November 28, 2014

Steve King: “We will see” if public’s “attention span” holds for Ted Cruz in ’16

Republican Congressman Steve King says it’s too early to tell whether Texas Senator Ted Cruz has the kind of staying power to keep him in the hunt for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination.

“As I watch him and I listen to what he has to say — and we’ve had some intense, one-on-one conversations —  he’s very well anchored in the fundamentals,” King says. “I do believe that he is a full-spectrum, constitutional conservative and there’s no question he’s a very smart guy, so we will see.”

Cruz, who has been a senator since January, has catapulted into the national spotlight with his stand against “ObamaCare” and Cruz is due in northwest Iowa Saturday to hunt with King and speak at a King for Congress fundraiser in Le Mars. King suggests Cruz realizes the “extraordinary ride” he’s been on in terms of garnering the public’s attention and the adoration from some activists within the GOP.

“Anybody that steps up into the national arena and picks up all the press that a person like Ted Cruz is now and others have and will in the future, is that staying power — is it theirs or does the public lose its attention span?” King asks.

About 600 Iowans have purchased tickets to hear Cruz speak at this evening’s Iowa GOP’s fundraiser in Des Moines. As for the reason Cruz gained the national spotlight this September and October, King says it’s unlikely Republicans will push again to “defund ObamaCare” in early 2014 when the temporary spending measure for government operations runs out and the country’s debt limit is reached.

“I don’t think the will to take that up again and have that kind of a showdown over a shutdown or a debt ceiling is going to happen in this congress,” King says.

According to King, Republicans failed to act when they had their best shot at getting rid of “ObamaCare” in the first four months of 2011 after the Republican “wave” election of 2010. And King sees no “leverage point” in congress now to accomplish that goal before President Obama leaves office.

“This is a very determined administration,” King says. “They’re already rolled in more than $600 million into trying to get a website up that works. They would put $2 or $3 or $5 or $10 billion into that to make that work. It is all hands on deck now. They will find a way to grind this thing into implementation.”

If the Affordable Care Act is to be “undone,” King says more Americans will have to complain about health care premium increases. However, King isn’t sure that will happen.

“I think the American people won’t come to a sudden realization of how bad ObamaCare is. I think it’ll be dripped into them a few thousand people at a time until they’ve just accepted it,” King says. “That’s my concern and then if what happened in the United Kingdom back in the late 1940s happens here, I think the American people will slowly forget about the freedom they once had.”

King made his comments this morning during taping of the Iowa Public Television program “Iowa Press” that airs at 7:30 tonight.