Governor Terry Branstad says he’ll welcome Texas Senator Ted Cruz to Iowa this Friday night for an Iowa GOP fundraiser, but Branstad suggests it will be a governor — not a senator — who has the best chance of turning the country’s finances around. Cruz led the Tea Party charge to “defund” ObamaCare, taking the stand that shutdown the government for 16 days.

“He’s a bright young guy. He’s just one of 100 members of the senate,” Branstad said this morning of Cruz. “I think we should hear from all viewpoints, but as you’ve heard from me I believe the leadership in this country is coming from the governors and from the state, not from Washington, D.C. and I don’t think one freshman senator can turn this all around. I think it’s really going to take executive leadership.”

Branstad, who is one of 30 Republican governors in the country, said President Obama has shown a “lack of leadership” in fixing the federal government’s financial problems.

“The president and the congress, both parties, both houses I think deserve the kind low approval ratings they get from the American people because of the lack of leadership they’re providing for this country,” Branstad said. “We cannot continue to spend massive amounts of money that we don’t have.”

Branstad has been at odds with Iowa Republican Party leaders who signed Cruz as the speaker at the party’s annual Ronald Reagan dinner.  Branstad recently had a very public spat with Iowa GOP chairman A.J. Spiker over the scheduling of the party’s 2014 state convention, but Branstad will attend Friday’s fundraiser and he’s scheduled to speak. This morning a reporter asked Branstad what message he might deliver backstage to Cruz.

“I’m just going to say, ‘Welcome to Iowa. Come here often. Spend a lot of money. We appreciate your coming to our state as we do others,'” Branstad replied. “I’ve always tried to be a good host and welcome everybody.”

The governor did not endorse a Republican presidential candidate before the 2012 Iowa Caucuses.  He backed Bob Dole in the 1996 Iowa Caucuses, but that is the only time during Branstad’s year tenure as governor that he has endorsed a candidate before the Caucuses.

AUDIO of Branstad’s weekly news conference, 18:00