debate between the two senators was significant. Cruz now admits he thinks his aggressive questioning helped draw negative attention to the bill, stopping it from ever having a serious chance of passing.

It also illustrates the kind of first-term senator Cruz has become. In his first 100 days on Capitol Hill, Cruz has been tireless in trying to shape the political debate in the Senate, from guns to Obamacare to drones to Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel’s nomination hearings.

In an interview with The Daily Caller last week, Cruz said, “My focus every day in office has been on two things. Number one, defending the Constitution. And number two, fighting to restore economic growth.”

Cruz’s outspokenness has not gone unnoticed by his colleagues.