Ted Cruz, the Republican candidate for U.S. Senate in Texas, sits down with CBS News’ Sharyl Attkisson to talk about his victory and the success of the Tea Party.
CRUZ: I think we’re seeing a transformation, because I think the Republican Party is getting back to the principals we should have stood for.
CBS: Ted Cruz has never been elected to public office, but the Princeton debate champ and Harvard Law grad is now heavily favored to replace retiring Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison. His primary campaign was viewed by many as a struggle between moderate Republicans and the Tea Party.
ATTKISSON: Do you feel as though Congress is better or worse off the way it’s working with those Tea Party members there.
CRUZ: I think it is much, much better off, but I think it is a transition that’s only halfway complete. 2010 was the first step. Right now they can’t do anything. As long as Harry Reid and the Democrats control the U.S. Senate, very little is going to get accomplished.
CBS: Cruz pulled off a come-from-behind upset, defeating Texas Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst. By most any standard, Dewhurst is considered a very conservative Republican, tough on taxes and social issues, and was endorsed by Texas Gov. Rick Perry. Cruz spent months tacking even further to the right, chatting up prayer groups, party meetings, tapping into frustrations about Washington spending.
CRUZ: I will never support new taxes. Period. The end.
ATTKISSON: A lot of Republicans would say they think things have gotten worse with the Tea Party members there, that that’s really put a stop or a halt to a lot of things.
CRUZ: Well I think there are a lot of things that needed to stop, that needed to halt. Our $16 trillion debt was a bipartisan problem. A whole lot of Republicans went arm in arm with the Democrats in agreeing to that spending.
ATTKISSON: Do you feel like a lot of people out there are out to get the Tea Party?
CRUZ: Oh, sure. Look, everyone who has a vested interest in the status quo, in business as usual in spending and spending and spending, wants to stop anyone who wants to stop that gravy train. But I think the American people are looking for leaders that aren’t going to Washington to suddenly be popular at the cocktail parties. They’re looking for leaders to go to Washington and to be public servants.
ATTKISSON: Cruz thinks there’s a chance a half dozen other constitutional conservatives will get elected to the Senate right along with him, and, Scott, he plans to spend the next 90 days helping them.