01/30/2014 04:31 pm ET Updated Jan 30, 2014

Ted Cruz, John Boehner's Former Lawyer, Says He Doesn't 'Really Know John Boehner'

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) discussed several topics Thursday, including House Speaker John Boehner’s leadership and Hillary Clinton’s possible 2016 candidacy during an interview on Bloomberg Television's "Market Makers.”

After October’s government shutdown and the subsequent schism between the tea party champion and more traditional GOP House members, Cruz described a distant relationship with the House speaker.

“To be honest, I don't really know John Boehner. He has his job. I have mine,” he explained. Boehner (R-Ohio) on the other hand, contradicted Cruz's account on NBC's "The Tonight Show" Jan. 23.

"Ted Cruz used to be my attorney a long time ago. A good guy. I don't always agree with him, but he's a good guy," Boehner told host Jay Leno.

In 1998, Cruz represented Boehner, then House Republican Conference chairman, in a six-year lawsuit against Rep. Jim McDermott (D-Wash.), who was the ranking Democrat on the Ethics Committee, over an illegally recorded telephone call. In 2004, a federal judge ruled in favor of Boehner, who was later awarded more than $1 million in legal fees.

The conversation between Cruz and Bloomberg’s Peter Cook also touched on another contention between Cruz and the speaker: a looming debt ceiling deal. While Boehner has not announced whether House Republicans will demand spending reductions in exchange for a debt-ceiling increase, Cruz accused President Barack Obama of scaremongering. He argued that Republicans “shouldn't just raise the debt ceiling without making structural reforms to stop the out-of-control spending in Washington.”

“And what the president is saying is he wants a blank check,” Cruz said. “He wants to just keep borrowing and borrowing … The strategy that the president is going to try is he's going to try to scaremonger.”

Instead, Cruz expressed “strong support” for the Full Faith and Credit Act, Sen. Pat Toomey’s (R-Pa.) recent bill eliminating the possibility of federal default.

“It is a bill that says, under no circumstances will the United States ever, ever, ever default on its debt,” Cruz, one of 16 Republicans co-sponsoring the bill, explained. “The reason it hasn't passed is President Obama, Harry Reid and the Democrats are blocking it because they want to scaremonger on the debt ceiling.”

Democrats oppose the bill’s prioritization of foreign payments over domestic needs, but Cruz defended it, accusing Democrats and Obama of “playing games."

“Harry Reid on the floor of the Senate attacked me on that and called it the pay China first bill,” Cruz said. “But one of the things that people don't always realize is those in Washington, the president wants to play games. He wants to scare people because the alternative is to actually start living responsibly.”

Cruz also promised to “continue fighting as hard as I possibly can to make D.C. listen.”

Turning toward his own political aspirations, Cruz avoided offering a definitive answer about a White House run in 2016, emphasizing his commitment to his Texan constituents.

“Well, my focus is not on the political side. I know it's hard to believe … What I'm trying to do is do my very best to fight for 26 million Texans, the people I represent,” Cruz said. “In 2016, my view as a voter is that I intend to vote for whoever is effectively standing up and leading, whoever is effectively fighting for free market principles, fighting for the Constitution, because we're really at a turning point.”

Cruz also knocked ever-circulating rumors of former Secretary of State Clinton’s potential 2016 presidential bid, striking a more hesitant tone on the former first lady’s chances.

“Well, we'll see if she runs. And we'll see if she wins the nomination. If she runs, I think she's likely to get the nomination,” Cruz speculated. “But I think her path is going to be much, much more rocky than many in the media have predicted.”

Cruz also commented on a possible Clinton run during a Bloomberg Government breakfast Thursday.
“They’ve already measured the drapes," he said. “I think that is far less likely to occur than is the conventional wisdom in Washington, D.C., and Manhattan."



Sen. Ted Cruz